|We arrived yesterday evening in the town of Puno, after spending most of the day on the bus (10 hours) with a few stops at ruins and villages along the way. It was actually a really nice bus and included a hostess, an English speaking guide and hot beverage service. It even had a toilet, but they were very clear that it was a urinary toilet only and announced it several times over the intercom. Along the way, we drove through some amazing scenery and a high mountain pass at 4,313 metres. Our highest elevation yet. Puno is on the shores of Lake Titcaca which is the highest navigable lake in the world and crosses over into Bolivia. There are over 30 islands and we'll be travelling to several of them over the next two days and staying with a local family.
Today in Puno, we finally took a day of rest and shopping. We were actually supposed to start our tour to the lake today, but postponed it to catch up on sleep. We've still been having to wake up at ridiculous hours to catch flights, sunrises, tours and trains. Our earliest morning so far was 3:30 am to catch our flight out from Lima Peru to Cuzco. The altitude here is also the highest yet, so we're trying not to over do it.
The Carnival Festival is in full swing here in Puno and there has been endless parades, marching bands and dancing in the streets since we arrived last night. Another custom is for everyone, young and old, to carry around aerosol cans of foam and to spray unsuspecting people in the streets. We first saw this in Ecuador, but nothing to the extent here in Puno.
Tonight Jen and I went to a fairly nice restaurant for dinner a few blocks from our hotel where we tried Alpaca meat. As soon as we walked out, we started getting sprayed with foam. The locals spray your hair, your clothes and get it in your ears, eyes, nose and mouth. At first we were a little annoyed, I had just showered and was ready for our trip in the morning, but you can't stay mad for long. Instead, you must get even! So I bought my own bottle of foam and can now retaliate. We've taken cover in an internet cafe and still have about another block to our hotel. I'm absolutely soaked as I'm writing this and my hair is globbed with foam. We managed to take a few photos without getting our cameras foamed, so I'll try to post them when we get back in Puno on Monday night or Tuesday. I also have my Cuzco and Machu Picchu photos to post and stories to tell. I must head back to the hotel now for another shower and to try and get some sleep.