Thursday, 5 May 2011

Exit through the gift shop

Hola Chico´s

I´m now on my second day in Bolivia in La Paz.

I left Cusco at 10pm on Friday night on an overnight bus to a place called Puno. I decided to plump for the upgraded non kidnap package trip which I think was worth it. The bus was really nice and had big reclining cushy chairs but I didnt get much sleep as the road was so winding and steep that I kept on waking up with night horrors feeelong like I fell alseep on a waltzer. I´m glad it was dark becuase I dont think the view out the uper deck of a bus down the sheer rockface would have eased my mind any. I was talking to a few Irish lads who said theor bus up from the South of Bolivia was stopped by the locals on board because the driver was too drunk. Apparently a little drunkiness is to be expected but this guy had crossed the line. And now I am very happy I will not be travelling by bus any more.

Anyway we arrived ahead of schedule at 4am and so I had some time to kill before I departed for my floating Islands trip at 5.30am. Now thats my idea of a holiday! Its brutal cold here on the mornings till 10am and not having a breakfast did not help. We went to the floating islands and we were told we may or may not be invited in by the locls to see their gaffs and to talk with them so it was all very ¨Ooo I wonder will we get to meet any of these reclusive types¨ kinda thing. We neednt have worried cause about 10 boats pulled up and I didnt see one have to move on from an unwelcomed island. They gave us the brief lowdown on how they made the island yada yada and then we were invited to theor house before being swiftly guided outside to where they had all there rugs/pillow cases/arts n crafts things for a very un modest amount as well may I add. Maybe its the old romantic in me but it just spoiled the whole experience when you are shepparded over to buy their wares after a few mintes. It doesnt feel so authentic or something. As it turns out I heard from other people afterwards that they dont even live on the islands. They just turn up for the tourists and head back to the mainland - La vita è bella

After that we headed further out in the bay to visit a second Island called Tequille island which had its own tribe of people as well but who lived in normal gaffs it was just their way of living and customs that made them different. The women apparently come on to the men and they have these wolly pom poms with different colours - one for good mood, one for bad, and they wear them around accordingly. Sounds like an ingenius system really. The boys/men wear hats in certain ways to show their age/marital status and importance. The guide was showing how you´d wear the cap back to front first and then to the side and then certain folds. It was like watching the evolution of cap wearing. I wonder weather the rappers have a similiar system. Note to self - contact snoop doggy dogg when I get home. The have a system on the island which is really equitable. Each family takes turns in hosting a tour and providing the lunch so no one family is favoured over another. This seemed a lot more genuine than the floating village crowd. As it happened it was the best damn dinner I had in Peru - fried trout with chips and rice, I´d highly recomend it peoples.

Update on death road will follow. Stay tuned. Same bat station, same bat channel

Adios Amigos


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