it seems no one slept well last night. me in my broom cuboard was expected, but the others less so, i think the car driving around plaiying tribute acts to dead singers, a peruvain Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, Reallly!. Also admitedly we had a few jars in the local rock and reggae bar last night, though this was just fior team bonding obviously, Some guests checked out about 4, which is my excuse for the lack of sleep as my broom cuboard was by the front door (or was the front door- who knows). Luckily today was mostly on a boat just sitting down in the sun (well it has been sunny every day since the coast by the way, and this is their winter so this isnt really a surpise)
So we packed our bags and got picked up in cycle rickshaws to take us the mile to the docks. our driver is speedy gonalez and we arrive well ahead of the rest of the pack, on landing we are accosted by locals selling ben 10 pen sets which confuses me till later when i realise we are supposed to give pens over sweets at the home stay as they are getting bad tooth decay due to the change in diet.
first step of the day is to the floating uros islands, these people choose to live on small islands made of reeds from the lake, wehn we ariive we see 10s of these little islands clumped together each with its own community set up for tourism, our captian chooses his island of choice and we are greeted to a colourful display of the ladies waiting to meet us. the islands themselves are fairly remarkable due to the hard work which is needed to keep them afloat. it comes as a surpise though that due to hte influx of cash from tourism they now have solar panels for tv. we are treated to a small demonstration of how the islands are made and then we get taken in a double hulled canoe with a viewing platform on top which looks like something you would sit on top of an elephant. all the monies are shared between the islands to improve the quality of life for the people and also try and stop the migration of the people to the mainland.
after Uros, we hope back on our boat for the 3 hr ride to Taquile island for our lunchstop. this island is basically a hill, with all the centre of the village and restaurants at the top. walking up this in the blistering heat and the fact that the base of the lake is already 3800 m up is killer, so when we finally reach our restaurant we all need a cool drink. Two options are for lunch, Trout from the lake or omlette, i have to come clean this is the first meal where i take the easy option, and go for the omlette, I WISH I HADN'T, i try some of the grilled trout and it is amazing, nothing like i would imagine, really meaty.
after lunch we headed down what seemed like endless steps to get back to our boat(training for Machu Pichu they said) and boarded our boat to our homestay.
i was quite nervous about this part but luckily i was not alone and had been paired with Richard who i got on well with. we ariived at the peninsular where we were staying and told we would be playing a football match against the locals. so off we trotted to the concrete pitch to meet the oppostion. we kick off and realise that if walking is hard at 3800m the running is a lot lot worse, my heart felt like it was just by my ear it was that loud. in the end though we played for about 50 minutes with only really a 5-10 min gap when Garry and Jessie came on (they are not footie fans). the amzing thing is, We Won! mostly thanks to the ice hockey gaol keeping of Ed and the tireless running of liam who seemed never to get our of breath.
after football we met some of our family and then got dressed up in local attaire(pics to follow im sure). then as if football wasnt enough we had to take part in some peruvian dancing which i think knocked us all for six. after all the festivites we got taken by our sisters to our family house for the night, we are introduced to our mama, and shown to our room. this is where i get my first surprise, we have normal beds, i expected a matress on the floor but it seems the built a house especially for their guests (they dont use this themselves though and we are never shown to their house- though we later hear it is a lot more basic). we hand over our gifts of fruit and veg bought at the market yesterday (no tips are given in cash here) and then get ready for dinner. southern Peru has been proven to tbe home of domestication of the potato so we expected to eat a lot here, though not as much as we did here. the portion sizes made supersize me look like diet food. it was amazing, we had a Quinoa (also local) soup to start which would suffice much most appetites, but afterwards, we were given a stew which was supreme, lots of corriander and pototaes. the only downside was the awkwardness of the encounter as we didnt really have the communication skils to converse correctly, but we gave it ago.
after dinner i loked at the night sky and the dad pointed out the southern cross. i also got my first ever glimpse of the milky way, which was stunning.
our bed sheets were the weight of lead. but the tranquility of the area meant we had one of our best nights sleeps on the tour