Lima to Puno

The bus strike was over, and it was time to head towards Lake Titikaka. Our bus left Lima at 2pm on Saturday, and arrived in Arequipa about 9am on Sunday. Once everyone is on the bus, some guy comes on and video tapes your face. Why? Because if the bus was to crash, and your remains were not identifiable, at least they have video record of you for your family to identify you with. Nice thought, isn’t it?

Following the coast, there was miles and miles of desert and sand dunes. Some of the sand dunes I would guess, were 300-500 feet high. The only thing that breaks up the monotony of the coast, is a chicken farm that you pass from time to time. And for those of us who manage to stay awake, we are treated by some of the best bus entertainment money can buy. The first movie, and very fitting, was Alive. The story of a soccer team who’s plane crashes in the mountains and they survive by eating the dead. Quite fitting for our trip over the Andis don’t you think? Then there was the king of Latin American bus movies, John Claude Van Dam. I think the movie was called The Sheppard.

Once in Arequipa, we caught another bus to Puno. Since this was a shorter ride, we only got the privilege of seeing one movie, Panda Express. The ride to Puno was a little more interesting. Mainly because it was light outside. And secondly, because we went over some of the Andis. Just looking out the window, you could see Alpaca and Llama’s grazzing as we climbed higher and higher. Eventually, our bus went over a pass 4500 meters high. It was here that we got our first peek at the Andis and their snow covered peaks.

From here, it was all downhill. We descended into the little town of Juliaca where we dropped off a few passengers. Another 35 minutes more, and we were able to see the shores of Lake Titikaka.

We arrived in Puno, about 4pm, twenty six hours after we left Puna, and only 65 soles later. After getting our bearings, we headed towards a hostel not far from the bus terminal. We checked in, and headed out on the town.

It was raining, but we needed food. I ate some more anticochos (beef heart) on the street before we head to the super mercado. A surprise to us was the fact that the super mercado was more of an farmers market with vendors selling fruits and vegetables, except it was all indoors. Not really what I was looking for.

But, we did happen to stumble up some locals from Puno who were celebrating the birthday of Virgen de la Candelaria. Let me tell you, Peruvians can party! We stayed for a little over an hour, and felt like the guests of honor! Everyone was giving us drinks, and saying “No” was not an option. Before you know it, 60 year old ladies missing teeth were grabbing us and getting us to dance. It was definitely a time I will never forget!