Day 3 of Candelaria: Lake Titicaca and Uros Islands

My first day in Puno ended with dancing and drinking until 3AM and sleeping in a shared dorm room at a hostel (my younger roommates actually outlasted me on Puno´s party circuit by a few hours. I was impressed and humbled). My second day began with a walk in a town already erupting with tuba and drum corps music at 10AM. It´s really amazing how the deep vibrations of those kettle drums will make themselves right at home in the shriveled brain of a hungover person. If you go to Candelaria and join the party, you´ve been warned: that music stops for no one, and the volume never gets turned down.
After a little shopping for gorilla costume accessories my friend and I took one of the pedal-powered taxitos (basically a little cart for you to sit in on the front of a tricycle) to the boardwalk along Lake Titicaca to get out of dodge for a while. The trip was short, but nothing less than exciting…those taxitos are following the same unpredictable travel patterns as every other vehicle in Peru, and even narrowly missing the occasional pedestrian for good measure.
There are several options for taking a tourist boat out to the Uros floating islands, a chain of floating communities constructed entirely of naturally floating lake vegetation during Inca times. Today the islands are still home to small communities, but they primarily serve the many thousands of tourists who visit the islands each year, with the restaurants and souvenir shops that go with the territory. The islands are still incredibly impressive, not just the fact that a civilization managed to construct floating communities from the available resources thousands of years ago, but the artistry that went into the crafting of the homes, boats, and decorative touches that are all entirely constructed of the same native reed. Seeing the islands and getting expansive views of the lake is well worth the 15 soles non-Peruvians pay for the boat ride and admission.
After we returned to Puno I was pretty much spent, but still managed to watch the half-time show (I´ll hold my comments on that), and the 2nd half of the Superbowl. Everyone needs a little culture mash-up every now and again. It would have been a great night to catch up on the sleep I didn´t get the night before, except that whenever you have a 9 day street party you have revelers partying with everything they have whether or not you want to sleep. If I were to do this again I would pay a little more for one of the nicer hotels downtown that is a little more sheltered from the noise…or at least bring some ear plugs.
Lesson learned, again.

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