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15/05/2010 Mierda

Puno is located at the edge of Lake Titicaca, the world's highest commercially navigable lake, at 3,860 m (12,421 ft) above sea level, on the Peruvian Altiplano and it will also be remembered by me because this is where I committed the traveller’s cardinal error and leave my cash card in the machine when I was drawing out cash. I blame the altitude, weariness and being a complete feckwit but at least no dodgy transactions have been made (although I am not sure how to explain that purchase of 3 kgs of Bolivia’s finest....) and I managed to cancel it fairly quickly after the event. Hopefully, I will manage with the cash I have otherwise I will have to make my bank work for the exorbitant fees that it charges me everytime I draw out money abroad and get them to meet me with some dosh.

It was another early start to the day and our first stop is Isla de los Uros. The island is man made with reeds and is home to around 2,000 people and they can boast solar panelling and chemical toilets.They are all very brightly dressed and we have a look around their houses and markets before heading further into the lake to the next island, Isls Taquile, which is 3 hours away by boat.

Taquile is an island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca 45 km offshore from the city of Puno. About 1,700 people live on the island with an area of 5.72 km². The highest point of the island is 4050 meters above sea level and the main village is at 3950 m. The inhabitants, known as Taquileños, are southern Quechua speakers.

We are in for a bit of a treat as they are celebrating San Isidro in hope of a good harvest for the coming months. It seems like they know how to celebrate as most marriages etc go on for a week and involve a lot of beer and home brewed spirit at a mere 100% proof. This celebration is no exception and we watch the procession before getting our boat back to Puno.

Tomorrow we head off to Cuzco and ever closer to the place we have all come to see, Machu Picchu.

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