The bus journey across the border was an interesting one, so they pulled up at the Bolivian side of the border and we all piled off the bus and into a shack at the side of the road which is apparently Bolivian immigration, not that we expected much more! After a very large man giving us a stamp we then have to make our way on foot over the peruvian side of the border! We wandered down the dirt road and eventually under a stone arch....we made it to Peru! So then we had to all pile into a slightly better looking peruvian border control, it at least looked water tight and we got our entrance stamp....so bizzare! Then back onto the bus and on to Puno.
Puno was to be our base to make our way out to a family stay on the floating islands! The floating islands are on lake Titikaka and Puno is just on the shore. When the inca's took over a group of people decided they did not like the violence or control over them so they took to the lake where they couldnt be touched. They made islands out of reeds pilled 2 metres thick ontop of roots that make the islands float! We arrived pretty late so checked into a hostel in Puno and headed out for dinner, we found a really nice restaurant where the boys decided they were going to sample the peuvian delicasy 'Cuy'...Guinea pig!!! It actually tasted like a mix between chicken and duck...pretty good, apart from all the fat! Not only was the food delicious (the first proper meal shelly had had in some time!) but we also got a show which kept us all entertained with some very debaitable outfits and dancing!
We were up bright and early ready for our two days on the lake, we boarded the boat and set out to the floating islands, they were the weirdest thing. There were some for only 5 families all the way up to 15 families to live in, those ones were huge! We all clambered out the boat and onto the squidgy reed island! We met all the local villages (non of whomb where small to say the least!), the chef explained how many families were living there and then let us loose to explore the island and huts. They were so kitted out, look out towers, beds, toilets, oh and lets not forget solar powered tv's! After Shelly and Margo donning the trible gear to see if they'd fit in...they didnt! We all hopped onto the two story wicker paddle boat the islanders had made and they paddled us over to an even bigger floating island complete with the worlds only floating post office!
After bobbing around on the floating islands for a couple of hours we set out to the centre of the lake 3 hours away to meet our home stay families for the night. Unfortunately too many games of 'guess who' seemed to stop us all from putting sun cream on so when we finally arrived 3 hours later it was clear we were all going to be sore and crispy in the morning! We were introduced to our mama, papa and brother for the night, the smallest people ever with what turned out to be the biggest hearts, they were lovley! We all clambered our way up whats seemed like a mountain to the top of the island to our new home...we all couldnt believe our eyes as the most beautiful farmhouse came into view, it was so pretty with views straight back down over the lake! After some lunch it was decided that a village football game was in order so the whole island headed up to see the boys give it ago, once again the locals didnt even flinch at the 3500 altitude but it took its toll on the guys! That night there were more treats in store... a disco... in full traditional dress...with pan flutes!
So after dinner with the family and a few bottles of wine that 'dad' seemed to love we all donned the attire and headed back up the hill to the village hall! It was an hilarious night as all the mums got us up teaching us the moves in our skirts that made us a metre wide...this was unfortunate when it came to going for a wee in the bush outside! After a few more bottles of local beer there was no stopping us as we flung each other around the hall...were all blaming the altitude for the fact 2 beers and 2 glasses of wine got us all wasted! As dad arrived to walk us home from the dance it dawned on us that only Lauren had brought a torch and there are no lights on the island! So after many a ditch, stream, bush and rock we finally made it home in fits of giggles and rolled into bed!
The next morning it was time to say goodbye to our lovely family, so we showered them with gifts of food, cooking stuff, pens and pencils, sweets and money to help the son become the scientist he had told us all about, he wanted to build a robot to help his parents in the fields so they wouldnt have to work so hard! Then we all jumped back on the boat to the final of our island hop's! After walking around the island and stopping for some lunch it was time to head back to the mainland...oh no 3 more hours in the sun, on go the hoodies!
That night we indulged in an amazing Chinese to set ourselves up for the renoundly bad drive to Cusco the next morning...ahhh another early bloody start!