It was another early start for the bus to Puno. Seven hours of driving meant we were there for lunchtime. Like most of Peru I’ve seen, the scenery was lovely. Puno is the largest city of the shore of Lake Titicaca. I’d imagine that the lake is the reason why almost all tourists come here. I managed to see all of the city’s sights (a couple of pleasant squares, two pedestrianised streets with shops and restaurants, and a small harbour) in about an hour. And that was walking slowly due to a sharp rise in altitude. By most standards Arequipa is fairly high at 2380m. But in Puno we’d gone up to 3830m. The difference was noticeable too. Here you have to make a conscious effort not to walk too quickly and to breathe correctly.
Puno is one of those places where, to quote Morrissey, everyday is like Sunday. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going on with people sitting around on benches and steps, the odd stray dog running around, and shops sporadically opening and closing. Strangely enough, and I’m not sure why, I’ve never seen a place with so many pharmacies as Puno.
This evening I was sitting in a restaurant looking at the menu. So far in Peru I’d heard a lot about one of the national dishes, cuy. This sounds better than its English translation, guinea pig. Cuy is supposed to be something savoured on a special occasion but in the restaurant I was in tonight it wasn’t too expensive, on par with the steak or nicer fish options at around £7. For the cultural experience I ordered it. Google Translate informed me that the dish came with potatoes and veg so maybe I was expecting something like a meat stew. What turned up is the sort of thing that would give many people nightmares. Essentially I was served the full animal (minus some of the inedible insides), complete with its head still attached. I had to turn the plate around as I was ashamed to look at the guinea pig’s face. I struggle to morally justify eating duck but at least that tastes nice. This guinea pig wasn’t even that tasty. Essentially it was a load of batter and bones. Even the bits of meat didn’t do much for me. Eating this certainly wasn’t one of my proudest moments.
Back at the hostel there was only one other person in the room, a German lad. Just as I was about to see whether he fancied going for a pint across the road, he asked if it was OK for him to turn the light off. It was 7.26pm! Therefore the rest of my night was spent watching Netflix on my Kindle Fire under the covers. It was a pleasant surprise that for the first time in Peru I’d experienced WiFi good enough to stream video.