Across The Andes By Prog (Monday 24 October)

So, I woke at 0100.  And then at 0200.  And then at 0300, and decided to get up and get ready.  The wakeup call came at 0400 and if I had been asleep I reckon I would have missed the two quick beeps.  The shower was nice, and my battery razor works.  Breakfast was not really ready so I ended up with a cup of Anis tea and two slices of brown bread with strawberry jam.  We met Heather and Andy, and that completes our group.  We were flying by Star Peru to Juliaca and as we checked in I was able to see my main luggage weighs 10.6kg.  The flight took off at 0720 and we got some breakfast – a cheese roll, a chocolate muffin and a glass of orange juice.  I was able to chat with Heather and Andy as we flew to Arequipa where we stopped over for half and hour, staying on the plane from 0845 to 0915.

Lazuli – Les Malveillants
Eddie Vedder – Hard Sun
Gazpacho – The Walk Part 1

the final track coming on as we made our approach, and left me thinking I hope it did not end the sae way.  We landed safley at 0945 and found ourselves at 3800m.  Here we met, Silvia, our guide for the rest of the trip, and with her was Sally, our guide for the day.

Arequipa

Juliaca

We went by minibus to Sillustani, where they had Inca burial towers.  I found this fascinating, and there was also a ground sundial, and I got talking to Silvia about Hugh Thompson and his book, Cochineal Red.  By the time we got to the top of the site we were at 4000m.

Sillustani

Sillustani

We then drove from there toPuno and the Conde De Lemons, our hotel for the next two nights, and went out for lunch – with some popcorn kernals in small bowls on the table before my main course of kingfish with a sesame seed and honey glaze, mashed potato and mixed vegetables, together with a coca tea, which has a grassy taste to it and is supposed to be a good preparation for altitude.  The food was 36 sols, the drink 4 sols, and the tip was 20%, which I consider to have been very reasonable. Not quite so sure about the Bonnie Tyler and Abba cover versions on pan pipes which formed the musak.  Then back to the hotel to rest up, and I decided to type this up.  And as I am doing so there is Christmas music playing downstairs.

I read some of Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, my one book for this trip, and also had some of the soya roasted pumpkin an sunflower seeds which my colleague from work, Lyndsay, gave me to bring with me – she knows I love them !  Then out for dinner, but sadly without Helena, who was staying back to try to feel better, and Heather was also suffering with a terrible headache.  There was bread and black olives to start with, and that is the last bread I will be eating this trip – the small amount I had til then had left me bloated.  Then a Mojsa Energy drink – ground coca, honey and lemon juice – and more water.  Always more water.  My main course was Cebiche de Trucha Fresca – fresh trout cebiche – being strips (actually more like cubes) of trout marinated in lime juice, onions, chilli and salt, and it came with sweet potatoes and some more of those lovely corn kernals – they are like popcorn just before it pops.  My mistake was eating the two slices of chilli put on top as dressing – more water, always more water !  Then Alfajores punenos for dessert – Puno´s caramel sandwich, and simply pastry drizzled in caramel…well, a bit more than just drizzled.  Then back to the hotel and bed by 10.  Tomorrow is not an early start as we leave at 9, but sleep seems sensible to keep off the altitude sickness.  As it happens, I woke many times through the night anyway, but as I sit here this morning typing this upI feel good.  And today we make our way to Lake Titicac, 3820m above sea level.

You can see more photographs from the day here.

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