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Not Puno Day

Puno, Peru

The hostel in Puno was really quite nice. It was organised into little apartments and our room was part of a two bedroom apartment, sharing a bathroom, kitchen, and TV room with one other couple. At first the manager seemed very keen to please and very helpful, but we soon realised he was just a very bossy control freak. He didn't recommend we walked far form the hostel at night, which reduced our choices of what to eat for dinner considerably: it was a Chinese or chicken. We opted for Chinese, more because we happened to pass it first and we were starving, than any real decision. Ordering in Spanish in a Peruvian Chinese restaurant was quite challenging, but we managed in the end.

The next day we booked our bus onwards to Cusco, as well as a tour to the Islas Flotantes. The bus station was a bit of a walk away, but it meant we could save a fair bit of money on the fare the bossy hostel manager was charging, as well as having a look around the city. The hostel manager had told us that lots of things would be closed because Puno Day was coming up in a few days time. We had decided not to bother hanging around for Puno day, but as we walked around the city it seemed like the celebration was already well underway: colourfully dressed marching bands were slowly making their way through the city streets.

We sat down in a restaurant on the marching route, advertising menu del dia for S2.50 (Soles), where we were able to watch troupe after troupe shimmying past us. The menu was actually very nice, particularly the huge bowl of sopa criolla to start. It was certainly a step up from Bolivia. During lunch the costumes went from rather over the top and very colourful to totally ridiculous high camp: tassels and sparkles were in abundance, then this gave way to giant collars even Ming the Merciless would think twice about wearing, until they lost the plot completely and it changed to Gorilla costumes with pierced noses and guys wearing wedding cake skirts and full face masks of pipe-smoking Chinese demons with giant blue feathers sticking out of their hats (at least that's what I thought they were). The dancing looked really disorganised, the music was cacophonous and most of the bands seemed to be (trying to?) play the same tune, or one of a few options, but it was very entertaining all the same; clearly it is all really about the costumes, not the bands or “marching”. A nice, unexpected surprise when we thought we were going there only for the Islas Flotantes.

permalink written by  The Happy Couple on November 3, 2009 from Puno, Peru
from the travel blog: Michael's Round-the-World honeymoon
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