We arrived in Puno, about two hours from the border of Bolivia a few hours ago. The town is on the shores of Lake Titicaca and is the base for further excursion into Copacabana, Bolivia or La Paz. Tonight we´ll be on our own and then tomorrow we will start a little tour of the lake. We´re all pretty tired--these have been long and tiring days in Peru. It seems as though every day we are waking up at the crack of dawn or before dawn and going late.
Today we took a 6 hour bus ride from Cuzco to Puno in a private bus which was much nicer than any bus I´ve seen in Ecuador. There was no annoyingly loud music or bad movies playing and we didn´t stop to pick anyone up. We even stopped at a rest area which had a beautiful view of snow capped mountains and some stalls selling goods.
I´ve been low on cash as well. The soles fly by here quickly, and the last two places we went to really took a lot of money out of me. So lately we´ve been on a forced diet of bread and fruit for our meals. Luckily the prices in Puno are a lot lower, so we were just able to eat a real meal which only cost 6 soles, about $2. It´s a matter of saving money for the better things, but also things to come. People often ask me how I can afford to travel so much, and truthfully it´s in part because I don´t waste money on things I don´t need. I try to keep costs to a minimum and as a result, I don´t eat gourmet meals on the road.
With that being said, I´ve also had a couple of things that I´ve wanted to get, such as an alpaca sweater that I bought for 25 soles, around $15. And I need to buy a couple of gifts for some friends. But otherwise, the money goes towards the necessities. Macchu Pichu was an extremely expensive part of the trip, but well worth it. It wouldn´t be the same Peru trip if we didn´t go to the ruins.
Again, I continue to meet some of the friendliest people I ever have down here in Peru, and they all seem willing to help in some way. The countryside is beautiful and the mountains are in a category of their own. For now, it´s back to being a lousy tourist.