Thursday, January 29, 2009

Siku Andean windpipes

Yesterday, after a very eventful bus ride, I have arrived to Puno, Peru.

Well maybe we´ll start off with our eventful bus ride. Here in Peru there are various various bus companies, ranging from cheap to very expensive- and it´s usually price correlated. I chose one of the cheaper buses this time....hoped on after it showed up 30 mins. late. Instantly surrounded by all Peruvians, blasting Cumbia music and food vendors....felt like where I should be. (Because for me, those tourist set ups are a a little suffocating...) After 30 mins on the road, we were reaching the altiplano (high desert plains) region, and we stopped all of a sudden for a tire related problem, or so we were told. And our driver disappeared.... gone. So we sat there for a good while, indigenous woman getting heated over the injusticia of it all. Then some other guy from the middle of nowhere shows up, hops in and starts driving the bus. Well I don´t know about you, but I don´t know how many strangers can drive a 30 seater bus on high desert roads and keep everybody alive...but things turned out good...we were driving smoothly by alpaca heards and mountain tops and desert landscapè. Then we hit a line of cars...turns out just above on a mild curve, two semis crashed head on....on a two way road....provides problems. So lots of waiting for the clearing and all. After finally getting on with it, we stopped in Juliaca and they dropped us all of. Now that would of veen bad, a 5 hour trip turned into 8 hours....but I paid to go to Puno, not a town Juliaca....errrr. So ended up needing to find another bus to Puno which ended up not being that far. Adventure. And I love that I can do that, and everything always turns out fun.

Here in Puno, which is located on Lake Titicaca (the border of Bolivia/Peru) and this Lake is the largest navigable lake of it´s kind at this elevation. I am couchsurfing with a native Punoino. Last night we met up with Julie, from Montreal, who was also staying at his house. We met up and went to dinner (it was Julie´s last night here). We went and had traditional food, alpaca. Alpaca, which some may of heard of, is in the Llama family and they use here to make amazingly warm articles of clothing, and apparently it is also really good meat with really low cholestrol..... finally i found it then! hahaha

We ate and then headed to Lizandro (the couchsurfer) music group meeting. This group is mostly people here from Puno. The men in the group play the traditional windpipes (see the picture) and play these very large drums, sometimes simutaneously! And usually in a rotating circular formation. The women wear traditional dresses and dance. They taught us the many traditional dances they have and we went and practiced as a group in front of the church. It was awesome (especially, the whole non-tourist thing) and we were there for a couple of hours doing the dancing and playing traditional music.

Afterwards we made our way to their favorite local bar and had a drink. What a great welcome to Puno, Peru.

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