Once back to Cuzco Vasile realized his clutch had problems. He saw some symptoms while riding to Machu Picchu, some hard shifting in the gear box, but he was concerned that there might have been something wrong with the gear box. In Cuzco, while stopped at a red light, he saw his clutch master cylinder leaking. So he did some adjustments and it worked a bit better. When we got to the hostel and he opened the clutch, there was no fluid left. So we stayed in Cuzco until the next day so he could fix the problem.
He started looking online for solutions. The solution found online was olive oil. But a mechanic at a local motorcycle dealership told him that baby oil actually works better. So as you can see, Pharmacies are not just for humans, you can buy treatment for the bikes too:) And it seems like Vasile’s baby likes baby oil, since it works perfectly now.
Once all fixed we jumped on the bikes and headed to Puno. We left our friends Chris and Stephanie behind, as they still had some things to take care of in Cusco. We left around 1:30 pm and we were told there are around 7 hours drive. On bikes it always takes us less. Leaving Cuzco there was a festival on the road, so we managed to have a glance of some beautiful local costumes and dances.
The pass over the mountain was cold, wet at times, but beautiful. We reached 4300 m altitude at some point. We saw all sorts of ruins on the way, some looked like abandoned churches.
As the weather was quite capricious and kept changing from sun to rain and rain to sun, we had the chance to see some beautiful rainbows embrace the mountains and the plateau.
When we got hungry we had to go a bit out-of-the-way and into a city to grab some lunch, as we couldn’t find anything on the side of the road.
It appears in the mountains the day is shorter, as the sun hides behind the mountains earlier. It started getting dark, but we were close, so we decided to keep going. We got to Puno around 7 pm and it was dark already. The challenge was now to find a hotel, since there was a big festival going on, and most of them were full. At least the ones with decent prices.
While I was watching the bikes waiting for Vasile, a policeman approached me and told me to be very careful, as there were lots of delinquents around, especially due to the celebrations going on in town. Yes sir!
We managed to find a hotel and pampered ourselves with the warm alpaca wool blankets until we fell asleep.
The next day we wanted to go see the floating islands. The owner of the hotel recommended us not to take a tour, as it was more expensive, but to go directly to the dock and take a boat from there. And here we are in this “lancha” floating towards the floating islands:)
It is unbelievable what these Uru people have made there. These people used to live in boats, and now they have built all these islands using bundles of dried totora reeds and they have to maintain them every 15 days adding new reeds, as the ones at the bottom of the island rot very quickly. Everything on the islands is made of totora reeds: the houses, tools, boats. The mothers have to keep their babies attached at all times, otherwise they could fall in the water anytime. Some really interesting life they have there!
I don’t think Vasile could live in one of their houses, he wouldn’t be able to stretch:)
And this is how a hostel looks like on the island.
Cute little playful cat
Back to the mainland in Puno we were fortunate to see bits of the Festival de la Virgen de la Candelaria. Hundreds of groups from different villages gathered here to compete in costumes and dances.
That day on the floating islands we kept seeing the locals applying sunscreen. And we were thinking “what the heck, it’s not even sunny, plus they are dark enough, they won’t burn”. But then we noticed they all had their faces sun-burnt, which we found quite weird. At the end of the day both Vasile and I were feeling really weird, nauseous, low energy and we were having chills. When we got to the hotel and in the shade of the room we realized that I had raccoon face and Vasile’s face was all red too. We got a serious sun burn! Vasile was feeling even worse, since he had had an upset stomach for the past few days, so his body was weakened. We went to bed early planning to leave the next day and head to the border, and then to La Paz, Bolivia.
The next day when we woke up Vasile was like brand new, like nothing happened (I wish I was an iron man too), but I was even worse. If I’ll ever really hate anyone, I will wish them to have the Montezuma’s Revenge. I could not leave the room at all, I was having fever and chills too (probably from the sunburn the day before), my whole body was aching as if I had the flu, so we could not head to the border. I spent the whole day in the hotel room, hoping to get better. The next day I was feeling a little bit better, at least well enough to leave the room, and we headed to the border. It was the easiest border crossing in the whole trip. In half hour we exited Peru and entered Bolivia, at no cost other than 5 soles for some municipal fee.
Bolivia, here we come!