And the Walking Man Walks…from Bolivia to Peru

Writing from the shoddy little tourist town of Puno, Peru! Peru has an odd finality to it for me….though my trip is far from over, I have crossed my last South-American border. True to form, it was a memorable little trip.

So I spent the last few days relaxing in Copacabana, dealing with a second round of stomach trouble. This time though I knew exactly what to do….a quick visit to the farmacia and life is grand again. Copacabana is an incredibly relaxed place…there are a few popular tourist attractions but I shrugged off all impulse to be a tourist, and rested. I actually slept for 18 hours yesterday. Incredible.

Anyhow, this morning I took off for Peru, opting for a more ‘local’ experience by taking local microbuses and colectivos from stop to stop along the road. Not sure why…I just didn’t have a lot of faith in the tourist agencies lining Avenida 6 de Augosto in Copacabana. Advertised fare for a trip ‘direct’ to Puno was 30 Bolivianos.
I knew full well from rumors and other travellers that the ‘direct’ passage was not about to happen….locals in the town of Ilave (between the Peruvian border and Puno) had erected a series of blockades on the main, pues, only road after some political turmoil in town.

So I hopped from one micro full of elaborately shawled Aymara women to another, walking across the border, arriving at the blockade and meandering through the piles of stones and rubble along with two kilometers of locals with colorful packages slung over shoulders, cowherders driving their herds, and tricycle drivers encouraging me to hop on for ‘only’ a few soles. I walked, chatting with some Puno university students, for half an hour, crossing the famous bridge in Ilave that is the heart of the blockade. On the other side we hopped a trike and passed the remaining kilometers to the terminal. A short bus ride landed me in Puno, where I am now waiting for a bus to Cusco.

The whole trip cost me half what it would have had I booked ‘direct’ from Copa.

That is the latest….next update might be a few days in coming, but I hope to include a cheapskate’s guide to Macchu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas!


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