Wednesday, May 25, 2005


My newest vocabulary word: strike! has now been the cause for another adventure-filled day. And again, I find myself in an unexpected destination. Yesterday, my visit to the floating reed islands, the Uros, was cancelled because the residents were striking. So I took a quick look around Puno, made a new friend and decided to head to Chucuito and eventually to my next destination (the one that may make you want to guesses?) But the road was again blocked by strikers! It wasn´t too much of a problem, our bus emptied out, we walked a mile or so past the strikers and the rocks and bits of broken glass they had strewn in the road, and found another bus to take us the rest of the way.

So, I visited the Temple of Fertility, which is basically a garden of stone phalluses, including one big one which women come to sit on during the full moon in the hopes that they´ll get pregnant. Unsurprisingly, despite the moon actually being full, I wasn´t even remotely tempted to have a seat. My guides were a 12-year-old boy and his 7-year-old sister, which I found a little strange...did she even understand what she was talking about? After the visit, I attempted catch a bus to Yunguyo by waiting at the side of the road, along with 30 or so other people trying to catch a ride. I chatted with the other ladies who were hanging around, and one offered that I, along with another woman who was waiting, could stay at her house if no buses came for us. I had planned to stay in a hotel if I couldn´t get a ride, but that sounded like fun. The sun set, it got dark, and it got cold! But finally, after 3 1/2 hours of watching buses go by headed to other destinations, just as I was about to take her up on her offer, a bus pulled up and the driver shouted out "Yunguyo!" So my opportunity to stay with a local was thwarted, but I was really glad to get here. The strange thing about both Chucuito and Yunguyo is that Edward Scissorhands´ less-talented cousin has been at work here, sculpting the trees in the main square to look like animals. Just barely. I often can´t really tell what they´re supposed to look like.