The alarm went off at 5.50am. I spent most of the night listening to the stray dogs barking at each other so didn't get a lot of sleep. Felt really tired which doesn't help with shortness of breath caused by the altitude.
Today's main activity is seeing the condors. They like flying in the hot air thermals in the morning between 8 and 10 although it's not guaranteed when they'll turn up.
We drove up to the observation point and luckily we didn't have to wait very long. The condor is related to the vulture family and the adults have a wingspan of about 3 meters. It was a wonderful experience watching them sawing overhead. Their main home is in Colca Canyon which supports about 50 of them. The views of the canyon were spectacular. It reminded me of the Grand Canyon in America where the mountains had a blue misty tint because the were so far away.
We watch them flying around for about at hour but I could have stayed longer. On the way back we stopped in Shivya again for lunch but this time we eat street food in the market. I had Papa Araine which was a shell made of potato filled with mincemeat, vegetables and olives with a bit of salad. It was really tasty and not bad for 3/s (80p). Topped it up with a chocolate bar I didn't recognize which turned out to be nutty!
It was time to leave the area and make our 5 hour journey to Puno.
We passed an enormous legume with flamingos and stopped for a photo opportunity. The landscape was breathtaking.
It was a long journey so Steve had "prepared" one of his legendary quizzes to help pass the time. The prizes this time were 2 pens with larmas on top so the pressure was on. This quiz was even more bizarre than the last.
The questions are ambiguous at best and the answers are open to interpretation. A nice example of this is "how many planes are in the air at rush hour?" A) more than 4000, b) more than 8000 or c) more than 10000. "A" will always be right because they are all more than 4000! All the questions were pot luck and it was a bit of a crapshoot who won.
Along the way, we were delayed by a petroleum lorry that had come off the road and turned upside down. The police were there waving traffic through and a lots of people were there scooping up the petrol into buckets. I could smell the petrol in the air and nobody seemed overly concerned with the highly flammable nature of the substance. If that had been in England there would have been fire retardant form everywhere with a corden. This was the only road so that just wasn't possible here.
As we approached Puno it was dark. There was a really slow lorry that several cars, lorries and vans were trying to overtake. In Peru they have a relaxed attitude to overtaking. You come up behind someone beep your horn, flash your lights and overtake. The car being overtaken stays at the same speed or slows a little to let them pass. If there is any oncoming traffic, which there usual is, they slow down. This happens all the time because all the traffic travels at different speeds.
This is much better than England where most traffic will speed up while you try to overtake and the oncoming traffic will speed up flash their lights and shout abuse at you. So the traffic here seems to move quite fluidly.
The hotel was a bit characterless as it was like a proper hotel. 9 floors of rooms and a bar at the top. It was the most like a regular western hotel we've stayed in so far. The upside was that when I put the hot shower tap on, it stayed hot and didn't run out after a minute. Ooh bliss!
It was a free night tonight. It just so happen that Steve had the room next door to mine so we decided to go for dinner together. We found a nice restaurant a couple of streets down. I get along with Steve best out of the group and the more I get to know him the funnier I think he is, this man has done all the jobs there are and is full of stories and anecdotes. We had a couple of beers and chatted about the tour.
During the conversation Pelar's name came up and Steve said she really enjoyed meeting the group. I was excepting Steve to come out with some sarcy comment about my swan gift to Pelar but he said that she really liked it and has put it in her room with her other keepsakes as a reminder of a really nice evening.
It was probably the nicest evening I've had so far. We called it a night when we were about half way through our second beer as we were both feeling quite drunk!
Got back to the hotel and realized I'd left my camera charger at the planetarium hotel. My camera had a full charge but I knew that would only last a day or two. I really wanted the camera for Machu Picchu at the end of the week. I was kicking myself.
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