On the trail from Peru to bordering Bolivia, I spent a night on Lake Titicaca. Not next to it, not by it, but on it. M V Yavari was built in 1862. It took a long while considering parts of the ship was carried 350 km from the Pacific to Titicaca by mules.
Cuzco to Puno is about 400 km. You can either book a train ride, that costs upwards of $200 or you could book a bus ticket for 40 soles. The train ride is pretty exotic, well decorated carriages making you feel like you’re in 18th century england or something. But i went for the bus ride. Was easy on the soul. You can get into a real fancy bus for cheap. There were only 3 people in that bus too. So i realized Puno was going to be a quiet experience.
I reached Puno about 3 pm, and realized instantly this town might be colder at night than Cuzco. Stopped by at the town square to grab some lunch, which as usual was pork, rice, corn and black eyed peas, that i was sick of by now. So i spent 45 mins slowly munching on the pork while watching Spain vs Belgium on tv, left everything else on the plate, and then decided to grab a pizza from a neighboring cafe. Pizzas in south america are the greatest. I believe it’s got something to do with that Andean cheese. My word i’m salivating now.
By 5 pm i caught a cab at the town square, and was off to the Yavari, which was about a 15 min drive away.
I hate those wooden planks that keep rocking when you walk across water or over huge gorges. They just feel very unstable, even if they’ve been working for decades. So imagine one this long.
The Yavari is a spectacle. It’s not too big a ship, you can get a full tour in under 30 minutes. But it was meant to be a war ship. Unfortunately the guns never crossed the 350 km trek on mules. South American pickpockets are legendary. The dining room is a cosy section with books from previous centuries, LIFE magazines from 1940s-50s, swords, really old furniture, and a whole lotta wood. Oh it also had a TV for you to watch world cup games. But it reminded me of TV in my grandparents’ neighbor’s house in the early 80s. Crap.
I was overwhelmed i was getting the captain’s cabin. They didn’t tell me if i was any fatter, i would not have fit in it. They also did not tell me the weather was going to touch -5 at night. I love the cold, but that was pushing it. For the first time in my life i slept with a hot water bottle that night. Additional to the 2 blankets. 2! And every piece of clothing on.
Moon rise from the Yavari was quite a sight. I thought there was a party at Uros islands, and was wondering how to get there, when the light kept getting brighter, and finally rose to show the full form. SPLIFF! I said to myself. Dinner was a quick run to the town square again with the lady on the ship that cooked breakfast for visitors. I’m bad with names. I wanted to eat cuy again. That’s guine pig. Feels and tastes all exotic. By which i mean, maybe the taste grows on you. I wasn’t too amused, and the animal’s really cute too. But there’s barely any meat on it. I’m done with this cuy.
Got back to the ship and stared out at the clear skies and the hill side town for as long as the cold would allow me, and then i hit the captain’s cabin for some much needed rest.
Tomorrow was going to be another long ride into Bolivia. But i had to stare at these skies some… shooting star!
You can read more about the Yavari here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yavari_(ship)