Saturday, April 20, 2013

Arequipa to Puno, Peru. Do this as a day trip. Don't use Escandinavia Travel. They book tours an don't supply and refuse to refund!

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We have just had a fantastic time in Arequipa.
We are up early and sit and wait for the bus.
We pay our bus terminal tax which includes a free toilet visit!

Lots of local ladies come and talk to my son, touch his hair and smile.
I head off to drool over the queso - cheese for $5 for a whole cake.
We have a great fare - another fabulous deal from Tepsa.

As soon as we are on the bus breakfast is served.
We drive through desert, and I love the cacti.

The road is soon so windy, we are both feeling a little ill.

We head up the mountains.
If I had time again, I would be chewing coca leaves.
Altitude illness creeps upon me.

The vegetation changes to sand with rocks, and most plant life eludes us.

Small pools of water from the mountains soon become ponds and rivers.

Shepherds and herders - mainly local ladies sit in the fields with sheep, donkeys, alpacas and llamas.

These lovely buses supply pillows and warm blankets.
It may be cold outside, but in here, it is sleep time for many; including my son.

We stop at the top of the mountain.
A gorgeous little girl is playing whilst her mum has a market stall.
This is clearly a tourist spot, with lots of alpaca rugs and hats to buy.
We will wait for Bolivia, where we believe things are way cheaper.

We start to go through small towns.
I love this Jesus church.
His hands are over the doors.
I am pleased to get a photo, seeing this is through a bus window - and on the move at that!

The next town is devoid of bitumen.
Dusty streets, and roadside repairs are prominent.
Old trucks, mototaxis, and bike-cabs are everywhere.
Ladies ride sidesaddle on motorbikes, and I see a family of 4 on a motorbike!

Finally we reach Puno.
Lake Titikaka is in view.
I have grave hopes of our booked tour company being a good one.
My gut feel tells me I am about to get ripped off.
I am told the Copacabana border is closed.
Yet we have paid a hefty deposit for a 6 day tour, including going to La Paz.

My gut feel is right.
We are greeted by a lady at the bus terminal and taken by taxi to our hotel.
She promptly wants the full balance for our tour.
When I tell her I believe the border is closed to Bolivia, she still insists on the money.
Then she tells me all of Bolivia is closed to tourist - a blatant lie!
So I refuse to check into the hotel room until they sort out what we are paying for.
I have altitude sickness - a massive headache and I want to be sick.

We sit for 4 hours in the foyer.
Do not use this company.
They have no morals, lie, never even bothered to reply to emails or call us back that afternoon.
The woman has tried to tell me they will give me 3 days of local tours instead of taking us to Bolivia.
I don't want local tours.
I have to get to Bolivia.
She sits and insists on this.
I tell her no and I will cancel.
She knows I won't, as they have my money.
I hate being in this situation.
Eventually I am too sick to wait in the foyer.
I head to bed.
The room in the hotel is right on the street.
The traffic noise means I barely sleep.
The windows rattle, so I grab the cardboard out of two rolls of toilet paper and shove them in - yeah it works.  I try the shower - no hot water.
I also find out I am getting completely overcharged for the hotel.
I lie and stew all night.
I hate getting ripped off!
But we have to be up at 5 a.m. as we still get the first part of our tour.
I'll let you know if we get to go or not!

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