Lake Titikaka is full of artificial islands. They are also called the floating islands. They are different from those artificial islands formed by land reclamation. The local people used totora leaves as the foundation and then built the houses on top of those leaves. The foundation was as deep as 12 feet. The locals invited us to their homes, let us try their traditional clothes and took pictures with them (all these were for tourists). Then they tried to sell us their tapestry. I felt really sorry that I couldn’t buy anything from them because I really didn’t want to carry them for 4-5 months. It added to the weight of my backpack. One thing bad about long term backpacking is you can’t buy too many things no matter how much you love them (but it trains your self-discipline and self-control). I bought a pendant from her because it was small. She obviously wasn’t happy. But that was all I could do. I understood her family relied on tourism but… sorry.
The tour guide said to me, ‘this place is very nice, very quiet.’ Yes. I liked it too. On my way down to the pier from the town centre which was at the top of a hill, I sat down to enjoy the sun, the singing of the birds and the breeze. When I arrived at the pier, I sat down again to enjoy the landscape of the lake. The water was crystal clear. The guide said that in the past, there was a lot of trout but because of the pollution in Puno, we could not find them around Puno anymore. That’s sad.
People on the island according to the tour guide could be from Ecuador or the mountain but no one was sure.
I went back to town and found that there was actually a church very close to my hostel so I went in. They were having a mass. It was St. Francis’s church again. After the mass, a little girl gave me a card printed with Virgin Mary. I kept it with care.
Dinner time. I found a fast food restaurant beside a supermarket. Perfect! The food looked quite Chinese but not really Chinese. They sold fried rice which they called ‘chaufa’. I thought it would be a safe choice but I was wrong. I didn’t expect a simple dish like that could taste so terrible. I felt sad for the ingredients and the farmers. While I was mourning, 3 travellers came in.
They started talking and I immediately could tell they were from my hometown. I started to chat with them and exchanged some travel ideas while I continued to eat. Some of them went to order food. Once they started speaking in a foreign language, I realised my Spanish wasn’t that bad at all. At least, my pronunciation was correct. I could pronounce the words correctly but I didn’t understand the meaning. (I was exposed to a few foreign languages when I was a teenager and one of them was Spanish so the pronunciation wasn’t foreign to me.) But the thing that shocked me was their manner.
Because of their poor language skill, the restaurant staff misunderstood their orders and served them the wrong dish. They argued with the staff – one using poor Spanish and the other in his own language. The staff apparently didn’t understand them. Then they took their backpacks away and left. Of course, they didn’t pay for the food.
For the whole time, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to have anything to do with them at all. They had no manners. It was their own fault in the first place. I could order my food. There was a menu with pictures in the restaurant. I didn’t know Spanish too.
I was just shocked.
When I left, I paid for the terribly cooked fried rice that I had just eaten. The staff smiled to me with appreciation. I felt really bad. I smiled back.
Manners maketh man.
I went back to the hostel and got things ready for tomorrow.
8 December 2012
Merry Christmas to all of you. It is 25 December 2021 today! 😊
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