As I type I am lying in a little posada in Puno, Peru (12,420 ft) under five woolen blankets (plus the topsheet), wearing three pairs of pants, two shirts, two sweaters, two pairs of socks, and the "sun thing" that Heather and Jordan gave me for Christmas on my head. I look like a cross between an AIDS patient and a refugee. But for the first time today, I'm warm!Today we traveled from Cusco to Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca (the world's highest commercially navigable lakean which spans the border between Peru and Bolivia). By the time we left Cusco at 8:30am (after waiting outside for the bus for over an hour), it was 41 degrees Fahrenheit and raining steadily. Conditions weren't much better on the bus, so for the next six hors we sat and froze in our seats. (Only too late did I remember that I had an additional sweater packed in the very bottom of my pack - because I thought I would never need it.)
The rain had stopped by the time we got to Puno, and the remaining hours of sunlight offered some psychological warmth even if the temperature hadn't changed. Once the sun went dow, however, the temperature dropped steadily. It's probably going to get into the mid to low thirties before morning. (Apparently last night was even colder: some fellow lodgers said it snowed.)
Needless to say, our stay in Puno has been an exercise in getting warm. The first thing we did was add a layer of clothes (for me, another pair of pants and that precious sweater) before heading out on a very chilly boat tour of the lake's famous floating islands (which will be the subject of a separate post). Upon return to terra firma, we found a pizzeria with a roaring fireplace and hot chocolate on the menu. Alas, just as we started to thaw out, a troop of well-bundled Germans showed up and started complaining about the smokiness from the fireplace, causing the proprietor to open the window. (Oh, how we cursed them!)
The walk back to the hotel sucked any newly acquired warmth from our bones; I was shivering quite a lot by the time we got home. With no heat in the room, we knew that it would be a miserable night if we didn't get warm. So on with another layer of clothing (I'm wearing pretty much everything I packed) and under the covers.
After a few minutes: Warmth! It's only 8:30pm, but as far as I'm concerned, this day is over. No way I'm getting out from under these covers until tomorrow morning!
a turtleneck and some handwarmers...I'm just sayin'...
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