November 4, 2005
After sleeping so much yesterday, I woke up shortly after sunrise. I had a small breakfast, said goodbye to my host family, and got back onto the tour boat. Amantani was a tranquil place with a great view of the lake, but I was still glad to head back toward civilization.
We still had one more stop on our tour: the island of Taquile. It was clearly visible when we left Amantani, but it still took over an hour to get there, which made it seem like we weren't moving at all.
Taquile seemed a little bit bigger and more modernized than Amantani, but it was still a long way from the mainland. We took a three-hour stroll over the center of the island past many farmers working in the fields and moving their animals across the island. At the center of the island was a small plaza consisting of a few stores, a church, and a museum that exhibited some local photography.
We continued walking to the other end of the island, where we ate lunch at a nice restaurant with a spectacular view of the lake. On the menu that day was fresh trout, which were introduced to Titicaca from Canada. The Canadians in my tour group suddenly had a great sense of pride when they heard about that one.
After lunch, we passed through an arch indicating that it was time to walk down 500 steep steps to the shore. We got on the boat and rode three hours back to the mainland. Several of us decided to get together later in the evening as it was Puno Week and there were lots of festivities in town.
The town was crazy that day. At 3:00 PM, a parade was going through the main streets. Thousands of people dressed in traditional costumes, as well as a few gorilla suits, danced through the streets toward the Plaza de Armas. I learned that it was Puno's birthday and people had come from all over Peru to celebrate. At 9:00 PM, when I met the others from my tour, the parade was still going strong. After celebrating Halloween, the Day of the Living, the Day of the Dead, and now Puno's birthday on successive days, I didn't think the party would ever end. When I finally got back to my hotel at 3:00 AM, I knew that I had ended my stay in Peru properly.