Guinea Pig – Peru’s Other White Meat

Mother Nature cooperated for our morning boat trip to the Uros Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca. Calm water and interesting skies made for smooth cruising.

2,000 people live on 67 floating islands. Made of reeds compressed over the years, walking on the “ground” feels somewhat like walking on a water bed. The residents demonstrated how their islands and huts are built. New reeds are added weekly to compensate for decomposition. After we learned, we were entertained. Music was sung in their local language as well as English and German to suit their audience. We then toured their homes and, of course, had an opportunity to buy their handiwork. Little Juan Carlos stole my heart and I wound up buying an embroidered hanging and some pendants from his mother.

Werner, Alfred, Chuck, Chris and I opted for a cruise on the reed covered “Kon Tiki” boat. With 2 liter plastic bottles for flotation and muscle power propulsion, we cruised to where Werner and I could take a swim in this highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca. Off Kon Tiki we jumped. Of course, being at 13K ft elevation means that the water is COLD. 9 degrees centigrade, 48 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact. Not just cold, take your breath away and heart pounding cold. As soon as I immersed, I knew it was time to swim to the boat, get out, and minimize hypothermia. David and Chris had to help both popsicles, Cathy and Werner, to get out of the drink.

We had a special dinner this evening. Rather than navigate the Puno potholes, we took taxis to a restaurant specializing in Guinea Pig, a Peruvian delicacy. Yes, the same kind of Guinea Pigs found in pet stores and in many pens around Peruvian homes. I asked Kevin what wine would go best with Guinea Pig. His recommendation definitely, positively, enhanced the experience. We dissected the little critters while their 2 fangs and beady eyes looked at us. Pour me another glass of wine!

15-Feb Puno Peru – rest day

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