A Peruvian luxury toilet….BYOTP…oh my…
Peru: The Homestay.
No, it’s not a National Geographic Undercover docu, more of a slasher flick…
Part of our tour included a stay in the simple home (mud hut) of a local Peruvian from one of the islands on Lake Titicaca.
Some of us were dreading this.
The “locals” would not speak english and not really speak much Spanish, only a pre-Incan dialect, which none of us knew.
I envisioned lots of pregnant pauses in the body-language-only conversation, frequent unncessary trips to the bathroom to kill time and an intense bout of premature yawning!
Here we were, being led like lambs to the slaughter….
Almost to our mud hut away from home!
Here are some Children of the Damned greeting us. Sorry, I mean Ninos of the Damned.
We took their picture and then moved on to more important matters…Soccer! (they let us win) (and by us, I mean everyone else. My position was team documentarian)
I prayed the game would never end as we would soon be getting out Homestay assignments. Every two or three people would be divided up into a different home.
I was assigned to the home of an elderly man and his grandson. There was a wife somewhere. If we were allowed in the main house, perhaps we would have been able to see her. I think, in retrospect, she may have been made of plastic.
We were, instead, banished to our guest hut. Dirt floors. Mud caked where the window should be. A single, dangling lightbulb illuminating the sickly green walls. My roommate, Billy Goat Gruff, and I awkwardly spoke to the man and the boy in my broken Spanish.
It was the most awkward 45 minutes of my life.
Luckily I had brought a bag of candy canes from the states, which the boy had promptly ripped from hands and shoved several directly in his mouth.
He also began smacking the bag of remaining candy canes with his fist, perhaps in the hopes of creating a fine minty dust to pour on top of fresh hot cocoa? Uh…yeah, I’m sure that’s it.
Our meal arrived from beyond the guest hut, it was…more quinoa soup and some rice, eggs and veggies.
The island residents are vegetarian except for 5 times a year (special occasions). They grow all their own food. I guess. I didn’t pay attention. I was busy spotting spiders on the “carpet”.
Several potatoes in my meal were black from age.
When the boy spotted them left in my dish, and was confused at my hesitation, I plugged my nose and shoved them in my mouth.
As I did with the pieces of burnt pasta that I had previously considered inedible.
I had images of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the chilled monkey brains. I was in their home and it was my duty to eat what they had prepared for me. All things considered, I had it easy compared to good ‘ole Indy.
Hey, he kind of looks like a young ethnic Indiana…
In order to humiliate us, we were to be dressed up in traditional garb and “asked” to participate in Peruvian dancing at the “Town Hall”.
Take a look at these sexy, local singles. Call now! They’re waiting for you.
After our night of fun and frolic, we promptly went to bed at like 9 or something. Thank god.
That night, it began to rain. Hard. Our dirt floor quickly became a mud shag carpet!
I, hearing lots of animal life outside our abode and thinking it was 7 a.m., woke Billy up at 5:15 a.m.
The next morning, we bid our host farewell and boarded our ferry to one of the floating islands of Uros.
This island is man made…from reeds!! Pretty incredible!
When houses start to sink, they just lift them up and shove more reeds underneath.
The women then brought us into their tiny homes, I spoke more broken spanish to them and they tried desperately to sell us their textiles at an inflated price.
My lady did not appreciate when I opted out of buying a big ticket item and bought some cheap neclaces instead. Mom, get ready for some amazing Christmas presents!
Here are the town tramps:
COMING SOON: We head back to Puno for a pleasant bought of diarrhea, eating guinea pig and visiting the Coca Museum.