I think Marston jumped the gun a little bit when he insisted that PUNO sucks because the truth is, we sucked. We were complaining about getting ripped off and tricked by con artists and taxi drivers in a dirty city, but most of the factors that sucked were things we could change. AND WE HAVE CHANGED THEM! Ston and I spent our Christmas bargaining every price we saw, and as a result, spending about half the money we typically do. The suckiness of Puno was completely under our control, and during our second day there, we grabbed the bull by the horns! We woke up at 6 AM and were boating across Lake Titicaca by 8. We met some cool people, saw amazing islands made entirely out of Turtora reeds, learned the word “Waliki”, which apparently is the only word the UROS people use, and saw a sweet island called Taquile.
Taquile is famous throughout South America for its awesome, handmade clothing, but after going there, I really don’t see why. However, since I am a little, conformist pawn who can’t create opinions of his own about what he likes, I felt obligated to at least buy something from the famous “Taquile”, so I bought a belt for my robe. (The old belt for my robe, made by a lepper from Ethiopia, broke when I used it to tie a shopping cart to Remington’s bike, so that I could be driven to a session of THE FREESTYLING CLUB outside of the Eagle’s Nest). The new belt is kind of cool.
One thing I loved during the trip, which Marston might disagree with me on, was talking to this guy named Daniel S*****. He was basically a 66 year old man who is like a mix of Woody Allen and Larry David: intellectual, outspoken, and Jewish. He taught me a lot about economic philosophy and the morality behind bargaining, and I really admired him (even though you would just crack up if you heard a guy like this). He was a professor at Cornell, and it was awesome to spend hours talking to a guy like you are friends, then going to an internet cafe and reading tons of work that he has authored in his prestigious career.
We took a bus to Cusco that night, and the next day we ran into a couple of girls from London who we had met in ICA. I was worried about seeing them again because we left them hanging by promising to go to with them to a discotech, but then, not feeling functional enough for a night out, opted to go to sleep. No need to worry, however, because there wasn’t an ounce of animosity, which is great because Ston and I really like them. We had lunch, with them and their friend Andy, at an Irish Pub, where I tried BLACK PUDDING, an English dish made of sheep innards, for the first time.
We spent the day getting errands done, and then we finally contacted a Shaman who is going to take us up to his temple and sweat tent to spend the next 3 days welcoming new year. We will be using the “medicines” San Pedro and Ayahuasca. We are supposed to come in with a question we want answered. My question is “What is my destiny?”
Ston’s question is “What should I do next year?”
Through bargaining I’ve saved over 100 dollars in the past 24 hours, and I feel great about it!
ANYWAY! If anyone actually reads this on Christmas, then my only wish is that your Christmas dramatically improves in the near future.
Mom? Dad? I might get a tattoo on the bottom of my foot (nobody will see it, but I’ll know it is there.) I’m going to be out in the wilderness for the next three days, so you have until the 28th to try and stop me, unless, of course, you don’t mind, which would be great, because neither do I. Any suggestions?
NOTE: Five years later- this tattoo dramatically changed my life, and you know what it is. The prophesy of the shaman was completely accurate. He said to watch out for jumping careers, that I would be better off to simply focus. Having been a sign holder, shoe painter, soccer coach, waiter, actor, director, producer, agent, film distributor, network marketer, referee, car entrepreneur, religious nut-job, PA, gopher, researcher, instrument fixer, and security guard, ending up with nothing but a Bible and a job as an actor, I’d say he’s absolutely right.