Peru - From Train Window - Puno to Cuzco

  Andrys Basten, photos taken 5/21/97

(*Click* on photos for enlarged ones.)

School children and mothers
    As we left Puno's train station, after the "usual" two hour-delay, there was a school parade of some kind outside our train windows.

    The bowler hats remind me of the Uros but these have interesting tassels added.

(84k)         School children marching

    I couldn't see what the placards said, unfortunately.     In both pictures, the babies are being carried in colorful cloth, but the older children are wearing modern western clothes, uniforms at that.

    I found it interesting that the girls are the carriers, whatever it is they're carrying.

    (76k)     Andes from moving train    
    Moving out of Puno, we were told to lower our window shades as we rode slowly by the outskirts of town, even though it was only noon, but when we asked why we weren't given any answer. We found out later

    The train ride was scheduled to take 10 hours but we also had an unscheduled engine replacement mid-ride, which we were told is not unusual. After about 15 minutes we were allowed to put our window shades up and able to enjoy views of the mountains and farmland. Since taking photos from a moving train isn't ideal, I have only a couple of shots here. No time to balance the composition, but these will give you an idea of the scenery on this often beautiful but very bumpy ride.

Second photo of the mountains from moving train
Click on any photo to get larger version.

Rural women taking in the sun From the train, during a brief stop, I took this picture of two rural women perhaps enjoying the sun outside the usual small homes with dark interiors, where windows don't seem practical.

The larger versions of this are worth a look.
    Clicking on the photo on the left brings an enlarged version of the entire photo.

A second enlargement focuses more on the women and the house, and you can get that by clicking to get  a closer look, via zooming in on the scanned enlargement. (111k)

Why we were told to pull down the train's window shades
After nightfall, when we were about 2 hours from Cuzco, the table behind us was absorbed in a card game while we played magnetic Scrabble on our table on this comfortable tourist train. No one had taken the 2 seats still open in our area, so we had plenty of room. Steeped in losing yet another game, I suddenly heard the sound of glass breaking and wondered who else could be so clumsy.

    Noticing a prolonged commotion, I turned around to see that the people at the table behind us were all standing up. Someone had thrown a rock through their window with enough force that it had sent glass flying across the aisle to the table on the other side. Luckily, no one was hurt, somehow, but people were pretty shaken up. When the attendants finally came by, we asked if this kind of thing happens often, and they shook their heads, trying to look surprised, while having us lower our window shades again.

    Half of Peru's population lives at the poverty level. It's said that there is resentment from some toward the tourist trains and I did keep my photo-taking at a minimum when it came to people, as it's considered rude unless you have permission.. That would be the case anywhere, actually, even if it's done.

    We arrived in Cuzco at about 10:30pm, and it was a beautiful sight, with its red-roofed buildings and the old Coricancha lit by night.


Next, the Pisac Market outside Cuzco. . .

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