Today was mainly a transit day to get to Puno by bus. We went to the bus station and met up with another Gecko group making the same transfer. While we waited our guide sorted out our tickets and we were soon loading our kit onto the bus, which had comfier seats than our plane had but sadly little in the way of air conditioning and in the sunshine it was sweltering. As we we awaiting to depart a local came on board with a stereo and started playing pan pipe music very loud. At first we thought he was part of the journey which suddenly stretched out endlessly before us and we were thankful when we realised he was only selling CD's and hopped off just before we set off. In theory the journey itself was a game o f two halves, each about 3 hours long with half time at a cafe in the middle.

Half one of the trip was shorter than planned and we rolled up to a very western style cafe in the middle of no where. It had a very clean and modern interior, quite out of place in Peru. It also had clean toilets, fresh juice and nice sandwiches so it was a result which ever way we looked at it. The sun outside was still relentless and most people opted for the cooler shade until it was time to jump back on the bus for the second half, thinking that perhaps our guide had described this leg as worse than it was so that we were pleasantly surprised.

But I'll bet the best laid plans of mice and men did not have to contend with some obstructive road works. Now I can't claim to be a builder of any sort but it strikes me that when repairing a road it is generally customary to dig up one side and then the other so that at least one lane remains in action. Not so in Peru, we came to the end of the road literally and had to wait for the tarmac on both sides to cool down enough to drive on. Eventually we were waved on our way and we made it to the highest point of the trip where the bus pulled over to let us look at the scenery, and spend some money at the inevitable stalls by the road side. The view was spectacular with crystal clear air and mountains all around. The altitude was also noticeable, even just walking around a little way and I was glad that the builders of Machu Pichu didn't have a loftier location in mind.

We passed through an ugly looking town, glad that it wasn't Puno itself, and then had to weave around large boulders in the road. Fairly sure that even the work men we had met earlier wouldn't have messed up this badly we turned to our guide to find her taking photos. It turns out that the local miners were in dispute with the government about talks with foreign companies coming to help with the mining. The locals wanted to protect their income but the government wanted to improve capacity and efficiency. The problem with annoying lots of men with big toys is that they can demonstrate just how efficient they are at blocking major roads!

Despite our second half problems we arrived in Puno and pulled up outside a lovely hotel on the right and a building site on the left. Sadly our guide went left. Down a small alley there was our hotel at the back with an exceptional view of the building site and construction methods used - I naively hoped our building was a little sturdier!

Checked-in we had a little time and I thought it  would be fun to get a cut throat razor shave, another normally entertaining bit of local integration, to complement my hair cut from a couple of days ago. We found an alley where all the town's hair dressers seemed to be and picked one at random and asked if they did shaves. A rather male looking lady waved me into a seat and lathered up. After some quick discussion with her husband she puts away the blade and gets a disposable razor out. Now I know that I saw her take it out of the packet so I have to assume that it was new and therefore somewhat sharp but this made little progress with my several days old beard. Getting frustrated she put that away and pulled out the original blade and had another go. Carlos has mentioned that Peruvians tend to have very fine facial hair and she was definitely struggling with my thicker hair. What followed was half an hour of what felt like someone individually plucking each hair from my face. When her attentions rested on my upper lip my eyes gave up and just started watering. With two blades used and several cuts later she hesitantly looked in the mirror and asked 'ok?'. With blood dripping down from my cuts and eyes blinking away tears nothing would have made me ask for a little more off the side. I finished up the job in the hotel and thankfully struck off 'getting a cut throat shave' off my things to do in South America list. Lesson learnt. On the up side we went out for another very nice group meal that evening, although I did feel that Jill and Ebony ordering wine with a pisco sour chaser made my water and beer look a bit lame!