Once the rain stopped it was a gorgeous day. We began by getting up very early, being first in line at the Banco de la Nacion to pay for a car inspection, one of the steps to getting our needed permit. Then on to the police that do the inspection to present evidence that we’d paid where we were told in no uncertain terms that they would do the inspection but we need the original of a document (gravamen) that can only be issued in Lima. This despite the fact that we have an exact official original copy of the required information with the only difference that it was issued in Puno–this duly noted on the form. He was having none of this.
We spent the morning begging favors from our friend Cecelia in Lima, who could get the copy and send it to Puno, but today is Friday. We spent the rest of the morning and through lunch trying to work out alternate plans and hoping something would happen to make a miracle happen.
Determined to take the rest of the afternoon off to think, we drove to Sillustani, an archaeological site about a 40 min drive outside Puno. Our friend and fellow archaeologist Arturo Ruiz worked at Sillustani in the 1970s and made a key find of a burial deposit of more than 100 gold objects. Subsequently, and probably due in some part to Arturo’s efforts, the site was developed for tourism. There’s even a commemorative coin of one of the burial towers, or chullpas. It is a beautiful, and a guidebook tipped us off to the birds in the surrounding lake. We saw a family of caracaras (2 adults, 1 juvenile) and several others new to us. It was a dream afternoon.
Driving back to Puno around 5 pm we heard that the form we need could be collected in Lima at 9 am Saturday, put on a bus “express” to Puno and arrive 18 hours later, bringing us to dawn Sunday. Everything is closed. On Monday, we could take the paper to the police, collect our form and then proceed to a customs agent where for somewhere between $250 and the sky’s the limit, we could get the form. The problem–by Tuesday, when we might get all the way out of Peru and maybe into Bolivia after that, we would not be able to make up the days lost and we would lose our reservations everywhere.
We threw in the towel, start our return to Lima tomorrow, and pick up again with a flight from Lima to Buenos Aires on the 27th.