Saturday afternoon, February 2, 2019
After returning to land, we had an opportunity to tour the MN Yavari, a ship that had been commission by the Peruvian government in 1861. It was built by Thames Ironworks in Scotland, then dismantled, and shipped in parts to the port of Arica, Chile in 1862. The parts were transported by rail 40 miles to Tacna, the end of the railroad. The original contractor failed to complete the journey by mule to Puno, so the parts sat in Tacna for six years before being loaded on to pack mules for the remaining 220 miles to Puno. The parts arrived in Puno in 1869, and the Yavari was finally launched in 1870. It had been designed to run on coal, but there is no coal in Peru, so dried llama dung was used as fuel.
Since then, it has been refitted to run on Diesel. The ship operated until 1979. Some years later, it was renovated to carry passengers on the lake, and has even operated as a bed and breakfast. The rooms look pretty small to me, but I suppose it would be an adventure.
Currently, the ship and museum are closed as it needs more renovations to remain seaworthy. This work cannot continue without more funding. Although it isn’t open, our guide had managed to arrange for us to tour the ship.
After lunch, a friend and I went downtown. We were mostly on a hunt to purchase some red quinoa and black quinoa. We stopped first at the Plaza de Armas. The downtown area was very busy as it is the beginning of Festival de la Candelaria. The Virgin of Candelaria is the patron saint of Puno. The feast begins on February 2nd and continues until the 18th. This festival actually goes back to the Andean celebration of Mother Earth, the figure of Pachamama. Originally, the whole region around Lake Titicaca honored Pachamama in order to have a rich harvest and favorable weather. Tomorrow, there will be a dance competition at the city stadium. As part of There were people decorating another plaza with pictures made of flowers.
On our way to the supermarket, we were stopped by a parade, a very short parade, celebrating the Virgin of Candelaria, only about two blocks long. There were some local dignitaries, some military, a band, and several men carrying a large float of Mary. The parade moved quite slowly, as they had to push up the electrical wires a few times to allow the float to pass underneath. There were many people in traditional garb. Many were throwing flower petals at the float. After the parade passed, we noticed a few shrines along the parade route. The street was covered with flower petals that were being swept up by a maintenance crew.
We made it to the supermarket, where we found our quinoa, plus some corn and some sauces. It’s a good thing I brought my expandable tote with me.