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Published: October 3rd 2018
We wake up early to the sounds of our donkey braying and Mama and PapI chatting about the day ahead. When we surface we meet PapI who had been away the day before. He is a lovely smiley man who ushers us into the main house - a single room where they appear to live with table and chairs, cooking facilities and a bed behind a curtain. He serves us breakfast of fresh sweet bread rolls, jam, boiled egg, potato and tea.
Mama arrives and explains she is off to a wedding, we should have guessed as she is wearing here bowler hat rather than the triangular one of the previous day. She is apologetic that she has to leave before seeing us off but PapI will take us to the boat. Hugs and kisses and a couple more photos all round and she is off. Papi does indeed deliver us to the boat at the appointed time and we set off again.
The sea, opps lake, is a bit choppy today but after about an hour we reach the island of Taquile which we explore. There is a steep walk up from the jetty to the town square
and given we are still at just under 4,000m we take it easy, enjoy the view. There are six ‘districts’ on the island, the boundary between them marked by a stone archway.
In the square we see some of the beautiful knitted garments, made by the men. The women do the spinning and the weaving.
We explore a little further, see Bolivia in the distance and then stop for lunch with (you guessed it) soup followed by really fresh trout. Our local guide describes how the knitted caps the locals wear tell you people’s status. Girl and boy babies have different coloured bonnets with frills to preorder their faces. Single boys and girls have similar hat without the frills, married people have different patterns on theirs and if you are a village president you get to wear a black bowler had as well.
Two year trial marriages cut down on the divorce rate and the man has to knit a hat for his fiancé to a standard approved by her father before they can marry. Who knew knitting was so important!
We have a 3 hour boat trip back to Puno but luckily the lake has
calmed and we all take the opportunity to contemplate what we have learned over the last few days - i.e. have a nap.
We have a special dinner for our last night together with the wonderful Mike who has been nicknamed Sugar Papi (papi being a term of respect) because he always has a wad of cash he can lend us if we run out between ATMs. The restaurant is big and packed with tourists. The food is really good but it is the music and dance show that makes it special. The musicians include a drummer, guitar player and 2-3 guys playing the reed flutes and recorders. The dancers performing about 8 different acts, all with spectacular costumes. I forgo the karioke afterwards, a Pisco sour and a beer at altitude are equal to about 4 at sea level and tomorrow is another long one.
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