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Published: June 10th 2014
Lake Titicaca- funny name right? however in the indigenous language it means Puma which if you look at an ariel picture of the lake it is in the shape of a puma eating a rabbit. How do people see these things? Pumas condors and snakes played an important part of the pre Inca religions many moons ago and it is represented in the art textiles and buildings in many of the things we saw here .
First we boated to the reed islands- islands made entirely of reeds. First they layered more reeds on top of the roots of the live reeds and it made it strong enough to builds homes and fires for cooking. Walking on it was a weird experience soft spongy and a overwhelming feeling of being tangled up in it. These civilizations of fisherman moved to the reed islands to get away from the feuding Incas so that they could live their peaceful fisherman lives. Now they keep the tradition of these exclusive communities and open their homes to tourists to show us how they live and make a few bucks. Because there are no fruits and vegetables that can grow on the reeds they used
to trade in the markets. Now in the modern world trading needs hard cold cash.
After a demo on the building of the islands we were invited into their homes where they showed us the one room cozy living space and promptly dressed us in traditional costumes. Our host also removed the wrap from her back to show us her baby - who knew? the baby never made a sound until the light hit her face and she whimpered a bit. Back out side we had a impromptu photo shoot with lots of laughter while the inhabitants of the island shook out their goods for sale. Wall hangings pillow covers and tiny reed boats were all for the getting for some soles. After a few of us boarded a reed boat kept afloat with recycled plastic bottles and floated along to the capital island where we could get our passport stamped and taste quiona bread. A few soles in this part of the world gets you anything.
Our power boat then took us on a 2 hour journey to the Amantani coast more islands with a traditional way of living much different than what we had just seen.
Here on the hilly terrain colorful costumes decorated with pompoms dictate martial status the larger the pompom indicates a single woman looking for a mate. After greetings we followed our home stay hosts up the hills to our homes for the night. After a vegetarian lunch of potatoes pasta and bread we set about helping with chores. While many of us picked broad beans off stalks that had dried in the midday sun some carried water in buckets. Glad I didn't have that job!
At the playground ladies set up a volley ball net and we had a few games of volleyball- the heavy outfits didn't keep the locals from winning! Back at the homes we once again played dress up single girls in long woolen hats decorated with pom poms at the bottom and married girls in flat ornate hats with 2 pom poms decorating 2 corners. The boys all wore ponchos with woolen pointy hats and wide brim hats over ala Clint Eastwood . Once again we gathered for photos laughter and a meal of potatoes pasta and rice. Carb overload- perfect for the 830 bedtime in adobe home decorated in reeds and heavy llama hair blankets.
So heavy they rolled off the bed in the middle of the night and woke us to the chilly night air. Yes it was a comedy of errors in the cabin that night as Frank and I tossed blankets and shivered till we sweated to have the blankets roll again and start over. Morning brought warm sunshine and tea and bread in this quiet peaceful place. back on the boat we cruised back to Puno on the noisy lake.
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