Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Lake side at Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world, at over 4000m, was our next destination. We stayed overnight in Puno the town on the lake on the Peru side and the next day we went on a two day tour of 3 of the islands on the lake. What was great was that the Polish couple and the Irish couple from our Colca Canyon were also doing the tour. We caught a boat with a nice outside upper deck to the first island Uros which is a floating island all made out of reeds. It was fascinating and quite surreal as everything was made out of reeds-the huts, the dragon boats etc. They had to cover the islands in fresh reeds every week to make sure they don't disappear. It was fairly touristy as they get visitors most days but it was definitely worth seeing.

The women on the island were in brightly coloured traditionalbdress with pom poms in their hair which are used to signify if they are single or not. If the pom poms are black they are married but if they are orange, yellow or pink they are single. Wonder if that would catch on in London!! One of the ladies dressed me and Emilia up in traditional dress which was pretty funny!!

After taking so many photos as the lake and the sky just seemed so vast and bright we motored on for 3 hours to the island of Armantani where we were staying overnight. We got chatting to this really lovely family from Canada on the boat who were pretty inspiring in that they had taken their 9 and 11 year old kids round the world for a year. The kids were getting schooled online and were loving it. At the port of Armantani we were lined up and distributed to local families for the afternoon and night. I think we struck gold as we were placed with such a lovely family - mum, Jenny, gran and grand dad and 4 year old Luis and baby Sebastian. Luis was so sweet and was fascinated by us as they only had tourists to stay once a month. He kept by our side most of the afternoon and was very happy with the colouring book and pencils we had brought as a present on the off chance there were kids. He proudly wrote his name in the book so many times!! After a filling lunch where we loved and tasted ochre for the first time we met up with the other groups and went for a hike to the top of the mountain with great views of the Island.

Jenny prepared us another great meal and we sat down and ate it in the kitchen with gran and grand dad watching from the corner. Had a good chat in Spanish with Jenny who was very sweet but unfortunately gran and grand dad only spoke Quecha. After dinner Jenny brought us some traditional clothes for us to wear for a party the locals were putting on in the local hall. Jonty was decked out in a poncho and I was in the bright skirt, embroidered shirt and head dress. There was a live band and traditional dancing at the party. It was fun but grand dad who was our chaperone didn't want to be too late so we headed back in the dark just after 10pm.

It was a little sad saying goodbye in the morning to our family but next stop was the island of Taquile. Here we hiked round the Island and had a yummy fish lunch overlooking the lake. The people on this island had some fascinating customs too to do with clothing. The men can only get married if they learn to knit themselves a certain woolly hat. I felt a bit sorry for those guys who are bad at needlework. Apparently its only the men here who sew really. The mens hats therefore signal if they are single or married. We were imagining how they could get into trouble if they picked up the wrong hat. All couples also have to live together for a year before getting good married to see if they can live together-quite a modern concept for very traditional people!

We motored back to Puno, chilled out, and then in the evening we met back up with the Canadian family, the Polish couple and Cesar and had a very tasty Pizza meal. After dinner everyone, apart from the family, went on to a bar where we tasted Pisco Sours - the local drink which is very tasty. It had been a fun couple of days.

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