Reed Islands

Trip Start Jul 31, 2006
Trip End Aug 24, 2006

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Pounding on the door, the homestay "alpha male" woke us from a deep sleep. We enjoyed pancakes and some mint-like tea, and then made our way to the waterfront - with Aleja leading the way.

We said our thanks and goodbye, and then boarded our boat.
Today´s itinerary was simple: Head back to Puno but on the way back stop at the reed islands.

These have been inhabitated by people since the time of the Incas. In the interest of preserving their culture from the expanding Inca empire, they sailed out onto the lake and built their own islands to protect themselves. With constant replenishing of reeds (weekly in the rainy season), these people have been here ever since. There certainly isn´t a lack of reeds in the area; so I suspect they´ll be living there for years to come as well.

We trudged over the reeds and found it extremely tiring. It was like wading through the sand dunes at Huacachina. Everything there was built of reeds... the houses, boats, island, look-out tower, and the animal pens. A few guinea pigs escaped their enclosure while we were there, but I don´t think they were going too far, as it is a small island after all.

(I´m glad I tried guinea pig a couple nights ago... as I don´t know if I could eat one after recently seeing them alive..... so cute!)

We then hopped in a reed boat, had some local boys serenade us with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and made our way to another island about 100 metres away.

It´s hard to imagine life on reed islands such as these. One girl said, "It ranks by far as one of the strangest places she´s ever visited". I´d agree, but would have to rank the Scarecrow Farm on Cape Breton Island as being even more bizarre.

We arrived in Puno around 1pm. Thankfully we had a free afternoon. After being on the go for so long, I felt I just needed to take it easy this afternoon. I went to a coffee shop, sipped "café con leche" and played cards.

Tomorrow, we make the long trek to Cusco.
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