Yes, Lake Titicaca is real.
Trip Start Jan 06, 2010
42Trip End Apr 20, 2013
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Lake Titicaca is the largest and highest navigable lake in the world. It's huge. Living on this lake are the Uros people, a tribe older than the Incas, who have been almost untouched by the outside world for hundreds of years. When the Incas came they didn't want to have anything to do with them so they built large boats made of reeds and lived on the lake. Eventually they made floating islands made of reed and before they allowed tourists too visit they only had 10 islands but now with all the income from tourism, they now have 40. The islands house about three families each and if there is an issue between them they will saw the islands in half. The people use reed boats and motor boats for special occasions. There is a school on one of the islands and parents take the children to school by boat. The women are fairly big and wear many layers of clothing so that they look very fat so that the men will think they can have many children and marry them. They eat bunny rabbits, guinea pigs, and have a trout farm and garden. The Uros peoples are very kind and brought us into their homes made of reeds and even feed us reed. They make crafts and we bought many. We visited two different islands and they were very happy to see us and thanked us for visiting them. As we left the first island the women sang to us in their own language of Quechua and then "my bonnie lies over the ocean" in English as they waved us goodbye
The second island we went to, Taquile, is an actual island and the last to be conquered by the Spanish. The Incas did live on this Taquile as well and there are signs of Inca stone work on the island. When the Spanish came they made the people change the way they dressed so their clothing a different then the Uros and they wear mostly black. The children on the island speak in high pitched voices and try to convince you to give them one sol, the equivalent of $.30 cents, in exchange for a picture of them and a bracket they made. As much as I wanted to take many pictures of people, unless you pay them, they find it rude and offensive to take their picture all the time like they are a spectacle in a zoo. They also think that you steal their soul when you take their picture. The Uros believe this too, but we bought things from them and paid entrance fees onto the island so they gave us permission to go snap-happy with the camera. We ate lunch on Taquile Island at one of their restaurants and were served trout and soup. No matter what restaurant we dined at, we were to be served the same meal because the people don't want to create competition between one another so they decide what they will have on the menu together each day. Most of the restaurants were closed because the tourist season is in the winter (our summer). Even though currently it is the rainy season now, it mostly rains during the night. Our tour was on a clear day and without many other tourists, so tourist season shmourist season.
The cost of the tour with out lunch ($5 US) was only $12 per person and it was all day. I love Peru.
Chris- So what do you do when you sense a change in your land and you refuse to accept your new unwelcome presence
As far as the town of Puno goes I'm not so sure there would be to much to see without the amazing people of the Titicaca Lake and their truly amazing lifestyle. Puno is far from being a beautiful city and though the center part of town is safe it doesn't give me that cozy feeling that touristic Arequipa did. We took a walk from the bus station after our taxi van was disabled by a commercial bus