Trip Start Jan 09, 2005
21Trip End ??? ??, 2005
Puno is the jumping off point for excursions to the famous floating islands of the lake. These are utterly beautiful and utterly bizarre at the same time. It seemed like an awful lot of effort to me to be continually replacing the fabric of their islands especially since they are only floating in water that is about 3 metres deep, are easily accessible from the mainland and are even anchored so that they stay in one place
I had an idea that it might be in order to make money from visiting tourists but this proved to be wrong, as you cannot visit all the islands due to the fact that some of the islanders are still unused to and therefore quite afraid of outsiders. This I found incredible, that they have been developing alongside Puno and other towns for hundreds of years and yet have managed to maintain a very distinct way of life, simply by floating in a few metres of water.
Another first for us was spending a night with a family on the island of Amantani (not a floater!). Luckily we turned up on the day of a festival to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the States recognition of the Island as a district (it took a while to work that one out as you ma be able to imagine). This meant that we were looked after, cooked for (potatoes, potatoes amd more potatoes), and led around by the eldest daughter of the family, 14 year old Pilar. Meanwhile, her parents were out dancing and drinking with the rest of the adults, and we didn´t meet them till they knocked on our bedroom door later that night, introduced themselves and told us to lock our door because some of their friends might turn up and, being a bit drunk, try to get in. Oh great!
The next day we visited the Island of Taquile where the dancing continued.