Off to the island dance

Trip Start Mar 15, 2006
Trip End May 30, 2007

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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, May 3, 2006

After spending a couple of days curled up around the toilet, between Aguas Calientes (the town near Machu Picchu) and Cusco, I decided enough was enough and it was time to move on. One of the other things I was really interested to see on my way through Peru was Lake Titicaca (apparently you´re supposed to cal it Titicala though according to our guide as Caca means toilet or poo, or something like that).

Though Puno isn´t the most fascinating of towns, it is for the lake that you visit, and this turned out to be a great experience. I had planned on heading this way anyway, but some people I had met flying to Lima had told me that it was possible to take a 2 day tour and stay a night on an island with a local family. Sounded like an interesting experience!

I booked on a tour and we left early to first visit the floating islands. These islands have been made in a traditional way that goes back many years, with islands cutting down the totora reeds that grow in the lake and layering them up so much that they create these islands. That was quite a bizarre experience, they have to ram long poles through them into the ground in order to stop them floating away, and as you walk around they are really squidgy as your feet sink into them slightly. Absolutely fascinating that people can live on these things, in fact in recent years they have goty electricity on them by the way of solar power, so some reed huts actually have a television. Bizarre.

On from here we headed much further into the lake to Isla Amantaní, where we were to stay the night. We got split into groups of 2-4. I was with a couple of other single people and we stayed with this lovely lady called Irma. She took us to her house, where she straight away began to prepare our lunch. We sat in this little mud built hut that was the kitchen trying to adjust to the smoke that was created by the great little fire-powered stove. We had 3 meals there, all great, they make the best filling soups with plenty of vegetables.

In the evening we all had to get dressed up in the local traditional costumes and go to a local dance. That was so much fun, the boys actually got away really lightly, all we had to wear was poncho´s and hats. The girls had to put on these huge skirts, blouses, tight waist bands and then headscarfs. At first it kinda felt like that scene in the Motorcycle Diaries (I know I keep mentioning it but it was obviously well done) where the girls and boys are sat down opposite sides of the empty hall with the local band trying to encourage some movement. It seemed our hostess was a bit of the life and soul though and she soon had us up there. I´ll say one thing, its different from going clubbing at home, but great fun nonetheless.
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