Island time

Trip Start Jan 23, 2008
Trip End May 23, 2008

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Flag of Peru  ,
Saturday, May 3, 2008

The deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca are famous for several reasons, fascinating no matter who you are:

Geographers (and captains): At 3800 meters, it is the world´s highest navigable lake.
Architects and urban planners: It is home to entire villages built on thick reed mats.
Religious scholars: It is the birthplace of Incan gods and even older civilizations.
Linguists: Spanish takes second place here to Quechau and Aymara.
Turistas: You will ply the waters of the gringo trail, but will soon understand why.

We first visited the some of the Uros Islands available to the public. The floating islands are constructed of root masses and reeds. Traditional lifestyle of fishing persists on most of the islands, but tourism is clearly a mainstay on those open to the public. We poked around a bit to see some of the less visited areas, and it seems like a pretty tough place to eek out a living.

Then, we cruised for a couple hours to Amantani Island, where we stayed with a local family of 4 generations living together. Their agricultural and fishing lifestyle is essentially unchanged for centuries. For example, while solar panels allow for electricity at night our family still cooks on a fire and we never saw a cell phone. The island is covered with pre-Incan ruins and terraces, both of which are still in use today. I was in heaven strolling among the small fields of wheat and barley, petting teeny lambs, and playing with the cute 2-year old daughter. After a sunset walk up to some ruins, and a filling meal, we were dressed by our family in traditional clothes and joined other tourists and their families for an evening of folk music and dancing. It was fun, if not exhausting at 13,000+ feet! Bill was quite in demand among the young ladies!
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