Lake Titicaca

Trip Start Feb 28, 2010
Trip End Jul 18, 2010

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Flag of Peru  , Puno,
Thursday, April 15, 2010

WoW. A homestay with a small family on an island in the middle of a lake. An expreience that will live with me forever!

So we get on a private boat with a rooftop didicated to the chadster, youll notice from the photos that i am the only one up there, the rest of the group is down below either sleeping or keeping out of the cold.....well not this cat, how often do you get to cruise atop of a boat on the highest lake in the world with clear skies and a view to kill.......exactly.

After about 1.5 hours we arrive to a small island within the lake called Tikilli Island. This island is pretty much a tourist stopover where the locals are used to taking photos and usually want something in return. The main purpose here was to pretty much have lunch which we had at some high point on the isand after a half hour walk, prepared by a family. Not a bad feed either.
This island doesnt offer much to do, but you get to see how the locals live on farming...not a bad view of the lake either.

When we head back to the boat, it was time for the inevitable.....we drove out about 5 minutes from shore and JUMPED IN the ice cold water. You should know that this lake is thousands of metres above sea level, meaning it is fed by the snow and glaciers from the enarby snowcapped mountains of the Andes. The water is freezing.
So whoever decided to jump in, did so...and of course i was in, how often do you get to dive of the top of a boat int the highest glacier fed lake in the world....Exactly.
After 4 dive ins and climb outs it was enough to rattle the bones to the core...but an awesome feeling. I laid down ontop of the boat to catch the rays and dry up until we reached our destination about 3 hours later, where we will be staying the night.....Amantani Island.

The people of Amantani Island have been working together with GAP Adventures (my tour company) to take tourists in and give them a place to stay and experience the local life. So a homestay was organised, where pairs would be put with a family to eat, sleep and experience the culture.

Adem (my roomate coming from London) and i were chosen to stay with Celia and her two kids. Once chosen, she led us on a hike which eventually took us to the furthest place on the island (figures). It seems our place was located so far that were the only ones that needed torches to walk back home at night.
Anyway we get to the house and it looks pretty descent, i mean the rooms are equipped with 4 beds with 5 blankets each, the walls are made from mud brick and are thick, real thick....actually i wouldnt have minded to fix their verandah because it wasnt looking too safe, but it was getting dark......AND IM ON HOLIDAY, so Sydeny chad took a back seat.

After settling in, we hiked over to the nearby basketball/volleyball/footbal court for a football game with the locals and another GAP group staying at the same time. The game went on for about 2 hours before it got dark.....Note the other team scored the 3rd and winning (Lucky) goal to beat us in the 118th minutes 3-2. But we had some good fun.

After the game we downed some hot chocholates in the local bar and headed back home to get ready for dinner.
Celia or "Mummy" as they preffer to be called, called us down from our rooms at 7pm into the kitchen/dining room for a hot meal of soup, potatoes, vegies and omelette followed by Coca Tea. Another good feed. Her kids joined us at the table to play marbles, but they soon became more interested in taking photos and cycling through the pics on my camera. A good night.

Later that night we were led by Celia (in the dark) up and down the terrain to the local community centre for a local party with the locals, but not before we donned the local atire (refer to pics).
After a 2 hour game of soccer, i wouldve thought dancing would be the last thing i wanted to do....but we soon got moving after the music started to pick up and Celia came and pulled us up.
To give you an idea, the music starts off slowly then ramps up to a quicker beat, where we would all find ourselves holding hands and dancind (running) around in a giant circle with short bursts of  sprints......Yes its tirring, but this is the dance. Oh yeah, they aso played La Bamba (check out the vid).

Exhasted, we headed back to our home torches in hand and ready to hit the sack after removing 4 of the blankets. Its not cold here but i guess it should be.

In the morning it was raining, more like pouring, and after having our panckakes for breakfast made in the natural woodfire oven fuelled by eucalyptues leaves, we (Adem and i) put on a wet gear and began our treck back to the port to get back on the boat. Celia and the rest of the local would of course wear the traditional clothes, including the sandles as well as carry a huge back supported by a not at the front of their chest and walked in the rain with no troubles...and here i am with hiking shoes on being carefull not to slip with a small backpack. These cats have skills.

We soon arrived at the boat, said our goodbyes ready to head back to the city of Puno, but not before stopping over at the famous floating islands.

So the weather cleared and i was back ontop of the boat, 3 hours later we arrive at or on one of the 45 floating islands concentrated in the lake. Amazing! These people construct their own islands from the grass that grows within the lake, criss crossing layers and layers of this stuff to build the islands, houses, boats and whatever other structure they need...this stuff is even edible.
So once were on, the local family dresses us in the local gear and show us around while giving us a boat ride around the floating villages.
What a way to live......every 3 months they need to replace the grass, adding to the isalnd floor and rebuilding houses. Pretty cool place.

Once this we arrive back to the Puno port, we settled in, had dinner and stayed the night before heading over to the City of Cuzco to prepare for my trip to the Amazon Jungle.

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mannie on

pretty cool baby brother..prettayyyyy cooollayyyyy!

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