We look REALLY good in local Peruvian dress...

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
Trip End Dec 03, 2009

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Where I stayed
Mud Brick House

Flag of Peru  , Puno,
Monday, November 9, 2009

So we spent the night by Lake Titicaca in Puno, Peru. We all had dinner together in a nice restaurant and discussed the next two days where we will be staying in a local village with a family.

The next morning we got up early for our transfers to the port to take the boat to the islands. Little did we know that our transfer meant tuk-tuks, and we were racing each other to the port! So much fun! Our driver was hilarious, even throwing the other tuk-tuk drivers off the path and diverting them so we could take a short cut! Our group was laughing and taking photos and the drivers were having a good time too.

So after that awesome start to the day we took a boat to Taquile Island to see how the Lake Titicaca locals live. They all wear traditional clothing, and our guide told us what their clothing means to them. If the men wear a certain colored hat it means they are a village leader, if they wear a red patterned hat it means they are married, if it is a half white/half red patterned hat it means they are not married and how they wear the pom-pom on the hat means they are available and looking, or they are still very young, or if they wear the pom-pom at the back it means "I'm busy and not looking". Very funny! And the women pick the men for marriage. The whole island is very traditional, they don’t believe in land ownership so they all own the land and take turns doing different jobs on the island for everyone’s benefit. There are no arguments or divorces either. It’s a very simple, farming and fishing life for them, but it seems idyllic. They are all very friendly and smile at everyone too.

We had a lovely lunch provided for us by the locals that was fresh fish and potatoes and carrots they grow on the island and a local tea that is made from a very pungent herb (I have no idea what it is and I’ve never seen it before!). Anyway it was all very delicious! After our yummy lunch we walked back across the island to get our boat to our village home for the night, Luquina Chico, and to meet our new Mothers and Fathers!

When we arrived Luquina Chico we met a local woman who brought us to the local school where the guys in our group started a small game of soccer. Then a few of the local boys started playing and next thing you know it was a serious game of adult males against 10 – 12 village boys! The boys were quite good, and had a bit of an advantage in that they are used to the altitude, so the guys were worn out and puffing early on! But it was really cute.

Soon our new families started showing up and we were assigned our new Mums and Dads for the night. David and I were assigned to Tomas and Celestina, the village elders. They are both over 70 years old, but very sprightly and were lovely to us. Tomas showed us their home made up of 7 little huts (which he built himself) that are made out of mud and reed bricks and reed roofs and have dirt floors. He showed us our room which was made up of two single beds and a traditional bed (dirt packed “mattress” with reeds and then blankets on top). Our beds had alpaca-wool blankets and woven rugs on top, looked very cosy! Then Tomas showed us his cows, sheep and his donkey and explained where they were in relation to the other islands in the area. We watched the sunset while Celestina made us a delicious dinner. We ate quinoa and vegetable soup (quinoa is an Andean rice cereal – very good and healthy!) and then a rice, potato and carrot stew. Afterwards we had a hot cup of tea. It was “Huali Mojsawa” (the local language is Aymara and this means delicious in Aymara!). We had learned a few Aymara words to say to our families and it came in very handy!

After dinner Celestina and Tomas brought their local clothing to our hut and we dressed up like them to go to the town party where we would meet the other townspeople and watch and learn the local dance. Check out the pictures, Dave and I make an awesome village couple!

The village party was a great time, there were lots of little boys and girls and a band that played and we watched the locals dance and then they taught us how to dance too. Then we danced with them and we all had a great time! Many good photos and lots of laughs. The locals were very hospitable and we had a fantastic time with our local families.

The next morning we got up and had breakfast with our “parents” and then they sent us off to the boat for our next islands – the Uros “floating” Islands. These islands are entirely made from reeds, and they locals build their houses, boats and almost everything from these reeds. The reeds are replaced every three months because the sun breaks down the reeds. They make their living from fishing and selling woven rugs and have lived this way for approx. 2,600 years and not been bothered by the Incas, the Spanish or even the Peruvian government until about 30 years ago when they were “discovered” and now tourism plays a big part and helps improve their lives a little. Inside their islands they raise their own guinea pigs ("cuy") and trout to eat. The people on these islands are SO friendly, they showed us how they live and build their islands, and then they showed us inside their houses (which are now powered by solar panels so they have some electricity!) and then they took us on a boat ride and sang a song for us and gave us some cute little necklace pendants. We had a great time with them!

After a great 36 hours (probably the best we’ve had so far!), we took the boat back to Puno for another night and had lunch and relaxed. Tomorrow we’re off to Cusco!
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Brian Rancine on

I like the tuk-tuk racing. Sounds like you got a little taste of The Amazing Race.

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