Monday, March 1, 2010

LakeTiticaca and the Uros Islands and Taquile Island

After the trek, we headed on an overnight bus ride to Puno, which is on the coast of Lake Titicaca, which is the largest navigable lake in the world which also constitutes the border between Peru and Bolivia. We stuck to the Peruvian side and took a day tour to the Uros Islands and Taquile Island which are out in the lake.
The Uros Islands are actually not really islands, but floating islands made of reeds that grow in the lake. The Uros people started making these islands before the Inca empire started. The islands are anchored down to prevent movement and the people spend their whole lives on the island only going to the mainland to trade for goods they can't get on the islands.
Everything the people use for their day to day living come from the reeds, they even eat part of the reeds (we tried them, it tasted like chewy water). To earn extra money, the indigenous people have started making crafts to sell to tourists. The people certainly know how to make as much money as they can in the tourist industry as shown below with Sara dressed in the traditional dress.
We were able to walk around the island, see the goods that were for sale, and see a small demonstration on how the island is built.
The next place we went to on our island tour is Taquile Island, which is an actual island in the Lake. Here a different group of people who speak Quechua (the same language as the Incans) life. The island was actually quite hilly and we took a quick hike across the island, saw an indigenous dance, which Jesse was included in, ate some lunch, and enjoyed the scenery.
While the tour we took was very touristy, some might saw exploitative, we did enjoy seeing a wonderfully different culture set in the Andes Mountains.

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