Archive for June 10th, 2010

Lake Titicaca

Topic: Travel| 3 Comments »

BTW, David and I want to raise a baby alpaca on our future farm. Llamas are mean because they spit, but alpacas are much nicer and their wool is better. To help you distinguish our future alpaca “cusco” from a llama – llamas are bigger, have a longer neck, no hair on their face, and there is also a difference in their ears and tail.

We started today by eating an incredible breakfast in our hotel. I drank about a gallon of papaya and pineapple juice, had an omelette, toast, and a fruit salad. David eliminated their orange juice jug. The abundance of fruit is amazing and we can’t get enough. Then we were picked up by a bus and brought to the port where we boarded a motor boat to the “floating” Uros islands about twenty five minutes away. There they explained to us how they build their reed islands.

They start with the roots of the reed which they cut into blocks several square meters in area and then they tie the blocks together. Nowadays they use synthetic rope but before they braided grass from the mainland. Then they cover the root blocks with layers and layers of reed. The roots are about a meter deep, the reed layers another one to two meters. The islands last about 18 years. But the top reed layers must be replenished 2-3x a month because the island rots. Now the crazy thing- the island we visited is led by a Mormon and president Monson visited this island a few months ago. It was really cool. The leader and his wife were able to go to the temple just a month ago. Wow!!!
Nowadays the uros live mainly off of turists selling their crafts and offering rides in their traditional reed boats. We purchased a miniture boat and took a ride in the real thing. They even let us row. Really awesome experience. Oh, BTW, Lake Titikaka means grey puma in aymaire, the local language.
We then continued to Taquile island.  This one was a real one, not made out of reeds. Interesting things: men knit on this island, there are no llamas or alpacas as it is too small so they raise sheep. On this island, single men wear red and white hat and depending on how they wear it it shows if they have a girlfriend or not; married men wear red hats, leaders were rainbow hats and a black sombrero. Men and women apparently fall in love quickly (faster than mormons!) and when young, about 17-19. Men choose their women by throwing little rocks at them. Then they move in together and have children before they can get married. Makes perfect sense. :) women used to cut their hair off to weave a belt for their future husband now they use sheep wool but they continue wearing a black scarf that was used to cover their short hair.
Lake titikaka is the bluest body of water I have ever seen. It is breathtaking. Btw we were able to see Bolivia from the island-snow capped peaks of the bolivian mountain range.
Apparently the lake is full of giant frogs over 10 inches long that taste like chicken. Right. We did eat the reed that the uros use for their islands and eat every day- it was really good. Tasted like celery. Apparently the uros use it instead of a tooth brush. They mainly eat little fish, very little meat but a ton of quinoa.
Now we are on our way back to puno. David is asleep and looks very happy. We have been really sleep deprived on this trip be ause we go from one thing to the next.
Tomorrow afternoon we leave for Arequipa.