Countries Visited

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Myanmar Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fasso Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lake Titicaca: The Peruvian Side

We last left you (other than the stolen stuff update) at Machu Picchu. From there, we went to Puno, which is the main Peruvian city on Lake Titicaca. Lake Titicaca (most often spelled Titikaca or Titikaka here so as not to be associated with caca) is the highest navigable lake in the world. Not the highest lake, just the highest lake on which you can float really big boats. The Lake is about half owned by Peru and half by Bolivia. We went to visit islands in both halves. Unfortunately, a thief has seen to it that you will not see pictures of Isla del Sol on the Bolivian side. In fairness, the Peru side is way better, so you aren't missing much. Now, to the pictures:

Here is a typical Southern Peru landscape as we rode on the bus from Cusco to Puno. We were really high--about 12,000 feet on average. One flight of stairs and we are exhausted.

They have very scary manequins in Peru. It is hard to see in this picture, but this guy actually has some gold caps on his teeth. The scary manequins seem to be widespread.

From Puno, we sailed to Los Uros, also known as the float islands. Some feel that these islands are over touristy, and they have lots of tourism, but they are really cool. 800 years ago, the natives ran away from the Incas coming to conquer them by sailing into Lake Titicaca on boats built of the reeds that grow everywhere. Over time, these boats got bigger and bigger until they just built whole islands. The base is made of a meter of reed roots and then they pile a meter of dry reeds on top of that and if floats like a little dock. They must constantly renew these parts since they start to sink when they decompose. In addition, they build everything out of these reeds. Here is one of their homes:

Here is a view from one island to another. Sometimes people become friends with the island next to them, so they merge islands. Sometimes they have arguments on an island which result in them taking a saw and cutting the island into two new islands.

While on the islands, we rode in one of their reed boats. It doesn't look very solid, but it carried 25 people and felt very sturdy. It is just bundles of dry reeds tied together. The people who live there definitely get dressed up for the tourists, but the standard dress is essentially the same--maybe just not as clean. They showed us the insides of their houses, which are the size of a small shed, so we got to see just about everything they own.
This is a shot looking down over the edge of the island. You can see how it is constructed with the base layer and then tons of reeds on top of it.
They have trained cormorants to fish for them. (But not the extra egret in this picture.) They still fish a lot themselves, but the birds help. Most of the native fish in Lake Titicaca are very small, so they have to catch a lot. They also grow some in little lagoons in the floating islands. They are now having problems with invasive species, mostly trout, killing all the native fish.
Here are the islanders saying goodbye. They are mostly women because the men are out fishing or in some cases are just too shy to see the tourists.
After the floating islands, we went to a real island called Taquile, named after some Spanish guy. This island was controlled by the Incas, though I would guess that the people living there did not go by choice. It is far from everything, and only a couple things like potatoes and some types of corn will grow on the island. For six months of the year it rains nonstop. However, we were there during the dry season and it was beautiful.
Also, I didn't manage to get any pictures, but if you are in a position of authority on Taquile, say the mayor of the village, you wear this incredibly silly looking rainbow colored hat with earflaps and balls dangling from it. Really makes me want to move there just for the hat.
Okay, that does it for our first foray into Peru. Up next will be Bolivia.

1 comment:

  1. Tara (Andy): My wife is/was on the same wedding board as you. Indie Bride maybe? Anyway, we got married in August, we're from Toronto, and we're in the French Pyrenees right now. On our "extended" honeymoon, and you said both Titi (AKA Titty) and Caca. RIGHT ON! Mind you, I'm also a wee bit in the "bag" on 9 euro port and a couple bottles of 2 euro red wine. Life is good.