On Tuesday, Sean, Flo, and Jen departed by bus for Puno/Lake Titicaca with our guide Gaspar and 3 others from our Geckos group (Barry&Candace from South Africa (now living in Vancouver), and Michael from Australia).
We spent a night in Puno and were picked up the next morning by some man-powered tuktuks who brought us down to our boat on Lake Titicaca.
Lake Titicaca is located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It is one of the highest lakes in the world (3800m) and is also the largest lake (by volume) in South America.
The Uros Islands are a series of about 45 man-made floating islands. They are constructed from the tortora reeds that grow in the lake, and were originally created for the Uru people to escape threats from other tribes on the mainland. The floating islands continue to house hundreds of Uru people, with about 5 families living on each island.
It was amazing to delicately (and skeptically) step out from the boat onto a big pile of reeds, not knowing what to expect. The reeds felt soft and squishy underfoot, yet they seemed to easily support each step. Before we knew it, it simply felt like we were walking in a field of thick grass.
We then visited the beautiful Amantani island where there are no dogs, cars, hotels, or machines. The hillsides are terraced and agriculture is still done by hand. The island is inhabited by about 4000 Quechua-speaking people.
Sean, Flo, and I home-stayed with a local girl named Valeria and her family. In the afternoon our Geckos group played volleyball against the locals, and later that evening we got dressed up in their traditional clothes and attended a local dance in the community centre.