Tuesday November 1, 2011
We awoke very early and enjoyed the view out of our hotel room window over part of Lake Titicaca, the world's largest navigable lake. Altitude,12,500 ft, 3,800 m. Cuy likes it too.
Wake-up call at 7 am (which was not necessary because we were up much earlier). Departure from hotel 8:30 am.
Our departure this time is on foot ... down to the
hotel's own pier.
Our hotel from the boat. It does not have a good reputation for being pretty (one guidebook describes it as an "eyesore").
We don't go far (but quite slowly not to disturb the environment) and see the first boat of the 'floating Uros Islands' (this one for tourists).
The weather is calm and so is the lake. It gives me a very peaceful feeling. A lot of tourists are around though just like us.
We get off our boat and onto one of the islands and are enthusiastically greeted.
Our guide Elisio teaches us that when the Uros say "kamisiraki" we should answer "valiki". This language is Aymara, one of the few places that still use this language. On the other islands and in most of the surrounding areas they speak Quechua.
The ground is soft and springy since the "ground is packed reeds floating on the lake.
Ready to learn all about it.
Our local guide Eliseo and this island's chief explain a lot about the way the islands are build and how they live. If you would like more information click here.
(This article talks about 42 islands. Our guides told us that there were 67.)
The chief explains how a floating island is built.
The floating island model.
It is funny to walk on. Feels like a waterbed.
The ladies and children sing for us.
Click here and here.
He insisted I come into his house. He also wanted me to sit on his bed but I motioned that I had to see other things too.
Of course the islanders showed off their crafts which were for sale. Really nice things. We bought a tiny toy boat made from reeds for William.
The children are cute in every country.
Those who wanted had the option of taking the reed boat instead of the motor boat for a little way (for 10 soles or $4).
The boys were in each of the front curvy things (?).
The rest of our group getting into the hotel boat.
Some girls came too.
The men were in the back curvy things rowing us.
Then the girls came up on top and sang for us.
At the end the little one took off her bowler hat and held it up to Jim. First he though she wanted to show it to him. Then we all understood that she wanted some money. Oh, well ...
The hotel boat is meeting us and we all climb over into it.
It takes us then 1 hour or 1 1/2 to go with good speed to solid Taquile Island. If you want more information click here.
The men greet us with hand shakes and the women wait to show us their weaving methods.
It is a very primitive loom but the work is incredible.
Eliseo explains to us the customs.
The men do all the knitting.
The hats are worn down on either side (depending where the sun is for protection).
Fathers make hats for their boys when they are very young. When they are about 8 years old, they start to learn to knit their own hats. Unmarried males' hats have the white tops. When they are married they knit the other kinds color all the way.
The goal is to knit very tight. If the groom-to-be is finished with his "married hat", the bride-to-be will test is by pouring water into it. If it leaks, he is declared NOT ready for marriage yet.
Here Eliseo explains the cummerbunds. As soon as a couple is engaged, the bride-to-be starts weaving her intendeds cummerbund. The pattern is a story and everybody's slightly different depending on the woman's ability. There are 12 pictures telling the story of the year e.g. January til December.
The groom-to-be weaves the second coarser part (beige and black stripes). He also weaves hair from his fiancee into it. From birth on each girl collects her hair which comes out brushing it. By the time she gets engaged there must be plenty and she gives it to her fiancee to use. The cummerbunds help to protect the back while doing hard work.
... with bubbles.
Again, the wool ends up snow white.
Audience participation, sigh.
Opportunity to buy something.
With 5 needles.
Their work is just soooooo lovely.
This little girl is already doing really good work too.
And then we had a box lunch from the hotel. James left his for the local children.
After that one more stop on the other side of the island for an opportunity to hike up to the top. James and I skip that. James is just not feeling very well. By now he is convinced that it was something he ate. He takes Cipro and skips the farewell dinner later this evening.