Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lake Titicaca: Uros People And Floating Islands

Our Lake Titicaca tour included two stops, the first being to one of "floating islands," still inhabited by the Uros people, an indigenous group that came from the east centuries ago. They built "floating islands" in the lake, out of reeds and their roots--you have to see this to believe it--enjoying the ability to pull up stakes (literally) and move away from danger. At length, they adopted the indigenous Aymara language and speak it today. The Aymara are mainland folk with whom the Uros traded and intermarried. There are some few dozens of floating islands, some housing 10 or so families, some as few as 2 or 3. The traditional lifestyle has continued, in part, despite the encroachment of Incas, Conquistadors, and 21st century tourists. I suspect the 21st century will finally do them in. The Uros language was dead even before the Incas.
On Lake Titicaca, looking back towards bit of Puna, population

Arriving on our island; the Uros alternate islands vitis, both to
share the proceeds but also to minimize the impact on the island

Our vessel, the Cap 40 Max

"Our" island comprised 6 families

Four of the ladies of the island welcome us

Everything is made out of these totora reeds

Our tourist group

And faster than you can say "That'll be 20 Soles ($6.50) each,"
we all pile into this reed catamaran for a little cruise around
the island and its nearest neighbor; propulsion is by pole...it's
very shallow water here

The nearest island, which turned out to be the regional

Aboard the catamaran

Kindergarten Island

Kindergarten boat

Reeds; the white is a staple of their diet

Demonstration of reed-eating

Vicki bravely tries a sample; tasted like mild apple, she said

Looking back to the home island

Instructional aid

And now a demonstration of how the island is made, of reeds
and their roots, pegged down in the shallow water

Evidence of Disney's total market penetration, world-wide

Display of textile goods made on the island

Model boat from the gift shoppe; these tourist visits and
purchases are the cash crop for these people; they otherwise
live off the land and lake; so one doesn't mind spending a few
soles to help them maintain the lifestyle they obviously want

Interior of a cabin; I counted 8 solar panels on the island

Potato garden

Back on the lake, en route to Taquile Island (I thought it was
going to be Tequila Island; only later did I figure out what a
"spit boat" was and why it went so fast

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