The next day we visited Taquile Island where the men weave all of their wives' garments and hence are rarely seen without a ball of yarn and a half finished weaving. Similarly, the women spin the yarn and are equally busy as they walk up and down the hills, spinning yarn without even looking down. The Taquile women are noticeably more shy than the people of Amantani and generally avert their gazes or giggle bashfully. Men on Taquile wear traditional clothes reminiscent of Spain with a waistcoat, baggy pants, and distinctive hats that used to indicate marital status. The married men can still be identified now as they wear a large bag of Coca leaves tied at their sides, apparently designed to help them cope with the added stresses of married life.
I had received a blistering sunburn the day before on our boat ride to Amantani and was sweating under my long sleeved shirt and pants, looking forward to getting back to the cool wind onboard the boat. Others seemed to feel similarly and before long we headed down the 541 steps on the opposite side of Taquile to meet our boat. We were all a bit anxious to see how Steve and Heidi, a German woman in our trip who had stayed in Puno with a case of Montezuma's revenge, were faring so we voted to return early to see if we could talk them into a bit of lunch. On the ride back, as we were nearing Puno, another boat passed us going the opposite direction. Onboard, Steve and Heidi shouted to us, waving and smiling. We could hardly stop laughing. Later we found out that Steve had chartered a boat for them to have a private visit to the Uros Islands since the last group tours had already left for the day. They had a fantastic time with the private guide and even visited one island that is usually restricted from tourists as the guide had a god child there that he wanted to see.