Lake Titicaca crosses two countries: Peru and Bolivia. The tour we arranged yesterday was for the Peruvian side, but also included bus ticket from Puno to Copacabana, Bolivia for 95 soles (36 USD).
A car came to fetch us in the morning to take us to the dock. We hopped on a wooden boat and headed to the Uros first.
Uros, also known as the floating islands. These artificial islands were mainly made out of reeds. The friendly islanders welcomed us with songs and demonstrations of how they made their island that were about 1000 square feet. They even have a little bridge over a small pond in the centre of the island. We visited their huts where they sleep and one of them have a small TV. I wondered if they get CNN.
The Uros people barter for goods and do not use currency. They would leave their islands for Puno with their dry fish and reed crafts to trade rice and potatoes. They use to be very poor until tourism provided them with more money.
For ten extra soles, we also went for a 15 minute reef boat ride.
The Island of Amanati, the island of love, took more 3 hours for us to get to. But the best part of traveling is meeting the people. We met a fellow Canadian from Montreal whose travel buddy had to cancel last minute and the poor thing had to travel alone. We also met a Brit traveling with her father. She was a medical student who had just finished doing a two month internship in Cuzco.
We arrived in Amanati shortly after 1PM and were famished. We met our hostess Julia and she took us to her house up the hill. It was a laborious 5 minute up. Little did we know this was nothing! The worst was yet to come. But we had lunch first: quinua soup, fried cheese and potatoes. Then we took a little nap in our room. Julia's house was simple. Kitchen and toilet was on the first floor. There were no showers. The second floor was the sleeping quarters. The rooms were colorfully decorated and cozy.
Around 4PM, our group gathered at the town centre and started our ascent to the top of the island where the Pacha-mama or the mother earth temple was located. I don't know which was more painful, this 40 minute hike at almost 3800m or 1 hour Wayna Picchu hike at 2700m.
Half way up, our guide told us to grab 4 pieces of pebbles. When we finally got to the top, we had to walk around the temple one time and throw the four pebbles into the temple as we made 4 wishes that related to wisdom, health, work and love. We hung out to watch the beautiful sunset. The wind had really picked up and became quite bitterly cold. We headed down hill and seemed to go on forever. It was pitch dark before we knew it. All the twinkling stars came out with a very bright moon.
Julia was at the town centre square waiting for us. Dinner was served right away. I wasn't sure why we were all so sleepy. We took yet another nap. But our night wasn't over. At 8PM, Julia dressed us up in traditional Amanati outfit consisted white embroidered shirt, heavy layered black skirt and multicolored belt. I was ready to rock the town with my new outfit. Mens outfit was much simplier, a poncho. Julia then took us up to a hall for a Pena show. A band played traditional music and the locals and tourists all gathered to dance in circles.
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