Styling in Tuk-Tuks and Floating Islands
Our new guide had a surprise for us outside of our hotel early in the morning. Several Tuk-Tuks were lined up waiting to take us to the port. A very short 10minute hilarious ride later we got onto our very small private boat.
Our first stop was Uros, which is a floating island. The floating islands were made of reeds and tied together with compacted soil which anchor into the lake. A single island takes one year to make. After speaking with the locals (in the small amount of Aymara that we learnt), playing with the kids, dressing up in traditional dress, buying weavings and taking a traditional boat ride, we headed to our next stop.
We had an exhausting walk to the top of the island to have lunch (rainbow trout – introduced from Canada) which was delicious but full of bones, followed by admiring the views, exploring the town square and then heading along the island down to the port to leave for our home stay.
Getting ‘in’ With The Locals
Arriving at Luquina Chico island in the late afternoon, our first stop was the elementary school, where we were introduced to our homestay sister, Gladys. We played football against the locals and suffered hard at 4000 m altitude, having to sub in players every few minutes. Our expected loss was 4-2 but the game was awesome.
Following the game we were entertained with a dance by the locals in traditional dress, and then we were dressed by the locals in traditional outfits to dance for them. Post dancing, we wore our gear the whole way home which was at least 3 km away, mostly uphill, in pitch black darkness at 4000 m – not the easiest walk of our lives.
Awkward Homestead Stay
After dropping our bags off we met our parents (Hermano & Tina) and siblings (Daina, William and we have forgotten the eldest girls name). Dinner was so very awkward and we offered to help cook and clean up but we were told to wait until the next day. Dinner was nice and consisted of soup and a main I can’t remember, but nothing had meat in it. Everyone bailed straight after dinner to go to bed so we said goodnight and left early.
The next day we woke up to have a breakfast consisting of nice deep fried bread and then got to work. The parents left with their annoying donkey to go to the markets, and the eldest daughter (who didn’t really seem to like us), headed off to uni in Puno.
Our first job was herding the sheep up the hill to the paddock, and tieing them into position. Heading back to the house, we then cleaned the dishes, sorted beans, fetched water, fed the cows and then played games with the kids.
The girls were brushing and braiding their hair, so I offered to do theirs. After that they decided to do mine in return while Ricky pushed William and Daina around in the wheel barrow and played football.
Following lunch, Gladys walked us back to the port, where we said our thankyou’s and then we left for the 4 hour boat back to Puno. Accepting the challenge, three of us jumped in the lake, which was near freezing.