Kapoors Year 7: Europe/Ecuador/Peru travel blog

Celia Had Never Ridden In A Autorickshaw So We Piled Into One...

The Waterfront Is Probably The Nicest Part Of Puno, I Especially Liked...

We Avoided The Tourist Boats And Bought Tickets On One Of The...

We Admired The $400 Per Night Hotel Librador From A Distance As...

Celia and I Climbed Up Onto The Sundeck, I Love This Photo...

Before Long We Could See Men Harvesting Reeds From The Shallows Of...

It Was Great To Travel With Other Peruvians, They've Probably Come From...

Just As The Sign Says, The Reed Islands Are Floating In Lake...

This Is An Example Of A Reed Hut, The Traditional Shape Was...

However, There Is This "Newer' Style Which Clearly Gives More Indoor Space...

There Are Two Large Collections Of Reed Islands Further Out In The...

We Admired The Beautiful Traditional Reed Boats As We Motored Past In...

We Turned Towards One Particular Island, We Would Be Allowed To Go...

As We Pulled Up To The 'Dock' We Were Able To See...

There Is No Actual Dock, We Had To Step Onto The Squishy...

The Base Of The Reed Is 2cm (1/2 to 3/4s Of An...

A Local Man Began To Explain In His Language How The Islands...

Blocks Of Reed Roots Are Cut, Sticks Are Inserted, And Then The...

Then Alternating Layers Of Fresh Reeds Are Piled On Top Of The...

The Stoves Sit Directly On The Reeds, Great Care Must Be Taken...

A New Layer Of Reeds Must Be Added Every Two Weeks As...

I Wondered About Access To Electricity, And Then I Spotted This Solar...

During The Presentation By The Men, The Women Were Busy Spreading Out...

I Laughed When I Spotted This Baby Peeping Out With A Christmas...

The Cushion Covers Are All Mass-Produced By Machines So I Wasn't Interested...

I Did Buy A Beautifully-Carved Gourd, The Women Didn't Mind Me Taking...

We Were Then Free To Walk Around The Small Island, Watching Out...

Back Behind The Huts We Heard Some Squealing And Found This Family...

I Stopped To Admire This Old Wooden Motorboat

Just As We Were Leaving I Spotted This Long-Handled Knife Stuck Out...

We Opted To Travel To Another Island On Board A Reed Boat,...

Somehow I Managed To Snap This Photo When The Children Turned Their...

A Peaceful Moment On A Quiet Lake, Not Many Visitors To Uros...

A Man Sat At The Front Of Our Boat To Steer It,...

And At The Back, A Motorboat Nudged Itself In Between The Rear...

The Children Had Jumped Aboard At The Last Minute And Then Climbed...

The Roof Was Full Of Holes And The Little Girl With The...

A Woman In A Traditional Puno Costume Sat Near The Bow

I Climbed Up To The Rickety Sundeck To Get A Different View...

This One Was Set Up To Accommodate More Families, It Even Had...

I Wandered To The Back Where I Found A Little Cluster Of...

I Greeted A Local Man In Spanish, And He Allowed Me To...

There Were Different Crafts For Sale On This Island, Cute Ones, But...

It Seems That Some Of These Islanders Are Potters, Maybe They Find...

There Was Even A Little Store Selling Staple Goods, And Junk Like...

On Our Way Back To Puno, I Got A Better Look At...

Celia Ended Up Travelling Back On A Different Boat, One That Broke...

We Passed The Boat And Made It Back To Shore Ahead Of...

We Decided To Walk Along The Waterfront Promenade And Were Approached By...

We Walked Past A Number Of Unique Paddle Boats, Waiting For The...

This Was The MOST Unique Of All - A Crocodile Paddle Boat!

A Thick Green Layer Of Algae Covered The Water Near The Esplanade,...

Further On I Looked Down Into The 'Water' And Saw This Heart-Warming...

Most Of The Buildings In Puno Appear Incomplete, The Owners Avoid Higher...

Pare (STOP) Train Crossing!

We Decided To Follow The Train Tracks To Discover The Puno Train...

We Passed By The Titicaca Hostel, With Its Sign Shaped Like The...

To Our Dismay, Our Route Came To An Abrupt End, Quite A...

But We Were Even More Disappointed To Discover A Tiny Non-Descript Passenger...


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BACKGROUND

Excerpts from the Lonely Planet – Peru:

Lake Titicaca’s islands are world famous for their peaceful beauty and well-preserved traditional agrarian cultures, which you can see up close by staying with families on the is- lands. A homestay here is a privileged glimpse at another way of life that you’re unlikely to forget.

That said, the excruciatingly slow chug across the lake (whatever you do, don’t forget the sunblock!) is not necessarily more enjoyable than seeing it from the shore, and negative impacts from tourism are being deeply felt in many communities.

Taquile has attracted large numbers of tourists since the 1970s. Tourism income goes mostly to the few families who own restaurants and guesthouses, and resentment towards tourists is increasingly evident in the community. The people of Amantaní tried to avoid this by introducing turismo vivencial.

Food and lodging were offered at a set price in family homes, not hotels, following a strict rotation system enforced by the community. Yet over time this system broke down, as tour agencies played favorites and some communities began to undercut others. Now, some communities barely profit at all from receiving visitors, and most islanders still live in poverty despite decades of tourism.

Islas Uros

Just 5km east of Puno, these unique floating islands are Lake Titicaca’s top tourist attraction. They’re built using the buoyant totora reeds that grow abundantly in the shallows of the lake. The lives of the Uros people are interwoven with these reeds, which are partially edible (tasting like hearts of palm) and are also used to make their homes, their boats and the crafts they churn out for tourists.

The islands are constructed from many layers of the totora, which are constantly replenished from the top as they rot from the bottom, so the ground is always soft and springy. Be careful not to put your foot through any rotten sections!

Some islands also have elaborately designed versions of traditional tightly bundled reed boats on hand. Be prepared to pay for a ride or to take photographs. Intermarriage with the Aymara-speaking indigenous people has seen the demise of the pure-blooded Uros, who nowadays all speak Aymara. Always a small tribe, the Uros began their unusual floating existence centuries ago in an effort to isolate them selves from the aggressive Collas and Incas.

The popularity of the islands has led to shocking over-commercialization, and controversy rages over their authenticity, with many puneños (residents of Puno) claiming that islanders sleep on the mainland.

It’s worth noting that more authentic reed islands do still exist. These are located further from Puno through a maze of small channels and can only be visited with a private boat. The islanders there continue to live in a relatively traditional fashion, and prefer not to be photographed.

KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

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