Arrived at the Libertor Hotel which is in a remote Penisular overlooking the reed beds. I am up at 05:30 still pinching myself to think that we are here in a place I'd only dreamed about or saw on some National Geographic TV program. Just missed a beautiful sunrise over the reed beds but raring to go out to the meet the peoples of Uros and their handmade floating homes made of Totora reeds.
Our group of 6 were presented to a family onto their floating home.(island). There are 92 floating islands joined into a main water street, upon the islands there are family homes, schools and tourist shops.
We were enthuasically welcomed by the family of 14 one of which was the president of 8 of the islands. The introduced themselves and it appeared there was the grandmother and father, the president and his wife and one chills, other married couple with 2 young children one of which took a fancy to Alison and two young girls, one of which was in a trial marriage with a local lad. They have six months to give it a go before getting married and a young girl just completed school and wanted to go to University. We then had to introduce ourselves and our families. They spoke in Chakewen and therefore our guide had to translate. They described how they built their homes, how the lived on the reeds and the uses for the reeds, there clothes and what each of the colours meant and the significance of their different hats and indeed the angle of the hat and what showed the others! Tilted to the side meant you we free and available for love!. I of course rapidly adjusted my Tilly hat to the right. It was fascinating how in the world of technology they seem to prosper on so little but are so happy. The only two things from 20th century are a few motorised boats. A few because the engines cost as much as cars and they have no way of maintaining on the reeds and the other is solar panels to light their evenings or watch TV. This is an exception granted to the president to keep up with the news or Premier League!
Following their demonstrations we were invited to dance with them, interesting moves and happy to be chosen by the uni student. We were then invited by the President to go to his home, see his house and dress as the Uros people and I was given the honour of having the presidents hat and therefore his authority on the island. I think I was chosen as I had the most expensive camera. This proved the point after as he wished to tempt us to purchase the goods that he and his wife had crafted themselves. I could have purchased the whole island gifts but limited myself to each of the families.
Before departing these lovely people we had to guess the depth of the Lake and at 18m Alison won. Her prize was a salted seagull, a speciality of the islands. Alison gratefully accepted the gift but later exchanged it for a small crafted gift.
We left the islands after signing some native songs along with our contribution of Copa Copacabana which we thought everyone would know, which left Alison and I doing a duet.
We finally kissed goodbye and was taken on a reed boat similar to the Kontiki out of the village to continue our journey to Tacquile island. It was the most magical time and I loved every minute although I am sure that they perform for tourist everyday, but I felt real connection with the family and the islands of Urios.