Sarah and I arriving at Uros, the floating Reed Islands in Lake Titicaca. We decided to do a homestay there with a local Quechua Family
There are 50 islands that are made of floating reeds in Lake Titicaca. The people live there in peace and solitude (other than the boat loads of tourists that come every morning to buy their artisan craftsJ.
Even their boat and homes are made of the reeds from the Lake. They look very Egyptian.
These are the local women that were greeting our boat as we arrived. Usually 5-6 families live together on one island.
The women here braid their hair and decorate them with brightly woven pom-poms. They also have neon colored dyed clothing and a wide variety of hats. Their hats tell people their marital status. These women were married.
This Quechua Woman is hanging up her hand-made woven reed mobiles. They show a sun symbol with local boats with people on them hanging from them. The sum symbol stands for Pacha Mama, their Mother Earth.
Sarah can’t decide what to buy! She finally broke down and bartered her way into buying a floating mobile.
I think these were baby Ibises…They were pecking at the good and seem to be a pest to the islanders.
A view of one floating island….Pretty small for 5 families. They created these islands by hand by bringing local mud that floats and stacking layers of reeds on top of the mud and then attaching the floating mud blocks with wooden stakes, sort of like a jigsaw puzzle.
The “river” that goes through the islands. It’s actually all just Lake Titicaca, but the constant water traffic between the islands makes it seem like a river.
A local unmarried man, selling water and sweets in the Plaza on Taquile Island. You can tell he isn’t married by the type of hat he is wearing. It looks like a stocking cap.
This sign tells the tale of all of the men you see around the plaza knitting. Such a funny sight, but in their Quechua culture, the men are actually in charge of knitting the clothes and toys for their children. The women knit things to be sold in the markets (probably because they are better:)
A landscape view of the agricultural terraces of Taquile Island. For how poor and simple these people live, some still had satellite tv and solar electricity!
A view inside of Sarah’s and my hut on our floating island homestay. It was SO clean and quaint. You would never know the inside of a hut looks like this. They even surprised us with hot water bottles tucked in our bed at night!
A view of the outside of our Hut where we stayed the night in Uros
The men’s and women’s bathrooms on the island! Ha Ha,
The Men’s Bathroom
The Women’s Bathroom
Our “relaxation area” on the island, sort of their plaza, with lounge chairs and even a swing set made of grass reeds!
Sarah and I testing out the reed swing set
Our kitchen and dinner hut, fully equipped with solar panels
Each island has a gateway sign made out of grass reeds. This one was a sun with the word “Quechua” for their language and people.
Victor, our “gondolier” is the patriarch of the island of Khantati where we stayed. He took us on a canoe ride in our local garb to see where they fish and how they cut the reeds for their island. I am wearing the local stocking hat that means I am “unmarried”.
Sarah in her local Quechua garb while being rowed through the narrow canals that are their roads.
A Portrait of Victor rowing our reed canoe at Sunset.
The view of the lights of Puno, Lake Titicaca’s largest city, from the floating islands of Uros.
Sarah was light testing for our morning photo shoot with a local Quechua Family.
Sarah and I ditched the local stocking caps and rocked our parrot feather earrings that we bought. We are definitely better behind the camera:)
Victor’s, his brother, and their wives by their hut.
Portrait of Victor and his brother.
Victor posing on the new grass reed boat that he made by hand. These boats last 1 year and 8 months, he said, until they turn into a soggy mess.
Self portrait with Victor and his wife…with cat.
Quechua Family Portrait with Gringa and Cat.
We handed our camera to a local man on the island to take this Family Portrait. They were LOVING the photo shoot. It was probably the most funny thing they had seen in a while.
Sarah posing on their HUGE Egyptian-style floating vessel. The mast heads look like catfish heads or something with plastic bottles as their eyes.
The local floating market paying it’s daily visit to the island. It’s like a 7-Eleven on water, with junk food and juices etc.
Sarah took this portrait of me wearing the local straw hat, which technically means I am a married woman, but I didn’t care. It had the best sun protection against the harsh UV Rays at Lake Titicaca. Here, because of the high- altitude and reflection from the lake, skin cancer is their biggest killer here amongst the Quechua people.
Portrait of Baby Milagros trying to open a bag of chips she just got from the floating market.
Our view of the reeds and lake from Uros.
Leaving our little home on the island of Khantati. This was the water road that took us back to mainland Puno.
La Puerta de Amaru Muru or the “Star Gate”. This holy carved wall is supposed to be a portal to other dimensions according to the Incas. We met a Shaman there that blessed us and played the flute while we meditated in the portal.
A view of the other side of the Amaru Muru. The wall is a strange sheer rock formation only a few feet thick at the top. There is definitely a powerful energy here.
These are the ruins of the tombs where the Quechua people would mummify their dead loved ones and prepare them for the afterlife. The cylindrical ones are for women and the square ones are for men. They would mummify them on the Summer Solstice and their bodies would be “reborn” on the Winter solstice.
I crawled inside of one of the tombs, obviously empty now since the Spaniards that came pillaged everything looking for gold. But it was a strange, peaceful place inside of the tomb.
Local shepherd tending to his flock of sheep outside of Puno, Lake Titicaca
The countryside of Lake Titicaca.
The final remnants of Lake Titicaca as we were leaving. It is such a strange landscape being there at the highest Lake in the world.