Floating Reed Islands on Lake Titicaca!

Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and my use of Diamox has helped me enjoy the few days we have been here. Today was my opportunity to see floating islands made totally of reeds! I could not believe I stepped onto the island of reeds: reed houses, lookout towers, boats, moisturizer, toilet paper, some souvenirs, and learned of the multiple uses of reeds-hats, clothing, mattresses, furniture, fertilizer, and food portion at root, they peel it like a banana. It takes 3 months to build a reed boat and they are making larger ones to transport tourists…I was one of them! If you need a toilet, you row about 5 minutes away into the reeds in a special place for such use. You are always to take someone with you.
The Uros culture in living on these reed islands can only involve hard working people as they need to continually build their island, and homes, and boats as the reeds decay. Walls and a roof last a year so that requires much upkeep. An island itself can last 35 years, but it requires a layer of new reeds on it every 15 days, and then also a layer under the house as it is always a step up from the island. There is so much work, but the people were wonderful explaining it all with the help of our guide.
For the creation of an island, they look for thick roots below reed growth and tie chunks together leaving a bit of space to let roots connect between chunks. They also anchor the reed island do it does not float to another location. It was absolutely fascinating! So what happens when people are not doing their fair share of work? At the third warning, the others take a saw and cut them away from the island they had been part of!
The Uros, are Aymara, and do have a medical clinic, a school, and midwife when a woman has a baby. Every family has a solar panel and as a result we saw light bulbs, radios and televisions…even if 6×6 inch screen.
The most distressing part for me was discovering the fact that the people are drinking the brackish water. The salt intake has effects on their bodies. They had a desalination project and had used it, but when it broke down a number of years ago no one could fix it. Wow, there could be a project!
Our entrance fee to visit these islands has been used for theses people to buy land outside of Puno for cemetery and also to build housing for their university students to stay nearby the school. When students attend university, more and more of them wear western clothes the and too on the island. Once again, the traditional ways may be lost in a generation.
We traveled an hour and half by speedboat to an actual Island Taquile. The island is made up of 6 districts and every family on the island has land in each district. This enables all to gave variety and to rotate use of their land. The people here are Quechua and both sexes knit. As a matter of fact, a young man must knit a hat with such a tight weave capable of holding water in it to impress his girlfriend's parents. We had a delicious lunch here and then hiked higher on the island to then walk a length of the island to meet our boat in a different location. One male tourist (not in our group) was having difficulty with his heart so he was transported by wheelbarrow for awhile.
When boarding or departing our boat, it was quite common to climb through a couple of other boats to get to the dock. Great day today and no rain until we headed back to our hotel.
Dinner toast was to our wonderful guide and good group. Tomorrow to Lima, a tour of another section of the city, lunch, a room till we leave for the airport to catch flights at midnight.
Wonderful trip! Would recommend it to anyone who is interested!
I will send photos when I have better wifi to download them.

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