Monday, 2 December 2019

PERU DAY 11 THURSDAY THE FLOATING ISLANDS


Lake Titicaca is laced by mountains and at the Puno end, vast reed beds. The reeds are home to ducks, grebes and egrets. This lake then broadens out and is mirror flat and deep blue and reflecting high cloud. Only the wake of our boat breaks the peace. In the far distance are small white outlines of other tour boats.  We have two island destinations today, our last full day.

UROS
The floating island reed beds are home to the Uros people. The Uros or Uru use bundles of dried totora reeds to make boats and to fashion the islands themselves. The larger of these island accommodate about ten families, while smaller ones, are only thirty meters wide, housing only two or three families. 
A WORLD CREATED OUT OF REEDS


COLOUR IS THE LEITMOTIF!
Tourism is the staple industry of the Uros. Dazzling colour is their leitmotif! The clothing made and worn by the women and girls were of the brightest hues, pinks, blues, reds and yellows, oranges and greens. 

I could not draw quickly enough and left the island that we were fortunate enough to visit with four drawings. This short outing was a high spot.

TAQUILE.
Taquile is a hilly island located 45 km (28 miles) east of Puno. It is narrow and long and was used as a prison during the Spanish colonisation and actually into the 20th century. We had an excellent lunch of trout fished out of the lake. Titicaca is famous for its fish especially trout. Taquile is home to a remarkable knitting industry. Taquile handicrafts are regarded as among the highest quality in the world. 
TAQUILE ISLAND TITICACA'S CRAFT CENTRE


Tour Guide Sindy explained some of the local customs. One convention is a curious try-before-you-buy aspect to getting married. 

A prospective couple have to live together for three years before they can get married, usually under the roof of the girl’s family. The engagement can be broken off before getting hitched of course. 

However divorce is prohibited. There was one case of divorce and the male of the party was banished from the island. There are now about 2,200 people on the island, all of whom are happily married. UNESCO honoured the island of Taquile and its Textile Art: They proclaimed the handicraft work on this island as ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. Men exclusively do the knitting, and start aged eight. The women do get a look in; making yarn and weaving. I bought a nice scarf.

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