“Rock Puma” aka Lake Titicaca
Trip Start Aug 03, 2011
33Trip End Mar 01, 2012
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What I did
Lake Titicaca. Uros.
our game plan was to tour the Uros, get a good peek at Lake Titicaca and get out. two nights max. upon arrival at the bus terminal we booked our tickets to tour the artificial islands and purchased our bus tickets. we meant business and with all the negotiating that took place we worked up quite the appetite. with growling stomachs we scoured the streets for a hole in the wall serving a tasty treat. it was half past ten at this point and the city streets were still buzzing with a good mix of locals and tourists. we found a nice strip of bars and restaurants making our goal of finding food, no problem. quick meal, nice cold beer and off to bed to get our beauty rest for the next adventure
as luck would have it, the morning of our tour turned out to be a nice sunshiny day. we booked a half day which included the boat ride out to the artificial islands and an English speaking guide to teach us about the Ima tribe and their way of life on the Uros, aka artificial islands. and…just to be a nice guy, he threw in a few interesting facts about Puno, on the house. such as, Puno may not look very nice today but it is said that they once had a massive amount of silver and gold making them the richest city in the world. SO much that they built a 3KM path out of silver slabs to welcome the next conquistador. talk about laying out the red carpet. shockingly this path no longer exists.
after a short cruise on Lake Titicaca, we putted into the Uros community. what a marvelous sight to see. i didn't quite understand the whole "floating" thing and was eager to learn just how they pulled it off. need be, i was prepared to slip the guide a twenty to get to the bottom of it. we took a quick spin around the community and then docked up to one of the artificial islands to venture on “land”. the ground was covered in REEDS. the gates were made of REEDS. their houses were made of REEDS. their boats used to get from point A to point B, REEDS
FACT: the artificial islands are TRULY, ONE HUNDRED percent floating. SWEET! and they have been around for FIVE HUNDRED YEARS.
MORE FACTS: the Ima people created the Uros when they had to flee from the mainland in order to avoid being captured as slaves by the conquistador invaders coming to Puno for the gold and silver. fire the guy whose idea it was to build the silver path for them, ha. there were actually two tribes at the time living in the surrounding area of Puno the Imas and the Cashuans. the Imas were hard working and better soldiers than the people of the Cashuan tribe. at first the Ima people fought for their land but quickly realized they were no match against the conquistador soldiers. they would rather die than become slaves…or FLEE. they jumped onto their boats and into the center of Lake Titicaca they went to live.
anyone who has spent significant time on a boat knows that living in an EXTREMELY COZY environment such as this where they had to hunt, cook, eat, sleep, etc , was obviously not an ideal living condition and they needed to find a better solution
Puno today is extremely westernized and there are no longer invasions happening, however the Ima people still choose to live on the Uros because they don’t agree with the modernization and want to keep the traditional Ima culture alive. props to them. within Lake Titicaca there are a few different floating island communities however only one encourages foreign visitors while the others remain closed off. NOW, props to them for keeping to the Uros BUT they shop on the mainland for their food. in the middle of our guide’s schpeel a snack boat pulled up and the women ran over to snatch up Pringles, Snickers, Gatorade and LOAD of Coca Cola. definitely killed their authenticity vibe they were trying to sell us. HA!
growing up, Lake Titicaca was always said followed by a lot of giggles. lot of growing up to do. when planning our trip it was a MUST SEE
TRUE STORY: here we were siting and discussing the garbage issue with our guide, my face in utter disgust and arms folded to DRIVE HOME where i stood on the subject. the words still hung in the air. AND a kid from the boat in front of us chucks. CHUCKS. an empty Coca Cola bottle into the lake. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! GRRR!
there used to be TWENTY different types of fish in the lake and now there are only three. THREE. of which they blame on the sole factor that foreign invaders introduced Trout and King Fish to the lake and being that they are carnivores, killed off the other fish. i know there to be truth in this BUT i cannot believe that is the ONLY factor. get them the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle posters QUICK
…after our exciting tour we packed up our bags, dropped our postcards in the mail to grandparents and were off to BOLIVIA. another country. a whole new can of adventure. whoo. whoo. whoo!
-Puno: after being told it was a dump, i would say that is a rather HARSH description. yes, there is a lot of garbage but we have seen that ALL over Peru. it’s a mid-sized city with lots of bars and restaurants. better described as a good stopping point to break up the long trip from Cuzco to Bolivia with a peek at Lake Titicaca and the Uros as your souvenir.
-Frogs: get to be 45-60cm wide/long. THAT’S BIG. YIKES! the legs are not considered a delicacy but rather they prefer to blend the frogs and drink them. uh, come again?!
-disputes: should two neighboring artificial islands come to a disagreement, they simply host up the anchor and float to a different spot on the lake
-snacks: Peruvians love their corn and lucky me because popcorn is a tasty treat that i very much like. everywhere we go you can buy bags of freshly popped corn. this of course also means that you can buy corn on the cob if you would like. we have also started to see salted and caramelized nuts as a snack to buy from the bus and street vendors. looks like chicken legs and papas might be behind us.
-fruit bread: (pictured below) is EVERYWHERE. aisle display. after aisle display. whole back walls full of them. ENTIRE street shops selling nothing but this bread. we thought it was just for Christmas but we are told it is not a holiday bread but just an everyday snack that they can’t get enough of. my goodness. that is some serious love.