On our boat trip to La Isla Muy alto del Mundo we find we have no choice but to take part in the floating islands tour also, which we had been specifically warned against due to its overtouristyness and lack of genuinely. Although assured by our tour guide, who had the air of an Uymani Del Boy, that this wasn’t a touristic floating island, and people do really live and die here, it did seem that the whole thing, from being greeted off the boat by the islanders, to sitting in a semicircle whilst Del Boy demonstrated things on a colourful map of Titicaca, with an islander perched next to him sewing a tapestry, was rather set up. That said, we were floating on 1m deep of reeds, in the middle of a massive lake – reed houses and reed boats are still pretty spectacular.
A NIGHT ON AYAMANTI WITH PEDRO
I’m writing this now in bed under 4 blankets, 2 jumpers, a hat and a scarf with only a candle to illuminate our room. We’ve come to stay with Pedro, who has welcomed us into his home and cooked us two hearty meals consisting mostly of quinoa soup, fried cheese and potatoes. The island has no electricity nor running water, hence why I’m currently considering sleeping in my jeans, and maybe even to double up on hats, to maximise warmth – at 3888m, it apparently drops below freezing at night. It is most certainly not far off. The cold aside, it is fascinating to stay with a native Quechuan and to see his way of life – he gets up 4am every day to go walking and swears by this herbal tea, Mooña, which tastes rather like mint or tea tree oil, and grows only in its full green strength on this island.
We walked up to Pachamama and Pachatata, two clusters of ruins of shrines to mother and father earth, with incredible views from the top of the magnificent lake stretching into the distance, and at least 3 different types of weather looming from one vantage point.
And scattered over these two steep hills are Peruvian women of all ages carrying potatoes and other crops, weighing down their backs in beautifully coloured tapestries, two scythes flung over their shoulders and donkeys in tow.
ISLA DEL SOL
The island where the Quecha people believe the sun was born: no internet, one restaurant and a lot of pigs.
Seemingly cut off from the rest of the world, the v traditional Bolivian lady/girl/old woman who ran our little hostel had, however, heard not only of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and baby George, but also of Camilla Parker-Bowles. The mind boggles.
She also thought that Blauth looked like Wills, but was of the fervent opinion that the Duke of Kent was not attractive in the slightest.