I was able to sleep in a bit today since my pickup schedule wasn’t until 7:40 AM. I was due to visit the islands of Uros and Amantani and spend the night with a family at the latter island.
Ever since I’ve read about Uros, I was intrigued by it and it was actually one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Titicaca. I must say that it was every bit as interesting but I was also surprised at how touristic it has become. The people seem genuine to share their culture to visitors but I found them just as eager, perhaps even more so, on selling their products to tourists. The guy who invited us to view his home was more enthusiastic about selling rather than telling us about the way of life in the island. Kudos to him though—at least he spoke English.
After Uros, it was a pleasant two and half hour boat ride to Amantani. I met several other travelers on the boat: a Dutch gal on her gap year, two couples from Brussels, a guy originally from Turkey but lives in DC, and an Indian couple living in San Jose. We chatted about our travels within Peru, talked about other places we’ve been and future trips. Before we knew it, we landed on the island and were about to meet our families.
It has been two days since the hike to Wayna Picchu and I was still aching a bit so I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the hike up the house. Unfortunately, it was the only way up and I was rewarded with great views of the lake and the surrounding islands after each break. It took around half an hour to reach the house from the pier.
My family was a small one relatively speaking. The head of the household and his wife and his son and his family were the inhabitants in the house. There were three boys, ages 8-14.
The family prepared a lunch made up of quinoa soup, fried cheese and cucumber for me and Ash, the Dutch girl I shared a room with. It was simple but very good. The lunch was capped with munya tea to help cope with the altitude. Munya is a local flower that grows on the island.
I was fortunate that Ash spoke Spanish so we were able to engage the families more, especially the kids. We had a blast talking to them throughout the afternoon. At around 4pm, we gathered at the main plaza to watch some kick ball take place between visitors and locals before making our pilgrimage to Patcha Tata (father earth in Quechua) temple. After another 40 minutes of uphill hiking, we reached the temple site and were rewarded with panoramic views of the island and the lake. We stayed there long enough to catch the sunset and left just in time before the rain poured. After the hike, our boat group gathered at my family’s mini store for some drinks and a bit of a rest. Not long after, it was time to go back to our families and eat dinner before preparing for the cultural party that night.
Dinner was light, but tasty. We had another bowl of vegetable soup and had a mixture of sautéed beans, potatoes, and carrots for the main course. After dinner, Ash chatted up the boys a bit and the youngest, Abraham even sang a few songs for us. He had a pretty decent voice and deep for an eight year old. Apparently he sings for the church so he gets a lot of practice. While waiting, I lent my phone to the boys and let them play games on it. Abraham started off with Fruit Ninja and then him and his older “bro” David played Pocket Tanks against each other. It was amazing to see how amused they were with something so simple.
It didn’t take long before it was time to put on the traditional clothing and head towards the party. The clothes were composed of a handful of items: two skirts, a vest, a scarf, and a knitted belt. The boys’ mum helped Ash and me change into the traditional clothing. The result was bulky but at least we were warm.
The party was fun. There were plenty of music and dancing. Almost everyone there seemed to be pleased. It was a good way for the locals to introduce their culture and for the visitors to experience them first hand. Overall, it was a good night.
It was just a little after ten when we went back to the house and got ready for bed. Tomorrow’s wake up call is at 630am.