After breakfast, we leave the hotel for the short drive through the town to the pontoon where a boat takes us out onto Lake Titicaca. We pass through many small islands each home to between 8 to 15 people before arriving at the island we are to have a look around.
As we pull alongside, a party of the Uro women living on the island greet us with a song & help us board the reed island. They make me think of the welcome that the women of Hawaii give visitors (according to the films, I haven't been there, yet).
The first thing I noticed is how unstable I felt, I could feel the island beneath my feet moving & my mind kept telling me that this was a reed island & wouldn't take my weight. Bracing myself against my imminent plunge through the reeds into the water below I made my way to a circle of reed benches in the middle of the island. We all sat down & watched & listened to the ladies here as they described how the island was made & how they live.
We watched & listened to a demonstration of how the reed islands, building blocks were constructed. We were told that the reeds were used for lots more than making the islands. The base of the reed which is white is also used as a food item & because of its chemical makeup, it cleans people's teeth at the same time. If this stuff was available in America the dentists would go broke as the beautiful smiles that the people here have naturally, would cost thousands of dollars there.
We are invited to look around the island & the buildings. Power here is supplied by solar panels mounted on the reed buildings. I find this fascinating & find myself wishing more people would use this form of power. Then as we look inside a reed built house we are amazed to see a large television & satellite TV. A satellite dish mounted on the side of the reed building gives the people here access to hundreds of channels of the same daytime rubbish we in the UK are forced to endure. My idyllic notion of these people living without outside influence was immediately shattered, I just hope it does not ruin their way of life.
After a look around this island, we are taken aboard a double-hulled reed boat to take us to another island. Two of the girls from the island we are on climb aboard and row us to the next island, where we are to view a school. As we climb onto the next island I turned round to take a photo of the boat we arrived on. The two girls rowed it out a few yards into the lake where a motorboat came up behind it & then pushed it back to where it had come from. I wondered why, after all, it was a lot lighter now the 29 passengers had gotten off. You just can't get the staff these days.
We went into the nursery school on the island, where we met a woman who has spent time at university & was unable to get work as she was considered a second class citizen because she was an Indian from the floating islands. Because of this, she set up a nursery school for the children of the islands. She introduced us to her class who sang a few songs for us & they were delighted when we blessed them with our rendition of 'She'll be coming round the mountain'.
After visiting the school building we then took a slow ride back through the islands to Puno. There are lots of birds flying overhead & swimming in the water. The sun was shining, the birds were singing & it was a beautiful day.
On returning to Puno many of the tour walked into town for a look around but walking on the shifting reed beds had made my ankle swell up, so I returned with the coach to our hotel & had lunch & a beer before resting my leg for a few hours.