Homestay on Lake Titicaca Island, and Inca Disco!

Puno Travel Blog

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A view from Taquile island

On Boxing Day (not sure that such a celebration is actually realised in South America) we hopped onto a boat that took us from Puno to a couple of islands hours away on Lake Titicaca.  The boat ride itself was enjoyable, though we´d been given some Quechuan to learn in preparation for our homestay that night and I went onto the top of the boat to enjoy the views and given learning some basic phrases a go.  Everyone else had remained downstairs and I ahd images of them feverously learning the words and testing each other, which pressurised me into trying to get to grips with at least a couple of words.  When I  actually did return downstairs I found everyone asleep apart from a couple playing chess on a charming Incas v´s Spanish chess set where two of the knights are llamas!

We made it to the first island - Taquile - heralded by a sudden crash as the boat hit the rocks (it was at this point we discovered it didn´t have a reverse gear or brakes or anything like that!).

And the boats ready to leave for Island number 2, Amantani
  Taquile, we were told, was a sort of communist paradise where, for example, there were 20 odd restaurants but only half opened in one week and the reaminder the next; all served exactly the same menu at the same cost; and instead of allowing tourists to choose which they preferred each group was told where to eat by the island´s leader!  How odd.

But the place itself had beautiful views over the lake and we enjoyed a very nice lunch with almost Mediterranean views of the lovely blue water.

Afterwards it was off to the second island - Amantani - where we would be staying the night with a host family.  We had already been warned that when we arrived we would be lined up and our adopted mothers would choose us dependent on who they liked th look of best, but it still didn´t limit the disappointingly long time it took for me to be chosen by anyone when I stepped forward!  Still, it turned out our adopted mum - Julia - was very nice and one of my first questions to her established that she could speak Spanish afterall and that was the end of any worries about the lack of Quechuan learnt!

The island, like Taquile, was beautiful and felt wonderfully remote, though the walk to our houses was very steep and had everyone gasping for breath at an altitude of over 4000 metres.

Our group and adopted mothers in traditional dress at the Inca disco!
  Obviously the best thing to follow this was a game of football, in which we all participated and became exhaused immediately.  We were playing teams of locals in first goal wins, and eventually our team ahd grabbed a goal and actually won a game.  A great feeling!

After dining with our families in their traditional kitchen, we were forced to dress in typical attire and make our way to the Inca Disco where we had to dance with our host mums to traditional music.  It was an odd, fun but often painful experience made more light-hearted by the decision of most of the guys in our group to request the traditional female outfit and go in drag.  Unfortunately this idea hadn´t been conveyed to me and I got away with just a poncho.

 

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A view from Taquile island
A view from Taquile island
And the boats ready to leave for I…
And the boats ready to leave for …
Our group and adopted mothers in t…
Our group and adopted mothers in …
And all the ladies, not all of who…
And all the ladies, not all of wh…
A game of high altitude football a…
A game of high altitude football …
Our captain (ok, no not really, I…
Our captain (ok, no not really, I…
Puno
photo by: lrecht