life on Isla Taquile
Taquile Travel Blog› entry 22 of 26 › view all entries
I didnâ€™t know what to expect, but it wasnâ€™t this. I thought we had another reed island, but this was a real island made of rock. We walked across two boats to get to the dock and then walked ashore. We could use the bathrooms but I was confused. There were no handles, how do you flush the toilets? Also, no toilet seats. Yeah, Iâ€™ll pass on these. Turns out they â€śflushâ€ť them by pouring a bucket of water in.
We walked up a sloping path, dodging dung piles along the way. Again we could really feel the altitude since we were out of breath before we even reached the top. Luckily we had to step aside to let a woman and two cows pass so we could catch our breath without making it look obvious.
There wasnâ€™t much to do on this island. A large textile store was on the plaza and we were encouraged to go in and have a look. This island is a UNESCO site because the locals produce a very fine weave textile. It was high quality and pricier. Many locals were out in traditional dress spinning wool or weaving. Most of them wanted S/1 to take a photo. One tourist took a photo of an older man weaving and then kept walking. The man got up and chased her, demanding his S/1. I think it is sad that people charge money to have their photo taken, but also that we are invading their way of life. Iâ€™m not sure I would like to have my island home invaded by tourists every day for several hours.
Our group met for lunch in a little restaurant. Apparently most of the group had their lunch included. We werenâ€™t informed of this until we were already sitting. Oh well, we had to eat at some point. We were again entertained by a musician seeking donations while waiting for our food. I felt bad because all I really noticed was that his fly was down. Our â€śThanksgivingâ€ť meal was trout with rice and fries, a bowl of quinoa soup and a cup of coca tea. After lunch, our guide explained the meaning behind several of the belts and hats worn by the locals. Half white-half red hats mean the person is single. Red hat means married. Multi-colored means person of political importance. Cool.
After lunch it was time to head back down to the boat, which was at a different harbor. The way down was a bunch of stone steps and switchbacks. We passed several locals coming up the steps laden with heavy bundles on their backs. I got tired just looking at them! Several obnoxious tourists seemed to think they were more important and didnâ€™t move aside for the people struggling up the hill carrying supplies. The only person I saw struggling coming up the hill was a child of about 3 years old that was too big to be carried. Even the women with children on their backs didnâ€™t seem winded, but I guess they are a little more adjusted to the altitude than we are.
Back on the boat we faced a three hour tourâ€¦ I stayed out back talking to our new friends from Seattle until it got too cold for us. The wind had picked up so the waves were choppier and it was colder. I went in and put on all the clothes I had with me, including my new hat and my mittens. I was nice and cozy but not very sleepy. I napped on the way over and now everyone else was sleeping. I had a feeling I would be cranky tonight. So instead I listened to music and daydreamed and kept jumping up to take photos.