Part time photographer, full time dreamer, by george youssef

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. Photos from a Part Time Architect, Part Time Photographer, Full Time Dreamer.

The Floating Islands – Puno, Peru

The Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca were definitely one of the most interesting places I’ve ever traveled to. (And I’ve been to quite a few places!) The islands, and basically everything on them are made entirely out of totoro reeds. These reeds grow naturally on the lake, and the people use them for everything. I mean everything. Boats, beds, furniture, even as FOOD! The islands earned their nickname by literally floating on Lake Titcaca.  The foundation of reeds is only a few meters thick, and the native people have to constantly replenish the top layer as the bottom layer rots.

I thought it was interesting that the people living on this island are basically untouched by the rest of Peru.  They still speak their native language of Aymara, and do not have electricity and other modern conveniences.

I’m not the best with words… I hope the pictures tell the story better.

I had an extremely difficult time shooting on the islands. The sunlight was super harsh that morning and the native women wore hats that put dark shadows on their faces.  Ilias and I were also battling an INSANE episode of altitude sickness on the day we chose to take this tour. I WOULD NOT recommend touring the islands until you’ve acclimated for at least 2-3 days. You might feel fine during your first 6 hours, but oh boy, you’re in for a treat after you go to sleep and wake up the next morning!  And don’t choose a hotel that has no elevator. We learned the hard way that stair climbing is difficult – no, impossible – when you have soroche.

**** Update

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has checked out my post! I am sincerely touched by how many people have viewed my page this week. When I first created this blog, I did not think more than 10 people would pay any attention, and now over a hundred people have “liked” it.  I’m so excited that people have taken the time to view and comment, and learn about this amazing place in Peru. I feel like too many people prematurely end their trip after Macchu Picchu, when there are so many other things to see in this country!

I’ve added a few more pictures, enjoy!

This woman graciously invited me into her home. The mattress she is sitting on is made of totoro reeds.

This was a demonstration to show how deep the foundation of  the floating islands is. They’ve cut a hole through the reeds and attached a ceramic figurine to the end of a string.  They drop the figurine down the hole and allow it to fall all the way down until it reaches the water. When they pull it back up, we measured the length of the string and I believe it was about 15 meters. (Don’t quote me on that, I’m saying this based on memory )

Two different shots of Coca Tea. Remember, it’s totally safe to drink, but don’t try to bring any back to the United States. It’s illegal to try to sneak it in.

Thanks for viewing!

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This entry was posted on March 31, 2011. It was filed under Peru, Photography, Travel and was tagged with , , , , , .

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