Friday, October 26, 2007

Islas Flotantes

Back in the day, an indigenous group was forced to relocate from the mainland to avoid the nastiness of a neighbouring people. The safest place, naturally, was the middle of Lake Titicaca, and they lived there on a series of Islands that they created from the reeds that grow in the lake. These days, not many people actually live there, and as our guide explained, the Islands exist almost purely as a tourist attraction.

Our boat pulled up to the first of the Islands, where a portly collection of brightly decorated women grabbed our vessel and hauled us ashore. After a history lesson, we were free to be once again accosted by the women who had transformed from longshoreman into saleswomen of the highest western calibre. Their technique of asking your name and offering a soft handshake made it hard to pull away from their collections of trinkets, blankets and children.

Eventually we were taken from that Island by a reed boat, where the process of selling was skillfully repeated. Once broken free of the stalls, we were able to enjoy a spectacular sunset over Lake Titicaca.

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