Monday, September 6, 2010


I took this photograph in January 2009 on the Floating Reed Islands of the highest altitude lake on the planet, Lake Titicaca. We were on our way to the island of Amantani (pronounced a-mon-ton-ni) which is not a reed island but a very steep sloped mountain on the lake. I took thousands of photos on this trip, but this one really struck me. It's funny how it came about it. Let me share the story.

We boarded a boat from Puno on our way to Amantani island. On the way we made several stops to places I never imagined existed. The floating reed islands were our first stop. We stepped off onto the soft surface where the Quechua people demonstrated how the islands are made and maintained, we played soccer with the kids on the reeds and we even ate reeds. They made really solid boats out of reeds, and for 5 soles, they would give you a ride on one. Feeling the effects of altitude, I didn't feel up to going for the ride, so I stayed back. The women sang a beautiful song to those drifting away on the boat. I can't remember the song today, but I remember how I felt and I felt moved. Had I been on top of my game, I may not have shot this photo.

We then got back on the regular motorized boat and stopped at the empty looking island of Taquile (pronounced ta-kee-yay) where the people wore hats to symbloize their relationship status. When we docked the boat, there was not a soul around. We hiked up the hills and still no one. Some of us went ahead, so we waitied on a rock for the others. A man with a bull came strolling around the bend. He was wearing an interesting hat which we learned later meant he was married. We said hello in his language and he smiled a joyful toothless grin. I think less than 100 people inhabited this island. It was so quiet. This island is where they made the most beautiful and skilled crafts that you can find in all of Peru. I bought my alpaca wool ear warmer here. They were such great hosts. They demonstrated their traditional dances and an excited woman pulled me up to dance with her. Love is what these people were about. The views from this island were breathtaking. I have to share more photos. They took us up to their restaurant which was at the highest peak and we could look out onto the lake. They cooked us a delicious lunch with all the coca tea and bread we could ask for. I wish I were there now. To be continued...

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