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March 28, 2006

Floating Islands

Today we saw the really incredible Uros floating islands near the edge of Lake Titicaca.

These islands are made entirely of reed plants, on about a 2-foot thick dirt clod that floats in the fresh water. The homes are made of reeds (with solar panels—some houses have radio and television), their boats are made of reeds.

There are about 25 islands. When arguments arise, a family can cut the ropes anchoring their homes to the rest of the island, and float off to another island or create their own.

After a great lunch in a local bakery (empanadas!), we hired a taxi to take us to two Inca burial sites. One is called Sillustani (the link isn´t to our photos, we´ll eventually upload those here). Here there are tall stone towers called chulpas at the top of mesas, where people were buried with their families and a bunch of gear to prepare them for the next life.

The stonework was again intricate and amazing, oftentimes with carved animals like pumas or monkeys decorating the chulpa.

Posted by sedda at March 28, 2006 05:54 PM