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Travel Pensieve: Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca

*boing* *boing* *boing*

That's what it's like walking on the floating islands of Lake Titicaca. They are very spongy and very bouncy. Like walking on the moon (or what I imagine walking on the moon is like).

The floating islands of Lake Titicaca are all sorts of awesome. The islands are man-made, constructed by the Uros people. The Uros originally built their floating islands for defensive purposes. It's the ultimate tool in a "run away! run away!" strategy. Lake Titicaca is a massive moat protecting them from danger.
Lake Titicaca

To make the islands the Uros use the totora reed. The roots of the reeds form a floating base. Then they put layer upon layer of the reed to form the core of the island. The islands require a lot of maintenance as the reeds at the bottom of the island decompose. So the Uros are constantly putting another layer of reeds on top as the ones at the bottom rot away.
Lake Titicaca

The Uros actually use the reed for all sorts of things. They make boats and houses out of it. They even eat it. So very green!

They also make little craft items from the reeds to sell to the tourists. There were the cutest mobiles which I really wanted to buy. But I knew there was no way that I'd get the plant matter past Australian customs. Damn you customs!
Lake Titicaca

You can't help but be impressed by the ingenuity of the Uros. It was an amazing place to visit.
Lake Titicaca


More photos (slideshow) on Flickr.

Our visit to Lake Titicaca was part of our trip to South America. We visited Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Chile in the space of a few weeks. This is the first entry from that trip.


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