Islands of Lake Titicaca (Peru Side) Day 2
Today I woke up with lower back stiffness that you can only expect to have after sleeping on, what can only be called, wooden boards with sheets on top. I got ready and sat in starved anticipation waiting for breakfast. The bowl of starch that we had for dinner was just not enough to hold our appetite at bay. We went down to breakfast and was disturbed to learn that ¨breakfast¨ consisted of two crepe-thin pancakes, jam and tea. The same amount of food that their four year old daughter had for breakfast, she assumed would be enough for me and my 6 foot 3 travel partner. WRONG. We concluded breakfast and retreated back to our room and proceeded to consume all of the snacks that we had bought for the trip.
We thanked our hosts, took some pictures, and set off for the last of our 3 Islands; Taquile Island.
We got to the island which, besides the luxurious views of the lake and the surrounding islands, was particularly bland.
However, we did learn a lot about the people of the islands and the different customs they have, which was really interesting.
We learned that one can tell who, on the island, is married or single by the clothes they wear. The married men wear a red beanie called a Chumpi and the single men wear a white beanie, which can be worn two ways to differentiate between the single men who have a girlfriend and those who are truly single. (What a way to be branded a loser)
All the women wear the black mantle head covering called a Chuco, but the yarn ¨bon bons¨ at the bottom symbolize if you are married or single by the size of the bon bons.
The leaders of the island are people who have more than two children and they don’t wear a headscarf or beanie at all, they get a special hat. Now thats why you have kids!!! The special hat!!
I thought that the most fascinating thing was that ALL couples on the island have kids BEFORE they get married and there is no such thing as divorce. You´re stuck.
From the ages of 14-17, the boys carry little pebbles in their pockets and when one finds a young lady they are interested in, he throws the stone at her. (Can someone say spousal abuse?!) How barbaric.
The kids fall in love in a period of 15 days, no more, no less..this is a rule. (I mean, how much time do you need to find the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with? 15 days seems appropriate.) When they fall in love, they stay with the boys family for two years, during which they have their first child. Ah, there´s nothing like having an illegitimate child while shackin´ up with your boyfriends parents house... now thats what dreams are made of!
Then they get married and celebrate for five days. The first two require you to refrain from drinking or dancing to symbolize the hardship that comes with marriage and children (congrats) and then they drink and dance the next 3 days away.
It was an interesting island of only 2100 people, no police and a society that rejects any education past high school. At 4000 meters above sea level, I certainly learned a lot about the people of Taquile Island.
We ate a nice lunch of trout and soup at a locally run restaurant and headed out on the 3 hr boat ride back. I slept for about an hour and a half. I love nap time. We got back to Puno, arranged our bus to Copacabana for the next day, and headed out for the post office. We were supposed to receive a package that had been waiting for us with no luck. Apparently we are only allowed to get our mail from 10am to 11am on Wednesday or Thursday. Thursday was the day before we left for the islands and we tried, at our dismay, to get the package but the post office was closed due to a strike, so we were screwed. In conclusion, if you are not available from 10-11 on Wed or Thurs, you don´t get mail.
We stopped to grab a bite and retired.
Quote: ¨You´ll live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy, is wasted.¨