Lake Titicaca: Stone puma high in the sky
AFTER La Paz, we arrived at Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, which extends into neighboring Peru. Here begins the most developed tourist area, so our trip, after Paraguay and eastern Bolivia, has become much easier.Titicaca word could be translated as "Rock Puma" (some translate as "gray puma"). The lake is about 200 long and 70 kilometers wide, with a maximum depth of 280 meters. Therefore Titicaca looks like the sea, but with one difference - it is even 3810 feet above the ocean surface. Can you imagine a lake located 1,000 meters above mount Triglav Slovenia? If you dive to the bottom you will still always be 2.5 kilometers above the top of Croatia`s mount Ivančica! The lake is beautiful, and the view on the islands at times remind us of the Croatian Adriatic. However, the main attraction are the artificial floating islands inhabited by people of Ur.
Numerous small islands, like from a fairytale
Encounter with these people and their way of life was a great experience. In the middle of the lake, practically in the middle of nowhere, all of a sudden you find yourself in a completely different world, as if you walked into a fairy tale. Countless islands inhabited by people dressed in very colorful clothes. We saw a small boat which was a mobile commerce - when floated to shore, people would gather for the daily shopping. When we landed on an island, we realized that it is very soft and it actually floats on water.
These are really big rafts that these people made of reed and its roots. The ropes were securing boats at the bottom, so that they cann`t be swept away by the current. Every thirty years old islands sink and new ones are built.
We visited the island on which, apart from the belvedere and small ponds, were only homes which could barely hold beds, as residents already spend most of their time outdoors. In winter, temperatures drop below zero, and there is no heating. Primary school is built on one island, and students go to high school by boat to the shore. Thea bury the dead on the shore, on their special cemeteries. In modern times nothing on these islands has particularly changed. With the development of tourism, these centuries isolated people become big tourist sensation, but even now, they have remained faithful to their traditional way of life.
Electricity on the floating islands
Residents of the floating islands of Lake Titicaca have no running water, but still have a little electricity. It is not, however, sort of power that we use, but small solar panels that produce electricity during the day only, for a few hours of watching a small TV and dim light bulbs. As we learned from our host in one of the houses, the arrival of a breath of civilization had a strange effect on the community - because of one or two hours of television viewing, apparently much less children were born. That`s how television affects people.