8 & 9 September 2003.

We stayed in Puno so that we could visit the nearby reed islands of Uros, and the remote island of Taquille.

Puno is also the first touristy stop over the border from Bolivia.... it is very touristy!

The bright-green duckweed that sits on the lake around Puno made it look more like a bowling green than a lake. Once out of the bay, we hit normal waters that took us to the floating islands of the Uros Indians.

The Uros were persecuted over time and moved out into Lake Titicaca to escape. They have now built some 400 islands supporting some 3000 people by layering together totara reeds. It appears that over time the islands need to be split in two as the kids grow-up and fight

The Uros survive on fish and birds, and the heart of the reeds for nutrition (it tastes like cucumber). We are not altogether certain whether the families also survive on food brought by the tourists boats, as the reeds didn't taste that good.

You can also buy local weavings and pottery on the islands for three times the price of what they are worth. With no animals or clay on the island to make wool or pottery I did question the logic of their specialisation.

This is a very clucky Claire taking a picture of a very tearful baby girl.

We spent 6 hours on the boat that day making delightful conversations with Euros and discusssing the politics of travelling versus security.

Yawn.... I really vont to swim wit da fishes and find myself!

On arriving at the Taquille island, Jason had several young ladies throw themselves at him. He was dazzled enough to get two friendship bands and a green twig which were thrust onto him before he could speak.

No, they didn't want his body, just his money.

50p lighter and 'hippy-equiped' we head up the hill.

Taquile island was like peak time at Heathrow.... there were 6 boats we could see lining up to come in and drop off there unsuspecting tourists.... ready to be robbed blind via friendship bracelets.

The woman and and men dress in a certain way depending on their mood and marital status. This lady is single and happy (so she might be up for it) as she is wearing a green skirt and bright coloured and pom poms.

The married ones wear black!.... this is a perfect example of irony!

They have silly hats you can buy for really silly prices. We tried on lots and went home with nothing.

I am not convinced that Claire will be graduating with a Diploma in DSH (Dirty Smelly Hippiness).

Here are the married men. There are some 4,000 people on the island and we saw these men and only a few women.  We couldn't help feel bored and sad that tourism has taken over this island so badly that all the locals who were around would charge you for a photo and couldn't be bothered to share their culture with you.

... top outfits though... drinking in London would be so much more fun if you could tell the single chicks from their dress colour.

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