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Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru - 10th September 2009 - 2Almost three hours after leaving the Uros islands, the boat pulled in to our destination for the night of Amantani island. The groups lined up and waited for a few minutes to meet the women of the house each of us is staying in. Shortly after, we were led up the winding paths by our translator, before waiting for our host to catch up.

The language of choice it Quetchua which I have zero words of in my volcabulary. Thankfully that’s what the translator was there for, although the family does speak Spanish as a second language, so we could manage some greetings and graces. The housing and room is very simple yet pretty clean and the sheets look soft on the bed. After resting for several minutes, we were ushered down to the cocina, where the lady of the house proceeded to feed us with local vegetable and quinoa soup (incredibly tasty), followed by a selection of potatoes (Peru being known for thousands of types) and some cheese fried in egg. Just before the meal ended, out came the coca leaves and some Muña, which smells and tastes like lavender. A cup of hot water is supplied to place the leaves in and requires soaking for a couple of minutes. The extremely refreshing tea, is used for the altitude, headaches, and to aid digestion. It’s certainly working its magic. The family is always laughing but very quietly and the kitchen very simple. The sound of guinea pigs can be heard from the rear of the house and our guid confirms that these will indeed be used for food later (but not for us).

With luch working its way down, we were invited to visit the local community center for the kids, which was literally five minutes walk away. Our guide explained that there are just a few of these buildings on the island, but the island actually has ten communities on it (so not everyone has access). It’s certainly a work in progress and if we’d known more beforehand, we would have brought some Spanish school books along as gifts. Our guide asked if we’d like to play with the kids for a bit but we didn’t know what to do, as nobody spoke English and there were only two kids who were busy colouring. After watching them colour for a little while longer, it was time to head back tot he house and take a couple of hours out the Sun to rest.

After another tasty meal for dinner, there was a hike to the highest part of the island and the sacred place to worship Pachamama (Earth Mother). The hike was fairly strenuous, not being used to the altitude and a tremendous headache hit me about half way. Got to the top, in time to view a wonderful Sunset and escape shortly after from the crowds of most French, who kept rudely walking in front of shots, or trying to push people out the way. My headache is still going strong after getting back to the bedroom and instead of attending the zoo parade (my translation for the evening dance that was mostly for you spending money with the locals), I’ve popped a couple of Aleve and intend on enjoying a blinding sky of stars, before heading to bed.