After picking up a few other tourist, we arrived at the docks and grabbed a few snacks and some water from the market. Also grabbed a bunch of bananas and some oranges for the host family, as fruit is the most appreciated out here.
It didn’t take very long to get out to the first island where the warmest of greetings awaited. I thought I was the president or something with the singing and waving from the edge. The islanders we’re told, live by the old Inca ways of “Don’t be a Liar, Don’t be a Thief, Don’t be Lazy” and they’re certainly showing it. The clothing is emmensly colourful and completely reflects the attitude.
Once on the island, there was a 15 minute talk about the history and culture of the people, the social structure and how the islands are built. The types of reed and rope they use, enable some of the islands to last up to 100 years before needing to move to a new home.
After several more demonstrations and trying the Totora (tastes like chestnut) there was an opportunity to jump aboard one of the reed boats for a short sojourn to the next island. The boat ride was so relaxing and comfortable, that it was worth the 7 soles they asked for the ride – the cash apparently goes to resources to better themselves in life, so it was very much worth it. We were sent off with some songs, ‘Row your boat’ as an English offering and a chorus of ‘Hasta la Vista!”
While most of Peru has been a happy culture, there’s still an element of resignation about the buildings and life. Uros islands persona are much different and likely lends itself to being in the Sun, calm waters and a relaxed, simple, life. The people are not completely without some modern amenities however, and there is solar power, along with radio and some TV in places. The culture itself doesn’t seem overly complex, with women bearing children at 18 and marriage happening some time before this. There is a male head of the island but everyone seems to work together without an issue. The men live to an average of 85 which is slightly more than the women, and are said to get lazy in the older age. The schooling is minimal but despite this, they speak Quechua, Spanish and a little English – much more language than I’m able to be fluent in. I’m told that the schooling isn’t so important past the earlier years, as most people work hard for the island to thrive.