After days of getting up early and not sleeping well at elevation, we weren't feeling up to getting up early and spending the entire day on an excursion. So Barb and Ann headed off bright and early for a full day tour of the lake while Kevin joined us on the shorter half day trip where we visited the Uros Islands. The people who live on the islands are pre-Incan people who fled onto the lake when the Incas came to conquer them. The islands are actually floating, man-made platforms that are built using the totora reeds that grow in the lake. The houses are also made from the reeds. There are about 45 islands (although this varies because islands may be joined together or split apart at the whim of the people living on them). There is solar power on the islands but only enough to provide a single light bulb per house and perhaps a little more for the head family (on the island we visited, they have a tv in addition to their light bulb). It is a very primitive way to live and the only industries are fishing and tourism. We visited one island where the "president" showed us how the islands are built and how the social structure works. We visited the home of one of the families, a small, single room hut made of reeds with a few shelves and one bed. Apparently they only use the huts for storing personal goods and sleeping, everything else is done outside, including cooking. Quite amazing that the people continue to live this way.
After our tour, we enjoyed lunch on the patio of the hotel with a view of the lake and then did a walk out the hotel dock to do a little bird watching.
Tomorrow morning we'll check out Puno and then head to the airport in Juliaca to catch our flight to Arequipa.