21 December 2005 – Puno to Amantani Island – Lake Titicaca
The group on the boat was made up of smaller groups of two to four travellers from different countries. Our local guide Bruno as well as other people on the boat were a bit curious about the reason for my extended stay, as Amantani is not exactly a Greek island. Nevertheless it has its own charm, despite an altitude of about 4000 metres, lack of electricity and running water, a rainy season with overnight temperatures at the time of below 10ºC and daytime temperatures in the sun of 54ºC as well as other minor “highlights”. Bruno was very interested in my work and in natural therapies. He was eager to find out as much as possible, so I tried my best to answer his many questions.
Upon arrival on Amantani by the floating islands, I discovered I was to share a bedroom with two French girls. Shortly after entering the premises of our host family, we were invited to the kitchen for lunch. This was still being prepared in clay pots over traditional wood fire clay stove by the mother and daughter. It wasn’t long before the increasing level of smoke looking for a non-existent chimney filled our eyes. Our “French” resistance was short-lived and with tears running down our cheeks, we gave ourselves permission to wait outside.
As the sun disappeared, the temperature dropped rather quickly, so a warm dinner upon our return was very much appreciated. And to warm us up even more, a traditional dance party was awaiting us at the local community hall. Dressed in their traditional clothing, we had a lot of fun following our local dance partners to the sounds of the Andean band. As the party came to an end, we felt hot, tired and definitely ready for bed. The sky was full of stars that night and it seemed to me like there were more stars than the sky itself.
As my roommates went to sleep, I stayed back with Bruno in the courtyard as he offered to write a short note in Spanish for me explaining the purpose of my stay and anything else I thought the people might want to know. The island’s native language is Quechua, but the majority of people speak Spanish. I could speak neither!
To be continued next month ...