Monday, January 25, 2010

Saying Good-bye to the Lake

I left Lake Titicaca this morning and traveled to LaPaz and felt that I had to post a good-bye to the incredible place I had called home for the past 5 days. Not one picture can capture the enormity and power of this body of water. It is 110 miles long, in some places 900 feet deep and at 13,500 feet, has been such a life source for people of ancient civilizations into the present.

In the top picture, I am sitting on a hand-woven bench of reeds on a floating island, which has been temporarily anchored while its owners are away. It is about 50x100 and has on it two small woven houses, a cooking area, and a raised outhouse. People for centuries have floated on the lake, crossing its vast distances according to the wind and water level. It is a practical way to be near the fishing grounds and it eliminates quarreling with neighbors!
In the second photo, these fishermen have taken down the sail and one guy rows as the other lets out a purse seine.
Lastly, I shot a tranquil view of the lake beyond the resort town of Copacabana. This town is a jumping off place for tourists to visit several islands that contain ruins from both the Inkas and the earlier Amari and Tiwanaku people. Incidentally the land visible on the other side is in Peru.
(btw., if you are accustomed to seeing Inka spelled with a "c", that is now in disfavor. The former spelling was coined by the Spanish, who brutalized and enslaved the people and carted off mountains of silver and gold.)
I loved the peaceful feeling of the lake and, during my short stay, neither saw nor heard any aggressive behavior. For lack of a better expression, there is a soothing, profound, indescribable feeling high on the edge of the Andes.


  1. Incredible, Lee. One can feel the peacefulness in the images you show.
    Thumbs up!!
    Waiting for th next installment.

  2. Incredible indeed! How beautiful! And like everyone else, I can't wait to read your next chapter!


  3. What a wonderful post. I LOVE the floating island and the beautiful bench! I don't remember hearing about these things before. Nice pic of you, too. The other pics are lovely and instructive. Nice mountain of clouds, eh? And a nice boat. Keep 'em coming :)

  4. I want to book my reservation. A whole different meaning to keeping the housing market afloat.

  5. Looks very serene indeed. Only thing missing is a cup of tea! You look like you're having a blast and the photos of people are wonderful!

  6. I want one of those reed benches! I guess five days isn't long enough to learn how to build one, huh? It still blows me away that they can make boats out of nothing but reeds that are actually quite seaworthy.

    It seems like I'm learning something new from every one of your posts these days. This one, for example: I never heard of a floating island until I read it this morning. You're right that it would tend to keep to disputes with the neighbors to an absolute minimum.

  7. Wonderful photos and another very informative, interesting post. The woven reed bench is amazing. Thanks for clarification about the "politically correct" spelling of Inka.