In Amsterdam, bicycles are ubiquitous. Most people ride them and many people commute to work on them regardless of the weather. If they are going far, however, they might park their bikes for the day at the train station.
This is a bicycle parking lot near Sloterdijk Station.
Bicycles have the right of way in Amsterdam over pedestrians. If you are on foot, do not linger on a bike path or you will collide with a cyclist! Although we were there in the winter, that doesn’t stop Amsterdamers from riding their bikes – they just bundle up against the cold, wind and rain. I heard that once there were hurricane force winds and that a number of people on bikes were blown into frigid canals!
Speaking of canals, canal tours are also ubiquitous and a must for anyone visiting Amsterdam! I took the following during a canal tour.
We wisely took a cab to the Praça do Relogio (the first driver we asked didn’t know where it was, the second did) on the USP (University of São Paulo) campus. I wanted to go there because I had read that it’s a large park containing species from all six ecosystems in the state of São Paulo. It was kind of a disappointment. For one thing, we couldn’t find all the ecosystems which are not marked in any way.
The first thing we came to was a memorial to the students of USP who had been persecuted and killed during the military dictatorship (1964-1985). I was glad to see this – in spite of the corruption scandals and upheaval the Brazilian government is going through now, at least there is the recognition that Brazilians died defending human rights and the democratic process.
We wandered through the nearly deserted park, seeing the occasional student crossing through, hearing the sound of a batucada being played by someone who repeated the same rhythms over and over – perhaps he was practicing for something – and taking pictures.
In spite of the park being deserted, evidently there were plenty of people around, as this full parking lot shows.
The clock is actually a cement tower carved with designs with a clock at the top, and standing in a circular pool of water, surrounded by a mosaic tiled walkway with words spelling out NO UNIVERSO DA CULTURA O CENTRO ESTÁ EM TODA PARTE. (In the Universe of Culture, the Center is Everywhere.)
We had to take a bus from there which would take us to the end of the yellow line subway station. It took a couple of inquiries and contradictory answers to figure out which bus stop and which bus. When the right bus came, it clicked: my GPS route had said take bus 8022-10, so when the bus bearing the number 8022 arrived, I figured it was the right one. The driver confirmed it.
It quickly filled with students and I paid the R$3.80 each to pass through the turnstile, even though we qualified as idosos – I wasn’t going to bother the driver by showing him our passports, which is what the money taker said to do. Soon we couldn’t see anything but the bodies and backpacks of students filling the aisle, crushing together.
Little by little, the students got off. It was obvious when we were no longer on the university campus, where there were several stops, and soon after that we arrived at the last stop – the subway station for the yellow line. Relief! After that, I knew exactly what to do: we rode the yellow line all the way to Luz, transferred to the blue line and got off at Vila Mariana.
That evening, we returned to Graça Mineira for dinner, where we ate a sinful dessert: There was a card on the table advertising some desserts and we ended up getting one to share – good thing, because it was big! It was a churro-like donut-shaped shell filled with doce de leite and ice cream on the side, and drizzled with chocolate sauce. It was yummy!
From downtown, we took the metro to Luz, the largest and most historic train station in São Paulo. Through this station have passed agricultural products from far-flung farms and plantations, as well as natural resources such as coal and minerals. Luz was the hub of transportation activity as well as the place where immigrants entered the country back in the late 19th and early 20th century when the city was beginning to expand rapidly.
Across from the station, in Praça da Luz, is a historic building called the Pinacoteca, from the Latin word for art gallery. In this museum are housed works by Brazilian painters and sculptors from the 18th and 19th centuries. There are also temporary (which are located in Pinacoteca’s other building in the district of Bom Retiro) and permanent expositions of modern Brazilian art. This is what we ended up seeing.
The building was constructed in 1900 and was originally a lyceum of arts and crafts. It was renovated in the 19990s and since then has become one of the most important cultural centers in Brazil. We went inside as much to see the building as the artwork.
There were artworks made of words:
A fantasy landscape made of knitted yarn:
One of these galleries contained paintings by Brazilian artists.
We saw sculptures:
By the time we emerged and wanted to take a walk at the adjoining park, Praça da Luz, it was 6 pm and the park was closed, the entry gate padlocked. We looked through the bars at the beautiful tropical plants and meandering paths within.
We headed back to Vila Mariana on the metro. It was rush hour on a weekday and Luz Station was teeming with people anxious to get home, Luz Station being a hub with connections to the other lines in the São Paulo Metro system. As “idosos” (elderly – age 60 and over), we got to ride free!
The theme for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is OLD and NEW. In November, I spent 5 days in Rio de Janeiro with my husband, Dale. My favorite thing to do in Rio, especially on my last night there, is to ride the cable car up to Sugar Loaf in the late afternoon and watch the sun set. It is a gorgeous sight! When the lights begin to come on at dusk around the city, I say my silent good-byes and always end with, “I’ll be back!” And so far, I’ve kept that promise.
At the top of the mountain are relics of the older cable cars. I realized that I have ridden all three generations of cable cars!
The oldest cable car operated from 1918 to 1972. I must have ridden up in one of these on my first trip to Rio in 1971! It looks scary! In fact, Wikipedia reports that there was a near accident in 1951, when one of the cables snapped and the car full of passengers hung on one cable for 10 hours! (Needless to say, I didn’t know about that incident when I rode up in 1971.) However, there has never been a fatal accident in over 100 years of operation.
This car was replaced by a newer, sleeker cable car with floor to ceiling windows on all sides.
The last time I had been in Rio was in 2003, so I, along with my husband and son, rode in this 2nd generation cable car.
In 2007, an even newer, slim-lined generation of cable cars began. It is reportedly even safer, with a hi-tech infrastructure. This was the one we rode on our recent trip in November 2016.
And just for fun, here’s a video I took while riding from the first stage (Urca) to the top (Sugar Loaf). Enjoy!
On November 9, 2016, we arrived after an overnight direct flight from Chicago O’Hare to São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport.
As soon as we landed, a Brazilian passenger got on social media and found out who won the U.S.presidential election – to our shock and dismay, we found out Trump had won! I could write a whole post about that, but for now I am going to stick to this travel journal. From Guarulhos, we got a mid-afternoon, one-hour flight to Afonso Pena airport in Curitiba, where our friends, Eliane and Carlos, live.
I was amazed to see how Curitiba had grown when we arrived and Carlos drove us to their house, crossing much of the city. The city itself has a population of 1.8 million, but the metropolitan area has swelled to nearly 4 million! Needless to say, there was much I didn’t recognize and since it had been 37 years since I was last here, I don’t think I would have recognized even familiar things if they hadn’t been pointed out!
When Eliane returned home from her part-time job that night, she told us of her plans for us the next day: we would catch a tourism bus nearby, but we had to get to the stop at a certain time or we would miss the bus!
Of course, that’s exactly what happened! We spent too much time talking over our morning coffee and didn’t make it in time. So Carlos drove us to another stop further down the line, the Torre Panorâmica (Panoramic Tower).
Arriving there, Eliane figured out we’d have 20 minutes to go up into the tower before the next bus would come. We paid admission (it was R$5 – five reais – , or R$2.50 for seniors age 60 and up) and went up in the tiny elevator to the lookout level, where we took pictures from all directions.
There were two urubús (vultures) sitting on the ledge outside. Eliane told us it’s good to see them, because they die when there’s too much pollution, so their presence is a good indicator of relatively fresh air.
I could now see for myself how much Curitiba has grown so much since I was here last! There are clusters of tall buildings in various places and large areas of green, which are the many parks. I was happy to see that there are still a predominance of houses, although there are also many high rise apartment buildings. Inside the tower, the round cement foundation pillar contained murals depicting the life and history of Curitiba and Paraná.
We went back down and looked briefly at the gift shop, but we didn’t buy anything.
We got on the bus as planned, where we received a sheet of 5 tickets (meaning we could get off and on five times throughout the day) and a pamphlet containing a map of the route and a short explanation of each stop in 3 languages – Portuguese, Spanish and English. A sheet of 5 tickets cost R$40 each.
The tower was stop #24 of 25, but the bus was on a continuous loop so it didn’t matter. We climbed the steps to the upper deck and sat right in front. There was a canopy overhead (because it might rain) but the front and sides were open – better for taking pictures!
From the Panoramic Tower, the bus headed down the hill toward downtown and the Setor Histórico (Historic District). I became obsessed with capturing as many pictures of araucárias as possible. On my first trip to Curitiba, I fell in love with these pine trees that grow only in this area of Brazil, whose branches curve upward, like inside-out umbrellas!
The bus stopped for about 10 minutes at Praça Tiradentes, but we didn’t get off. Tiradentes is the nickname of Joaquim José da Silva Xavier (1746-1792), a hero and leading member of the Brazilian revolutionary movement.
At each stop, there was an oral narration in the same three languages about what we were seeing. Some of the places we could not actually see much of, because the bus could not enter some of the streets (one was blocked off by police cars for some reason) and also, sometimes the bus didn’t stop right in front of the landmark in order for us to get a good look at it. This was the case with the Historic District – we could only see part of it – but we would visit it another day on our own.
vegetarian restaurant in downtown Curitiba
Everywhere in Brazil is evidence of the richness of art, and Curitiba is no exception. There are many beautiful murals for public appreciation as well as good art museums.
Stop #4 is the Railroad Museum.
Other stops along the route included Teatro Paiol, built in 1906 as a gunpowder storage, it was transformed into an arena-shaped theatre in 1971. Dedicated by popular poet/singer/composer Vinícius de Moraes, it represented the beginning of Curitiba’s cultural transformation.
Paço da Liberdade, which used to house the city government and now has a cultural center.
The Arab memorial
We finally got off the bus at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum (popularly known as “The Eye”), mainly because we were hungry. It’s a great museum, Eliane says, so we’ll have to come back here. As it was, we sat down for a small bite to eat at the MON cafeteria – I ordered bolinhas de queijo and diet Guaraná (Guaraná Zero); Dale and Eliane ordered quiches, and we all shared. In less than half an hour we were returning to the bus stop so we wouldn’t miss the next bus.
We got on the next bus and again went upstairs. There were more people on this bus but it wasn’t too crowded. The problem was the noise. The motor on this bus was so loud that it drowned out most of the narrative. We sat through stops 13-17, which didn’t help much because we couldn’t see anything – I was kind of disappointed that we didn’t even get a glimpse of the Ópera de Arame.
We got off at Parque Tanguá and walked some. There was a fountain and water that dropped off into two waterfalls. By this time, we were hot and tired, so Eliane called Carlos to come pick us up.
My husband and I returned from a 12-day cruise on the Baltic Sea last Wednesday, our first cruise ever! Since the Internet on cruises is expensive and not very reliable, I kept a hand-written journal, and over the next few weeks will edit and transcribe here. Getting ready to leave was nerve-wracking, particularly because I was switching health insurance and had some problems getting my medications before we left. Fortunately, the night before we left (Aug. 4), I got a good night’s sleep!
August 6 (Thursday) air travel and arrival in Copenhagen
People talk about how awful air travel is today. As far as the airport security & check-in is concerned, it wasn’t bad. In security, you have to remove your shoes (unless you are 12 or under – I guess they figure children aren’t likely to be potential shoe bombers), and walk through a chamber where you have to stand with your legs spread a little apart and your hands over your head – similar, I guess, to your stance if you are put under arrest on the street. A few people (not us, thank God) are picked at random to go through a more rigorous screening – the people right behind us had to go through that.
The worst part of the trip was being on the plane. The space we had at our seats was very confining, very cramped. Dale and I were in the very last row – 44 – which was against a back wall, so we couldn’t put our seats back. The people in front of us could, of course, which restricted our space even more.
Dale and I actually weren’t seated next to each other. Dale was on the aisle of the middle section and I was in the middle seat between two (unrelated) young men. The guy next to me on the aisle patiently got up 2-3 times so I could go to the bathroom.
We were traveling with my sister Mary and her husband, Elmer, but they weren’t sitting near us; they were in row 33 (also up against a wall, it turned out). I imagined Mary in one of these seats. It was barely large enough for me, I couldn’t imagine how such a seat would be adequate for her, because she is very heavy. I checked them out during one of my trips to the bathroom – Mary was lucky to be sitting next to the only empty seat on the plane! So, effectively, she had 2 seats. When I saw them, Mary was sleeping sprawled over the two seats with a blanket over her head.
I hardly slept on the 7-hour flight. I tried the inflatable pillow I’d brought with me, but had a hard time blowing it up – I’d fill it with air, but then was unable to stop it up before much of the air leaked out. Finally I succeeded but when I put it around my neck, it left like it was about to choke me in the front. I got used to that but still found it uncomfortable.
In the flight magazine, there was a list of entertainment options. One of the movies being offered was Far From the Madding Crowd, which I’d seen advertised on PBS and thought it looked interesting.
When the headphones were passed out it took me some time to untangle the cord and figure out how to fit it over my ears. I had to look at the guy next to me to see how it worked. They weren’t very comfortable and the sound wasn’t great so I missed some of the dialogue but figured out what was going on for the most part.
We passed through some heavy turbulence and I got scared. I exited from the movie to follow the flight path, and prayed. The captain made an announcement but it was too soft to hear what he said.
I noticed that our altitude was remaining steady and gradually the turbulence ceased. I turned back to the movie, but it started over from the beginning so I had to search for where I’d stopped it. I watched the end, but had missed some important scenes so I had to back track again.
Finally I was ready to sleep. I took off my glasses and put them in the inflatable pillow’s cover, and I put an eye mask over my eyes. I couldn’t get comfortable, though, and the straps pulled the mask unevenly. I twisted and turned and finally pulled the mask off. Then I couldn’t find the cover with my glasses and groped around on the floor trying to find them but I had no room to maneuver. I told myself not to worry, that I would find them in the morning but I became anxious, thinking what if there were an emergency and I couldn’t find my glasses? Or what if someone steps on them trying to get out?
I groped around some more – still no luck. I forced myself to be still – I’d be fine and the glasses would be found, I told myself. I dozed off.
Eventually I found myself awake and groping around for them again – and this time I found them! I managed to doze off again by making myself be still using meditation breathing techniques.
In spite of the minimal sleep I’d gotten, I didn’t feel tired during our two-hour layover in Amsterdam. We tried to get international phone cards but found out something: the ones being sold in the airport were for Holland only. Later we’d find out this was true in every country we visited. Warning to any Americans wanting to stay connected in Europe (especially if you’re going on a cruise): Don’t tamper with your phones! Just rely on WiFi and hot spots in Europe. Cruise lines will sometimes offer a WiFi station on the dock near the ship at ports of call. You probably will not be able to make phone calls, however.
I didn’t sleep on the flight to Copenhagen either, and I was excited looking out the window of the bus and snapping pictures on the way to our hotel.
By the time we got to Scandic Palace Hotel, I was finding it arduous to do simple things, like climbing a flight of stairs. Once we got to our room, I read a little and wrote in this journal, but soon got sleep. I lay down for a nap and fell asleep in no time!
At 3:30, I woke up and we called my sister’s room. Elmer had just gotten up and he was going to wake Mary up. We said we’d meet up with them downstairs in a few minutes. Meanwhile, I took some pictures in our room.
When we met downstairs at 4 pm, we decided to go on a canal tour. One of the canal tour companies I’d heard of was about ½ the price for the same tour. It wouldn’t have been too far to walk, but it would be for Mary, so we took a taxi.
The driver was a Lebanese Danish citizen, and although he charged a lot, he was entertaining – very talkative. He spoke several languages but was fully bilingual in Arabic and Danish. Although he didn’t know which company was the one we wanted, he happened to drop us at the right one, whose name I recognized as soon as I saw their sign.
The tour was relaxing and I took lots of pictures, although I didn’t get what the guide was saying half the time – by the time I’d begun processing his remarks, he’d switch to another language and seemed to be saying a lot more in Danish and German that he did in English!
People all over the city were taking advantage of the warm and sunny weather, which Danes do not take for granted.
After the tour, we went to have dinner in Nyhavn. There were many restaurants lining the canal, but there were people everywhere, enjoying this beautiful afternoon! I decided to choose the first restaurant that a.) had an empty table outside and b.) had a bathroom. There was a public toilet but it was down a flight of stairs and Mary couldn’t manage it. So we ended up at Fyrtojet, where our server accompanied Mary and Elmer to the bathroom while Dale and I saved a table outside. What with wine and our selections from the dinner menu, the meal was very expensive (and we didn’t even have dessert) – over DKK 1,000! But we spent a couple of pleasant hours relaxing among the thousands of other diners. After all, we were at a sidewalk café in Europe on a perfect summer day!! Something I’d been dreaming of for years!
On return, Mary and Elmer got a bicycle taxi for a bit less than the taxi we’d taken to get there – and it was more fun! Dale and I walked back, mostly through pedestrian streets lined with modern stores, restaurants and cafes. He stopped in one of the few still-open stores to find out about international phone cards. I waited outside and spotted a Lagkagehuset right next door! I knew we were very close to the hotel. The famous pastry café was closed but we could return in the morning.
Back at the hotel, we just hung out in front, enjoying the last rays of sunshine and warmth of the day – it was 9 pm, and across the street a clock chimed the hour. Elmer had gone to get Mary ice cream, returning with an individual sized contained of Ben and Jerry’s brownie chocolate ice cream. Mary shared some with me.
I slept pretty well, in spite of the noise at the bar below.
1983 ushered in the beginning of the era of “big hair”:
In rock music, Kiss was hip:
A few things happened in 1983 to make my boring life a bit more exciting. My husband’s cousin Claudia came to Milwaukee to stay for a few months. She arrived in the winter and, as someone who had grown up in the tropical climate of Brazil, found it enchanting! She wanted to ski, so we took her cross-country skiing in some large nature reserves. Here is a picture we posed for, when we took Claudia to visit my parents’ house in Janesville:
Claudia never forgot that visit and we remained good friends since then; twenty years later she paid back our hospitality by inviting us to stay with her and her family in Rio de Janeiro!
The other exciting thing that happened was the birth of my niece, Julia. I witnessed and was part of her first few years of life, since Julia’s mother (my sister) and her family lived in Milwaukee. Later, after my son was born, he and Julia became great friends and always looked forward to playing together. This picture is of newborn Julia, May 1983:
Here is Julia now, all grown up, married and expecting her first child:
My mother took this picture of my sister Mary and her family, with my father, in their dining room in the summer of 1983. My parents were going to take John (age 9) on a trip to Lake Superior and this was taken when they went to pick him up.
We had ordered tickets for a Palmetto Carriage tour the night before, so we proceeded directly to the Old City Market, adjacent to the Red Barn, where the tour was to start. For booking in advance, once again we got free parking.
It was a clear, but chilly day, and in the barn it was even colder! A warmer room was adjacent to the barn, where people could buy tickets or snacks from a couple of vending machines; however, the barn was interesting – there were a lot of things to look at, such as old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages, horses and mules, and amusing signs.
Our tour wasn’t leaving until 11:15, so we had some time to look around the Market a little.
South Carolina is home to the palmetto tree, which is pictured on the state flag. Whole cottage industries arose with creations made from these trees. We saw beautifully-woven baskets made from palmetto fronds, a tradition of the African-American population here. I would have bought one but even the smallest were out of my price range! So I took pictures of them instead.
When it was time for our tour, the carriage pulled up to the platform where tour-goers were waiting. Our guide helped us in, and then fetched some blankets, because it was going to be cold in an open carriage today. The carriage was drawn by two mules, each of whom had a name and distinct personality traits, as our
young guide explained. The mule on the left was lazier than the other, so the right-hand mule would bump the lazy one’s rump to get her going again! The mule on the right also tended to lean into the left mule.
The guide was very knowledgeable about Charleston’s history and the story behind the mansions we saw, and he told many anecdotal tales to keep us entertained. There are many “haunted” tales associated with certain buildings – in fact, there are ghost tours, but we weren’t going to stay in town late enough to go on one.
I took a lot of pictures, but even if we had just returned from this trip yesterday, I wouldn’t remember the names of most of the places we saw! Charleston’s historical district is characterized by small, winding streets as well as cobblestone streets -although only a few of these have been preserved -and large manor homes, built for the elite of the 19th century. These elites had made their fortunes through business or trade, and certainly many of them owned slaves. Charleston is still proud of its Confederate heritage.
I loved the ironwork and many of the decorative facades. The homes are beautiful architecturally, and several of them offered tours, although we didn’t take any of them.
One can tour the Edmonston-Alston House, on High Battery, to experience early 19th century elegance (built 1825). It contains furnishingsof the Alston family. I zoomed in on one of the balconies because of the decorative ironwork. (I don’t know what the black and purple sashes are for.)
Look at the columns on this house, which are are slightly “crooked.” (Most noticeable if you look at the railing along the side of the balcony). This was done for a reason. Boats arriving into the port of Charleston could align themselves with the columns to guide them into the harbor.
In this picture, people are waiting for a tour in front of the Calhoun mansion; note the chandelier in the front hall.
Below, Charleston Hat Man. This little “man” (all made out of hats – look closely!) is a symbol of the city, and you find him here and there on buildings or signs. Personally I found him to be a bit sinister.
Back at the Market after the carriage tour, we once again encounter the Charleston Hat Man:
The alarm went off at 5:30 this morning, and I opened the curtains of our room to witness a beautiful sunrise over Lake Titicaca, the lake tinged a light violet. Stands of totora reeds in the shallow water near shore and the peninsula beyond were silhouetted against the pink and purple sky.
After breakfast, we assembled for our bus ride to the dock, and then we would transfer to a boat to visit Uros and Taquile Islands. Our local guide for the next two days is named Edith. She is cute and sweet, and her English somewhat better than Edgar’s, though not as good as Boris’s. Sometimes she didn’t seem to understand our questions, so I tried to ask questions in Spanish, even though I didn’t want to appear rude to the others. There was always a translation following.
The boat was part of the KonTiki Tour company, I immediately noticed. Edgar and Edith are apparently both employed by KonTiki as well, contracting out to OAT for this leg of the trip. OAT requires local guides for each region. Boris, of course, was with us as well.
On the boat, we again greeted Edgar who boarded with his tour of the day, a group of people from several Spanish speaking countries.
After a ride of about two hours, our first stop, Uros Islands, was one of the most fascinating parts of this trip. Uros is a group of floating islands made entirely from totora reeds and their root systems.
This part of Lake Titicaca is full of these totora reed patches, which the Uros people use to make their islands, the ground they walk on, their houses, their boats, and are even used for food.
The Uros are an ancient people with an ancient language, which has become extinct, as they began trading with the Aymara people along the lake, and adopted their language. Nowadays, the people of Uros speak Aymara. Spanish is their second language.
The Uros predate the Inca civilization. According to their legends, they existed before the sun, when the Earth was dark and cold; thus they say that they have “black blood” making them impervious to the cold, as well as drowning and being struck by lightning. Their legendary ancestors disobeyed universal order and mixed with humans, so they lost their status as super beings.
Apparently the original purpose of the island settlements was defensive, when the Inca expanded their empire onto the Uros’ lands. By living on these islets, they could move if a threat arose. They have been living this way, on the highest navigable lake in the world, for hundreds of years.
There are about 40 of these floating islands, supporting from two to more than 10 families. On the largest island, there is a church and a primary school. Today, the Uros make their living by trading on the mainland and through tourism. They make beautiful embroidered crafts and small items made of reeds that they sell to tourists who visit their islands. They also fish and hunt shore birds and ducks for eggs and food. Some of the fish are for their own consumption and some they trade in Puno at farmer’s markets.
At the main island, we transferred to a balsa boat made of reeds, rowed by native men. We got off at a much smaller island, named Isla Suma Balsa, that is home to only a few families. This community consists of a few houses and storage huts. Notice the ground cover – all reeds. It is sort of spongy to walk on!
The men on the island demonstrated how these islands are constructed. The totora reeds have a dense, interwoven root system about 1-2 meters thick that supports the islands. They are anchored with ropes attached to sticks which are driven into the bottom of the lake. The people must add new layers of reeds frequently because the reeds at the bottom rot away quickly. They also wear away due to the people constantly treading on the reeds. In the rainy season, the reeds rot much faster, so new layers must be added more often.
The following pictures show how the men measure the thickness of the island.
During this demonstration, our guide, Edith, gave us a commentary in English of what was happening.
We sat down to listen to Edith explain the history, geography and culture of these islands. One of the men demonstrated with miniature versions how the island is constructed.
While all this was going on, the women sat nearby, making crafts to sell to the tourists. It would have been rude for us to not buy anything. Tourism is a major part of their economy.
AThen one of the women showed us another use for the reeds: nourishment! Peeling off the outer layer reveals a soft white interior that is very nutritious, rich in iodine. We all tried it!
The white part of the totora reed is also used to kill pain. The reed is wrapped around the place that hurts to absorb the pain. When it is very hot, they use the white part of the reed to cool off by putting it on their forehead.
Afterwards, we were invited to explore the island, including seeing the interior of their houses. Each person in our group was “adopted” by one of the women on the island who led us to see their houses and encouraged us to try on their clothes! I declined, but others did try them on.
Uros homes are simple, one room shacks built with reeds. Like other Peruvians, their cooking and eating is done outside. Food is cooked with fires on piles of stones. We saw traditional clay pots in these cooking areas.
After visiting the homes, the people had all their items for sale on display, so we shopped.
Several people then climbed the lookout tower.
Neighboring islands, taken from the tower:
Meanwhile, we were being summoned to board the balsa boat once more. It was time to say good-bye!
The people of Isla Suma Balsa lined up along the shore to sing to us – they sang an Aymara version of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star! We sang a song to them too!
View of Isla Suma Balsa from the boat:
We pulled away from Isla Suma Balsa on our reed boat, with two delightful rowers.
They also allowed the passengers to have a go at rowing. Here are Wally and Jayme: We made our way back toward the “main” island. I took two more pictures of “our” island, Isla Suma Balsa, as we got farther away:
Another boat just like ours passed us as we approached the big island.
One of the main sources of food for the Uros is, of course, fish:
After being delivered to the island in the balsa boat, we waited for the motor boat that would take us to our next destination.
Our next stop on Lake Titicaca was TAQUILE ISLAND. (next post)