Thursday 31 December 2009
Highlights: Exploring Taguile Island, Capachica Peninsula Home Stay, Community Dancing and New Year’s Celebration
New Year’s Eve Special
Today we set off to explore Lake Titicaca and its local people. This started with us catching bicycle rides down to the port. Gareth as ever kept encouraging his bike rider to past me and Andrew we did managed to get in front a number of times but we lost the race 😦
Down at the port we bought gifts for our new families for the night. The boat ride took about 3 hours and we were joined by another smaller GAP group. I was reminded again how big the Lake is, at many points to can’t see land.
The first stop was Taguile Island and it was only a fraction of the way into the Lake yet took us 3 hours. We hiked up the island taking about 1 hour and many times people in the group lost their breath. At high altitude it can be difficult to get enough air, especially over 3,800 meters above sea level. On this island you can only move here to live by marrying someone.
There are no police and the ultimate penalty is being kicked off to the main land. The men wear different type hats to show if they are married or not. Before you can get married you must live together for 12 months unless you have a kid. There is no divorce on this island and only married men can be elected as a leader. Also a man can only get married if he knows how to knit with a high degree of skill.
After lunch we left the island and stop on the Capachica Peninsula to met our new ‘families’ for the night. After the band stopped playing the serious football match against the locals got started. Both Andrew and myself made the starting 6 but quickly thought it might be better to be sitting on the sidelines it was that hard to breath. Despite this our team quickly went up 2 nil with Andrew scoring one goal. Around the 20 minute make I substituted myself off for the rest of the game.
The locals then managed to get the next 3 goals but in this first to 4 goal match the GAP team lead by Titch staring as a goalie and Andrew scoring another goal along with our substitute tour leader Edgar kicking the winning goal came out on top. Exhausted we all headed to our new families homes for dinner.
Before the dinner however Andrew and our host Jose tried to communicate which lead to Andrew somehow agreeing to walk the household sheep and tending to their cow. Dinner was basic but good and after this we got changed into local attire for a celebration and set of some fireworks.
We then headed off to the local community hall and started our New Year’s Eve celebrations. There was lots of dancing, Andrew in particular was popular with the children but nobody could match Emma leading around 11 children in dance at one point. I even got on the floor at one point. The girls in particular looked outstanding in their local attire.
Around midnight we went outside and started the countdown and at close to the right time went crazy. Fireworks went off and the drinks flowed freely. Titch bought out his Cuban cigars and shared them around which I know Andrew enjoyed. Around 12.30 am we headed back to our new homes and somehow Andrew managed not to fall down despite being a bit drunk. I say this based on witnessing him empty a few “Baileys’ bottle very quickly near the end of the night, and this was after many, many other drinks.
We both went to sleep in our clothes as it was very cold outside and inside.