Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Deep, Blue Lake

Life is slow at 12,500 ft. Lake Titicaca rests at this elevation as the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. It is also the largest lake in all of South America. One would think with these accolades there would be a bustle surrounding the shores of this profound body of water. While there are a few port cities dotting the shoreline, the vast majority of existence is idle.

Life in Llachon

We found our way to the tiny village of Llachon located on Lake Titicaca's Capachica Peninsula. Llachon is made up of approximately fifteen families whom farm the fertile land growing potatoes, corn, and quinoa. Beyond the crops being harvested on shore, the local Quechua people also cultivate the totora reeds growing in the lake's shallows. The reeds are used for just about everything; roofs, beds, walls, decoration, food, insulation, and even the construction of floating, habitable islands. Cows, donkeys, pigs, sheep, and alpaca round out the rest of Llachon. 

Welcome to Llachon, Peru 

Totora Reeds Ready for Harvest

We knew we were off the beaten track when we arrived in Llachon and there was not a soul around. No taxis, no hostels, no restaurants, nobody. The only audible sounds were those of donkeys and sheep. Luckily, we ran into a woman who knew of a family that owned a hospedaje or family homestay. We were greeted by Primo who showed us to our mud brick room with a totora reed roof. After settling in we roamed around the shoreline taking in the majestic sights of the lake and surrounding, distant mountains. We basked in the highland sun exploring the lakeside village until it was time for dinner. Primo's wife, Susanna, cooked us a magnificent typical dinner of bread, vegetable barley soup, rice, vegetables, chicken (for Me) and egg tortilla (for Mags). After dinner we talked story with Primo, who spoke great Spanish even though the local language is Quechua, while sipping on freshly picked herb tea. Since it gets dark here at 6pm everyday, we called it a night around 8pm when we ran out of stories. Again, life moves slow here, very slow.

Hospedaje de Primo y Susanna

Fresh Totora Reed Harvest

The Freshest Tea Around

Our stay in Llachon was an eye opening experience into the ways of Quechua Lake Titicaca inhabitants. Their smiles are honest, their hands are dirty, their voices are subtle, and their lives are simple. It is my hope that when we return to our life in the States we do so with the modesty embodied by Primo and Susanna.   

1 comment:

  1. I totally love this place and have to visit again this coming December for holiday season with my family.

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