The many small communities found along the banks of Lake Titicaca are each vibrant, exciting and beautiful. Upon being welcomed at the shore by a band playing traditional music, the Aymara people shook our hands, hugged us and kissed our cheeks. We were then dressed up in traditional clothing and partook in many festivities including dancing and a friendly game of soccer. (Quite difficult at around 4,000 metres above sea level.)
Our beautiful hostess welcomed us into her house to meet her children and cooked us a hearty meal. The next morning we assisted with farming duties and visited the local market.
This woman demonstrated the barter system to us.The people on the island eat mainly vegetables, legumes and fish.
We also visited Taquile Island which is world renowned for its handwoven textiles and clothing. The knitting is done exclusively by the men.
When a man wants to propose to a woman, he invites her to walk down to the water with him. He then takes the hat that he has knit and fills it with water. If no water escapes, he has proven that he is a master of his craft and can make a worthy husband. However, if water leaks out through small holes in his hat, he must return to the town a bachelor, bearing the shame of his poor craftsmanship.
This tradition is a direct link to why their handwoven craft is of the highest quality. There is a massive incentive for the men to be good knitters. So boys, let that be a lesson to you: nice girls don’t marry boys with holes in their hats.