Living on Floating Islands

The Uros people of Lake Titicaca along the border of Bolivia and Peru live on man-made floating islands constructed of reeds! The group developed this system to protect themselves from invaders, and now it protects their culture from unwanted contact and assimilation. The thick layers of reeds must be replenished several times a year. Link -Thanks, RJ Evans!

(image credit: Flickr user Yandi)

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I have to agree with trvllr. I was there two years ago, and the entire operation is a tourist trap designed to separate you from your money. Yes, it's very cool to see the physics of the floating island, and to imagine the history. But today, the guides pressure you to buy trinkets, the inhabitants thrust their kids in your faces to sing for you, then get angry if you don't give them money. It's very depressing.
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I was in the area for a few weeks last october, and I have to say, not everything in the article is strictly true. The Uro culture is not in danger of being absorbed, it is actually dead. The last woman who was pure-blood Uro died in the 1950s (if I remember correctly).

Everyone there tends to agree (if you ask them off the record): The islands are run now strictly for the touristic value, and are mostly just a spot to put the souvenir stands on. You also won't find many old people there. Those are enjoying the dryness and the comfort of the main land too much.

The island are a wonderful sight, nonetheless. Interesting is also that the new "Uros" have a valuable environmental function: They keep the Titicaca lake clean of plastic bottles, as they discovered they can be used as effective floating bodies hidden inside their reed-boats. :-) That is a relatively new technology, as you might guess.
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