The boat from Amantani left early in the morning and before heading back to Puno we stopped off in two more islands, the first being Taquile. Here we walked around the island with our guide explaining some of the bizarre local traditions and enjoying the views.
All the single ladies on the island show their availability by displaying colourful pom poms on their clothing, unlike the married women who wear darker and more somber colours. They wear skirts with tiny poms poms, not to be noticed. You probably think this is a bit sexist but the men suffer the same fate. They have to walk around with an embroidered hat in red and white with a huge pom pom on the end of it. It´s very comical to watch.
All the men in the island wear a fabric belt which is primarily used for support while carrying heavy loads on their backs. According to our guide they carry up to 50 kgs in weight while walking for hours across the island.
The ornate belt below is no ordinary belt, it is proof of a woman's love to her future husband.
Depending on the quality and detail of her work, the sincerity of her feelings are judged by the community. The men also don't have it easy, as they have to sow an intricate hat, which is also a symbol of his faithfulness. The hat is then presented to the parents of his future wife who then decide whether he deserves her. This is done by pouring a glass of water into the hat and the hat has to contain the water for at least 10 minutes without leaking a drop. This is a tradition alive and well as we saw many single men sowing their hats as they walked. It all sounds like too much hard work.