We decided to ride with our new friend from holland who also has a blog, xtztravels.com about his motorcycle journey through South America as we were headed in the same direction. We all set out on the road and flew down on excellent motorcycling roads skirted by snow capped peaks with absolutely no traffic at 90mph most of the day until the rain started and we hit the city of Juliaco. The rain and traffic brought us down to a crawl and we battled our way, sometimes the wrong way, down one way streets clogged with muddy taxi bikes until we came out on the other side in a town called puno. It was the end of the day and we were wet and hungry and we had been unsuccessful at finding a place to camp along the way. Luckily we ran into some random motorcycle traveler friends along the way. The service technician at the BMW dealership that serviced our bikes in Bogotá Columbia told us that he was going on a ride with some friends as well and that he hoped to see us on the road, low and behold there they were! We all had some fried fish for lunch and decided to find a hotel together in Puno for the night. While we ate lunch some one stole one of the soft sided panniers off of our Dutch friends bike! Not a good introduction to the area. The group of six of us were quite a force rolling through this small port town and we decided to look for a hotel with secure parking in light of recent events. After many hotels being full we finally found a super cheap place to share with our new friends, thanks to the quick work of the Colombians! They recommended that we join them on a tour of the reed islands, Islas floatantes, so we all hopped on a boat at the marina. The boat was floating and the engine ran, but that is about all it had going for it. It was so rickety that the captain even kept a religious picture on the dash that he kissed before and after each successful voyage out into the lake. The boat did have one other functioning part. When he pressed the horn on the steering wheel it activated a car alarm which he liked very much. The alarm sounded during our ENTIRE journey out to the island city. We pulled up to a dock and offloaded the ship. The ground, the huts, the chairs, everything including the island itself was made out of floating reeds that grew in the lake! Each group of families constructed and maintained their floating home in the lake for generations. When the people originally settled out in the lake they did so to escape more aggressive groups and form a peaceful life for themselves. Nowadays, they still live there, but as a means of supporting themselves through tourism. Their two jobs are to make handicrafts and maintain the massive floating city. Hundreds of boats just like ours bring hoards of tourists in all day long. The group gets a presentation which explains how the islands are constructed and then we are transported by reed boat to he craft center where we can buy something to remember our visit. A little girl sang to us on our boat as we did a big circle in the city on our way to the island next door for tea and crafts. She was cute, but I felt bad that she had to perform everyday to help her family survive out there. After our trip to the islands we talked with the Colombians, Fernando, Daniel, and Edgar for a while and got to know them a little bit. We hope to see them someday in the USA for a motorcycle trip! Big miles to come as the next major stop for us is going to be Iguazu Falls! Stay tuned!