The Ones That Last: The Floating Islands of the Uru

Floating Island, Lake Titicaca ©  D. Alexander Flores, Google Maps

“Oh my gawd. Oh my gawd.” The woman held her arms out as she wobbled over a springy spot in the totora reeds.

Quereche’s dark eyes slid to Michu, amused. A smile dimpled Michu’s check, but she kept her eyes on her stitching. Los turistas were comical, if nothing else: from their first gasps when they stepped upon the floating island, to their wide eyes when they realized that the huts had electricity generated from solar panels, to their open mouths when they heard the radio station broadcasting the afternoon musica to all the Uru’s floating sister islands. They would cup their hands and whisper How strange.

This always made Quereche smile even more. Though the solar panels and radio station were new, her people had survived on this lake for millennia. They’d watched the Inca come and go; then the conquistadores. It would be no different with these people.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

To read more about the Uru people of Lake Titicaca and their floating islands, watch the video below or  visit Atlas Obscura.


  1. I love this story- the rapport between the two women, who don’t need to speak, says so much about their way of life, their belongingness. Thank you for sharing this extraordinary culture through your story, and the video clip.

    1. Thanks so much, Francine!

  2. This is delightful. I like the way the women are amusedly stoic. You really capture of feeling of the place.

    1. Thank you kindly!

  3. Clearly there’s a lot more going on here than I imagined. Well played.

  4. […] you to Karen and Josh for hosting this fun weekly […]

  5. Wonderfully done… The ignorance of the tourists amusing the locals… How often that does happen…

    1. Hehe, now that you mention it, probably all the time! Thanks for reading Dale!

  6. Great story. Love the two women. Great characters and great interactions between them.

  7. Smashing story, Karen, capturing both the tourists’ wonder and the everyday acceptance of the local women.
    Thank you for this week’s prompt, too. The indigenous people of Bolivia are fascinating and amazingly diverse! It was engrossing discovering a little about them.

    1. Oh cool, I’m glad you liked it. I recall in elementary school we once spent a whole semester on it.

  8. Really enjoyed all those tourist reactions to what they find – a great pacy sentence that one. Also I like Quereche’s knowing ways her people having seen so much, and so many, pass by. One to make us re-evaluate how we see others and question our stereotypes.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Sarah Ann. I appreciate the time you took to read and comment on my story. I hope you’ll consider joining us on What Pegman Saw sometime! 🙂

      1. I am definitely thinking of joining in… I just take an age to take the plunge. 🙂

  9. Lovely story Karen. That interplay between the women, that feeling of longevity of a unique culture. Lovely

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