While traveling, there are always choices that one has to make. They can be small ones, such as what to eat for breakfast, or bigger ones, such as what city to go to next. When contemplating bigger decisions, it usually takes longer to decide because they are the ones that can affect the trip more. When deciding what city to go to next, I have to think about what there is to do in the city, how much it costs, how far away it is from my next destination, and if I would be disappointed if I didn’t get there. Those are just a few of the more common topics that go into decision making. However, one that many people may not even think of is the question: is it ethical?
This is the question that I wish I asked myself before I decided to go on a tour of the floating islands on the Peru side of Lake Titicaca. Before I decided to go to Puno (the town right by the lake), I asked myself the normal set of questions to try and find out if I should go. After thinking about them, I decided it was a good idea to go see Lake Titicaca. This decision seemed to be a great one when I was on the boat to the floating islands. These are islands that are formed naturally, but a group of people changed them in order to live on them. However, as soon as I stepped off of the boat and onto the island, my mood changed. Everything around me felt like it belonged on a set of a TV show and the people on the island seemed like actors. They hardly talked about the islands because most of the time was supposed to be used for buying souvenirs and eating at a little restaurant. It seems like the only reason why these people are still living on the island is because of the tourists who come here. They do not seem happy to be here, but it seems like more of a job that they must get through. This little trip did not feel like a glimpse into a culture different from my own, but rather a play trying to use an old culture in order to make money from tourists. If the goal of this attraction was to just make some money, then it did just that. However, if it is trying to show a different culture, it did not succeed and just seemed to exploit this culture. After the trip to the island I now have to think about one more question when I am making a decision, is it ethical?