Welcome to the Jungle

Trip Start Oct 17, 2012
Trip End Mar 27, 2013

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Flag of Peru  , Loreto Region,
Thursday, January 24, 2013

Iquitos is famed for being the largest city unreachable by road. In other words, to get to this city in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon, you have to fly or boat in. Kendra was keen on the three day boat ride, preceded by two days of buses. However, in the interest of saving some time and avoiding jungle cockroaches and mosquitos, we flew. Anyway, the cost was suppose to be fairly similar to fly or bus / boat, and we could still boat out.
There are only a couple of things that people visit this city for: jungle tours and ayahuasca ceremonies. But the city has a couple of other things to offer, most of which you can see in a walk to Belen Market. you can walk along the river boardwalk with tiled buildings on one side and houses on stilts on the other. Belen market is known for selling most anything including a large variety of plant medicines and illegal animals. We walked though this market a couple of times and never found the animals, but were given a cigar of toé, which when we tried to research we think is Datura (eek! why they do that!?). People here will sell anything, and everyone is a salesman / jungle guide / shaman. It's difficult to trust anyone because everyone is trying to get at your money and you don't want to be lost in the jungle with the wrong person. After talking to several jungle guides about three day tours, we opted out of this adventure. The cost was double our daily budget for us to catch our own fish meals and sleep in a hammock (which we also own). Pass.
We decide to visit Isla de Los Monos instead for our wildlife fix. There are actually two islands with this name: the original is a rehabilitation for monkeys, the other stole the name and has sick old monkeys in cages. We went to the original where they have almost 30 monkeys (8 variety) roaming freely around the island. They're not hiding up in trees either. They literally come out to the boat to greet you on arrival, sit on your head and shoulders, and swing from your arms. Awesome experience, and within budget at $8 each.
Iquitos is also supposed to have a large ex-pat community. But I'm not sure how true this ended up being. We met most of them (a handful of old men from the US and England) our first night in town at a bar that they visit every night. The only other bar with "gringos" is the Karma Cafe, where all of the travelers go, and where we meet Freddie the bartender. Freddie, like most people offers us his friends for jungle tours and ayahuasca ceremonies, but also offers a room in his house- which we take him up on. Mad Mick's hostel, where we've been staying, was $4 each, but we didn't have a kitchen and we did have a roach, so Freddie's house seems an upgrade being a private bedroom with private bath and shared kitchen...
But "private" is a relative term because throughout all of this we have Andy with us. Andy is an English boy we met after he had been dooped into giving a conman $100. He now has a crush on Lydia and has invited himself to our company 24/7. Since there is really only the house and the cafe, there is no way to avoid him. Being stuck with this boy proves to be more of a challenge than the heat, the mosquitos, or the cockroaches. And there were cockroaches in our new room as well. Huge jungle sized cockroaches with big beady eyes that can fly and run faster than us. Sick. And it is on the floor with these that Andy would sleep.
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#1 bb on

lol dead at lydia having another life partner.

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