Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End May 08, 2009

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, March 16, 2009

Leave Leticia and cross the Amazon amid driving rain in a dingy to Santa Rosa, Peru to catch the early morning boat to Iquitos. I had hoped to catch a three day cargo boat down the Amazon, but had been told that these can be a little sketchy for foreigners. In the end the twelve hours trip probably sufficed - the banks of the river become pretty monotonous after a while. Iquitos is the largest city in the world inaccessible by road. While Columbia could hardly be descibed as a particularly prosperous country, the poverty and chaos of Iquitos comes as a bit of a culture shock. Pre World War I , this place was the centre of the rubber boom. Closer in time back then to Liverpool than Lima, itīs main steet is named after eccentric Irish rubber baron Carlos Fitzcarrald and an Iron House designed by Gustav Eiffel dominates the main square. Despite the isolation, Iquitos does afford a glimpse of the future- the
motortaxi drivers are ditching their trusty hondas in droves and moving
on to the cheaper Chinese made knock-offs. Physically detached from the rest of Peru, the locals are wacky and the large ex-pat community even wackier.  I stay in Mad-Mick-from-Birmingham's Bunkhouse, who immediately invites me to become the first Irishman to play the Amazon Golf Club. Itīs not quite Augusta National, but its great fun.
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