Iquitos, Peru

Trip Start Sep 20, 2004
Trip End Mar 30, 2005

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Friday, October 29, 2004

Iquitos, Peru

Woke up in the freaky hobo hideout and wondered what the hell we were hiding from. More likely to be the land lady than anything else so we packed up and got the hell out of there !

After a dubious breakfast in Aris Burgers (wrong order but a cool place. 50īs American diner type place in steamy jungle town !) we found out about boats up the Amazon and decided to get the fast one to Tabatinga (Brazil border)in the morning. In the meantime we set about exploring Iquitos. Never to far away from a friendly guy willing to show you around for a few bucks we jumped into a motorkar (think thailand tuk tuk) with Joe our new mate and headed for Puerto Belen. This part of town is made entirely of wooden huts built on stilts or houses literally built across wooden stakes to make a raft so that when the water level rises the house and accompanying bano floats on the river.

Its a shanty town half on the land next to the river that extends over to the otherside and down the opposite bank and is a busy trading place for all kinds of fish, meat and other food. We passed down along the river by canoe and drifted past people who were using the river to fish, wash, swim or just chug past on their boats. Back on land we wandered through a maze of streets filled with market stalls which extend for as far as the eye can see. It would be hard to describe everything that you could buy in the market but every kind of meat, fish, vegetable, fruit, spice, and various herbals cures and aphrodisiac. Passed on the turtle meat and eggs but tested out some of the juices which were fantastic.

That afternoon as we wandered the streets looking for somewhere to swap some books we ended up sitting on the roadside in a bar having a beer (as you do) in conversation with various characters that frequent the town. John (an American who had ended up there some years before) had taken an interest in shamanism and told us how he had met a shaman who had looked deep in his eyes and after two minutes he had ended up weeping on the floor. He had indulged in some of the shamanīs ceremonies which involves taking some natural mind bending substances made from the bark of a certain tree and follows with a purging of the body and finishes with some mind blowing hallucinations. He explained it as more of a vision but sounded like some serious Acid to me ! After more stories from the locals on near misses from arrow wielding Indian (?) we ventured out for dinner where I tucked into one of the local Peruvian delicacies called cebiche - raw fish with lime juice and various other good stuff. Top stuff ! The restaurant was in the building called the iron house -Casa de Fierro which was created by Eiffel for a exhibition in Paris and then shipped out to Iquitos in pieces in the 1890īs - strange but true!

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