Down stream with a paddel

Trip Start Apr 15, 2011
Trip End Feb 04, 2012

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another day, another stupid o'clock start. Today I am up at 4.30 for a 6am rapido aka speed boat, from Iquitos down stream to Leticia, Colombia.  There are lots of people milling around at the port and I’m the only foreigner.  I have another one of those moments when I’m standing in line and a police officer, all be it in uniform with a badge, demands I hand over my passport.  I’m nervous but there are several other police officers in the same uniform so I guess it’s OK.  My passport get passed from person to person but after several tense minutes I’m given it back and directed past the rest of the line to board the boat.  Much to my relief my bags are not checked, I’m far too paranoid about light fingered officials, nor do I have to pay the excess luggage fee for having 'more than 15kgs’.  My main pack hovers between around 14 – 15kg but if you add my day pack and my cotton bag with things waiting to be posted it probably adds an extra 8 – 10kg.  The boat takes longer than expected, no surprises there.  But I am surprised at the almost complete lack of border control.  We are dropped off at Santa Rosa and there is a long, hot walk to two separate offices to get stamped out of Peru.  If I hadn’t joined up with some other back packers with a local showing us where to go I’d have no idea.  It’s already gone six and its dark by the time we make in across the Amazon in a small boat to Leticia.  There are not lights and we are lead by another local across the dark mud flat, across several narrow bridges crossing streams and mud.  I’m worried about my balance with my bags and am slightly concerned we’re all getting lead up the garden path and are about to be mugged, but under the circumstances I have not choice other than to follow.  It’s hot and humid and I’m sweating buckets.  There is no immigration control at the dock and I later find out I have to go to the airport on the edge of town to get officially stamped into Colombia the following day.   

We finally make it to the town proper and after some twoing and frowing check into hotel with a pool.  It’s a little more than I want to pay but it’s OK for the night.  Ten minutes later we are lounging around the lovely, lovely cool water of the pool.  After cooling off we go in search of food and end up getting pizza delivered pool side and sinking some cold beers from the supermarket.  There are a couple of small bats here, flitting around and feeding on the bugs attracted by the lights and water of the pool.  The rest of the evening is passed chatting about everyone’s plans as you do when a group of travelers get together, munching on Pizza and sipping beer. 

The following day I was going to go straight to Puerto Narino but it’s so hot I decide to stay another day at the hotel and make the most of having my own room and the pool in the hot hot sunshine.
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