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Heather’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Location: Iquitos, Peru

MapGood Morning America (north)...Buenos Dias Americasur!
Here I am in Iquitos, the hot, sticky, Jungle-y, mosquito free (why¿- I don´t know) town in the Amazon Basin of Peru. It is the worlds largest city not accesible by road, you get in and out by boat or plane. My trip getting here was very different from everything I have had so far, and to tell you about it, I will post a series of quotes directly from my journal so you can hear my exact thoughts from the moments on the lancha (small cargo boat). It was 3 days (approx) from Letecia, Colombia, to get here. 3 Days of a lifestyle I haven't seen or had ever, a giant collectivo boat, supporting an entire system of interaction and economy for the towns along the way.
Ohh...I really liked sleeping in a hammock too.

Here we go with the quotes...

"Here I am in Letecia. Rain falls hard from the dark skies, which does not improve my mood since departing Bogota. One thing that does though, is the friendly staff at the bakery who bring me a nice tall glass of avena"

"I sit eating breakfast, listening to the bongos of the hippies who sit outside [there were many hippies in Letecia] riding their own far out beat in the universe"

"Letecia is a polar opposite of everywhere else I have been in Colombia (and rightfuly so). It has a larger indigenous influence on the population and a less obvious European influence, which I have deduced is from their geographical location." *Note architecture of Church in fotos to come

"This towns geopolitical significance did not manifest itself until after the arrival of our happy flora friend erythroxylum [coca plant]"
Note: Letecia shares borders with Brazil, and Peru, so we have a prime narcotrafficante zone...

NOW...on the lancha...
"What a day. I perch in my hammock, observing the not so tiny spider tending his web. Perhaps he will prevent the Heather massacre, or perhaps he will contribute"
Note: There were (don't know why) no mosquitos on the boat either...very peculiar!

"After squinting hard along the surface of the river my patience (rare for me) paid off and I saw freshwater DOLPHINS!!!!!"

"I was quite surprised [in a small pueblo we stopped in ] to hear a cell phone ring...I suppose this is one form of ICT which many people in the world do want...one can't deny that trade (at any level) has forced certain aspects of globalization upon everyone, and cell phones facilitate this..."

"In every stop I observe niños playing the game which 'unites the world' -soccer is played here with anything that is round"

"Que chistoso para todo a la gente en esta barco...estoy demasiado alta para caminar en las hammacas"

"How funny to watch me for everyone here [they are so much shorter than me...I am the ONLY gringa on my boat] to watch me walk amongst the hammocks, ducking"

"It's like a giant dorm for everyone [the hammocks] and when people want to, they just pack up their stuff and move their hammock to be nearer to their new amigos...
At first I was skeptical and felt like the outcast tourist but the more I spoke with the Peruvians and interacted, the warmer they are to me...its not like COlombia where everyone was just open and friendly right off the bat"

"I FOUND A MONKEY. A mono en mi barco!!! THe eyes of this monkey were the window to his caged and repressed soul. He looked at me with envy [he was leashed to the side of the boat]...all of my entire heart wanted him to be free...he climbed onto me happy to touch something other than metal"

"every time we stop, the boat becomes bustling with life, vendors come aboard, selling popcorn, fried [delicious] fish, every form of food from this region, que rico!"

"My entertainment over morning breakfast was watching people try to catch a chicken which escaped from its bag, it was almost a jumper"

And now, here in Iquitos...

I arrived in Iquitos...met up with Jared, and yesterday we went to a wildlife reserve. It was terrible. I was disgusted to see the animals pacing their cages. They were so noble, the leopard with his wise grin, yet breathing heavy and stressed. THe monkeys, rattling at their cage (see Jareds page for some cool picts too www.planetranger.com/jaredbarnes). THe dolphins, which I pet, were in a murky dirty small pond, the only thing that actually looked happy were the wild pigs. Easy to please I guess.
Iquitos is cool, very touristy, the architecture here is not really COlonial either...for some reason reminds me very much of the BAhamas...
Anyways, I have a flight to catch to LIma now, am running late, and have already missed one flight (my first one to Letecia) so I need to be organized. I send hugs to everyone who reads this, and everyone who misses me as much as I miss them. Hope the sun is shining on you and the weather is sweet, yeah!
Ciao for now!