Yurimaguas to Iquitos

Our transport down the Amazon River.

Dave and I "hanging out" in our hammocks.

The ship that came to rescue us after our motor broke down.

The crowd of people who swarmed the boat before it landed to help carry produce.

Floating homes in BelÚn, a barrio of Iquitos.

BelÚn "street" scene.

BelÚn is electrified even though they are covered with water most of the year.

One of the few anchored buildings this close to the water, a church stands on stilts.

Tasting the local fare in the market, palm grubs.

Llegamos a Iquitos
Just checking in to say that Dave and I are safe and sound and no worse for wear after our three-day boat ride down the Amazon River to Iquitos. Well, there were a few technical difficulties with our stomachs, and I emptied mine a few times during one night, but luckily it was a comfortable ride with bathrooms with light bulbs and flush toilets. We rode first class, which is the third and top floor, a little more costly, but better food and there is an extra floor between us and all the cows, chickens, and tons (literally) of plantains harbouring spiders and worse on the first floor.

We slept in hammocks like a line of wovenly-gifted sardines undulating with the slight currents. And during this Great Hammock Convention 2005 we got to hang out (ha ha ha, no... literally!) with a bunch of great people on board. We played a lot of card games, learned a few, taught a few, you know how things go with all that intercultural interchange.

And then we had some actual technical difficulties with the motor of our boat... and for a while our little dinghy lancha was pushing the whole show with just a little outboard motor. So somehow they sent for help in Iquitos and five or six hours after floating aimlessly in circles down current until we got caught on a sandbar, another large boat came chugging upstream to push us the last few hours into the port.

...Where we were met by a thousand people waiting on the bank, hundreds clambering onto our boat from other boats before we had even gotten into port, with the intent to help unload our 20 tons of plantains, our 15 cows, and goodness knows how many chickens and sacks of unidentifiable "product". We waited a bit hoping for the scene to clear, but finally had to force our way off board, carrying our luggage over our heads and stepping in the spaces between other peoples' feet.

We haven't done anything in town yet, but we are planning on staying here until Sunday, and tomorrow we see about flights to Lima. And after doing our laundry and taking three contiguous showers and eating ice cream, we plan to see about the floating homes of BelÚn and river market. And yes, maybe we'll do another jungle expedition just to see if we can see some animals that aren't halved, stuffed, skinned, or otherwise, well... dead.

I am not holding me breath for the dolphins; they seem to be doing a pretty good job of that themselves, but if I could see any, I would be thrilled. Or a manatee, or some monkeys, even. Okay, okay, at least a tapir, a capybara... or... a deer? Please? Whether or not we see any animals, this trip has been so full, so complete, and it is with mixed feelings that I acknowledge the end of it coming nigh. I am finally getting used to talking and (conviviendo) living and sharing like a bona fide Peruvian, and yet, I am terribly missing the DR and my heart magnets.

And Dave and his yens and constant comparisons and contrasts to the DR are no help whatsoever in my quest to find the Tao, of floating down a river, a river much like the Amazon, much like when our motor is in bad nick and things just flow. And even if you fancy yourself a sandbank, it remains a transient thing. Rather, it doesn't remain, and is a transient thing. You know what I am trying to say... i.e. send me some love. Oppp, curtain call in two weeks. Love and really muddy waters, Molly