Published: April 3rd 2011April 3rd 2011
Look at the rib above the arrow.
My sisters have called me The King of Unfinished Projects (I have an embroidered pillow to prove it) so just to spite them I’m going to finish this travel blog. We made it home last Saturday morning, mostly none the worse for wear. My back still hurt from the motorcycle wreck so I went to the Doctor on Monday and found out I’d broken a rib. The Doctor thought I was nuts because I wanted to take a picture of the x-ray and was quite excited by the news. I told her it just made the story of the trip that much better.
My last post had us leaving the jungle for Bagua and then back to Chiclayo. On Tuesday we started our milk run to Iquitos from Chiclayo, first to Lima where we changed planes then made a stop in Tarapoto before finally landing in Iquitos.
The view from the plane makes it obvious you are landing in the jungle but the view from the street makes it hard to believe you are anywhere near the jungle. The main road from the airport has better paving than half the roads in Southern California. The choice of vehicles is
I forgot to post this with the Bagua trip. Driving from New Horizons to Bagua we were running late so Larry grabbed "dinner" for everybody. This was dinner.
quite different though. There are more motorcycles and mototaxis than you can count. I’ve also never seen so many women riding motorcycles. It was not unusual to see 3 or 4 people on a motorcycle at one time. I saw 5 once but didn’t have my camera. Don’t try this at home.
We were met at the airport by a van from our hotel but, of course, Larry knew a guy at the airport that helped us with our luggage. There are two things I’ve heard about from everybody that has been to Iquitos, the bloodwood bowls and the market. We took care of bloodwood on the ride back from the airport. I wish I had a photo to show you but when we hit the store commerce was the only thing on our minds. Larry and Addie have a shop they frequent when in Iquitos and all four of us left with multiple sacks each. I was happy to find the shop took Mastercard since I’d run out of soles in Chiclayo and hadn’t re-loaded yet.
The hotel was nice. It had an elevator, air conditioning and hot water. It’s amazing how your expectations change after a
Our charriot awaits
Star Peru was a pretty good airline.
week in the jungle. We relaxed for a little while and then Greg and Larry wanted to hit the road and visit some people. We visited a church that Larry described as the poorest in Iquitos. We took mototaxis about 15 minutes from the hotel and stopped at a part of town that we would have called the slums. The houses were lined on either side of a sewer ditch. We walked for about 10 minutes and came to a Nazarene church. After a little knocking the Pastor’s wife came out (sorry I don’t have any names). She was excited to see Larry and invited us in. A few other young men were there, a couple of them were her children. She explained her husband, the Pastor, was away at work. He had been without work for 7 months and had just started a temporary job that day. She told us that she has been telling her boys every day that God would provide and she was thankful for what they had. Larry was translating for Steve and me and told us he was going to give her some money to help her out. He didn’t say how much but
Can I get one of these in my office?
Greg was amazed you could push this button and they would bring coffee. Now he wants one in his office.
I assumed he was talking about $40 or so. Steve said he’d really like to do it, that he’d brought money for just this kind of thing and wanted to give her $300. $300 would probably have been 6-7 months salary. She basically fell to her knees thanking God for this answer to prayer. My life is so different from the life she lives, yet she had something happen to her that I don’t think I can say I’ve ever had happen to me. She had a very specific prayer answered in a very specific way. She had no idea we were in town and were coming for a visit. She didn’t know Steve from the man in the moon. God used Steve to answer her prayer. That was kind of cool to witness.
Wednesday was a relaxing, sightseeing day. It was also the day we said goodbye to Steve. He caught a flight back to Lima and then had a midnight flight home. I’m looking forward to hearing about Steve’s trip later this year when he returns to Montango. Somehow, I think they will still be talking about the time they let 2 American’s drive their motorcycles and
What's the point?
They tell you where the life vest is, but then they tell you don't remove it. It's not going to do me any good under the seat.
they both wrecked.
We started the sightseeing with a trip to the open air market. Words can’t do it justice. Pictures really can’t do it justice but I’ll still post about 40 to give you an idea. You have to smell it and hear it to really get the flavor. I liked it. Imagine a farmer’s market run by carnies and you’ve got a rough idea. I think my favorite booth was the dismembered turtle that had all the pieces laid out in order. Just look at the pictures.
After the market we hired a speed boat to take us down the river. I can now say I’ve been on the Amazon River. We took a couple of other smaller rivers (I think the Nanay River) out to a village to meet the Bora tribe. The place we went was really set up for tourists. When they hear the boat motor I think they smell tourist dollars. Larry has brought teams here several times and you have a 5-10 minute walk from the water to their village. When we docked the boat I heard kind of a drum sound that was probably Bora for “tourist dollars have landed!”
View from the plane
The men and women are dressed in typical native dress. They usually will perform some native dances but Larry told them we were just stopping by for a few minutes. Then they started showing me and Greg all the different items for sale. I bought a blow gun and a hand "knit" (probably not the right word) bag. The woman don't wear shirts, they have what I could best describe as a necklace with beads and some kind of hard flower or bark that mostly covers their chest. Once they know you are interested in buying anything they swarm on you from all sides tapping you and showing you what they have. After I'd picked out the blow gun and the bag I remembered somebody had showed me one of the necklace things so I pointed to the one this girl was wearing to say, show me one of those. Before I could explain I didn't mean the exact one she was wearing, she'd pulled it off and offered it to me. Talk about selling you the shirt off their back. And yes, I bought it.
We headed back to the boat and went back up river to visit
The long and winding road....
a kind of animal preserve that has some caiman (alligators to those of us that don’t know better) and the paiche, the largest freshwater fish on earth. We walked out to a man made pond that had fish bigger than me. It was a little spooky actually.
On our way back to Iquitos we stopped at one more village with a Nazarene church. Since Iquitos is pretty flat the houses (and churches) are built on “stilts” so they aren’t under water when the river rises. The jungle near New Horizons is kind of hilly so all the villages are up hill from the river and don’t have to worry about flooding. We had the driver drop us off near the port and walked through one of the ships as they were unloading it. You won’t find forklifts and cranes doing the work. It was pretty much all manual labor.
Wednesday we had lunch at a Chifa. Chifa’s are Peruvian Chinese restaurants. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries a lot of Chinese immigrated to Peru and adapted their cuisine to the items available in Peru. If you ever get the chance, eat at a Chifa. Our flight
This must be the right place
from Iquitos left a couple hours late and we ended up getting to the hotel in Lima about 10:00PM. Usually that wouldn’t be a problem but when you want to be at the airport around 4:00AM, it makes for a short night. Greg and Larry had a few more things on their shopping list, all I remember was Greg wanted Panatone (I told you he has defective taste buds). Fortunately, the taxi driver that took us to the hotel knew the late night shopping places and they were able to get everything they wanted. The only “shopping” problem we had was Greg’s Christmas gifts. The road to Lima from the factory was washed out and we were not able to bring them home. Don’t fear NewNazers, plan B (and possibly C) is being put into play and Christmas gifts will arrive this year. Between all the bloodwood and other shopping items I’m not sure how we would have got them home anyway.
We got to the Lima airport at 4:00AM to find our flight was delayed 2 ½ hours. We’d arrived early to work on getting Larry upgraded to Business Class with me and Greg and after 20 minutes
You can't make a wrong turn
There are only 2 ways into Iquitos, plane or boat.
of me explaining American Airlines fare codes to the American agent we got Larry upgraded. Greg told Larry if the upgrade didn’t go through he would change seats with him. I told Larry I’d miss him (I don’t give up a Business Class seat for anybody). After another delay in Miami we finally made it back to LAX a little after midnight. It was a fun trip but it’s always good to be home.
It was a great trip. It’s easy to get caught up in our “American” world and forget that most people do not have the life we have. It’s easy to lose perspective about what is important. I met a woman that believed for seven months that God would provide and then was there when it happened. Thanks Larry and Greg (and Steve) for letting me tag along.
There are more photos below