Published: March 1st 2008March 1st 2008
Slackman: There are many internet cafes in every town and village I´ve been in, yes a lot easier than Thailand for finding access, also phone cafes in or adjacent to internet cafes. Speeds are quite good as long as there are not alot of people in the cafes. I´m not emailing just responding on this blog to peoples questions or comments.
2/29/08-went to Belen again, (for all readers that know of Belen skip this part, it´s the same old stuff every other blogger writes, this is for my friends and family) spent about an hour in canoe touring the "Venice of Peru", yeah right, this Venice has much floatsom and jettsom, in other words much trash consisting of plastic bottles, bags, various forms of rotting food, non-swimming animals, the dead type, and many unidentifiable articles. This is the good side of Belen, I won´t go into the nasty stuff. Slackman, the canals of Bangkok are pristine compared to Belen. As the high water season comes into being, the water rises up the first floor of the shops and homes and the folks move to the second floor living areas along with their chickens, dogs and other edible, not the dogs, two and four legged food. Once you leave the area that the buildings are built on terra firma, you enter the floating houses on various canals. These are built on balsa wood logs that allow the homes to rise and fall with the water level. They have large logs upright in the canal beds that they tie the homes to so that they do not float down the Amazon to Columbia or Peru, yes that´s stretching it a bit, but they are tied up. The bathroom arrangements are outhouses adjacent to the homes on their own little log platform, so the sanitation is great, so great, that the kids are swimming around their houses. Or maybe not so great as the sewer is the river itself, you get the picture, not a place I would choose to swim.
Now to the market area of Belen. This is an open air market, however, the open air is covered with plastic tarps, so it´s a covered open air market, you get the picture, the tarps allow all the aromas of the market to be contained at ground level. Now on to articles for sale: fresh fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, beef, pork, turtle, monkey, deer, these are all out in the open, so there must be refrigeration under the meats, you bet there is, as the day goes on the meats tend to change color with the heat of the day. So those aromas I was speaking of before, intensify. The market is set up with different sections, you may find second hand shoes, clothes. Then on to soaps and cleaning supplies, etc. There are a couple of sections of places to buy prepared food, such as the various meat products mentioned above. Now I´ve been in markets in Thailand, Mexico, Honduras, and several towns in Peru, and this was about the best as far as being the worst I´ve seen. I thought buying a pair of flip flops in the meat section of the market in Mae Hong Song Thailand ws bad, but this one takes the cake, but don´t eat that cake.
Thoughts and Observations; If you folks have been reading the previous blogs, you are aware that I took a cargo boat from Yurimaguas to Iquitos. Yesterday on the same stretch of river a boat such as I took, sank, there are reported losses of life up to 25 and at least that amount missing. So this little jaunt I´m on is not all fun and games, it´s true life experiences.
There is a place here in Iquitos called the Iron House. It is one of three that were shipped from France and designed and built by Effile ( spelling totally wrong), the fellow that built the tower in France, this one is the remaining of the three. Now I´ve been in two of his buildings, this one a restaurant, and one in Santa Rosilia Baja Sur California which is a church.
Having lived in Alaska and my 2 sons and grandson live there now, I found this interesting, you will see the word Alaska in numerous stores around the ice cream freezers, when I inquired what does Alaska mean in Peru, it was explained to me that Alaska was very cold so th ice cream area was Alaska so that´s the story of Alaska in Peru. Like I said this section is just thoughts and observations, so this kind of dribble will be contained here.
A section of Belen Market is called Witches Market where one can purchase many jungle roots, powders, barks, and unidentifiable items that will cure any health problems you may have as well as increase the males stamina, we´ll leave it at that (I wish this wasn´t a family hour blog).
The 1st week of this trip I had some down moments, like I had in Central America last year, which I´m pretty sure other solo travellers have, you know why am I doing this, wouldn´t be great to have a fellow traveller to be with, let me just have a conversation in english for 5 minutes. It´s amazing though that these times pass and all is well with the world I´m invovled in at this time. There is not a thing that I would change on this trip or regret doing or not doing, life is good.
That´s it for now, enjoy all and love to family and friends,