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Published: June 30th 2007
This morning we went out early to do a little more fishing, and then back to the lodge to say goodby. After lunch Edson boarded the boat with us, and we made the 3 hour trip back to Iquitos. We got a last look at the huts and the local people doing their laundry in the river. When we reached Iquitos Edson gave us a personal tour of his hometown. It looked like a city in Taiwan or Vietnam. There are very few cars, but there are motorized rickshaws EVERYWHERE. They're noisy and smelly, but the only form of transportation. The city is totally run down and poverty is everywhere. One section of the city is called Belen and it's where the poorest of the poor live. Most of them are living in floating houses that are built on rafts. As the dry season begins they move their houses from place to place. Of course they use the river for bathing, drinking, and bathrooms. There is a large market next to the river where they sell all kinds of produce and meat. Jungle meat, (monkey, agouti, sloth, marmoset, caiman) is illegal, but it can be easily found in this market.
There are also live jungle animals for sale. Meat is sitting out in the heat all day, and there are animal parts that we'd never consider eating. It is amazing! There was a celebration for San Pedro Day while we were there, so Edson took us to it. Basically, it looked kind of like a county fair, but even tackier. Instead of a motorized merry-go-round, they had one that was turned by a man. There was a lot of food and their form of beer. Drunks were a common sight. Edson had told us about jungle marshmallows, but we got to see them. They are an enormous larva that they harvest from inside a particular kind of tree. They cook them on a grill, then eat them! They had baskets of them writhing around in sawdust before they were put on the grill. What a place! After an evening of riding around in one of those motorcycle/rickshaws and nearly being killed numerous times, we finally got to our room. It was at the office of the lodge company, and it was lovely. We had sliding glass doors to a balcony right over the Amazon River. The bathroom was all marble
with a huge Jacuzzi tub. We were sooooo anxious for a hot shower and a good night's sleep. Remember, it's a foreign country...the water wasn't working. Not only was there no HOT water, there was NO water at all! They brought us several gallons of water and we took a cold sponge bath. You even have to use bottled water to brush your teeth. No where in Peru should you put any of the water in your mouth.
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