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Back to Lima

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Today I flew back to Lima from Iquitos. After a rough start, Iquitos and the Amazon turned out to be a worthwhile visit. However, I was really looking forward to the place I was staying at in Lima. I would call it a cross between a hostel and a B & B and a homestay. I was looking forward to being picked up at the airport by the family that runs the small hostel and getting back to a real bed and a clean shower.

The flight was scenic again crossing the Andes.

Arriving in Lima, the family met me at the airport and were very nice. I was hungry and it was lunchtime so we stopped for some Chinese/Peruvian food on the way.
I had Lomo Saltado and fried rice with a bowl of wonton soup. My first Chinese food in South America.

We came back to the hostel which is located in a beautiful area of Miraflores, the nicest neighborhood in Lima, 2 minites walk from the center and main park. It was clean and quiet ... a great compliment to the sweaty stickly adventure from last week. Foggy season is approaching in Lima and the temperature was a refreshing 65.

After enjoying the conveniences for the afternoon. I set out to get my bearings in the neighborhood and ended up on the malecon, a park on the cliffs over the ocean, a 10 minute walk from my place, at sunset.

The next day I enjoyed hanging out the morning at the hostel and meeting people from Switzerland and the southwestern US. May 1st is Labor Day in Peru so i was able to meet a friend from Holland who teaches in Lima for lunch and afterward we ran the Malecon by the beach. We had another nice sunset to watch as well.

Posted by solorooster 20:08 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Belen and Cooking Pirana

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Belen is a district separate from Iquitos on the banks of the Itaya River.
In dry season the houses are all on stilts and the ground is dry, in the wet season, the city floats. We are in wet season and I went to check it out.
It is different. The houses are poor ramshackle and toilets are little boxes with nothing below them. Children swim in the same water with the sewage!

Animals cannot run around with the water everywhere!
My host informs me that the city is a political problem. Also in Belen is the market. This market is apparently really unique, with exotic goods, and very chaotic.

The last day in Iquitos I offered to take my hosts, who have allowed me in their home for 6 nights, out to dinner. We came up with a better idea and that was to cook a meal with a lot of local food. We got up early and went to the Belen Market, which was as I described, sprawling and disorganized containing many unique goods from the area. We bought fish (Pirana, Dorado, Sabalo), Yucca, heart of palm,
cocona fruit, and some leaves to cook the fish inside of.
The market wwas huge and mototaxis drove right through it.
Dorado fish

prepping piranha
selling giant leaves

Later in the day, we cooked it all.
Most of it was surprisingly simple.
The Dorado and Sabalo were seasoned and wrapped in the leaf.
The pirana was battered and fried.

The Yucca was boiled and fried. The Cocona was pureed. The heart of palm was server with olive oil and lemon.
We also made fresh fruit juice using the fruit guayara brazilera. Afterward, it was time to enjoy the feast., large_DSC04968.jpg
We even made a little ceviche
piranha and yucca
Let the feast begin!

The week itself had its ups and downs but ended on a high note!

Posted by solorooster 18:49 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Random bits from Iquitos

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One day, my host had something to do in a city 50 kilometers west on the one “highway” on the island, which is 100 kilometers wide. The hour and a half wait for the bus on the busy street was tough on my body. My head and stomach felt sick breathing in the mototaxi fumes. After taking 2 buses we were in the countryside, where there were farms and a small town.
I had a coconut while there. It was really cool to drink and eat the real thing.
I have only been to a tropical region a few times so many things still have novelty value to me.

Some things about Peru are really beginning to get on my nerves. One is their obsession about money being perfect. They get picky about whether to accept bills and no none ever has any change. Today, I had 2 two sole coins that I gave to a mototaxi driver and he got out of his vehicle to tap me on the shoulder and tell me they weren’t acceptable (too worn or something). This trip has made me appreciate how convenient the US is.

Saturday in Iquitos, the city comes alive for dinner with the Parilladas. A bunch of places, restauraunts, houses, and random assembies on the block all around the city serve barbequed chicked with potato or yucca for 10 or 15 soles. There is beer and dancing too. My guide, Jose, his girlfriend and I ate at one after the end of the Amazon tour. Then I got a ride back from Jose on his motorbike, which was the most dangerous thing I have done one this trip (there are really no helmets here). I did burn my leg on the unprotected exhaust pipe.

Another day I went to a nature park called Quistucocha. There were many animals from the jungle including monkeys, lizards, and puma.


After getting through the first 5 days here including the Amazon without mosquito bites, they got me last night. I have bites everywhere and I think it was from one tiny mosquito in the house.

While on the topic of bugs, somehow these little ants seemed to have an affinity for my bag. Let’s say I am not living as cleanly as the picture I took before starting the adventure!

On Sunday night the city center was teaming with people. By the river there was some sort of street carnival. Here were some dancers and music performing.

Posted by solorooster 07:07 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Sunrise and a walk in the jungle

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The third day in the Amazon we got up at 5:30 to watch the sunrise. It was magnificent through a small layer of fog.

On the way back to the lodge, 2 roosters were fighting.

After breakfast, my guide took me on a 2 hour walk in the jungle. It was hot, buggy, and the trail was overgrown in places. My clothes hung and stuck with the humidity and loads of repellent. I was wearing rubber boots that were a bit too small. After this experience, maybe I overestimated my sense of adventure after all. However, my guide pointed out a variety of medicinal plants, hallucinagins, practical plants for anything from toilet paper to snake bites.
There were birds
the jungle mango
a fruit which is a natural dye
termites (can be rubbed into skin and used as insect repellant)
a dry leafed frog
a rubber tree (cut the bark and a foamy substance comes out)
a milk tree (cut the bark and editable milky liquid comes out)
a naturally growing pineapple
a plant that has water inside that you can drink
a cool spider
and also a few monkeys that rand quickly through the brush.

This concluded the tour. We had lunch and headed back to Iquitos. The boatride back was relaxing and the day beautiful again. This is not normal for the wet season.

Posted by solorooster 06:47 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

To the Primary Selva

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One thing that development cannot take away from the Amazon is the impressive size of the river itself. The Amazon in Peru is almost 2000 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and it is already up to 5 miles wide in spots and up to 200 feet deep! Plus, I am visiting at the rivers highest time. The water is up to 20 feet higher than in the dry season. Much of the land is underwater right now. It is incredible to think that this is the middle of the continent!

This is a montage on the river itself.

After being disappointed with not getting out of civilization yesterday I asked my guide if there was a way to see untouched rainforest. To his credit, he changed the plans for the day and we went to a local reserve. The traditional rainforest, with a canopy and multiple layers of life, does not exist in these parts but at least I would get to see a few old growth trees.

From the river and crossed into the jungle. This is normally a path/road when dry.

The round things hanging down from the tree are bird nests.

Then we stopped to switch boats in a small town and started touring the reserve along a smaller river.
This smaller river was less developed.

The trees were more impressive.
There were lots more birds around
and I got to see a Three Toed Sloth in it’s natural habitat.

These are slow because the leaves they eat convert to alcohol leaving them "drunk" all the time! Eagles eat these 20 pound creatures.

Then I got the feel the crawl of a millipede.

After a bit, we turned into the jungle again for the most exciting part of the day. The boat could barely fit but we made our way to a monstrous Ceiba tree.


I also had the chance to play Tarzan ... ok not so much.

We had lunch in a friend of the guide’s house. This house had one room a wood fired stove and only a solar panel for charging electronic devices.

After lunch we went fishing. After being inundated by bugs and sun, the three of us didn’t have too much luck but we did end up with 2 piranas. These little devils have so much fame!

Posted by solorooster 20:11 Archived in Peru Comments (3)

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