Adventures in...

Peru: Part Three.


I can't sleep anymore. This pillow smells like someone else's head sweat and mildew. The air conditioner sounds like horses are kicking it and the fucking maid has knocked on my door twice. Despite the sign hanging off the doorknob that I assume is Spanish for "Do Not Disturb."

I'm awake, my teeth are brushed and I'm showered. Time to take on this foreign land with inquisitive eyes of well the Spanish Inquisition.

You can get to Iquitos by plane or taking a boat up the Amazon which makes Iquitos one of the largest cities in the world that can't be accessed by road. This obviously prevents some things from establishing themselves there. I didn't see any real evidence of corporate America splayed across the town apart from the MoneyTree-esq bank or two I saw.

When I finally decided to head out into the mid day sun I was quite surprised by the amount of people moving in the streets. In my quest to find something to eat I realized a majority of places were closed for a siesta. I never ended up finding a place to grab some food but I think after walking around Iquitos for a while it was the last thing I wanted to do.

Garbage on the streets and the smell of sewage filled my nostrils as I wandered aimlessly in the area near my hotel. Stray dogs hid in the shade or drank mystery water (I'm guessing it wasn't from the best source) and I got dirty looks from the locals.

As I made my way to Plaza de Armas I was surrounded. Being a fat white guy in South America is like dressing like a ghost at the Million Man March. You stand out and you become a target. A target to unload their handmade jewelry (with real crocodile teeth), cheesy tourist shirts, and other crap you see anytime you visit a foreign land. Constantly asked my name and where I'm from. Every sentence finished with "My Amigo" an age old technique I'm sure to lure a false sense of friendship before getting ripped off on souvenirs. I'm not one for souvenirs so these tactics don't usually work on me.

Eventually I made my way to the river but every time I turned around I was being harassed by guys trying to sell me crap or in two cases blow. Eventually it became to much when I couldn't even take a picture without a blurry head popping into the frame with the promise of the best and cheapest jewellery in Iquitos. So I made my way back to the Isabelle under the beating sun, Inca flags, and the barrage of moto-taxi drivers asking if I wanted a ride.

After spending the rest of my afternoon in a coma like nap. Travelling the way I did mixed with the heat and humidity really took it out of me. Eventually after the sun goes down I head down to a bar to meet up with some guys I know working down there. Our table spills out onto the sidewalk while Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" seems to be played on an endless loop at the karaoke bar next door. Eventually the bar we combats music blasting from the karaoke bar with some Pink Floyd which is answered by Darude and Prodigy. All this happens while we pour cold beer after beer and are harassed by kids trying to sell us gum, sunglasses, and cigarettes.  

After to many beers closing out the bar at midnight we head back to our respective hotels but not before a couple of the guys try to convince me to go to clubbing. I waffle from my plans of showering and getting more sleep but when things start to fall through I start heading back to Plaza de Armas. While the guys wait for a moto-taxi we a propositioned by some local prostitutes.

All I seem to make out is the words "mustache," "suck," and "dollars." Along with the international blowjob hand/ facial gesture I put two and two together and realize what is going on. I'm starting to think the Peruvians don't really understand "no" or "no thanks." They seem to be quite persistent.

Eventually I decide to ditch the guys and walk some of the beer out of my system. When I get to my room I discover the walls are paper thin. As I can hear the people fucking next door quite loudly. I fire up my ipod and try to get some sleep.

I do have to catch a flight to Lima in less than five hours.