First Day in Iquitos, Pearl of the Amazon

Iquitos Travel Blog

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Arrival in Iquitos port

Iquitos hid from view until we rounded the northern end of the island that separates the Amazon river from the tributary that Iquitos sits on.  When the Eduardo pulled into the port, there was the band that I was expecting  would be waiting for the victorious high school basketball champions on our boat.  But it was like the band was waiting for us and I felt happy to step off the launch to musical accompaniment and banners and shouting locals.  It even made all the mototaxi drivers and shills who boarded the boat a little more bearable.  By now I´ve gotten used to just ignoring all the offers and walking ahead past the hulabaloo to select a calmer mototaxi driver.

The port
  I went with Stella and Austin to find a hotel and get something to eat.  In what was to become a constant element of Iquitos we were propositioned multiple times by the taxi driver who tried to steer us to several hotels where he was obviously going to get a kickback for bringing us.  Then at the restaurant when we finished we realized he had come in with a friend who was a jungle guide and who pitched us on his service.  That wasn´t enough though, because when we politely said we were tired and would consider it later, the taxi driver followed the other driver we chose to take us to a place and when Austin didn´t want to stay there, we came out to find the driver there again waiting.  At this point we were all irritated at being followed and Stella went to tell him off if he kept following us.
Welcome home

The hostel they chose was in the Lonely Planet guide and was described as being clean and spacious but when I walked into the room I wondered what planet that writer was on when he wrote up the hostel.  It was dirty, with cracked plaster and cracked dirty tiles.  The fan was broken, there were was a naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling and the bathroom left a lot to be desired.  And the crowning indignity in my book was a saggy, shabby matress.  No way I would stay there.  I went back to Hobo Hideout that was the first place we stopped.  I had looked at the rooms and the others had not and I thought they were really nice, especially for the cut-rate, off-season price we were quoted.  It was a bit more expensive than I was used to paying but the quality more than compensated and I feel it´s better to spend a few soles more on a nice room and place and have a good comfortable feeling than to skimp there.

The winning basketball team
  I´d rather save the money on other extras during the day and sleep in peace at night.  So I fell into bed and took a much needed nap to recoup on sleep missed the night before trying to see the headwaters of the Amazon with Stella and Austin.

I met Stella for dinner but Austin couldn´t come because he was sick enough to be confined to bed.  Later he´d be diagnosed with a viral infection and put on medicine.  He was out of commission for a few days at least.  So I went with Stella to a pizzeria featured in Lonely Planet and this time they were on the money.  The pizza was done in a brick wood-burning oven and it was the best I´ve had yet in Peru.  We talked a lot about Cleveland, about travel and experiences, about going back home, future plans and all that.

Welcoming band
  I joked that we were having the date I wanted to ask her out on back in Cleveland when she came to my wine bar a year ago now thousands of miles away in the Peruvian Amazon.  I think that takes the award for farthest date, at least in my book!  A delightful guitar and cajon due came in and played some nice music from the sierra and coast and they took my request of Ojos Azules to round out a great night.  We both went back to our respective habitations just in time to beat a torrential downpour that cleared the hot humid air and made for a great night of sleep.

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Arrival in Iquitos port
Arrival in Iquitos port
The port
The port
Welcome home
Welcome home
The winning basketball team
The winning basketball team
Welcoming band
Welcoming band
Iquitos
photo by: Ileamel