Tarapoto

Tarapoto Travel Blog

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Basketball/Football/Soccer game
I’m getting used to Tarapoto in a way that I haven’t felt with other places I’ve visited yet here in Peru.  Maybe I’m tired of traveling and I’ve found a place where I want to settle in for awhile, or maybe it’s the place itself.  I like the climate.  Even though it’s hot, the surrounding hills keep it from getting too steamy, and in the past few days it’s cooled off and rained a few times and the nights have been very pleasant.  Maybe it’s also the size.  Tarapoto has about 120,000 people and it makes it a large town or small city.  There’s enough to do here but you also have the feeling everyone knows each other and that’s really comfortable.
La Patarashca hotel
  I enjoy walking the streets in the center of Tarapoto and recognizing the same places and being recognized as well at the breakfast corner place or at the hamburger stand or the internet café.  The people here are very friendly and proud of Tarapoto.  They like to compare themselves to Iquitos and point out why Tarapoto is so much nicer.  It’s probably something of an inferiority complex because Iquitos is much bigger and more visited, but I can see why they like their own city so much.  

The past few days I’ve done a lot of thinking after talking with Tomas and Janusz, the guys that were on the kayaking trip and who are staying at Chancas Expeditions in Maya’s two rooms for rent.
Plaza
  They are both taking the cure at the Taka Wasi Center.  The center was founded by a French doctor many years ago.  He came to the jungle here and took the Ayahuasi hallucinogenic plant and in his vision he saw that he was supposed to stay here and care for people, mostly drug and alcoholic dependent people and to use the native herbs and pharmacopia to treat them.  So the center is founded on the medicine and plants of the jungle in addition to some western medical practices and all based on the founder’s Catholic beliefs.  Tomas and I had breakfast one morning and then went to a café for a game of chess and we ended up talking for several hours.  That night Maya invited us to go with her friend to a native folkloric dance presentation being held at a local school and we talked even more.
La Patarashca hotel
  Tomas wasn’t a very practicing Catholic but the healing sessions at the center have led him closer to his youthful beliefs.  In fact, when we were in the van on the way to go kayaking I noticed some medals around his neck and asked him where he got them.  One was the medal of St. Benedict and the other was the Miraculous Medal.  He told me that he didn’t know what they meant but that the shaman had given them to him to wear to combat the demon that he had.  He also was given a rosary and he told me that when he prayed it, the first time he had done that since he was little, he could actually see the demon cowering in fear.  We had long discussions of faith, of good and evil, of the purpose of life and I didn’t get tired of talking with him.  So I began to think that maybe I needed to go through the cure myself.
Boys playing
  In conversations with Janusz, we seemed to have had the same experience in how we came to Peru and for what reasons, and how we ended up in Tarapoto.  His story was very similar to mine and I began to feel that maybe there was a reason that I found myself here and that I met Janusz and Tomas.  

So for the past few days, even when I was out seeing things, I have been thinking and trying to digest everything that I’ve been hearing and feeling.  I went twice to the Taka Wasi center to see if I could meet with one of the resident psychologists but they were always busy and the receptionist at the center told me that they would call me to set up an appointment, but so far, no phone call.  So I’ll have to be persistent if I want to see them.  

Yesterday I went to the Laguna de Sauce, a much bigger laguna than the small pond I was at on Sunday.
Street and hills behind
  Sauce is about an hour and a half away going down the Huallaga river.  The driver treated his car and passengers like a motocross event and we roared through the jungle on the dirt and rock road picking up speed when it was straight and slaloming and sliding around corners.  It was an exhilarating ride.  There was a ferry over the river at one point and then with some more twists and turns we were in Sauce at the Laguna.  It was an overcast day and very quiet, but that’s what I was looking for, so I ate lunch and then sat on the small pier and took a dip and swam for a bit.  There were two women on the pier with their kids and I enjoyed watching them play.  The older girl was fishing with a line and some grubs and she managed to catch a few small tilapia.
Hills beyond Tarapoto
  On the way back the sun had come out in time to see a beautiful sunset from high banks above the Huallaga.  Later that night I went back to Musmuki bar to try some more infusions and to talk with Silvia the owner, and then to Whisky Bar next door to see Giovanni.  Joey, the American chiropractor, was there and a local girl named Vicky and Karine, the Parisian friend of Giovanni.  We sat around drinking beer and talking in a potpourri of languages until we all went our separate ways.

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Basketball/Football/Soccer game
La Patarashca hotel
La Patarashca hotel
Plaza
Plaza
La Patarashca hotel
La Patarashca hotel
Boys playing
Boys playing
Street and hills behind
Street and hills behind
Hills beyond Tarapoto
Hills beyond Tarapoto
The gully
The gully
Arise Lazarus  Me acting goofy
"Arise Lazarus" Me acting goofy
Me
Me
Drink of Friendship  Andrew and …
"Drink of Friendship" Andrew and…
Aphrodisiacs
Aphrodisiacs
Infusions
Infusions
Infusions
Infusions
The bartender
The bartender
Me
Me
Tarapoto
photo by: yadilitta