September 8th, 2007 – by: Belluomo
Near San Antonio village
I should have done a lot more things here but I felt pretty lazy and just let the days pass calmly. I did try to go to a local waterfall but the afternoon started to get very dark and cloudy and there were some drops of rain on the way up the hills, so when I got to the village of San Antonio and asked for the guide, the old lady that answered the door told me that it was too dangerous for me to go. She kept saying, “oy joven, es muy peligroso! “ She explained that I had to ford a river a couple times and that if it rained it would flash flood and the crossing or re-crossing would be difficult and dangerous and who would rescue me? So I listened to her warning, and to the others in the village who said that I needed a guide anyway because there were many different paths and I could easily get lost.
Plaza...monument to Concord grapes
Instead I wandered down to the village below where there was a bridge and access to the river and enjoyed sitting in the shallow water on a sandbar, admiring the secluded spot and just relaxing. There was a family nearby and the little girls played in the water while the parents relaxed on the rocks and sand of the bank. A teenaged boy took a dip and a woman from the little collection of houses came down to get water several times. They some workmen came along with machetes and forded the river, coming from their work in the fields to their homes on the other side. I was also visited by a boy fisher and his sisters and he threw in his net in several places, hoping to catch something small. I must have spent two hours in that tranquil place and I wondered how many foreigners they ever see there.
This is what I love about the north of Peru, and especially outside the towns in the countryside. You feel like the only visitor in eons and it feels like your own special place. I’m really off the beaten path now. When I get to Iquitos
I will see many more foreigners but here I am one of few. We’re a special group here so when you meet one, it’s usually interesting to find out why they are here. One guy that I met at Whisky Bar has been practicing chiropracty in Peru for the last five years and he’s only one of twenty in Peru doing it, so he feels like this is his own territory. He was wary of me at first, just as another American in Tarapoto
, kind of like a big fish in a small pond, but after talking a bit he warmed up to me and it was all ok.
I ended up seeing him a couple different times.
I could have succumbed to the haze that Tarapoto can put you in if I didn’t have other plans to keep traveling but I promised to Janusz that I would be back after Iquitos. I certainly have no desire to go back to Lima
, even if it is the jumping off point for my exploration of the south of Peru. I left some things at the Explorer’s Club so eventually I have to get back there. I just realized that my visa runs out in a few weeks so I’ll have to get it renewed, I’m not sure where, in Iquitos or Lima.