Flying Dog Hostel - Iquitos

Iquitos Travel Blog

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Manchos the kitten

On the second day I moved to my hostel of choice - ‘The Flying Dog’. This was significantly better and actually had some other people in, yay! As well as a small kitten that intermittently slept on me or attacked me.

I met a couple of fellow gringos and took a trip by boat to the local butterfly farm. It was quite good as butterfly farms go, but the guide spoke only in Spanish. “Somethingspanish mariposa, spanishy spanishy. Mariposa espanol mariposa….” on the plus side I learnt the Spanish word for butterfly fairly quickly.

When I got back I decided to investigate the chance of attending an Ayahuasca session - a deeply spiritual mind journey fuelled by a hallucinogenic jungle vine and carefully overseen by an experienced shaman.

Mariposa. Grande.

I spoke to a guy called Richard in one of the tourism offices. He looked like a cross between the man from Del Monte, a used car salesman and a colombian coke baron - but he seemed trustworthy…

“No problem!”. We jumped in a motocarro to scoot off to the inner-city shaman’s place. After a ten minute journey we were in an unsalubrious part of Iquitos (not that there are many salubrious parts). We set off down a little alleyway with El Chupacabra DelMonte sporadically shouting the shamen’s name. As we passed dark doorways, all leading to mud-floored hovels, I felt nervous enough to slyly hide my passport in my trollies.

At the fifth doorway a suckling woman appeared and indicated that it was the next door along.

Inner city shaman, inner city pressure
Inside was a mud floor (standard) and numerous mattresses surrounding the centre of the room. One wall was adorned with a pot pourri of spiritual material - ranging from mystical symbols to pictures of Jesus. At the bottom of the wall was a selection of shamanic certification - most of which looked to be a lower quality than my bronze swimming certificate from junior school.

On the mattress below the bric-a-brac wall lay a gringo (I later found out he was French). A tubby man in overly tight jeans, cowboy boots and a pepsi T-shirt was bent over him. Aside from the Indian chiefy kind of face and long mullety hair this guy didn’t look very shamanic.

Pepsi shaman was alternately rubbing greasy stuff into the French dudes neck, mystically blowing smoke from his Marlboros around the place, making little whoosh noises and throwing invisible stuff out of the door. Magic.

The Frenchman left and Pepsi Shaman spoke to me. Whilst very animated, he was speaking Spanish so Del Monte translated. This took ten painful minutes. The potted version is that Frencho had seen a bad shaman, who had cursed him such that he could not swallow and could barely breathe. Luckily he had got to Pepsi on time and was now cured. Also Pepsi only worked as a shaman, unlike many others who apparently did it on the side of being a bus driver, master chocolatier and the like.

Pepsi neglected to explain why he had a catalogue of polaroids of women in revealing poses hung up on his back wall - unless marriage agency/big pimping falls within the remit of a typical shaman…?

Needless to say I declined the spiritual journey and returned with Del Monte, who also mentioned that he could score me any drugs that I may be desirous of. Salt of the earth.

As I was walking back, having removed my passport from my arse-crack, I bumped into Frenchster. After a double take we had a brief chat. His version was that he just had a bit of a cold and sore throat and had asked the shamen to deal with it as part of his Ayahuasca session. I asked him if the shamen was good and the response was telling:

“Whezzer he is a good person, in his life, how he acts, I would not like to zay. From ze point of Ayahuasca, zen yes, he knows how to make eet well.”

Probably not the best person to be alone with, tripping balls, in a bad part of town where you don’t speak the language then.

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Manchos the kitten
Manchos the kitten
Mariposa. Grande.
Mariposa. Grande.
Inner city shaman, inner city pres…
Inner city shaman, inner city pre…
photo by: Ileamel