A Journey Through the Amazon (1)

Iquitos (Peru) is the biggest city in the world that is landlocked; this means that it only can be reached by plane or boat through the Amazon..

These are few notes from my diary that I wrote on the way from Pucallpa to Iquitos. I was on Baylon II a 3 floor cargo ship.

13/05/11 – Day 1

[1.45am] We are still stuck in la “Lancha” (boat), the heat wave is back, and I need another shower but can’t be bothered… I think I’m gonna pass.

– There’s a queue for the showers

– The toilets and the showers “ne font qu’un” (are one)

– There’s nothing to hang your clothes/towel on

– And we shower with the water from the river, a bit cold and muddy…

I made a new friend, her name is Damaris. She is heading to Olaya, a village on the way to Iquitos (approx. 2 days trip). Damaris is 16.

I’m back to reading my book, when I hear what seems like a Justin Beiber (JBB) song, my natural reaction of course is to go “naaa! Cambio la musica amigo!!!” to the culprit. This made Damaris laugh so she ask me why don’t I like JBB, he’s cool. I tell her, it’s probably because you’re 16 and I’m not…

Back to my book, time is going so slow… We’re still on shore so there’s TV signal. Everybody is watching a soap opera “في غاية الإهتمام“

I decide to get some fresh air on the balcony; we’re probably 60 on my “piso” (floor).

Claustrophobic?

Edgar is sitting there reading a book. (I can’t remember the title in Spanish but it meant something like “How to have a super memory and make a lot of money”)

Edgar works in a Chinese “empresa” (company) that makes motorbikes, he is travelling with a very old woman. He’ll introduce me to her later, it’s his mother. She is 72.

Edgar speaks decent English which is quite surprising in a place like this. I ask him why is the ship still on shore (we were supposed to leave yesterday at 4pm but the forecast now is today 4am). He says that the level of the river is currently low, as a result, it is dangerous to navigate, specially at night as we could get blocked on a mud bank or worst, capsize…but that’s not all. Apparently, there are armed outlaws that can attack us with speed boats. They usually take everything on the boat (loads of goods are being transported) and rape the women.

a snapshot of the cargaison

Edgar tells me however not to worry, the “tripulación” (crew) on the 3rd piso of the “lancha” are armed so it should be fine. .. I then remember the “بائع متجول” that was selling cigarettes, chewing gums, biscuits and… shotgun bullets! Yes, BIG, RED, 12mm shotgun bullets!

Anyway, I’m back on my “hamaca” (hammock), a bit more reassured. The TV is still on (and loud) and I’m reading my book. Damaris left for 2 minutes and came back with the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen in South America (SA). I ask Damaris who’s the little “bebita” (little baby), what’s her name, how old is she. So her name is Mya, she is 2 years old and, “je ne suis pas au bout de mes surprises” (the best is yet to come) it’s her daughter!

Damaris, 16 years old, JBB fan is the mother of Mya, 2 years old, the cutest little girl I’ve seen in SA…

While I’m writing these words, Damaris is playing with her baby girl; she’s very “douce” (sweet?) with her. Covers her with “besitos” (little kisses), calls her “mi amor” “ijita” always asking her “que quieres”. The JBB fan seems suddenly very mature to me.

I have to take a good shot of them two tomorrow.

Time for me to go to sleep now.

Mya

[Update] I’ve been woken up by some guys asking me to pay for my”pasaje” (ticket), I managed to down the price to 80 soles (20 Euros) instead of 90 (Happy days!). We’re about to leave.

[6.30am] I wake up; there’s a lot of activity on the boat. I pull myself out of my hamaca… time to get breakfast, armed with the “boletas” (tickets) and plastic boxes; I get two portions of some hot, light brown, liquid and some bread. I’m told it’s hot chocolate (I would have never guessed by myself!) It’s nice as the weather have changed it’s raining and a bit cold now.

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