Flying out of Lima, our first destination was to the city of Iquitos. This town along the bank of the Amazon river is accessible only by plane and boat. There are absolutely no roads in or out of this town. It is home to 500,000 people and about as many moto-taxis. This mean of transportation moves the mass of humanity quickly and efficiently for a modest fee of around 3 – 5 soles. The equivalent of no more than $2. Sometimes the ride is 20 minutes long – can they really make any profit at this rate???? I am constantly amazed at how many people they can fit into one of these vehicles. As you can see below they are not big and definitely do not have the horsepower to carry a great deal of weight. And yet often, you will find 4-5 people being transported around town. Don’t let anything hang out – it will definitely get sliced off since they drive so close to one another. And I have yet to see an accident on any of my trips here. Astonishing.
Funny, it almost feels like you are in an ant colony when you are riding in one of these – they move around rapidly and the flow of traffic – well I think any major city could take a lesson from this well oiled traffic plan. Either that or I feel like I am in an episode of the television show, “Amazing Race.” Cindy wants to practice and audition for one of their shows. Might be worth the prize money – it would sure do a great deal of good here.
Our first day here we head out to get mosquito netting and mats to sleep on while we are at the river villages. Okay, so it didn’t seem so humid when we stepped off the plane but walking in this weather it doesn’t take long for your clothes to become wet. And really, I know the scale for humidity stops at 100%, but this feels SO much higher than that! We stop to buy bags of candy and crayons that will be packaged with the coloring books for the kids. Sweat pouring down our faces we smile knowing the laughter and fun that will be a part of the children’s lives in the next few days of programs that have been created especially for them. To see the smiles they will wear on the faces is absolutely priceless and cannot be captured in photos. But here is our attempt!!!
Our second day in Iquitos we headed out to Tarapoto. It is a small village/pueblo on one of the tributaries of the Amazon River. Not sure how many people live there, maybe 200. One of the residents is this 89 year old woman who has lived there for as long as she can remember. She serenaded us with a couple of songs and although I couldn’t make out the words she sang through her toothless mouth it sounded like a beautiful melody. Enjoy her photo and marvel at the life this woman leads at this age in the heat and humidity of the Amazon with no electricity, running water, refrigerator or any type of convenience really. And yet, her smile and sweetness shone through each time we saw her. Abuelita – little grandmother.