The internet access here has been spotty at best. I don’t want to spend too much time in a vain attempt to upload pictures that aren’t going to actually make it online, so I’m going to save the main portion of the narrative for when I get back. I could easily write an entire book about the experience but I’m too interested in experiencing it to sit down and write for hours while I’m here, so forgive me for just throwing crumbs at you for now. I have a few photos up on the Flickr account, but I’ll obviously do more to explain them after I get back.
There has been a disappointingly meagre amount of life threatening experiences so far. Not an anaconda or crocodile to be seen, but I expect that to change in the second week when we venture further down the Amazon. Iquitos is a city like many, with expat bars, laundromats, and piles upon piles of mosquitoes. I would say the closest brush with death so far has been the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride of getting in a little motocart and hurtling around Iquitos dodging larger cars.
Suffice it to say I’m still alive. Peru is everything I’ve expected and more. I wake up in the morning to the sounds of roosters, barking dogs from the shelter next door, and the genial buzzing of a thousand myriad bugs wandering about. I grab a Via (thank God for portable Starbucks instant coffee) and sit in the common area with the other volunteers from Florida, Australia, Wales, Siberia, and West Hollywood. Suffice it to say this is an extremely interesting group.
We get into a little motorboat and push off, heading down the Itaya tributary on the way to Iquitos. We zoom by a floating village, zigzagging through the dugout canoes crisscrossing the water on their way to their morning work, and arrive at the Amazon Cares office in Iquitos.
From there, we head out to a pool hall, which we transform into a makeshift clinic. While we cover the tables in plastic, little children dart in and out and crowd into the windows to see what those crazy gringos are doing in their pool hall. And there the real work begins!