Monday, October 08, 2012

Peru/Brazil/Argentina Day 16: Fishing in the Amazon/Humid Iquitos

May 18, 2012
Peru Day 16: Fishing in the Amazon/Humid Iquitos

Up, and to brekkie after packing up our stuff and having a (brisk) shower. At breakfast it seemed the ingredients were generally "ham'in it up", so I picked around and got some eggs and some toast carefully minding the swiney business.

Off we go from the lodge for a day of fishing
Frank and Jess fishin' it up
Fishing with my branch! I caught 2 fish, a small one (which we put back) and a big one!
Time to let the inner Canadian out: canoeing time!!
Off we went for some fishing! We headed out in wooden canoes and it was pretty fun to do some paddling, Canadian-style. That was fun and we whisked out to a nice fishing area pretty quickly. Our fishing lines were made of just a stick of wood with some fishing wire and a weight and a hook on it, and for bait we used small pieces of another kind of fish. We didn't seem to be catching much, so Oscar moved us around to a few new places in hopes of finding some fish.

After some time I caught a small "Sabato" fish. I kept calling it "Sabado" ("Saturday") and Oscar kept correcting me. haha. I had just caught a small one so we kept it for a while, still fishing. We moved around to a new spot again, and not a second later my line started pulling... I caught a much bigger Sabato!! We threw back the smaller one. "Nice one!" said Oscar, and he said this fish is quite expensive in the markets - the one I caught would have sold for about 30 soles, about $12!!

We then headed back to the lodge, cleaned up and got ready for lunch and packed up the remainder of our rooms.
Frank at the lodge
The lodge
 The walkway from the front area to the boat dock
 Hammock room
Lunch was great again. Chicken, rice, and the fish we just caught.

Alicia catching up on journaling
Fish that we caught
A funny lizard
We said bye to everyone after Anthony showed us this crazy lizard called a whiptail that he was getting to bite our fingers to show off its grip. We then got back onto the boat with the cool peeps from Boston and started heading back down the Amazon towards Iquitos. Chillin'. We had to re-position a few times since the boat was unbalanced for some reason.

Back we go to Iquitos
Excited to get back to land!
Apparently the unbalanced boat had caused us to use a lot more fuel than was planned, and we ended up... running out of fuel... in the middle of the Amazon river. Oops.

The 2 poor Bostonians were worried as it was already taking much longer to get back to Iquitos than it did to get out to the lodge the other direction, and they had a connecting flight back in Lima they were hoping not to miss. We were hugging the egde of the water in case we had to jump ashore at some point?! Oy. :) Eventually when we were running on fumes (basically), we found a boat driving near us and Oscar yelled something out to them. We them paid them some cash, jumped aboard a'la pirating, and literally siphoned gas with a big tube over into our boat!!! Haha, crazy. Some Johnny Depp-like character with long hair and a mustache was looking at us from the boat, and there were so many people on there, it was so funny and such a weird experience.

This experience got us enough gas to get closer to Iquitos, but not all the way. Rather, we stopped at a floating gas station most of the way back to town. Some kids were running along a (perhaps somewhat slippery) concrete surface off the edge of the dock and right into the water. Yep, right beside the floating gas station. Another reminder of how kids around the world tend to be just fine without parents way over-worrying about them. :)

Kids jumping off a dock into the water at an Amazon-side gas station we stopped at
We finally got back to Iquitos and the Bostonians rushed off to Mototaxi to the airport. We took a Mototaxi to Otorongo to wrap up and say thanks for a great time. We also got some help from them to book us into a different hostel for the evening, Hostel Casona. We were a bit jungled-out, and though the floating hostel had a great vibe while we were there, it was spidery and very outdoorsy, and we had just experienced that hardcore for the last few days in the amazon. Everyone was desperate for some AC and a real shower, and some quiet. Alicia went to apologize to the owner for us changing plans on them at the last minute (as we'd planned to stay there again that night) and she got chewed out which really annoyed us. It was understandable that they weren't happy with us changing plans on them, but we were forfeiting the deposit we had paid. It sounded like they were having some building issues at the hostel that day anyway, so perhaps it was just a tough day for the owner in any case. We were sorry to hear that Alicia got a bit of a talking-to when she was just trying to do the right thing, but after that "excitement", we headed back to the downtown to drop off our very jungle-ified clothing at the Lavenderia.

Mototaxi craziness
Camu-Camu AND Maracuja gelato. This is so magical it can't be real
Mototaxi shop. We NEVER saw a Mototaxi on the road in this good shape!
After chilling out in our awesome and much-needed AC, we wandered around town for a while, looking for a Parilla place which turned out to not exist. It was really fun to just see the town and walk around though, especially after mostly just sitting on a boat the last few days in the Amazon. It is SO HOT here though :)

The grocery store was awesome, and said "Cohen and Co." on the front?! Apparently, a very small Jewish community here!

Anyone who knows me knows that I *love* wandering around in grocery stores in foreign countries, so I was super psyched to see this store... "Cohen & Son?!!!" So awesome. As amazing as the Jewishness of the random Iquitos grocery store, was the stuff inside of it. We found actual CAMU CAMU BERRIES hollllllllllllly craaaaaaaaaaaaap!!!!!!! Also some Camu Camu Liquor, some Mango Maracuya juice, Lucuma cookies, and funny chips made out of bananas etc. We bought everything to try it. Most of the peeps in our group politely tried one of my very tart/sour Camu Camu berries, and put up with me completely freaking out about how awesome it was to try them for real. You can apparently only get fresh ones in the Amazon because they only grow here, and they live underwater for 6 months of the year?! Amazing. They were SO SOUR and SO FREAKIN' AWESOMEEEEEEE ahhhhh!!! I loved them and ate the ENTIRE PACKET. So says Wikipedia, they are an incredible source of Amino Acids and have something crazy like 30x the Vitamin C of an orange. Crazy! I ate the entire pack and it tasted like a dream come true.

Kids playing soccer on a road that was under construction
Wandering more, we came across some kids playing soccer on a street that was under construction. This was the street that was supposed to have the restaurant on it that we were looking for. Oh well :) After looking at some possibly dodgy food options, we headed back to the "other Maggy's" across the road from the one we went to before leaving for the Amazon. Of course I ordered Camu-Camu juice (you'd think this would be enough Vitamin C for one day, right?!) but they were out. So I got a Maracuya juice instead (talk about 6 of one, half-a-dozen of the other, eh?!!)

Lomo ("Bro-mo") Saltado for dinner
Humid Iquitos at night
Cooling off with the Aussies and a frozen Maracuja juice. YES it was AMAZING

I got a "Bromo"-Saltado for dinner, and then we met up with the Aussies Antony and Craig from the lodge. We headed to a random bar called the "Yellow Rose of Texas" which had all this Texas stuff up. Since most of our group is Texan, they were super surprised. It was weird but cool. They had huge ice creams there, and a few of us got them and shared. Since it was still a bazillion degrees outside, I got ANOTHER Maracuya juice, but this time it was a frozen one!! It was frickin' delicious.

Back we went to the hostel, ahhhh Air Conditioning!!!!!!!!!! That was very much needed at this point, we were so glad to have it. Had an awesome sleep with the AC and clean sheets, internet... perfect. Even clean toilets, a warm-ish shower?!?! Truly amazing. This was pure luxury after sweating like champions for the past several days. I slept like a fiend.

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