Saturday, June 29, 2013

Peru-Brazil 2013 – Day 11 – Cusco to Iquitos

Up at 4 am to get ready for our early flight to first Lima and then Iquitos. Because of the early hour the father of the family offered to take us, so we had the privilege of waking everybody up at 5:30 am. Let me say here that we were very happy at Hotel Fuente de Agua, in San Jeronimo. It is far from city center (San Jeronimo is past the airport), but the buses that stop at the corner are only 80 cents of a Sol, or US$ 0.32, and the taxi from Cusco is anywhere from 12 to 15 Soles. These small inconveniences were nothing compared with the care and attention we got from the two girls and one young man who ran the show. Even Dad contributed to our well being by driving us to the airport! The food was good and prepared with care, our room was clean and luminous, and the living room became our own to read or receive visitors. A great experience!

The flight to Lima was uneventful, and so was the one to Iquitos. The most significant event was that I immediately fell asleep in both flights and woke up only when the plane bumped against the tarmac on landing. My Honey, on the other hand, was awake all way long, still excited by the experience of being on a plane.

We got to Iquitos and found—thanks all merciful Good Lord—that the temperature was a mere 31 degrees, so we didn’t melt on arrival. A taxi brought us to our hotel, which just by chance is located one block from the malecón (the river boardwalk). After we dumped our stuff we went out to walk the malecón and to find a place to eat. It is a very pretty walk, and it was a thrill to see the Amazon in full flood. After many pictures we found a great café along the boardwalk, but we ordered too much: A ceviche for piqueo, a fish chowder for me and a French potato salad with fruits for Annie as second plate, and a chicken cordon bleu for Annie and a fried piranha for me. I ended taking most of the ceviche home with me, and devoured it for my supper (for those who wonder whether “ceviche” should be written “cebiche” I can only tell that the Peruvian people are not a lot of help; half of the time you see the first spelling and the other half you see the alternative spelling.

After dinner I made the mistake of taking Annie to see the boats. I needed to know the cost (70 to 100 soles per person for a cabin and meals), on what days they departed (pretty much every day), and how long it would take to reach Leticia, Colombia (three days and two nights). Annie was horrified when she saw there were no showers on board, that the cabins were little more than a hot an unventilated metal box, and that the sleeping deck could host 300 hammocks! She had expected to shell an extra ten dollars for a cabin with its own bathroom and shower, but there none to be had at any price.

 Seeing the horror in my Honey’s eyes I quickly reassessed the situation and decided to make the trip with the fast boat down to Leticia (departure on Sunday, and 8 hours of travel time in a glider ship.) We went to the agent to buy the tickets, but Annie was so upset she could not make up her mind just then, so we said goodbye to the agent and headed back to the hotel.

On the way we got sidetracked by the office of Amazon Tours, who after much fanfare offered us a 1 day trip to the jungle for 120 Soles. Not bad, but we are independent travelers and wanted to plan our own adventure, so we thanked them and went back to our hotel, to catch up on my blog and ponder the plan for tomorrow.   

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