Monday, July 1, 2013

Peru-Brazil 2013 – Day 14 – Iquitos to Leticia

We woke up to the sound of thunderous rain! There is a deluge outside, so we had to re-pack our stuff to make sure that nothing sensitive could get wet. We brought dry bags with us, so it was not difficult to do. Annie, who had done marvels trying to “travel light”, was betrayed by her shopping alter ego, and now is carrying three pieces of luggage (one more than hands she has), and one of them is so bloated and heavy that there is no way she can carry it on her back. Imagine trying to pile such a burden in a moto-kar under the rain and you will get an idea of the sorry figure we cut.

We had been advised to be at the dock at 5 am, for a 6 am departure, and like good travelers were there at 4:40 am. The dock was deserted. Even more important, there was no place to shield ourselves from the rain, so we pulled against a palm tree under my little travel umbrella, and waited and waited. At 5:15 am a whole big mess of people came in, and two minutes later the “Golfinho” pulled in. Gee, it looked awfully small, particularly for all these people. This was it alright, and under the rain we had to pull passports and tickets out, and slowly board. Annie wanted to be one of the first on board, to select the best places, but there was none that was clearly superior to another. Imagine a bus, a Grayhound bus, and that is what the inside of the Golfinho looked like. The inside was not uncomfortable, but there was precious little space to stand or walk around, so it became clear that the nine-hour trip was going to be like any other long distance slug in a bus.

The Golfinho was remarkably stable and fast, and they even served us breakfast (café con leche and an egg sandwich) and lunch (arroz con pollo). However, it is not a trip I would care to repeat. We slept, read a lot, and looked forlornly at the distant shore. Not much to be seen, to tell the truth. At this distance even the biggest trees look small, and at this speed there is no time for the landscape to make an impression in your mind. I think it was a mistake not to take the slow boat.

We finally made it to Santa Rosa, but right from the landing wharf we took the boat to cross the Amazon to Leticia, Colombia. Tomorrow we will have to come back to Santa Rosa to go through the immigration formalities for leaving Peru, but tonight we need a hotel and a shower as soon as we can. As it happened, we landed in Leticia on Sunday, the day of the feast of St. Peter, so the town was in a festive mood, with carnival in the main plaza, a parade, and dancing of salsa on the streets. I wish we had been less pooped so we could have joined on the merriment. Tomorrow will be a better day! 

Oh, I almost forgot. To celebrate our coming to Colombia I had four fat grubs for dinner. They had been grilled and were a but chewy. Annie almost puked!

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