Our internet connection has been horrible while in Iquitos, Peru so I have much to catch up on. Let me start with our two day/ two night boat ride down the Amazon River. The boat departed from a port in Yurimaguas and headed down the immense river to Iquitos early on a Thursday morning. We had woken up in Tarapoto at 3:30AM to catch a taxi to get us to the port on time. That was after a twenty hour bus ride the pervious day to get us to Tarapoto. Wow.
We slept in hammocks on the third level of the boat with about 200 other travelers. There was little space but hammocks don't require much. We met people from all over the world. France, Tunisia, Switzerland, and Germany were among the countries represented. I fell in love with one traveling couple, Regis and Virginie, from France. They were so warm and friendly and seemed very at peace with life. They have been traveling since September of last year and they hope to travel until December! I don't think I could travel that long. I think of myself as more of a vacationer. This couple is coming to the States this summer and I hope to see them! Look for a post this summer with them (cross my fingers). It has been wonderful to meet people from all over the world and to learn about the world they live in.
The truth is, you see what you want to see in people and we are more similar than we are made to believe.
The boat ride was not as hot, sweaty, or as buggy as I thought it would be and for that I am grateful. There was a good breeze going basically the whole time. When we stopped at ports (which was pretty often) bugs would join us, the heat would catch up with us, and villagers would come on to sell local goods and unique fruits.
On the boat we were either hanging, dangling, or eating. Hanging in our hammocks, dangling off the side of the boat, or eating chicken foot soup (and you know, the flavor was excellent!).
* We went on the boat Eduardo I which is the cheapest boat (soles/50 per person or about $18 US).
* Food is included but bring water and snacks.
* You have to buy or rent a hammock (s/20 for renting, s/26-50 to buy).
* WATCH YOUR STUFF! Lock it if possible. Never let your bags out of your site. Be careful when villagers get on the boat, this is when you need to watch your stuff the most.
* Bring toilet paper, soup, Tupperware, silverware, a headlamp, & wipes.
* You can shower on the boat if you dare.
* Bring a book and something to do.
* Bring bug repellent and sun screen.
* You can stay on the boat the night before departure for free if it's in the dock.
* Know where you want to stay in Iquitos because the dock is insane when you get off with different travel companies and mototaxi's all trying to take you to the "best place". Watch your stuff here as well.
* There are nicer boats and rooms to rent for a more expensive price.