Iquitos: A Curious Casual Walk Turned Adventure.

I only intended to get out of my hotel and familiarize myself with the area in my direct vicinity. But like most things in my life, I put in just a little bit of effort... And a whole wonderful adventure begins.

(And trust me, that is something for which I am truly grateful.)

After a nice long nap to catch up on rest from my journey down to Iquitos, I showered and stepped outside. I am in a hotel near a major plaza in the city. So I decided walking a few square blocks around the plaza would allow me to see things, but still provide me with the comfort of navigating back to the hotel.

As I walked the streets, sure enough, it took on the same vibe of Phuket, Thailand. I popped into a corner bodega and picked up some hair conditioner for the week, as well as some local pineapple water.

I wandered a few more blocks down the road till I hit a walk with a view of water...

Such beautiful views of the river!

I was enjoying the view when I gentleman and boy approached me. He worked at the Amazon museum across the street, but also mentioned he was a tour guide. His name was "Jorge."

"Call me Jorge of the Jungle," he laughed. His son, the boy, was named Giovanni. "Like an Italian," Jorge pointed out to me.

They asked me what I was doing in Iquitos. I told them I was only here for the day before moving on to the retreat with Blue Morphos in the jungle.

"Oh," said Jorge. "You're here to do the ayahuasca. Blue Morpho is the best one. Follow me."

He took me into the museum...

The air conditioning felt amazing. I hadn't realized how hot it was outside. Jorge brought over a large stick...

"This is the ayahuasca," he said.

He want on to tell me about his own experience drinking the "vine of life." The first time he had ever done it was five years ago, when he was 30. His parents took him to see the family shaman in the Amazon, because he was suffering after-effects from a high fall out of a fruit tree. He had been in a coma for a few days, and couldn't remember things. Afterwards, he had to take pills and shots. He had migraines.

The shaman took one look at him, without knowing anything, and could sense that he had suffered a head injury. Jorge was told he needed to stay with the shaman for three months. For those three months, he would take ayahuasca every other day. After the time was up, he no longer needed the pills or the shots. Now he does ayahuasca a few times a month, always in the Amazon with a shaman.

"They do the chanting and music over you while you experience it," he explained. It's part of the process with the ayahuasca, he said. "You don't just take it without the shaman. You can. But you shouldn't."

I was appreciative of him sharing his experience, I let he and Giovanni take me on an impromptu tour of the city.

(To be continued.)