Iquitos: A Curios Walk Turned Adventure, Part Two.

(Continuing from Part One...)

Jorge, Giovanni and I walked a good 10 minutes to the Belan Market. It's an outdoor market (which I'll write in more detail in a separate post) that sells food, medicines, tobacco, trinkets... You name it.

The thing that surprised me about the Belan Market was the residential area that was further down into the area.

The water rises up - during the raining season, which we were in - and floods the bottom floors of the two-story structures people were living in there. Canoes and wooden boats pull up to the fronts of them.

The water is definitely not drinkable or swimmable. And it smelled putrid. But it was something I had never seen in person - this kind of living.

 Jorge offered to take me further into the area known as "the Floating Village" on one of the canoes. But knowing that it's not uncommon for snakes to be in the water... I declined.

Also surprising were the large number of random dogs on the streets of Iquitos.

I kept my distance from them, based on instinct and - well - common sense. (I learned a few days later from one of the Shamanic Guides at the retreat that she had gone out for a job in Iquitos once, and gotten bitten by one of the dogs! She had to get rabies shots.)

After seeing enough of the market, and declining Jorge's offer to show me a "domesticated" anaconda, we hopped into a motor-cab and headed to a cemetery.

Yes. A cemetery.

According to Jorge, it was one of the most lively places on a Saturday in the city. He wasn't wrong! I saw people gathered in groups, having parties next to tombs and gravestones! Complete with food, decorations and instruments for music.

"People here know how to party with the dead," I said, making me rethink my hard stance of being cremated and having my ashes scattered.  "Awesome!"

The only quiet part of the cemetery was the Jewish section...

"It's housed in it's own area?" I asked Jorge.

He couldn't explain why. But it quiet and restful. He said there was a nice-sized Jewish population in Iquitos.

My favorite part of the cemetery was the Angel atop the tomb for rubber baron Adolfo Morey.

When we were finished with the cemetery, we hopped back into the motor-cab and sped along the river.

Very serene at twilight.

The last thing Jorge was insisting on showing me was the train engine in the middle of one of the plazas.

After that, they dropped me back off near the hotel. I gave him $50 soles and thanked he and Giovanni. I learned quite a bit that afternoon, despite only intending to go out for a short walk.