Wednesday, July 8, 2009

On and Off The Boat

The best way to describe our boat trip down the Ucayali and the Amazon rivers is to give anyone out there who may be considering a similar trip a check list of what to expect.

  1. Longer than promised by more than a whole day - Check
  2. Boat stops at night if the river is low (which you wont find out until it stops) - Check
  3. Mosquitos trying to devour you and succeeding - Check
  4. Bed bugs picking up where the mosquitos left off- Check
  5. Beautiful sunsets- Check
  6. Other Americans trying smoke all the weed the had before the brazilian border (highly entertaining) - Check
  7. Showers pumped directly out of the river you just flushed into- Check
  8. Not showering for five days- Check
  9. Large Peruvian befriending us and calling us his cousins- Check
  10. Shirt swap with a drunk guy, at his behest, in a port town (he was drunk, not us)- Check
  11. Surprisingly decent food- Check
  12. Phenominal boredom- Check
  13. Overall accomidations similar to what the prisoners at Alcatraz had- Check
So the boat ride wasn´t as exciting or fun as we thought but we did get to Iquitos late Monday night safe, sound, and stinky. We spent that day visiting with the 40/40s, who are training here for the next several months, and catching up on sleep.

Our first full day in Iquitos was quite an adventure. This morning we visited a neighborhood called Belen, which literally is on the river. Some houses in this area have been built on stilts while others float on pontoons. May through August is the dry season so the river is low now and some muddy streets are emerging from the river.

Another story: while in Belen taking pictures a theif about 18-20 years old ran by and snatched my camera. I took off chasing him as fast as I could and Chadwick was close behind me. We figure we ran about a 400 meter dash, weaving through the house stilts, hopping canoes and little streems. We eventually caught him when he tried to veer back to his right and saw Chadwick who had also split right coming directly at him. He handed over the camera without a fight. So we left Belen with some adrenaline pumping and a whole lot muddier than we planned. We have the next week to map the communities near Iquitos which should be fun since most can only be accessed by boat.

Thanks for reading and praying for us,
Ryan and Chadwick

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