On the second day I awoke around 9:30 A.M.
I had a lot on my mind, and knew that today, nor any other day could go like the first day went. The first day I somehow managed to spend 460 soles (which was all the Peruvian currency I had taken down with me, and is roughly equal to $200 Canadian). Don’t get me wrong, the money went to good use, and I got more bang for my buck than I should have, if you know what I mean. I had managed to go on four different tours, get some souvenirs for the family, see most of the city of Iquitos as well as buy numerous rounds of cerveza for my friends and I, as well as dinner for myself. However, I wasn’t made of gold unfortunately (not that it would matter with the way the western financial systems work, they’d pick me apart and then throw some “bank notes” on my bones and thank me for the fair trade we had just made), so the spending frenzy had to be tamed. I left the hostel around noon and met up with some of my friends from the previous day. One of the guys I was with was certain I was going to purchase one of his “vision” paintings off him, for the low price of 500 soles. Although the painting was beautiful and unique, I still did need to eat for the next few weeks, so I turned him down and walked down the boulevard to the Dawn on the Amazon cafe. This restaurant serves delicious food at outrageous prices (for Peru anyways), regardless though, I was hungry and wanted a real meal. Before drinking Ayahausca, it’s recommended that you pertain to the Shaman “Dieta”, which is really just a bland, organic and healthy diet. Eggs, chicken, fish, some fruits and vegetables, quinoa, rice- you know, all those sorts of things.
I chain smoked mapachos and read David Wilcock’s “The Sychronicity Key”, which is an absolutely incredible novel. It’s very well written, full of revalating modern facts and and sources where you can find those facts. Then my meal arrived, a Passion storm smoothie and a damn good looking egg sandwich. I quickly devoured it, rubbed my belly a bit, paid my fare and took off. Today I knew what I was going to do, wander Belen market. It was about noon at this point and I made my way down the busy streets of Iquitos (tuks tuks are very common in Iquitos as they are inexpensive and easy to maintain, almost everyone save the police and wealthier residents, drive them) until I found myself in the Belen market.
Many people would find the Belen market revolting. It’s filled with garbage in the streets, alien scents, odd traders trying to barter for you left boot and well, a lot of dead mutilated animals for sale. However it places you in the reality of what many people on this planet go through on a daily basis, and that’s exactly why it was so beautiful to me. I probably wandered around for four hours, chain smoking mapachos and taking photos of the goods for sale, as well as the vultures. They’re known as condors down there, they’re big, mean and most definitely numerous. They hang around Belen hoping that some human will leave behind some scraps for them to devour, or a more real example for those of you that can bare the grittier things in life, they wait for a starving homeless dog to grow to weak and defend itself, and they pounce on it like a raven horde from the flames. After a while, I began to notice how awful I smelled. Literally that’s all there is to it. So I started to walk back towards La Casa Chacruna. As I was walking back, thank you for Synchronicity, Freddie, Gladys and the baby swerve in front of me on their motorbike, which startled me at first as I didn’t recognize the big tattooed man with the ebony motorcycle helmet swerving in traffic to pull up in front me of. Turns out that they caught me at the right time, him and the family (all the other guests) were going to the pool at a hotel called “La Casa Fitzcarla”, or something along those lines. They invited me, and I said “damn right, I’ll be there soon”. “Take a motorcar, and bring some money” Freddie tells me. However I had just spent all my cash on me yesterday, and only had a visa to my name at that point. “No worries”, I think to myself “I’ll just walk there, it’s a small enough city”, Fuck was I ever wrong. Long story short. The hotel is ten minutes away by motor car, and over an hour on foot. I was going the right way, walked for over two hours. But I never made it to the hotel, never got to swim in God’s Nectar and I never got an ice cold cerveza. I made my way back to La Casa Chacruna, and go out on the balcony as I light a mapacho. Another man is there, another fellow traveler! We get into conversation, his name is Chris and he’s from Australia. I discover that he’s been travelling South America for the past few months after he quit his job as a youth social service worker (which in this day and age is an incredibly stressful job, especially in North America where many youth feel so lost). He’s been to Colombia, Chile and now he’s in Peru. I ask him why he’s in Iquitos (Gringos only come here for the Amazon, Ayahausca or the absolutely chaotic night life it offers) and discover that four days ago he just got off a two week Ayahausca retreat, with four ceremonies. I press further and he tells me that he had an incredibly profound experience and that he got a lot out of it. I tell him we should go grab a beer and talk about life, but that I need to shower because I smell like I just crawled out of a sewer, he agreed and twenty minutes later we were walking towards a well lit restaurant, where we took a seat on the upper balcony. We order a few beers and talk about his experience. The first night he said he felt bad because everyone was purging so much, but he was laughing so whole heartedly that he felt he may pass out from lack of oxygen. Essentially he told me that he discovered his serious ego had taken life so seriously that he was never able to enjoy it as much as he deserved to (this is an aspect of the go that holds many people back in life). The last night he was carried by his spirit animal, a species of eagle found in Australia, all over beautiful natural destinations throughout the world. Once the eagle landed in it’s nest and lay him down, he literally became the eagle! Chris discovered just how free he was as an individual that night, and found beauty and peace in his life once again! I didn’t press him on the other two nights, as he didn’t seem like he wished to discuss them. Almost on cue, a few of my friends from the other day (the erm, recovered crack heads..) see me and run up to the balcony to join us for a beer. They immediately try to sell their art to my friend, Chris, who really doesn’t appreciate that, and doesn’t pay them any more attention. He believes that it was rude for them to approach us if all they were trying to do is make a sale, I explain to him that they need to make a sale if they wish to get dinner for their family tonight (that’s how it goes, you sell your art, go to the market to get food, then go home and enjoy the night with your family and hope that you can make the sale again tomorrow), Chris still doesn’t appreciate it, but sees my point. We have dinner, Chris gets black peppered fish, which was apparently good and I get some unique Ceviche only available in Iquitos. my meal was absolutely disgusting.
After that we headed back to the hotel and grabbed a beer. We were sitting on the balcony when three more “members of the family” came in. Three Brits, clearly from London. Their accents are all immaculate, and even in the jungle they all seem to carry an aura of authority and beauty. Elle, the only female, was a petite blonde with beautiful ocean eyes, I instantly felt attracted to her and introduced myself. The other two men, Will and Rufus, seemed flustered by this (I thought Will was her boyfriend at first, but he just tells me he wishes and that they’re good friends). Will is slender and my height, with flowing long blonde hair and detailed features. As a heterosexual male I can sincerely say he was an attractive man. Rufus is maybe an inch shorter and stocky. With dark hair and stubble, and a rough gentleman tone, he seemed like he played a good deal of Rugby back in the day. We all get along rather well, and they invite me to come out with them for dinner and to smoke a few joints as we get to know one another. Tonight they are going with Freddie into the jungle for a single Ayahausca ceremony, so they have to eat quickly. I tell them eating is not a good idea and neither is smoking marijuana (Ayahausca and Mary don’t mix too well..), however they insist and we walk out the door.
We arrive at a restaurant where milkshakes and cheeseburgers are ordered for the English, and ale is served to me and my Australian counterpart, Chris. We get to talking about our ages, where we all come from, what we do for a living. Rufus is a “businessman and entrepreneur” (aren’t we all), Will is a graduate of fine dance and philosophy and Elle is a manager at a clothing store who doesn’t believe in post secondary education (I wanted to ask her to run away with me at this point, but decided against it). They eat, we drink. Then we go out for a few joints. Elle and Rufus go in after a few hits, but me and Will stay outside and discuss “Emotional Intelligence” and how it is ultimately the most important trait the leaders of our future must possess. After the joint, we went back in, paid our fares and went back to La Casa. Elle, Will and Rufus were immediately scooped away by Freddie for the ceremony that was taking place. Me and Chris sat on the balcony and talked a bit longer. I went back to my room, smoked, showered and read until I drifted off under the lullaby of Iquitos’s night traffic.
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