The Journey to Iquitos, Day 5.

I awoke at around 7 A.M. I hadn’t slept much the previous evening. As always there was simply too much on my mind. That and Mapacho wasn’t looking very well throughout the night.

I got out of my hammock and sat by Mapacho, who was curled up in the same blanket I left him in beside Despina last night. Despina herself was passed out. Around 7:30 A.M I headed downstairs and made a tea and lit a mapacho. David came in soon afterwards and asked me where the dog was, I told him his name was Mapacho now, as I smoked a mapacho. David laughed and called me crazy. He sounded sick, and sure enough he was after I pressed him further. I grabbed my towel and toothpaste and headed to the shower. Emerson was going to be back soon, he had stayed with his wife and children in Iquitos the previous evening when he took Andy, Leah and Jason back to the city. However, he just wanted to get us back to the city as well realistically and relax with his family for the day. After all, the next group for Gaia Tree was meeting at 10 A.M the following day at The Dawn on the Amazon cafe. The Gaia Tree took two retreats two weeks in a row, then had the next two weeks off. Which was an incredibly sweet gig considering how much money each week brought in (the retreat charges $700 American for 7 days at the retreat, take 8-12 at a time). After my shower breakfast was ready. The same old hearty meal of quinoa and fresh fruit. I made I had all my things and packed my bags thoroughly, then I brought them downstairs where Despina was making a tea and chatting and laughing with Segundo and his wife. I was super jealous of the fact that Despina could speak fluent Latin Spanish. I’d love to converse with the Peruvians. I thought they were incredible people. We all talked for about half an hour. Despina translated for me. They told me I was more than welcome to journey to their village (6 hours into the Amazon by boat) the next time I came back and practice with a shaman there (Segundo and his wife were Shipibou, and there were many fantastic shamans in there village), I told them I would most definitely be visiting them in the future. Emerson arrived and we said our goodbyes to everyone still present (really just Segundo, his wife,the animals and well most importantly, Mapacho..) and made our way to the road where we waited for a taxi. David wanted to join us, so he did. It took about half an hour before a proper taxi that was no a motorcar drove by the gates to the retreat. We waved them down and jumped on. Next stop Iquitos.. Or not. We stopped 20 minutes down the road and got off, in favor of a faster, less crowded taxi. A new taxi arrived, David forgot Despina’s bag in the other one. We relaxed. After all, Emerson was with us. David was nervous though and stayed behind. We said our goodbyes and were on our way. Me and Despina chain smoked as more and more people piled into the van until it was squished to the point where Despina was sitting on my lap and a baby was essentially in my arms? Emerson was on the phone the entire time. About half an hour later Emerson laughed as we pulled up beside the bus that we were previously on which contained Despina’s “lost” bag. The cops had pulled them over. Emerson used to be in the Peruvian special forces and all these guys were his buddies. He laughed and hugged them as the bus driver looked on in irritation, as well as the remaining passengers. We got Despina’s bag and continued our journey back to Iquitos. Once we got to the borders of the city we hopped off the bus (where I almost forgot my Nikon camera, thank god there are good people in this world who jumped off the bus and handed it to me!) and boarded a tuk tuk motorcar the rest of our way to our hostels. Despina stayed at the Flying Monkey. I stayed at the El Dorado Express. I needed peace and quiet and couldn’t deal with a hostel, as much fun as they were, so I didn’t mind forking out the extra money for a private, air conditioned room. We all agreed to meet at the Dawn on the Amazon cafe for some beers and food after we had cleaned up and relaxed for a while (*Note I literally had one pair of pants, two shirts, and six pairs of underwear and socks as I had traded all my other clothing before I went into the Jungle, needless to say, I quite literally smelled like shit). I dropped off my clothing at a quick wash and dry and handed them over 10 soles. I walked to my hostel with a towel as a pair of pants and no shirt. With all my luggage, my camera, my guitar. With nothing but a pair of shades and a mapacho to truly define me. I walked and people laughed at me and smiled. Some girls whistled, I winked at everyone. A cop came over pointing at my crotch and speaking quick spanish. I told him he was speaking too fast and that I only spoke a bit and was going to my hostel. He laughed and told me to put pants on. I got to my hostel and checked in (which was a lengthy process). I got a smoking room, and lit up as I threw all my belongings on the floor and jumped in the shower where the smoke was doused instantly. I treated my sun burnt body extensively, bathed for about twenty minutes trying to get the smell of sweat, bile and salt out of my body. After I was done I lay down on my bed, connected to the WiFi and started calling my family and friends over WhatsApp. I noticed it was 5 P.M and walked over to Despina’s hostel and searched for her everywhere within until one of the employees kicked me out for “snooping in the women’s dormitory”, relax, it’s simply a joke;), but they did ask me to leave as I wasn’t staying there, they told me Despina had already left. I called her phone number that she had written down for me, but a Peruvian man answered. I called Emerson and met him and his family at the Dawn on the Amazon for 6 P.M. I grabbed a beer as I waited. My friends all came and saw me for the first time since I’ve been back. I told them all about it. They tried to sell me more souvenirs. I told them I’d buy them a beer, they laughed and agreed. Emerson and his family arrived. Estacey, his daughter who was 17 and kind of cute. Jack, who was 12 and a little bugger, but a funny kid. And mama, whose name I always forget. We all drink, except the kids. We talk, take alot of photos (Mama wants me to marry Estacey) and enjoy being together and back in the concrete jungle in the middle of the Jungle. Despina arrives and we drink more beer. Emerson’s friend, an incredibly interesting Swedish man who seems just as free as us, joins us. Him and I complain about the U.S.A and it’s foreign policies and aggressive nature. After a while I leave the table for some fresh air. I got and sit at the end of the boardwalk by the river and rolled a joint. I sparked up and inhaled deeply. An elder Peruvian couple walked by. The husband smiled at me and asked for a toke in Spanish. I handed it to him and told him to enjoy the rest with his wife. He smiled and they both thanked me and moved on. I sparked a mapacho and walked towards Belen. I realized this was a bad idea, as I was alone, a gringo, high and possessed a bit of cash and my phone.

I made my way back to the table and had another beer. Then I paid the bill for everyone and we started to walk. Emerson and his family decided it was time for them to go home. They waved down a taxi, I promised them I’d meet them and the new retreat group the next morning at 9:30 A.M. We said our goodbyes and me and Despina went and found a cheap local stand to eat some supper at. We had egg sandwiches. They were really good and cheap, but really greasy and filled with salt. Still, they were a nice treat. After we ate Despina told me she wanted to find some Marijuana. We went back to the boardwalk and I started talking to a few of my friends and bartered with them for a deal. Within half an hour we had some better stuff than I’d ever seen in Iquitos. We all smoked a joint. I realized just how tired I was. I hugged Despina and got her email, we said our goodbyes. I told my friends I’d see them tomorrow and headed back to my hostel. I chain smoked, called my family once more and smoked a massive joint in the bathroom. Afterwards I began reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”. I made it through the introduction and dozed off to sleep.

Thank you so much for making it through the entire blog post and I hope your having a wonderful Thursday!

As always if you enjoy the blog, please feel free to share it. Comment below to begin a discussion or personally message me with any questions please:)

Namaste ladies and gents, Namaste

Brandon.

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