Iquitos, Peru.  A large city, 300,000 population supporting at least that much more in the surrounding area.  It is a jungle city, isolated, connected to the rest of the world only by air and boat.  When they say that all roads lead to Rome they are mistaken, the roads in Iquitos never make it past the jungle.  It is an old city, built in the rubber boom (go find some history buff) with a downtown area that has many old buildings.  But it is also a modern city, complete with Bell South (above, left) providing cellular telephone service (see antenna rising up behind the church, above left.)


Various old buildings.


A house that is for sale. I took the picture thru the locked front gates.

The old city is very nice, but what I wanted to bring back from the jungle was a bottle of the local fire water, flavored with jungle roots.  For this I had to enter the notorious Belen Market.  Our guide warns us about pickpockets infesting the crowded alleys.

The food on display looks to be fresh and wholesome.  While it might be termed squalor, the market was actually remarkably clean.  Trash and garbage are removed daily.  While crowded, no one is jostling or bumping or pushing.

Along with food you can buy your jungle medicines and herbs.  The lady on the right is the one who made and sold to us the two bottles of 7-roots that we brought home.

While I no longer smoke, I still enjoy the aroma of tobacco.  Tobacco is grown locally and cured and made into fat cigarettes.  While other's may claim "no bull" it is a lot more believable when you can watch the tobacco leaf being chopped and rolled.  I almost wished that I still smoked, so that I could sample these cigarettes.  These cigarettes are use more for medicinal and ceremony than for casual pleasure.  Smokers are rare -- I cannot recall seeing anyone smoke in public.

Not shown (yet) are pictures of the houses and people of Belen.  Maybe later....
 
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