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The Ride Out From Explorama Up The Amazon
Las Palmeiras to Iquitos, both by Fast Boat and the lazy dreams ship, the Amazon Queen
By Fast Boat, the trip takes about 100 minutes. By transferring at Ceiba Tops to the big Amazon Queen, it ended up being a 4 hour tour...But hey: the Amazon Queen had a bar and served beer and chips, and it was easier to take photos at the placid speed. It was a very pleasant ride upriver.
February 14, 2009

Arrival | Clinic1 | Palmeiras School | Canopy Walk | Clinic2 | Old Clinic | Amazon Exfiltration |
Cusco | San Pedro Market | Machupicchu1 | Machupicchu 2 | Machupicchu 3 | Bustamante Estate | Sacsayhuaman |
An Amazon River gas station
Here is the Amazon Queen, our transfer ship. She was a big brute.
  Sorry about the weird color. The roof canopy is to blame. I'm severely red & green color blind, so I didn't dare try to color-correct these in Photoshop.
A road-connect transfer village, which connects to the nearby PetroPeru petroleum transfer station.  
  Some water buffalo hanging out in the shade. Note the birds on their shoulders.
This was some sort of lodge with cut-rate cabana cabins overlooking the river.
Transporting some sugar cane stalks.
A little kid in his (or her?) "Amazon Camaro"
I love the little kid waving from underwater
at the far right.
PetroPeru service barges
Talk about eking out a living?
This is remote living, with not much.
Some chickens, and a roof over their heads.
Simple living, to say the least...
This log barge puller almost missed their angle from the government-built bypass lagoon at Iquitos' Port, and got closer to our boat than they probably intended to.
Steerage-class tickets, Amazon style.
What are all the cross-cuts on these logs? Part of the harvesting process?
I wonder how far they are traveling on the logs behind the barge puller like this?
It is possible they could be traveling for several weeks at their speed.
The Amazon Queen's wake sort of mucked them up on their pleasant ride. Almost bucked them off of the logs, actually. I see they built a grass hut on the logs.
Some big logs, just downriver from Iquitos
Some of these riverboats look a bit suspect for riverworthiness... This looks like a brand new, under final construction luxury river boat.
The Peruvian Navy is actually a formidable Naval Force, and they take their blue water Navy very seriously. Not so on their brown-water riverine forces, apparently. These look like WWI French ships, with U.S. 105mm Howitzers on the front.
  Taking the Explorama Bus from our fancy "layover lobby" hotel in Iquitos to the airport.

Note about our "layover lobby" access at the El Dorado Hotel in Iquitos: We arrived by boat in Iquitos in the late afternoon, and our LAN Airlines flight didn't leave Iquitos for Lima until midnight. So because of Earl and Pam at Explorama, we were allowed to store all of our gear in a secure area of the lobby of this fantastic, 4-star hotel in the Central Square of Iquitos for several hours while we waited. We all ate dinner cater-corner from the hotel at a diner-style burger joint, and I swear that it was the best diner-style burger I have ever had. With fries and a coke, it was about five bucks. When we all pooled our Peruvian Soles together and threw our money at my Dad, Earl declared that we were about to tip our three servers more than our food cost. We all loved our burgers and the amazing service that we said that was okay! I seriously wanted to buy a t-shirt emblazoned with their joint's name on it in red that their staff were wearing, and it was just not available. What a shame. That would have been one of my new favorite t-shirts. We went back to the hotel lobby and their fine Corinthian Leather sink-into-coma couches, and suddenly a SWAT Team entry event happened, almost like a terrorism situation. Heavily armed and armored Policia SWAT guys stormed into the lobby and set up a perimeter, followed by the Peru National Football Team, who were staying in this hotel the same way we were, until their flight went out at midnight.

So we were lounging inside, basically 'gratis' through fancy connections, in the lobby of this Beacon in the Night, 4-star International Hotel, with a mob of football (soccer) fans stacked outside the hotel just ready to die to meet their heros. Fans that were so crazy it required the Iquitos SWAT team, with about ten vehicles and an actual perimeter to be established around the hotel. Also, I noticed that standard police in Iquitos (and in Cusco, actually), were still all carrying 1950's-era S&W revolvers. The Team Members who came into the El Dorado were all carrying HK MP5 subguns and HK2000 sidearms. "Protect our National Football Team!"

I slipped out through the lobby to the rear pool area to have a smoke, and a server came up and asked if I wanted a beverage. I said, "Yes, sure! How about a...hmm, what do I want..."

He suggested, "How about a Pisco Sour, sir? They are made very excellent here!"

"Fantastic!" I said.

Earl and Tom and Edie came back out the back glass door when they saw me lounging in the pool area enjoying a cigarette on a chase lounge. My drink was then served, and it was 40 Soles.

That was $13.50 for one cocktail.

Oh well. It was fun to lounge in luxury like that while we waited. In Miami, at a similar hotel? That Pisco Sour would have probably cost $20.

Taken from the Explorama Bus on the way to the airport through the busy city on a Saturday night. The Armas Square, right in front of the hotel.
Our bus trip through the pre-Carnival city of Iquitos...Celebrations had already started. Tom and Edie at the Iquitos Airport. 92 degrees, 99.9%, hot, hot!
Toneman and Earl, waiting at the airport. I had to fight off a little fat kid who was ready to unzip my primary gear bag while checking in. Iquitos airport security is a little slack. Am I really twice as large as Earl? Looks like I am actually twice as large as my Dad!  Toneman is eight inches taller, and 80 pounds heavier. See the famous Peru National Football Team behind us? Earl noted that they all got aisle seats, which was why we could not. Viva la Futbol!
Copyright © 2009 Tony Rogers