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PERU | Sunday, 23 May 2010 | Views [569]

Saturday night in Iquitos

Saturday night in Iquitos

With over 600,000 people Iquitos is the largest city in the world not accessible by road, Peru’s version of Juneau.  It saw its heyday in the early 1900s with the rubber boom but that ended when some plants were smuggled to SE Asia where they were cultivated in rows.  This made harvesting more efficient than wandering through the forest looking for rubber trees.

Today the main industry is tourism.  Everyone wants to sell you something or guide you somewhere.  But there are regular people, too.  The riverfront and the Plaza des Armes were filled with music, balloon vendors, food stalls, buskers and families last night.  This morning soldiers, sailors, scouts and every civic group in town replaced them, all in uniform and ready for the Sunday morning flag raising parade.  It was a nice surprise to hear J P Souza marches, even with a sour note here and there.

You can take the man out of Texas but you can’t take Texas out of the man.  This is certainly true of Jerold, the owner of Yellow Rose of Texas, a gringo eatery where we had breakfast.  He is a retired petroleum engineer who married a Peruvian.  He now calls Iquitos home but he brought a lot of the Lone Star State with him including a collection of sports memorabilia and his huge ego.  He even has a larger than life poster of himself in his UT baseball uniform in his 'glory days,' half a century ago.  The food is good and so is the music in the upstairs sports bar.  It was a nice break after two months on the road. 


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