A Slice Of Our Life In Iquitos
Hi, thought I would share a slice of Marmelita’s and my life in Iquitos during these last few days. This is personal. Maybe only our friends and family will care, or maybe you will like to get to know us better.
First a brief history. We suffered through a three year courtship, too much of which we were apart. We made it happen though. I moved to Iquitos for love. That was the smartest, bravest action I have ever taken. It was brave of Marmelita also. She accepted me with love. We have been together nearly every day for 6 years. I don’t know another couple in as much love as we are after 9 years. I don’t know a better couple period. I have never loved so much, nor been loved so much. I’m happy. She is happy. I’ve laughed more in the last 6 years than all of the rest of my life combined. Laughing is good.
If you have been following the Captains Blog you know Marmelita and I married on May 17th, in a civil ceremony.
The fun part will be the church wedding on June 26th, and the reception. Marmelita has had a dream of how her wedding might be and I want her to be happy, and I like to be happy too, so we are making her dream come true. She is having a wedding dress custom made. I’m not supposed to see it, but I’m sure she will be a beautiful bride. I’m having a light weight creamy colored suit custom made. Don’t know what I’ll do for shoes and socks. I’ve worn shorts and sandals or crocks nearly every day for 6 years. We will have a traditional wedding in the Catholic Church. The priest is a very nice young man that speaks English and we like him. Marmelita will sing a love song to me as part of the ceremony. I hope I don’t cry too much.
We’ve rented the top two floors of one of the newest most modern buildings in town, over looking the river, for the reception. We will have a hot local band play before and after the meal, and four members of the Iquitos String Orchestra will play Mozart during the meal so that will be nice. We heard them once before and they sound very good. We have around 250 on the guest list, I guess maybe 100 to 150 will show up.
The next day we will go on our honeymoon to the beach towns south of Lima. We’ve never been there so I think we will move around until we find the nicest place for us. Maybe 7 to 10 days, or until we get ready to come back.
It will be difficult to be away for long. Our life is pretty complicated by all of our business activity. I will take my new lap top, and we will have our cell phones, so we can stay in contact with our offices, and make most decisions from the beach.
As you know we work a lot and try hard. Marmelita works more than any woman I know. She is responsible for most of the details that make our businesses function. It is rare there is not some crisis that has to be dealt with. The latest one was the mystery of the missing olive oil. We received a shipment of olive oil. One of my best people signed for it. When we opened the cardboard box… it was clothes, delivered to the wrong address. Marmelita heard we received the olive oil and payed the $450 before we discovered we had $100 of Chinese clothes instead. Oh my gosh she was worried. She called everyone from the distributor to the shipper for two days and no one knew anything. Last night, Saturday night at 9:30 the shipper showed up with our case of Olive oil. (who delivers olive oil at 9:30 on a Saturday night?), It had been sent somewhere else in Peru and came in on last nights plane. All is well, one less thing to worry about until the next crisis, which will probably be Monday. My point is her life is stressful. Even though I have a great group of people working for us, around 20 on any given week, including two young smart ones, she is the only one that knows all of the details that go into our business and cares enough to work the extra hours. She works from 8 in the morning till 11:30 at night 6 days a week. I am so impressed with her. She must be the most appreciated woman in Iquitos.
I have been focusing on a new business model. I have a new page on my blog that I’m going to attempt to drive traffic to, Amazon Tours and Day Trips. I just finished re-writing my Amazon Tour page on my business web site, www.dawnontheamazon.com , that links to the blog page, and I plan a series of blog articles promoting my day trips that will also link to each other and the Day Trip page. My goal is humble and easily achievable, (I think); The goal is to promote one of the services we do the best. I want to more than double my day trips and thus double my profits from day trips. I want to encourage you to pay at least 48 hours in advance. That will give me a chance to sell specifically scheduled day trips from the Dawn on the Amazon Cafe. I will print out coupons and flyers offering a reward of $20 toward the day trip for being a fan of the Dawn on the Amazon Cafe, and include them on the menu and in the payment at the end of the meal or even coffee. That is made possible only because of the Dawn on the Amazon Cafe, and the customers it draws, (which adds indirect value to the Cafe, where we work harder than I want, for less than I want) but only if you potential internet clients pay 48 hours in advance. Frequently I spend time emailing back and forth about day trips, a couple promises to show up on a certain day and we never see them because the illegal guides steal them from the airport or the hotel. I think providing the incentive’s of advance payment with a steady stream of new arrivals with a day to spend among the two days before the scheduled day trip at the Cafe will make it possible to double sales and profit. Obviously this is fairly small potatoes, but it all adds up and it would make me happy, while more financially justifying the Cafe, so that is my newest project. It’s a good challenge, or better goal. I like it.
We had a few good days lately, both from a personal standpoint of meeting a lot of nice new people, and good from a business standpoint. A few days ago we had a family at the jungle cabin, a small group on a cruise in Dawn I, two on Dawncita for a day trip and a near record day at the restaurant.
Yesterday around 20 of the nicest people I’ve met lately came back from a 12 day program of ayahuasca and natural medicines from the Temple of the Way of Light and descended on The Dawn on the Amazon Cafe around 1:30. They must have been starving. They ordered everything. Most of them complimented us by coming back for dinner, apparently still hungry. Plus we had our usual customers. We used every plastic chair and scrap table for most of the day. Wow, we were overwhelmed. I needed two more waitresses, another cook and two more choppers, cleaners, dishwashers. Several of our usual beer drinker friends had to go to La Noche because there wasn’t room to sit. I didn’t have time or take time to get a photo of the overflowing restaurant. That would have been worthwhile to have found the time. I didn’t count, but there must have been 30 people eating for 6 hours, and another 15 eating for another 3 or 4 hours, and probably 40 at various times. How to predict what they want. We could have sold 20 boiled sweet potatoes more than we had. Nearly everyone ordered two or three juices or smoothies. We ran out of Camu-camu, and mango early on. We all worked hard and did our best, and I think we were mostly appreciated. We made a few mistakes. I particularly felt bad about one fellow that we messed his lunch and dinner order up. I bought his french fries because they took so long. When he left I told him I wouldn’t blame him if he never came back, but if he did we were going to concentrate on getting his order right. He said, “See you Monday.” I hope so.
If those days happen very often I will have a real business. On those days, I need another jungle guide. I need to double my tables and chairs, have at least one more cook, two more choppers and two more waitresses. The trouble is most of the days I have too many jungle guides, tables, chairs, cooks, and waitresses.
The end of the day was complicated. Every 3 months the city requires every restaurant to fumigate. Last night was our time. All food items, glasses, plates, and most things, had to be moved into a storage room and covered. We got that done around 11:00pm in time for the fumigation.
Marmelita and I packed a bag and spent the night at El Colibre Hostal, right around the corner from the Dawn on the Amazon building. We were lucky to get one of the last rooms available, a matrimonial with air conditioning for S/ 70, around $25. We got to bed just before midnight completely exhausted, but happy.That saved me $125 or more. I thought we would get a room at El Dorado Plaza, the 5 star hotel. I have never stayed there. I thought we would splurge, and I would write a blog article about our experience. We had made a reservation there a few days before for three guests the total was $160. When Marmelita called up to make our reservation, they refused to give us a discount even though we are a tour company and a travel agency, and even though Marmelita told them I was a blogger with an audience of up to 1,000 people per day. The price to us was $240. That seems short sighted of them to me. How about you? I can’t give them a good review for that reaction. I can give El Calibre a good review though. Our room was simple but clean. The mattress was firm and the pillow was just right. No hot water but great water pressure. We had room # 4 and it was quiet.
Today is Sunday, but the whole crew have come in at 2:00 to wash all the dishes, and glasses, unpack all the food and…well everything, so we can be ready for business by 7:30 on Monday morning. There will be a few left over from the Temple of Light bunch but it will probably seem slow again after Friday and Saturdays crowd.
Our family on the cruise had a teenage son that wanted to see snakes. On the first morning when they woke up there was a huge 8 foot long Bush Master, one of the most aggressive and poisonous snakes in the world, stretched out on the edge of the boat partially on the First-Aid box, right where I always hang my hammock. Be careful what you wish for. Edson got the family into the canoe and shoved off, while our guide from Mishana and Marmelita’s Mom, Filo, who was the cook on this cruise, stayed on board and killed the monster. So we met the enemy and he is dead. That will be my next blog post.
Thanks for reading this far about a few days of our life. Maybe we will do this again.
That was a slice of our life in Iquitos.
Bill and Marmelita Grimes