Guest post by Adrian Walker, “The Snake Whisperer”
The Iquitos I come to know in my first days here recalls the Eagles in that throughout the city I encounter “Take it Easy” or “Tequila Sunrise” and in darker moments more than a hint of “Hotel California” All the elements are here and in keeping with the lushness of the surrounding jungle, in abundance. It’s all a question of which paths you choose to follow.
For me the lodge remains my priority and I visit one which is fresh to the market and overpriced given that the flooding of 2012 has destroyed the lower storey effectively rendering it more suitable to be a whorehouse than a lodge. My jungle guide confirms this when he offers a young village girl as part of the package should I buy; she already has 2 children, the younger at breast, an instant family in fact. I decline and determine his offer a little out of order and quietly wonder what sort of commission the scheming lodge owner has offered him to push a sale through with this gringo.
Lodge number 2 is an improvement but again the price is in the unrealistic range, beyond mere optimism. I suggest a lease but this declined by an owner clearly looking for a sale but I suspect heading for disappointment given the state of the market and the number of lodges available.
Lodge 3 is well situated and hopeful until I arrive and again find the flood toll has been heavy, far more so than the absent owner has informed me or perhaps been informed himself. Again I make an offer which I feel is reasonable but find it declined. The concept born so many months ago of an Amazon lodge is drifting a little as the difficulties of the unexpectedly high waters encountered this year face me squarely. Everyone wants a lodge with a river view, all it seems have paid a high price.
Then, a little more than a week after my arrival, an agent advises me of a lodge which may suit and introduces me to the owner, an elfin Peruvian/Italian woman with commendable English and ideals which I recognize immediately as akin to mine. We get on well over a breakfast chat and a same day visit is swiftly arranged. The building has survived the ravages of the waters narrowly, is well constructed and I am deeply impressed by the quality and loyalty of the staff. More importantly she owns land which contains a range of habitats allowing a rich, diverse birdlife. Perhaps the elusive magnet species isn’t here but the scope is and she prefers not to sell but is happy to negotiate a lease, an arrangement that will give me valuable time to find that nirvana where all my boxes may be ticked. I stay overnight and we talk long and late over beers purchased in the nearby village. In the morning a deal is settled and my lodge moves one small step closer. As we shake hands on an arrangement reached I catch the sound of a grunting Hoatzin in the forest, a sound I take as approval.
The Road To Iquitos, part 2
Guest post by Adrian Walker the author of Diary of a Snake Whisperer, Birds of Mission Beach, and several books of fiction.
Hello, this is Bill Grimes reporting from Iquitos Peru. Adrian Walker and his family are living in one of my apartments while looking to open a lodge in the jungle. He was kind enough to write this series of articles for the Captain’s Blog and Iquitos Times. We hope this is Chapter two of his new book, The Road to Iquitos. To read chapter one, please click this link to The Road To Iquitos.