Guest post by Adrian Walker, “The Snake Whisperer”
As the 4th week in Iquitos draws towards a close, disappointment strikes. I’m told by the lodge owner that a better offer has been made by a dear friend. I interpret this as an attempt to wring a higher rental figure out of me and so politely decline to respond other than a note of warm congratulations. In the meantime another lodge has come to my notice and arrangements are made to visit. I’m assured that orally made deals in Peru often come to very little other than mind changes and a desire to extract more cash from those wealthy gringos, the local slot machines. It’s almost a miracle that we don’t all have jobs in the casino, accepting small change and spitting it in large banknotes to the poverty stricken local people.
Then on a Sunday morning mishap occurs; in my book Diary of a Snake Whisperer, I referred to the perils of white goods and Peruvian ones are to prove equally unfriendly as their Australian counterparts. An early morning shower is followed rapidly by a power laden bath mat which accelerates alarmingly just as my foot touches it. This results in a headlong sprawl and a grasp at the hand basin. Sadly the basin is unforgiving and comes crashing down, splintering into a thousand shards, one of which pierces my hand deeply. Bruised but accepting a scoreline of basins destroyed vs Myself gashed I strap the wound with a handkerchief and stumble out onto the street in search of some antiseptic cream. Of course pharmacies are all closed early on Sunday mornings so a nearby café is the logical port of call.
The owner manages a tidy job of bandage and disinfect and I manage not to wince with the stinging alcohol solution she insists on applying liberally. I thank her profusely when the task is completed and settle down for breakfast, naturally at the same establishment.
This very morning I will take some jungle medicine for the first time and have been advised to mix a few drops with fruit juice as this will aid in its effect. My papaya juice is thus blended carefully with the brown liquid, extracted I understand from a bracket fungus.
No more than 2 minutes elapse and I feel distinctly dizzy so remain tightly seated. The dizziness increases and I begin to perspire heavily before apparently blacking out completely and carelessly coating my shirt and jeans with papaya juice, coffee, toast and of course a few drops of jungle medicine.
A small concerned crowd gather at my awakening some moments later and the word ambulance is mentioned but as I feel better I assure the assembled that all I need is a shower and a rest. The shower reveals that my wound requires stitching as the bleeding continues freely and so arrangements are made for a visit to the clinic where excellent and prompt treatment are the order of the day.
Thus sutured neatly, confident in the efficacy of jungle medicine, I resolve to suggest to the maker of the brew that a lower dosage rate may be advisable for future customers, a cold beer is needed and so it’s back to the friendly café where Mad Mick, that paragon on Iquitos, awaits me.
Road To Iquitos, Part 4; Ups And Downs In Iquitos
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 my Captain’s Blog and the Iquitos Times. We hope this is Chapter four of his new book, The Road to Iquitos. To read chapters one, two, and three please click these links to Road To Iquitos, and The Road To Iquitos Part 2, and The Road To Iquitos Part 3.