The Road Goes Ever On

by Captain Bill

Love And Lodgement In Iquitos

A guest post by Adrian Walker, The Snake Whisperer

6 Months in Iquitos passes not without drama but without the lodge I came for. A relationship collapses, health problems such as a serious dose of dengue and deep vein thrombosis intervene as do false leads. Lodges for sale that are absurdly overpriced and partnership offers that crumble quickly when financial arrangements are discussed, nights in company of bedbugs and mornings of trudging through swamps as I inspect these unsuitable options become the norm.

The city birdlife maintains my sanity as amidst the common Kiskadees, assorted Tanagers, Vultures and Kingbirds, appear scarcer species such as Blue Tailed Emeralds, Crane Hawks, a range of Nightjars hawking the street lighting in search of moths, Parrots of varied hues come and go as do Yellow Hooded Blackbirds, Jacanas and a host of others. My city list eases past the century.

Finally an opportunity appears one evening when an associate tells me of a parcel of land that may be for sale and advises that the missionary owner will be in the city the following day. I request a meeting and a lunchtime chat reveals what sounds like an ideal position but at an impossible asking price. I resolve to pursue the matter.

A further few weeks slide by and Iquitos’ glow begins to fade as I use the slow internet connection prevalent throughout this isolated city to delve elsewhere in Peru and beyond in search of that elsuive butterfly, the ideal lodge locale. Then my associate mentions casually that the missionary I had met with is selling up his Peruvian interests and it may be opportune to renew my consideration. I think about it for 10 seconds, decide to have a closer look and so arrange a visit the following day. I am deeply impressed and upon my return to the city transmit a low offer, less than half the original asking price. When a positive response comes back I am frankly stunned.

Sadly, it falls over quickly but another month slips by and news comes that the offer is to be accepted, perhaps the missionary has received divine advice?

I revisit and the birdlife is stunning, Pompadour Cotingas, the elusive and rare Iquitos Gnatcatcher, Hawks of innumerable flavours and other delights which will be spoken of in times ahead. The place is perfect, a long river frontage, a longer boundary to the reserve, flood free and a shell of building with a friendly village near at hand but not so close as to pose a cockcrow issue.

I contact my business partner and the deal is settled, at least verbally. Peru time however has tricks left up its long Inca sleeve, and the lawyers uncover minor problems which result in delays, cruel to one who has endured what seems enough in this meandering road, or perhaps river as the Nanay does flow in widening loops, making distance from points ridiculously short yet absurdly lengthy in time. One by one the small problems are resolved as the day of settlement nears.

Numerous visits to explain to the enthusiastic villagers are made, many dineros are spent on small gifts to establish and maintain a relationship with the people I hope will one day become employees of a thriving eco lodge. Throughout all this a further development has occurred, I have met a woman who shares my dream and is willing to join me in this maddening quest. She is truly a diamond amongst the pebbles as I feel the land parcel to be, thus the patience of a naturalist is rewarded twofold with a bounty that i could not have suspected.

Our journeys to the land reveal Harpy Eagles, White Hawks, Snail Kites, countless bush passerines of beauty and the realisation that our soon to be land and lodge is a stronghold of Jaguars, that most majestic and shyest of  big cats. The dream draws closer and the company of one I have learnt to love makes it feel even more worthwhile.

Finally, after a mere 47 weeks and two days in Iquitos, I find myself in a legal office signing the documents for the sale of this magical piece of Amazonia. Cotinga Eco Haven has endured a long gestation and buildings remain weeks from completion but from this point on our lives will be spent in the jungle, rarely venturing into the city. Here we will make our home, a home to share with the rich and diverse wildlife that has been my lifetime study, a home to share with the Peruvian woman who has given me love and support for the previous months and encouraged me to believe that the darkest nights break to golden dawns.

The Road Goes Ever On

A guest post by Adrian Walker, The Snake Whisperer

More articles for you to read, by Adrian Walker, about his experience in Iquitos and the Amazon Jungle;

The Road To Iquitos;

The Road To Iquitos, Part 2;

The Road To Iquitos, Part 3;

The Road To Iquitos, Part 4, Ups And Downs In Iquitos;

Bird Watching From Dawn on the Amazon;

Bedbugs And Their Ilk In Iquitos;

King Of The Boulevard, Iquitos Peru;

Iquitos, An Urban Ecology;

A Cautionary Tale From Iquitos;

Giant Anaconda –on Fact Or Fiction;

Golfing The Amazon;

The Amazon Toad;

Ayahuasca, Eternal Life – A Skeptics Viewpoint;

The Flight of Death;

Man of Le Launcha;

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