The first impression of the city I had was that of a little bit of a chaos. Or arriving to a fisher town close to the Lima shore -say, Barranca, for instance-. A little later you realize how large this city is, how many ports they have for different ships going to other Peruvian cities and to Brasil and Colombia as well.
I also had to find a hotel that took visa cards as I was very short of cash. Got one with air conditioning and breakfast included for 60 soles. Then out to walk a bit and have a look at the city.
This is the Iron House made by Eiffel. Even though not ugly or unpleasant I had a different impression of the Iquitos main square by the pictures I had seen up to now. The malecón is nice and the view of the river is great.
It was party night at Noa. After having a nice lunch at Huasai went back to have a long shower rest and watch a movie. At 11 PM I woke up, showered again and went to dance at around midnight. The place got crowded almost immediately and people was moving even out of the dance floor. I had a beer and watched a bit how things are in this corner of the world.
But, i got tired of the music soon. I’m really not against cumbia or whatever and I can sympathize with the joy the musicians and the rhythm seem to convey with the music but somehow I can’t connect. I learned to dance a bit of salsa around my twenty something years as I heard it in the pubs among other very varied music, even huaynos and sicuris, when traveling. In Lima, no way.
So after a long while I went out to have some air. Got a stamp in my wrist -which was from a hotel, wtf?- and headed to the main square to seat, relax and check the buildings and architecture with no people. Or so I thought.
As soon as I seated two girls approached asking me if I wanted “company”. I have nothing against the world’s oldest profession but I have never used their services either, so I declined smiling. Sat a bit, breathed. The air was not fresh but less warm than during the day. I noticed later that a middle aged blond woman, probably a foreigner social worker, went to talk with them and moved from girl to girl.
I moved to another seat, to check the Iron house and when doing so a girl seating by the next bench said hello. I answered hello and seated. Then the blond woman went across the street, to the drugstore, and the girls seemed surprised and said no word to me after that.
Intrigued, I moved back to the previous bench and when one of the first girls walked closer I moved my head and she approached. I was sure of not wanting her services but intrigued by the blond woman and curious about how things go here in Iquitos.
The girl said her name was Mónica and that the blond woman was evil. She approaches the girls to provide clients and sometime mistreats and yells at them. She told me that woman had problems with the local authorities as she provided underage girls on demand, and she was also caught doing that but she got out. Who knows if the woman is a social worker or if Mónica is telling the truth.
Other that that, she tried to convince me to go to my hotel in the sweetest way possible using the local accent when speaking, which let me tell you adds to the persuasion. Finally after talking a while about many other things, places to go out and stuff she understood and left saying goodbye.
Time to go back to Noa.
On the way back to Noa I got the itch for a burger and while eating started talking to the owner. He gave me some tips about the places -the Agricobank, the Complejo CNI and the COA- and also told me some bad news. The new mayor, in order to refrain the moral dissolution, the excess of “juerga” and to prevent this city to completely end up as Sodom and Gomorrah had set up a curfew of 3 AM for all discos and clubs in the city on Saturdays, and 1 AM the rest of the week.
It was about 3 AM, my wandering and talking to the hookers had taken more than I noticed and now Noa it was about to close.
As the burger’s place owner told me, there are places outside of the city radius that do not close until 5 AM or even later but I had just arrived that day after sleeping in a hammock for 3 nights so I wanted a bed.
Absynthe slept beautifully that night.