The only way to go downriver from Iquitos to the town of Pebas used to be one of the large "lanchas" that carried lots of cargo and up to 300 people who hung their hammocks tightly together on two upper decks. This trip usually took 12 to 15 hours going downriver and as much as 20 hours coming upriver.
About 6 years ago, the government bought two nice boats that used to ply the fjords of Norway. They call these boats the Ferry and named them Amazonas 1 and 2. These boats make the same trip in 5 hours. Tickets have to be reserved in advance, and there are stricter controls getting on board. Masks must be worn. Passports are checked (since the ship goes all the way to the Brazilian border).Bags are inspected, but we are still in Peru. The official poked around my checked bag but didn't notice I was wearing a well-stuffed backpack. On board, we actually had to sit in our assigned seats. In the lower deck these were like economy seats on a plane.
I had a nice chat with my wife via WhatsApp then reclined my seat to get a few hours of sleep. I woke up once to use the restroom and had other reminders that we were still in Peru. Several adults had laid down on the floor in various places. I barely missed stepping on a baby in the dark that its mom had laid down on a blanket in the aisle.
When we got to the mouth of the Ampiyacu River near a military base called the Pijuayal, we disembarked with our bags to a wooden boat with two benches to take us the rest of the way to Pebas. The river level was the lowest I'd ever seen it. Less cautious larger crafts were routinely getting stuck on sand bars.
After checking into our hotel at midnight, I walked up to the plaza to check out the music and festivities. Two political parties had hired singers to entertain their supporters. It was nice to be greeted by friends from the area, but I didn't stay long because I didn't want to engage with the mostly drunken revery.
Elections in Peru are intense. There are a least 10 parties competing in the next election here in a week. Voting is mandatory. Citizens are fined if they don't vote.
I ate my last sandwich in my hotel and went to bed.
"While concepts like punctuality, mutual respect, no put downs of self or others, and listening when someone else is speaking may seem like obvious guidelines to form a positive community, a commitment to actually practice and hold each other accountable to observe these agreements is profound in a culture where showing up late, malicious gossip, and interrupting a speaker are painfully common."
"Artisan facilitators should of course share what they know, but beginning and experienced artisans all benefit by remaining humble, enthusiastic about learning, and committed to encourage and affirm their fellow artisans. So many artisans said that the thing they most wanted to bring back to their communities was this spirit of working in a mutually supportive environment."
"Both men and women wore garb made with bleached llanchama tree bark painted with graphic figures from Bora clans. Several wore headdresses made with the feathers from macaws and parrots. They discussed the importance of nature and craft-making in their culture and then launched into a lively dance where the men chanted and pounded sticks into the ground to the rhythm of moving around in a circle. Visitors joined the undulating lines to share the vibrant energy."