QuickPeek: Waiting for Boat

Amazon Journey Day 3

It wasn’t the most comfortable of beds and the thin mattress compressed down to the slats and I woke up with a stiff back. I suppose given I am stuck here till the boat arrives, I’d have to make do anyway. I woke up hungry and when I met the lodge owner, Asked him about potential b’fast and coffee. He was happy to serve and woke up his son to do some cooking for us.

The village of Pantoja had no running water, everyone seemed to be either pumping up river water or did rain water collection. Our hostel specifically was undergoing plumbing issues and we had to haul buckets to flush the toilets. Drinking water was a bit of a problem too as the locals are able to do some traditional purification and drink the river water direct. Hmmm, Not something I want to put myself thro. The bottled water was 5 Soles for a 2 litre and I couldn’t get my head around paying for water when it was in abundance all around. I suppose once I run out of water, I will end up using the rainwater collected in the drums and do a double filtration and UV Treatment. This happened today and the MSR filter I’ve been carrying came in handy. The rainwater was pretty clean looking and just the filteration seemed to provide a really clean and tasty water. Yippie. 6 litres in a matter of 15 minutes and I used the water to brush my teeth and make some coffee from fresh beans ground with my fancy new grinder, Oldsckool, heh!

As for electricity, there was none. They seem to have a village generator that they switch on between 6 PM and 11PM after which it’s lights out for the entire community, no late night parties, that’s for sure. No internet of any ilk and the only entertainment for the local kids (and that must be a super recent one) was to watch TV on their tablets. There were satellite dishes to get access to Live TV and with no power thro the day, there is not much to do really.

There are no ATM’s in the village and my friend Steve suggested that I grab some soles from Quito as the exchange rate in the village was poor. It was a great tip as we got 3.30 Soles for a USD in quito where as in Pantoja you can get only 2.50 Soles, ouch. It also makes me wonder how the locals manage currency flow. Of course there are people coming in and out bringing with them cash and coins, but with just a few store fronts and small population, I suppose if you mark a bill and wait around for a week, you might get your bill back, ja ja

As we were waiting for b’fast, a storm front approached the village and started pouring rain for a few hours. We talked with Rudy, the lodge owner, and he talked about his village a bit. It was a pretty old school lifestyle here and everything moved slowly. In all honesty, I thought the river was going to be very much like Ankh (from Disc world) and crawling and stumbling. But it was flowing at a rapid pace and it was the life in Pantoja that moved at a crawl. With the rain pouring down, seemed like the village came to a dead halt and everyone was cooped up and waiting it out. The only people out and about were some fishermen who had started the day early and getting back in the pouring rain and a few kids who were heading up to the store to pick up candy and supplies for their mum.

Rudy informed us that the big Boat was expected tomorrow and might likely leave on Tuesday, meaning that we might get to Iquitos by the next weekend, sounded fair to me. I guess one of the things the Amazon is going to teach me is the virtue of patience and how to kick back and chill in life. I spent the rest of the day reading Haruki Murakami (I guess I need all the fantasy I can handle), some comics and writing my blog.

I think with the lack of activity, the blog might have to get either very dull or very creative, let’s see which direction it heads.

Tip: Note that the exchange rate for USD in Pantoja is a measly 2.50 Soles. If you have an opportunity, do convert enough money in Quito. We managed to get a pretty reasonable rates of 3.30 Soles to a USD in the Mariscal Area.

Track Notes

Expenses: SG$ 8.95
Comments: Amazon Journey Day 3