It was fairly easy to organise the entry into Peru. You can get the exit stamp at the port of Leticia, and then take a boat to Santa Rosa Island to get your entry stamp within 24 hours. The boat driver at the dock seemed to be running his boat with his son. He looked a bit overwhelmed operating the boat and was giving instructions to his son in a rather nervous voice. But everything went fine in the end. I also got my fast boat ticket to Iquitos with Golfinho. There were other boat companies too which are less expensive, but the timing were different (5am and arriving at 5pm I believe). So in order to avoid confusions, I got the Golfinho as intended. Martial was with me and went for the slow boat option. Again, this is not my thing anymore. Going with the boat for 3 days and sleep in hommocks can surely be avoided by paying double the price.
The morning (3am departure time, 2am at the Golfinho dock) was quite easy to manage. However, I was waiting in the hostel first until it is time to depart. It was somehow difficult to stay awake. Around 12ish I was almost falling asleep. I believe I was asleep for a short while and woke up. Luckily, I did not oversleep so I headed out even though it was a bit early. Near the dock, some dogs were frenzily barking at me to protect the watchman in the booth. That was the first time some dogs thought I was invading their space and got me a bit nervous … maybe it was also because of what happened to the young Dutch guy.
There were 2 guys sitting at the dock waiting for business. Then wanted triple the price compared to the daytime. In the end, I gave up bargaining since I was at the short handle because there were nobody else there. I started chatting with them. China seems to be a distant place to them. Only thing they mentioned was ah, chinese people are good with technology. The advance of chinese technology had changed a bit people’s thinking I guess. In the end, I was the only one taking the ferry boat from Leticia port, so we left when time was due.
The boat itself was not too modern. In the shallow moonlight, it seemed a bit rusty and not very well maintained. But there was service on boat, and the seats were comfortable. I was able to occupy 2 seats to stretch out as well.
The border crossing happened somewhere when the sun came out. We stopped at a small village and a few policemen hailed us onshore. There were watching France playing against some other team and were not fully committed in checking our documents. When they opened my bag and wallet, then went curiously went through everything. It was not that they were checking illegal stuff, but rather just want to see what I have with me. “Oh, what is this, oooh nice, oh what is this?” … There was also an Italian hippy guy, when they jokingly (I hope) asked him straight away, hey, where is the weed.
At Iquitos port, tuk tuk drivers fight for businesses. I read somewhere on the internet that a drive should cost no more than 5 soles and some people ask you for 15 when you get off the boat. First guy asked 20, so I walked off. At the front gate outside, the next guy said 10. I said 5, but nobody jumped in, and I only got down to 7. The hostel guy later told that it is actually just 4 soles.
Compare to other places, Iquitos was quiet and I didn’t really meet any people except a guy with gips on his arm going to Leticia, a australian (or english) medicine student doing a job/internship here for 4 months.
Here is the boat guy who brought us to Santa Rosa.
The boat at 3am in the morning.
The streets in Iquitos with to-be-fixed VW Käfers.
The busy Belen market. After doing business, people will tell you to be aware of your bags and wallet.
Me, have been now back home for 5 days now, trying to get things organized again.