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Peruvian Dance Party

89 Days a Wanderer: The Bonus Round

November 18, 2018

That morning, I had a touch of the runs. Nothing like what Mom suffered through, but once again, the rainforest clearly didn’t agree with me. I’ve always been more of a mountains-ice-and-snow kind of gal anyways. I took one of the traveler’s diarrhea pills from our dwindling supply, but I only needed the one all day, and was able to eat and participate in the activities with minimal trouble (though I still stuck to rice, fish, and bread).

We combined groups again because one of the other guides had an emergency and had to leave, so his tourists were made Jaime’s responsibility. We sailed off to a little village, where we got a tutorial on the traditional way to grind and shell rice. We got to use their wooden press to juice sugar cane, and then we drank the sweet water. There was too much for us to finish, so we insisted Jaime have some, and he finished it off with no problem. We learned about Iyawaska, a tree/plant thing that’s chewed up by local women, spit into a bucket, and then fermented into an alcoholic beverage that the locals love. The guides kept telling us we were going to have to try some and I was planning on only pretending to drink–I don’t want gum disease, thanks–but they were only messing with us. Instead, we tried three different types of local liquors (none made by chewing, thank goodness). My favorite was the passion fruit one, and then the flamingo, which was a mix of the passion fruit, the Siete Raices, and a gingery one.

Jaime got pretty giggly and kept talking in Spanish instead of English (none of the other tourists understood any Spanish)–we went to visit the Yacuas, a local tribe. We had our faces painted and then participate in two tribal dances, and we even got to use their blow gun. It was so long you’d have a heck of a time trying to drag it between trees on a hunt for something, but it was still wicked cool. My aim was terrible, but I hit the target on my fourth attempt and thus was not condemned to living with the tribe forevermore (this time, we got the joke).

     

We bought some of their handicrafts and passed out the candies we’d bought back in the market on the first day. We passed around a small sloth, which one of the girls seemed to keep as a pet. Then we headed back for lunch and to pack up. The boat ride to Iquitos was nice and breezy, and then we were all saying goodbye and being dropped off at different hostels.

Mom and I got ice cream, then invited Jaime to join us for dinner, Mom’s treat. He drove a half an hour back to the plaza to join us, even though he had to be back in the jungle by seven the next morning. While Mom and I waited for him we played cards in the Hilton, buying a beer for S/10 and then taking forever to drink it (we really just wanted an excuse to sit in the AC). Jaime crammed us all in a moto-taxi–a crazy wagon/chariot type thing, welded behind the front half of a motorcycle–and off we went to dinner. Mom and Jaime’s meals weren’t fabulous, but I ordered the fish chicharron, which was excellent. We walked back to the hostel, with Jaime leading the way (I would’ve been hopelessly lost) through the light drizzle. All in all, it was a good way to end my trip to Perú.

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