Monday, September 17, 2012

Peru- Iquitos

Well Iquitos was a whole different world from Lima.
We flew into the airport around 10 am and met up with some members at the airport. We were so exhausted though and went to our hotel to check in, shower, change and nap for a  bit. We needed an hour to recooperate from lack of sleep and not having a break.
We stayed at the Amazon Apart Hotel. It's in Belen in Iquitos. Totally recommend it. It was only about $40/night and came with a good breakfast. It also has a pool which is adorned with sleeping kittens all around the patio (that was the best part).
We met up with our friends after a little bit of R&R and began our walk around Iquitos visiting members, seeing the river, the houses on stilts and the homes that would soon be floating during the rainy season. It was the most fascinating place I have ever seen. The smells were different, the people were different, but the church is always the same. We had a good time walking around in the heat and seeing the people. We had some fun adventures on the moto-taxis and saw lots of dogs and cats everywhere.
We had FHE at Rhonda's house with a bunch of the local youth. It was a fun night where we shared testimonies, played games and Ryan taught a lesson. Everyone wanted to talk to Ryan and it was so fun to get to be part of this evening. There are so many people, especially youth, on church records in Iquitos but most of them ar inactive an it's hard to try and get all these thousands of people to come back. But I hope that us being there might have done just a little bit to even get one person to come back.
Well the next day we went to this amazing animal park called Quistacoche. It was just outside of town. And it was also only 3 soles to get in... That's about 1 US dollar. So, since most residents don't have the time or money to spend to go here, Ryan and I invited 9 other people to come along. It was beautiful! There were jaguars and monkeys. Amazon river dolphins and monkeys. Snakes and lizards. It was awesome. We walked around for a couple hours there are saw the animals and then we went to the little beach they have next to this jungle lake and played and swam in the water for another little while. We met some French visitors and challenged them to a game of soccer (of course) and then we ate while it began to rain. I will say before you watch any videos, that remember we are not in an American zoo, there are no real barriers between you and the animals and yes, you can pet them. It's every child's dream zoo. :)
The next day we went around and had a great time hanging out with the Hill family. They were the family that Ryan lived with while he was serving there and also had a pet monkey named Martin that they found in the rafters there. We had a great dinner with them and then went to the Plaza de Armas (the main square of the city) and walked around. We went to the river front and walked through the shops, and got some ice cream. It was such a fun and relaxing evening. We just love the Hills.
The next morning we had to pack up our bags and check out of the hotel. But we took the chance to walk through the market fully one time before we left. Well, it was interesting. It smelled absolutely awful. I gagged so much as we were walking along. But we saw some amazing things. I have never seen so many types of fish, turtles, snakes, fruits and vegetables. It was amazing to see the things that are sold and bought here in the market. We saw cigarettes being rolled with fresh tobacco. Saw fresh honey being collected. Played with some big fat caterpillars called suri that they skewer and fry and eat. And everywhere, there were dogs, cats, pet onkeys and owls and sloths and people selling their goods. Lastly we stopped at one of Ryan's converts little shops. She is the mother of the stake president and she is amazing. We sat with her for a little while and she got us some fresh coconuts that we drank the delicious coconut water from and also some fresh guava fruits. It was so fun. But it was so sad to leave her. She began to cry when we were leaving and she gave me one of her rings for me to remember her by. I didn't need a ring to remember that amazing woman.
We then ran to our last lunch with the Hills. We had paiche and ceviche as well as amazing platanos and rice. It was delicious and great to have one last meal with them.
Well then we had to head back to the airport to fly back to Lima!

The jungle.

Check out also the Iquitos continued post to see all the videos that we took in Iquitos!

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