Last weekend I went to Iquitos. It’s a bumpy 2 hour journey from Nauta along the only long road here. I’ve been before but it is such a big place for a small bear I normally hide in a rucksack. But Neil was away and Lori and I spent a few days with the Mahon family.
Dave and Michele’s house is lovely; they have sofas, proper water supplies and air-conditioning. I got to meet some other bears as well. They were a present from Newbury Baptist Church and help the church to keep in touch with the family while they are here. They explained how it took them a while to settle into their new life here but they and the children are really enjoying it now. And it goes to show how there is a mission role for everyone, even stuffed bears.
Iquitos grew into a city as a result of the rubber boom over 100 years ago; I visited a museum in an old rubber boat. Neil helped me have a go at driving the boat but the engine doesn’t work anymore. But I did learn about how the Spanish conquered Peru and how rubber made some people very rich, but the British (and others) treated the local people really badly and stole the rubber seeds to plant somewhere else. I’m sorry my for-bears from Spain and Britain were horrible but I’m pleased people still welcome us here.
Iquitos has a number of tourists “backpackers” who stay in the middle of Iquitos where there are some restaurants, a central square and a nice view of the river. Some of them then go off to jungle lodges where they have spiders as big as me; others go for ayahuasca which is a drug that gives you funny dreams and makes you sick. Instead I went for lunch where they even had pizza for a starter, my favourite!
I’m back in Nauta now and after the next training week Neil and Lori are promising to take me to the market and show me how to buy things here.