• What seemed like hours of papaya plantations and ominous bridges over river tributaries later, no-one but me was left in the car. It stopped on a dirt path in high grass lined with bamboo sparingly giving way to a few set back shacks, when I was told to get out. This — didn’t look anything like what google maps had promised. Nervously I checked if this was really ‘the center of town’. Yes.

    There I was with my backpack containing far too many belongings (anything you might need for beach, altitude, jungle, mountain trekking, heat, frost, city, country and books to write, books to read, even a hardcover to study - and my indispensable litre of hemp oil of course...) in the heat rising at 9 am.

    Not able to bear my unwieldy load, I approached the next hut to enquire if I could leave my bag there for a while. I was thankful to see my request fall on open ears, surprised then, to immediately also be offered a room to rent for the night. Looking around couldn’t quite imagine where said room could be, nor why I would need one, but said I would think about it.


    It felt like a miracle that I actually found the piscigranja backset in the jungle. Not, of course without hefty moments of doubting heart palpitations when rather blindly advancing into overgrown thickets in the scorching heat of the fastrising sun. What was, I, please, doing here, like, god knows where, on my own – did cross my mind. 
  • Fishing lakes viewed and interview with the lovely fish-guarding family scored, bag retrieved,
    I tried to “hitch a ride with one of the tourist speed boats” — Alex had said the destination farm was about ‘3 hours upstream’.

    Now, there were no speedboats at that harbour, no tourist boats seemed to take off from here. In fact, no-one was here or went anywhere whatsoever. The place was deserted, the large sun and rain shelter the only ‘harbour-feature’. A few curious kids approached to check me out – playfully taking pictures with my camera after caution was thrown into the non-existent wind. Some locals hung about, waiting for godot, too. Word got out that there was a gringa in need.

    By the early afternoon I had wondered back to the village looking for help, where chance had me meet a retired school teacher. He knew someone who owned a boat and could take me where I wanted to go. Music to my ears.

    During the next long wait he explained the language difficulties of Quechuan, Spanish and the many local dialects of the tribes in the jungle; how far kids had to travel to get any schooling at all, and that of course lots didn’t or couldn’t. 

    The boat appeared after two eternities. Off we headed, slowly against the current. After seeing none, now, I saw some tourist boats speeding by - indeed they were faster, our boat was not that kind. 

  • We ran out of fuel; luckily my skipper could cleverly refuel at a canister hidden in a tree trunk along the river. Three hours on, things were not looking so good. Seeing a jetty advertising a lodge with a similar name of what we were looking for I went on land to enquire.

    In the onset of a heavy downpour I understood that we were hours away from our destination - fuel and daylight running out. We had the wrong boat, wrong speed and could do nothing but
    turn back.


    Mission unsuccessful, option A B and C were to stay at Infierno overnight and try to find a faster boat the next day.

    I dragged my bags back to Infierno central and took up the welcoming lady's invitation. My bed for the night was separated by a large piece of plywood from where the host family was sleeping, back to back it seemed. Luxury came in form of a garden hose under a tent-like structure on the side of the road to temporarily wash off the sweat of the day.

    I was consoled about my defeat by the landlady promising to secure me an interview with ‘el presidente de Infierno’ at 8 am the next morning, and cheered up got ready to 'hit the town'
    for the night.
                       
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