Long Way to the Amazon

A journey of almost two days by plane, automobile and cargo boat to Lagunas: the gateway to Peru’s northern Amazon jungle.

Speedboat ride on the Rio Dulce, Guatemala, c. 2008. © Emily Ding.
The streets of Tarapoto, the “City of Palms”, are overrun by mototaxis. © Emily Ding.
Construction on the road from Tarapoto to Yurimaguas. © Emily Ding.
Waiting at a roadblock en route from Tarapoto to Yurimaguas. © Emily Ding.
The Eduardo cargo boat loading up with goods — beer, eggs, sugar and rice, et al — for Iquitos. I would follow the Eduardo only halfway to Lagunas, from where I would start my canoe trip downriver. © Emily Ding.
On the bow’s open deck is a huge stack of crates covered by a tarp with this man’s face on it. Two fellow passengers from Chiclayo told me the guy’s a chicken breeder who had ran for local elections in Iquitos. They don’t think much of him. “Here in Peru, people enter politics for money, not to do good,” the woman said. The tarp’s not any sort of endorsement. Post-elections, the people apply to them to whatever purposes they find practical. I said that in Malaysia, the political parties have to clean up their campaign buntings or they would be fined. “Oh, in Peru too. But no one cares. Some people even collect them and sell them for cash.” © Emily Ding.
The dining area on the second deck. © Emily Ding.
The top deck of the Eduardo, which is by far the best place to while the time. Oddly, it never got crowded up here. Locals seemed to find the night breeze chilly and preferred to sleep on the lower deck. I almost regretted paying for a private cabin, since it was sweltering and stuffy inside. © Emily Ding.
Photos © Emily Ding
My new little friend: twelve-year-old Stefanie. © Emily Ding.
Sunset on the River Huallaga. © Emily Ding.
Most of the passengers slept, crowded together, on the middle deck. Hammocks swung from the rafters and more slept on the floor below them. It didn’t smell particularly pleasant in here, due to the sheer human heat in an enclosed space. At night, the blinds were rolled down to keep the river water and the chill out. © Emily Ding.
Private cabins on the top deck. © Emily Ding.
Photos © Emily Ding
Photos © Emily Ding



Freelance writer, journalist, editor & photographer based between Kl and Berlin — www.emilyding.me / movableworlds.substack.com

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