Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Travel update from Pucallpa Peru

Saludos Amigos,
After 5 nights in Huaraz, I hit the road again and took a bus to Huanuco. NOt really possible to get there in one day as you must pass over the Andes mountains.There are no direct buses and so you have to transfer in a little town called La Union and some of the roads are...well not so good. From La Union, one must take a road that is hard to describe. On the one hand the scenery here is stunning. Absolutely beautiful. Passing beautiful patchwork fiels of all kinds of crop mostly corn and wheat and Quinoa. The quionoa is really nice to look at. The grains formbeautiful purple tops. The stuff is also really good to eat!! Very high in nutricion. Tasty too,but it must be rinsed well before you cook it or it will have a bitter taste. In the markets they sell little balls of it . A little smaller than an American baseball and very sweet and delicous. while at the same time, being one of the best foods a human being can eat.
Now I am almost on the road for 5 full years. October will begin my six year. I have been on a lot of busses in a lot of strange places. let me just say,That I have NEVER been on a more frightening ride than the one I had from La Union to Huanuco. All dirt road. Lots of Hair pin turns. The bus had to back up on a lot of the turns because they are just too narrow for a bus. There were times when I thought "Ahh so this is it. This is the end. What a way to die! What a place to die. I wonder if they will know how to notify my family that i am dead?" But as I write this letter you all know I didnt die and the bus didnt crash. Bloody hell!! What a ride. There was one turn, Iswear it is truye, where the driver stopped and everyone got out and walked 3o meters because the turn was so small and tight and the drop wasw so extreme that the driver felt like "well there is no reason for ALL of us to get killed here..." So he did the turn in an empty bus.
A couple of times I almost shit my pants. I sat next to a really beautiful older indian woman who spoke no english or spanish, only chechua. Five minutes into the trip she bagan to vomit into a little plastic bag. Yuuucchhh. So,i gave her some coca leaves to chew. She paid me with a smile...
Huanuco is a nice town. Not as nice as Huaraz, but less cold at night. This is NOT a tourist town. As I write this letter, I have not met an english speaker for 6 days. I met a Canadian and an Israelite in Huaraz and hung out with them for a few hours, until they had to catch a bus. The Canadian was a very cool young fellow from Vancouver BC but the Israelite was the personification of every complaint anyone has ever had about Israeli backpackers. Such a pity. I have met so many cool Israelites. Guys like this one just spoil their reputation. Actually too bad he spoke english. I would have liked him better if I didnt talk to him!! After tawo days in Huanuco, I went to Tingo Maria.
Tingo, is not such a nice city. It is kind of dirty and very busy with traders.I just didnt get a very nice vibe here. I was thinking of staying for 3 nights but ...I had to apply RBs first rule of the traveler "If you arent enjoying the place, LEAVE!" So I split out of there the following morning after only one day and one night. If you want to know about Tingo Maria ask someone else. The bus out of town to Pucallpa was really awful.
First of all, It was scheduled to leave at 7am. Muy temprano. I set the alarm and got my sleepy ass to the station at 6:45. The bus arrived at 8:30 and we drove about 3km and stopped at a taller Soldero/mecanico on the side of the road.(welder/mechanic). He crawled under the bus and took a bunch of tools and big hammers and jacked up the bus and took his welders torch and mask and spent the next hour and a half doing something. When he finally re-appeared, he was smiling and happy and the bus crew was laughing and shaking hands with everyone and then we were off again. We drove about 30 minutes and then stopped for 45 minutes for road crew to clear debris from the road. Then we drove about 1 km and stopped for another 30 minutes waiting for road crew who were doing some work. Then drove about 1 minute and...yeah thats right, stopped again for road work. It is now 12pm. I have been "travelling" 5 hours and a half and have gone less than 15km. God this sucks.
Finally we are through the construction work and off on another fabulously beautiful road. This is now all down hill to Pucallpa. Through Jungles and little tiny villages. Lots of waterfalls and lovely flowers. finally at 5pm,(we were scheduled to be in Pucallpa at 2pm) we pass a sign that says Pucallpa is only 50km farther. We are on a paved road bouncing along at 60 or 70 km per hour when...Yeah, you guessed it...another break down. This time about half the tread of one of the llantas (tires) blew off. Another 30 minute delay and we finally arrived in Pucallpa at 6:15. Only about 4 hours late, but before dark so I was cool with it all. Ahh the joys of third world travel, eh?
so my first day in Pucallpa I found a boat to go to Iquitos. I went to the¨
¨port¨ just a lot of really shabby bars and whorehouses and the scum of the earth who work in this area. dirty sweaty grimy truly a digusting example of humanity. I felt right at home. I reckon I will sail on a boat called Tuky with a captain called Franco. I have to buy a hammock to sleep in. It costs about 30 USD (90 sol) and the captain expects it will take 3 days to get there. The price includes my meals. Beans and rice cooked in River water, and fish caught out of the river or chickens if they can buy them on route. Gonna be interesting
Pucallpa is a good town. Nice plaza in the center. My hotel is right near the center. Very nice hotel. Friendly helpful staff. I have a relatively quiet room with TV and a private bath for about 9USD (25 sol) per night.It is called the Komby. I recommend it if you ever come out this way. The thing about it is the staff. They are really cool. There is a swimming pool with rather scummy water. I havent tried it.
The front desk guys connected me with 2 englishmen and a spaniard who wanted to go to Lago Yarinacocha, A beautiful lake just outside of town. This is where the proud and wonderful Sobipo Indians all live. The others were in search of a well known Shaman (Pagan priest, witch doctor) called Don Mateo.
We found his home, but he has left and now lives near Iquitos (my next stop). His apprentice is a man called Don Eduardo.
Eduardo has been studying under Mateo for 8 years. He knows all about the magic medicinal plants in the area, and is a frequent visitor to the spirit world. he can guide you to the spirit world and hselp you to heal/know yourself through visions. The method includes ingesting medicinal plants.
It is a combination of plants that you ingest. I dont know all the names. The others were going to take a trip to the spirit world with Eduardo as their guide. I have been there and done that so I declined but was very interested to learn about it just the same. He showed us the plants to be used they all grow all over the area. The principle plant is called Iawasco (I dont know how to spell it but that is more or less how you say it) like Eye-Ah-Was-ko. for 20 hours the branches are cooked in water and the shaman and his helpers chant and sing so that as the spirit of the anaconda which dwells in the plants is not frightened away or harmed by other spirits during the cooking process. They begin at midnight and at nine the next night, the brew is ready and the boys will drink it. In the last hours and minutes some other plants are mixed into it.
There was an argentinian guy there who had tripped with Eduardo the night before. We didnt talk to him much, as he was still pretty tripped out. He sat quietly by himself and as he sat birds landed near him and showed no fear. One walked right up to him and seemed to stare at him. The birds were hanging around him the whole time we were there. When we tried to come close to him the birds flew away.
Tomorrow, Monday, one of the english guys will come back and take the boat to Iquitos with me. The others bought plane tickets and will meet us there. As always I leave you all with some quotes. Next update from Iquitos...

"Money can help you to get medicines but not health. Money can help you to get soft pillows, but not sound sleep. Money can help you to get material comforts, but not eternal bliss. Money can help you to get ornaments, but not beauty. Money will help you to get an electric earphone, but not natural hearing. Attain the supreme wealth, wisdom, and you will have everything." Benjamin Franklin

"To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom." Bertrand Russell
Peace and love to all of you,
Rambling Robert


Blogger gary said...

Do you have contact info for Don Mateo, since if he is the same shaman, has a positive rep for being able to cure prostate cancer. Please
email me back at ghandiKing@gmail.com.

Also would love to know of any USA activists you have met abroad, since I am thinking of moving abroad (to find a mate) but want to continue my activism to change the USA

6:59 AM  
Blogger Hockeyjnky said...

So how many days would you recommend going from Huaraz to pucallpa?

1:54 PM  

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