Picture above: View from the seaside restaurant, where we had our first taste of the local fish.
For starters, I can (FINALLY!) put away the woolen undershirt I wore religiously in Lima, along with the three longsleeved sweaters I usually wore on top of each other every day. The weather has been just perfect so far – hot, but not in a suffocating way. The second most obvious difference from Lima is the air and the evironment. Iquitos is completely surrounded by beautiful lush forests and though the river is pretty badly contaminated, the air is fresh. The landscape with the small straw huts along the roads, the houses built on stilts in the Belen neighboorhoos (more about that later), the small motocarros filling the streets (there are almost no cars here), and the bountiful open air markets is incredibly charming, and I feel almost giddy with excitement that I get to live and work here for the next six months.
Food picture: Unlike Lima, where fish is usually served with rice, the fish here is usually served with platano, a less sweet type of banana.
Above: Puri and me at the restaurant.
Our first day was made extra special by Puri—a previous Hald student who works at La Restinga—who spent all of Saturday with us, showing us around town, helping us by some essentials for our apartmant (a fan, water, toilet paper, and other little things), and introduced us to some culinary specialties from la selva (the jungle). She also brought us to this beautiful getaway place, with a small pool, lots of hammocks, and small huts with views over the Belen neighborhood (see picture below). What she didn't tell us, however, was that in one of the small tree huts, there is a cage with a big snake. Having inherited my dad's fear of snakes, I was not exactly thrilled about this. The picture on the right was incidentially taken in the exact moment I discovered the snake... Yes, that is what fear looks like in its purest form. :) Thankfully, I now have half a year to learn to love these creatures...