Monday, September 10, 2012

Iquitos, Peru: San Juan Market, Part Two (of 3)

I'd usually avoid a place that gets a cheesy blurb like the one below, but I was there before I found this. And in truth, I probably would have gone anyway, but with a chip on my shoulder, thinking I was being manipulated by a p.r. scammer paid to make a place seem better than it could be. That attitude could easily have stayed with me during the course of my visit, poisoning my time there. And I would have been the worse for it. I loved this little market and its silly stuff for sale. Some things there, like wooden bowls, are genuinely exquisite. Other things are just plain fun to have and to hold. Birds and butterflies and little wooden monkeys and fish and rattles and hums. If one can't love it, one should stay home and drink, me thinks.

For local handicrafts at their very best, the Mercado de Artesania San
Juan is the place to head. Located on the Avenida Quinones road
leading to Iquitos Airport, this lively market is easy to reach by
either bus or taxi, and offers plenty of gift shopping, with stall
holders often being the actual craftspeople themselves. However, do
bear in mind that many items made from animal skins may be illegal in
your home country.

The place was empty of tourists the time we spent there, we not being "tourists" at all but world travelers with serious minds and duties. Buying cool stuff, it's not really tourist activity, it's helping the local economy or something significant like that.

My ceiling in the last apartment I had was a mess of hanging parrots, one of which pissed off my last girlfriend by knocking her head every time she walked under him and forgot where he was. He used to say to her, "Watch it, dummy." I swear he could talk. I used to hear him say exactly that and other things like it. No, really, it wasn't me. It was him. My home was filled with colourful birds and fish and butterflies. They often originated in such places as Peru.

Yes, I am keen too on butterflies, and my fridge was covered with them, they being hungry, I assume, and patient. If I had a lot of money, who knows where I would stop. I might have a forest full of butterflies in my kitchen.

I'd have big ones, too.

And I would have a lot more birds.

My bathroom was swimming with fish, but none so real and these, sorry to say. Well, I do have a sea snake in plastic wrap in a box, a beast I got from Africa one fine afternoon, a toothy monster I love to show to guests. I could find room for more....

Fish, that is.

I have some excellent can openers, antiques of various sorts, and one pretty thing from India that has never come close to a bottle cap in my time. Sometimes a can opener is just a can opener. Some times it's a bit more. It's like a cigar, for example.

Yes, I even have a lot of embroidery on tables and desks. I have no examples of Shipibo work to date. I might work on that.

I am at the cutting edge of knives, I say, but mine are functional rather than so prettily covered as those above. I might like to have a knife in a carved sheath that just sits and collects dust. I might come to like all that.

And anything that covers the pig-tail light bulbs the Electricity Fascists who barged into my place one morning to install as I stood in stupified anger, well, enough of that.

I have, now that I think back on it, more masks that I would have thought. I like them for a number of reasons, especially for nights of kinky sex.

And to have over the bed a collection of swinging wooden monkeys....

WOW! I'm going back for those.

I lived in the hellish city of Vancouver, Canada for too long, i.e. more than a week in the temperate rainforest, and in my hallway I had an umbrella stand. I had a Chinese plaster ugly thing that i didn't like much. I would like, now that I live in a better place, a stand for jungle rattles and arrows and spears and stuff I don't know what the hell it is.

For now I settled for a bowl full of rattles. I'll rattle and roll onto the next part of our visit to the market next up.

A gentle reminder that my book, An Occasional Walker, is available at the link here:

And here are some reviews and comments on said book:

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