Sunday, October 07, 2012

Painting Iquitos, Peru: Sign of the Age.

One reads that Iquitos, Peru is isolated and remote, but if the Amazon flooded this evening and wiped out most of what we rely on here to survive it would take a matter of minutes before the next cargo boat docked and brought stuff to begin the long replacement of needed things. It could take the full six day voyage from Pucallpa, the nearest real city in Peru, to bring things forward by boat, assuming the airport were wrecked; and it's three days from Yurimaguas, or three days from Columbia, and so on, all by boat. But is it "remote" here? I wouldn't care to paddle down river in a canoe, but for the most part, everything here is likely to remain here and more is to come in a steady stream of river commerce. Here is where we are, and we are not so remote from those who come here daily and leave daily for other parts of the world. I don't understand anymore what remote means, if anything. Where can one go to be more remote than I when I lived in Canada among people I mostly despised in a nation I hated and when at the end of my working day I would close the door of my apartment and sit in bliss as I locked out all of the rest of the country and sat in peace with my books and my poetry and music playing gentle on my mind? My apartment in Canada was as remote a place as I have ever been. Iquitos is in the thick of life for me. And here there is commerce at a rapid pace, the Internet, telephones, television, and all the Modernist forms of communication one takes for granted in this Age. There is Art. There is, so far as my needs go, everything in this "remote" place, including conversation with painters and poets and intellectuals of all sort, one of whom is Oswaldo. He's just today finishing up a building front for a computer school.


 He's diligent and a careful craftsman who has done a good job to make a building nice to look at and to contribute to making the city nicer to live in.


Right across the street from his latest work is a bookstore catering to the city's high intellectuals, books from Europe on subjects of interest to the highly educated and (one must assume) highly intelligent. Just down the street is the Dawn on the Amazon Cafe where the local expats sit and talk and make sense. It's as good or better conversation than one would find most places in the Modern world, my great luck in Canada being so exceptional that I doubt I can ever repeat meeting such folks as I did there, though I will hope. But this city is hardly remote from the good that is an active life of community members working to make small things into a good city. Oswald does his part. The city today is a bit more colourful and a bit prettier, and someone who owns a business here is probably pretty well pleased with it all.

If you're in Iquitos and want to get something painted, ask Oswald. It occurs to me he would likely do tee-shirts or paddles or anything else one would like. Good guy and I hope readers have a chance to utilize his skills in some fashion.

He is:

Oswaldo Crusalegui Diaz
965 326 611
Publicidad "Shekaos"

(She/Ka/Os being the first parts of his wife's, daughter's, and Oswald's names.)


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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