Friday, March 15, 2013

Iquitos, Peru: Juan Maldonado, more than just a con artist....

Juan Maldonado is the guy I go to for things I'd be embarrassed to ask anyone else about or for. Juan is the kind of guy in Iquitos who does anything, more or less, for a buck. If I want to sneak into an abandoned and condemned building, I go to Juan to arrange it. If I want to buy another driver's license so I can drive sort of legally, I ask Juan to do the paperwork for me and then stand in line for me for days at a time till my smiling face graces officialdom's paper pile with my new permit to scoot around lawfully or so. If I want ... well, I don't want, but if I did, Juan would be the guy to go to for it. Yes, half the time he takes whatever taxi fare I give him to get him on his way and I don't see him for a day or so and never get my money back. He's a low-rent scammer, a con man. But, like most people who know him, I like him. And I find out more about him, of course, as I get to know him. Much of what I learn about him makes me wish I never met him. And then he turns out to be an artist. A con artist, yes, and deeply so. He also draws pictures.

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