Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Outline of Iquitos Walking Tours.

Four Walking Tours of Central Iquitos, Peru

People coming to Iquitos, Peru are mostly unlikely to know the details of the city they see, tourists especially, but also residents who focus on daily activities in their own mileiux all of whom thus miss seeing the city for what it can be to those with a basic understanding of its history and the vocabulary to articulate their visual experiences. Take the example of architecture, the built environment that is, effectively, the city, and of which only but a tiny minority of people are acutely aware as a distinct and also contingent reality in which the person exists. Truly, only the few of the city know the nature of the built environment analogously to the knowledge of the curandero in the selva. One might know the names of building like the villager knows the names of plants, and one might know the contents of a building's wares in the way a villager knows the medicinal or nutritional values of plants; but there is the deeper level of knowledge of the environment, natural or man-made, that reveals mysteries and wonder to the man who examines with care and interest. One can know more about ones place, and one can thus be in closer contact with ones life as authentic facet of that environment, perhaps gaining an affinity with the environment that is not even suspected among the uninitiated, when one is articulate and informed about the deep nature of ones own space, both private and shared. For the general tourist this grasp of the city is unlikely at a glance; and for the unattuned resident it is probably not assumed as possible. One is thus alienated from ones place, a mere atomic being without solidarity or a further sense of the matrix of ones life. Even a casual study of a few built spaces can awaken the wonder of a place to the otherwise occluded mind. Suddenly, with even a small amount of knowledge about the possibilities of knowledge of ones place, one can see, perhaps for the first time, that the city is a complex web of life and triumph of the mind for the good. Life in the city, outwardly no different from sleep to epiphany, can be exciting. “Look at that building. It's all about our time and our lives; how we came to be where we are and whom!”

In one relatively short loop through the city centre on foot one can see, probably for the first time, one can see the city of Iquitos revealed as a place of high drama, terrible beauty, unimaginable change in human history, the struggles of Man against God, man against man, good for all, and the continuing struggle to live, prosper, and procreate in peace and felicity.

Walking Tour One.

Beginning a short walk around the centre of Iquitos, one might begin at the Plaza de Armas, seeing for the first time the reason such a place has existed in cities since the days of the Romans and why Iquitos has its own Plaza de Armas rather than not. Turning slightly, one can see the struggles of the Catholic Church against encroaching power from the bourgeois; and next one sees the bourgeois triumph of man over nature in the form of the Rubber Boom era edifices of, for example, the Iron House; and one sees the triumph as well of man over man as grand commercial palaces are brought low by the turning tides of the flow of gold, and one sees the tide of time itself as one looks at the Pinasco Building now in its dotage.

Looking at the Plaza de Armas one sees quickly the central concerns of those past: the war against Chile as illustrated at the Obelisk; the reaction of Catholicism against the rise of commerce in the form of the Neo-Gothic cathedral; the mechanisation of labour and life in the Iron Building; and the decline of the city as the Rubber Boom collapsed, leaving the lives of many to linger in poverty and decay till the city was reborn, the evidence of past grand houses of the rich standing as testament to the fall as Calle del Oro was eventually renamed Prospero, now dominated by the government in the form of a massive and eclectic building used to collect and file statistics, the INEI Building.

Such completes the first leg of a journey of the mind through the city of Iquitos, the following three stretches completing a short but illuminating tour of how it was, and why, and why we are here today.

Havng stopped to look at and examine buildings #239-243 and #225-231 Putumayo; #129 Prospero, Casa Pinasco; and #201 Prospero, INEI Building; as well as the others mentioned above, leaving the INEI Building, one can walk farther down Prospero to see the history of the city as it remains today:

Walking Tour Two:

#246-250 Prospero, Casa Power.

#257-261 Prospero, Casa Mendes.

#288-294, Casa Garcia.

#318-32 Prospero, unidentified. Anchor design on roof. PMT printed “polished stone” foundation.

#370 Prospero, unidentified.

#401-439 Prospero, Casa Cohen.

#402-418, Casa L.P. Morey.

#502-540 Prospero, Morey and sons.

Walking Tour Three.

#138 Brazil, Casa Morey.

#145 Brazil, El Carcel.

#156-158 Casa Texiera.

Walking Tour Four.

#422-464 Malecon Tarapaca.

#384-386 Malecon Tarapaca, Casa Fernandez.

#382 Malecon Tarapaca, Dept. of Culture.

#354 Malecon Tarapaca, Biblioteca Amazonica

#334-338, Casa Cohen?

#260-268 Malecon Tarapaca, Casa Caritas.

#200-228 Malecon Tarapaca, Hotel Palace.

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:


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sewers and Toilets in Iquitos, Peru (Part Five)

Sewers and Toilets of Iquitos, Peru (Part Five)

The city of Iquitos, Peru has an antiquated sewer system that doesn't serve the city well, the system being installed piecemeal during the Rubber Boom years, c. 1880-1912; and since then the city has grown from appr. 20,000 to nearly half a million people. There are later private installations, of course, and there are on-going civic upgrades as well; but there is, as of Jan. 2013, no systematic and all-encompassing sewerage system in Iquitos. That is changing as we speak: Iquitos is on the verge of a new horizon in sewers. The question is whether the new system will be better than the old one.

To read the rest of this story, please turn to the following link;

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: