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Entries in Belén market (3)


Cigarette Roller

Every time I walked through the Belén market in Iquitos (which was a lot in the early 1980's), this lady was at her post rolling black tobacco cigarettes. I actually smoked in those days, but I was never brave enough to buy a "100 pack" from her.

These hand-rolled cigarettes were also used as "mapachos" to cast spells on people.  A shaman would put a spell on the cigarette, and the spell would be transferred by lighting the cigarette and then blowing smoke over the appropriate person. I was given three mapachos containing an "undying love" spell before traveling to  Mexico to see Elysa (we weren't married at this point). I felt a little sheepish about lighting up and blowing smoke all over her, but I thought "hey, you never know".  We've been married now for 23 years. Go figure.


Belén Market, Iquitos

The Belén market of Iquitos (see Real Big Fish) gets inundated every year during the floodpeak of the Amazon River.  The residents of this part of the city have come up with several different strategies for dealing with the annual flooding. They build their houses on stilts (see Danau Sentarum), or on pontoons (floating logs, actually), or they build two storey houses and simply move upstairs during the flood.  The last strategy requires shoveling out a lot of mud once the floodwaters recede. [NOTE: The image above was taken in the mid-1980's.  Since then, the Amazon River has changed course and no longer flows right in front of Iquitos.  The Belén market, however, still floods every year.  Now the floodwaters come from the Itaya River.]


Real Big Fish

This fish seller was casually walking through the bustling Belén market in Iquitos, Peru.  No one - except me - gave him a second glance.