Looking back on Pucallpa

In returning to Pucallpa, Natali and I decided to stay at the same hostal we stayed at when we arrived. Hotel Arequipa, which had first seemed like a steaming nightmare, noisy and hot, now seemed like a slice of heaven. A mattress instead of bare floor boards, a shower with hot water compared to a bucket of well water in the backyard, a toilet instead of a whole in the ground in a reed hut. Yes, it felt nice

That day we took the advice of the local artist we met in Dinamarca (visiting to take ayahuasca) and took a motokar to the school for amazonian art to view paintings by ex-shaman Pablo Amaringo. His visionary paintings tell the stories of indigenous culture through the lens of hallucinagenic ayahuasca. The large, 2 by 3 foot paintings were extremely colorful and finely detailed. Swirlying plants turning into animals and then into people, astronomical bodies floating among rivers, depictions of ceremonies and rituals all in vibrant neon colors. Natali got a postcard for 5 USD, his pigger peices were a bit over our and most peoples heads at 5000 USD each.

That night we ate ice cream, a surpisingly huge hit in the steam rainforest (you dont have long before it melts…), as we sat in the Plaza de Armas and watched the sun set. Both the ice cream and our meal earlier proved to be a difficult order. Although Natali is fluent in spanish, many of the items on the menus are found only in peru, and sometimes only at that restraunt. We found ourselves standing around waiting for a waitress or hostess to help us order or take a seat. For even restraunt etiquet is different here.

Pucallpa apears to be a city, yet a feeling of confusion and uncertainty prevails. Although physcially a city, noisy, smelly, full of people, stores and offices, Pucallpa is almost entirely foriegn. By this I mean that I have no idea how this place works. Mid-day on a week day appears to be an acceptable time to site at a cafe and get sloshed with your office mates. Women drive motorcycles in high heels, waitresses never check on you or bring a bill without you asking first. thousands of motokars with airbrushed company emblems fill the streets to that driving a car, truck, or even walking becomes difficult. High end apartments and offices are next to the poorest communities in the city; everyone has something to sell our of their home, whether it is soda, calling cards, or bread; people sell food on the side walk (don´t think NYC hotdogs, think fried whole chickens and roast suckling pig, raw fish (ceviche) , jello in dixie cups, and beer). There is most definetly no zoning or emission control. Pucallpa looks like a working city, but how it works is beyond me; what is normal and what is extrodinary are unknown…

Finally a sad note. Sex is everything, everywhere. After seeing a store front with posters advertising sexy shipibo styled clothes inside (pants, shirts, thongs, etc.) Natali and I began to discuss world culture again. We wondered what the world of the future would look like….

I thought that perhaps as the advent of global travel and thusly trade expand, nationality could possibly dissolve and become a thing of the past. The place you were born would no longer characterize your identity because everyone would grow up with access to the world. This coudl both lead to great dindividual diversity because of the infinite influence of the changing world, or it could ldead to an eventual global culture where trends are apparent throughout all regions, styles are without variance as the best options for the best areas come out on top. These thoughts and more sprouted from shipibo print thongs. For I thought, why is this bad? Is it really hurting shipibo culture or is it a new blend of shipibo and sex crazed westen culture… the disgns are nice, maybe this is merely a new variation on an old style. Is there anything inherently wrong here?? Natali thought so, citeing again the ideas of dominance, for the trade may not be fair, cultures are lost in a thong rather than commemorated. Western culture assimilates it rather than learning from it. It is used as a marketing tool rather than a tradition…but still what is “bad” and where am I ?!?

2 Responses to “Looking back on Pucallpa”
  1. the dan bob says:

    oh yea…i will send you and natali absentee ballots to ur moms house wicked soon. obamarama! for reel!(don’t correct my spelling. i am all-knowing dan bob)

  2. the dan bob says:

    hey so i haven’t really read much of anything on the blog yet…but i have finally visited it!! so i will eventually respond soon. u r freakin badass. have awesome fun time in new place. i will respond again with more informed entry once i read more. i wuv chris an natali. bye bye

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