The morning before we went from Iquitos back into the jungle i went to the Belen market. I had tried to go the previous day but by the time i got there it was packing up. The next morning however i had no such problems. Belen is an area in Iquitos, partly made up of a floating village and partly made up of the sprawling market. It is unquestionably a poor neighbourhood and much of what i had read about the market before leaving for Peru was that it was too dangerous to visit alone. Of course i have heard that before and i know enough not to listen to such advice (which is usually just borne out of irrational fears and racism).
Then there were fish - so many varieties and many so large, fresh from the amazon - being sold raw and being grilled over barrels for eating.
There were tables of outdoor, makeshift eateries, mostly with rice, fish, chicken and eggs. Then there was the butchery section, where the ground was slippery with blood and water and i was almost hit in the head with a half a dead hog being carried down a narrow aisle. I wanted to and did take pictures, but so as to not appear like a judgmental douchebag, i smiled at all of the women and tried out my spanish on them, identifying various body parts and smiling with approval before snapping pictures. I did see some large alligators getting butchered, but didn't feel right taking a picture.
I could have wandered around there all day, but i had to be back at the hotel to get picked up to go into the jungle, so i slowly found my way out of the merchant maze and walked back down the boardwalk to the hotel. If i had more time i would have taken a canoe tour through the floating village, but the schedule did not allow it and the jungle awaited.