Story & images by Jim Spadaccini
When I first realized that I would be traveling down the Amazon,
I envisioned dense forests, poisonous snakes, colorful birds, and swarming
insects. But it was the things that I couldn't imagine--the people, for
example--that affected me the most.
Our journey began in Iquitos, Peru, a noisy city of 400,000
and the largest in the Peruvian Amazon. Motorcycle taxis race through the
streets and the docks and open market bustle with activity. The markets
are filled with products from the rain forest, most legal and some illegal.
It's not uncommon to find endangered animals quartered and sold by the kilo.
Sadly, enforcement is difficult and people try to make ends meet any way
that they can.