Future Truths or Cultural Fun?

My last day in Iquitos and my friend William floated the idea of going to see a fortune teller. Like always I love diving into the culture and particularly something that might shed some light on my future. So William, Anita (William’s wife) and I headed towards the seer. We entered what look like a small tienda and were told to sit down in the waiting room. There we sat as I watched the “receptionist” play solitaire on the table in front of us. After about 20 minutes it was our turn and we headed down a dimly lit hallway to a small bedroom with a little old woman sitting beside the bed. There was barely enough room for her to fit in a chair beside the bed. Newspapers were scattered all around her, she was old and frail in old flowered dress with sandals. Before she began her prediction she disclosed that she was about to turn 86.

Slowly she reached under the covers of the bed and pulled out a mapacho (jungle cigarette) that was the size of a cigar. She asked my name and then closed her eyes took the mapacho and turned it over and over running it across her nose and her mouth. She lit the cigarette and puffed and puffed creating a cloud of smoke made her disappear as she spoke in Spanish. Anita acted as my translator,” you will be leaving Iquitos soon and traveling a very long way”.   It just so happened that I was leaving to head back to the US in just a couple of hours. She continued, with some very personal disclosures many of which were true and some about a close friend in the future. She continued to puff on the mapacho, as the seer continued. Some of the vision I will not disclose here to see if it comes true, she went on to tell me that my health was good and that my family was thinking about me and was anticipating my coming home. Note that this woman had no idea how long I planned to stay in Iquitos or if I even had a family.

The fortune lasted for the length of the mapacho. I noticed as she began she was catching the ashes from the cigarette on a small piece of newspaper she was holding. When the mapacho was so short that it might burn her fingers, she put it out and folded the cigarette butt up in the paper that she wrapped in plastic from a bag and tied it in a neat little package and trimmed the edges. She told me to keep the ash package and not to get rid of it.

She told me that I had some impurities that I needed to get rid of before returning home and told me to go buy some lemons and squeeze them all over my body, starting with my head and down to my feet. Then rinse off with some soap and water and it would help protect me evil intentions.

Before we left, Anita asked her to tell the fortune of a friend of hers in Lima. She told her the friend’s name and the process started again, rolling the mapacho around and around from her nose to her mouth, lighting the mapacho and went on to tell her that he friend had lost her husband to another woman. The woman had used black magic to lure her husband away, he still loved her and she needed to remove the spell to get her husband back. She followed the same procedure making a small packet of ashes. As we left William and Anita filled me in that her vision was correct, their friend’s husband had just left her for another man.

As I headed for the airport, I smell like a lime after my citrus shower and thinking about her predictions. Quite a finish to my Iquitos adventure, looking forward to returning and seeing if the seer speaks the truth.