Never have I been in a city that depended so much on motorcycles and motokars. Eigthty percent of the vechicles in Iquitos are some sort of motorcycle.
The whine of engines grows at each stop light, like the go-cart track at the beach when the green light shines, until like a swarm of bees around the hive the street is buzzing.
Who knew you could drive a motorcycle and carry a bunch of pipe 10′ long in a motokar or that a family of four could fit on a motorcycle. No one here has has heard of wearing a helmet. Paul told me he saw a person the other day wearing a helmet but had not fastened the chin strap. What good is that? It’s nothing to see a family flying down the street holding a baby and a toddler.
No tanning booths here, the people don’t like to get dark, light skin is more attractive so it is common to see someone driving a motorcycle with a long sleeve shirt on backwards, with thier arms up the sleeves to cover their arms but also creating a restraint should they try to recover during an accident. I’m not real comfortable riding a motorcycle without a helmet but I certainly don’t want cloth handcuffs on my arms if I start to go down. If a woman is wearing a skirt she just jumps on side saddle and off they go.
Everything in this city moves by motokar. It costs 3-4 soles ($1-$1.30) to go out to the POP headquarters about 5 miles. Each ride is an adventure as they buzz in and out of traffic. I recorded a video the other day of my trip to work, I’ll have to post it the next day or two. You have to see it to believe it.