As the latter part of the above title flat-footedly implies, this weeks article has me journeying into savage, humid environs redolent of the morally queasy atmosphere of Joseph Conrad's most famous novel. Instead of the Belgian Congo, however, I find myself in Peru's Amazon Basin. I have to come clean, though. My point of penetration is quite tame by Amazon standards: the town of La Merced, which is only eight hours ENE of Lima, Peru's noxious, hideously sprawling capital.
Iquitos, in case you haven't heard of it, is the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon. As such, it absorbs anything into its bloodstream which that vast region can produce and be exchanged for hard currency. Visceral metaphors like those utilized above come to mind when thinking of Belen Market. That's because so much that's conspicuous about the place is the range of animal products to be had there, both bizarre and quotidian. They are displayed proudly along the market's m