Tip: Alcohol Cookers

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ISSUE:  056
DATE:  January 21, 2002
TIP:  Alcohol Cookers:
LOCATION:  Iquitos, Peru


Issue 56 - Hobotraveler.com - January 21, 2002
A Hobo trip around the world. Year 4


Lots of new entries, but for the most part
the same old, same old.
Growing like a weed.


~   HOBO STEW (A Dish of Meat and Vegetables)
~   Hoboguide.com GO THIS WAY!

~   TODAY’S TIP - Alcohol Cooker
~   TODAY’S TIP FROM THE - “Peanut Gallery”


~   HOBO STEW (A Dish of Meat and Vegetables)

Good Morning Iquitos!


The funniest thing that happened in the last few day was that
Mike from Mad Micks Trading Post showed me some of his new
hammocks he bought at the market. He said you could also use them
for a ground cover, and they also had zippers and you could get inside
protect yourself from the elements. Lots of uses for this type of bag.
There was a general agreement among all the regulars that this
green bag could be used in numerous ways, and was a great find.
The bags had handles on them for convenience.

I am sitting at Jungle Jims Restaurant later and someone says.
“Did you see the body bags Mike bought?”
Mike had soon realized that these nice durable and handy canvas
bags were body bags for dead people.

“But how did they get in the market?” He said,
“Oh, they probably just snatched them from the USA army.”
They can buy or (blah, blah) anything in Iquitos.

Being a normal bloke. Mike did not have any experience with body bags
so did not recognize them.

Mike paid one Sole to have Carlos get into the hammock to test it.
We zipped him in it, and learned he has no air. I think one Sole (30
cents US)
was not enough pay. He started screaming and kicking when
his air started to run out.

Body bags have been declare dangerous to your health by
the authority of Mad Micks Trading Post, and Jungle Jims Restaurant.
Please use only when dead.
To post further comments of to make jokes go to their message boards
compliments of some hobo in Iquitos.


Now that I got a few people never wanting to go to Iquitos,
maybe I should backtrack and explain Iquitos, Peru.

This city has more to do than anywhere I have ever been
and no one to tell you how simply and cheaply. The tourist office
here is one of the best in South America, but at the same time
being fair and just, they do not recommend trips or decide
what types of tours should be sold to the public.

All the tour guide are trying to hit a home run. They want to make
lots of money off every tourist, and not one is happy just making
a little. They do hit a lot of home runs. But it seem a little short
A good way to explain this is that we all came to see the Amazon River.

OK, so being that the Amazon River is only a couple 100 meters away
from my chair, wouldn’t it be nice to have a boat tour of the river, or
be able to rent a boat? Of course it would be nice. So in most cities
there would be little Tri-fold advertisements collected on the floor of
room. Because everyone would be handing out advertisements.
But there are no ORGANIZED one day tours of the Amazon. You
can rent a boat, but you have to go looking for them.

I think Iquitos should take a lesson in advertising from the city of
They have beautiful girls standing on every corner handing out
brochures and joking with the tourist. Everytime I went back to my room
in Cuzco I had at least 3 more pieces of paper in my pocket.

I keep waiting for somebody to hand me a brochure on one
of these trips. But after three week here, I have not received
a single brochure. Oops, yes I did receive one about a restaurant.

Thing to do or my list of
Trip Brochures that should exist.

AYAHAUSCA - A medicine or drug?
SHAMANS and all the local herbs... a.k.a. Witch Doctors.

These are the small things to do around Iquitos, without
spending all your money. And I have not even talked about
the fact that there is suppose to be 8 women for every man.

One expatriated gentleman trying to be helpful told me about
the tennis club and the Olympic size pool. I thought that sounded
very nice, but with the Amazon River within 100 meters of my room
Why would I want to go do something I can do anywhere in the

So what to do....? I am making brochures... hehehe
I am having fun figuring out the trips with my friends at the
tourist office, and between Wally at Jungle Jims Restaurant
and Mike at Mad Micks Trading Post I can fill in the missing

Yes, you are correct. I am lazy. I am used to being in cities where
people hand you brochures. I get tempted to do a tour
or buy something, and then I go do it. While writing this I was
I have been in the tour office at least 10 times. They have on the
coffee table more or less 15 books of tours. I bet they also have little
brochures. It is hard to get a hobo backpacker to spend 300-400
dollars US in one spot. Especially in Peru after they just spent 200-300
dollars to see Machu Picchu. I will walk over the tourist office again
and scrounge around. I bet there are some brochures of day trips.
(No day trips... I went and looked)

I guess I am looking for that display case of Tri-folded brochures.
The ones at rest stops in the USA or tourist agencies. You can
walk in and pick up 10-20 and go home and lay on the couch
and read them. I cannot remember every seeing a display like
that here in Iquitos. This is funny because I can walk by twenty
travel companies with signs to by airplane tickets to Lima, Tarapota,
and Cuzco daily. In fact know all the prices by heart because
I have seen the sign so many times.

Eureka! I found some Tri-fold brochures. But very little to do with
Iquitos. Some hostels in Lima, and the local Police have made
a really nice brochure. Oh well. Hope you enjoy my day
trip explanation for the Port of Belen in the next section.


Marlou from the Netherlands misunderstood my English and
thought I had really met Shakira the singer from Colombia
when I made a couple of comments in past newsletters.
This is only me expressing a long-term fantasy to have Shakira
call me up and say,
“Andy... I have been reading your newsletter, and think
it would be fun to hobo travel with you. We could share a room
and whatever else. I especially like the beach, and
I read that you do also, I will bring my new bathing suit.
I am in Florida learning English and it would be a lot
easier to learn with you. You could teach me a lot.”

Here is my telephone number for the next 10 days.
I am in the Monterico Hospedaje. Room 9 (Real information)
(094) 22-32-79
(094) 23-53-95

Or send me comment at:
I will return call is you let me call collect.... hehehe.
She’s richer than me anyway.

La Vida Buena
Beso y Abrazos

Andy the hobo

Maybe it will help you to...
Be a Hobo, and leave your mark.

X     Hobotraveler.com was HERE!

Life is good.
The Hobotraveler.com

Article written by Andy the Hobotraveler.com
On year 4 of Hobo trip around the world.
Budget Travel, Jobs, and Adventure, etc
Subscribe to Free Newsletter at:
You may publish this article for Free
on the internet If this box stays attached.



THE EASY WAY... hehehe
Subscribe to free Hobo Travel Tips Newsletter and follow Andy around the planet!


~   Hoboguide.com GO THIS WAY!


One of my must do’s!
I like people. All types of people.

The Amazon Basin is about the same size as the
United States of America. The majority of people that live in
this region of the world live in some form of grass, palm, or wood,
I have traveled over 2000 miles on rivers in the Amazon Basin.
Yet I had barely seen a typical home up close until I visited
the Port of Belen in Iquitos, Peru.

It is a special place to me, alive with people living their lives.
Most of the inhabitants are fisherman. They go to the river
early in the morning, then take their fresh fish to the market
at the top of the hill to sell. Belen is built on the bank
of the river and is great place to learn and understand the
wonderful people of the Amazon.

Normally the simple home of any region world are made of the
cheapest and most common building materials easily available.
In the tropics that can be:

Clay Bricks made and dried in the sun. (Ladrillos)
Palm Tree Fronds
Tall grass.
Normal Trees limbs
Concrete, bricks, and nails.

Normally not just a grass hut, but a combination
of all theses materials. Lumber is cheap in Iquitos so
the homes are made with planks of lumber for the sides.
Framed with tree limbs, and a roof made of palm fronds
woven into a 5-10 year roof.

I personally would make a home with bamboo side. I think
the look a lot better than the wood plank sides, but they would
take more time to build because the width of bamboo is smaller
so it would take more time to tie it together or nail. Plus bamboo
is round and not that easy to put a nail through. In the end a wood
plank is the easiest.

If you do a jungle tour this is the type of room you will
most likely live in. Wood floors, and bamboo sides, or wood with
roofs woven together with palms leaves. They really are the best for
a jungle environment. Hauling or making brick in the jungle is not
sensible, and extremely expensive when surrounded by water.

Wouldn’t it be fun to look at these homes? Walk around and see
the different designs and models available. I have found the perfect
spot. The Port of Belen in Iquitos.
I would say this is a “MUST DO” of South America.

I have seen hundreds of these homes along the Amazon. On the
boat trip from Manaus Brazil to Iquitos and on the Boat from Coca
Ecuador to Iquitos I saw thousands. But.... They were along side
the river, and we did not stop. Most of them are on stilted legs and
in the water, and the only access is by boat. It would be bad manners
to take your boat up to their house and say.... Hello. I was admiring
your home, and wondered if you would let me look around? I know
if you did this, they would allow you to enter,
but naaagh.. Not a good idea.

Some home along the Amazon have satellite dishes
for a better television selection. They are bigger than
the house.


People that live in grass huts are always poor.
This is just not the case.
A grass hut is the best type of home along the river.
It does not mean they are poor, but is also doe not mean
they are rich.
They are a middle class person living along the river.
No more, no less.

I guarantee you life is probably more stressful,
you work harder. That competition with the Jones home is
difficult. This also does not mean you are rich
and they are poor.

We have all heard the accolade about.
“Money is not everything”
“It what inside that counts”
This is true and time to apply this concept.

So if you want some good fun. Get off your
high horse, and have a day at Belen. Walk around
the neighborhood, go to the local market, and take
a boat ride.


I wondered why they would build homes that float or
are on legs along the Amazon River? The river rises and falls
with the different seasons. At different times of the year
the river can be extremely high or low. Here in Iquitos
the water level will change anywhere between 0-10 meters
when the water from the Andes start to melt from the sun
moving with the changing seasons and slowly flows
downhill and meets at the Amazon.

The solution is to build your house on a hill.
Easier said than done. There are not that many hills
along the Amazon. Flat and swampy.

So when there are not hills it’s better to build your house
on legs or make it float. The water is the lifeblood of the
citizens of the Amazons. It provide water, the food,
and every need of the locals. Transportation is by river.
So you want to live as close as possible to the river.

I made a comment about the smells and how hard it was.
I did not say this because I thought they live bad. I said
it because why would they do all this work?
Building a home in the water is not any easy task. Building a home
on land around here is a simpler, but the further you are
from the water, the more expensive your daily life would be,
and more complicated. A home on the river is more difficult
to build because they have to bring all the trees and building
materials from a long distance away upstream.

The floating homes have large Balsa Wood logs under them for flotation.
They take a boat upstream. Cut down a tree, drop it into the
water. Hook a few together, and float them back to Belen.
Drag them on shore, and build a house on top of them.
This is probably done in the dry season. Then when the
water rises. Whoopee. I got a floating home. Now I can move
it easily to a better neighborhood. Away from the boys that
play there music all day, and night.

This is not easy work. But after you build your house
you do own it
“Free and Clear” No mortgage.
You probably will work 30 years to get that done.
Who is smarter? Or richer?

To go to Belen is easy, and I have made a little map
and a place to add your comments or suggestions.

I recommend to go to Belen Port from Iquitos, Peru.
1. Start at the Plaza de Armas.
2. Hail a Moto-Taxi
( A 3 wheeled motorcycle with a seat to carry 3 people)
3. Say,
“Plaza de Venencia. dos Soles” or
“Puerto de Venencia dos Soles”
If you wish say “Tres”..
Dos o Tres Soles = Two or three Soles.. About one dollar USA.
If really confused, get a person from the Tourist office to help
you, or Wally or Mike hanging around Jungle Jims.
4. Get them to go to the water (AGUA) or (BARCOS COLECTIVOS)
5. Walk toward the water
6. You are there, for about 7 soles per hour you can
rent boat.
7. Walk around the neighborhood, then go back up the hill to the
market. You can probably find your way back to the Plaza de
Armas by walking, And you will have a wonderful walk through
the market, and you will hear the venders say...
“Hello mister” or

CAUTION: Do not take valuables or go after dark.
If you do not feel safe. Leave by moto-taxi.

Kids will ask you for money.
They learned a long time ago that the Gringos will
give them money if they stick their hand out.
I do not recommend this. In the end it helps no one.

On the trip back to the Plaza you will walk through
the market. There is no way to avoid it. You can buy
almost anything there. I found the turtle eggs very interesting.
(Huevos de Tortugas) or the hand rolled cigars. (Puros)
If you really know how to talk Spanish, you can find some
Coca leaves. (Hoja de Coca)

If you wish to hire a guide. Easier said then done.
Go to any of the restaurants on the square, and for no
more than 10 dollars USA you can find some local person
to take you down and show you around.

I consider this one of the most interesting and culturally
educational excursions in my four years of travel.

If you want to help the local and people.
Spend your money in the market.
Buy a lot of fun stuff and enjoy the day.
Belen - Iquitos, Peru

By Wally Lloyd


Maybe it will help you to...
Be a Hobo, and leave your mark.

X     Hobotraveler.com was HERE!

Life is good.
The Hobotraveler.com

Article written by Andy the Hobotraveler.com
On year 4 of Hobo trip around the world.
Budget Travel, Jobs, and Adventure, etc
Subscribe to Free Newsletter at:
You may publish this article for Free
on the internet If this box stays attached.




There are lots of way to cook and heat food or

Propane tanks.
Gas tanks with a little pump.
Special Camping stoves.
The local backpacker store with charge enough
money to live here for a month for one of the latest
and greatest ways.

I use an electric hotplate. I find the management
of the hostels do not like it when I build a fire, or
use gasoline in my room.

But... Rubbing alcohol?
Why not.


An electric one burner hotplate whether it use 110 or 220
electricity cost about 5 dollars USA to purchase from
Mexico to Argentina, and about anywhere else
in the world. So this is my cooker of choice, Light
and easy to use. (Liquid fuels weigh a lot)

But there are time when I want to cook rice, spaghetti
or just have my morning cup of coffee, and there is
no electricity. Maybe the electricity is temporally off, or maybe
you are living in a place without electricity.
All I know is that for some reason, in the last four
years of travel there is about 1-5 times a month
when I do not have electricity. I have a room, but
no electricity.
(Note: The electric hotplate is my number one way to save money)

So like the normal backpacker or trekker, when I get
a chance I look in the gear store for ways to cook.
The gear manufacturers are very creative, and have really good systems.
But in reality once I leave the store, I may not be able
to buy the fuel for the next four countries. And I do not
want to carry around 4 kilos of fuel, or high pressure tanks.
Airline companies are not fond of gas or pressurized tanks.

Most flammable liquids are hard to buy, and not everywhere.
This is the great thing about alcohol and candles.
You can buy them about anywhere in the world.
The local drugstore, grocery, or convenience store almost
always sell these product. Plus you do not have to buy
a liter or a gallon. Only a small bottle. Use the bottle, and
throw it away. Then buy the another bottle in the next city.
And candles are good for romantic evenings.

This is a lot more expensive than the electric hotplate.
(Electricity compliment of the hostel)
But in a pinch alcohol or candles are better than nothing.

Take a normal soup can, or they food you purchased,
or any type of can. Cut slots in the sides. LARGE slots.
Leave the bottom can intact, so you can put
in about 1-3 inches of fuel.
a.k.a. Alcohol or Candles.
It needs to be more for candles.
If you leave the top or bottom of the can on until you are
through cutting the slots, it will be easier to cut the slots.
A steak knife will do the job, or that expensive Swiss knife
you have been carrying for the last year.
(If you wish... Sell the knife instead, and go have breakfast)

You can now prop up three to four candles, or pour in a
small quantity of rubbing alcohol. Save your Rum for later.
Find a solid non flammable surface like brick or concrete. I did this
in the bathroom here under the shower faucet.
Be cautious, and light a wadded up piece of paper and
extend it over the alcohol to light. DO NOT put your cigarette
lighter over the alcohol to light. This is dangerous.
Be careful and you will need to experiment to learn.
Some people need to have there parents watch
over them, and this is not for children. But in the end
as the British say, “Good fun”

NOTE: This is just for small foods. It is very difficult to use for
more than just heating soup, or a can of beans. Hot water for
instant coffee is great. Candles will leave soot on the bottom
of your pot and are dirty, they are my second choice of fuel.
In reality the candle burner is better for “Good Fun”. But it
the do work. I recommend you do NOT carry the alcohol
to the next location. This could be dangerous or messy.

And MESSAGE BOARD for your comments.

Hobotraveler.com was here.    X

Hobo’s mark your locations so we remember.
Have fun! Life is Good!

As always, these are suggestions. Please realize I am
giving guidance, and there are always other opinions.
“One mans paradise, is another mans hell”
This way we do not all go to the same place.

Article written by Andy the Hobotraveler.com
On year 4 of Hobo trip around the world.
Budget Travel, Jobs, and Adventure, etc
Subscribe to Free Newsletter at:
You may publish this article for Free
on the internet If this box stays attached.


TODAY’S TIP FROM THE “Peanut Gallery” Fun tips
Here's a little tip from me, to you, as an experienced traveler.

Life is kinda like a dog sled team if
you aren't the lead dog the scenery never changes.



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