Belen Market

I love shooting markets. Just love it. It’s not only my adoration of food in all forms that causes this affinity, but also the amazing insight into a culture that they provide. Here you won’t find a WalMart supercenter anywhere. This market is where everyone goes to get their fruits, meat, clothes, household items, and even just to socialize and have some lunch. It’s a hub of humanity, and that makes it an incredible photography experience. You are right in there with the locals, experiencing the same sights, smells, and tastes as them. It’s immersive and overwhelming, and completely eye-opening. Wherever we go, we look for the local market, and make sure to shoot it. I could spend all day in these places! 

Belen is the main market in Iquitos. It’s a loud, crazy, bustling place. When locals saw us walking towards the market with our cameras, they seemed quite concerned for us. They would motion for us to keep it in our hands, and put the strap around our wrist. I don’t think this is at all indicative of there being lots of “bad people” in Belen, and it’s important to not get scared when photographing things like this. Yes, busy places are the highest risk for having something stolen. But remember, common sense always prevails. We never let go of our camera, ever. It’s in my grip, with both hands if possible, and I use a tight hand strap so that if someone wanted to get that camera, my hand is going right along with it. It’s not just hanging around our neck, or over a shoulder. That’s a very easy way for someone to quickly grab it! We shot here three times, and never once had an issue. Shooting in other countries isn’t something to stress about, you just need to be smart, and aware of your surroundings.

With that little travel tip in mind, let’s take a peek at our first trip to Belen!

It was a rainy day when we first got there, and the market was winding down. That was perfect timing for us, as we had a bit more room to maneuver, and could take our time a bit more, without feeling like we were holding everyone up. 

Due to pure luck, we happened to just begin strolling down the “Jungle Medicine aisle”. So many things that I didn’t even have a clue what they were, or are used for! 

These were quite impressive. All sorts of drinks for all sorts of purposes. I tried a few different kinds, and even bought a bottle of one. More on that little adventure later… :)

These plants were used as dyes, and I believe are what our faces were painted with when we visited the Yagua tribe!

This is a skull of a caiman, a member of the alligator family. Huuuuuuuuuge. 

Many types of bark and roots were on sale. 

And this is apparently “Jungle Rogaine”. Or maybe this was the one that cured cancer….I can’t remember. Apparently both exist here.

They really are big on hand rolled cigarettes here. These things were enormous. I honestly don’t know how anyone could manage to smoke that whole thing!

Many more adventures in Peru to come! I was looking through all our images today, and can’t believe how many are left to post! Yay!

Lauren :)

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