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Inside the Iquitos Prison

The Iquitos Prison occupies twenty acre surrounded by a 12´concrete wall with four corner turrets that rise like rooks over the denuded jungle within. Eight pavilions house 160 prisoners each for a total of 1300 while forty guards stroll the garden patched complex to keep order. The prison uniform is street clothes but long pants [...]

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Today in Peru (2013)

The equatorial streets of Iquitos are a march of blowing trash and shouting demonstrators over a recent law to pass an IQ test in order to hold a government job. The scenes are repeating today in the major cities throughout Peru. I tried to enter a bank an hour ago for money to get out [...]

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Story of the Night

November 25, 2014 | Music blared from a deserted French cantina on the Iquitos wharf as a handful of dogs surrounded me. They were like emaciated wolves smelling the chicken-to-go in my knapsack. A big white lunged for my waist that I socked in the jaw with a left hook. He alighted on his feet [...]

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Four Techniques for Street Fights

I’m not a fighter or a lover but these happen to be two of the four methods used in handling at least 100 street fights over the years. 90% of them have occurred in third world countries, but the techniques are as effective on the Bombay waterfront as NY Harlem. These are the four primary [...]

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Tales from Iquitos: I was Bodyguard for a Mugging Victim

March 29, 2013 | Out of the Wild West called Belen a thug with a cap pulled low over the brow grabbed and began shaking Maria the ´purse´ of Yellow Rose of Texas. He picked on the wrong person at 8am on March 14, 2013 at the early waterfront market. Buttons popped as the two [...]

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Merry Christmas: Living in a Rainforest Cartoon

I was sitting this morning with my back against a vine lined wall eating rice and a hard-boiled egg, and looking around the streets of Iquitos thinking what a cartoon it has turned into in five years. Five years ago, a computer revolution created the first consciousness in this river locked rainforest port. The prior [...]

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Mexico Scrap

A lifelong passion for hard times and scrap led me to a sunrise hunt in San Felipe Baja. A Mexican partner and I slalom a banged-up pickup past a hundred scrappers puffing behind wheelbarrows and shopping carts half-empty with knickknacks. A three-mile thick dump ring around San Felipe is picked clean by the penniless men [...]

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How to Fight a Dog Pack

I always thought dogs were angels too, and trained hard many years in veterinary school to heal them. However, certain dogs in certain countries, depending on the people that influence them, in one month turn from angels to snarling demons. I learned a lot in the past seven months fighting about eight dog packs of [...]

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36 Hours in the Broward County Jail

‘I’m a schoolteacher. If a student conducted himself as you have, I’d send him to the principal.’ ‘And now I’m going to conduct you poorly to jail,’ growled the Miami cop. Four hours earlier, I’d walked from the local outdoor paddleball courts along the beach for 6 miles, entered a picnic area busy with weekend [...]

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Double Rent on Skid Row and Psych Wards

In my hoboing days, when the Los Angeles cops knocked on my door at the Rainbow hotel down from the library, and barged in, cuffed and hauled me to the nut hatch… I thought to ask them in route, 'Why?' The reason is I had paid a week in advance at the hotel and not [...]

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