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June 21, 2003

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To reach the Peruvian frontier with Colombia and Brazil, imaginatively named the Three Frontiers, two options exist: a ten hour speedboat ride or a one hour flight. We traveled by plane since the price was the same - $50 US. The three countries touch each other at the Amazon, and each country has its own town on the frontier, although Colombia's town is supposed to be the liveliest one, owing to that nation's rich reputation for lively people. We decide to spend the day in Colombia. It's easy to travel from one country to another at the frontier, no border formalities exist, but if you plan to travel onward you must visit the immigration office, as we discovered later in the day.
Look on the map and it feels as if this region should be remote jungleland, yet the townships here are well-developed: grocery stores, streetside cafes, banks, and jungle tour operators. The Colombian town, Leticia, bustles more than the others because an Army base occupies half the town and ensures guerillas don't takeover this outpost. The townspeople smile and joke with us. Who knows what these friendly, well-dressed people do for a living out here in the Amazon. We walk along paved and shaded streets, sit on a waterfront bench and watch the Amazon waters drift by, or enjoy a relaxing morning among the relaxed natives. In the afternoon we discover that a ferryboat is heading downstream, so we gather our things and head for the docks. Motorcycle taxis provide the best and cheapest way to get around. Jill rides on the back of one motorcycle, I take another, and with our drivers as guides we find the immigration offices for Colombia and Brazil. A few passport stamps later and we're on our way down the Amazon in a Brazilian ferryboat...
Amazon taxi service