It was 2009 when I first laid eyes on the 2,500 kilometer-long Interoceanic Highway that connects the west coast of Peru with the western Brazilian border – bisecting the entirety of the Peruvian Amazon. Far from impressive, it resembled a scraggly dirt and gravel path, blanketed on both sides by massive Amazonian trees. Traveling on the highway by car was an exercise in sheer luck. Huge clouds of dust rose high into the sky around my car and visibility was less than 10 meters (30 feet) – neither of which seemed to slow my driver down. Despite the windows being up, I coughed and gasped for the 1.5 hours of my journey from Puerto Maldonado to Laberinto, thinking dark thoughts about road builders everywhere.
Over the next five years, I would make that trip anywhere from four to six times a year, in both directions, and conditions improved greatly. The road widened, was paved, the risk of asphyxia was no longer imminent. But a great many other, curious changes had also gradually occurred.
Current World Population
Net Growth During Your Visit