On my phone I have hundreds of photos from the Peru trip, but there is one 24-hour window where there is nothing. This was the period of time where I could barely pick my head up I was so sick. I apologize for the lack of pictures, but it wasn't really possible today.
I’m still not sure what exactly set me off. It could’ve been the lack of sleep, the dehydration from not drinking all morning, the not eating or the hiking in the sun for 6 hours. It is probably a combination of all of those things. It also could’ve been the 2 unwashed apples that did me in. This is far more likely. Please be careful not to make the same mistake I did, it really will ruin your whole day. Make sure the fruit you eat is either thoroughly washed or you only eat fruit that has a peel on it (bananas, oranges, etc.).
I found myself, close to passing out, forced to board a crowded bus to make the long, twisting descent down the mountain. There was no place I wanted to be less at the moment. Somehow, I was able to hold myself together for the entire bus ride, but as soon as I got off I was done. Next thing I know, I’m crawling through the streets on my hands, desperately trying t avoid onlooking tourists and police officers. I’m sure everyone just thought I hit the Pisco sours a little to heavy the night before, but the real reason I was sick was much more embarrassing than that.
I tried to gather myself together and get back to the hostel. We were already checked out but the woman in charge of the place was nice enough to let us keep our stuff there. All of a sudden, I was overcome with a cold feeling and I couldn’t help but shiver uncontrollably. I said down on the hotel couch and my girlfriend held me as I shivered. The woman working there brought me a blanket and I just laid there waiting for it to pass. We went out to dinner and I sat at a booth, face planting into the table. I really couldn’t pick my head up here. The meal passed me by, and I was able to take home some vegetable soup in case I was hungry later.
The train was the same situation. I really only picked my head up once or twice the entire time and that was because some people dressed up in costumes and played loud music for each of the train cars. This was part of the more deluxe Peru rail experience. In my honest opinion, I don’t think that the premium Peru rail experience was worth the extra money. You can’t really see any more out of the windows, the train looks a bit cleaner but it is actually less comfortable and they do bring you food but that’s not really necessary on a 3-hour train ride. Ultimately, you can do whatever you want but the inexpensive train that we got was plenty luxurious.
Okay, back to being sick. If the bus ride down the mountain and the 3-hour train ride weren’t enough, we also had a 30 minute cab ride through Cusco to worry about. This was much worse than it sounded, because our cab driver seemed to be taking the road with the most sharp turns. Late at night, the outskirts of Cusco are a much different scene. Bags of garbage were laid out on the streets for the packs of stray dogs to feast on. A few of the dogs started to chase some of the cabs and I swear I thought our driver was going to hit one. Luckily for everyone, he knew how to avoid these dogs and we eventually arrived at our apartment safely. After taking a hot shower, I suddenly felt so much better and I crawled into bed to eat my vegetable soup. I thought for a second I would be all better in the morning, until I woke up completely dehydrated and not strong enough to pump water. I was using one of those filter bottles that you have to basically put all of your weight into just to get a glass. I spent an hour or so trying to get enough water for myself and for the first time of the entire trip, I actually wished I was home. Looking back on this, it was all part of the adventure, but in the moment it was a pretty difficult time for me.
We left the apartment at 7:00 and headed to the airport. We said goodbye to our apartment and the crazy lady next door who would often keep us awake with her frequent yelling. We would really miss Cusco and all the adventures we had in this part of the country. The altitude and freezing cold temperatures would be tough to miss though. We were heading into the second part of our trip, which would be all warm, so we could pretty much put away the jackets for good after we left.
I arrived in the airport, sunglasses on, bundled up in my jacket, just ready to get the flight over with. With my giant osprey backpack on, I could barely keep myself up. By some miracle, I was able to make it through all the lines and we were in the air before I knew it. As we started our final descent, I could see the emerald green forest and mineral-rich rivers beneath us. We were here!
The Amazon Rainforest is something I had been looking forward to since I was a little kid. I would often daydream about walking through dense, steamy jungles and looking for all the unique animal species. When we decided we would be going to Peru, I knew this was something we would have to do. If we were going to do it, we wanted to do it right. We decided we would live in the rainforest for a few days. We would be off the grid almost completely, and we would be leaving much of our stuff behind. As soon as we landed and met our guide, I felt the warm jungle air on my face and was almost as good as new. There was too much going on for me to be sick. When I was on trains and cabs and buses going through the mountains, of course I would feel bad, but now that we were here in the rainforest, I felt nothing but excitement.