It’s been five days having URI symptoms. I don’t feel like doing shit. I just want to stay in bed until I leave. I’ve been a connoisseur of tea and soup. I really enjoy Cuzco though. It’s just a shame I can’t shake this cold.
I got back from Machu Picchu and I went searching for Bunker Cuzco. I ran into Diego Yule. He runs Bunker with Nico Culrich. It was good to exchange Jiu Jitsu stories and have a local show me around. He showed me the Mercado de San Blas. Little things like showing a traveler a local market means a lot.
I trained three times. I’m proud of myself for training but feeling of being sick when I’m not training isn’t good. Some techniques Nico and Diego went over were an omoplata from spider and half guard/ knee shield. When I went to open mat we exchanged GI and NO GI. Diego was preparing for a No Gi tournament in May. We discussed how leg locks is now a system everybody needs to study. If not you will be behind the curve, especially as purple belts.
I met a Helene at the Open Mat on Saturday, a fellow BJJ Globetrotter. You can follow her blog. She has over 400 days on the road. She gave me some advice on traveling. She is truly an inspiration.
As a former US Navy Hospital Corpsman, I self diagnosed myself with acute URI (upper respiratory infection). (Note: self diagnosing yourself is a running joke in the medical field. Why? Nearly all patients google their symptoms and think they know what they have.) I have decided its viral and that I will just ride out the symptoms.
I fly to Lima then to Cuzco in a few hours. I hope the weather will be better for my symptoms.
I had two really bad nights before I got to Aguas Calientes. I spent one night in Cuzco before I went to Aguas Calientes. That night I had a fever, body aches, diarrhea and insomnia. It was quite possibly the worst night I have had yet. On top of trying to go to sleep I was hot and cold constantly. I was in a room with other 6 people. I’m pretty sure they heard me tossing around the entire night. My breath was so labored. It was awful. I maybe got 2 hours of sleep. I thought I lost my medications in Starbucks that night. I had Ibuprofen and Zolpidem, I would have taken. Turns out after struggling the 9 hours of trying to sleep I found that I didn’t lose my meds. After going to the bathroom 3 times that night and constantly drinking water. I took an Ibuprofen and felt absolutely better. Having an uncontrolled fever is terrible. I maybe took another hour of rest then I got up to start my day.
I had to travel to Machu Picchu that day. A 2 hour bus ride and a 2 hour train ride. It actually took about 1 hour and 35 minutes for the bus ride from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo. Then about an 1 hour and 40 minutes on a train to Aguas Caliente. I found my hostel and I got a private room to recover. I spent that day recovering the sleep I lost the previous night. It was well worth the rest.
I spent Saturday just wondering around and resting in my room. I still had diarrhea but I was feeling better. I was getting better with using medications. I took Biscuth for my upset stomach after I ate. I got my Machu Picchu/ WaynaPicchu ticket printed for Monday. I took a walk to the Machu Picchu Museum and Botanical Garden. I walked back and rested in my room for the rest of the day.
On Sunday I bought a ticket just for Machu Picchu and I hiked up from town. The hike to the stairs which was fairly easy since I reconed it the day before. The hike from the bottom of the stairs to the entrance took roughly 90 minutes with a break. Before you cross the bridge to get to the stairs there will be a guard checking for your Machu Picchu ticket and Passport. There was an American who didn’t print it out and didn’t buy a bus ticket. He tried to get pass the guard. The guard caught up with him when he tried to bypass him. I never saw that American again!
I spent the next few hours enjoying the views. It was truly breathtaking. There was some rain and clouds so the view kept changing. They say that it is difficult to predict the weather at Machu Picchu. I saw the weather first hand there. It changed constantly from a beautiful picture that you want capture into grey clouds that you can’t see pass 100 meters. Elusive beauty at its best.
I sweat profusely when exercise especially for this hike up. So I was constantly cold while I was walking around Machu Picchu. If you hike up carry an extra dry shirt to change later. My misery made me leave quicker. I hiked back down because I didn’t want to pay for the bus. I didn’t get a guide because I was cold. If you wish to know more about the history of Machu Picchu, you can see the Wikipedia page here. I used the bus the next day.
I decided to use the bus since I was going to hike Waynapicchu. There are only two times to hike 0700-0800 and 1000-1100. I bought my ticket two weeks in advance because of advice I took from my Peruvian friends. Even now when I check Huayna Picchu first group tickets its completely sold out for March. There are only 400 people allowed each day. The only drag was that it was cloudy when I got to the top. It was crowded too which distracted the celebration. I’m one that dislikes crowds. So I left to beat the exiting crowd. Yes, I could have stayed and waited for the clouds to move for the picture perfect moment. It was raining, cold, I was full of sweat and too many people. Misery makes me leave.
I don’t claim to be an expert at this trip. I just know what I did well. I bought a ticket to Machu Picchu/ Huayna Picchu in advance. I stayed in Aguas Caliente for four days. I think that was good for my body to acclimate better to the altitude. Plus I used those days to recover from my travel sickness. I brought hiking clothes. I saw some people wearing jeans and sneakers up the mountain. I’m prone to accidents when I’m not prepared so boots and proper clothing helped me out. A change of dry clothes after you hike.
More take aways from this trip. When you’re home, you usually have a support system, your family, friends, familiar healthcare. When you travel alone, you make the decision on what you should you do about your health.
I just spent 6 days in Trujillo. I went off the path because my plans were altered in Lima. My friend, Jimmy, whom I was stationed with in 29 Palms, had in-laws in Trujillo. I spoke about my trip a lot at work during my final months in the Navy. He told me if I was in Trujillo to look them up. With the unexpected change of plans in Lima I decided to see another city instead of just the two main cities of Peru.
Jimmy’s brother-in-law, Yhon, showed me around. He grew up in Norwalk, Ca he is fluent in English and Spanis. I don’t know how express the amount of hospitality his family displayed toward me. It’s overwhelming because of the language barrier. My Spanish/ Castellano was embarrassing. I could speak to them but I couldn’t understand 80% of what they said. They cooked for me, took me out to eat, showed my Chan Chan, and gave me a place to stay. I am forever grateful to Yhon and his family. Many thoughts came over me from visiting his family. Family is a big part of Peruvian culture. It honestly made me homesick for my family.
At first the culture of toilets didn’t bother me in Lima. A couple of things to highlight about toilets on my trip. You have to bring your own TP everywhere you go. I was used to this in Lima because I had a backpack full of everything I needed. But when I was in Trujillo, I felt awkuard to bring my backpack everywhere since my hosts didn’t carry a bag everywhere. I first discovered then read that not everywhere will have TP or hand soap. It wouldn’t be that big a deal but I had travel diarrhea. I had to go the toilet constantly. I had travel diarrhea in Lima but it seems like it’s getting worst.
I’m currently taking a bunch of medication. Ibuprofen, for the body aches and headaches. Sulfamethoxole, for the stomach issues. Paracetamol, for the pain and headaches. Traveling and being sick is a bad combination. It is fine at home because usually you have people to take care of you. I’m glad I had Yhon and his family to care for me. I think I still have some sort of stomach flu.
Recently the north of Peru was hit with a lot of rain. Yhon said it hasn’t rained this hard in about 20 years. The basement garage of the apartment we were staying in was flooded, almost 4ft / 1,2 meters. They pushing the cars that out that were in there overnight. By the time we came back to the apartment that night, they had already started pumping the water out. I was worried about my trip to Cuzco. A selfish thought when thousands of people were displaced because of the flooding and the “huaicos” mudslide.
No Jiu Jitsu in Trujillo because of time constraints and weather. Team Mamut was huge recommendation by many BJJ Globetrotters.
Some updates. I will be doing the Camino again from Porto, Portugal. I am applying to volunteer at the campgrounds for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I started reading The Portrait of Dorian Grey because I left Lolita for Koffi in Lima. Pictures will be updated