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balance (2): ill

Thursday, November 8, 2007


went to machu picchu yesterday, which really felt more like an obligation than anything else as i am not a history buff or into ruins at all. still, it was a really gorgeous and sort of mystical place, with a beautiful train ride to get there, and i had a very good guide who explained everything to me along the way. the jumping off point is a town called aguas calientes, which is really cute and touristy, with a quaint train station and lots of little coffee shops. i spent some time sitting on the benches in the little town square, watching the people go about their day. i tried a 'papa rellena' which is a deep fried stuffed potato, a local specialty. i also got a free 'pisco sour' (really delicious brandy concoction with egg whites, lemon juice, and cinnamon) from my waiter, who sweetly practiced his english with me and wanted to take me dancing when he got off work. i declined (with regret) as i had to be up at 5 am to get the bus up to machu picchu. spent the rest of my night trying to wedge things under my hotel room door as the creepy nightwatch guy kept trying to get into my room(!).

i did pretty well climbing mountains considering i flew in from sea level. the site was full of americans. i just couldn't stay there all day like everyone else wanted to... so i hopped on the bus quite early back to the town. i had to wait 7 hours, so i paid to change my ticket to an earlier train back to cusco. it was the vistadome, and it was great! the walls are glass so you can see everything along the way- we passed villages of mud houses with dirty kids chasing piglets and old women doing their laundry in the streams. and halfway through the trip the waiters on the train put on costumes and did some bizarre fashion shows to techno music... pretty funny. i started to feel really dizzy though and thought it was the motion of the train, but by the time i got back to my hotel i felt like hell. actually, it became one of the worst nights of my life- i was more sick than i think i have ever been. won't go into details but i thought for sure i was gonna die. tried to call the hotel desk to ask them to get me a doctor at about 1am but they weren't there. this was very bad news as well because i had forgotten to buy bottled water and had nothing at all to drink, and nowhere to go to get anything. i got so dehydrated that my tongue was stuck to the top of my mouth and i couldn't move without wracking joint pains. i had to wait 6 hours for the hotel to open before i could stagger down and get a drink. meanwhile i must have purged my entire insides out. luckily i had some antibiotics that i brought with me from thailand, but another day has passed and i am still miserably ill. my hotel is very nice so i am just going to lay here and moan until i get better.

kind of over 3rd world travelling, especially alone. hopefully after i get better my attitude will change a bit because honestly i just want to race ahead to argentina, which is more civilized. peru is nice and all, but it doesn't touch me.

here's some pics!

machu picchu ruins

more ruins

huayna picchu

plaza in aguas calientes

native peruvian (hairless) dog (poor thing)

train to cusco



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