We Should Have Feared the Sandwich

May 22nd, 2012 § 5 comments § permalink

We are both sick, a new record for our travels. Getting this sick so early on is almost comical–if not for my sore abdominal muscles from barfing all night, I might laugh.

I think it was the sandwiches we shared at lunch yesterday. By 7 pm the slow dawning of dread related to illness while traveling crept into the bed with me and by 8 pm, it was on. Benjamin followed by an hour or 2. I feel bad for the horrible noises our neighbors had to endure.

I’m feeling pretty weak today and can’t really eat anything but dry toast… We have until Thursday morning to feel normal or cancel the hike. That’s when they require full payment (2 days prior). And we were so careful not to twist an ankle or anything up until this point, only to have the adventure potentially squashed by a few bugs.

Today we’re off to the airport and Cuzco and its taking everything we have to just be upright.


If They Can Do It, So Can We

May 21st, 2012 § 4 comments § permalink

We met three ladies at breakfast who had just come from Cuzco and had hiked to Machu Picchu on a different trail than we will be. They are in their 50s and don’t hike at home; one had never slept in a tent before. They said it was hard, like everyone else has, but they didn’t say it was impossible!

Their biggest advice was to not bring anything extra, particularly clothes and specifically extra underwear. Apparently, we will not be bothered to change it. I have been camping before, I know the drill…but underwear is pretty light weight.


I’m sure we’ll be hearing lots more stories in Cuzco, we’re going there tomorrow. It all makes me think of our 2-day stair climb up Emei Shan in China. People at the bottom of the mountain hang out in cafes and worry about the impending torment of going up while people who have just come down are too tired to talk about it.

At the bottom of Emei Shan, the cafe walls where we did our fretting were covered with the scrawls of travelers and pilgrims, penned in all shades of blue and black; there were warnings and statements of triumph–not one message said, “it’s not so bad…” (which is, of course, the message I was always looking for).

Room at the Inn

May 20th, 2012 § Comments Off on Room at the Inn § permalink

I would never plan to arrive in a foreign country in the wee hours after midnight, find a cab to drive around dark, quiet streets (somewhat lost) for an hour to a hotel that was not expecting arrivals at 2:00 a.m., and for which we did not have a reservation. But that’s exactly what we did!

I wasn’t thinking everything through when I reserved our room in Lima, and just entered our arrival date into the online form for the hotel. So, our reservation technically started on the right day, but we were way too early for it; I should have reserved the room for our SF departure date, even though we wouldn’t be checking in until after midnight.

Oh well. We’re lucky there was an empty room! And it’s a good thing we’re not hot headed people and were relatively calm when told, “I don’t have a reservation for you.” At 2:00 a.m. In a foreign place.

It’s a very cool artist’s mansion, or “casona,” in the bohemian Barranco neighborhood; the guesthouse is full of art and there’s a sculpture garden that wraps around the building. Our room overlooks the ocean from our position on a cliff.

The sky is Lima’s winter white layer of fog and atmospheric in a melancholic sort of way. The fog is called “garúa” and Herman Melville commented on it in Moby Dick as, “the strangest, saddest city thou can’st see.”


Preparing for Machu Picchu

March 26th, 2012 § Comments Off on Preparing for Machu Picchu § permalink

…so this weekend we did a 3-hour, 6-mile hike with a 1400 ft altitude gain (and drop) and my legs were super sore the following day. That is a little less strenuous than DAY 1 OF 4 of our upcoming Machu Picchu hike, and it will be at HIGH altitude.  Am I a wee bit nervous? Um, yes. I have 2 months to get a little more confident with my fitness level.

Here’s how the hike will break down:

Day 1:
Elevation gain: 1312 feet
Distance: approx 7.5 miles
Approx walking time: 5.5 hours

Day 2:
Elevation gain: 1640 feet
Distance: approx 7 miles
Approx walking time: 7.5 hours

Day 3:
Elevation gain: -2788 feet (with ups and downs)
Distance: approx 10 miles
Approx walking time: 8 hours

Day 4:
Elevation gain: -820 feet (with ups and downs)
Distance: approx 3.5 miles
Approx walking time: 2.5 hours