April 2017 – Monthly Recap. Last Days in South America

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April 2017 - Monthly Recap

Incredibly, I’m keeping up with this series! This is the third chapter even though we are in the 4th month (I missed February, but I’ll backdate it as soon as possible – got to dive into travel notes). Here we are, with the April 2017 – Monthly Recap!

So, just came back from the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, I decided with my friend Domenico (I met him at the bus terminal in Cusco a dull morning, waiting for the sun to rise) to visit the Inca ruins of Choquequirao. Choquequirao is actually the unknown sister of Machu Picchu, but it gets less than 30 visitors per day instead of the 2500-3000 of the most famous Machu Picchu. There must be a reason, right? Well, Choquequirao is pretty far from civilization. Precisely, minimum two days of trekking through the Apurimac valley – the sultriest place I have ever been to. The toil is rewarded with a fantastic Incan ruin complex and a spectacular view of the neighboring valleys. I sincerely suggest to give it a visit before a cable car will be built, for the tourist to reach the site more conveniently.

After 4 days of trekking, I was completely fucked up. My hand was swollen like a balloon for mosquito bites (the insect repellent didn’t work so well). I was tired. Nevertheless, I recharged the batteries (mine and those of the camera) and after one day in Cusco, I left to visit the sacred valley. Pisaq, Ollantaytambo and the impressive ruins of Moray. Being on a dime – last two weeks of my South American trip – I enjoyed the atmosphere of the markets and I had to arrange the transport by myself – which meant being loaded in the car trunk for a colectivo ride.

In a car trunk

Loaded in the car trunk in a colectivo. Fortunately, it wasn’t too long.

I then started my long trip to catch the plane back to Italy, from Santiago. First Cusco – Arequipa, then Arequipa – Tacna, then Tacna – Arica. Here I stopped for the night. For dinner, I went in the main street and grabbed and hamburger in what it looked like a fancy place, surely one of the kind I didn’t go into in months. I went back to the hostel and I read before going to sleep. During the night I woke up many times – I didn’t digest very well. I had to go to the bathroom continuously (I save the details) with no chance to sleep again. My stomach was churning.

In the morning I felt like a ghost. I asked for a lemon to squeeze in hot water. It didn’t work and I kept puking as I never did before. I do not get sick very often and when I do, it’s for minor things. A flu, a cold, a couple of days of uneasiness and that’s it. I got very worried as I never vomited gastric juices before, and thoughts like ‘Oh shit I have to go to the hospital’ and ‘Will I come back this time?’ and ‘Now I faint’ started popping into my head. Julia, a German girl, gave me some pills and salts to drink – it didn’t work either.

Worst hamburger ever

The indicted hamburger. Looking and tasting sneakily good.

Massimiliano, an Italian guy volunteering in the hostel, gave me another roll of toilet paper. He also called his mom to ask what to do, as I didn’t want to call mine. It ended up nobody had probiotics, likely the most useful medicine in this situation.

Thus, gathering all my energies, I picked my heavy bags and I took a colectivo to the terminal. I also had a go in a pharmacy, my last card to play. Three boxes of medicines and two liters of Gatorade, that was the content of my bag when I did come back to catch the bus. At least diarrhea stopped. Can you imagine 27 hours of bus with diarrhea? Holy.

As soon as I arrived in Santiago I caught a shuttle to the airport. There I slept the night and went around in the morning. Finally, I took the plane and arrived safe and sound in Italy.

I will keep the thoughts of these three months around South America for another post.

Just a few days after my return I left again to spend some days with my girlfriend in the very South of France, walking and taking the first bath of the year (in Europe).

I then established a new routine to follow before leaving again. including different sessions and one main task. Indeed I dove head first in programming, starting with HTML, CSS, and Javascript. I decided to do this for several reasons. First of all, to ensure in few months a little income to pay for my travels.

I’m soon leaving again, I have already some tickets!

Place of the month: Choquequirao

Book of the month: Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time, by Mark Adams

See you at the end of May for another Chapter!

Stefano