Cusco is around 12,000 ft high, so it wasn't surprising that somebody would become ill. I was dealing with an on-and-off again throbbing headache. John, the Aussie, was very sick during the night at the homestay in Lake Titicaca. (Probably the worst place to be ill, as there was no electricity, and an outdoor toilet that lacked plumbing). In Cusco, C had the 'mountain sickness'. Altitude sickness can occur at heights more than 8,000 ft. It was definitely coming on the past few days because she complained of feeling dizzy. It hit a peak yesterday when we were out during the afternoon. C felt nauseous and by the time we returned to the hotel she was ill. Unfortunately, she spent the night in Cusco in bed and in the baño, while I wandered the narrow, winding streets and then dined with John and Allistar, the Scotch kid.
After two days in Cusco, we packed up yet again and headed out. I cycled 24 k after brekkie, even though I skipped the steep hill at the start and instead began on a 1% grade hill. I was definitely huffing and puffing due to the altitude.
We cycled into Pisac and then wandered the artisanal mercado. I picked up some gifts for friends. We dined as group in a cute cafe next to the market. After lunch I cycled 45 k.
Sadly, my partner and cycling pal, C wasn't able to ride that afternoon. Instead she took easy and napped in the van. She started taking the Diamox and ibuprofen to alleviate the sickness.
For most of the day I cycled at my own pace, and was alone. The Kiwis were far enough ahead of me that I couldn't see them and John and Louise behind me. Riding alone, I reflected on my life and what's importantly me. It's funny how unimportant some things are on the road, that I put too much weight on when I am home.
My anxiety doesn't bother me whilst I'm cycling. I'm focused on my legs moving the pedals, looking around at the scenery, being aware of stray dogs that chase bicyclists, or cars driving too fast and too close, looking at my immediate surroundings, dangers, beauty. Sometimes I just listen to my breath.
We cycled through guinea pig village- where I had roasted guinea pig on stick waved in my face more times than I could count. Guinea pig, or cuy, is a delicacy in Peru. I haven't screwed up the courage to sample it.
There's a public schoolteacher strike in the Cusco region. The teachers want to negotiate for better conditions and pay. Consequently, they dump piles of rocks and even boulders onto the roads to cause traffic delays and gain attention. Obviously cars cannot pass with the rocks blocking the roads, so the roads are shutdown.
It seems after conversion calculations, I've cycled 48 miles on this day!
Hi, I'm Reverend J, a queer+ sober wanderer, activist, writer and ordained minister.