May 11th, 2018
My travel diaries can be seen on Youtube:
Part I Amazon Rainforest - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODle-BrfVfg&t=7s
Part II Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0CgzuA7EGc&t=3s
Peru has been an interesting adventure. A type of adventure that I have never been on before - an adventure that I never could have imagined would have been possible a couple of years ago. I feel as if I am a continued work in progress because achieving perfection is almost nearly impossible. Traveling has allowed my mind to expand and grow. Peru was surely a very different trip than Thailand, and not only because I traveled with a female friend, but because of how free I felt.
The moment we had arrived in Lima on April 18, a Wednesday evening, I had already felt different energy compared to when I first arrived to Thailand. The energy felt refreshing and I felt a sense of renewal/emergence. It is a bit difficult to describe such an interesting energy surge. We were picked up by our transportation from the airport and off we went towards our hotel which was about a 45 minutes drive. The traffic was what I expected - congested and a bit insane, I mean it is the capital and a city. We had chosen the hotel that our tour would start with, but we had just decided to arrive a day earlier because we wanted to explore a little on our own first and wanted to consider any possible flight issues that we might have encountered. Our adventure pretty much started this day and I had no idea that this adventure would be what it turned out to be.
The next day we went on a journey to look for a Peruvian SIM card for my phone. Along the way, we went through different markets and pretty much were exploring Lima on our own. I could say is that almost everyone that we had met locally had been very nice and welcoming. We had met and ended up striking a conversation with a local salesman next to us during lunch. He had given us tips regarding a bar near the coast to check out and even directions. As the day started to wind down, we had to meet our group for our first group meeting. We were introduced to our chief experience officer (CEO), Harold Zevallos. Our group was pretty interesting, mostly couples, a pair of sisters, and a three member group which we called the Luises since it comprised of Grandpa Luis, Papa Luis, and young Luis. The following day started our jungle adventure.
We woke up early the next morning, April 20, to head towards the airport in order to start our adventure into the Amazon Rainforest. Our first stop was into Puerto Maldonado (a.k.a. “Hell”) where we had to repack our stuff into a smaller duffle bag and leave our bigger luggage before heading into the Rainforest. Proceeded was a 2 hours bus ride before getting onto the boat to the Rainforest. The bus ride was interesting since we were exposed to the local living of the locals in villages and even squatters. Once we arrived to the dock, we sprayed on our mosquito repellent and got on our motorized canoe to begin our jungle adventure. There we were, down the river of the Amazon. The breeze was amazing and the boat ride felt real nice after a flight and a long bus ride. We were on the lookout with our expert guides, Delford and Rafael, for animals native to the Amazon. We finally reached our destination where we were staying in a G adventure lodge where we had bungalows. The humidity and heat was real in the Rainforest, and the mosquitoes were monsters. We explored the lodge a bit, had dinner, and went of into the night to play a hunting game hunting for night creatures.
This hunting game was interesting and really made me take a step out of my comfort zone because I do have a fear of the dark, of the night. I think a lot of it has to do with the idea that it is the unknown to me. I like nature, but spiders are not my thing - especially at night... Too many creepy crawlers! At the end of the game, we were to do a sort of hide-and-seek game as well. This game involved each one of us standing in a spot in the dark for 10 minutes while one person collects all of us. This felt incredibly uncomfortable to me, to stand in the middle of the dark in complete darkness alone for 10 minutes. However, after the first couple of minutes I started to feel comfortable with the sounds around me. I knew nothing was going to happen but to allow myself to be okay with not knowing, seeing, or feeling anything was really difficult. We further continued our adventure the next couple of days by exploring parts of the jungle, learning about different medicinal uses of local plants, different animals and bugs, and overall learning about how people lived in the forest. We gained so much wealth of knowledge from our guides Delford and Rafael.
On to Cusco we went after our jungle adventure. Cusco has some intense altitude because of it’s elevation, so I was a bit nervous. But I actually felt okay, just a little anxious and my heart was racing a bit more. I fell in love with Cusco. The energy I felt when I was in Cusco was amazing. A sense of love and aw. However, I started to feel sick the next day and I’m not sure if it was a combination of altitude and a stomach bug. But let’s just say that the morning was terrible, but it did get a little better. We made our trek to check out some ruins with our local expert, Marco, and were off to Urubamba and Ollantaytambo for some ruins and Sacred Valley adventures. I absolutely felt the intense energy from the Sacred Valley. Everything about this day was awesome, you just have to experience it yourself. I did start to feel a bit sick as the day went on but I tried to fight through it. I had asked Harold if he could take me to the pharmacy to get some drugs because I was not feeling great. As always, Harold was awesome and made sure I got everything I needed. Later that night, we arrived at our villa in Ollantaytambo and man was I sick for the rest of the night. As in, diarrhea all night. I woke up the next morning lightheaded, dizzy, and with blurry vision. I’m a nurse but I was incapable of being one to myself at this moment. I had texted Harold about my problems and he came to my room to discuss my problems because it was also the first day of the Lares Trek and I was debating hardcore whether I should go on it or not. After much deliberation and some medications, I decided to try day 1 as day 2 had an option to turn back around.
Onwards to the 3 hour bus ride to Lares Town, but not before stopping at a local market to pick up a couple of things and food to give out to the locals we would run into on the trek, man I was feeling like shit at this point. I was quiet as hell and pale in the skin. Harold had made sure to give our Lares Trek guide Sergio a report about what was going on with me though. However, I felt like the other guide, Isao, was the one that mainly took care of me. He had asked me if I was okay because I was quiet, and moving real slow and I guess I didn’t look well? So he helped me get some medications at the pharmacy and he offered to keep my medicine with him so I wouldn’t have to lug it around – what a sweetie. On to the hike.. I told myself if I could do this hike while sick, I can fucking do anything. I am a pretty fit person and I do hike, but being sick like that was terrible. I was so slow, in the back, with Isao. He offered to carry my daypack for me as well. The hike was pretty much 4 hours which I know would be doable for me if I wasn’t sick as I was. I couldn’t even eat during any of the meals and taking down soup was the hardest thing ever. I thought I was feeling better by the time we reached camp, but I was still miserable and did not sleep that night. Camping up in the damn Andes, shitting my life, and nauseated, plus cold…WORSE ever. I told myself I need to survive through this night and tomorrow I will turn back.. Which I did, I know myself, I’m a freakin’ nurse and I like to push my limits but not to risk my body like that. Another girl and her sister decided to turn back with me as well since one of the sisters was feeling sick as well. Trekking back down the hike then catching the local buses to head back into Ollantaytambo was not too bad but I could only imagine if I was sicker...that would have been horrible. The trek down felt more relaxed and I enjoyed the view and appreciated everything around me more. I also cultivated a sense of rapport with Isao.
Fast forward to my recovery before Machu Picchu.. I really wanted to be prepared for Machu Picchu. And I cannot even describe the intense energy and emotional release I experienced when I hiked up to the guard house of Machu Picchu. Everything just made sense. I do not want to go into much detail because I cannot even put it into words. All I can say now is that, I left a piece of myself and heart in Peru. It was a life changer. I found myself in Peru.
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