December 9th, 2009

wayfaring wordhack

I did say "if all goes to plan"

Last night, over supper, I told Julien that I was ready for this morning to roll around so that we could be on our way to our trekking adventure. I had a nervous feeling in my stomach that something was going to go amiss. Having been scammed by a guide before* and just having dealt with the &*^%$! moneychanger, I guess that apprehension could be considered normal.

However, trouble didn't come in the form of our guide (who was 15 minutes late this morning, so don't you know the suspicions were aroused!); it came from Montezuma's Revenge (food poisoning for Julien and diarrhea and early morning puking for me). Julien went to bed not feeling so great. He woke up about an hour later with chills and a fever, just after I had booked our non-refundable plane tickets to La Paz.**

The plane tickets weren't really that big a deal, but add them to our trek, which we already paid for, and we are out a pretty penny. I didn't burden Julien with the plane business, but he still worried about missing the trek this morning. He didn't need to be doing that with his fever, but like me, he could stop the worries. I watched over him while he fitfully dozed, catching a total of 30 minutes sleep myself.

When he vomited, I felt relief that it was most likely food that didn't agree with him rather than the H1N1 flu. But we've shared all of our dishes, and I wasn't sick to the same degree and didn't have a fever. He vomited again about an hour later, but he was still hot to the touch.*** I kept checking the time, wondering when it would be okay to try to call a doctor. My Spanish being so limited, it was a real dilemma.

This morning, he felt a bit better, but there was no way, after being ill and spending a sleepless night, that we were up for 5 hours of biking, albeit downhill, followed by two days of hiking through the jungle.

We went to our appt with our guide to tell him we had to cancel, and surprise, he wasn't there. As I mentioned, someone did show up but over 15 minutes late. The guy told us we probably won't get any money back, but we still have supper and one night in a hostel in Aguas Calientes (otherwise known as Machu Picchu village), our tickets to see Machu Picchu on Saturday and the train/bus fare back to Cusco. All is not lost; just a big chunk of it. We also have the joy of coordinating our late arrival in Aguas Calientes with the group that just left, as well as having to re-book the plane to Bolivia.

Joy. All we've done in Cusco is waste our time on such things.

Sometimes traveling is fun; sometimes it... I'll let you complete the rest of that.


* I know I meant to post about this after our Madagascar trip, but I never wanted to dig into all the rage and disappointment again. Long story short, we paid a guide 2/3 of our tour fee, and he never showed up. Julien worked with the local police and caught him, but we never got our money back. Well, we did get back about a 1/3 of it. The whole experience really colored our view of Madagascar, but, on the brighter side, it did make us more wary and world-wise, and gave us a truer picture of the island.

**Found out this morning there was a problem with my reservation, and the company cancelled it. That's all good, but we still have to go book it again.

***Our thermometer mysteriously went missing from our first-aid kit along with some of medicines, most notably our intestinal infection pills...
wayfaring wordhack

House, er, Hostal Call

Just before lunch time, Julien’s medication wore off and he was seized by chills again. The very kind hotel staff at San Blas Hostal let me make him a soup and, at my request, called a doctor to come check on him. We had planned to go to the clinic, but it was raining the proverbial cats and dogs, and I just couldn’t see J having to go out in that, endure a taxi ride, and then wait only the saints know how long until a doctor finally got around to seeing him.

Doctor’s verdict: The flu. The normal, seasonal kind, but one that is coupled with a gastrointestinal infection.

In regards to my case, he says the diarrhea’s cause is likely parasitic to have lasted so long, and he prescribed me meds, too.

We’re hoping that Julien will kick his fever enough to allow us to go to Machu Picchu. It may seem a frivolous thing, but I ask, if you’re willing, that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

As kmkibble75 said in comment to my last post, we must have wronged Peru somehow for all this to be befalling us here. *sigh*
wayfaring wordhack

Peru: Pharmacies. This is me...hallucinating

In Peru, one must haggle. That’s easy enough for my Frenchified American mind to wrap itself around. When it comes to taxis, in markets, when dealing with tour operators. It’s a little harder when it comes to stores and specifically pharmacies. And yet, haggle you may.

Yesterday, we were trying to buy some meds to combat my diarrhea because, well, 8 days is too long to be putting up with that. However, we only had a little more than 20 soles on us. The pharmacists said that the price was 48NS. Disappointed, we asked if there wasn’t another brand. He didn’t have one, but he offered to lower the price to 45NS. And so on and so forth until he was trying to sell me only three days worth of pills for 25NS.

We found the same product in a pharmacy a few blocks away for only 28NS for the whole box, which we took without trying to haggle.

Today, after the doc’s visit, I went back to that cheaper pharmacy. On a whim, I divided my money when the pharmacist wasn’t looking. When she announced the total (145NS), I pulled out the wad that had the closest amount to what she was asking, 130NS. I made a show of patting myself and reaching into my other pockets and coming up empty.

“Please, senora, is it possible...?” I asked, waving helplessly at the money I had fanned out on the counter. I counted it again in front of her.

She looked at it, glanced at the pill packets, face scrunched in calculation, and nodded.

Bam, 15 soles ($5 US) off the asked the price.

What the heck?