In Peru: Thursday

We woke up early for a ride back to the airport, not too bad. My head just pierces out the window taking in the quick sites of Lima. This city is massive. People say it takes 4 hours to cross. We have an American breakfast at the airport (yum) then hop on board our 19 passenger twin engine for the mountains. Once we arrived in Huaraz I could tell that I was not at sea level, instant light-handedness. These mountains are massive, like 20,000 feet above sea level massive. Very imposing, yet majestic. We hopped a taxi into the city. On the road in we saw lots of the Peruvian mountain people walking on the street. We got to our guest house, settled into our rooms then headed out to the market. This is where my experience started taking a turn. When we first got out of the vehicle I instantly noticed the overwhelming smells. Burning wood, food, sewage, exhaust form buses. At this point I’m starting sensory overload. The market was amazing. Just walking shoulder to shoulder to the people of Peru was incredible. I guess they don’t see too many 6’4 bald headed, bearded guys around here. I constantly had people stop and stare at me. One time an elderly gentleman form the higher elevations (they have a certain look) stopped me took my hand and said “Ahhh, gringo! Big!” We went on to eat at a Peruvian restaurant. Not bad. They gave us all these skewers with beef on them. Pretty good, until I realized they were cow hearts. Then all of a sudden the taste wasn’t so good. Finished my meal of chicken and rice and we were off to go into higher elevations. Remember the sensory overload thing? Well the higher we would drive in elevation, the worse I would feel. Headache banging, stomach churning, things weren’t good, I know my face had to be green. We got to an elevation of about 11,500 feet and stopped for awhile. The little villages in these higher elevations are fascinating. The people are so nice and the air is fresh (but hard to breath!) We made our way back into the city of Huaraz I got out of the vehicle ran up stairs and blew chunks for the first time since 1993! I got altitude sickness. What a long miserable night. Tossing, turning, pounding head ache and oh yeah, the nausea and puking. Hopefully I won’t die, I prayed.

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