It’s been a strange few days – first of all a very long trip, which whilst with dramas went ok and then arrival in a foreign city. I’m not really sure what to think about it all to be honest.
The first two flights were fine – I got to Madrid on the two BA aeroplanes very easily. Although tired I knew I needed to check-in for the next flight – I had two hours and I couldn’t for the life of me fathom out where I needed to do. I was told by the information desk I needed to go through passport control upstairs, then go downstairs to the LAN check-in desk. The problem was, upstairs wouldn’t let me throughout a boarding pass. Eventually a helpful man from Iberia checked me in (after a few awkward questions of “you have no return ticket”), I went through passport control, rounded the corner to be in front of the passport control again. The passport control was literally in the middle of no-where and served no purpose.
Arriving in Lima I wandered straight though customs & immigration and went to the check-in desk for the next flight. I had been told that my bag was checked straight through to Cusco up it wasn’t, myself and a fair few others had to fight our way back into the airport to collect luggage to get it checked in again! Fun times.
Still, as dramas go, they aren’t huge and my ruck-sack and I made it to Cusco.
My first day in Cusco wasn’t exactly brilliant. I was very tired have a sore throat and the altitude was making it hard to move around without feeling dizzy. I did venture into town and had a look at the main plaza, grabbed something to eat somewhere which looked reasonable and then went wandering. I’d even been speaking in Spanish here and whilst struggled, seem to be getting by. About 20minutes after leaving the cafe, my stomach started to grumble and I had to make a mad dash back to the Hostal. Not ideal when you’ve decided to take a different route back, have an reasonable idea where you are, but aren’t confident in that knowledge in terms of getting back in time, can’t breathe… I made it back in time and ended up going to bed at 20:00 (although couldn’t get to sleep until well after 2200) and had to avoid the Hostal bar – I just couldn’t stay awake nor feel well enough to socalise. This was to be expected, but still disappointing!
Today was much of the same, I woke feeling lousy at 0200, had breakfast at 0800 after cat-napping for 6 hours. Read the guidebook I’d bought and wandered back into town around 1000 ish. I popped into Peru Treks to pay my monies and signed up for the trek and then spent the day sauntering about. I sat for a while reading the guidebook in the central square and wandered some more before getting something to eat for lunch.
I choked on the food. I literally was choking and assume was going blue in the face.
The meat was so stringy and unpleasant the second piece got stuck in my throat and I had to thump myself in the chest and drink water to dislodge it. Suffice to say, I didn’t finish the “sandwich”! To my shame, given I was hungry, feeling quite ill, had just had a bad experience I decided to “play safe”. I went to McDonalds. It did fill the hole though! I sat in the square for a bit before popping into an Irish bar where I enjoyed a pint read a book for a couple of hours. Woo, what a way to go, lets experience the culture!
This is not how it’s meant to be!
I don’t know. Maybe every solo traveller has the pangs of “holy moly” on their first ever trip and no-ones first few days go to plan. Maybe it’s worse for me given I’m older than most when trying this out so am a bit more expectant. Maybe I checked into the wrong Hostal (it’s mostly couples here). Maybe it’s the travelling, poorliness, lack of sleep and the massive come down after 4months of stress… Maybe it’s just me having to overcome a lifetimes worth of fears and anxiety’s.
I’m trying very hard not to be too hard on myself – I’ve only been here for two days for-petes-sake – but it’s hard too remain positive at this stage! Tomorrow I’m going to try something a little more adventurous by visiting a site in the Sacred valley. I seem coping better with the altitude so will go from there.
Edit: And Just like that…
Sometimes it’s the simple things isn’t it. After jotting down this post, firing off an email or two, I opened up a copy of the Lonely Planet Peru guide that I have on my laptop to see if it offered an alternative look at Cusco. It does. It has lists of itineraries, most importantly for me is the 1 day walking guide in which it gives you a good tour of the city and it’s major sites. I saw most of them today, but had no idea what I was looking at and similarly was walking round rather than following a plan as such felt a little disjointed / lost.
I do have the Footprint guidebook and its reasonable, but it’s missing these itineraries, which when you’re not sure where you’re going what to do, will be invaluable!
Tomorrow’s task? Get a copy of Lonely Planet’s Peru guidebook. And start exploring properly, tomorrow is already looking brighter!
n/b as I said in the first post, this is blog is designed as both a diary and a method to let the folks back home know what I’m up to. I appreciate it sounds pathetic but I felt that tonight that I needed to write this down, get the knot in my stomach of “this is how I’m feeling and I need to do something about it” so that I can move forward!
I keep repeating the leaving comments made by a friend – always put your best foot forward into the difficulties you face – I’m trying!