Published: July 17th 2009July 6th 2009
Co-authored by Seth and Gali: Seth: The plan was simple: Day 1:
Leave Cusco and Mountain bike (downhill) for 4 hours. Day 2:
Hike in the morning through the jungle along the Inca Trail, then white water raft on class 2 and 3 rapids followed by lunch. After lunch, class 4+ rapids. Day 3:
Hike Day 4:
Hike up to Machu Pichu and spend the day there.
Reality for Seth and Gali: Day 0:
At the hostel, they provide heavy wooden chests for us to keep our belongings in. They have metals clasps on them so they can be locked. Gali's came crashing down on her head, specifically the metal clasp attached to the heavy wooden door. We didn't think much of it at the time. That night, she didn't sleep much and we didn't know if it was because of the two people having sex on the bunk bed below her (confrontation followed) or because of the head injury. Day 1:
The next morning we began our Machu Pichu trek. Gali had a headache and again we didn't think much of
it because she had gotten hit in the head. We started by driving to the top of a mountain (Over 4000 meters above sea level) and began mountain biking down it. Gali:
The altitude plus the helmet irritated my bump to the point that i thought someone was hammering my head in. That is when I started thinking, Gali you are an idiot, you had head trauma and you didn't check it out. So Seth and I got into the van and they drove us to the nearest phone which can call long distance. We were amidst mountains and the jungle, so it took awhile to find one. We called my brother Ami, who said that 99.9% you are ok, but for the 0.1% chance you aren't, being in ruchusville is DUMB, and he wanted me to get a CAT scan.
We got on a local bus at 3:30pm. On our way, we pass Dani, the driver lets me get off the bus where I quickly explain to her that we are heading back to get Gali's head checked out.
The bus ride is uneventful and long. We drive all the way back up the
mountain, starting in the valley and ending in the clouds. We then go down the other side and continue on to Cusco where we arrive at 9:00pm.
When we get off the bus, we try and find an official taxi but can't so we go into a pharmacy to call one. The women there was extremely helpful and concerned. We took a taxi into the center with the intention of going to a hotel to find out which hospital to go to. (English speaking and the most reliable) Instead of going to a hotel, we go to Lucho's office, the owner and operator of a rafting company whom we met and trusted. He advised us of where to go and came with us to the medical clinic to make sure everything was ok.
We went to Salud Medical Assistance. The clinic was clean and the nurses and doctors were educated and reliable. They began by taking Gali's vitals and did an examination. We then took an ¨ambulance¨ to another building where there was a cat-scan machine in the basement. It kind of felt like being in a horror movie since it was the two of us, the technician
and the ambulance driver in this dark and cold basement. Luckily, both the technician and driver were very friendly and again were reliable.
After the scan, we returned to the clinic where the neurologist met us. He performed a more thorough exam and checked the scan. Everything pointed to Gali being in perfect health besides a headache from the injury. The Dr. suggested rest and that everything should be ok, if she started vomiting or becoming noxious then we should call the clinic.
After leaving the clinic, we picked up our bags from the hostel which were in storage for the duration of our trek and tried to find a hotel. After trying four, we ended up at Sonesta Posadas del Inka. Our next mission was food since we hadn't eaten since breakfast. The only problem is that it is hard for a vegetarian to find food in Cusco at 2:30am. Finally, we found a falafel place where Gali had 2 delicious falafels. Then it was back to the hotel and bed time. Day 2:
Today we took it very easy staying in the room until 4pm (except going downstairs for breakfast). This meant lots of
Behind the snow capped mountain is where our bike ride begun. It finished in the jungle below.
TV and ROOM SERVICE!!! (YUMMY!!!). At around 4ish, after Gali was feeling much better we went to our trip agency to find a way to meet the group so we could all go to Machu Pichu.
After getting over the language barrier (an hour and half later) the new plan was to leave Cusco at 9am the next day on a bus to Ollantaytambo. From there, take the train to Cusco.
We then went back to the hotel room, rested and picked up some dinner. Day 3:
The events for today start very early but the end result is NO MACHU PICHU
. Gali was up all night throwing up so we called the clinic as instructed by the neurologist. The Dr came and examined her saying that it wasn't related to her head but that she has stomach poisoning. Needing a blood test to confirm whether it was a bacterial infection we returned to the clinic in an ambulance for the 3rd time in a day so they could do a blood panel.
And.... the panel came back..... (drum roll please).... Positive! Gali has salmonella. Since she was up all night vomiting and diarrhea, they
started her treatment of ciproflaxen by IV.
But don't worry, the adventure doesn't end here!
After being on cipro and solution for hours, they took a stool sample to see how the infection was going.
And.... the results.... (drum roll once again please).... WOOHOO! Gali also has a parasite!!!
Isn't it fun? They said that it was an acute infection and pretty severe so we stayed in the hospital over night. Since Gali had not vomited since 5am, the Dr. said she could take the parasite killing pills before bed. Sweet!
1 down, 1 to go!
The next morning, after being re-hydrated and not having dhiarea for over 16 hours, Gali was discharged! FREEDOM!!!!
After analyzing what Gali had eaten, we narrowed it down to the salad from the hotel restaurant or the falafel. More likely the salad because I had some of the falafel.
We spoke with the hotel manager who was sincerely apologetic. She gave us the night we stayed at the hospital for free and paid for the next night at a different hotel (since they were full) including a late check-out since our flight back to Arequipa was
Seth, Gali, Dani
at 2pm. They also paid for all the room service we had ordered. Gali:
This was quite an experience, I am now on a bland food diet. You know the drill, carbs, toast, soup, all the non yummy no fat blah blah blah, I guess this is a good way to jump start a diet... lol (If you know me, you were waiting for me to say that, weren't you....) Seth:
An adventure this was! Even though we missed Machu Pichu, we made the best of this experience and have many new things to joke about. Our spirits are high and we are looking forward to the last two weeks of our trip!
There are more photos below