Chivay - the reason i packed my down jacket becomes very clear

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South America » Peru » Arequipa » Chivay
June 2nd 2016
Published: January 9th 2017
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Today up 415 for a 5 am departure. The hotel packed us a small breakfast with a sandwich fruit water bottle and biscuits.

Had a nap on the bus before our first stop where we ate. We were warned it was cold. It was more the cold it was freezing. I wore a tank, long sleeve Tshirt, fleece and my down jacket and it was still horrifically cold. Everyone went crazy buying beanies, scarves, gloves, socks and leg warmers from a lady who had a stall set up. As we were there super early only one was open and got all the business. One other poor lady was still trying to set up when we left so missed a lot of sales.

We tried Inca Tea which helps with the altitude. I wasn't going to buy anything but it was so cold I caved and got socks gloves and a beanie all for 45 sole - about 18 aussie dollars.

When we left there we stopped at a pen for llama and alpacas for photos. The guides told us not to give money to people in town as they will buy alcohol
etc but to give it to farmers if we wanted to as they need it to look after their flocks their flocks are everything to them etc so the money always goes into the land and the animals. I gave the farmer 2 sole.

I didn't realise almost everyone bought coca leaves our first stop and so they showed them how to chew them on the bus. Our next stop was at Mirador de Patapampa lookout - the highest point on tour at 4910 so I was a bit worried considering I the only one who hasn't been chewing on leaves. When we arrived a lady had passed out from the altitude. Little bit scary. However I appear to have been fine. No headache or dizziness just a little shortness of breath. I choose not to take Diamox to see how I go and so far it's ok so I am a little torn to take it or not as if I do my Diamox symptoms may end up worse.

The the viewpoint there are 3 volcanoes one still active and was smoking so that was pretty cool. It was cold but although higher
was not as cold as the first place we stopped. It was a really beautiful look out. I am so glad I brought my down jacket despite advise from everyone saying I wont need it.

It was about another 40 minute drive down a windy road till we got to Chivay. Our driver dropped us about a block away from our accommodation as due to roadwork could not drive all the way through. Here according to the trip notes no single supplement rooms so I was expecting to share however I still was given my own room so pretty happy about that. The altitude has not gotten to me however I have a head cold and the sinus is driving me mad.

The room is freezing however it feels like sitting in a cool room. It is currently much warmer outside.

We had half an hour to settle and then met our local guide for a walking tour. It turned out not quite what we bargained for. He took us to the markets and explained some fruits and walked through the city which is pretty much what we expected. He explained
the differences between alpaca and llama and how to tell what wool is real or blended. However next he took up on a training walk which took us from 3200 to 3900 up a hill to a viewpoint. Most of us didn't have hiking boots on (myself included) and carried handbags. Some didn't have water. We walked up and I was so short of breath. It wasn't hard but felt so unfit - probably a combination of both altitude and general unfitness. Pretty views up the top. We came back down and then they took us to a buffet for lunch to try many different foods for 30 sole. I ate pretty much everything some really nice some not so much however I don't actually know what anything was so no idea what I loved and what I hated. Stuffed myself there (my appetite came back as everyone else lost theirs – a fair few of the group didn't come to lunch). Here the altitude is affecting a lot of the group.

Following lunch I returned to hotel and I climbed into bed thermals jackets and all and napped for a bit. I was too cold to
move or get up.

Our meeting was 630 again - not full numbers showed. Tomorrow was explained and then only 8 of us felt up for dinner. We were told to eat light but I was hungry but did what I was told and only had a soup. I did suffer from food envy when later notice the guide and all his end of table ate soup and either a sand which or omelette. Should have done that but its ok I don't think I'll die of starvation overnight on just my soup.

I picked up some oil our local guide today had which helps open the nostrils to take in more air. I guess its sort of like our eucalyptus oil but it smells a little different. I also got some cocoa lollies - just in case. Andreas noticed I looking sick and I said I might try a pharmacist tomorrow. Going to rest up tonight and hope for the best

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