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Sunday, January 19, 2014

MORE PAIN

NARRATIVE

After traveling from Nazca to Cusco via 14-17 hours with Cruz Del Sur (they're a good bus line) I arrived in Cusco.

Not only had my back and such gone into spasms from the bus, not only was my leg getting worse but now I had altitude sickness.  I didn't realize it before but the city of Cusco is at about ten thousand feet.  Don't jets normally cruise with their pressurized cabins at that altitude?  The symptoms I was experiencing included dizziness, disorientation, nausea and a growing hatred of Peru. 

I was fucked.

After staggering off the bus, talking with some tourists who were leaving to find out a good place to stay (and I did - being social can pay off) I tried to eat some food.  Nausea trumped hunger.  Off to the doctors.

Like all doctors they wanted to run a bunch of tests on me.  As 'medical tourism' will become more and more of a thing as the USA gets more and more out of control, here are the tests and the costs.  Note I think they were giving me a very good deal because I don't have travel insurance and was having a nice time chatting to the doctors who spoke excellent English.

Blood test.  Cost, 70 sols ($25).  Results back within a half an hour.  Everything looked fine on it - which impressed me as I've brutalized my kidneys for years.

Chest xray.  Cost, 70 sols ($25).  My heart was slightly enlarged due to high blood pressure making it work overly hard.  Not life threatening but certainly need to get that blood pressure down.

EKG.  Cost, free.  Nothing showed on that.

Doctor exam.  Normally, they charge 80 sols but kindly did it for free.

Medicines (various).  Cost, 20 sols ($7), including a drip they wired up to me.


Not sure if my blood pressure is going down but I'm stuck here till Sunday to find out.  The one thing the doctor said that really stuck in my head:  "Sometimes, the high elevation of Peru causes problems for people with high blood pressure."  I took this as "Peru is trying to kill you, bitch, and may do it.  Escape while you can."

All of these treatments were done at "Macsalute", a private clinic across the street from the amazingly crowded 'national regional hospital'.  A big thanks to them and I will write a Sunday followup.



THE LOCK INCIDENT

My room has an external lock with a large, crappy lock.  There is an inner door that can have another lock.  Since the security here isn't especially tight I broke out one of the locks I carry everywhere and locked that puppy up tight.

Then I noticed my bag I carry everywhere wasn't on me.  It had the keys for the lock within.

Well, shit.

I figured this wasn't the first time this had ever happened and owning a bolt cutter - or at least a hacksaw should be mandatory for all hostels.

Naturally, they didn't have anything like that.

After some time went by of the locals discovering how much tougher locks made in the USA are than the crap you can buy overseas and breaking some rocks on them they told me they would get a workman and it would be one, maybe two hours.

In this part of the world, that gives three possibilities:

1.  Nobody would ever show up and I would never see my stuff again.  The room would become a kind of memorial to Logan and never be used again.  In the year 3062, someone would find a way in, possibly through a wall while digging for archaeological treasures.

2.  They would end up tearing off the door and possibly breaking several nearby windows.  Since this is my fault, I would be charged the cost of the entire hostel.

3.  The workman would bring no tools or the wrong ones.  When they eventually showed up with the right tools, I would be charged for several visits of the workman and end up putting all of the children he and his wife can pump out through college.

Instead, I told them "I'll take care of it."

This brought looks of mild astonishment as though they'd never considered a non-Spanish speaking gringo could figure out how to remove a lock.  It's probably best I didn't have lockpicks handy and just pick it.  That would have probably brought the police to deport me to a country where I'd have to pay the 'reciprocal fees'.

After interrogating several unsuspecting locals I found out the name for what I wanted, the district it was in and the word I suspect means something like 'hardware store'.

While there, I picked up a new lock as well.

After sawing off the old one, I then sold the hacksaw to the hostel owner.  She may have bought it just to get it out off my hands.

Holding up a hacksaw and laughing manically does that.



DOCTOR FOLLOW UP

Went back to the doctor.  He said I am getting better but honestly, I can't see it.  I think getting the hell out of this altitude may help a lot.  He prescribed yet more medicines for me to take and said I should get my blood pressure taken in Lima.

Personally, I can't wait till I no longer have medical shit to write about.



WINE

A friendly tout had been trying to get me to go into his restaurant for a couple of days.  I finally went - mainly because it was close to the hostel and the weather was shit.  It's the kind of place with cloth tablecloths.

I resisted the waiters attempt to up sell me and just went with the ravioli.  He asked "Would you like some Peruvian wine with your meal?"

"Do I look like the kind of person that drinks wine?"  Note, I am dressed pretty poorly with my sweater and wrap pants on.

"Yes." he replied.

So I looked at the wine list.  He sold me a small bottle (300ml) of wine (25 sols).

You should have seen his expression when I smelled then tested the cork, checked the wine for 'legs' and sentiment and chewed the initial taste.  Yes, Logan knows how to taste wine.

Weird, I know.



COSTS

Taxi, pretty much anywhere, about 5 sols.
Hacksaw, 20 sols.
Good meal at the Irish pub which tastes so much better than any local food I've come across, 20 sols with coca tea.
Beer at Irish place, 10-15 sols (expensive).
Peruvian wine at a 'fine dining' establishment, 25 sols.
Ravioli, 16 sols.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster

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