aw cheap cheap flight to Lima Peru for only £525 pounds GBP how could I refuse and Machu Picchu is only 2600m so should be OK Dr was aghast that I should even consider, because its one thing getting altitude sickness with complete lungs and I have had this at 3,800m and also severely at 5,300m snowy dragon mtn but not with only 65% lung capacity and sleep apnia. I thought it would b OK as I had driven up 2,700m in the rockies in August so went ahead and booked But hey then I discover to my horror that to reach Machu Picchu you need to go to Cusco and that 3,400 m and 3 brits died the week before with altitude sickness OOOPs! And two of them were in their 20’s What to do? So here I am in Lima. I originally booked and paid for a flight to Cusco as the bus goes over 4,700m to reach it directly, but I also figure out that arriving suddenly, would create more problems escaping to lower altitude.. The plan now is I’m heading off to Arequiba 2,860m and skipping lake titicaca 3,800m and from there going to Cusco by bus avoiding the 4700m route.
I always wanted my ashes spread over Machu Picchu anyway and remember when telling Alex this he responded who’s paying for the flight to do this? Nnow there is no need. yesterday I went to Bethel here in Lima and toady go to meeting in English. It cost me 4pounds to take taxi to the American embassy near Bethel and around 70 p for a minibus back to town
tomorrow night the bus leaves for overnight to Araquipa and I have a return flight paid for from Cusco to Lima on 26th if I survive
I found a great small cantina (Café Taurus) with cheap dinner at around 2 pounds with large coffee included, a big mac meal here costs more than in UK
also some great music in park with singing and spanish guitars also a 1 hr sight seeing trip around Lima cost 2pounds 50 p but not much else to do here so look forward to moving onto mountains tomorrow
I had a flight prebooked Lima to Cusco to reach machu Picchu but noticed that Cusco sits at 3,400m (not good with only 65% lung capacity) so cancelled flight and decided to go long way around via Aquapila at 2,300m. I’m glad I stayed here two days as I felt a bit light headed at 2,300m once again coca leaves and coca tea held the sway lol , Mach Picchu is 2,600 so all should be well, except no one told me that the bus Aquapilar to Cusco takes you over 4,500m, we started to rise in altitude but I had already taken coca tea and chewed cocal leaves (helps by upping heart rate) as we climbed lack of air woke me up and I was struggling like mad to breathe for over 3 hrs, finally I took some more prednisalone steroids and survived . straight from bus station 2 &1/2 hrs minivan ‘collectivo’ (cost £2.25) to Ollontaytambo where I took the train to Machu Picchu $86 return (if paid in soles). Up at 5am This morning and spent till lunchtime at top. At first I thought I wouldn’t make it but a guide gave me some more Coca leaves to chew and after 10mins I skipped up to the very highest point where the Incas sacrificed humans. FANTASTIC !! I could have been sacrificed and died there and then and been happy! having fulfilled a lifelong ambition to see Machu Picchu, then awaiting a promised resurrection to Earth after Armageddon from the True God, Jehovah who CANNOT LIE ( seeNov watchtower) I came down Thanked my God for caring for me Joshua 1:7-9, Psalm 32:8. As I write this it has just down poured torrential rain outside, my Gh (£5 B&B) yet for me till now the air was clear. See my attached photos As we Say I TRULY Wish You Were Here. Truly Awsome as Gringos Americanos say
One thing God cannot do is lie
1 more night in Aqua Calientes (Machu Picchu ) and next am I took the train back to Ollyantaytambo and checked in at Chaska Wasi $10 B&B in Olyantantaytambo 2,900m and again chewing coca leaves and an extra prednisalone kept me going as I prepared the next two nights for Cusco. Finally I took the collectivo 10 soles to Cusco I stayed once again at Pirwa hostels on Plas de Armas, hwoever I was struggling for air despite the coca leaves and Although I intended to go to small local café to eat a few blocks away I only managed 50 m so struggling for air I enetered MacDonalds for a big mac meal Ha! Ha! once again an added prednisalone, after a restless night great breakfast at their sister hostel terrace overlooking the square of Plas de Armas.
I took 3 soles ($1) Taxi to airport and was grateful to be aboard at a lower altitude . Back in Lima I decided to opt out of the $30 expensive airport taxi, which popular propaganda says we must do as the local buses start out near airport and its too dangerous. However I decided otherwise. Walked out of airport by the Coca Cola sign turned right under the walkway bridge and on right was a bus stop that took me for 2 soles direct to Parc de Kennedy opposite where I was staying, which took about 1 hr . Now at sea level I could skip about such was the effect on me and had great nights sleep at last. Now at sea level I headed for Trujillo to see the famous chimos ruins there that predate the Inca sites. I was recommended to stay at Casa de Clara so from bus station I took the taxi to her hostel, which was really her private home,
She is a sharp, eccentric, extrovert character, in her late 60’s struggling with the bank to hold on to her home as her husband an Englishman she was married to for many generations had to return to UK to care for his aged mother for the last few years, leaving her to fend for herself.
I arrived 7am and did a deal for the room 1 night and suggested I would like to do the tour of the 3 sites near Trujillo As soon as it could be arranged, she assure me I could do the tour it would cost 50 soles which I did not argue as I had no time and I was to meet at 9am to start. Then she said I would need a guide and this would be another 50 soles, which I paid thinking I had now been caught out and awaited a minivan to arrive to collect me with a load of backpackers to share the day.
I was outside and noticed an Old beaten up VW Beetle with only three wheel nuts to each wheel and the doors hanging onto a rusty frame, The other wheel nuts were loose so I mentioned it to her servant who tightened it up also when he opened the bonnet the fuel cap was missing lying on the luggage compartment floor. After that Madam Clara came out and said we were to go she was my qualified guide and driver Ha! Ha! No minivan but transport was to be this beaten up old beetle.
As she headed off to our first destination in the desert, it became like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, she was oblivious of the other vehicles which she just pushed aside nearly crashing into and oblivious to the havoc and mayhem she left behind her. I was anxious but she promised me that she had never had an accident. I suggested the reason was she wasn’t driving that the Angels were, she laughed at this as we continued the ride into the desert with no proper braking and the door hanging on for dear life as I was Ha! Ha! She was as her word suggested a very competent and well known archeologist and guide even correcting and educating locals as we stopped at various artifacts as she gave explicit explanations. Lunch was included which meant a return to Clara mansion for fish soup and away again to the remaining sites one the way we gave her friend a lift home along the Pan Am highway and stopped at Macros for shopping I would not have changed it for the world an adventure like this was worth twice the overstated price as we returned home with more bits missing from Herbie the VW than we started with. On the way she stopped a Ittsa bus station to prebook my ticket out next night
My photos show what a great and memorable day it was.
She also dropped me off at the bus station to catch my bus back to Lima a great 2 days in Trujillo
Back in Lima I relaxed that last two days and again took the servisio collective direct to airport which took around one and a half hrs, I panicked as it was taking so long I wondered if I was on right bus but fellow passengers seeing my anxiety reassure me and one drew a map of where bus went after she got off and finally I was pushed out right opposite the airport gates great 2 soles worth in my book, with no feeling of danger but only helpfulness and kindness of strangers yet once again.
Finally 8 hrs in Atlanta my flight left Lima 12.30am and arrived Atlanta 6.30am I took the Marta train (Bombardier for derby fans) to peachtree and ate a macdonalds brekkie which I have regretted ever since as it gave me the trots in a bad way with accompanying gas pains. The Coca Cola factory tour costs $16 as is the CNN newsroom tour so after 3 hrs walkabout I returned to the airport and back home. On that flight I slept soundly for over 6 hrs lol Good to be home despite the wet and windy cold, car won’t start. But! A lifelong ambition finally achieved, despite the inability to reach La Paz Bolivia and lake
Titicaca because of my health restrictions.
Costs : Hostel dorms B&B 30soles =$10 a night, meals around $3 transport: return flight Lima /Cusco $140; overnight buses between $20 and Cruz del sur $30, (4 overnight buses ) Peru rail Ollyaytanmbo to Machu Picchu $94 ret $86 if paid in soles bus to top 51soles. Collectivo , Cusco –Ollantaytambo 10 soles ew total spent 3 weeks £400 + £525 flight As my favourite poem puts it:
Up Lad; thews that lie and cumber
Sunlit pallets never thrive;
Morns a bed and daylight slumber
Were not meant for man alive.
Clay lies still, but Bloods a rover
Breath’s a ware that will not keep
Up lad; when the journey’s over
There’ll be time enough to sleep
Thanks to those who helped me with advice on other thread on altitude sickness it was really appreciated only sorry I couldn’t make it to La Paz and the Jungle