And now on to the details/results…
And now on to the details/results…
Getting a little more sleep is certainly helping with getting through the day with this pain in the side, which means I can take part in more activities. Still, I am unable to hike too far without getting exhausted, so opted out of the morning walk to the nearby medicinal plants. I’m already pushing myself harder than I should be and I don’t want to hold up the group from getting the most out of their time here.
It was nice to sit and read with just about everybody out of the lodge and I loaned the barman the netbook, so he could talk to his wife who he hasn’t seen for some time, and totally relaxed with a morning breeze on my face. After heading back to the room to freshen up a little, I came back to find a few people from another group in the front area, with one guy trying to take pictures of some large grasshopper type thing on his hand. It was pretty big with the body alone, a bit larger than a couple of my biggest fingers. It obviously didn’t like his photographic attempts as it bit him, forcing him to shake it off his hand, where it dropped to the side of the chair, where it stayed for most of the remainder of the morning.
As our own group returned, Elder handed over some cut up bits of wood to chew and try, before everyone had a good laugh. The flavour was like battery acid and started to make the mouth a bit numb – turned out it’s the equivalent of novacaine, but from a tree! Elder also brought back a concotion of tree sap that is used for fixing cracked bones. He made up a poultice and bandaged me up with it all; within an hour, I was able to move more freely, so something’s working.
My rib damage means I can’t do the tree climb I’d signed up for but instead, I get to record a video of B taking her turn. I’m pretty upset that I didn’t get to have a go but there will be other times, I’m sure. She made a great effort up a tree of around 110ft and seemed to enjoy the experience immensely. Soon after getting back from the tree climb, it was time to head to the canopy tower, for a view above the trees and the promise of a good Sunset and the occasional wildlife.
The walk to the tower is pretty short and along the way we had some explanaitions about rubber trees and the use of both sustainable and unsustainable farming of them, as well as seeing how the rubber is extracted. I never expected so many bugs at the canopy tower, and could stay longer than ten minutes at the top – the heat from the Sun was almost too much at that point. Flies were crawling in my eyes, up my nose and down my shirt, even though I had a ton of Deet on me; it was time to head to the bottom and get away from the swarm. On the way down, I encountered the biggest wasp-type thing I’ve ever seen and I’ll have to check my images later to clarify the species.
Back at the lodge and it was time to organise the details for leaving in the morning. Looks like we’re not all taking the same boat, so it was time to say goodbye to the group and wish them well. I wish I’d not been so crippled, so as to enjoy more time with everyone, but I’m glad we all had fun.
After the crappy food last night and B getting ill from it, she’s too sick to travel now. Poor thing has been up all night with something akin to food poisoning and will have to miss the Inca Trail. Thankfully we brought enough medication for such incidences. I’ve been much luckier with my digestive system and think that the mild intro to local food I had at the start of the trip, has enabled me to adjust better.
Speaking of food, the limited menu here at the Niños is very tasty. Best scrambled eggs I’ve had and the all-day breakfast is both cheap and filling. After fuelling up, I headed down to the Llamapath offices to pay up my portion of the Inca Trail. Not sure what was up with the guy there but when I was talking to the woman who was dealing with my payment, he walked over to the computer next to her and cranked up the volume on youtube. It was so loud I could barely hear her speaking to me. He also tried to tell me that I was supposed to pay 48 hours before the trip and I’m glad I had the E-mail print-out with me to wave at him, stating that they were OK with payment the day before. After paying all my charges, I was told that I would need to confirm if B was going ‘no later than 4:30, or 5, 5:15 but no later than 6’ – um, yeah, OK.
Stopped off for a few energy drinks on the way back to the hotel and confirmed with B that she wouldn’t make the hike. Time to head back to the tour office to work out the options but first I wanted to get a walk to the recommended viewpoint of San Cristobal church. It didn’t take much more than ten minutes up some bloody steep steps to get to the viewpoint, at which point I found that someone had nicked the map out of my pocket! Glad I never had any money in there and I’d be amused to see the persons face, when they worked out that what they had was worthless.
Made it back at the Llamapath offices on the way to the hotel, to go over the remaining options for B. Looks like the best bet is for her to take the one day, train tour that would meet up with me in Machu Picchu. While I was aware that the deposit was non-refundable, we couldn’t quite reach an understanding about transfer of use. They said the entrance ticket for the day was already pre-purchased with the deposit but they couldn’t use this ticket on the same day if B took the train instead. Seems a bit of a cop-out to keep your cash but as there’s not much one can do, we just had to write off the $170 and pay the full $220 for the train tour and an extra ticket. At least she’s getting to see the ruins, which is the main thing.
Next up, was the inca trail overview meeting. Got to briefly meet the group that would share the experience for the following four days and had an introduction on what to expect along the way. Even though I’m concerned about B’s health, I’m really excited about getting to start my hike tomorrow, after a year of planning.