The worst day and night of my trip so far!!!

Trip Start Oct 10, 2006
Trip End Oct 10, 2007

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

In my humble but informed opinion the best cure for a hangover is a good cup of tea and a greasy, salty full English that wasnt available the morning after Jeff's birthday celebrations we went for a surf instead. A face full of cold seawater is almost as good.......but not half as tasty.

Luckily, the waves were nice and easy, fun short rides and then pulling out before you get caught by the shore dump. I caught my best waves since arriving in Lobitos and was really enjoying myself. I enjoyed one wave a bit longer than was wise and ended up caught between the beach and the shore dump (where the wave rises up sharply just by the shore and crashes hard onto the sand). I didnt have time to grab my board so opted to dive through the dump, as soon as I did it I realised my mistake as the wave took my fragile right shoulder and forced it backwards. I feel what I can only describe as a pop, then pain shot down my arm and went numb and useless, I recognised this feeling and realised my shoulder had finally given in.

After scrambling onto the beach with one arm I lie on my back and curse my body for stopping me surfing. From previous experience I knew I needed a week or so of rest, away from the temptation of the waves. I make the long walk back to the hostel feeling sorry for myself, surfing needs a helluva lot of practice to get to a respectable level and every time I feel myself getting somewhere, something stops me.

That afternoon I borrow a friends guide to South America and check out some suitable locations to spend a week in Peru. I decide on a small town in the Andes called Cajamarca, it has sights to see, is on my way South towards Lima (our final destination) and isnt too high and cold (I only own shorts, t-shirts and sandals). I decide to leave the next day and make the most of my time out of the water. However, an aggressive bacteria I must have ingested had different ideas. Later that afternoon I started to feel a little unwell....

That evening, as always we headed to Mama's place to feed. I am a very warm blooded specimen and if anything, too hot in most situations, as we walked there I begin to feel cold and shiver. Big Jimmy has had a very bad stomach bug for the last day or so and is having his first return meal that evening, he buys some pasta and eggs and asks his devoted Mama if she wouldnt mind cooking up a simple dish for his delicate stomach. Of course, she readily agrees, but her helpfulness knows no bounds and she begins to describe a remedy for Jimmys stomach problem. Between those of us who can speak some Spanish we eventually decode what I guess would be described as an old wives tale in England. She is very enthusiasticand certain of its healing powers, so I tell Mama that I am feeling pretty rough too and that I would also like to try her remedy.

So, following Mama's directions to the letter, Jimmy and me begin rubbing every bit of body we can reach and particularly the stomach area with a scrunched up ball of plain old newspaper. The idea being that whatever badness has hold of us will be drawn into the paper, a dubious theory, but when you are feeling this bad in the middle of nowhere you will try anything... After a good couple of minutes we figure that whatever bits of badness are more interested in living within a dusty ball of printed paper than our warm, comfortable insides will have jumped ship by now.
The next stage involves fire and lots of spit, vital ingredients for this kind of ritual. Mama strikes a match and sets the paper balls alight. Jimmy and I stand stupidly for a few seconds, twisting the ball to avoid cooking our fingers. Mama then urges the dumb gringos to take it into the street before we burn her restaurant down. We walk out the door and the wild winds of Lobitos snatch the paper out of our hands and down the street, we have been briefed that to complete the process we are to spit on the flaming ball three times. Jimmy cant be arsed and wanders back inside, i decide that to leave this kind of voodoo magic unfinished would be unwise and chase the flames, spitting as I go. Luckily this is a ghost town and no one is around to see my strange antics....

Back in the restuarant I manage to get about 6 forkfulls of fish and rice down my neck before my stomach cramps up in severe pain almost instantly. I begin to sweat profusely despite still feeling cold and I know I am in trouble. Even though very hungry I cant take another bite and just sit and try and bring control over my body, I dont speak or move and just absorb a stomach pain like nothing I have ever felt. When we leave ten minutes later my stomach is large and bloated, the pain is causing me to breathe very quickly and its actually quite difficult to walk. 

We get back to the hostel and I am shivering heavily, I head straight to my room and curl up on my bed under the covers to try and get warm. It does nothing and I start to feel colder, meanwhile the pain has got even worse. It isnt coming in waves or ebbing at all, just getting steadily stronger. I dont feel at all nauseous but after a while I realise I have to eject what I have just eaten to try and take this pain away. I force myself to be sick a few times into our toilet and instantly the pain subsides to a dull ache. Because we are in the desert, water is heavily restricted and is cut off for most hours of the day, the toilet doesnt flush and I am forced to leave those 6 regurgitated forkfulls in the bowl to fester, nice!

I wander into the main hall to see the boys gathered round the TV with a film just starting. I beg for any warm clothes people can spare and after seeing how green my face is they are very generous. I soon feel like one of Great Scotts men in the Antartic, wearing three t-shirts, a fleece,  a hoody and a woolen hooded jacket from Ecuador on top. I wear shorts, long trousers and three pairs of socks below....somehow I am still shivering. I lay back down on my bed, curl up and quickly fall into blissful sleep.

I awake about half an hour later and for one instant think I am inside some giant oven unable to escape...I am overheating massively and the pain in my stomach has returned. I am sweating like a polar bear in a jacuzzi, so I quickly strip layers of clothes until I feel a little cooler. I hobble over to our toilet and eject something from the opposite end of my body, i wont begin to try and describe it but it feels like it has come from the depths of hell! Either Mama's remedy came too late or she has cursed me instead, I keep faith in that good natured lady and put the blame squarely on my wayward spitting aim....

It is only 9.30pm and my entire night continues in this manner, putting layers on, taking them off, yo-yoing between fever and shivers, trips to the toilet (minus a seat, as is the norm in lots of Peruvian hostels) every half hour, those of you who have experienced food poisoning will be grimacing with the memories. Jb had the unfortunate experience of sharing a room with my sweaty restless self and the noxious odours that come from a heavily used toilet that wont flush. After what has to be the most uncomfortable night of my life, dawn finally arrives. I leave the room and manage to locate someone who can turn the water on and flush away the nastiness so at least jb doesnt have to wake up to it. I open the window wide to clear the air and crawl back under my covers, hoping to finally get some sleep.

I spend the majority of the day in bed and feel well enough and weak enough in the evening to attempt to eat. I manage to swallow about a quarter of the chicken and chips served me, its enough to make me feel stronger and no bad reactions. My first bad stomach problem on my year long trip is ending, unfortunatley its unlikely to be my last....

The next day everyone is leaving to go North or South, I am headed South with Simon to Chiclayo where we get seperate buses for Cajamarca and Simon to Huanchaco (where we plan to meet up for xmas). JB, Jimmy and Alex head back north to Mancora, its a good time for a split, me and JB have spent the last two months or so in each others pockets day in day out, thats not healthy after a while....

end of Lobitos entry 

P.S.  I still have a lot of catching up to do and hope to do a lot before Eva arrives in Peru on Friday. After having a nightmare with the basic interent services in San Bartolo (current location) the photos below are just a few teasers of what is to come. If you have been reading JB's entries you can match the pictures to the stories. I have only attached a few as JB will be adding the rest to his entries very soon.
Also make sure you check back to entry No8 in Canoa for a load of cracking photos (flamethrowing and everything!) that our good friend Simon has supplied because I had no camera at the time. There is also one other new photo on entry No13 in Mancora, this is worth seeing the total might of JB's beard the night before he shaved it off! Cheers Simon.
Bye for now...

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