Altitude: 1, Mike and Shannon: 0
Jan 04, 2010
Mar 23, 2010
On the 19th we arrived in Cusco after a quick flight over the Andes from Lima. We had been warned the night before from a friend that Cusco's elevation (3500 m) can really effect your system. The first thing we noticed was our inability to walk up-hill without losing our breath within 10 seconds. This was particularily concerning knowing that in three days we would be on a 46 km trek, which would include a 1000m climb to 4600m. But this was the least of our worries. By day two in Cusco, as we were taking in some Inka culture at Temple del Sol, Shannon felt the wrath of altitude sickness at its fullest. First nausea, then a head-ache and finally she felt so light-headed that she couldn't walk more than ten steps without having to sit. Her saving grace were two old Peruvian ladies who noticed her distress and gave her a rag, with an unknow red liquid on it. She was told to sniff the unknown substance, which she did, and soon was able to make her way back to the hostel. We asked our reception what it was, and it turned out to be some kind of rubbing alcohol that they give to kids. Whatever it was it helped Shannon make it to the hostel! We spent most of our time in advance of our trek sleeping off pounding headaches and periods of nausea. Despite this we were able to enjoy Cusco and its many sights (the Cusco cathedral, Koricancha, the many plazas and the dirty market) and have no regrets. Lets hope we fare better during our trek!!??