I slept in again, had breakfast and then went off to have a massage I had booked at 10am.
Along with general exhaustion I have
1. A really sore neck on the left hand side, I can’t even turn it
2. Altitude sickness, still really breathless and have coughing fits
3. Gastro related to the altitude medication, or the anti inflammatory medication for the neck
4. My bottom lip has big cracks in it even though I have been constantly covering it with lip sun block
5. A pressure area on my butt, thankfully the skin is not broken
6. Asthma, related I think to the altitude.
All in all the three rest days are badly needed. A number of the riders have organized tours to go to Machu Picchu but I decided not to. I was really conflicted as I am so close but in the end decided that I need to look after myself if I want to manage the whole of this ride. Sue went with a group of 7 of the riders, up on the early morning train, got to the main gates and was inside for ten minutes and collapsed. Sue was taken back to the hotel they had booked there and slept for 18 hours (which equates to a USD $750 sleep). Four of the other riders who went have also come back unwell, mostly with gastro related symptoms.
The massage (80 soles) was great, the masseuse really knew her stuff and spent ages on the left side of my neck and back. I had lots of knots. She would work on them for a few minutes and then do another area, but kept coming back. As I left I could already feel the difference.
Next off to get my hair cut and buy some sandals, mine have finally fallen apart. As I was walking up the street looking for sandals a pleasant seeming young man stopped me and asked me if I was from New Zealand. When I said yes he said “Wellington?” which I of course said yes. He then asked if I wanted anything for my hike, which is why most people come here. When I said no I am biking he changed to ‘did I need shoes, Lycra etc’. I assured him I had everything I needed. So then he asked me if I want some Charlie, blow or clean cut. I was a bit stunned and found myself shaking his hand saying ” I appreciate you asking but I am ok”. Weird, so I figure Charlie is heroine? Blow is cocaine? But ‘clean cut’? Crystal meth? Any ideas?
I managed to find some sandals finally in my size, a number of shops had sandals I like but not big enough to fit my feet. After this I had some lunch, bought some really warm multi colored socks, and went on the city bus tour. It was raining to start off with so I sat downstairs, but as soon as the rain stopped I moved upstairs, better for taking photos.
We went up quite a steep hill and I jokingly said to one of the other riders “I bet we come out this way”. No need they assured me, the main road leads straight out of Cusco.
We stopped at a statue of Jesus that was donated to the people of Cusco by the Palestine government in recognition of the shelter given to the Jews in the second world war.
After this the tour went to an Alpaca clothing factory. I bought a dorky looking, but really warm hat. Hopefully the socks and the hat will make a difference at cold camps.
We saw some Inca ruins that were a ceremonial centre and temple to the sun called Saqsaywaman. The rocks were fitted together, some weighing up to 130 tons. The Spaniards took a number of the rocks from here for buildings in the town.
On the tour I also learned that 70% of the adult population in Cusco work in the tourist industry, and the average monthly wage is $750 soles.
After the tour I saw two of my favorite riders Shirley and Dan from the USA sitting in a boutique beer bar so I joined them for a beer.
I could not stay long as I was meeting Rebecca, a friend of Kelly’s, for dinner. Rebecca comments regularly on my blog, and has been travelling through Peru the same time as me, but only arriving in each place just after I left, so it was a good chance to catch up.
I met Rebecca in the lobby of my hotel and we headed off to a Peruvian restaurant “The Andean Grill” that was recommended when we went past on the tour. It was quite nice, I had fillet migon again, was nice had garlic in the sauce. Rebeca had lomas saltardo which is a Peruvian spiced stew. We traded stories about all the different places we had been. Rebecca has been on a number of Intrepid Tours all over the world. It was a good evening. Rebecca heads off next to walk the Inca trail.
Earlier when I had arrived at the hotel after the tour, I was greeted by the news that Eriberto, one of the full tour riders, was throwing in the towel and heading home the next day. “Too cold and too hard” was his reason. I was quite startled as he is one of the better riders and had given no prior indication that he was even thinking of doing this. However he is very cheerful about it and has booked his flights and will be home where he lives near Venice in less than two days, he tells us “drinking good coffee, red wine, enjoying fresh pasta and being warm”.
After dinner I went back to the hotel I tried skyping my son Dan, but the connection was really bad so I will try again tomorrow. Off to bed, last rest day tomorrow.