Raindrops on my Journal in Machu Picchu

I was given what I deemed the noisiest room in the entire hostel. I was only staying one night in Machu Picchu Pueblo but I was not well and rest was necessary. All I heard all night were children laughing, yelling, and playing some game as if they were right in my room. And of course, there were the sporadic fireworks throughout the evening, as well.

Earlier that day, I needed sustenance in order to take my medication and avoid a stomachache to boot. I sauntered over to the nearest family run restaurant where I ordered vegetable soup and coca tea. When I returned to my room, I decided to record some of the day’s events after a hot shower. My pen ran out of ink so I fetched one from the young man at the front desk.

On December 28th, 2016, I wrote:

“As I was eating my vegetable soup, I watched a family of six at a table nearby conversate. The mother was asking her daughter what kind of tea she wanted to drink. I don’t know why exactly but this made me very emotional. I immediately thought of mi mamá and how much I would love to share my adventures with her – how much I’d love if she were here with me to experience the adventure.

When I got back to my hotel, the “mishaps” of the day and missing my mother overwhelmed me and I had a short cry before sitting in the shower and allowing the hot water to just run off my body. I am glad I didn’t have a full on cry at the restaurant because I really felt like I may lose it.

Learning about the Sacred Valley and just standing in such a sacred, historical place certainly has the power to move oneself. I try and describe with words, but they could never do the beauty and tranquility justice.”

Writing in my Journal on December 28th, 2016, in Machu Picchu
Writing in my Journal on December 28th, 2016, in Machu Picchu

That night, I woke up in a puddle of sweat. A mother was shouting in Spanish for the noisy children to scurry on home. Grateful for her scolding, I thought I might be able to get some deep sleep and fight this fever. I lay there thinking and feeling like I could actually die and no one would know, at least not for awhile. I had no idea how high my fever was or what was really causing my illness. Was it the flu? Or was it something even more serious? I had gotten a hepatitis and typhoid vaccination prior to departure. But even the fine print said the vaccination didn’t mean I was completely immune to all strains. I had to quiet my mind somehow.

I began having conversations in my head in Spanish with the people I might encounter on my travels the following day. “Bolígrafo” did not immediately get me what I wanted at the front desk earlier. Clearly I had some brushing up to do. Thankfully, there was a pen sitting within my reach because my feverish brain wasn’t working so well in the synonyms department. Pointing got the job done. In the effort to quiet my mind, I decided should I need a pen again, “pluma,” was the necessary alternative.

My request for an early wake-up call was not met. Why did I have to be staying in my least favored accommodation during the most miserable point of this illness? Such is life, I suppose. I wanted to wake up extra early to avoid the inevitable long lines to board the bus to Machu Picchu. I laid in the dark of the early morning hours listening to other travelers drag luggage down the hallway whispering in English, Korean, and Spanish. This was my wake up call.

“I try and describe with words, but they could never do the beauty and tranquility justice.”

I forced some bread into my system and the customary coca tea. My appetite was non-existent. I stuffed an extra piece in my purse for the rest of the day. After hiking up the incline to the back of the very long bus line, I caught my breath and wiped the sweat away from my brow. Two coats, a hat, and a scarf should keep me shielded from the morning’s drizzle. Every chance I got to lean, I did. Lucky for me traveling solo, I got to cut a good portion of the line as one of the buses had a single vacancy. How glorious it was to sit!

A twenty-minute, dangerous bus ride later along narrow roads and lush, plummeting cliffs, I was standing in one of the wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. I sought out the first least crowded stone wall I could muster up enough energy to hike to. I pulled out my pluma and I began to write as sprinkling drops of rain fell on the paper.

Machu Picchu Selfie
Believe it or not, I was very ill in this selfie

To be continued…

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