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Sep 19 To Puno

sunny 17 °C
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This morning we had a medical problem. Bonnie had been very ill in the night so Alvaro arranged for a doctor meet us in Chivay. She has altitude sickness so he and his nurse treated her in a hotel room above the restaurant where we were picking up our boxed lunches. We have oxygen on the bus so she will be treated at several stops along our very long drive to Puno. The doctor thinks she will be fine and won’t have to descend but we have to keep an eye on her. I have an oxygen saturation monitor with me so we can track her level.

And I had a problem too, with diarhhea. The doctor treated me too and even though our travel clinic doctor said azithromycin was best, he disagreed (only treats 1 of the 2 bacteria) and gave me Cipro, which is what I used to travelled with. And he said never to take Imodium as it only masks the symptoms an you could end up with a serious infection. He gave me another drug to take for one day only which will also help with the symptoms. So for the services of a doctor and nurse, 4 drugs and a bottle of rehydration drink it was only $40 USD. They provided everything right there.

We made our second stop at Mirador de los Andes, Patapampa, the highest point along our route at 4910 metres, or 16,000 feet. It is the second highest road point in Peru and about 1500 feet short of Everest Basecamp. There are thousands of Apacjetas, little stacks of rocks made as offerings. Really cold and windy here, and difficult to breathe. Lovely views of several of the volcanoes ... Volcan Chucura, Volcan Hualca Hualca, Volcan Sabancaya, Volcan Ampato and of course the famous Volcan Misti near Arequipa. There is a really interesting plant that grows here and other high altitude areas of South America, called the yareta plant. It has learned to survive the inhospitable mountains of the Andes by growing extremely slowly, almost at a geological pace of 1.5 cm a year. A large blob of Yareta growing on the rocks can thus be thousands of years old. Many Yaretas are estimated to be over 3,000 years old. Because the Yareta is dry and dense, it burns well, like peat, and was traditionally harvested for fuel. The amount of yareta being removed had become so significant that it threatened the very existence of the plant. Yareta is now a protected species and being such a slow grower, it has also made it to the endangered list.

Our guide Alvaro, our own shaman, gave us a natural product called Florida Water (Agua Florida). Pat it on your face and forehead and It smells lovely and it opens your sinuses and helps you breathe easier. Christine has purchased it at Walmart for her daughter when she was a baby.

At our rest stop by the Ferry Chimneys, (reminded me of Cappadocia), some of us made purchases from the local ladies selling the same stuff you see everywhere, except for one stall that had alpaca products. The real thing, not acrylic. I got a cute hat that cost about $25 USD. There were also some lovely scarves and gloves.

Our picnic lunch stop was at Laguna (Lake) Lagunillas in the Alto Plano. Again they had items for sale and Jane bought a cute pair of alpaca slippers.

Puno itself is a very ugly town and we are only here because it is close to the floating islands of Uros. We arrived at the Casa Andina Premium Puno at about 4:30. Screw up again with some of the rooms so had a meeting with the manager and then had to contact Goway and Condor Tours so I hope they now get it sorted between them. We have a few more stays with Casa Andina so I hope they get it right. The hotel is lovely though.

I didn’t want dinner and was in bed by 9:00. Totally exhausted. And probably full from all the drugs: 3 Imodium, 4 azithromycin, 2 Cipro, 4 Secidazol, 2 pills for stomach coating, and a Benadryl to help me sleep, which actually worked!

Lunch and pee stops (which involve shopping always):

Green plants are Yareta:


Casa Andina Puno:

Posted by barb3389 15:15 Archived in Peru

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