Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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To Cuzco Cuzco, Cuzco, Peru, Thursday, 17 March 2005 5:15pm

We left our hotel in Santiago before dawn, in order to get to the airport 3hrs before our international departure. We got there before the check-in counter had even opened.

The flight to Lima was uneventful. I had my last Lan Chile trademark ham and cheese sandwich (Or is it? Lan Peru gives different food, but my Lima to LAX flight may technically be on Lan Chile.).

The flight to Cuzco was stunning. The hills are checkered with crop fields and the mountains are a spectacular backdrop.

I probably should not have re-read the guidebook section on altitude sickness before I came. It just feeds my hypochondria.

I am feeling a little out of it. I was feeling very strange after we landed, but the hotel gave us coca tea, which made me feel much better. It seems to be wearing off, though.

I'm tempted to take the Diamox that I brought, but I'd like to avoid it if I can, so that I know my response better for the future. Some of this may be exhaustion.


gina (Anonymously) Thursday, 17 March 2005 10:03pm

Peruvian coca tea, interesting. What sort of effect does it have, numbness? Or does it give you "energy"?

aneel Friday, 18 March 2005 4:25pm

I was hoping Erowid would have more information about the tea. One of their articles says it "helps the body make better use of the limited oxygen at the high altitudes", but doesn't provide details. It's clearly a stimulant, but it's much more effective against the symptoms of altitude sickness than caffeine. Black tea at breakfast gave me headaches, but the coca mate helps make them go away. I was having headaches, rapid heartbeat, dizziness and disorientation, and the coca tea made all of those symptoms go away temporarily.