A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Cold Town, Warm People


Dani wasn’t herself on the five-hour bus trip from Cusco to Puno.

In the fifteen years we’ve been married, she’s always been a hearty traveler.  But on this trip she was queasy from the moment we left Cusco, as we made our way across the high Andean plains towards Lake Titicaca.

We had ascended nearly 2,000 feet on the journey, and were adapting to the thin air at 13,000 feet.  We also had to contend with temperatures dipping into the thirties, by far the coldest we’d experienced since leaving home.

After checking in to our hotel we found Edgar Adventures and booked a day long tour of Lake Titicaca for the next day.  Then we had a quick dinner and returned to the Plaza Mayor to turn in early – we knew we had an early start the next day.

A few hours later, I heard an awful noise coming from the bathroom.  When I went to investigate, I found Dani in terrible shape, battling a horrific case of food poisoning.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so sick.

And of course, like a fool, I’d left the first aid kit with our antibiotics back in Cusco.

Dani suffered through the night.  Every time it seemed the stomach cramps had eased, they would return stronger than ever.  By the time the sun rose, it was obvious we weren’t going on a Lake Titicaca tour that day.

At 8 a.m. I went down to the hotel desk to ask for help.  As luck would have it, the hotel’s general manager was a doctor, and the desk clerk called him at home.

Fifteen minutes later there was a knock on our door.  The doctor and his assistant (carrying a complete medical kit) came in and started asking questions in Spanish.  Fortunately Caroline had a medical unit in her Spanish class and was able to translate.

The doctor gave Dani a shot of antibiotics, wrote prescriptions for three medications, sent his assistant to pick them up an deliver them to us, and told us that any follow-up care would be free of charge.

Total cost for the Sunday morning “house call,” three prescriptions and delivery service: US$70.

Within an hour Dani was clearly improving, but it would be 48 hours before she was really herself again.

With Dani on the mend, the next task was to talk to the folks at Edgar Adventures about rescheduling our lake tour.  I also hoped to find something to do with the kids that afternoon.

Truly, Edgar Adventures could not have been more understanding.  They immediately accommodated us on the next day’s Lake Titicaca tour – and suggested a half day tour of the Sullistani ruins that afternoon.

I paid for the afternoon tour for the kids and me; then headed back to the hotel to check on Dani.

I’d walked about two blocks when I felt a hand on my shoulder.  I whipped around.  It was the owner of Edgar Adventures.

“Sir,” he said.  “When you paid for your tour you gave me 50 soles too much.”  He handed me back the money.

“Sir, you must be more careful.”


Inca ruins at Sillustani, near Puno.


1 Doug Spiro { 09.10.08 at 12:46 pm }

I hope you are feeling better! No more ginnie pig.

2 Steve Tillis { 09.10.08 at 8:53 pm }

did you reall eat guinnie pig? if you did im totally jelous. and im sorry to hear about you food poisoning dani. I got it for a week on vacation in new mexico, its crazy how sick you feel, its like you can barly walk.
As school keeps dragging on i keep thinking about you guys. After days of getting up at 5:30, a lot of tests and being cursed out by my science teacher (my parents still wont beleive me about that) i keep thinking that a trip around the world wouldn’t be so bad even if after awhile you do miss american food (although my moms gone to europe and my dad can’t cook so after a week of eating fast food i realized there isn’t much about to be missed). enjoy your trip around the world, because next year when your back into doing the same thing over and over every day you will think back about how great it was. mabye i will be able to convince my parents to travel around the world next year =) although i doubt it.

3 Steve Tillis { 09.10.08 at 8:56 pm }

ps i got the new snake i was telling you guys about in the Galapagos, i named him Ozzie.

4 elizabeth { 09.14.08 at 8:32 am }

Poor you, Dani. Puno seems to be a magnet for illness and healing. When we were there, Ana Maria’s son, Arthur became quite ill after jumping into a polluted lake in the Urubamba Valley. The doctor in Puno did not give him antibiotics, if I recall, but laid cut potatoes on his stomach and gave him oxygen. They could not make it on our Lake Ttitcaca excursion, but much to our surprise, they showed up on the fast boat to Taquile Island, only missing the touristy, but interesting Uros Island.

I’ve been in Switzerland for 9 days, and just got back to receive two of your wonderful postcards. I can’t believe you remember my collection…keep them coming!

Glad you are better!

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