I’ve always enjoyed walking and breathing, often I do them both together. Here though when attempting to walk up a slight slope, I can either walk or I can breathe. I cannot do both. It’s almost like a diet of coke and biscuits, the formula for champion athletes the world over, hadn’t prepared me for the task at hand. We’ve been between 3500m and 5500m for two weeks or more, and it does wear. Lake Titicaca, an exotic far-flung humungous body of freshwater at 4000m, lapping the shoes of both Bolivia and Peru, proffered a ferry ride out to two small islands for a bit of a jaunt. Neither of these islands had hills larger than perhaps 300m. My chest heaved like I was bench-pressing a cow.
Peru-ving Your Worth
Crossing into Peru has been a delight: no bribes have been sought; the roads have been excellent; cash-machines work; border control and police have been friendly. A few eyebrows have been raised as to why my number plates are on the inside of Izzy’s windscreen, but most police have had a chuckle with my explanation in broken Spanish ‘because those bastard Chileans steal stuff’. I was patting myself on the back for having the foresight to carry spares until I realised if I actually had a scintilla of a brain-cell I’d have put them on the inside to begin with. We’ve also been marvelling at our luck: some of the roads we traversed in Bolivia have been blocked by protesters; Argentina’s economy fell over entirely; and ahead of us huge protests have broken out in Nicaragua. Timing is everything.
We’ve laid claim to Titicaca (ownership pending), learned about some fascinating history of the Tiwanaku and Incan tribes, waltzed through Arequipa, Cusco and Machu Picchu, and am currently gazing twinkly-eyed at a beautiful swimming pool at our current residence of Nazca before a flight up and over the famous lines. God, I hate flying, but needs must. I’ll write a proper blog of Nazca and Machu Picchu when I get a moment, they need more than a sentence or two! We have been moving quickly over the last few weeks, and yet the days have been more laid back than I can ever remember through Chile. Very odd. Perhaps this is because my current travelling companion’s ill health has put is in more hotels than I’d bargained for, but that’s part of travelling – you roll with the punches the best you can. Albeit punches with showers and beds.
My plans of shipping from Peru or Ecuador to Guatemala are currently underway - some of you may recall the original plans being for Nicaragua, and yet riots change plans - and by ‘underway’ I mean providing a great deal of anxiety, stress and an absolute filthy potty mouth at times. It should be simple yet is always more complicated than it should be. If you look like you’re going to make one port in time, there’s always another curve ball around the corner. That’s part of it. Would drive you mad though if you weren’t already half-way to the loony-bin.
At just over two months, Australia seems forever away and yet at the same time like I just left. I’m astonished at what I’ve accomplished: given the Land Rover, Edna, on my London to Sydney broke down within 24 hours, Izzy has been quite the incredible workhorse. However, I can feel fatigue setting in though (in me, not her), which I knew it would. Part of travelling the way I do (as my girlfriend will tell you) is that I’m running 100% constantly, whilst not forgetting to smile and enjoy myself. However, if I can get this wonderful vehicle onto a boat, I’ll have a few weeks to relax, take some time and finally . . . breathe.
The blog will be a record of everything - from idea conception to old age in making this adventure happen
You can find the excellent 2006 Antipodean Adventure blog by Dwyer Rooney here