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The Amazing New Adventures of Larry and Mark - Peru, Land of the Incas
I have promised a lot of people, including myself, that I would get this story done so I
could move onto last year's trip to Galapagos before writing about this year's trip to
the Amazon and next year's trip to India.
Machu Picchu may be a drop-dead gorgeous place to visit, but you don't want to have
something bad happen to you while you are there. One of my patients said that she was
going to Peru with her sister, and I asked her if she had a tour (no) and what about
vaccinations (no) and was she taking meds for altitude (what do you mean?)
Doing a trip on your own to Peru on a shoestring is great if you speak the language
and you're prepared, but a lot can happen if you don't plan ahead. This is the list
which I have always referred to when I am selecting which medications and vaccinations
I need. When we go to India, the list will be even longer.
In the hour flight from Lima to Cusco, you go up in elevation from sea level to
11,000 feet, and we went up to 13,000 feet at Ollantaytambo. Altitude sickness
isn't fun, and it's mostly avoidable. The most commonly used medication is
Diamox (generic: acetazolamide.) This drug stimulates deeper breathing, which
will help get more oxygen into the system.
Below, Willow is demonstrating the oxygen mask which he always carries
as a guide (and part-time clown we discovered.) He doesn't need the oxygen -
he could run up the slopes of Wayna Picchu if he wanted to.
If you go, you really should book a tour. Unless you are staying for months and are
willing to live through "Montezuma's revenge" eating local food and drink, you will
have to be very careful what you eat and drink, avoid ice, and shower with your
mouth closed! A guided tour will give you much more opportunity to see the amazing
Inca archeological sites on the way from Cusco to Machu Picchu. if you have time, there's
plenty of Pre-Inca cultures to investigate too. There's just too much here to do in one trip!
Next: THE FLOOD!
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