So this is how the paragliding went. I woke up today feeling a bit nauseous.
It was not caused by the nerves, but by some stomach virus that affects a lot of
people here whether because of the altitude or because of food. Not
the best day for physical activity. The only time my stomach started
churning was when we arrived and I knew IT was inevitable. We were
both strapped into separate cushioned bucket seats and hooked to another bucket seat
holding a pilot. My pilot had a hat, glasses, and the looks of Jack
Nicholson in Shining. He was very gallant and kissed my hand before
we took off. We ran in tandem to the edge of the mountain but didn´t
have to jump. The wind caught our para-whatever and we became airborne.
Then I sat in my bucket seat and that was that. The first
five minutes it was cool. Lisa and I waved to each other from our
seats, but then we kinda circled and circled in place and it became
sort of boring because we were circling over the same spot. All this
circling made me nauseous even more, but apparently it happens to a lot of paragliders
because my pilot had a plastic bag prepared specifically for this purpose, which he graciously offered to me and
told me to go ahead and vomit. So I did. After that, we began our descend. The total height was 1000 meters. We landed feet up in our cushioned seats and the pilot kissed the back of my head. Aah….
The whole thing took 30 min. He told me they usually fly for 15 to 40
min, so we didn´t do too shabby.
After that, I have been nauseous all day. I hope to feel better tomorrow –
which is the big day. We are being picked up at 4 AM at the hotel and
driven to the 82nd km to meet up with our hiking group. Beside
11 brave souls (aged 10 to 55), we have 2 guides and 18 porters to carry our tents, tables, chairs, and provisions. The first day is the longest hike – 10 miles, the second day is the hardest,
including the highest elevation of 13,600 feet known as Dead Woman´s
Pass, about 7 miles, the third day is mostly downhill except one
short but very steep incline. The last day we wake up at 4 AM again
and hike 3.5 miles to make it to Machu Picchu by sunrise. After the hike,
we are going to stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes and I
will try to write from there if I have any strength left.
Now I count on you guys to get your collective energy and send it to
Pacha Mama (Incan Earth goddess) to support us. You should also
make a human sacrifice in her honor, but if you don´t have any spare
humans around, try a fruit fly – the creature whose DNA is the closest to humans. If you fail finding a fruit fly, sacrifice a potato.
On this end, we bought 6 bags of coca leaves and a catalyst to enhance
it. Not to worry, not all the bags are for us. We were told to give each porter a
handful as a sign of respect and friendship. I have already tried coca
leaves but they didn´t seem to make any effect on me. Maybe the
catalyst will help.
Off we go