Sick as a dog

September 30, 2009


Note the dark rings under the eyes and the sad demeanour?  Nope, he hasn’t been partying; these are the tell-tale external symptoms of Fraser’s altitude sickness.

The boy got it bad.  Nausea, queasy guts and a throbbing, brain’s about to explode headache all but put him out of the trek on day two.

We Scots are made of sterner stuff, though.  A couple of max-strength Codeine and he was on the way again.


What’s on the menu 3

September 29, 2009


I kid you not, this is a well known brand of jam in Peru.

The juxtapositioning of the product shot and myself was unfortunate and deliberate.

Cheers, Fraser.

Sunny duh

September 29, 2009


“If nothing else,” finger-wagged our trek leader, Mark, “Remember to put on plenty of sun cream.  There’s a dirty great hole in the ozone layer right above us.  And you’re two miles closer to the sun out here than back home.”

So on the first day out, I duly slapped factor 50+ on my face, neck, ears and arms…but forgot my legs (you know, those things you trek with?)

Earning me the not entirely undeserved epithet, Hotlegs.

If I had a Peruvian Nuevo Sol for every well-meaning but irritating git who asked me if I knew my legs were burnt, I’d be solvent.


On top of the world

September 29, 2009

Top of the world

Blimey, it’s worse than Scotland over here! 

Talk about four seasons in one day, we’ve had scorching sun, torrential rain, blinding hailstones, right in your face blizzards and before you can say slip, slap, slop, more scorching sun.

Nice, though, innit?  This is the view from 4,600m.

Well worth the slog up.


September 29, 2009


The South American Job

The South American Job

You know those stories you hear about tourist buses careering off narrow mountain roads in remote parts of South America?

Well, as you can see from the picture above, it almost happened to us.

Correction, Fraser.  Yours truly was travelling in the staff minibus at the time, plugged into my iPod and completely oblivious to the drama happening on the vehicle in front. 

The story goes like this.  Having completed a hard day’s trekking from Kunkani to Chacchapata, we all got picked up by the buses and were heading happily back to camp when a nasty blizzard hit, the aforementioned narrow mountain road turned treachously slippy and the big bus got stuck trying to negotiate round a sharp hairpin.

All was well until the driver tried reversing to have another go, braked as the back end neared the edge of the road (and a nasty drop) whereupon the bus continued sliding, getting perilously close to the edge before slithering to a halt.

According to the passengers, there was a nasty whiff of fear on board the bus.

And not just fear.

The anxious trekkers then demanded to be let off immediately and I got out of the minibus to hear their scary story and take a video of the driver and trek crew getting the bus round the corner with the aid of a shovel, some rocks and a few choice Peruvian sweary words.

You can watch it here.

Strangely enough, once the bus was safely round the corner, nobody wanted to get back on it, so 31 weary trekkers got on their shanks’s ponies and started walking off the mountain.

It wasn’t until the road straightened out and the blizzard eased, that everyone felt safe enough to get back onto the bus again.


What’s on the menu 2

September 28, 2009


Yup, you’ve guessed it (well we did give you a big hint earlier).  Just because it’s a huge hit in Pets R Us, doesn’t exempt it from the dinner table.  Oh no.

Guinea pigs are to Peru what dogs are to Korea.

One minute they´re scampering  round the fire entertaining the children, the next they’re suspended over the flames with a skewer running right through them.

Such is life, but a poor family gotta eat.

And since Cavia porcellus just happened to be on the menu at Kirkcaldian Dougie’s Peruvian Delights Nite, we thought we’d give it a try too.

Verdict: pretty tasty, but bony as a turkey on Boxing Day.

Acclimatisation Day

September 21, 2009


Given that we´re puffing and panting like grandads after walking up a single flight of stairs, today´s programme was met with huge sighs of relief when it was announced at this mornings breakfast briefing.

A coach would meet us at the hotel and drive us up to 16,000 feet, then we would walk back down hill to Cuzco.

Easy peasy.

And so it was.

Highlights of the day:

Braw sunny morning.

Magnificent mountain views (see above).

A lunch stop in the middle of nowhere that included full buffet meal, proper tables and chairs, toilet tents and even a live Peruvian panpipe band, all set up just for us.

And a visit to an ancient Incan archaeological sight that sounded suspiciously like Sexy Woman.

Don´t believe me? Here’s the evidence:


Off to dinner now (mmm… roast guinea pig anyone?)


The trek starts tomorrow in earnest and we will be away from internet access, electricity, mobile phone signal and running water until friday, so no more blogging till then.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.