Arequipa, The Most Beautiful City I Never Saw

I took off from Puno on a 6 hour bus ride to the beautiful city of Arequipa.  This city is also a UNESCO world heritage site and is nestled at the base of the foothills to the Andes.

Driving in at sunset was amazing.  The city is overshadowed by a long mountain ridge line and a volcanic peak.  The views are spectacular from all over the city.

I arrived at a great little hostel near the plaza de armas.  As soon as I checked in, I had to sprint to the toilet.  This was the beginning of the worst few days I have experienced in the last 15 months of travel.

The rest of the evening I was running between bed and the bathroom.  I could feel I had a fever, and my joints hurt like I had the flew.  I knew that something was seriously wrong, and I probably shouldn’t wait until morning to see a doctor.  I went to the receptionist who was amazingly kind, and she helped me locate a clinic with an English speaking doctor.  She rang, and explained how sick I was, and the doctor graciously said he would wait at the clinic for me.  It was probably around 9pm at this point.

I got the address of the clinic written down for me, and the receptionist advised me to head to the Plaza De Armas to catch a taxi.  As I made my way the 3 blocks to the large center square in Arequipa I passed beautiful old Spanish buildings, lit up by flood lights in various colors.  I passed the most notable building in the city, the Santa Catalina monastery. The monastery is famous for is size, and massive outer walls that are brilliantly white.  I remember thinking to myself, “wow, this place is magical….oh god, get me to the doctor!”.

I finally got to the Plaza De Armas, which again was a magical and amazing space, hailed a cab, and got taken about 10 miles to the clinic.

Once inside, I had a lost in translation talk with the receptionist / nurse, and waited for the doctor to arrive.  He came in about 5 minutes later, and spoke great English.  At this point I knew if I ever want to travel South America more extensively I must be fluent in Spanish.

After a quick examination, I gave a stool  and blood sample.  The doc wanted to get me onto a intravenous drip since I was severely dehydrated.  I was put in a room with a bed and a TV and had an IV put in.  I waited for about 6 hours and the verdict came back from the lab.  I had amoeba, a stomach parasite, and a nasty one at that.  The Doc planned out a 2 day treatment of intravenous antibiotics and fluid to rehydrate me.  I then needed to take medication for another 2 weeks after.

In the morning I headed back to the hostel to pick up my bags and road back to the clinic for 2 days of laying on my back and watching Spanish TV shows.

2 days later, I headed to the airport right from the clinic, got on a flight, and headed back to Lima to meet up with the beard!


2 responses to “Arequipa, The Most Beautiful City I Never Saw

  1. I’m glad you made it through alive, but did you end up kicking the bug? That sounds like very little fun.

  2. Nope, He is still living it up in my lower intestines…..really need to get back to a doc. Damn health insurance!

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