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!