After a tough Day 1, here is what I wrote on my 2005 diary:
At 5:30 in the morning, our guide, Carlito, was already screaming: “Come on, chicas! Time to wake up!” e brought us a coke tea. This tea is magical and instantly makes you feel great.
If you haven’t been to Bolivia or Peru, you might be a little dubious of this tea. The fact is: cocaine is made of this plant, but the process is way more chemical and the strength is incomparable. I was told that you’d have to eat several kilos of the leaves to actually feel the high similar to the drug. Since this trip, I absolutely love coke tea, and I ask whoever visit these countries to buy this for me. It seriously is the best thing to instantly feel better when you’re feeling sick. At the Andes region, it’s very common to just chew the plant — it also helps with dizziness caused by altitude — and some locals get dark stains on their mouths due to this habit.
I had started the trail with a bit of a cold, and the night was terrible as I had to wake up to pee and couldn’t sleep after due to my congested nose. So today I woke up feeling like crap, but my morning coke maté made me feel better. Our breakfast was also amazing: bread, butter, jam, coffee and hot chocolate, plus dulce de leche pancakes. Can you believe it?
I honestly think our chef (that was also one of the guides) on that trip was really serious about his gastronomy. I remember that everything tasted amazing; although it could just be the fact that we were always starving, after walking 9 hours a day. That’s like burning over 2000 calories! My body was amazingly lean after this trip. But seriously, that chef was a blessing.
They wanted to feed us well, since today the walk was supposed to be tougher. And it was! We started climbing for about 4 hours, then 2 more passing through rain, hot sun, and even snow. We got all the way to the peak of the mountain, over 4000 meters in altitude. It is very high, and very cold, but felt like we were up on the clouds. Salkantay is one of those mountains that are so tall that they seem to be reaching the clouds. I guess it actually is.
We stopped for lunch after a 6 hours hike. It was exhausting, but this time I was one that suffered the least. Clá cried at some point; she had stepped on water and her feet were frozen, plus she got upset with Van and me because we weren’t waiting for her and she stayed behind. It’s tough, as everyone’s pace is different. Yesterday, I stayed for last by myself, thinking I wasn’t going to make it. Today, not sure why, I felt good and went ahead. I didn’t even realize that Clá needed help.
After lunch, we had 3 more hours to go, but much easier. Still, very cold and muddy, but getting to camp was quick.
Before bedtime, we played truco (a Brazilian card game), and tried teaching it to the Dutch girls. They were fun, and agreed with Leo that he would teach them one dirty word in Portuguese a day, and the meaning was just to be revealed on the last day of the trail. So this dutch girl was telling everyone: “I want to see your dick,” in Portuguese, without knowing the meaning. Hilarious!
Day 2 of 5 complete. I can do this!
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