Sweet goodness I’m glad to be at sea level again! My body enriched with awesome oxygen, I feel absolutely fantastic. Yesterday was another story.
The puna was really bad this time at la faena. As we arrived, I passed out and spilled water all over my lap. I slowly waddled into the security checkpoint…modestly disoriented, wet-arsed and embarrassed. I felt sick. No, I felt uncontrollably hungover: weak stomach, dizzy after standing up too quickly, unable to think without a lot of effort, and deep breathing to keep from feeling nauseous. All I wanted to do was sleep, and micro-sleep I did multiple times during the day. I tried to eat beans for lunch…could barely complete a quarter of them. I haven’t felt that awful since I badly dehydrated myself after a massive hike in the sun without enough water. It was good to see mi hermano, Roberto, again – he’s most excellent. As I left la faena, I said “Adios, mi amigo.” Roberto replied, “No. Mi hermano.” We punched it. I take my hat off to los hombres y las mujers that do this every week year over year; they completely amaze me. Terrible location, awesome people.
Back in Iquique, our local buddy from Elkford (who relocated to Iquique) took Peter and I out for Peruvian food. Delicious. Well, not as phenominal as the beans at la faena, but close. His Spanish is really good and bailed us out of some pretty awkward situations. But sadly not all. Before we left Santiago, Peter said “Good ass” instead of “Good afternoon” to one of our female co-workers. That’s okay. I confused “puna” (altitude sickness) with “puta” (bitch) on my last visit. So when I was called “Hijo de puta”, it didn’t mean “son with altitude sickness”. Revenge.
I’m now on my way to La Serena. The pilot just announced that we’ve reached our cruising altitude of 3,700 ft…don’t hit the Andes! Hasta mañana.