The Big Mountain Stomach Spirit

I cant say if it was a welcome home gift, or a punishment for being in such good health during my trip, but on Friday I got very very ill. It’s not that killer apocalyptic flu everybody is screaming about. I don’t have the sniffles or a cough, or even a fever. What I do have is an ache pretty much everywhere and sharp stabbing clawing pains in my stomach and along all my intestines. It’s pretty bad. I think it has something to do with how shockingly cold it was here upon my return to the Northeast. I refuse to believe it’s from Peru. I finally went to the doctor today and he thinks it’s a stomach virus. Now I have pink pills and also I can feel better about myself since I’ve actually tried to take care of myself instead of watching golf underneath five blankets and moaning. I know: drama. I do feel a little better since Friday. The stabbing pains come and go, and their coming a little less frequently than before.

It was this that made me decide to go to LA for the next few days. And the weather, of course of course.

I keep thinking that the trip in which so many things could have gone wrong and so many illnesses could have been caught went perfectly perfect, until we tried to leave. Leaving out of the Cusco airport to go to the jungle was met with a five hour delay, and then leaving it again on the way to Lima we were just tickled to find that we had an extra three hours to browse pretty much nothing again plus an unscheduled stop to another city in the opposite direction. We had to trade reading materials, twice. And then another 2 hour delay in Miami (and now i know what “wheels up” means, and doesn’t “wheels up” sound just a little bit dirty? c’mon a little?). And now that I’m actually off all planes and lines of bureaucracy sponsored by the Department of Homeland Wasting-Your-Time-and-Mine-Somehow-Make-Us-Feel-Safer-How?, I mean Security.. After all that now I’ve got this horrible stomach thing.

The clear conclusion seems to me that a mountain spirit in the sacred valley wanted us to stay. Seriously, I can dig it. All week Ruben, our amazing fantastic guide whom I might be in love with, was telling us things like this. And they all sounded as true as my hiking boots falling apart. (My hiking boots fell apart.) When we had wine on our last night of the hike he offered some to earth first. When we were at Machu Picchu he kept looking at the raining sky and taking these big short breaths that I knew meant something. When Isabel’s bottle fell off her pack he said it was the earth asking for an offering. And when he told us this story about the Inkas never needing to drink and barely ever eating, and when he talked about sacrificing virgin girls to the sun god you could practically see the blood pooling around his feet.

So you won’t think it odd that on the fifth circle around the Cusco airport, when I saw the kids on the giant slippery slide go by one more time, when once again I pondered the Coca-Cola, Cusquena, and Pepsi billboards up on the green hills, I started to think that maybe getting out of here was intentionally hard. The place was obviously enchanted. Maybe we were meant to stay. Maybe forces bigger and older than airports and passports were telling me not to go back to chilly NYC with it’s dark little cubicles and exorbitant rents which fellow travelers asked me about with equal parts horror and delight. Right? The stomach thing only confirms it.

So fuck it. LA for the week. At least my dad has digital cable and I can watch naked midget celebrity golf while moaning under five blankets.

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