I was only reminded about making this blog post after Conor sped out of the bus to vomit all over the wall of a building in Cusco last night as we returned from Machu Picchu. Last Saturday (5/9/15) I woke up in the middle of the night around 4 A.M. with a ringing headache and excruciating nausea. I tried to go back to sleep but only kept waking up every half hour or so. I decided to just shower at 5:30 and get the day started, but promptly vomited right after showering. Drinking chamomile tea at breakfast seemed to cure the nausea like magic, but it only lasted for maybe an hour at best. I struggled through the day of traveling to various locations (Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Pisac), feeling barely alive and really wishing I felt better so that I could actually appreciate all the cool stuff we were seeing. I didn’t even get to try to get a selfie with the alpacas! Then I had to sit out and stay on the bus while everyone else got to visit another site (Tambomachay). While we were stopped in the parking lot at Tambomachay, my unexpected savior, my knight in shining armor, the bus driver Wilfredo, told me to sit and wait while he got something for me, so I did (that was about as much as I could have done at that point). He comes back maybe 30 minutes later bringing back a handful of a green plant called muña that he had picked from somewhere nearby. He showed me how to squish and rub the leaves in between your fingers to release the oils and then to smell the plant. He even encouraged me to eat the leaves to help cure my sickness. And much like the chamomile tea from breakfast, the muña worked almost instantly like magic in taking care of my nausea and headache, except it lasted much longer than a measly hour. Wilfredo was super relieved that I felt better and he gave me a brief lecture saying how Peruvians have a big focus on herbal medicines, which was cool for me since herbal medicine also plays a huge role in Korean culture as well, despite how modernized the country is nowadays. As I write this post now one week removed from that ailment probably caused by a combination of altitude sickness and dehydration, all I can say is that I’m glad it’s over and I hope that those who haven’t gotten sick on the trip so far don’t catch something nasty like the rest of us.
Muña - a Peruvian medicinal plant
Not actually a picture from when I was sick, but an accurate representation of how I felt nonetheless.