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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Traveling While Ill

In the hospital, I got plenty of practice on my 
Spanish because no one spoke any English

It was only within a week when I arrived in Lima, Perú from Mexico City where I went into a restaurant called Sandwich.com in the ritzy, touristy section of Lima, the nations capital. There was something strange about the beverage I drank that put me in the hospital. Fortunately, I had travel insurance to cover all medical bills. Even if I had to be evacuated and carried back to the US, my travel insurance would have covered the expense. It was good that didn't happen, however, I remained hospitalized for six days where I got plenty of practice on my Spanish because no one spoke any English. Zilch! It was also good that I had family-like friends in Lima, whom I met on prior trips, came to visit me almost every day. They didn't speak English either. Finally, on my sixth day, I finagled with the doctor to release me. Against doctor's orders, I chose to continue my vacation, which was to last another 24 days in Perú, Colombia, Ecuador, and Panamá. 

Upon release from the hospital, I took the bus for a three-hour ride to Chincha, Perú, the hub of Afro-Peruvian culture, where my extended family nursed me back to about 70% of my health.  After celebrating the birthday of the mother in the family home, I went back to Lima to catch my flight to Cartegena, Colombia where I got to 80% of my full strength. Even in Cartagena, I slept a lot, didn't party at all, just made my way about town for a few days before heading towards an African village about two hours south of Cartagena. This village called Palenque (or San Basilio de Palenque) won their freedom from slavery and Spanish rule over 200 years before the rest of Colombia and other South American countries won their freedom.  By this time, I must have been at 90% of my full strength as I was given a walking tour for about an hour around the village. I was bone tired by the time I returned to my hotel and crash until morning.

On that day, I flew to Quito, Ecuador where I stayed for a couple of days and hung out with Gloria whom I met on my first trip to Quito. My strength was about 95% before finally flying to Panamá City where I hung out for about six hours. By the time I made it back to the San Francisco airport and headed back to Oakland where I live, I was fully recovered... I think!