Wednesday, 5 March 2014

7) Back In Huaraz

After the hike back to the office the first thing I did was have a shower. I didn't even care that it was cold, clean running water is damn underappreciated.
Never looked so good...
The next day (21st I think) I felt aaaawful. I didn't leave the office, and at one point we were going to go for pizza but walking was too much and the feeling carried on into the next day too. In short, anything I ate would stay inside me for about an hour, before reappearing with an explosive vengance from either, or on occassion both ends of my body.
The Sunday was a little better. We went to a Chinese place for lunch and ordered "The menu" which turned out to be a mahoosive bowl of soup containing rice and vegetables (for a change) and yep, a great big wedge of tough meat. The soup was a meal in it's own right, and I was stunned when out came round two; a large plate stacked high with generic takeaway food, chips, chicken, rice, some sauce stuff with sliced onion and tomato in. It tasted incredible, but about half way through I had to accept defeat before I took someone's eye out with the button on my trousers.

Oh I forgot to mention! February is "Carneval" in the Highlands of Peru. I'm still not sure what it is they celebrate but essentially everyone seems to carry around a hundred or so fireworks which they let off as and when they fancy, throughout day and night. On the way back to the office there were parades marching, as the Sunday was the culmination of the whole thing. I got the impression that everyone in Huaraz who owned an instrument or something that could make a noise joined together in the streets for the parades. The music was so out of tune it was just funny to listen to. Another key aspect of the celebration is the children pelting eachother with water balloons, and one little rebel threw one into the parade, prompting an old woman to chase after him screaming in Spanish, trying to beat him with her hat.On the walk back, there were a group of kids carrying buckets they'd filled from the fountains, and you didn't need to be fluent in Spanish to understand "Get the gringos!". We made it back only slightly damp thankfully.
Carneval, time to go mental
I walked round to the church of San Soledad, which is right by the office, as the Carneval in Huaraz finishes with celebrating him. Everyone was carrying glorious crosses made of woven plants and decorated extravagently, and the whole place was buzzing. There was a man hacking watermelons into about 6 peices with a machete, and I bought a slab for S1 whilst I ambled around the crowds. It was utterly mental! A combination of Sandstorm rave at the Grove, mixed with
Don't be fooled, these people can bust a move
Random bands seemed to spring up left right and center, and everyone would gather round and start dancing and drinking. Some bands would prompt a sterling display of dad dancing by everyone involved, whereas some would invoke "bent over wrapping yourself in streamers"dancing, despite the tunes being essentially the same. Fireworks were coming out of crowds all over the shop, everyone was just so fucking happy! I stood for a while just looking around in total amazement, whilst people danced by calling out "Gringo! Buenos tardes!" and "Te gusta Fiesta?!" It really was a spectacle to behold and I'm so glad I got to see it. Near the office were more young kids, with balloons and we engaged in a bit of a stand off for a while, me edging towards the door, explaining that I had lots of water inside and giving them the old "Hathway stink eye".

I deteriorated the next day and Jamie had to go to the next site without me. Oscar took me to "the best clinic in Huaraz" where I was stuffed behind a curtain on a bed whilst he did all the translating. The doctor took my blood pressure and some other measurements and essentially said I was a raisin. Apparently with no salts in my body the water I drank to try rehydrate just went straight through. A nurse came along with a drip. I'd never been on a drip before, and I didn't really want my first time to be in a rather sparse Peruvian clinic where they felt the need to have security guards all round but she got on with it anyway. For those that know me and my phobia of needles, I was predictably mortified when she came at me with it. After a while and some pain in my hand I thought "Hey this drip thing isn't too bad". I had a little peek and it turns out she'd given up trying to stuff it into my hand, and was signalling for my arm. 3rd time lucky, in it went and I had to lie there for a couple of hours, feeling the cold liquid course through me drop by drop. I'm extremely thankful to Oscar for staying with me, I'd have been totally screwed without him. Afterwards they gave me some antibiotics and some more pills for my intestines and put me on a strict "bread only" diet for the next 5 days, so I hit the hay when I got back to the office.

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