The national drink in Peru is the pisco sour which is sweet and sour. Like the drink, today was good and bad, but mostly good.
The bad: I started showing signs of altitude sickness; headache and body aches. I’ve also been bit by black flies several times.
The good: I had solutions for both problems.
The black fly bites had an easy solution: Deet and hydrocortisone cream.
The altitude sickness was the more worrisome : Arequipa’s elevation is 7,638 feet. Puno, later in the trip, is about 12,500 plus we will travel through several passes up to 15k in elevation. Elevation sickness is not a big deal when spending short periods at these altitudes but when you stay for a day or two, problems arise. So, I was worried when I felt like I had the flu at Arequipa’s relatively-low elevation.
The solution: coca leaves coca candy, Aleve, and two pisco sours a day (the piscos were our guide’s suggestion). It worked. I was feeling much better by evening.