Well, this kinda sucks. I set out this morning walking around with Jaime to see the neighborhood. We went to get the famous hot chocolate with bread and cheese, then walked around the neighborhood I am in (Candelaria) for a bit, but we honestly didn’t get too far. After about 2 hours I was really feeling shitty and went back to my hotel where I have been since. I have all the classic symptoms of altitude sickness, the slight headache, labored breathing at times, general malaise and foggy-headedness. So I have been taking it extra easy, trying not to exert myself in any way, and drinking coca tea, which really tastes blech btw. My plan is to stay in tonight, rest and rest, and hopefully I will be feeling better tomorrow and can hit the town running (or gently tap the town sauntering). I remember upon arriving in Mexico city and overdoing it the first day, I was feeling like this for about a week, and that is lower altitude than here. Let’s hope I recover more quickly this time. For what it is worth, here are the few pics I managed to snap today before the soroche was too much.
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One of the things a good Buddhist tries to accomplish is a sense of equanimity no matter the situation. Juliette and I have decided not to go to the island of Taquile for some trekking after all, since we are having quite a difficult time acclimatizing at 3900 M (12,800 ft). We don’t actually have bad headaches or muscle aches, but even the slightest activity leaves us gasping horribly for air. We will therefore take it easy today and try to see the floating islands tomorrow, and then head down to a more manageable altitude. I think it would be fine if we had a week or so to get used to the altitude, but pushing ourselves in such a short period is a no go. Yet peaceful we are in the moment, gulping the precious little oxygen there is.
Truth to be told, I haven’t felt completely right for the last week. I have been suffering from a mild but steady case of altitude sickness (or for those of you who are linguistically inclined, mal de altura). This seems strange to me, for I don’t remember the altitude affecting me this way the last time I was here. Then again, I didn’t go mountain hiking the first day of my last trip here either. But over the last week, I have had all the classic symptoms: headache, shortness of breath, slight dizziness, no energy, disturbed sleep pattern and lack of appetite. I am happy to say that these now seem to finally be subsiding, and while I don’t feel one hundred percent, I am feeling better with each day. The sooner this is completely gone the better, as I haven’t ventured very far from my apartment for getting tired so easily.