To Curahuasi and Back Again

We left not long after 8:00 yesterday morning for Walter’s birthday; he turned forty. We stopped in at Alicia’s to pick her up, and behold, her sister was ready to go along, too! There was no room for another person.

There was a grand shuffle as we tried to figure out how to make this work. Finally, Alicia decided her sister would ride in the truck bed. We protested, but she wanted to go along, so we had no other options. How would you like riding in the back of a truck for over two hours?

The trip started off okay, but once we hit the curves, bad things began to happen. Steph easily gets motion sickness, and she happened to pass that on to numerous of the children. I am not easily disposed to motion sickness, and thankfully Abbey doesn’t seem to be. It was a blessing to have her helping to clean up the puke from the others in the back.

Though there were numerous warning signs, for some reason, the bags were not gotten out until after the first child puked. That created a wave of horror.

I couldn’t pull over because there was no place. Through many sections along the route, the road cuts through the mountain with barely a shoulder. To stop on one of those curves is to take your life in your hands. Driving is bad enough, with constant vigilance required to avoid crashing into oncoming vehicles passing other traffic around the curves.

Anne and Steph used to always get sick on the way over to visit Steph’s folks in West Virginia, no matter how slowly or carefully I went. Anne kept a bucket at her seat at all times, and Steph armed herself and the children with some medication that helped. We didn’t have that this time.

But we all survived and arrived around 10:30. I was thankful it did not rain on the trip over because of the poor lady in the back.

We were immediately served ceviche, a raw fish dish Peru is celebrated for. When we were full from eating that, lunch preparations were begun. Lunch was made over a fire in the backyard. Walter had made an oven and a stove from clay a few days prior especially for the occasion.

The children were served their lunch of noodles and bread cakes and deep-fried pork at noon. We then had them take naps. We’d been up for chores at 5:00, so they were all tired. Steph also took a nap. Walter and Evita were astonished that our children would obey us and take a nap, even the older ones.

Somehow during nap time, I was stung or bitten by a bug that had something my body didn’t like. Both of my hands began swelling, and they and my arms were terribly itchy. I couldn’t decide if my chest was actually tightening, or if it was just a psychological response. I had antihistamines in my backpack, so I took some. The swelling went away in about half an hour.

I could find no bites or stings at the time, but this morning the little bumps are easy to see and feel. I had three on one hand and several on each arm. I had seen some tiny bees, but it could have been ants, too. Who knows?

Walter and Evita needed to take their son Caleb to his school’s closing ceremony at 1:00, which was exactly when the food was ready. They said they would be back in twenty minutes, but it was about two hours later. We waited an hour before going ahead with lunch.

Walter was thrilled and fascinated by all the pictures from friends on the east coast in the States. In case you didn’t know, they got snow yesterday. Walter has never been in snow.

They served us rocoto relleno, which is a stuffed hot pepper that is a good bit hotter than jalapeรฑos. Steph groaned about having eaten that when we were winding our way slowly home that night.

Walter and Alicia had words about Alicia having brought the aunt without permission. When it was time to sing for Walter around the cake, Alicia went away to cry, and it made for a very awkward moment. I tried to help by keeping conversation moving until Alicia returned a couple minutes later. Family drama isn’t fun.

Then the thunderstorm started. It was well past time to leave, but what was to be done with the aunt? She couldn’t ride in the back of the truck in the rain. She has a simple mind, and the others were afraid she would not be able to make the ride alone in a taxi.

There was a bit more family drama. The aunt wanted to stay in Curahuasi for the night. I pretended not to notice and stepped in to suggest how we could find a taxi and so on. They agreed it was a good idea, so we gave hugs and best wishes and stuffed ourselves all into the truck. I wish now that I’d taken a picture.

We found a van headed to Cusco and secured a price for the aunt. I then gave her the necessary change to break up the bill she had. Alicia would not allow me to pay the pasaje. Alicia then took the driver aside and explained her sister’s mental condition and made sure the driver knew exactly where to stop to let her off.

Then we were off. I’d asked Walter about motion sickness medication. I found the stuff at a pharmacy–for $1.00 per pill! I got enough for everyone. They seemed to work. There were a few moments of complaining, but no actual sickness, thank the Lord.

I went even more slowly on the way home than we had gone coming. That may have helped stomachs, but it made for some nerve-wracking moments for me as we were passed around curves in the dark during a rain.

Alicia asked me to call her half an hour after we got home because she and her dogs were going to check on her sister. She couldn’t call out because she had no saldo on her phone. Thankfully, the sister was home and well.

I got everyone into bed before taking some more meds for my hands, which were swelling again. My eyes were tight and red, and my chest was definitely affected now. Then I went to sleep myself.

Happy birthday, Walter!

Here’s a couple miles of the route.
Snowy mountains on the trip
Walter’s boys love Waltercito.
Walter, building a fire
The two mothers did the cooking.
Reading a book while waiting for cake
Steph made a little cake as a gift.
Little bites or stings