Thursday, June 16, 2011

Road Babe Dispatch From Arequipa Peru

The last thing you want on a trip is to get sick. Changing climates, altitude and food, plus the physical act of traveling can suck the health out of you like a Saint Patty’s Day weekend with Keith Richards. Yet, every so often, altering plans leads you somewhere unexpected and well worth the temporary suffering.

A friend and I had planned to go to Colca Canyon near Arequipa Peru. The canyon is famous for its rugged terrain, as well as a community of Condors that has taken up residence there. It’s slightly-less well-known for the distribution of llama-leashes.

We bused for four and a half hours through the mountains down to Chivay, a small town nestled in the valley. As our transportation delved deep into the gorge, the pressure changed and I felt a flu coming on. My head rose above my body like a helium-filled balloon. I swayed in the wobbly bus seat, trying to keep my gaze fixed on the morphing landscape outside the window.

On arrival, I ate heartily, burped abruptly, searched in vain for a stiff drink, then passed out in the tiny hotel room. My body seemed to be shutting down with my ear canals and nasal passages crying out in protest.

When I heard a wake-up knock the next morning, I knew there was a better chance of riding through the Andes naked on a bareback alpaca than going on a seven hour hike. I couldn’t even muster a grunt. After begging off the adventure I had come for, I hopped in a red plastic tuk-tuk pulled by a dirt bike and wound my way up a narrow road to the nearby hot springs, which looked out over a sheer drop-off on one side.

Normally a haven for locals, I found all eight pools empty. I had free reign over the shady coves with the best cliff views as well as the hottest spots in the caves. Best of all, the enclosed steam room filtered mineral water through a bed of Eucalyptus leaves, reducing the cabin pressure inside my head and leaving me ready to take flight again.

Mittie Babette Roger is from Louisiana but lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University and authored the book It's Better to Visit the Shaman Without Questions to Ask. She travels the world volunteering to help disadvantaged children and promoting Blue Iguana Tequila to empower serious drinkers.


  1. Mauri Alan Dominguez FloresMarch 26, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Reminded me of the movie: Babel ... a very similar story.

  2. David gregorio davilaMarch 26, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    very goob,interesting,
    I remember when I go to my locality and the change in temperature