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End to Cusco Travels, and Radio Silence

It’s been a new post desert lately, and for that I’m sorry. I blame the Cusco air. All the taxis (and every car was a taxi) spewed visible exhaust varying from a tar-colored black to makes-you-cough-before-you-even-see-it grey. It left us hacking and gasping, irritated our eyes and caused us to hermit ourselves for our last weeks abroad.

No surprise then, that after a doctor’s visit back in the states, I am so lacking in vitamin D the doctor actually prescribed me vitamin D supplements. (Altitude usually means more UV exposure. But that’s only if you go outside!)

Let’s rewind.

I may be a bit delirious from a combination of jetlag, illness, and this prescription medication that I am apparently not allowed to drive on.

Our last few weeks in Cusco were uneventful (apart from cuy). We did our best to avoid going outside at all costs due to terrible air quality. By then we’d seen the plaza in day and night, enough ruins to satisfy our curiosities about Inca culture and pre-Inca cultures, marketplaces and supermercados, tourist restaurants and local haunts. So we curled up inside binge watching Ink Master, seasons 1-7. Yep, ALL of them. I may now know just as much about tattoos as I do about Cusco! Which might still be less than I should.

Anywhoo, the day came, finally, for us to head to the airport for our 20-or-so-hour journey to LA. For the airport transfer I originally contacted a company that would do it for 35 soles cash (11-ish USD) which was the lowest I could find online. So we checked out of our Airbnb and waited for the scheduled airport transfer. 10 minutes past our pickup time, but no car nor word from the company. It turned into 15 minutes and that was it, we hailed the next cab that looked like it could carry us and our ridiculous amount of luggage. How much to the airport? 5 soles. Just one seventh of the cheapest airport transfer through an English-speaking company. It goes to show you, sometimes planning ain’t everything.

The Cusco airport is tiny, but bigger than what existed in Talara (where they didn’t even have x-ray machines for your checked bags, so they had to manually “inspect”). About half the population moving through looked like foreign tourists and most of those people had a Cusco sweater or hat, backpack and hiking boots. Quick flight to Lima, exit airport, re-enter, and check-in for Jet Blue.

I’ve never known what it’s like to miss hearing your native language as the default until I boarded that Jet Blue flight (and with mine being English, I didn’t think I ever would!). The overnight flight from Lima to Ft. Lauderdale was the most comfortable overnight flight I think I’ve ever taken. It also had the most senior citizens I think I’ve ever seen on a single plane. It was heading to the retirement mecca of Florida, after all. The airport experience was also rather quick here, and we got extremely lucky being able to accompany an airport worker that was wheeling one of the folks from our flight through security, bypassing the entire line.

Airport food = Breakfast burrito. Oh how we missed you, dear breakfast burrito.

Finally, we arrived in LA. Coughing and runny nose-ing still, but at least we were home. We assumed the coughing would stop in the next day or so, after all, the cars here must follow mandatory smog-checks and we’re in Los Angeles, where there’s likely the highest concentration of Priuses outside of Portland or Seattle.

Alas, it had to get worse before it got better. I seriously worried we had been infected with whooping cough, aka the 100-days cough (GROSS). Between Jon and I, we had all the symptoms: dry lips, sneezing, coughing so hard it’s hard to breathe in, low fever (under 102), general malaise, etc. So, with fear for my grandma’s health (for her neighboring proximity to our coughs and sneezes), we went to the doctor.

This was no small feat. With new insurance called “Florida Blue” and never having used it, we didn’t know who we could see. The online search from their website yielded 4 locations accepting their insurance, and all of them were actually just places where you can buy medical equipment, not see a doctor. We called the insurance, and were emailed a list of doctors in our area. Some of the phone numbers were not up-to-date, and multiple doctors were listed three times each, within the short list of 10-15. They all seemed to be clinics that accepted walk-ins only for that day, with the next appointment being the following Monday (six days later!). And this was taking hours. UGH.

(Here’s where I’m about to start sounding like an infomercial.)

Thankfully, a google search lead me to Finally, a site that makes sense! You just enter why (illness, physical, check-up, etc), where you want to find results (zip code, city), and when (today, tomorrow, etc.). Within 2 hours of finding the website, we found a doctor in Century City, scheduled a same-day appointment for each of us, and were in the doctor’s office! Like a miracle or something, but this is how easy it should be, right?

Anyway, the good news is that the doctor thinks this is something else, i.e. NOT whooping cough (thank you baby Jesus!). Which is fantastic because I’ve been coughing so much it felt like I got hit by a bus straight on. At least all that coughing means I should have ripped abs though (yeahright)!

TLDR: We’re in LA! Sick, but on a faster-than-three-month recovery path!


  1. hue hue

    Welcome home!! Glad you made it back safe and feel better soon!!

  2. red red

    So glad you’re home safe
    Get well soon,you two!
    Hugs from both of us!!

    • Thank you!!! Hugs to you and Uncle P too!

  3. Emily C Emily C

    Welcome back!! Let’s get together soon!! 🙂

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