Hopefully this will be my last post from Chivay. It has been two weeks and I feel at something of a crossroads. Yesterday I went for a short spin up the valley on my unloaded bike, just to see how I was… I was OK, but not brilliant. My chest is still bit tight and I have periods of feeling really tired and weak. Whatever that infection was it really screwed me over. Morale is up and down, especially as time goes on.
I’d love to make it at least to Cotohuasi and the canyon there, it is ‘just’ 300km or so away on rough dirt however the road goes up to 5200m, and while that would be no problem in my normal state of fitness… I’m nowhere near that anymore. I decided tomorrow to just ride the 36km back up the valley to Sibayo, where Cass and I had to part company two weeks ago. If that goes OK and I feel able to continue the next day then it’s a further 65km of dirt to Caylloma, a small town, with just a 4700m pass in the way. If I can get that far I’ll need a rest there for a day at least I think… If I find I can’t continue then my backup plan is to roll back to Chivay, scrub the ride, return to Arequipa and spend the next 6 weeks or so on some advanced Spanish lessons, and try and hook up with some of the local cycling crowd for some riding and social stuff. While my Spanish is fine for everyday stuff, and finding my way around the healthcare system (!) I struggle with more in depth conversations grammatically, especially at the speed folk talk around here, and to improve further I need some proper conversations with someone who can help me with the more complex structures and moods that don’t necessarily have parallels in English. It wouldn’t be time wasted although it would be somewhat gutting. I haven’t wasted my time here in Chivay either, aside from enjoying some pictures and getting some work out of the way, I’ve been enjoying the company of a few folk from Argentina working here.. movies at the parilla in the evenings :-) Pretty much everywhere I go Argentine folk are the friendliest, most engaging folk I’ve ever met.
Anyway, ramble over… few more snaps… :-)