I had hoped I might at least acquire some superpowers, or a glow in the dark party trick as a consequence of being irradiated at a dodgy-looking backstreet x-ray clinic, one situated somewhat ominously next to a funeral parlour…. I looked at the label on the machine as the radiographer tried to get me into just the right position for a chest x-ray. “Korea – 2011” it said so no such luck. Probably just as well.

I really liked this battered old bug. Perhaps I felt some sort of kinship…

Yesterday I enjoyed the excellent company of a German chap passing through on his bike enroute to Patagonia. Conversations and time over coffee lifted my spirits immensely but this morning as I write I feel quite different. I try not to write introspectively and make this blog one long self-absorbed ramble, but it is also a good place for putting some of the thoughts that are troubling me outside of myself and in that respect can be quite therapeutic.

A few days ago I found a very good health clinic and saw a super doc very quickly for just 50 soles (£11). He sent me off for x-rays and also a sputum test. Happily I have no deep seated infection lingering but I do have bronchitis, likely from the flight from the UK, with the additional complication that, probably as a consequence of what happened last year, I have a narrowing of my bronchial tubes that is causing the shortness of breath and excess mucus. It’s to do with being asthmatic, the spasm happened and hasn’t ever really resolved. I have a steroidal drug (eye-wateringly expensive without health service subsidies to manufacturer pricing) to take for a month that hopefully will help. As I write there is one seat left on the BA flight from Lima to the UK next Wednesday and I have a feeling I’m going to book it. The longer I stay here not knowing what to do, while still feeling a bit rubbish, the lower my morale sinks and the more tired and depressed I become. I rested 3 weeks last year and that didn’t work out. I have no reason to think this year would be any different. Being asthmatic does make chest infections more problematic and riding at altitude makes any ailment 20x worse, I need to be 100% fit to ride here and I’m scared of doing some long-lasting damage. I’ve learned that when I feel like this the best thing to do is take positive action and move on. Buying that flight feels like the most sensible option. I will return home, get fit, and move some of my plans for Spain and/or Greece for next year to this autumn and hope to be able to return and close this chapter of the Andes some time in the future. A possibility that feels more remote should I push on prematurely. I have way more work to do than I wanted this summer, a consequence of difficult to contain scope growth on projects this past few months, so I can clear my desk and make the autumn a proper holiday. I feel quite upset but deep inside I feel it is the best way forward. Summer in Cornwall will be OK… friends, bikes, kayaks etc.

In the meantime, as usual… pictures!

Banana mountain… a fair few smoothies in that lot.

15 thoughts on “Superpowers

  • Bad luck, Mike, but keeping fit is mandatory in your line of sport. Hope that you clear the passages and get the wind asytem back to top form. nothing a couple of good paties on’t cure. Do you remember French the baker? His were the best I have ever tasted…drool, drool.

    Take care of yourself, there are very few of us left!


    • cheers Ed! yep, just a glitch really… already making (re) plans. A pasty when I’m back in Cornwall is mandatory I think. I have a vague memory of French but very very vague. Long time ago….

  • Mike … you poor bugger! And given that things didnt work out for the flight over- especially as it’s made you sick- PM your return flight details when theyre booked and I’ll see if I can smooth the travel arranegments for you! Making a positive decision to manage the situation is always better than pressing on! Stay safe chief!

  • Nobody is going to say it? Chicken!!!

    Actually, it is probably the opposite… I would have stubbornly remained in Peru, not having the guts to take that smart and brave decision you took.

    Now, Summer in Cornwall… isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron? 😀

    Cheers, see you next year somewhere in America

    • ha, i lay awake all night last night worrying about whether I had made the right decision. being stubborn last year didn’t really work out so yeh, rather than miss “summer in Cornwall” i decided to pack. my chest is getting much better but it’s not right and there’s a big difference between sitting in a cafe at 8000ft and riding a bike at 15,000ft. i could end up with that bastard chronic cough again.
      actually it would be ace to catch up in s america. i guess it’ll be a while before you know when you’re likely to arrive here.

  • Go home, Mike. Good health keeps you alive, bad health does not.

    David B. will soon be on his way to Canada – in Ontario we are currently in a heatwave situation, much like it has been in England. Three cheers for air conditioning.


  • You have so many choices Mike without the need to go into the rarified air. Meanwhile, for me, it’s Canada here I come. When I get back we have a date booked for sailing in Honey – just like old times.

    See you when I do.


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