End of an Era… Adios Peru

We’ve been in Peru for over a year and a half. We never planned it that way. We got pregnant while hanging out in the little surf town of Huanchaco in Northern Peru, (remember here). We decided to stay and had our daughter in Lima 9 months later, (remember here).

Now, after many amazing memories, and having made many amazing friends, we are ready to leave Peru, to strike out on the open road, into the country of Bolivia.

Most people don’t know a lot about Bolivia. It is a landlocked country located in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. It is the poorest country in South America, where there are still 34 indigenous languages spoken.

 

Although we know people who have traveled to Bolivia, by and large it is way off the beaten tourist path for South America. Most tourists have little interest in going there. As I mentioned, it is poor, and lacks the amenities you can enjoy in other countries. It is also a bit unstable. Road closures due to protests are not only common, but daily. Buying fuel for your car can also be extremely difficult in many areas.

All of these factors aside, our biggest concern with going there is the lack of, or distance from, proper medical care in the event Soleil has a problem. Most areas in Peru have already been a stretch. As our friend Piero pointed out to us recently when we were looking for a pediatrician in Cusco,

“Your best doctor in Cusco is your plane ticket to Lima”

Once we cross into Bolivia, depending on where we are and what roads are closed due to protests, it could be much more challenging to get good medical care. So this is a known risk.

Having said all that, we have a really good feeling about going in. The energy feels right.

We spent our last few days in Cusco prepping for the departure. At the top of my list was making sure the van was bomber. Bolivia is not the place to have van problems. The thing that we’ve really needed is new tires. It seems that the last 13 countries have taken their toll on my Toyos…

I’m a big advocate of having bomb-proof tires given the type of places we drive. Before leaving the US I bought the best tires money could buy, (remember here). I wasn’t going to replace my Toyos with just anything, so I hunted around Cusco and finally found some good rubber.

Check out the Peruvian tire shop…

While I was dealing with the van, Stevie went on the hunt for things that we suspect won’t be available in Bolivia. Staples like whole wheat pasta, dijon mustard, wine, organic olive oil, All-Bran cereal… etc.

During all this prep, we realized that Sol had just turned 6 months old! We decided to start her on some solid foods. It was really cool to watch her eat her first food. Being a parent is SO DAMN COOL!

“Daddy, are you kidding me? This is what you’ve been keeping from me all this time!”

“Mommy, this stuff you call food is AMAZING!”

We got some video of this milestone event as well. Warning, this is a video that only the grandparents will find interesting. You’ve been warned.

 Click here to watch…

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwBiBwx_2ug

 

The final thing we wanted to do before leaving Cusco was get Soleil her 6 month vaccinations. This can be a lot harder than it sounds, trust me. Stevie ran all over town looking for the same brands, composition, and dosage that she had before that came from Europe. After 3 days of research, visits, and phone calls, she was able to patch together 2 out of the 3 needed vaccinations by going to two different clinics, four times. We’ll have to wait until Argentina to get the 3rd one.

We were all set to leave for Bolivia the following day but that night Sol got really sick. She was coughing and throwing up all night. I reminded Stevie that this was a common reaction to vaccinations and that parents in the US deal with the same thing. She quickly reminded me…

“No, they don’t. They’re not staying in a cold, danky hostel in Southern Peru, walking in circles all night holding their sick baby.  And they aren’t about to do an 8 hour drive at altitude into an even more remote country of Bolivia the very next day. It’s NOT the same!”

Ok, point taken. We decided to drive back over the mountains to the Sacred Valley and post up at Gian Marco’s house until Sol is feeling better. At the time of this post, Sol is still fighting a cough. She doesn’t have a fever, but is still throwing up a bit. Poor little baby. Nothing breaks your heart more than a sick little baby… especially when it’s yours!

New plan – we’ll hang here at Gian Marcos until she is ready to travel.

-TREE

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Auntie Alex says:

    Poor Sol. Stevie was right, you can’t rush a tiny baby. Poor Sol. I’m sure she’ll bounce back. Give her lots of kisses!

  2. Great Aunt Debby and Great Uncle Bary says:

    Oh my, poor Sol, sorry she is feeling bad. Since you are staying a few more days in Peru maybe you could see if you could make sure you have some emergency medication in case she gets sick again. Something like a basic antibiotic? Ask a local Dr or pediatrician if you have the chance.
    By the way Auntie’s love any and all cute video’s. She is beautiful!

  3. Nonituyas says:

    Good for you. Flexibility is a beautiful thing, and vital for taking care of your precious selves. I send love to all of you.

  4. Leo & Elo says:

    We have been following you for quit some time. I think I wrote to you once about our failed attempt to drive to La Paz soon after we were married in 1978. It was because of the revolution with the Samoza gov’t that caused us to rethink and get on a jet plane out of Miami. Just like that and we were there in La Paz
    There was one incident on the Plane that made me take a second look at being at the altitude in La Paz, and that involved a middle-aged american lady. She just could not catch her breath and so they brought an oxygen bottle for her to help her. (Almost all higher end Hotels have Oxygen at the ready) Problem was that the oxygen bottle was totally empty. The Lady died right there at La Paz Airport which is about the same altitude that you will be driving when you hit the altiplano.
    We stayed in La Paz for about a year after that but had to leave because but my wife developed Calcium deficiency. We were told that this commonly happened to persons, especially females. You will find that you get quite exhausted easily, so that you really can’t do that much anyway. Got to tell you that every white person, not native had a bluish, green hue due to the lack of oxygen.
    Bolivia is an awesome place, and if you can fly, a lot of of the country has much lower altitudes. I know that it is difficult deciding on such a weighty matter, but if it were my decision in your circumstances, I would personally save this one for my 15 wedding anniversary or something.. Knowing a little bit about about the area, I am afraid I would have to pass. Most of the area is identical to the same terrain as Cusco, so in some ways, you really won’t be missing out on much.
    FWIW,
    Leo and Eloise

  5. Leo & Elo says:

    Let me know when you get this and I will tell you about my motorcycle ride right into a huge university crowd that was running toward me, being fired upon by soldiers with live rounds under marshall law….And I was just going to pick up my mail at the La Paz Post office.

    Love you guys, and thank you so much for sharing you awesome experiences.
    Adios,
    Leo

  6. South of La Paz (an easy drive from Hotel Oberland) there’s a supermarket called Ketal. Huge with an awesome selection. Not cheap, but good for stocking up when heading to the jungle or altiplano. I’m fairly certain they had an organic section too. S16 32.367 W68 05.033

    Hope Sol feels better soon!

  7. did you just say you are going to hang out at Gian Marcos house? how does one do that?
    I thought I was a big shot in San Martin De Porres but I guess not like you guys 🙂
    saw your comment on bumfuzzle.com and enjoy your blog
    TE AMO PERU!
    Jim

    • Hey Jim, thanks for stopping by! Sounds like you know Peru. It is a great country! Tomorrow we head into Bolivia. Pretty excited. Cheers, TREE

  8. Nonituyas says:

    Soleil looks so perfectly relaxed and loved resting on your chest Tree. All will be well.

  9. Ben Casados says:

    You certainly have your hands full with that beautiful baby. Traveling to Bolivia…wow. My peruvian friends once told me “my god spare your from a boivian women and a chilean friend” somehow this had to do with some treacherous act during the wars of the Pacific with Bolivia, chile and peru battling it out..

    Good luck
    Ben

  10. Hey Stevie & Tree – You need not go far, maybe three hours to get down in elevation from the border of Bolivia. The town is Sorata and although they don’t have a huge hospital, they have medical care. In Cochabamba, farther down into the rain forest they have a tropical medical center that trains doctors in that field for all of South America. La Paz has American trained doctors that charge about $40 for a house call.

    And yes, altitude can be a problem. So up slowly – especially with a child who cannot tell you what is wrong. Head down toward Cochabamba, Sucre, Santa Cruz and/or the Amazon area — Rurenabaque is a great place to hang out.

    The roads, since Morales has taken over, are in good shape – many are newly paved and in far better shape than what we have here in Canada. Sad to say.

    I can hardly wait for you to hit Bolivia. Ciao for now – advice from an experienced mother/grandmother!

    • Hi Vivien,
      So far we are loving this country! We’re enjoying Cocacabana now, and next we’re thinking of heading to Sorata. What do you know about that place?

  11. Tree you know I’ve bin following this blog now for your hole adventure and the only sickly one is you. Be carful you have bin going down often.

  12. I love you guys SO SO SO SO much!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank u!
    : )

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hope you guys had an amazing time there!! I am actually from Bolivia and I know how hard it is to live there compared to living in the U.S. Incontrary, to its lack of good medical health it does help you see the world in a different t way because it teaches you how much you sometimes have to work to get what you want.

    • Hi there! Thanks for commenting. We did have an amazing time in Bolivia. We loved it and were fortunate to meet many wonderful people. Unfortunately, the country was under protest in many cities, which affected our ability to travel. We wanted to spend more time there in various places, but due to the protests, we were a little limited. Still, it was a fabulous experience and hope to go back again someday.

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