Who gets altitude sickness? Asians.

I’m typing on my tiny brick of a phone. My dad is sleeping and I have just woken up in the dark. Neither of us made it out to get food for dinner. Altitude sickness is what my dad attributes it to. Today he asked the guide, for the third time, what kind of people get altitude sickness, usually? And she responded, after a moment of thought, Asians. I laughed, pointing at him in a market of colorful bags and notebooks.

We were walking down the market in Sacred Valley, both sleep-deprived from our travel from Lima down to Cuzco and now down to the Valley. A woman and her daughter come walking past us, holding a baby llama. I snap a picture before realizing she is asking me for money for having taken the photo. I shrink apologetically. “Shrinking is hereditary,” I remember Rupi Kaur saying.

We spend the afternoon winding through roads filled with transactions between llama, alpaca, and vicuna owners, corn sellers, and farmers gathering with their wives to discuss the state of their business – mud brick creation now that it is the dry season.

Yesterday we spent the day in Lima, a totally different city, filled with streetcars, large cathedrals, shops, expensive merchandise, private art collections, and the ocean. Standing on the lovers’ walk, the sound of long waves crashing on the shore and cars rushing by seemed to meld into one.

My favorite part was going to the Catacumbas in San Francisco Cathedral, where so many people – normal citizens – were buried and then excavated later on for tourists to walk through. The money was then used to maintain the monastery. We weren’t allowed pictures, probably because we’d be haunted by these 70,000 dead, but I took this one anyway, which is a huge pit where people who didn’t have enough money for individual tombs had their bodies and bones tossed in instead.

We ate so much good food and fish I might have passed out out of being too full. But most of all I loved seeing the street life. Sunsets in the small town

Women carrying their children strapped into the back end of a shopping cart

Raid police comprised of women and only women to defend the city center

And then some weirdly phallic art and pottery because then Inkas really valued sexual relations as part of life and ritual

But all in all, the trip keeps getting prettier as we get closer and closer to Machu Picchu, another vortex in the world.

I can’t wait to start walking tomorrow!!