Over the past few days, I've been developing a bit of a cold. The birthday runs yesterday didn't help, either; although I was already coming down with something before that happened. Anyway, I guess all that partying over Christmas and New Year has finally caught up to me: I am officially sick with the flu now. Mainly just gunk in the 'ol nose and throat — hopefully it won't get any worse than that. So I'm going to have to take it easy, until I shake off whatever it is that I've caught.
I've been eating plenty of kebabs here in Europe, and I've been doing so with generally good results. They're cheap, they're filling, they're everywhere, and most of the time they leave you feeling fine. But today, I pushed my luck too far: the kebab platter that I had for lunch clearly contained some questionable meat; because for the rest of the afternoon, I was either asleep in bed or sitting on the toilet. Seems that I've had one kebab too many. Gotta keep a discerning eye on those incredibly dodgy-looking spit-roasts that they use.
This morning, Patrick and I embarked upon our two-day sojourn from Baños, up to the Quilotoa Loop area. The "Quilotoa Loop" is a ring of road and villages that begins and ends at the town of Latacunga, which is about 2 hours north of Baños (by bus). The most important spots on the loop are: Laguna Quilotoa itself, a massive lagoon that sits inside an ancient volcano crater; and Chugchilán, a village north of the lagoon, with great day-hiking (or horse-riding, whatever floats ye' boat) in the area around. Our journey began with a bus up the nice highway, from Baños to Latacunga; and then another bus along the crazily winding mountain road, from Latacunga to the village of Zumbahua.
Although our friend the monito was cute and cuddly, and although he seemed to warm to me more than to anyone else, it seems that me and monkeys just weren't meant to be. After dinner tonight, back in Pilcopata, I suddenly broke out in massive spots of swollen skin rashes, which became totally, unbearably itchy. I also started feeling dizzy and light-headed. Luckily, someone gave me a few anti-histomines; and the next morning, after a solid sleep, I was feeling fine once again. But it must have been an allergic reaction to the monkey. Looks like despite the fun and games, I'll have to try and keep my distance from monkeys in the future.
In an effort to once-and-for-all be rid of the food poisoning that's been plaguing me almost non-stop for the past week, I finally visited a doctor on Sunday night. Tonight, I returned to Clinica Paredes in downtown Cusco, where the doctor examined the results of a test that he'd had run on me. Looks like I have some kind of stomach / intestinal infection. I've been prescribed antibiotics, which I have to take for the next 5 days, and which will hopefully cure me.