Huaraz: The Monster Within

Posted on April 28, 2011


My time in Huaraz, which I had been looking forward to after the bleakness of Trujillo, was somewhat tarnished by illness even worse than on previous travels in India. There is no need to go into serious detail here, though suffice to say that at more than one point liquid substance was exiting my body from two different ends (I kind of went into detail there, didn´t I?).

So rather than trekking up to imperious lakes nestled within snow-topped mountain peaks, which I had hoped to do not just for the scenery but also for the pre-Inca Trail practice, I was left killing time in Huaraz itself. Having mainly developed as a basis for the treks undertaken by my two amigos and the many people we met at our hostel, this was an anti-climax to say the least.

Like all Peruvian towns, Huaraz consists of the obligatory central Plaza (named Plaza de Armas, originally) and blocks spreading out from that. With little to do in the town itself, our first adventures after arrival were basic ones such as napping and wandering. The bus journey itself had been incredibly comfortable, my best yet. After ordering but barely touching a good-looking pizza for dinnr, I was early to bed for the impending apocalypse described in the first paragraph. If you require more information, don´t hesitate to email.

With the Bradfordian and the Aussie departing early for their trek the next day, my focus was on obtaining painkillers and rehydration salts. After relative success (I obtained 4 bizarre-looking tablets for eight soles) my only other achievement of the day was a spectacular egg and bacon sandwich at the brilliant California Cafe. This venue was to become our regular haunt for the rest of our time in Huaraz. In fact, the rest of my time in the town generally followed a course of relaxation.

There were two minor diversions that are worth-mentioning. One was a rooftop terrace party at the hostel with an eclectic selection of travellers, including an American, a Singaporean, a French-Canadian and an Israeli wth possibly the most horrendous voice I have ever heard (think Borat). The second was the return of my travelling allies from their hike, which had proved pretty successful until they had arrived at the outskirts of town upon their return. The Bradfordian, who generally seemed to attract pain and discomfort, had been bitten by a dog. Understandably concerned, they had undertaken a journey to the nearest hospital, one that proved easier said than done as their swifly hired public transpòrt proceeded to stop to tout for more passengers on the way. Once there, the Bradfordian was forced to wait in conditions described by the observing Aussie as “squalor” before an English-speaking nurse arrived to inform him that there were no rabies in Peru (a clearly false statement) but that if he really wanted a jab he would have to return at 7am the next day. This was a return journey not undertaken, but to the best of my knowledge the Bradfordian survives to be bitten another day.

The Aussie reliably informs me the toilets in the Huaraz hospital were the worst he has seen in South America. God bless the NHS.

Posted in: Experience, Travel