Another day off. Good. I’m beat from the exertion of yesterday’s bull hunt. I’m happy to wander with Louise around the Colco Canyon, which is supposed to be deeper than the Grand Canyon. I see condors soar high above us. The roads are rough and pot-holed, no pavement. The houses are adobe bricks and stone. The villagers wear traditional garb: embroidered vests, embroidered jackets and embroidered hats.
I have to admit Peru is growing on me, and I know Louise is enjoying herself. The people are wonderful, colorful, always smiling. It’s a beautiful country with an amazing diversity of terrain, flora and fauna. We’ve seen coastal areas and beaches, been in jungles and deserts and climbed the second-highest mountain range in the world, the Andes. Looking forward to tomorrow, when we leave for the famous Inca city of Cuzco.
June 13, 2008
It was a long drive to Cuzco. The city is ancient, located in a big basin covered in adobe houses. Narrow cobblestone streets, half-choked with vendors selling every kind of product imaginable. Tomorrow, Louise and I will travel to the sacred Inca citadel that escaped discovery for nearly six centuries, Macchu Picchu.
June 15, 2008
They call this area “Peru Profundo.” It means Profound Peru. They call it that because it’s located in the wildest, most remote lands of this country where even the government doesn’t venture because it’s too far from anywhere. I can look straight down at least 2,000 feet out my window. Holy smokes it’s steep.
They stop the truck so Todd and I can film a shot of a truck a mile below us; it looks like a speck. Todd sits to stabilize the camera. NO! He slips on the edge. I grab for his shirt, but can’t catch him. Oh, no. He goes over backward … tumbling down the face … smacking into the rocks below. I watch in slow-motion, staring helplessly as he falls forever.
Beside his unmoving body, I see blood coming from his ears, his nose, his mouth … from where his face used to be. “Todd? Todd, can you hear me?” I ask. A shudder, shallow gasps for air—he’s alive! “Get the truck here now!” We make it to the village we passed long ago. “Where’s the doctor?” Our first bit of luck—an itinerant doctor and two nurses are in the village for their monthly visit. “Help us! Now. Please do something.”
Todd is awake, and walking, if zombies can walk. He’s in shock, but he’s alive. I’m worried about a concussion, or worse. What if he’s bleeding inside his skull? The doctor puts him down on the bed, then swabs and stitches. I stop counting at 40. Todd’s face is black in places, his ear is sewn up, too. He looks awful. We have to get him to Cuzco. Poor guy, there wasn’t enough local anesthetic, so they had to do the last 10 stitches without freezing. Tough kid. It’s a race to the hospital in Cuzco. A team of doctors is waiting—neurosurgeon, plastic surgeon, trauma specialist—they’re all ready. Todd’s in good hands. They tell me he’ll be fine, just needs a few hours with the plastic surgeon and observation by the brain docs. With luck, he’ll be good as new in a month or so.
The hunt is over. The experiment in Peru is done. Definitely a lot of “firsts.” Definitely felt the pleasure and the pain of Peru.