Back In The Cold

July 8, 2006
Day 283

I fell asleep sweating, but I woke up in the middle of the night shivering. The bus had gone from steaming hot to freezing cold within a few hours as we reached high altitude. My jacket, which had served as a nice pillow, became necessary to keep myself from freezing. The entire night, the bus traversed switchbacks as it climbed the side of the mountain to the altiplano. By the time we stopped for breakfast, I could see my breath and felt a chill in my bones that I hadn't felt in a long time.

Previously, I couldn't remember what the bus station in La Paz looked like, but as soon as I saw it, I had a flashback of the ill-fated saltena I ate there last time I was leaving the city. Maybe I mentally blocked it out until now, but suddenly, I remembered the entire city, including the location of the Solario, the hostel where I was supposed to meet Craig. All of the streets that I walked down seemed familiar, and the big, scary city that I remembered seemed quite friendly this time.

I think the sudden change in altitude and temperature was a large shock on my immune system. As soon as I sat down, my nose started running, my chest was congested, it felt like someone punched me in the gut, and my heart rate wouldn't slow down. I'm going to have to take it easy for a few days to acclimatize to the dizzying 3700 meter (12,000 ft) altitude before doing anything strenuous like trekking. At least there's no mosquitoes here.

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