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Honeymoon Part 3: Return From The Dead

Forging ahead!

We had just cut our honeymoon a week short due to a desire to lie (lay?) in our own beds at home for free instead of for $80/day in Peru.  This decision sadly eliminated the pinnacle of our honeymoon -- a 4 day Inca trail hike to Machu Picchu.  I have spent a lot of time since leaving Peru convincing myself that Machu Picchu is probably lame and extremely un-beautiful.  It was such a bucket list item for me...and now I will never see it.  Truth is, where I stand right now, I never want to go back to Peru.  I don't like saying that.  I truly loved the good parts.  But the feeling of being trapped there while feeling miserable is scarred into my mind and association with the country.

Once we were home, we laid low and tried to recover.  I let my work know I was home a week early and would be coming in the following Monday.  My boss replied, "why don't you try to keep the honeymoon going here? The weather has been beautiful."  It had been beautiful in California, high 60s.  I'm so thankful my boss was kind enough to suggest it.

My stomach was still going haywire, but improving.  We worked to adapt our wimpy legs to movement by taking a very slow 3 mile walk one day, and then a 7 mile walk the next day on the new walking path of the bay bridge.  I felt like a baby deer learning how to walk.  I seriously lost all my leg muscles.  Walking was still making my legs cramp!

By Monday morning we had a plan.  Instead of returning to work, we would resuscitate the last week of our honeymoon with a drive to Pinnacles National Park where we would go on a gentle hike, and if by 5:00 p.m. we were feeling ok enough that the thought of being stuck in another hotel room didn't terrify us....we would drive to Disneyland.

The thought of a hotel room still did terrify me.  I felt I had just moved mountains to try and get home to my own bed from thoudands of miles away.  But the temptation of Disneyland slightly outweighed my wimpy-ness.  Our plan went through!

Pinnacles National Park is a northern California park that recently made the leap over from State Park status (thanks Obama!).  It is notorious for its caves.  We have been wanting to go all year.

Before we left on our honeyoon, Corina from surfdome.com offered to send me any item from the surfdome website.  The site (which is based in London) is a retailer with a focus on sports and outdoors -- kind of like REI mixed with Sports Basement.  I hemmed and hawed between a sports bra and running shorts -- two things I always need more of -- before striking genius.  We needed a new hiking backpack for our energetic itinerary in Peru!

I browsed the backpacks carefully and picked this one.



My main criteria were large mesh side pocket for water bottle (I'm not into the water pouch/ camel back hydration); roomy enough for toiletries, food, and a change of clothes; hidey hole pockets for things like keys and wallets; and comfortable padded straps.  I picked a good one.  It is "mens" but the Gentleman and I have already split usage of it.  Tons of other luggage and backpack options that I was browsing can be found here.

We obviously didn't get to use the backpack in Machu Picchu, but we put it to use at Pinnacles.  We are hike-oholics with the Bay Area offerings, so this was a desperately needed item and will be used to death.  Thankful to Surfdome and please check their site out for last minute Christmas gifts (if you are in the UK it will get to you as long as you purchase by 3:00 p.m. on Monday!) and for anything you don't get for Christmas.  The selection is neverending.  And hiking is good for the soul.


Quiet: the red-shirted species of backpack model hikes all the way from the parking lot to the trailhead.



Work it.

The hike was a breath of fresh air.  Energizing and beautiful, and every part of me was happy to be aerobic again.

Also loving these hiking pants I bought at REI before we left for Peru.
It was a monday or tuesday (can't....remember) so the park was empty which is exactly how I like my national parks.  We only ran into one couple, and they were amusingly obsessed with trying to share our respective hike routes.  We were basically hiking the same loop in reverse.  It was an exciting conversation.




Man, whenever we hike the Gentleman always ends up 5-10 yards ahead of me and it kills me. I imagine people who pass us are like, are they in a fight, or....?  It's just the way we hike.  Not a ton of hand-holding, although that does happen too.




What's more beautiful I ask -- my sideburn look, or the Pinnacles rocks?

This little tunnel below provided the Gentleman with the opportunity to show off his yoga-mocking skills.  I could mock yoga all day.  It's okay I'm sure yogis make fun of runners all the time too.



This position is called the stupid starfish.



And this is brave downward dog; brave because it breaks all the rules by doing downward dog differently.

This day hike was clearly no Machu Picchu but it was still fantastic.  In addition to reviving my legs, I was able to work out my arm muscles a little bit too.  Below.  It was hard work but I only held the rock up for 4 hours.



The piece de resistance was the caves.  I'm not going to lie, it was way scarier than I thought it would be.  You literally NEED to bring a flashlight because it is pitch pitch PITCH black during parts where you are climbing down steep crevices.  All I could think about was James Franco getting stuck by a rock and sawing his arm off.  Poor James Franco :(




Climbing down into a cave

This is what it looked like inside.  Now you know what flashlight on black looks like. 
I had my new favorite snack in the world during this hike.  It will be featured in my next post.

After something like 8 miles of hiking we packed it up and drove to Anaheim, arriving at 10:30 p.m.  The week before Thanksgiving is a great time to go to Disneyland -- hotels were cheap, vacant, and the park was all decked out for Christmas but not crowded at all.

We all know what Disneyland looks like and we all love it (does anyone dislike it? I'd really like to know) so I'll spare you the details and just show you photos of yours truly.  We spent two full days park hopping and man, Disneyland is simply such an easy trip.  Traveling the world may be worth the effort, to learn and explore all the sites and smells different countries and cultures have to offer but....it is also extremely nice to sit back and have constant entertainment come at you.  Like I said, a very easy trip.



I don't understand the physics of the face the Gentleman is making in Splash Mountain.  I LOL for days every time I look at it.


This was a highlight.  The new "Cars" ride in California Land will blow your mind. 


That's just how we ride roller-coasters; while gazing into each other's eyes


The Gentleman says he was doing a "hurrah" fist pump but I think he was fixing to punch me in the skull.  So not cool man, look how cute and happy I look right before being punched.

If you didn't already know, the Disneyland bakery/candy stores have the best best BEST items in the world.  I could write a whole post on all the goodies I ate while in Disneyland.  Truthfully my stomach was still adjusting after the Peru bug and one of the only things I was craving and tolerating was straight up sugar.  I ate two of these caramel-and-chocolate covered marshmallow sticks (the one below had cashews in it too); an enormous "apple pie" flavored caramel apple; a hunk of toffee covered in chocolate; an ice cream cone filled with marshmallow and covered in white chocolate....ok this is gross.  Sorry.  But please understand I WAS SICK and also at Disneyland.  Treat yo-self.



I intended to end this post with a recap of my return to running, but this is just too long and too many pictures.  I'm starting to run from the very bottom (as in, 3 painful and slow miles) and it's a struggle but that's what happens to your body after a month off of running and a full week off of moving any muscles.   If any one else is starting from square one, let's do it together and whip into running shape!

Happy holidays for now!

Honeymoon Part 2: Epic Fail, One Of The Few Times In Internet History The Phrase Is Accurate

Ah, where were we last?

Galloping in a field of toucans and monkeys and anacondas.  Hugging sloths.

We had one last meal in our Amazonian lodge and the "rainforest" started showing it's true colors -- the rain started flooding down.  Down and down and down.  It was a Friday, so the lodge finally started filling up with other visitors which made us giggle.  First, because they were arriving in such wet circumstances, and second, because we could have really used the company.  Power in numbers against the tarantulas and such.  (I yelled at our guide for trying to prod a tarantula out of it's hidey hole during a pitch black night hike.  I never need to do another rainforest night hike again.)

The Gentleman was still suffering a fever and nausea, but he bravely survived a 1.5 hour boat ride up the Amazon river to return to the city of Iquitos.



This photo is from our boat ride TO the lodge, but add grey skies and heavy rain and it looked the same during our return.




The Amazon river was a mile wide and tasted like milky tea.  I mean looked--looked like milky tea.


Can you imagine that boat being your taxi to commute to work?  A lot of the villagers worked at a petroleum factory nearby, so their commute is something I traveled thousands of miles and spent hundreds of dollars to experience.  Hey. 

Laundry and bath time.  If these two only knew I would make them famous on the RoseRunner blog.
We took it easy during our remaining afternoon/evening in Iquitos because we simply did not enjoy being outside of our hostel, with the motorcycle sounds and smells.  The Gentleman regained a bit of appetite, so we we found a restaurant and I ate pizza and a salad.  Turns out you aren't supposed to eat raw foods (including lettuce leaves) when you are a tourist in Peru.  I got the bottled water memo, but not the no-salad-or-uncooked-produce memo.

Within an hour of returning to our hostel after dinner, I started feeling weak and achy and feverish.  No big deal, I was probably catching the 24-hour flu that we suspected the Gentleman caught, so I went to sleep ready to fight it off, lose a day of vacation, and return roaring for the next step of our honeymoon: Puno, for a voyage around Lake Titicaca.  It was the second tier leading to our honeymoon highlight: a hike to Machu Picchu.

The next morning was hell.  We had a long day of traveling (11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.) by motorcycle, airplane, layover, airplane, one-hour taxi ride, to get to Puno.

This was one of the most physically painful and uncomfortable days of my life.  I had to use the bathroom every 20 minutes.  I couldn't eat anything.  I was writhing with abdominal pain.  And I was trembling with fever chills the whole time, which earned some very alarmed looks on the airplane.  At the time I was extremely annoyed that people were staring at me because I was simply trying not to barf on them.  In hindsight, I would also have been like "THIS PERSON HAS THE BLACK PLAGUE, GET ME OFF THE PLANE."


I'm dyinngggg
We occasionally thought it was worth documenting our fall from grace.  But most of this ugly will stay only in my memory.

I was beyond relieved to collapse on the bed of our Puno hotel room.  The most beautiful sight of a bathroom just steps away.

Puno threw another obstacle in our way, however, because it is at 12,500 feet elevation.  It didn't take long for us to start getting headaches, start breathing oddly, and start wondering whether our diarrhea and other weak symptoms were from our prior illness or from the elevation.  We took prescription pills for the elevation and patiently waited for them to kick in.

A day went by; we canceled our overnight stay with a local family on a floating island in Lake Titicaca.  Another day went by, and we then canceled our replacement day tour of Lake Titicaca.  We  also canceled our plans to get up off the bed and brush our teeth and eat a piece of food and do ANYTHING living species do.

Days ticked by and all I saw of Puno was cracks of light from the hotel window.

Eventually we asked the front desk for oxygen to see if it would help.

Ha. haha. sooo dramatic.
It didn't.  It relieved the Gentleman of some degree of his headache, but I suspected the elevation was not what was killing me.  My heart rate had dropped to normal, I was breathing fine, so whatever was ailing us was some bug, not the elevation.

Eventually it had been 5 days of lying on a bed in pain, eating (drinking?) little more than gatorade, when I was convinced by my dad to visit a doctor.  (Kaiser rejected my call to the advice hotline once I told them I was out of country.  Gotta know the fine print.)  I pouted about not wanting to go see the local shaman, which was my way of joking through my fears of medicine in another country.

A kind doctor visited our hotel and then taxi'd me to a clinic.  This was exciting because I saw the sun for a minute.

We gave the hospital room below a long hard look of "nevermind, let's go back to the hotel" but we stuck it out.  I got an IV of electrolytes and antibiotics.  We were there for about 5 hours.



This was about the time that I finally let the truth sink in.  I wanted nothing in the whole world more than to be HOME.  The thought flickered in and out previously, but I was patiently waiting for the sickness to pass and our vacation to resume and not giving it any serious consideration.  


We did it sweetie! We made it to our honeymoon!

The IV did not magically cure me.  We went back to the hotel with a bag full of antibiotic pills and other prescriptions. 

We had sailed through our entire stay in Puno and the next step on our itinerary was a 9 hour bus tour to Cusco.  No part of me (or the Gentleman, who BTW was not as pathetic as me but was still suffering stomach distress and no appetite) was going to survive a 9 hour bus ride.  What's more, that 9 hour bus tour was supposed to be followed by a strenuous 4 day backpacking trip.

And so we threw in the towel.  It was done.  We started booking a flight to Lima, and thereafter a flight to SFO.  This was a formidable task.  Fuck LAN.  Worst airline in the world.  We lost megabucks because their website and phone service made it impossible to rebook our flight home, so we flew home with another airline.  Give me a holler if you know how to get a complaint heard and fixed with LAN.

We taxi'd out of Puno to the airport in Juliaca, and I snapped a photo of the only view I ever had of Lake Titicaca.  To be honest, I don't even know if that is Lake Titicaca.  Maybe it is an inlet.  I'll never see it I guess...




At the airport, ready to survive a short flight to Lima.  I kicked some guy out of his aisle seat so I had easier access to the toilets.



The flight from Lima to SFO sucked balls but truly the suckiest part was that they played the SAME Tim Allen movie THREE times in a row.  In spanish.

I have a crazy souvenir from our honeymoon and my hospital visit.

That's my arm.
Something in my vein really disliked the IV I was given.  This photo was taken today, four weeks after the hospital visit.  It is tender, painful, and bothers the crap out of me.  But at least I'm HOME.

And finally for the photo below, because this wouldn't be a proper RoseRunner post without making fun of silly bloggers a little bit.

After a week of not eating I obviously lost weight.  I also lost a ton of muscle.  My hard earned runners legs, withered away.  When we got outta that hotel to travel home, I had to shuffle slowly because my pathetic calves kept cramping on me.  Yeah, forget running--my muscles couldn't even manage to walk.  slowly.

My point is to reiterate what has been said before by those wiser than I to remind women of the stupidity of succumbing to the famous thigh gap goal.  I don't have the build for a thigh gap.  Guys, the only time in my adulthood that I have had "a thigh gap" was as a result of insufferable montezuma's revenge that stripped me of my beautiful running muscles (see below).  The minute I started running again, my thighs redeveloped and the thigh gap went away.  Running is awesome.  You can take my thigh gap, I choose running.

This is what unhappy thighs look like
Well that's about it for Honeymoon Part 2.  Believe it or not, there is a part 3.