Short Stories
Entry No. 45 February 15, 2005

Peruvian Love

I had mentioned in an email to friends and family that I had heard a song in Ecuador that really made me feel good. It went like this: "Nobody gonna break my stride, nobody gonna slow me down, oh no, I've got to keep on moving...". Well, I had found some amoeba friends in my stomach that slowed me right down - to a stop. They threw me on the ground, and I curled up into a ball for about a day.

Welcome to PART I of the Peruvian Desert. I have no idea where or when these little tummy friends infiltrated, but they were there and kicking around inside. We were cycling through a 200 km stretch of nothingness when I literally fell ill and hung out in a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. I listened to blaring hip hop music all day as I laid folded up into a small ball. "You can ring my bell" and "Get this party started" invaded my ears. I soon blocked it out or sang my own song. I started to feel better towards the end of the day and knew I would be ready to go by the next morning. What I wasn't ready for were the persistent and extensive headwinds for the remainder of the stretch. It was tough and we didn't make a whole lot of progress.

Things were looking up when a torpid and potbellied truck pulled up filled with rocks. We knew he would travel faster than we could draft him, but what if he would consider driving a little slower for us for a bit? It would be so nice to get a break from the wind. At first it seemed preposterous that we were considering asking this driver to drive slower. We thought he might, though, with some incentive. Maybe 30 Soles, perhaps? We made a deal and all four of us drafted this truck full of rocks for 30 km. Will and Orian were actually able to draft him for longer even after he sped up. Susie and I couldn't hold the draft. We both slowly slipped further and further from the truck until it was just a dot ahead. Our destination, Chiclayo, would have to wait a little longer. Nevertheless, that 30 km behind the truck knocked off a bit of time and gave me a badly needed break from the direct wind. After that, my spirits were up and only memories of my amoeba pain remained; back to the sun, wind, and desert sand.

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