After my difficult decision to quit the race. We were able to find a substitute to take my spot- so the rest of my team could complete the race. That made me feel better. It was very hard to not be able to get out there and join them.
The highlight of my day today was at the beginning of the day as Jose and I were walking from the campsite to the boat. Jose pointed into the tree and showed me the monkey’s. I was so excited to see squirrel monkey’s. Jose is a guide at Tapiche Reserve (https://www.tapichejungle.com/) He is clearly a good guide- he made sure that I was actually able to see the monkeys and not just saying it. I have always wanted to see Monkey’s in the wild and was thrilled that I was able to see them. What a great start to the day!
Today they would be rafting from Nuevo Esperanza to Tamashacu 65 Km Today would take the teams about 9 hours or so to get to the stopping point for the day. It was a long tiring day for the racers. I received reports about how incredibly grueling this day was.
Meanwhile I was on the supply boat. My stomach was getting worse by the day. The thought of having to be on the boat all day-did not sound appealing. I was scared that I might get motion sick. I was getting a little sick of the constant boat rides. Normally- I would love them- but I didn’t feel good and I was constantly scared of having a seizure.
I was able to see the teams as we passed them- but only once. But It was nice to see them all! I cheered them on. It was very bittersweet for me. I desperately wanted to be on the water and I was wondering if I made the right decision.
Not being on the water- gave me time to think about everything going on. I was struggling with the question- what the heck was I doing here? Here I was in Peru unable to finish the race, meanwhile at home- my Dad’s heath was rapidly deteriorating and I was fairly certain that he would not be alive when I returned home. And if that wasn’t enough, my daughter was struggling with the start of the semester and was very stressed out- I wanted to be there for her. I was beating myself up. I had come on the trip in-spite of the poor timing in my life- because I had trained all summer and my Mom felt I needed to go no matter what. But with me sitting on the sidelines- it felt pointless. I was possibly never going to see my Dad again and for what- the opportunity to compete in race that I ended up quitting? Was it worth it? I was feeling like I should be at home. It was hard to really enjoy much of the race at this point. Being sick on vacation is never good- and you combine it with everything else- I was pretty miserable -but trying to stay positive.
There were other teams that were also on the supply boat because they were not able to complete the race. I will admit, this made me feel a little better about myself. It was nice to know that I was not the only one who had to stop. There was a team that had to quit the race due to severe sunburns. Shortly after the day started another one of our teams gets pulled in. I was worried- what had happened? I was scared that something terrible had happened. They were alright- Thank god! They had trouble communicating due to a language barrier and were unable to get their raft working as a team. So- they decided to call it a day. It made me very sad to see them give up the race. I knew how hard it had been on me- I did not like seeing more of my friends having to experience that.
We passed the time by chatting and playing a game of Jenga . I can safely say- that I had not anticipated playing a game of Jenga on the Amazon River. But it did help keep my mind off of my troubles. Having friends to spend the day with helped make the day better.
When we got to the town of Nuevo Esperanza- I was a little sad. My friend’s were going to take a boat to Iquitos. I wanted to go with them- but felt I should stay and cheer for my team. I was hot and decided that I really wanted a shower. I was hot and wanted to get cooled off.
I asked Luma if she could help me find a Hotel. She agreed to help me. She helps me find a room. I had asked her – about how long would it be before the teams started coming in. I wanted to be at the shore- cheering them on as they arrived. Luma told me that this was a “special” hotel and that she would come get me in 2 hours and then we could move me to where the other racers were staying. I was a little confused by this….Why would I want to move to where the other racer’s are? Why could I only stay there for a couple of hours. Then it dawned on me—Was this a by the hour hotel??? I decided- you know what I don’t care- I just want a shower so I will get a shower and wait- because I didn’t know if she was trying to tell me it was too dangerous for me to go out on my own.
This was the absolutely most filthy room I have ever stayed in. The bathroom was dirty – but I was grateful for a shower just the same. As I was coming out of the shower I realized that the window going to the hallway had a curtain but it was see through and I apparently I was giving a show to the two gentleman outside. Yikes!!! I am using my little travel towel I had bought at REI. there was no towel provided. Let me tell you-not quite big enough….SO I kind of crawled to my suitcase to get to my clothes and scamper back to the filthy bathroom to get dressed.
I desperately wanted to get out of the room and go see the team. But after the way Luma spoke I wasn’t sure if it was safe for a solo gringo woman to venture out on her own. So I waited for her to return- which she never did.
While I waited I got more and more scared. There was tons of screaming and sounds of lots of kids crying and being hit with a belt. It was awful. After many hours- I heard voices in the hallway- and suddenly I realized I knew them. I popped open the door and peaked out and there was Pam (one of the rafter’s in our group from the other raft that was still competing). She was trying to get a room but there were none. But they apparently had a spare mattress to move into my room. I was thrilled. I wouldn’t have to be in this scary place all by myself! I guess this wasn’t a by the hour hotel after all and I could have left and been fine.
After she got cleaned up we ventured out into the town. I was hoping to get something to eat- as I had missed dinner- while I waited. I would not get the opportunity to eat dinner- We never did find any place to eat. I bought a bag of potato chips and ate that and a coke for dinner.
Meanwhile my stomach issues were escalating I got up 6 times in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. That’s a lot considering I had next to nothing in my stomach.