During the first weekend of May, Melissa and I went to a town called Huancayo in central Peru as Melissa had some work to do there and I thought getting the chance to see another part of Peru would be a good idea. Turns out, I didn’t see much.
We took a quick plane ride, and I mean quick. It was about 25 minutes and yet flew in a big 737. I’m not sure if we even made it to cruising altitude.
So we land in this tiny spit of an Airport in a town called Jauja, which is about an hour’s drive north of the Huancayo. The airport was surrounded by quinoa fields. I swear to you I will get a picture of growing quinoa before we head back to the states.
We took a very crowded taxi driven by a very affable man by the name of Ronald, who was happy to tell everyone his life story in exchange for their life story. He was really nice, and spoke nice and slow, so I understood most of what he had been talking about in the ride down, when I was actively paying attention. The country side surrounding Huancayo is beautiful, so I spent as much time listening as I did watching mountains and fields roll past. We were even gifted with a heavy rainstorm on the way in, and before we got into the storm, we saw a really vivid rainbow. At one point, I think there was a triple rainbow.
Anyway, we arrived in Huancayo at our hotel which wasn’t, uh, the best. The beds were comfy and the room was clean, but that was about it. The bathroom door didn’t actually fit in the door jamb and I don’t think I’ve seen a CRT TV in a hotel room since 2010. Thankfully, we’d only be in our bedroom to sleep, so no big deal. Right?
After our brief stop in the hotel room, we went across the road to this restaurant that was very nice and had an enjoyable meal. I don’t know what the deal with Huancayo is because the city looks like a dump, but it is full or really nice places to eat.
After dinner, we headed over to a mall to go see Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Again, Huancayo is not a very nice city, and not even all the streets had sidewalks, but the mall was fantastic, so I guess, you know, priorities.
We get to the mall, after braving sidewalkless streets and angry packs of stray dogs and buy our movie tickets and grab our seats. Maybe four or five minutes before the trailers start, I decide I should use the bathroom because I’m excited to see Guardians 2 and I don’t want to have to leave in the middle of the movie for a pee break. I wish I could tell you how good the movie was.
INSTEAD, on the way out of the theater, on the very last step, I tripped and rolled my left ankle and after a sharp pain and loud pop, was wheelchaired out of the theater with a sprained ankle that had grown 3 times the size that day.
So employees of the movie theater take us to this little triage room in the mall to make sure nothing is broken and, I figure give me some ice and a bandage, and then I’m guessing take me back to the theater? I don’t know, what more can you do with a sprained ankle other than not use it that much for a week or two?
No. That is not what happened.
I got some weird mystery cream on my foot that did, I’m not sure; nothing? I don’t know. Then they make sure I can move my ankle and I start getting wheeled out of the triage room. Okay, back to the theater.
No. Still not what happened.
Also, I haven’t been able to use the bathroom yet. You know, the whole reason this started in the first place.
I get wheeled out to an ambulance. It’s all a bit much for a freaking mild sprained ankle that doesn’t even hurt that much, but I figure by now the movie theater is doing everything in their power to cover their butts. The paramedics in the ambulance give me a shot that is supposed to be a muscle relaxant, and then whisk me off to a nearby clinic.
I still haven’t used the bathroom.
So we get set up in the clinic, and the manager of the movie theater is hanging around making sure I’m okay and probably also keeping an eye on ensuring my ankle doesn’t fall off or something. The nurse and doctor come by and confirm what I’m already suspecting. I’ve got a sprained ankle. They set up for me to get some x-rays and while we wait for the x-ray attendant guy to show up, I lay in bed, waiting.
Still, no opportunity to use the bathroom.
Alright, so the x-ray guy arrives and takes some x-rays and, hooray, no fractures, just a sprain. The doctor had us buy some gauze and plaster and then she makes me this semi-cast to help immobilize my ankle for the first few days. I don’t know why we had to buy the material for her to use, but alright, we do, she makes the almost cast and then we have to wait for the damn thing to dry.
Well, at this point, it’s been 3 hours, I haven’t used the bathroom, my left leg up to my shin is covered in this drying near cast that currently just feels like my leg sitting in warm, wet cotton and I reached my limit. I had Melissa hunt down the nurse so I could get wheeled to a bathroom or something. Nurse arrives with a nice heavy duty metal bed pan, closed the curtains around me, and allowed me to finally, finally, use the bathroom.
I don’t know what volume the bedpan contained, but I filled that thing up, difficult as it was to pee laying on my side. Not that you need to know any of that, but I think it adds a certain humor to the story, don’t you think?
By now it’s like midnight, the movie is long over so I guess I’m not going to see Guardians of the Galaxy, and my quasi-cast has dried enough the clinic calls us a taxi home. While we’re waiting for the taxi, I’m trying to figure out how much this whole damn adventure is going to cost us, only to learn that between an ambulance, a clinic visit, the X-Rays and some medicine, the total amount is about $70 and the movie theater paid for most of it.
Let that sink in. $70 for all of that. Can you imagine what that would have been in the United States? You’re probably close to the $2000 mark, at least. So yeah, the US Healthcare System is totally and completely fucked up. I wish I hadn’t sprained my ankle, but if I had to do it anywhere, might as well be in a place where it won’t break the bank.
Complaints of a broken US health care system aside, we returned to our hotel where it was now clear I would be spending all my time the next four days and I’m left wondering how the hell I’m going to get to the hotel room, because I’ve got no crutches and can’t put weight on my left foot. Have no fear, intrepid readers, for the late night desk clerk at the hotel just happened to know of a spare pair of crutches I could use. They were a bit short because 6+ feet tall people in Peru are a bit of a rarity, but for a free pair of crutches, they made do.
So now this takes us to what am I going to do with all this time I suddenly have that won’t be spent exploring the city. Well, here’s what we did, are you ready? It’s a very exciting list of things.
- I read. A lot.
- We watched most of the Harry Potter movies. In Español of course. Which was actually pretty useful.
- I downloaded Rollercoaster Tycoon on my phone and played a bunch of that and relived the nostalgia.*
*Side note – I remember playing Rollercoaster Tycoon on a computer that couldn’t even fully handle the game back in the early oughts, and now its on my phone and plays flawlessly. Hahahaha. Wow. I am so old.
I left the hotel room to go get dinner, and Melissa ran out the morning after I sprained my ankle to get breakfast foods at the OTHER mall in the city. And on the days she didn’t work, she ran out and got us lunch, too. I hobbled to places next door to get lunch on the days she did work.
All in all, I got to see about 12 blocks of a new city I thought I’d be seeing lots more of and the last night we were there, I thought that would be the end of our misadventure with Huancayo, but oh no. The whole damn city had another plan.
See, we had a flight out at like 7 in the morning, the airport is an hour away, we were told to have an hour to get through the airport, though I’m not sure why because it was literally two rooms and a porch, and we needed to get ready to go in the morning. That made wake up time 4:30 AM so that are very nice driver, Ronald (remember him) could take us back. We decided we would be responsible adults and go to bed about 9:30.
First, some jagoff decided to yell an entire conversation to somebody else on the phone outside of everyone’s doors. I’m not even sure how the conversation lasted so long. I would’ve hung the fuck up if some dillweed decided he was just going to yell about every atrocity that ever befell him.
Then we learned the walls were paper thin because some asshole left their TV on the loudest volume possible all night long. I hope they get a fishing hook in their eyelid.
The city itself had what can I only assume was a sacrificial ceremony of other assholes that have conversations to loud and marked each death with a few fireworks and some microphoned celebrations.
Finally, I guess doors can only be slammed in Huancayo, because that’s what everyone in that hotel did that night.
It was about 1:30 by the time I actually fell asleep, and when we woke up 3 hours later, I was happy to be leaving Huancayo behind.
As for the sprained ankle, 3 weeks later, I’m still dealing with it. I’ve got a series of excercises I do twice a day and it is still a little bit swollen. I can walk around without problem now, but if I use my left ankle to turn on, I can still feel the muscles and ligaments are still sore. I still need to ice it, but their isn’t any pain. Luckily, I’ll be fine for my trip to Ecuador in 2 weeks and won’t be held back by any lingering issues.
As for Guardians of the Galaxy 2? I still haven’t seen it.