More work with the Colegio Nacional de Obstetras del Perú training newborn resuscitation trainers in Perú. In order to get to the city of Andahuaylas in the mountainous state of Apurimac, I flew into Ayacucho. Andahuaylas has a small airport, served by a single carrier that had declared bankruptcy the previous week, so we opted not to risk a cancellation. As the crow flies between Ayacucho and Andahuaylas it's only 66 km, but traveling by car is 248 km, at least 4 hours plus through the mountains.
In a colectivo with three other passengers we departed Ayacucho in the late afternoon. I had the shotgun seat in front, probably undeserved gringo privilege. The highway is new, but with constant curves (I mean CUUURVES), as our driver, Percy, drove aggressively, but well. He was a twenty-something guy with a scraggly little goatee who seemed to enjoy listening to traditional criolla and altiplano music. As we ascended, the sky turned a gorgeous orange with the sun dropping behind the distant cumulus clouds at the horizon. No rain, but cloud lightening popping intermittently. Other worldly snapshots.
We rose above the tree line, finally cresting the pass at 14,000 feet, surrounded by scattered rocks and tufts of coarse dry grass, darkness taking over. With little traffic and good highway, Percy accelerated on the way down, curve after curve after curve. Two hundred meters was probably our longest straight stretch with only the next switchback curve sign to focus on in the darkness.
The next 2 hours plus into Andahuaylas was a study in acute motion sickness, semi-circular canals going crazy. My car mates just slept, uninterested in my distress. I’ll spare you the graphic blow-by-blow but in the final 2 hours of the trip I stopped 5 times as Percy wanted to keep the car clean. It brought back less than pleasant memories of the spinning teacup ride at the Douglas County fair outside of Omaha.
Next time I’m committed to flying directly.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.