Twixt Navidad Y Nuevo Ano (Christmas & New Year)


Vilcabamba Central Park Mandango Mountain in Background

Holidays are not my strong suit. I usually just ‘sit them out’.  Reason being is that most folks tend to go a little wacky this time of year with unreasonable expectations.  Most of the wackiness stems from childhood memories or from some sense of not having done ‘enough’ or some other touchy stuff.

Think of me as doing the ‘groundhog’ thing about 5 weeks early. I usually surface from my burrow shortly after Jan 2nd.  By then, most of the emotional tsunamis have washed ashore and lots of the wacky people are into damage control. Things get back to normal pretty quickly.

I’ve been assessing my health issues. As in previous report, I still have some kind of respiration/congestion thing happening. Been to the pharmacy and have spoken with lots of other folks. Everyone agrees. No one knows what it is. I have heard other folks around here coughing the same tune as me. I usually get the worst symptoms at night which is not conducive to restful sleep. I toss and turn and am up frequently.  One nostril is sometimes partially open and the other is clogged. Mostly have to breath through my mouth… dry mouth, sip water, go to the bathroom, coughing fit, calm down, take a hit off the inhaler, lie down and do over.

Have not been getting out of bed before 10AM.  Only eating one meal a day. Not complaining, just reporting. It’s all part of living.


My Medicines available at market and pharmacy

The fruit is a ‘sweet lime’. Cut it open and it smells like lime but has no tartness. It is mildly sweet. Been eating these for vitamin C. Was looking for cortisol cream for potential rashes along the journey, the pharmacy had only Dermosupril. The bottle, back Right,  has salbutamol and ambroxol chlorohydrate. Seems to open up my bronchial tubes.  I can breathe easier. salbutamol is the same med in my inhaler.  Alercet caps have cetrizina and pseudoefedrine sulfate. Helps reduce  nasal congestion but makes me jittery.  I found Sinutab capsules. They help  nasal congestion with fewer jitters.   Great isn’t it…  a medication list in an adventure blog.

Check the  Coca Cola ingredients

Bet you wish you could find this where you are… no corn syrup.

Part of the gear I brought with me was a large plastic spray bottle from a company called Sawyer. It is reportedly one of the very best mosquito repellants, also works on ticks, chiggers, and mites. Only supposed to be applied to the exterior of clothing. Why I did not apply it to clothing before I left is that it says it’s effective for about 45 days. I wanted to get the max time out of it.

Here is a picture of the bottle and a shirt I doused with itP1000407

Here’s another pic of some more duds doused and drying out


Have spoken with a few acquaintances during the past few days. Vilcabamba town is a small place. Everyone knows who is who around here.  Lots of different kinds of expats. Brits, Germans, Belgians, Mexicans, Canadians, and yes, those from the US of A. Some younger farmer types, some artsy hippie sorts, and some older disgruntled military types.  Many have bought here and are struggling to keep their small businesses afloat. A few are on some kind of pension.  They ALL have great stories.  Nearly everyone will be thoroughly acquainted with the ‘conspiracy’ threads.  Sometimes friendly and welcoming, sometimes  keep to themselves, all have their own quirks and are not attempting to hide any of them.

Because I have been spending many hours in my groundhog hole recently I learned a very useful thing. While cogitating about my upcoming arrival in the Amazon region I surfed on over the Brasil immigration process. Good thing I did. I WAS marginally contemplating going down the Amazon river all the way to Manaus, Brasil.  This was not a necessary part of my itinerary to fulfill my current personal recon mission. But, it was a ‘potential option’ in my mind.

Good thing I ran across this bit of info here and now. Brazil happens to be one of those countries that requires a visitor to get a tourist visa PRIOR to arriving at their border. No official Brazilian visa stamp in your passport UPON ARRIVAL at any of their borders and you will be turned back.  There is a set procedure for getting this visa. One must (and can only) get this official visa at a Brazilian embassy in your country PRIOR to travel there. For US citizens the cost is 140 bucks. This will allow you do visit for 90 days of a one year period. The duration of the visa is reported to be for 10 years.  Not too bad.

I suppose I could go to Quito (there is a Brazilian embassy there) and see if I could get the official Brazilian visa stamp there, but I don’t know if I am going to want to go all the way to Manaus by the time I get to Leticia. I might, but I might have had enough by then.  I’m really not into causing myself undue hardship. I am out to see a part of the world that is rapidly changing. I will have to think this one out a bit. Glad I discovered this here and now. Gives me time to think about it. If I were to have arrived at Tabatinga (on a boat) the officials would probably just say nope… where is your Brazilian visa.

Isn’t it great to live in a world where all the countries make up their own policies about stopping in for a visit such that when you arrive at their borders some say ‘Sure, come on in… No problem’ and others say ‘Hey, you’ve got to do… such and so… BEFORE you even get here’. It’s usually about paying MONEY.  And it’s about one country making a policy that forces people from ‘certain and specific’ countries to do ‘certain and specific’ things at ‘certain and specific’ rates.  Guess who led the way?  Good guess. The good old USA.  People from Brazil or Paraguay, or Argentina or Bolivia get hit with (to them, pretty stiff) these ‘fees’ before they are granted a US visa. So… the governments of those countries ‘retaliate’ or ‘treat in kind’. They do US citizen the same ‘favor’.  Pay up… or you can’t visit.

Didn’t used to be that way… even ten years ago.  That is why I say to people: “If there is something you want to do, you’d better get on doing it, because the ‘rules’ that allow you to do it now may (are sure to) change in the future. Grab it now. Sieze the day. Carpe diem.”

A few more Vilca photos:P1000410 P1000414