Well, there isn't actually anything beautiful about rabies. Nope. And thankfully I don't have rabies. At least I'm trying to make sure I don't.
Let me start from a few days ago. Last Sunday I flew out to Cusco, Peru to meet up with my buddy Liz. She is traveling through South America and since I have been working too hard, I thought it might be good and healthy to get out of town (or even the country!) for a week. So I came up here with the plan of hiking and exploring a bit with Liz and then spending a few days alone, praying and journalling. It was going to be my much needed vacation.
And well, it has been. Sort of.
It turns out Liz and I are great traveling buddies. I figured we would be, but you never know. Sometimes friends turn out to be the wrong person to travel with. But Liz and I are quite similar in how we travel. So it was great to have the first four days with her. We explored around Cusco and other towns a bit, and even headed up Machu Pichhu on her last day. Amazing. Definitely a must-see.
The problem is that on day 2, I got bit by a dog. Not a street dog, but a dog out in the countryside that was "protecting" its territory. The bite wasn't deep, more like a scratch. But I did bleed which means I might have been exposed to rabies. Great.
Chances are the dog doesn't have rabies. But the chance of surviving rabies if the dog does have it, and I don't deal with it now, are zero. Yep. Rabies, once it shows up, is fatal. I think I read somewhere that you have 3 weeks to live. So between my mother's pleas and my own research on rabies. I decided to go get the rabies vaccine. Unfortuntely, it was a bit of a adventure to find where I can actually get the vaccine. But after a few bad leads, I finally ended up in the right public hospital. Hosptial Belenpampa. It was surprising a lovely experience.
Maybe I have lived in South America too long and my expectations are low. The place was dirty. I mean, it's exactly what you think of when you imagine a south american public hospital. But the people were sweet and helpful. The service was what I expected: a lot of hoops to jump through, lines to wait in, dimly lit waiting rooms filled with crying babies and elderly. But once all was said and done, I only spent two hours at the hospital, and they gave me the vaccine for free. Sadly, it's the old version of the rabies vaccine, which is a shot in a stomach. One shot each day, for seven days total. And the shot itself doesn't hurt too much, just like a regular shot, but what I have noticed (now after two of these shots) is the pain after the shot. Yesterday the pain lasted till late into the night. It's not a debilitating pain. But it's definitely painful.
So now I'm in my 3 days of personal retreat, alone in Cusco, praying and journalling. And dealing with the rabies shots. Good times. At least here it's free. The people are lovely. The scenery spectacular. This morning I ate breakfast on a balcony overlooking the plaza de armas. And then headed over to the Starbucks to grab a coffee and charge up my computer. And I was so enamored by the scene. The beautiful architecture, the crowds of people gathering in the town center, and all surrounded by the majestic andes mountains. Beautiful.
Hence my title. I am suffering the rabies shots, but at least I am surrounded by such incredible beauty.