Love affair with coca

An artful glass of coca tea in Cusco

In an Incan legend, a number of men aggressively pursued a particularly beautiful and pure young woman. She resisted all temptation which angered them. The men ended up abusing her, and she responded by committing suicide. On the spot where she died, a coca plant grew. This explains the spiritual importance of the coca leaf in a culture that places it in such extraordinarily high regard. The other reasons, as I’ve learned firsthand in Peru, are a lot more practical.  Continue reading


An excerpt from my Andes expedition 

A panoramic view of Mount Salkantay

A panoramic view of Mount Salkantay

South America is a rugged place, and Peru embodies every geographical possibility imaginable. It has barren desert, thick rainforests, and unforgiving mountains. Especially in the Andes, it is a land that must be walked. Think twice if you want to rest your legs and go for a drive. The roads are mostly unpaved and rudimentary speed bumps appear almost everywhere. The one lane mountain highways wind nauseatingly with cliff face on one side and deadly drops on the other. No one feels rested after these rides. The land was made for hiking. Continue reading

Meet Nester 

This is Nester and one of the pups that hiked the canyon with our group

The Colca Canyon outside of Arequipa, Peru is supposedly the deepest canyon in the world. We decided to hike the canyon on a two day, one night trek. I heard the canyon was magnificent, and I also figured it would be a good warm up for the five day Salkantay trek starting this Thursday. Our Colca guide was Nester, and he gained my respect over the course of the trip.  Continue reading

Crohn’s Chronicles IV

My humira lunchbox without any ice or ice sheets

I’m back on the road, and I’m still on humira. Thankfully, I feel quite well while taking a combination of methotrexate and humira injections. Preparing my medication for this three week Peru trip was way easier than last year when I spent four months abroad. At least this time I know what to expect and I am already confident that keeping the pens cold will not be an issue. Continue reading

Lima life

Sorry for the lack of photos in this post! The wifi is too weak here to upload pictures.

On our first day in Lima, another friend hopped on board for our journey. His name is Greg, he’s a cool kiwi from New Zealand, and he speaks Spanish fluently. Greg, who is David’s old mate from summer camp, had been living in Colombia for a while. He planned to meet us here as soon as David told him we were making the trip. This is a huge move for the program. Peru has fewer English speakers than Asia did. I’m sure David and I would still be able to have the same experiences without a translator, but having Greg makes things significantly easier. Continue reading