February 14, 2014
This morning there was a small group of us up early ready to head off for our horse riding! I had ridden a horse once when I was 14 and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it. There was about 8-10 of us and we were packed up and driven up the mountain. Soon enough we were taken to our horses and there was the prettiest ginger horse with a latte coloured mane and I HAD to have her. Saddled up, we took off and my horse decided she was basically the best and HAD to be at the front.
No amount of direction would calm her. Then after ten minutes of trying not to panic (Jemma told me it makes it worse then, the whole they “can smell your fear” nonsence. Which, by the way, in no way could possibly make people fell less terrified. The tour guide came up and told me that this horse was known to be kind of a huge bitch and I promptly and not at all glamorously slid off the horse to safety. They found me a slower horse (in gait and in intelligence) for the remainder of the morning. To be honest, horse riding is not that bad. It is slow, you’re in nature, horses are quite pretty (if you’re into that kind of thing) and it was nice to be out of the hustle bustle, continuous car honking city centre. We were out and a bit for a few hours with the horses, poor Karen had a biting horse, sneaky shit would get really close to other horses and then bite them on the arse. It caused some problems. Albeit, hilarious problems. Poor Karen copped the flack which in retrospect was poor form on the rest of us.
It was a few hours in when my horse all of a sudden developed this amazing sassy attitude, overtaking other horses, strutting around etc. When we were done and we jumped off the horses, mine kind of took off. I think forever. It just ran across the road and completely ran away. Sorry buddy – I am not sure what I did but I am completely to blame for that!
After our horse riding, we had bike riding! Almost the entire group was ready to go mountain biking down the mountain and through Cusco. I am not entirely sure why it took over an hour to get people ready to go, but it was annoying as hell (I know, tourist gripe #4546) and our American buddy was flying out that afternoon so he eventually had to bail and head off, we were losing family members at a rapid pace and it sucked. Our Peru family was amazing, it was small but it was amazing. The mountain biking eventually started and it was amazing, we had been told that it was completely down hill and some of us were still pretty sick and we were still at altitude and I was still breathing like some emphysema stuck-in-space Gravity extra.
We did have to go uphill at one point. I am not entirely sure what happened but the breathing difficulty and then the altitude and the going up hill on a bike somehow, I found myself freaking out. I couldn’t breathe. At all, as in could not get air into my lungs and I knew that if I calmed down it would get better but I couldn’t. Which escalated into a full on panic attack. The worse one I have ever had. It was absolutely terrifying. One minute I was walking up the hill laughing and smiling and then it changed. Jemma saw me from probably 20m away and she knew what was up (you’re the best Jem xx), she acted pretty quickly, rallied the troops. I dropped the bike and dropped to the ground. Jemma was in front of me telling me to breathe, Monica was behind me and Hannah, oh Hannah, my lifesaver!!
Hannah was a paramedic and she was QUICK! The breaths weren’t coming, I was crying, I felt like I was choking and I was in the middle of a panic attack. Hannah had me answering questions which were kind of working. Then she asked me my Mum’s name, which I responded to but then (and this was almost like slow motion), she asked me my Dad’s name, Jemma’s face dropped, she did the “no – not this q”) face – cue brand new anxiety attack and tears! After a simple 1-10 counting exercise, it was all well and good.
We finished our bike ride, we ended up finishing the ride in pouring, I mean POURING rain and it was the most fun any of us had had in over a week. It was amazing, we did accidentally forget Claire – that part was terrible. When we all made it to the end we were high-fiving and cheering and basically acting like an American football team which has won some college football thing (we road bikes in the rain, look-out!). We took our group photos (wish I had one!). As we started to pack up, poor drenched Claire appeared. Oh my god, the feeling of group-guilt was palpable – so we took more group photos, but it felt wrong, it felt dirty and cheap haha. Sorry Claire!!!
We got back, five of us decided that irish car-bombs were in order (where CAN’T you find an Irish pub I ask you? Not Cusco!) and then off for our last Cusco dinner!