#11 (final) Argentina, April 4, 2005

Dear Everybody,

Continuing on, I took a three hour bus ride to Jujuy (pronounced hoo-hooey) north of Salta. This is the farthest northwest city established in Argentina in colonial times. I found it to be not a very charming city—kind of messy and not many pretty buildings.

This also may have been colored by a growing problem of an earache, and two coldsores. After a couple of days I decided that I had better get medical advice, so I went back to Salta as that is a much more sophisticated city.

Well, it turned out that I had developed a horrid case of shingles! Those were not (self-diagnosed) cold sores (herpes) but the onset of shingles, which, I learned, is a virus related to the chicken pox virus and is stress induced. I went to a doctor in Salta, and also talked with my American doctor by phone.

Speaking of stress, in my life on three occasions when I have accepted a job with increased responsibilities, after three months I developed some physical problem—a very bad cold twice, a sprained ankle once. Then when my husband and I separated for a divorce, I developed a muscle spasm in my back that kept me in bed for two days, exactly three months after the separation. Now, some days after I had developed this malady, I realized that my daughter and son in law had been released from a Mexican prison exactly three months and six days before the onset of the shingles!! What is it about me, stress, and three months!?!

Anyway, traveling is no fun when one doesn’t feel well, so I packed it in and came home. Unfortunately the ‘getting home’ was quite a nightmare as it was the Sunday after spring break with hoards of people traveling, and I had to run to catch two of the six planes that this required! I went through security (shoes on and off) ten times during the 36 hours that I was in transit. In Lima, Peru, I had to spend from midnight until 7:00 AM in the airport as I was advised not to go to a hotel at this hour for safety reasons, and also the hotels in a safe neighborhood would take a half hour to get to. There wasn’t an airport-provided chair in the whole place. There were some tiny metal chairs at McDonald’s to sit on, and not a shred of carpet in the whole airport to lie on—a long night.

Well, all’s well that ends well—I’m home, my shingles seems to be improving, I shall visit my doctor today, rest up, and then plan my next trip. I do regret that I didn’t have the opportunity to take the bus ride over the Andes from Mendoza to Santiago as I had planned—well, next time!

Thanks for ‘listening’,

Carol

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