I ate guinea pig. From what my friends on the trip who had tried one elsewhere had to tell me, it should have been a great experience, a wonderful taste with delicious crackly skin. If only! Mine was eaten at a foul roadside "restaurant." By foul I mean foul. There were mangy dogs trotting by, scrounging. By roadside I mean roadside – by the side of the road – with just room for the mangy dogs to avoid being run over by the trucks that were scattering us in filth. By restaurant I don’t mean anything like a restaurant!
As for the taste, it didn’t have much and the skin was like rubber. I think the beast might have died a natural death some time ago. That gave the great spirit guinea pig in the sky enough time to plot a sinister revenge – and he used it. That night I came as near as I have for a long time to athleticism. However, it wasn’t a race track I was running – just the fastest way to the smallest room. I slept badly, largely, if not entirely, due to the worsening condition of my stomach. We were due to go on the first train to Aguas Callientes, ready to go to Machu Picchu the following day and meet our trip associates as they completed the Inca Trail. This meant getting up at about 4am, and we reached the station at about 5:40am.
I felt absolutely awful, so Pam and José, the assistant to the tour leader, who was going with us, took my luggage and went quickly up the steps to find our seats. I followed miserably and looked up the steps. A wave of dizziness hit me, and my heart machine (sort of the opposite of a pacemaker) found it necessary to stop and restart my heart five times in rapid succession. I only felt the pain four times – I think I was momentarily unconscious for the first. As some people find it repulsive to read about medical treatments, I’ll do a separate account of my day and night in a clinic. I can say without fear of contradiction that a visit to Machu Picchu would have been a more enjoyable experience.