After spending two weeks in the Peruvian Amazon, working with Ayahuasca and Huachuma, I finally emerged from the jungle. I knew that after two intense weeks of working with shamans and sacred plants, I would want to go somewhere to relax, for a while. Therefore, I rented a private Airbnb apartment in the San Blas district of the beautiful city of Cusco, which is where I waited for my father to eventually join me.
I knew as soon as I arrived that I was going to fall in love with the city. Cusco is a beautiful colonial city with gorgeous architecture and cobble stone streets. I found the city to be very relaxed and chilled out, which was exactly what I was looking for at the time. The best surprise of all, was that my apartment was right next door to a vegan restaurant, called Green Point, which may have become my favorite restaurant of all time.
Discovering Green Point
As soon as I was checked into my apartment, I walked down the street to meet a friend of mine, Chloe, for dinner, at Green Point. She was part of my Ayahuasca retreat. During my time in Cusco, I was able to reconnect with several friends whom I had met earlier in my trip, which was great. I even ran into a couple people who I met way back in Antarctica.
After that first meal at Green Point, I was sold. I returned the next day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I believe I ate 20/24 of my meals, during my stay in Cusco, at Green Point. The fact that the best vegan restaurant in South America was right next door, worked out great for me, since I had recently decided to return to a vegetarian diet.
Each and every person I brought there, regardless of if they were vegetarian or not, agreed that the restaurant was amazing.
I learned quite a bit about the economical impact of eating meat, during my many visits to Green Point. The restaurant’s mission is not to push the idea of eating vegan on people, however, they do choose to inform people of the benefits. Therefore, there were several very informative posters on the walls. Here are some of the facts that I learned…
- If every American dropped one meal of chicken per week from their diet, it would save the same amount of CO2 emissions as taking 500,000 cars off the road.
- The meat, egg and dairy industries produce 65% of the worlds nitrous oxide emissions and nitrus oxide is 300X more powerful at trapping heat in the earths atmosphere than CO2.
- Nearly half of the water used in the United States goes towards raising animals for food. It takes 2400 gallons of water to produce 1 lb of meat compared to 25 gallons to produce one pound of wheat.
- You’d save more water by not eating one pound of meat than you would by not taking a shower for 6 months.
- Raising animals for food uses 30% of the earths land mass and over 260 million acres of US forest has been cleared to create room for farmland animals.
I am not sharing this to preach veganism. I am not vegan and up to 2 months ago I was still eating meat, occasionally. I am sharing this because reading these stats was a big eye opener to me. I grew up eating a diet, high in meat, completely ignorant of the economical impact. I think it’s important that we are at least conscious of the impact of the decisions that we make.
When I first started eating vegetarian last year, it was pretty much solely for health reasons, whereas now it’s for moral and economical reasons as well.
The Sacred Valley
One of the highlights of my time in Cusco was a day hike, in the nearby Sacred Valley, with Steve, whom was my roommate during my Ayahuasca retreat. At first, I felt a bit guilty because I was originally planning on doing this hike with my Dad, once he arrived. However, after 30 minutes of walking straight up hill, I was glad I didn’t bring my Dad.
This hike, leaving from Pisaq, is known to be the most impressive hike in the Sacred Valley and I was not disappointed. The ruins that we saw along the way were interesting, however, it was definitely the nature that stole the show. There were beautiful landscapes for us to admire, for the entirety of the hike.
My Dad Arrives
My Dad was about to arrive in Cusco and we would be traveling together for the next 3 weeks. Our time together would include visiting Machu Picchu, the Amazon Jungle, and the Galapagos Islands. This was the first time we’d ever traveled together on this sort of trip.
We had been on countless 1-2 week family vacations together to Hawaii and Mexico, but this would be our first ever father-son adventure. Especially, coming out of my Ayahuasca retreat and learning to open my heart, I was really hoping that this trip would bring us closer together.
We have never had a bad relationship, but I felt like, growing up, we never had a very deep relationship either. I felt that, in the past, we both had trouble opening up. However, over the past couple years, we had both been improving in this area. Therefore, I believed that this trip would be really great for our relationship.
The day I had been waiting for finally arrived. I was overwhelmed with excitement when I first saw him, as I arrived at the airport to pick him up. He looked like a true backpacker, wearing the backpack that I bought him for Christmas. We spent the next few days together relaxing in Cusco. I took him to Green Point several times, of course, and we had fun exploring the city.
Attempting To Climb To White Jesus
We would soon be departing for our 4-Day Inca Trail trek, so we decided to do a warm up hike together, a couple days prior. There is a hike in Cusco that takes you up a hill, to a large, white statue of Jesus, which overlooks the city. We were told it would take 30-40 minutes, so I thought it would be a good way to ease my Dad into hiking.
As it turned out, it didn’t end up being the nice and easy warm up for my Dad, as I thought it would be. As soon as we started walking up hill, he started to tire. Soon afterward, he was having to stop every 10 steps or so, to rest, hunched over, with his hands on his knees. It was starting to get dark and at the pace we were moving, it would have been pitch black before we reached the top. We decided to turn around and we probably only made it 1/3 of the way to the top.
The Thoughts Of My Father
I later sent my Dad several questions and this is what he had to say about this experience…
ME: What was going through your head regarding the Inca Trail, after being unable to climb to the white Jesus?
DAD: I had arrived in Cusco, Peru, two days earlier, so I thought I had already acclimatized myself to the altitude of Cusco. I had no problems walking up and down the steep streets in town, the first few days, so I thought I was ready to hike to the White Jesus statue, which overlooks the beautiful city. I was totally wrong with my assessment!
I had a lot of negative thoughts going through my mind after I failed to make it to the statue. We probably only hiked up the stairs towards the statue for 15-20 minutes before I had to stop and turn back. I was gasping for air and my body could not climb another step and I think we had only made it about a quarter of the way up to the top!
My first thought was there was no way I will be able to complete the 4 day, 45km Inca Trail hike, to Machu Picchu. If I can’t even make it to the White Jesus, how was I going to complete the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
I firmly believe that people can achieve much more than they usually believe they can. Therefore, I tend to put people into situations that push their comfort zones, in order to show them what they are really capable of. However, in that moment, I got a little bit worried that signing my Dad up for a 4-Day, 45km trek, may have been a bit much.
As you will soon find out, this was not the case at all. As you continue to follow this story, you will witness this mans thoughts turn from negative to incredibly positive. You will see this man face the most difficult physical challenge of his entire life, out of shape, at age 55, and persevere. You will see him hit a point where he didn’t think he could take another step, and then take 35,000 more. You will witness my father proving to everyone on that trail, to me, and most importantly, to himself, that nothing is impossible.
If you enjoyed this post then please go ahead and follow my blog. Enter your e-mail in the side bar now and never miss another post!