When you fly in to a high altitude city like Quito or Cuzco, the first thing you should stock up on is the Coca tea. It has a vaguely herbal taste but the real reason you’re taking it is to ward off the effects of altitude sickness which could catch you unawares and spoil your holiday for a few days.

My friend Joanne didn’t initially notice any ill effects of altitude sickness on her recent visit to Peru. But when she was at Machu Picchu, some of her group started feeling quite ill with it. That was when their local guide whipped out some of the coca leaves and gave them to the group to chew on their walk up to the Inca city. Suddenly Joanne found that she had a spring in her step and the steep climb didn’t seem so daunting.

On the flight back to Lima, Joanne was waiting in the small airport and ordered a cappuccino from the small family cafe. Although it was served in the best china cup, what she got was some hot milk and a sachet of Nescafe. The ultimate in sophistication, I think you’ll agree! The lesson is - when in Rome, stick to the Cappuccino, but when in Peru, try the Coca tea.

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  • heather on her travels

    Heather's blog is about travelling around the world and in her imagination. Sometimes she wanders around hers home town of Bris…

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