The trip home was uneventful, though my stomach had other thoughts on the matter. I ended up back in Miami airport, and called my friend Eugene again, though it wasn't in the cards to see him this time. I was more interested in getting back to New York and crawling into bed.
I saw the doctor when I got back. This was the same doctor who didn't have time to tell me about vaccinations when I asked before the trip, the same doctor who couldn't figure out what I had, and the same doctor who had no apologies (but an iron-clad excuse) for being totally ineffective. This is the very same doctor who I fired and replaced. My good luck, I had hepatitis.
This made me wonder about a lot of things. Was it the ceviche I had with Germán in Lima? Was it the spinach pie I was silly enough to buy on the street near the Post Office? Was it the disgusting chicken sandwich in Cuzco? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it didn't matter, and if given half the chance I would do the exact same thing again with no variations.
I've always said that you should do all the interesting travel while you're relatively young, since if something happens, you'll get over it. Here was the total proof. Though I wasn't thrilled to have hepatitis, it would run its course in a few weeks. Of course, with the yellow blush and the weight loss I spent some time looking like a No. 2 pencil, but then again, no one's perfect.
For some reason, I got it into my head that even though I had wanted to lose weight, this was the wrong type of weight loss. Therefore, I would try to gain weight as quickly as possible and then lose it again, but lose it the honest way. For the first part of my mission at least, I knew exactly what to do. I ate cheese. I ate loads of ice cream. And, I made frequent trips to the Polish butcher across the street for pounds of their extra-fat, home-made kielbasa. I couldn't seem to get enough fat in my diet.
One day while I was in the butcher shop, on top of the showcase, I saw a can of Inca Cola. Naturally this piqued my curiosity. I told the butcher I'd just come back from Peru, and wanted to know how he'd ever heard of Inca Cola. "You know Inca Cola?", he said. "Veddy nice! Joost like Polish soda!" He wasn't the only one who had made that observation.