My mouth was so dry it felt crunchy. My throat was dry. My stomach was dry. I knew I was quickly approaching a dangerous level of dehydration.
I dropped the bike and climbed up the hill on all fours to where I left my saddlebags. I fished out my empty water bottle. Down the hill up against a rock cliff there was a small pool which was the only remains of the dried up river. The water had been stagnant and evaporating for years and certainly drove the local inhabitants out of the area. A rudimentary plumbing pipe ran down from the shack to the water, but it stopped far short of where the water now lied.
The edge was surrounded by donkey patties.
I knelled down and dipped in my bottle. The water was green and surely teaming with bacteria.
I had a powerful debate with myself on the walk back to the bike. It seemed to smell ok. I’d never been so thirsty in all my life. It felt like my bones would soon turn to dust.
I took in a gulp and swished it around my mouth. Tasted fair. I spit it out. I repeated this several times. Each time I wanted so badly to guzzle the whole bottle.
I packed it away and laid down looking back at the hill. There was no way I’d get back up. Too steep, too loose, too tired.. . . . . I yelled out for help – “HOLA?”, “ALQUIEN?”, “AYUDA?” Nothing but echoes off the rocks. I repeated this for quite a while.