The view from my hostel in Cusco. I don´t even want to talk about how many steps I have to go up to get there… at altitude, too.

This may be my last journal update for a little while – tomorrow I start the expedition proper, heading off into the Sacred Valley, and I don´t know where or when I will next find an internet cafe.

Some of my team are up in a plane today, doing a recce of our research area with the thermal imaging camera. I would have loved to be up there too, although it might be a bit hair-raising.

I don´t think our cameraman was entirely happy at the prospect of going up in a single-engine plane with no door, flying very low over mountains at absolutely the minimum speed it can do without stalling, while being buffeted around by swirling winds and thermal updraughts. Funny, that.

Those of you who know them may be interested to know that I´m seeing Julian and Celina Hamm for a quiet beverage or two this evening. They´ve just arrived in Cusco on their trip around the world. One of the expedition guys bumped into them in Miami airport yesterday. They got talking and found out they all knew me. Small world.

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