Foot soaked in blood, devil horns flashing above the rugby grazes on my forehead I look every inch a frightening Halloween monster.
But unfortunately the deep red stuff running across my right sole isn’t fake, it’s oozing from a real gash caused by the jagged edge of a broken glass bottle.
Waiting in a dimly lit hospital emergency ward in Peru as a poor toddler screams out with pain is no treat, in fact I think it’s the dirtiest trick I’ve ever been dealt on ‘La noche de las brujas’ – the night of the witches.
Distracted by the thousands of creepy costumes wandering along La Salle street, I had slipped in one of my sandals and the next thing I knew a helpfully positioned bit of glass had sliced open a one-inch cut by the arch of my right foot.
Initially I thought it might just be a Band-Aid job, but when I tried to buy a plaster the pharmacist insisted I take a trip to the hospital.
And so, after bleeding all over a taxi driver’s seat for 20 minutes, I find myself at the Honorio Delgado public hospital on the outskirts of Arequipa.
I am greeted by a friendly face on the reception desk. She takes my details and gives me directions to the ‘payment booth’.
There is no National Health Service in Peru, if you don’t have insurance you pay for treatment on arrival in hospital at a little kiosk.
It feels a bit like I’m paying to get into some kind of bizarre theme park to take a ride on a hospital trolley.
A sign above reveals that to get past the unsavoury looking armed security guard manning the door between the reception area and the main hospital I have to fork out ten soles (about £2.50).
Offering up a 50 soles note, I am greeted with a casual shake of the head from the disinterested character on the other side of the glass.
She turns away and takes another slurp from her bottle of Inca Kola.
No matter where you are in South America, no one ever seems to have change. Fortunately Sophie and I are able to dig out enough coins to cover it and without saying a word Miss Mute hands over some kind of ticket.
I stumble back to the original reception desk, get my receipt stamped and successfully negotiate my passage past the beefcake standing between me and medical assistance.
A kindly Peruvian woman spots me hobblling down the corridor, a trail of maroon stains being left in my wake.She stands and offers me her seat.
I sandwich myself between a pair of smiling locals and two posters on the opposite wall catch my eye.
One depicts the care path for an emergency department patient.
It illustrates that after arriving in hospital a patient is triaged, and sent to either the trauma or the less serious urgent care area.
Following that it’s more hospital care, discharge or, as the diagram ever so tactfully points out in white text against a stark black background, the morgue. Nice.
Right next to this reassuring little flowchart and with no sense of irony a sign wishes the sickly sods who have found themselves in here a ‘Happy Emergency Day’ in bright gold letters.
I try and lighten the grim mood around me by whipping out the stuffed fur rat I had bought for Halloween and placing it on my shoulder. When my neighbour sees it she jumps and screams.
I panic that she might be in here because of a dicky ticker so am more than a little relieved when moments later she realises it’s not real and begins to laugh, nervously.
Unlike in Brazil I don’t have to wait for long until a young chap beckons me over to the room where the poor toddler is still screaming.
After quizzing me about what happened the nurse, called Joel, scribbles down some notes and sends Sophie off to buy a needle, thread, dressings and tape from the hospital pharmacy.
Meanwhile Joel, a friendly fella in his mid twenties, pokes around in my wound, digging out shards of glass with a bit of metal.
He tells me he is 12 hours into a 24-hour straight shift.
I ask how he copes. “It was hard at first,” he tells me, “but now it’s okay.”
He says the cut is a centimetre deep and thrusts a needle attached to a syringe full of anaesthetic into it. Sophie returns and Joel dextrously sews up the wound with four stitches.
My timing for the injury couldn’t have been worse. The following day we are due to start a three-day trek through the startling Colca Canyon.
“There’s absolutely no way you can do that,” says Joel. “You’ll risk opening up the wound and getting it infected, which could be very serious.” Reluctantly I nod in acceptance.
He hands me a prescription for some antibiotics and painkillers and I make my way out past a man holding a blood-soaked shirt to his head, dark red goo pouring out.
Another guy is in handcuffs being accompanied by police officers – an obligatory sight in any South American hospital in my experience.
We jump in a taxi and although I don’t fancy walking much, the sight of thousands of costumed revellers wandering the streets prompts us to hop out and take a closer look.
Kids have made the greatest effort, with witches, dinosaurs and pink sheep among the snappier outfits.
But plenty of adults are still getting in on the act and Freddie Kruger, a herd of cows and a team of condoms all wander past.
Halloween, it would appear, is a bigger celebration than New Year’s Eve in Peru.
We pass a street stall selling a local delicacy called anticuchos.…cow’s heart kebabs.I decide now is a good time to sample this speciality.
They are surprisingly delicious and we follow them up with some even more tasty alpaca meat ribs.
The anaesthetic begins to wear off and we head home, but unlike everyone else I am unable to change out of my hideous Halloween costume.