It’s COVID-19 in Peru Day 4.

Not a lot of stress today. This frees me up to check on US citizens stranded in Cusco. Dear Lord, what a nightmare.

Grateful as I am to be out, when I read about those stuck there my anxiety level goes way up—though nothing, of course, to what they are going through. I find myself thinking, what if Jon, my brother, hadn’t alerted me about Delta cancelling flights, so that I was already on travelocity to book? What if Jon hadn’t been a pilot in the first place so that he’d know that? What if our team at Mountain Lodges hadn’t been on top of the situation? What if the squeaky wheel, whoever she was and who has my enduring gratitude, hadn’t insisted we leave our remote location that night? The list of near misses goes on and on.

So…I don’t read much about Cusco beyond that article. But if you’re a pray-er—I’ve had a lot of lovely people offer prayers, kind thoughts, and love to me and Steve—throw in a couple of requests on behalf of people you don’t know. Argentina and Israel—and possibly Germany—are sending in planes to get people out of Cusco, which has zero resources for internationals. Hopefully, US citizens in Cusco, and everyone for that matter, will get the same attention from their respective governments. I know that Cusco families are stuck in their homes; one person who lives there told me that everything was closed. What a nightmare.

Oh, but as for the internationals from the US, it’s their fault: “Trump on Thursday said the Americans carry the blame for being stuck in the country, but pledged that the U.S. would help get them home. ‘“They got caught, they were late with their flights, we gave them a period of time, they didn’t make it, but we’re looking to get them out probably through the military,’ [he said.] “

Sir, we were not late with our flights, and you personally didn’t give us a damn thing. Anyone who got out was with a group, which a lot of folks don’t use in this era of internet booking. So, just to be clear, and to repeat, the US government did not do a damn thing.

I wasn’t expecting them to. What happened shocked everyone. But this isn’t one of those, “Let’s not and say we did” options. Can we agree on that?

Meanwhile, in case you can’t bear to read further, know that the article above reports that the military is scratching their heads, saying……um…..really? First we’ve heard. How ’bout that Afghanistan?

Meanwhile, here in Lima….

We finally sleep like exhausted toddlers. What with the curfew at 8 and only an occasional siren, it’s remarkably quiet.

This morning, Steve goes out for groceries, only to find no doorman to let him out. There’s supposed to be one on duty 24-hours, but, well, times are weird.

So I go downstairs in my super-sexy outfit for the day: a pair of guy’s boxer shorts with a baggy seat and a sports bra. Because you know what? I really don’t care, do U? to quote another fashionista. Not when it comes to looking presentable in the elevator, at any rate. I’m just really really grateful to have an elevator that’s not in a hotel.

Today, I have no desire to go out. We’ll see how long it lasts, but for the time being, I’m embracing confinement.

My huz returns with coffee filters, dried beans, quinoa, and a 4-pack of toilet paper. His report: Shelves fully restocked, no one crowding or fighting. I mean, maybe there are those Toilet Paper People here as well, but Steve has zero difficulty buying it.

See, this is the thing, folks: We can work together. We don’t have to fight. We don’t have to buy up all the toilet paper or hand sterilizer or, I don’t know what kind of weird shit people are buying in bulk. We can share.

Because we have to.

And being in a place where no one’s squonking off about “This is all a political plot!” is SUCH a huge relief. Because, well, it’s not. So just stop already. Here in Peru, it would be considered unconscionable to give air time to people who were bellowing that this is all nonsense, a conspiracy, or something else. They can’t afford to be that irresponsible.

No one can.

Boredom Is Underrated.

Now we’re boiling water in our kettle to wash greens. It’s a long process; the spinach we bought is dirty, and tap water in Peru has to boiled first. So I boil the water and wait for it to cool. I just did my third pass, and all sorts of interesting flotsam is still showing up. So I’ll give it a few more tries. It’ll end up being an all-day process just to get the spinach clean, and I’m totally ok with that.

COVID-19 in peru day 4

I work out with my friend Kendall online. I love her and SHINE, the company she started. If you go to the link, the blonde on the right is Mel, who’s undergoing a second battle with breast cancer after years of being clear. I climbed one mountain here in her honor, and I’m so glad Steve got this picture when we went with a guide to a dusty mountain high above Lima. Wrinkly shoulders, jazz hands, and all.

covid-19 in peru day 4

I was really looking forward to doing a couple more “Mountains for Mel” stunts in the Andes. But man, am I glad we’re safe here.

And life has gone back, for now, to having time and head space for similar speculative fears as everyone else, although of course mine are specific to being here. What if they close the borders longer? What if the US is such a fubar by the time we get back that we can’t get back?

I meditate, I do yoga, I read on and offline, I stay in touch with friends and family who make me laugh one way or another.

Exactly what many of you are doing, I think.

I did hear from my friend Alberto in Argentina—hola, mi hermano—that, while Argentina reported new cases this week, there were no deaths. Argentina took similar measures to Peru, just days before. So this works.

Alberto toasts me from quarantine on WhatsApp. He’s an excellent Spanish teacher,
by the way, if you need one.

And we’ve found out from our friend Claudia that the 8 o’clock shout-out is a thing: Every night until the lockdown is over or we leave, whichever comes first, we’ll be out on our balcony with everyone else. The story about people singing on the balconies and rooftops of Rome got a lot of press. This might not. But I can’t even tell you how wonderful it feels to be a part of that. If you’re in a city in the US, or really anywhere, give it a try. (My video attempt tonight was a fail. So I probably will post tomorrow….)

And if you’re in the US and are self-quarantining, which I think is very, very wise, you may find this list from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum as useful as I did. I basically gave it to Steve, minus the tortillas and peanut butter, impossible to get here. But these fabulous green tangerines are impossible to get in the US. So there! They’re more sour than a regular tangerine, and it feels like you’re just shoring yourself up with Vitamin C when you eat one.

COVID-19 in peru day 4

A Decent Tedium. Fingers Crossed.

I said this last night, but I’m hoping, as one friend says, that “things will settle into a decent tedium.” I do, however, have a few adventures here in Peru to report; they will of course be a bit skewed now, because I’ll certainly never be the same after the past few days. So I’ll still be writing, and hopefully the posts will be entertaining, though not quite as hair-raising. I don’t know how war correspondents do it.

Meanwhile, I sincerely thank all my new subscribers; I deeply appreciate each and every one of you.

I’m also hugely grateful for the opportunity to experience a crisis from a completely non-US perspective, and survive (so far) unscathed. My brother says I’ve had my share of tiny angels pulling strings along the way. While I’m not big on angels, I sort of like the idea of tiny ones just kind of randomly helping us, as long as they move on to someone else. Because if they’re out there, a lot of people need them pretty badly. So get out there, take names, and kick butt, tiny angels.

For a long time I’ve hoped to turn this blog into a place where we can immerse in and learn from other cultures. Now, I have a better idea of how to do that. I’ll keep you posted, as I’m hoping to bring all of you, your perspectives and input, into the mix. You all are a massively important part of what happens moving forward.

Stay in touch. Stay safe. And may we all emerge from this quite a bit smarter and kinder, and with a better sense of what true leadership is, and how all of us can do our part to leave the world a little better.

Because damn, the world needs us. And we really need to get better at showing it how much we appreciate.

You in?