I have about 4 or 5 jolly Peru posts in me with nice pix, uplifting messages and travel tips. They will be written as I sit in my hotel room in the next few days. But I also am currently experiencing the government’s response to COVID-19 in Peru. We’ve completed the first step of our return to the US. There are a lot more to come, and I’m grateful to be safe, with a roof over my head and a good runnin’ buddy to help me through it.

And that’s all I want to write about.

This post will not be photo heavy. I only photograph because I can (with my phone) and people like pictures. But this is a true crisis. I know you’ll be able to find tons of pix beyond anything I could have shot today. For one thing, I saw it happening. For another, intermittently through the day, my hands were shaking so badly I could barely hold onto my phone, let alone point and click.

So let’s get going, shall we? But first, a commercial. Don’t worry. I won’t spam you and or sell your info.

COVID-19 in Peru: The Age of Innocence

Steve and I had been acclimatizing in Cusco since last Thursday night, when we came here a week after arriving in Peru. HQ: Lima. (Look at the 3 previous posts for details.) Here’s a semi-succinct timeline.

  • Arrival: 11:30 p.m. March 4
  • March 6: First case of COVID-19 in Peru reported (and reported to us by our guide for the day)
  • March 12: Count of cases of COVID-19 in Peru reaches 38 or 9 around the time we got to Cusco. President said to be “considering response,” or something like that. (I can’t look this up; I have overdosed on news and am just not up to fact-checking).
    Me to Steve: We should cut short our plans to go to Argentina.
    Steve to me: No.
    (It’s a little more complicated than that, and he wasn’t being a dick. But northern European tension was involved.)
  • 11 p.m., March 13: My friend in Argentina WhatsApps me right as I’m falling to sleep. Steve is asleep, or I’d talk to him about it.
    Her: It’s getting real here. Are you still coming? (We were scheduled to leave for Buenos Aires at the end of March.)
    Me: Based on that text, maybe….no?
    I google “Argentina” and COVID-19. Sure enough, the borders are closing; no US allowed, along with other nations with a lot of cases.
  • Morning, March 14: I wake up and tell Steve we have to cut Argentina, and also get out of Peru. We go back and forth, but at least when it comes to Argentina, the decision’s been made for us.
  • Evening, March 14: We meet our guide, and the one other guy on the 10-day trek we’ve booked through Mountain Lodges of Peru. (About 3 weeks prior, the tour coordinator had emailed me to say that there had been a huge mudslide on our route; while no one was harmed, the trip had to be altered. Feeling vaguely apprehensive about this trip from about late January onward—even before she contacted me about the mud—I figured that, with the mudslide, the worst had happened. Though I still had a nagging feeling that maybe it hadn’t.)
    We’re going to be a nice small group. No hint of any trouble ahead. In hindsight, it’s a little ominous that our guide introduces himself, with a smile, as “Your worst nightmare for the next 10 days.” Steve replies, “Or we may be yours.”
  • We laugh heartily.

COVID-19 in Peru: Countdown

And now we arrive at the countdown to COVID-19 in Peru, Day One. First, here is last pretty picture for a few days. The glorious Humantay mountain. See that big glaciar in the middle? That crumbling caused the landslide.

  • March 15: First day of our trek. I feel unsettled, but there is still no indication of a bad moon rising. Feeling, in a vague, bone-deep, inexplicable way that I am whistling in the dark, I say to our guide that we should be able to get through our trek by the time Peru’s president figures out what to do. We laugh heartily. Yet again!
    The day is wonderful, with the only downside being that Steve, who’s felt a little tweaky through much of the trip for various reasons, decides to proceed directly to the lodge and sleep.
  • 7:00 p.m. Amazing dinner includes trout—lake trout is featured on a lot of Andes menus, and is delicious, sweet, pink, light—veggies, pumpkin soup, and what our guide and I decided was “Potato #147,” after I asked him, which kind of potato is this? He landed on 3,000 varieties of Andes potatoes, a number we’ve heard before, but the only one we’ve heard twice. Apparently, they don’t have cool names. Though now, one of them does.
  • 8:30 p.m. Steve and I begin to wind down. We have a 3,000-ish foot climb in the morning. I write to family and friends about our plan to ditch Argentina and come home on the 27th. I am exhausted, having slept little the night before and climbed a big mountain today; my phone tracker shows that I have scaled 165 floors, not many if you’re in Nepal, but pretty good for me. I look forward to cuddling in our super comfy bed.
  • 8:35 p.m. I get a response to my email from my brother, a pilot for Alaska Airlines. He says, if you wait that long, you won’t get out. Delta just cancelled 70% of their flights to South America. I start making changes to our itinerary to get to Lima asap after our trek ends. Steve is still resisting a little. “Why not just stay here?” he asks. I am starting to feel tense with him.
  • 8:45 p.m. A knock. It’s our guide. “The president of Peru has declared a national emergency. We have to leave at 6 in the morning.” Many condolences about many things. We love this guide. We are genuinely looking forward to the next day and the week. But….what can we do? We start to pack. I book a flight out of Cusco through travelocity, long may they wave, to get to Lima the next day.
  • 9:45 p.m. Our guide looks even sadder than before. “We have to leave tonight. She…[some “she” is invoked] is insisting….The driver will be here in an hour. Please be ready.”

Shit Gets Real

Here I shall abandon the list format and just write.

I never do figure out if it is one of the other lodgers—there is another group of about 4 or 5, it’s a blur, and they are farther into their trip—or someone from HQ. I get the distinct feeling one lodger in particular is being a giant pain in the ass, and thank God for her. I definitely heard the pronoun “she.” But it could also been someone from HQ. This unidentified but powerful She is the one, or maybe there are two, insisting we must leave NOW.

I head to the lobby. I can’t wait in the room, I know I’ll either start pacing and drive myself and Steve crazy, or I’ll….well, pacing seems like the only option. So I try to sit calmly in the lobby, staring at nothing, following my breath. It works for about 5 minutes. As I try to shut out everything around me, I hear the Suspect Woman going on about, “We can’t leave 5 minutes after midnight, the Lima airport shuts down at midnight,” and the word midnight keeps entering into my mind and, well, I’ll let it into yours right about now. Remember “I am your worst nightmare”? Our guide was just the messenger.

Steve comes down around 11. We wait, and wait. There’s something kind of hilarious about Peruvian estimates of time, at least when it comes to the roads that lead to the lodges. The estimates are cheerfully given like this: “Our driver is on his way, about 40 minutes.” About double-ish that, maybe triple-ish.

Then we find out that, because the van couldn’t cross the small but fast river near us, we would have to do that on foot. In the dark.

Cherries are continually being added to the cake that is this day.

Walking on Moonshine

I have a hiking boot issue. It is not a Reese Witherspoon’s-Toenail-in-the-movie-Wild type of issue. But I have purchased hiking shoes at a bargain rate, disdaining the fitting process at REI because I didn’t want to deal with a real fitting or a real sales clerk. Because at REI, if you can get a clerk, they are like all passionate and they want to know your altitude and terrain and pitch and are you taking dimoxin or whatever the altitude drug is and it’s just all too much. So now, thanks to my rebel ways, I have a nasty tick-sized dent in the back of my ankle where my hightop boot hits, and it’s painful. I don, instead, the ultra-glamorous combo of gray hiking socks and Tevas, carrying my bargain boots in one hand.

I set off to tramp through the mud to the van. Our guide says, seriously, put on your boots. I say, seriously, my ankle is fucked up. I’ll take my chances. I say this in a nice way, because our guide is concerned for me, and I’m just mad at myself for being so fucking cheap.

I survive. I even cross a river on a bridge made of stones, which finishes in a rather skimpy log. Miraculously, I don’t fall in the rushing stream or slip in the mud.

Steve and our other hiking partner are there. One reason I am unscathed is because I took my time with my own guide, with whom I spoke rudimentary Spanish. If nothing else, my Spanish is improving, going from a “seriously? You call that Spanish?” to a “You really do mean un poquito when you say un poquito, don’t you?” We talked about many things, mostly me saying, “Adelante con la luz! Es mas facil sigo.” Or, go first with the light, it’s easier if I follow.

The other folks show up. We’re in the van. The descent begins.

The Road to Cusco

OK. Have you ever been crammed into a van on a twisting turning muddy, rocky road, at times with a small river running over it, at 12:30 a.m. on a rainy night in the Andes? Here are your companions: 8 relatively freaked-out-deeply-exhausted-and-therefore-weirdly-chilled-people (even That Woman) plus two guides, one palpably sad and the other downright jaunty, the latter talking to a Peruvian driver so confident that he steers around the hairpins and gullies with one hand on the wheel, the other hand gesturing like Roberto Benigni on a restrained day?

Well.

That was the next 3 and a half hours back to Cusco.

Oh. Except for one stop where suddenly we heard a woman’s voice—need I say whose?—saying “Stop!” simultaneously with the unmistakable sound of a cup or so of vomit hurling forth from the guy directly in back of me.

We stopped. The guy got out, barfing his guts out.

I am not proud of this. But I said to Steve, are my shoes ok? Get them of the floor NOW. Because those cruel hiking shoes were at my feet, directly in path of the heave, and even though I hate them, they are mine.

Steve said, your shoes are fine, darling. And put them up on a little ledge that separated us from the driver and his companion, the guide who seemed oblivious to the possibility that we were not Exactly Comfortable.

You know how grateful I am to that driver? Like, zillions. That guy was a badass. He was so relaxed with his one-handed, super-cazh, “I can drive these hairpins that descend from 13,000 to 10,00 feet, and then climb back up, some of that on cobblestones, much on mud, and, oh, say, maybe 10% on a paved road.” And I am all, Dude. You do you.

COVID-19 in Peru: Cusco at Last, and the Midnight Thing

So here we are at the hotel, with Mountain Lodges people getting us to rooms. I’m going to call them fixers, not because they’re like those creepy Michael Clayton type guys, but because they are there to fix whatever little parts of this very busted day they can fix.

Naive Little Me, I have convinced myself that they’ll be handing us plane tickets.

Well, of course, they don’t.

They do what anyone does in a crisis, any good professional. They are empathetic, they listen. They are impressed that I have already scored plane tickets out of Cusco, a feat whose magnitude will be firmly imprinted on my brain in a few hours. “No one can get them, anywhere,” says one of the fixers to me, in that voice devout Catholics use to say, the Pope looked me in the eyes and smiled and told me I will have a masculine child. They also retrieve our luggage from our other hotel, and promise to help us in any way that they can.

We go to our hotel room. Now things get even more fun.

I google “Lima airport COVID19 close midnight.” Sure enough, one cryptic announcement that I found said, “Lima airports to close completely at midnight.”

Here’s what’s weird, and honestly really bugs the bidoobies outta me: This whole thing in Peru? It’s not front-page anything. I mean it is to me, and to everyone else stuck here, or getting out, or desperately trying to find a place to stay in Cusco, where all the hotels have shut. But otherwise, finding accurate anything? Really, really hard.

But I read this “Lima airports to close at midnight,” and I think, Shit. That Woman was right.

I tell Steve. We call Delta.

I Just LOVE Hold Music

Now we had called Delta while still at the lodge, before the Wild Ride. And of course they didn’t answer. No worries, I thought. I was so sure I was going to be magically handed airline tickets the moment we alighted from our bus.

All the way on that weird Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride from the lodge of our interrupted Shangri-La, I thought, there’s no way this midnight thing could be true. For one thing, I told my family, Peru’s kicking us out. I reasoned that, rightly, they wanted to get foreigners out asap, because in a country with an overburdened healthcare system already, they certainly don’t want a bunch of sick gringos. At the same time, they couldn’t be crazy enough to think we could do all that on 24 hours notice; they’d have to give us time, right?

COVID-19 in Peru: A Few Thoughts on the Response

Let me say it here: Truthfully, and despite masses of grousing I heard from the time the original announcement was made to dinner this night, I think the Peruvians have done exactly the right thing. I have heard repeatedly, “71 cases, no one’s died, this is nothing!” Well, then, you haven’t spent time in Lima. People literally live on top of each other. Multi-family housing is common here. If you do not crack down on an infection as fast as you can, you are well and truly fucked.

Peru isn’t exactly a rock star when it comes to infrastructure—not that, as a US citizen, I am about to throw the tiniest pebble. (And if COVID-19 does nothing else, may it illuminate the boring but vital need for solid infrastructure, in health care, in transportation, in finance, in stuff like bridges and drains and sewer systems and all sorts of other dull shit that all of us in the good old US of A take WAY too much for granted.)

So Peru’s president has taken a radical and drastic step—similar to the governments of Singapore, Japan, and Argentina, to name three—of saying, we are not asking with this, we’re telling with this. Y’all are in lockdown. As I understand it—and once again, I’m not researching, I just want to get this written, but we’ve talked to a number of Peruvians—one person from each family is designated to go out for supplies as needed, and infrequently. Everyone else in a family stays home. Whine all you want, it won’t you do you any good. Stay in. Don’t infect other people. Stay well. And beat this mofo.

But Enough About That…

Back in Happy Valley, Steve is determined to go with Delta, the issuers of our original ticket. I am determined to get the hell out. Steve finds flights for several days out. I find flights, with the window shutting faster than that door that Indiana Jones’ hat slides under, that get us out of Peru by midnight and eventually to the US. One takes us, via Bolivia and a couple other stops, to Sao Paolo. From there, we can get to the US.

Steve, meanwhile, makes a reservation online for mid-week.

We manage to get Delta by phone by barking “emergency” to the nice electronic voice who asks us why we’re calling. We hold for an hour.

We are not booked prior to midnight tonight, though. We are confirmed for the booking Steve did online, days hence.

A fight ensues. I show Steve the vaguely worded but official looking “out by midnight” report I have found on the web. He counters with the question, how can Delta offer flights if they’re going to be canceled, and we just talked to them and they confirmed that the flight is legit.

We are running on what you run on when you don’t have any fumes left. Steve won’t budge, and I throw things into my suitcase, my jaw about to break if I clench it any harder. Brazil has left the building, option-wise.

Damn HuzbandO. Not so cute now, are ya?

COVID-19 in Peru: Breakfast Musings on Fear Monkeys

As always, we talk. I tell him I really wanted to go to Sao Paolo and just get the hell out. He says he has confidence in Delta. And yeah, I know there are haters for every corporate entity ever, but Delta’s always been pretty swell for us, though frankly, I’m always amazed on airlines. I mean, they’re miraculous, right? And working in the sky is such a hard freaking job. Can you even imagine what it’s like for them now? Flight Attendants, you rule.

But then I said, Steve, you booked tickets for Thursday. Look at how this thing, this COVID-19 thing, has worked. How fast, how sweeping, how scary. Steve has been wonderful for getting me out of my worst case scenario outlook. But you know how there’s a fear monkey in every group of monkeys? He or she or x is kind of a wreck all the time, but s/he/x alerts the other monkeys when shit is getting real. Take away the fear monkey, and all the non-fear monkeys die.

I say, can you please acknowledge that this is way beyond a worst case scenario? I don’t want to be quarantined in Peru only to find out that, when the two weeks are over, I’m STILL stuck here for some other reason, like the US won’t let me back. I just want to go home. I just want to deal with this shit from home.

Oh, couples.

Somehow, we work through our personal bullshit enough to get 2 hours sleep. By the time we grab a bite for breakfast before meeting our 11 o’clock cab, Steve has come around to my way of thinking, saying, yeah, we should have grabbed the tickets to Brazil. But meanwhile, I had a truly wonderful back and forth with my Mountain Lodges contact. She says that the midnight deadline is for Peruvians, but that there is a strong commitment to get internationals out.

And I realize, I have let myself get led around by the nose by people who are panicking and don’t have the facts. The panic is completely justifiable, but you have to try to get away from the very real drama, and ground yourself to the degree you can with the facts, with logic. Because things really do always work out. But if they don’t, well, you just put one foot in front of the other. Just like on those damn mountains.

And sure enough, Steve has let some panic in the breakfast room (which sounds like a tribute band to a certain very silly group) seep into him. I say, you know what I learned? Don’t get swept up.

Well.

Heading up to get our luggage, I run into a guy on the stairs.

“You gonna be ok?” I ask.
He shakes his head. “They’re shutting all the hotels, and there is nothing. No cars. No planes. No buses. I don’t know what we’re gonna do.” All this in an Aussie accent.

FUCK.

Airport

Time to go to the airport.

Once again, Mountain Lodges to the rescue. We drive through Cusco, overcast and dreary. Less of a mad scene, but Steve and I both notice that a lot of people are out and about. Certainly less tourists. But plenty of Peruvians, by all appearances, out and about, on buses, on foot, masked and un-, just TCB to the degree they can.

And then, we see the airport. I don’t’t recognize it. But when our fixer sucks in a startled breath when we pass it, my throat tighten.

We hang an illegal U-ie.

“Guys, you can’t get through that.” He’s referring to a small tired mob, but no less a mob, clamoring in front of a row of stern looking guards in front of a small opening in a gate in a big fence surrounding the airport. “But I’m pretty sure I can get you through. Be ready.” He jumps out his door while we’re still trying to turn.

Our driver pulls up alongside the curb. People are queuing in a drizzle. Long, long lines stretch in both directions, a few hundred backpack and luggage-laden folks in sad drooping hats, all in front of that fence. We hadn’t even noticed it the day we arrived; the gate was wide open.

covid19 in peru airport line

Everyone looks exhausted and confused. I don’t notice a lot of anger, but I am losing my ability to really see much of anything. Our driver opens the door, grabs the bags, and our fixer appears. “C’mon,” he says. He’s not mean. But, well, chop chop.

We struggle past the lines outside the fence. Closer to the guards, the line becomes a throng. We push through, too strung out and desperate to even care that we are marching past people even more strung out and desperate who have been waiting for a long time to get to where we just barrel through.

Our fixer argues with the guard in rapid Spanish, then tells us to get out our tickets. We haven’t been emailed a legit boarding pass. But the email says, “This email is a confirmation.” (In fact, when I’d tried to go to LATAM airlines to choose a seat, the site was busted, which—yeah, we all get it.)

After a few minutes that feels like an hour of passport waving and iphone zooming, our fixer says, “Guys, I’m really sorry to do this, but I can’t go with you. But you’re in. Walk that way.” And he’s gone.

We squeeze past the guard, who, with another guard, tightly press us in to make sure no one else gets in. We trudge over wet concrete with a layer of dust that verges on light mud to the small airport, a two story building with about, I dunno, somewhere between 6 and 8 doors that open to the street. It is utter and complete madness. Guards in masks block the doors. But they help us get to LATAM. I thank them in Spanish, and their eyes twinkle. Peruvians really have beautiful eyes. They’re completely black, no pupils, and warm, somehow.

Even at LATAM, there are about 8 agents working. But there’s no order to the lines. Steve and I both sort of sidle, without too many exchanged words; it’s part of the beauty of usually being the two tallest people of the room. We head in the direction of a bag dropoff point. Suddenly, we see a LATAM agent. She is talking to a woman who has no ticket. She looks up, collected, professional and somewhat exasperated, and asks us skeptically if we have a ticket. When we do, she whisks us to a machine, prints off bag tags and no boarding pass, then muscles us through a line.

At one point, my backpack—you don’t go to Cuzco without a backpack—pushes someone.

“Hey,” he barks, spoiling for a fight.

I feel more vertiginous than I have on any vantage point since I’ve been in Peru. I start mumbling profuse apologies.

Someone in the barker’s group puts a hand out to the barker. “It’s all right, now, isn’t it?” he says in a British accent. He winks at me. “We’re all in this together. She didn’t mean it.”

I feel light-headed to the point of swooning, from I don’t even know what: exhaustion? terror? adrenalin? just someone being nice?

Meanwhile, our angelic agent has maneuvered us into line. I thank her. Above the mask, her black coffee eyes sparkle.

What the Hell Is Happening with My Hands?

I hold up my hand and it is shaking. There’s a technique in playing the piano called tremolo. My great teacher Yehuda Guttmann used to make me practice it, for Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata, by pretending I was turning a screwdriver—it’s all in the wrist—faster and faster.

My hands are doing that on their own.

Also, my heart is beating fast, I’m dizzy, and it’s not just Cusco’s altitude. I feel like I’m going to collapse, but I have to keep it together.

All this takes less than 15 minutes to get to the front of the line, to another smiling Peruvian flight attendant—the smiling eyes show so beautifully above the tight masks. We’ve got boarding passes. Our bag is checked.

We’re on.

We leave the teeming room below us as we ascend the stairs to the gates. I pass a young woman in a dusty flannel shirt parked in a LATAM line. She sits on her overstuffed duffled bag, head in her hands. Exhaustion, despair, it’s all the same at this point.

I’ve sometimes fantasized about doing something completely selfless, like offering this young woman my ticket. She obviously needs it. She’s so sad, she’s not even looking at her phone.

Yeah, well. Screw that. I just want to get out.

covid19 in peru airport

Waiting

Customs, somehow bored or maybe just wanting to get home and have a beer, wave us through easily. As usual, once through, I go through my backpack. Do I have my phone? laptop? passport? boarding….

I start shaking. Where the fuck is my passport?

I start sobbing.

Steve stands next to me, and lightly puts his arm around me. “You put your passport in there. I saw you. It’s there.”

A female security comes up, her eyes as concerned as a mom’s. “Está bien?” she asks.

I find the passport. I whisper, “Gracias por todo.” She nods graciously, kindly.

I sit on a chair and just lose my shit as quietly as possibly.

Steve easily puts his arm around me. I realize, somewhat objectively, that I am having the second panic attack of my life. (The first was after the results of a certain political event.) I know, intellectually, that I have to breathe. I also know that, well, I can’t.

Somehow, I get it to stop.

Waiting is non-eventful. We see our fellow hiker from the trek. He really is a kick in the head. He’s Canadian. He’s heading to Juliaca, near Lake Titicaca. A million light years ago, Steve and I were going to go there after our mountain trek, to live on an island of reeds with no internet for two nights. (Look, I know my limits.)

Our friend is driving with some Germans to try his luck getting back to Canada via La Paz. We wish him well. It is bizarre living in a world without hugs.

Next to our line, in Zone 5 to our 4, are 3 young European men. They have good hair, fierce jawlines, and the shamelessness that allows them to wear tight sweatpants, commando, in public. They are loud.

The lines move.

The Flight

We take our seats. We have a relaxed, truly lovely flight crew. I had bought a pack of Werther’s for an Argentine friend. It’s a difficult candy to come by in Argentina, and they taste, according to my friend, exactly like Dulce de Leche. I give them to the head flight attendant.

Oh, joy! The sweatpants guys are in the row ahead of us. Before the plane even finishes loading, the one directly in front of me—I’m in the middle—leans his seat back.

Something fierce and primal ignites in me when people move their planes seats all the way back, without so much as a howdy-do. I’m tall, and it’s hard enough to get comfy on a plane, let alone a small crowded one, let alone a middle seat. And THEN this ridiculous creature does it before we’re even off the ground.

Of course, ya know. This Means War.

I push against the seat. The guy looks back as if maybe it’s broken. His friend looks at me, recognizing I am not a team player in the world of coach fares. Oh, but I am!

The kid does it again. I push back, viciously this time. I have nothing left to lose.

All three of these lunkheads turn to stare at me. I am ravaged and fierce. They relent. Perhaps I remind them of their mother on a particularly bad day. Or the crazy cat lady who actually throws cats at you.

The plane takes off about an hour late, but it takes off. Once we reach altitude, the guy moves his hand to the recline button. His seatmate on the aisle, the one I had judged the biggest and most cretinous of the three, gently shakes his head, lifts up his armrest, and pulls his friend’s head to rest on his own lap. It is sweet, it is kind, and he has proven, much gentler and more effectively than I, that we can all work together.

COVID-19 in Peru: Conclusion

As we leave, the flight attendant thanks me for the candy. “Exactly like…” he begins. “Dulce de leche!” we finish together.

It feels nice to smile.

Meanwhile, Steve has heard at the airport that no hotels are open, not just in Cusco, but anywhere. I tell him I’m simply not listening.

We go to the desk after picking up our luggage to ask for a cab to our hotel. “There’s a shuttle,” smiles the woman at the desk. How the hell all of these Peruvian airport employees are staying so relaxed, kind, and friendly is beyond me. I’ve noted it before: In Peru, people connect. With their culture, heritage, land, and other people. I love Peru.

Of course the hotel is wide open, and we have possibly the quietest room of our stay, given that we didn’t get to stay at the lodge. Though come to think of it, there were some pretty noisy cows on that property.

Yeah, the last 24 hours have been scary. And fraught. Snippiness has occurred, feelings have been hurt, and one young buck found that, if you lay your seat down before a plane takes off and you have a tall woman of a certain age and no sleep behind you, well, watch out.

We may not get out for the 2 weeks that the President has demanded the lockdown. Giving the craziness that is COVID-19, there’s a chance something even more batshit will happen and we’ll be here longer than that.

But, well, we love Peru. It’s got its problems, but the people are amazing. We have faith, gratefully we have resources, we have each other, and—I’m completely serious—the Internet. Though for my part, I’m on lockdown from reading about COVID-19, because it has stolen enough of my joy.

In fact, we have so much.

And if this small, disorganized country can keep the virus contained by taking radical measures, I am so for that. We can learn from everyone.

Watch this space.