Blogs from Cusco, Peru, South America


South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco September 19th 2020

Sunday, 13 Sept, 2020 I’ve been hearing a lot from my friends and family about the wildfires in Washington, Oregon and California. The red skies, even at 9am, the ash covering their cars parked outside and the choking smoke all make the west coast sound apocalyptic. I sympathize with their predicament and unfortunately I can also empathize a bit too well. The smoke in Cusco isn’t as thick as in Seattle or San Francisco, but it’s also tragic: the url= Picchu National Sanctuary is burning. The fire started on Friday, near the train tracks. Though the fires on the west coast of the US were almost all started by the same url= read more
Chicha Morada ingredients
Purple kernels
Purple on the outside

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco September 12th 2020

Sunday, 6 September, 2020 177 days since Covid arrived in Cusco If a pregnancy is 40 weeks, Peru is more than halfway through carrying our Covid baby. People have a lot of unique ways of tracking time. I’m sure very few here in Cusco are counting the days and the weeks like I am. Maybe they’re counting the months. Maybe they’re counting how many family birthdays they can’t have parties for. Maybe it’s how many times they have to go to the bank and ask for an extension to their credit. Or how many job applications they fill out. Or how many times they have to ask their landlord to give them more time to pay rent. We are now at the end of what would normally be the high tourist season. People should have been ... read more
Outdoor markets
Api and ice cream
Api, api!

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco September 5th 2020

Sunday, 30 August, 2020 170 days since Covid arrived in Cusco It’s also been 170 days since the library in Cusco closed. I never took the time to go before, although I walked by it every day on my way to work. I always thought I’d have time “later.” I suspect that people all around the world now have time to do the things that they put off before, but now can’t do them because of the pandemic. It’s a Catch -22. When the pandemic is over, the places we wanted to visit will open up again but we will all be back at work and too busy. Still, the library on Calle Ruinas in Cusco is high on my list of places to visit as soon as it opens again. In the meantime, I do ... read more
New Market Recommendations
Nabo con Sangrecita
What does cooked blood look like?

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco August 30th 2020

Sunday, 23 August, 2020 163 days since Covid first arrived in Cusco It’s hard for me to believe that we’ve been in some form of quarantine/lockdown for that long. At this point, it’s also hard to believe that life will ever be normal again. Everything is so different now. My day to day life has so completely changed that I feel like I’m living in a totally different country than I was five months ago. One of the reasons I moved to Cusco is that I wanted to see more of the area. The pandemic has ruined that plan. Now, the only times I can leave the city are with the Covid Relief Project. Yesterday was our 6th trip to a village to take food and school supplies, and it was beautiful. The drive to and ... read more
Aprendo en Casa
Environmental Progress

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco August 23rd 2020

Sunday, 16 August, 2020 Five months ago, on March 16th, Peru entered a serious lockdown quarantine. Since then, a lot has changed in the world and in Peru. Hospitals in Peru have more ICU beds than in March, they have more respirators than in March and they have better personal protective equipment for their employees than in March. Five months ago, trucks full of military, armed to the teeth, patrolled the streets. They picked people up for not having a believable story about going to either buy food or go to the pharmacy. Hundreds of people were arrested every night in Peru for breaking curfew - which was 6pm for the first couple months. One of my housemates was ordered to go home when she legitimately left the house to buy food. Another was threatened with ... read more
White Tufted Grebe
Andean Duck

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco August 15th 2020

Sunday, 9 August, 2020 149 days since Covid arrived in Cusco. 365 days since I arrived in Cusco. I was woken up today by a call from my parents. My Dad had bought me a cake and put candles in it to celebrate today being my one year anniversary living in Cusco. It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year already, probably because almost half of that year I’ve been quarantined in my house. The lockdown in Peru started on March 15th and was immediate. There was no easing into it here. One day things were normal, the next day the military and police patrolled the streets to keep us inside. In June and July some restrictions were lifted, but many have been put back in place for August. My favorite of these restrictions (no sarcasm) ... read more
What survived the conquistadores
Going to town
Protect yourself from the Coronavirus

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco August 8th 2020

Sunday, 2 August, 2020 142 days since Covid arrived in Cusco It was quiet this morning. For the first morning in fifteen straight days, the construction workers were not a few yards from my windows, cutting rebar, mixing cement and blasting their radio. We are back in quarantine, with another all day Sunday curfew. Nobody leaves the house today, except for emergency medical care. No pharmacies are open, no grocery stores, only hospitals and clinics and even then for emergencies only. Starting March 22nd, Sundays were a complete shutdown through the end of June. That was 15 weeks in a row when nobody went outside on a Sunday. Then, in July, we were allowed out on Sunday not only to buy food, but we also had the freedom to go for a walk, without a destination. ... read more
Sanity-saving walks
Worn stairs
Walking in the wind

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco August 1st 2020

Sunday, 26 July, 2020 Today I was woken up by the sound of construction out my window. The past few weeks, the obnoxiously loud construction out my windows has woken me up every morning and distracted me from just about everything all day long. Sunday was the only day they didn’t work. Even all day Saturday was fair game. I woke up this morning with the realization that I have lost my one day of peace and quiet. I have to get out of this apartment. This will be a four story building, which means that soon it will not only be the sounds of cutting rebar and mixing cement right outside my windows. It will be construction workers up at the level of my second story bedroom and living room - then looking down into ... read more
Social distancing
School supplies and maná
Coloring books and pencils

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco July 25th 2020

Sunday, 19 July, 2020 Today I really gave in to taking a day off. I sat in the sun on the roof, read Amy Schumer’s book The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo and ate popcorn and two packages of cookies. If I’m going to be unemployed, I might as well do nothing on Sunday. There’s no reason to try to get things done around the house. I’m not working all week and now I certainly have plenty of time to do things like laundry Monday through Friday. Happily, this week I will be a little less unemployed than last week. Since I got laid off, I’ve been working two hours per week, one hour teaching Spanish to a woman from England and the other teaching English to a Cusqueñian guy. This week I will get ... read more
El palacio de Huayna Capac
Qhapaq Ñan from Urubamba

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco July 18th 2020

Sunday, 12 July, 2020 Day 123 of Covid in Cusco The stats, the numbers, everything just keeps going up. How many cases of Covid in Cusco, in Peru, in the world? How many people have died? How many people have lost their jobs? How many people have slipped back below the poverty line after recently working their way out of poverty? How long have we been dealing with this virus? Are there any numbers, anywhere, that are going down? What questions do I have to ask to get numbers that are going down? What questions do I have to ask to find some positive news? I keep going back to air pollution, with so many flights cancelled and so many people staying home. That’s definitely been good news for a while now. Is there any other ... read more
Prohibido el paso
Puente en riesgo de colapsar
Pre-Inca Ankasmarka

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