Blogs from South America


South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco May 31st 2020

Sunday, 24 May 70 days down, 37 to go Today, like the past nine Sundays, nobody is allowed to leave their home, except for emergency medical care. Friday President Vizcarra announced that there would be some modifications starting Monday, with more businesses allowed to open. But let’s be clear, Peru is still under a State of Emergency, with mandatory quarantine, restricted movement and curfew. Tomorrow the rules of the game will change yet again and I am so very happy about the allowance for people to go outside for something other than food and pharmacy. Businesses like veterinarians and dentists will be allowed to open, as well as plumbing and hardware stores. People will now be allowed to drive their own cars to the grocery store. From what I hear, all of these are allowed in ... read more
The Inca Roads
Hiking companions
Inca buildings everywhere

South America » Chile » Atacama » Caldera May 30th 2020

Have you ever visited one of the oldest and driest deserts in the world, the Atacama in Chile? Well, on the long drive through the "Thin Country", we spent a few days in the Atacama before heading south. They say some parts of the desert have not seen rain for over a hundred years. As I recall, Mr. Mike and I were there during the early spring. The nearest town, San Pedro was a cold and windy frontier town, on the edge of the Atacama. But on the few occasions it rains, the desert transforms into a beautiful cascade of wildflowers. NASA uses the Atacama to mimic Mars. The Valle de Marte resembles the red planet. The unique colors have also provided landscapes for Hollywood movies. The desert is also ideal for stargazing, with cool, clear ... read more
Breakfast at Tatio
Tatio geysers

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños May 24th 2020

Quarantine, coming from the Italian word quaranta (40) is Cuarentena in Spanish cuarenta (40) but here in Ecuador we’ve been in isolation for twice that amount of time with daily 2 pm to 5 am curfews, permission to drive a vehicle only one day a week (based on the last number of the license plate), and requirement to wear a mask in public and disposable gloves in the grocery store. There are road blocks at either end of town and provincial borders are closed around the country, allowing only food supply vehicles to cross. As of this writing all domestic and international flights are grounded. Those arriving on humanitarian repatriation flights undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government approved hotel. My friends who just got back to Quito were not even given a key to ... read more
Daily Scrabble Joy!
After the rain...
The Healing Power of Nature

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

Sunday, 17 May, 2020 63 days down, 7 to go Yesterday was so much excitement with taking food to the rural communities outside of Yaurisque that I’m exhausted today. After nine weeks of sitting on the couch, getting up early to go to the equivalent of Sam’s Club or Costco, then driving with the mayor of Yaurisque almost two hours from Cusco, then giving out food to over 200 families, then coming all the way back to Cusco, was way more action than I’ve had in nine weeks combined. It was immensely satisfying and truly a privilege to be able to distribute aid to so many people. Tomorrow I’ll start the fundraising for the next village. Today I’m going to watch birds out the windows and maybe sit up on the roof with my book, if ... read more
New signs everywhere
The new face of tourism
The new purpose of fire hydrants

South America May 17th 2020

Sunday, 10 May, 2020 56 days down, 14 to go This blog is also posted on I started today by calling my Mom for Mother’s Day. As with the birthday call, it’s hard to have any conversation without it turning to the pandemic at some point. It sounds like in Idaho people are starting to go out a bit and more stores are opening up. There are lots of people in parks and on the hiking trails near town. Her county hasn’t had any new cases in a couple days, so maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about things opening up there. I’ve been checking in with friends around the world and no matter who I call, they say something similar. From a friend in Lima: People here aren’t respecting the quarantine. Peruvians just won’t ... read more
Any family member could receive aid
Rice and cooking oil
Thank you donors!

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Vitacura May 14th 2020

If you haven’t heard, or maybe self-isolation is a familiar term and you are living like the Unabomber in a cabin in Montana, there has been a little virus going around that has completely shut everything down. I myself, have already spent 20 days of government imposed quarantine on our community in Santiago, and then emerged to freedom for several weeks (freedom light I guess), and then saw my shadow (Santiago Steve), so we head back into quarantine this Friday. It was a nice run of freedom (we even got to go get coffee once), and whether this quarantine lasts another week or another month, who knows. Chile like everywhere else in the world has been under various forms of quarantine, and at the moment we are heading in to our elenventy-ith week of working from ... read more
More Mascarilla Time!
Fire time!
Talk to the animals

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco May 9th 2020

Sunday, 3 May, 2020 49 days down, 7 more to go (I hope) Today I made my website live! As with any piece of writing, I wouldn’t call it done, but I had to set myself a deadline to be done enough at some point. It’s been a good creative project to keep me busy and I’ll continue to work on it, especially since I have at least another week of sitting at home. This time, surely, they’ll relax some of the restrictions next Monday. I’ve thought that before. I hate getting my hopes up every time. Back to the url= environmental news, in Peru we have recorded the biggest drop in air pollution. I try to focus on the Pachamama getting a fresh breath of air. I’m trying so hard to stay posit... read more
Hummingbird as Robin
Patagona gigus

South America » Peru » Cusco » Cusco May 3rd 2020

Sunday, 26 April, 2020 42 days down, 14 to go Today is my mother’s 71st birthday. I called her in the morning and was glad to hear that she has a beautiful sunny day in Boise and plans to go outside. Social distancing rules in Boise, and common sense, still allow her to go for a walk by the river by herself. It’s hard to have any conversation without talking about COVID, even if my intent is to wish my mom a happy birthday. Yesterday, Mom went to get tested for antibodies, as part of a study from University of Washington. She said that they were very clear with people who sign up, that this is only contributing to a database. This is not for diagnosing people who are currently sick and this is not any ... read more
Santa Catalina
Looking up
Empty streets

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

Sunday, 19 April, 2020 35 days down, 7 more to go I’ve been looking forward to today all week! My housemates and I have been planning a picnic on the roof today. I chose Sunday because we’re not allowed to leave the house and I wanted to have something to look forward to. Yesterday and Friday it rained and hailed, so I was delighted to see bright sunshine this morning. Both of my housemates went to the mall yesterday to buy picnic treats. They came home with a proper baguette, brie, olives, sparkling wine and a lot more. I bought focaccia from a neighbor who has been baking to supplement her income, beer and made a black bean and mango salad this morning. It wasn’t warm enough to put on swimsuits and pretend that we were ... read more
Napping Hummingbird
Picnic on the roof
The roof

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

Sunday, 12 April, 2020 28 days of quarantine down, 14 more to go Like every Sunday in the new world of Peru under quarantine, nobody is allowed to leave their homes today, except for emergency medical services. All grocery stores, pharmacies and banks are closed on Sundays. No other businesses have been open for a month. I got back to my workout routine today, after skipping yesterday. I had been on an 11 day streak. I need this part of my morning routine. Staying healthy is obviously important when any trip to buy food could expose me to contact with the COVID virus. Having a routine and making myself get up every morning is really good for my mental health. Also, I get to burn off some of the frustration of not being allowed to go ... read more
Tanager with pear
Comfort food
The Bulls

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