Life Quarantined in Cusco, Peru

What’s life like in Peru? Frankly, it’s not that bad from where I’m sitting. Peru’s president made an announcement that he was going to lock down the entire country in twenty-four hours and commence a quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic, and boy did he follow through. When he was met with resistance, he enacted martial law which put the government in control and created a curfew which is currently from 5am-6pm throughout the majority of Peru, with no one being allowed out on Sundays whatsoever. Thus far, the quarantine has gone from its initial two weeks to eight weeks with the only saving grace being the president stopped alternating days for when men and women can go out to buy essentials to only one family member per household instead.

At first, I’ll admit I was worried. I was used to a life abroad where you have to constantly watch your back and dealing with mafia and corrupt police was just a normal, everyday part of life. I thought it was going to end up with me bribing police, fighting off looters, and giving my dummy wallet to mafia proxies as I had done it all before and was ready to die for mine again.

Ironically, no one has looked for confrontation with me thus far. Why? Because I befriended the locals, regularly practiced my Spanish with them and their English with me, supported the small businesses, and took care of the strays just because. I am also big compared to Peruvians as I am 6’0 or 1.83 meters and 190lbs. or 86kg. This is deterrence defined as desperation is generally the cause of crime, but I make it harder for criminals to want to do wrong to me as a foreigner. From an outside perspective, I am seen as not only a foreigner who is kind to your people, your animals, and embraces your culture, but is also twice your size, covered in tattoos, and has defined cauliflower ears. Criminals always weigh if the juice is worth the squeeze and I made it so that my margins were worlds apart.

Overall, I spend my days learning Burmese and Spanish online due to the quarantine; have finished my M.Ed and am waiting for my degree conferral’s completion; and regularly workout in my apartment complex’s park or at home. What’s more, is I go to the local market, called Mercado de Wanchaq, regularly to try new local foods and drinks, practice my Spanish, and buy food to feed the stray dogs around Peru.

Financially, as well, I’m thriving. All of my reservations and purchases I made prior to the quarantine I was able to get a refund or travel voucher for, after outmaneuvering the companies who thought I didn’t understand legalities and finances, and I took all the free time I had to learn buying and selling stocks. I took some savings, my stimulus check, and my tax return and invested it through Robinhood and Fidelity. With all of my stocks combined, I have somewhere in the ballpark of 45k in current value and I honestly owe it to my parents and my work ethic, as they were the only ones who were there for me whenever I called and I’ve never been accurately known as a slacker. I have an infamously bad habit of looking for love in the wrong places but, at 28, I believe I am finally realizing my self-destructive habits and remedying them accordingly, with my high level of happiness and life success being reflective of this.

Tu habla espanol? Translación en Ingles es: “The ambition of power creates a dead world”.

Plaza de Armas

If I could find a metaphor for my life this would be it. Venturing off the beaten path wonderfully alone. Maybe to you this looks like a pile of rubble or somewhere where you’d hold on to your purse just a little bit tighter. But to me, I see a journey that challenges my every waking thought and, frankly, based off of my experience the people who live in the gutter are far more warm, genuine, and real than the people living in the penthouses. What you see is what you get.

This view is literally around the corner from my apartment.

The lines to get into banks are indefinitely the biggest of issues during the quarantine. So much so that, in fact, the bank that the people are in line for isn’t even on the street pictured. Therefore, the line is literally wrapped around the block.

Most locals live day to day, so not being allowed to work resulted in many begging for loans, bill forgiveness, and anything else they could do to survive. Luckily for me, I could simply skip the line and go to the ATM to withdraw cash.

So, tattoo shops are indefinitely considered nonessential businesses, but, as my tattoo artist said, “It’s not something we’re supposed to do but something we have to do.” The way I saw it, I didn’t have anything else much better to do and my artist has two kids to feed. It’s a win-win situation albeit we broke the law for sure.

Moreover, the mountains have been calling since I can remember, but I’m just a young man taking the road less traveled and trying to help as many youths and animals along the way. This is my dream.

What are one of the things that help keep me sane and positive during my current eight weeks of quarantine? Talking to friends from all over the world and having actual conversations versus just talking to be talking.

I spend most mornings walking around Cusco feeding some random and some familiar strays. Why? Because it feels good to do good.

If you would like to donate to further helping stray dogs like two of my favorites in Negra and Blanco, please click or copy and paste the link below.

gf.me/u/xsx7u9

Coricancha/El Temple del Oro

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