I arrived to Lima on the 15th March just to stay a few days, visit and to view some of the hotels that had recently opened and relax in the evening at some of the many nice restaurants around the district of Miraflores. In the end it was not to be, the government took a quick surprise decision and closed the borders and the airport on the 17th. I found myself caught and unable to leave so i decided to stay in the Howard Johnson, a new 3 * hotel which had only opened its doors in December in the popular tourist district of Miraflores. Everything new and pristine, well located in Avenida Larco towards the bottom end close to the ocean in Miraflores. This is a nice property for its level and not badly priced, fourteen floors with a roof top swimming pool and social area, plus a small gym. Service was good and friendly. I stayed there for eight days and finally had to move as it was closing its doors due to the Corona Virus and had no clients. I then moved to La Casa del Viajero in Calle Schell, just of Avenida Larco and only a short distance from the Howard Johnson. Not as well located, but still only about a fifteen minutes to the ocean. It’s a small character property very open with nice balconies where you can sit out and watch the world go by. It has a very large roof top terrace on the third floor, which is quite informal with very rustic furniture, great environment at night to sit have a beer and talk. It’s a relaxed 3* middle level property and comfortable. Totally different to my first experience at the Howard Johnson, which was also comfortable, modern, efficient, but did not have that lived in feel like the Casa del Viajero, which is rustic, homely and very friendly. This is where I am at the moment.
I will stay here until the situation improves, Peru definitely for the moment has a strong grip on the Corona Virus, it brought in its lock down measures right at the beginning and until now it seems to be reasonably successful. At this present moment males are only allowed out three times a week to purchase food supplies, visit the chemist or use the banks. The other three days are for the females and Sunday everybody has to stay at home. Until today Peru has about five thousand infected and less than a hundred deaths. From the number of infected I think another one thousand five hundred have recovered. So its not to bad.
The lock down was supposed to end on the 13th April, last night it was announced that it will continue until the 26th April, so another two weeks. I understand the method, it obviously means we are all quarantined until the end of April. Lots of reading, writing, conversation and deep thinking, as we all have plenty of time. The weather here is good, quite warm, but not boiling, which is unusual for this time of the year, but climate warming is another issue, lets stick with the Corona Virus.
Peru is a poor country and to enforce for a month a strict quarantine the government has surprisingly taken some good measure. It has given two lots of bonuses to the poor, in each case three hundred and eighty soles in March and April, which is about eighty pounds sterling, not a lot, but in Peru it can go a long way. In the local districts the councils are giving to the most needed food baskets and to the middle classes AFP, which is the private pension scheme where government has organised a unique payment to all contributors of two thousand soles each, which is about four pounds sterling. Again it will go quite away here in Peru, if used carefully.
These financial schemes will keep the people from Peru in check and hopefully prevent any disturbances, plus President Vizcarra, is showing himself to be a very good leader and is constantly rallying the people and with his team have worked hard to contain the Corona Virus .
In the four weeks I have been here in Peru, I have met a lot of people in both hotels that i stayed and shared some great stories. The last little group, three individuals, two who had been in Pulcalpa and one in Tingo Maria, both places of the main tourist route. Thibauet spent three weeks with a Shaman right up along the Ucayali River in quite a remote settlement, very interesting to listen to his experiences. Jean stayed in Pulcalpa a month visiting his daughter who had married locally, again interesting to hear his experiences which are completely different to Thibauet. Then Tingo Maria still jungle, but close to the Andes, another story that I was able to listen to and share from Jean Duconte. Then of course all the hotel staff I have spent time chatting to and learning about their life and their experiences, all very hard working and conciencous people.
Have placed some photos of some of the people I have met and I still have more weeks to spend here in Peru until the borders and the airport open and we once again have free movement, these are extrodinary times for all of us.
Lima Capital- Miarflores Jami/Jean&Thibauet Masks must be worn outside