Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pandemic Diaries Week #3

30 March 2020

When I publish a blog (what the website calls it when I post it online), I always check our statistics.  How many hits, what blogs are most read, things like that.

This week, as it has been for many weeks, our blog has been read by numerous people across the USA.  But the second country where we have close to 200 hits this week is Italy!

So to all our Italian readers, Buon giorno!  Grazie per aver letto il nostro blog. Sei nei nostri cuori mentre continui a lottare contro questo virus. Pensiamo al tuo bellissimo paese, al tuo spirito forte e speriamo che questo piccolo blog ti dia piacere. Ti inviamo tanto amore.

Okay, no, I really don't know that much Italian.  I would say it much more like a three year old child.  Yay for google translate, right? 

31 March 2020

I got all dressed up today.  Okay, I wore another pair of earrings instead of the ones I've worn the past month.  That counts, right?  ALL dressed up!

It actually rained this evening, surprisingly.  Lima is one of the driest cities in the world, despite being on the coast.  Rain is pretty rare.

The president of Peru extended the curfew, so it was quiet after 6 PM.  Seems early, but I guess he felt this was needed.  It really is hard to not be social when you live in a place with all your friends and family in the vicinity.  I was trying to imagine going back to Seattle and not being able to see my friends.  Or to meet up and sit 6 feet (or 2 meters, or 2 king penguins lying down) apart.  Not to be able to hug the people I haven't seen in months.  It's easy to be socially distant when we live far away from everyone, or when we're travelling somewhere that's already distant.  But when you're right there, in the same town?  Yeah, that must be so difficult, so tempting.

We humans are definitely social creatures and pack animals.  No wonder dogs like us!

1 April 2020 

Another flight is going back to Canada today, and one more tomorrow.  Several people at our hotel are heading out to Toronto and onward to their homes.  Nice to see that the embassy is taking care of their citizens.

A Canadian friend sent a message to me quoting one of the couples that had been evacuated - they entered the jet to Canada, and the flight attendant handed them a tiny Canadian flag, saying "welcome home."  Isn't that a wonderful thing to do??  Just lovely!

Us?  Still no idea.  We've submitted the information requested, the first time on 21 March, when the US embassy initially said they were arranging charter planes for these evacuation flights.  Just last week, they came out with a form to standardize the information about each passenger, and that was the fourth time we sent in our names and other info.

And yet, we wait.  College students have been sent home.  The ambassador.  Diplomats and their families.  Every email from the embassy says they prioritize older adults and people with medical conditions.  But, not us.  We check email numerous times a day, including just before going to bed about midnight.  Nope, no information saying "you're on tomorrow's flight."

I'm starting to wonder if possibly the embassy staff has been directed to vet the passengers.  Maybe someone checks Facebook, or political party affiliation in voting records.  Who knows?  We've definitely exercised our First Amendment rights regarding our opinions of the current presidential administration in the US.  Maybe it's the fact that the CIA and FBI have a file on me for my time in the Peace Corps, or Richard's file as a peace activist in the 1960s.  But I do wonder if perhaps something like that is why we have not yet been put on an evacuation flight.

Feeling disheartened.  And I'm rarely less than cheery and optimistic.

On a lighter note, I'm adding photos of some of the artwork I've made with the online art workshop I'm "attending."  I've done a lot of improvisation with these projects, because when it's a collage project I'm limited to maps or brochures from the hotel (and my tiny tube of crazy glue).  When the project includes painting, all I have are my aquarelle (watercolor) pencils.  But I'm having fun, and it keeps me busy.  Both important when we're in shutdown mode! 

2 April 2020

I saw the American Citizens Services Embassy to Peru on Facebook, and finally spoke up.  I said that we sent in our info about 2 weeks ago, we're seniors, we have medical conditions, what's up. Someone contacted me, and asked what are our medical issues - I replied - we're now on the list of vulnerable people!!!  So I hope that bumps us up to the top of the list!!!  Of course, we're both of the age that if we need ventilators in a hospital, we may be denied that.  But hey, we feel a little better about things right now.

Later that same day....
We now are on a flight manifest!  We fly out tomorrow, to Washington DC.  Once we get there, we'll book something onward - didn't want to do it until we land, because we don't know how long it will take to go through Customs and all.  But it looks like we'll move from this quarantine to a US quarantine, and just try to keep avoiding this virus.

I'll post this, and will start up again once we're back in the US. 

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