We continue to travel during the Great Covid-19 Panic of 2020-2021, and we record our experiences and adventures.
To set the record straight, we acknowledge that Covid is a virus that can be deadly, and we are not trivializing its impact on those infected with it. We are, however, trivializing and mocking the inconsistent and sensationalized response from governments and businesses.
As an example, we stayed at the LAX Hilton for one night. They have two restaurants, but one was closed to customers. So we went to the other restaurant, full of people eating. We asked our waiter why one of the restaurant was closed, and he said, sarcastically, “Due to Covid.” Meanwhile, the wait staff is running to the back of the closed restaurant, where the kitchen is, to get food to bring across the lobby to the diners packed into the open restaurant. HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?
According to the CDC, cigarette smoking causes over 500,000 deaths annually in America. Obesity kills about 300,000 people annually. In 2020, Covid was responsible for 375,000 deaths. All those deaths are certainly tragic. But more lives would have been saved by outlawing tobacco use than covering our faces with masks and staying home.
So we take reasonable precautions: we are vaccinated and have had (at this writing) almost 40 Covid tests between us, we don’t smoke, and we exercise and eat healthy foods.
So let’s go to Peru, and see what it’s like to travel due to Covid!
Due to Covid
At these airports, there are reminders to maintain our “social distance”. Okay, first of all, “social distance” should mean that I don’t associate with you because I’m rich and you are poor, or something like that. “Personal distance” would be a more descriptive term, but simply “distance” would cover it. I mean, no one is going to confuse this with “emotional distance,” right? But I digress.
As boarding time nears, a mob gathers near the gate. We then crowd on the bridge while people file into the plane and stuff their luggage in the overhead bin, then continue to stand in the aisle until we get to our seat. All the coach passengers then get crammed into tiny seats, shoulder to shoulder.
The airlines play recorded messages regarding mask wearing, but the flight attendants are reasonable in enforcing those rules. Almost everyone removes their mask to eat, then “forgets” to put it back on. Only once did a flight attendant ask me to put it on… weirdly, this was on the international part of the flight, and you can’t get on that aircraft unless you are vaccinated and have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of flying – making it one of the most Covid-free places on the planet. Plus, there is lots and lots of room in first class, more than six feet between us and other passengers.
First class on American Airlines Dreamliner has a Captain’s Chair that swivels more than 90 degrees, allowing us to work at our desk if we are so inclined.
In first class, each passenger has an individual overhead bin. Here you see us carefully stowing our carry-on before the flight.
We dine on an assortment of fruits, grains, and vegetables while watching soft-core porn. 😎 Actually, it’s Frida, a film in which various scenes start as a shot of one of Frida Kahlo‘s real-life paintings before slowly dissolving into a live action scene with actors.
On Latam airlines, we have to wear a double-mask, because the Covid virus on that airline is very, very powerful! Note that only the outermost mask has to be actually attached to your ears.
We are in business class, but for Latam, that means just leaving the middle seat free. And the only row with extra leg room in business class is the very first row; otherwise, you are crammed in and unable to move. And that’s why double masks are so important! I guess…
Ha ha! After all the announcements about mask-wearing, air that is completely recycled and cleaned every four seconds (or something like that), and small pouches of alcohol-soaked towels handed to us, we see there is a coffee stain on the ceiling above our seats. So, they take their “cleanliness” pledge about as seriously as you would expect them to.
Important note: Stretch out the elastic on the masks and make small rips in the top, bottom and both sides. This makes the mask very loose and less uncomfortable, while complying with the letter of the law.
We are in the air over the Andes mountains, and almost at our destination.
The Andes are the longest continental mountain range in the world, with an average elevation of 4,000 meters. But that doesn’t stop people from living in every part possible.
Finally, we land in Cusco, a thriving city of about 500,000, perched in a valley 3,400 meters above sea level. We don’t stick around, but instead travel directly to our destination.
We have hired a driver for our trip (that’s him in the middle). He’s a nice guy who avoids the tourist traps and takes us to cool places. This particular place is Sacsayhuamán, pronounced more-or-less like “sexy woman”.
We arrive after about an hour’s drive (the last two kilometers are killer) and greet our cook. We are finally at Cusco Villas!
Cusco Villas is a tranquil island of calm and comfort near the town of Lamay, Peru.
The first thing we do when we arrive is to explore the grounds. The property is not especially large, but it is landscaped to give the illusion of endless places to explore.
There are fountains and pools scattered throughout.
The Villas kindly provide a small exercise area which includes, of course, a swing.
We discover that some of the ponds have fish, and some of those fish are eatin’ fish. But these are probably just decorative, because they are too pretty to eat. On the other hand, some things are too pretty NOT to eat. Amirite?
The wide stairways provide a place to sit. To the left is an enclosed hot tub for the cold Andean nights.
There is a small wading pool, but it’s not quite warm enough or sunny enough for swimming. Sad. Skinny dipping would have been fun.
There is a splash in the pool next to us, and we take a closer look. Maybe that’s what we’ll be eating soon!
Oncorhynchus mykiss, both pretty and tasty, are enjoying the afternoon, oblivious to their fate.
Okay, one last photograph to send to mom, then we can explore the house!
The house is big. How big? Big enough to have three separate showers! And….?
Well, take a look at them!!
This shower can easily accommodate a group of people but, for now, there is only us.
It takes only a few candles to turn a simple ten-foot by ten-foot waterfall shower into a romantic, and even erotic, showering experience.
Obviously there is more to this house than showers. There is also the music center!
As with many Villas, this one comes with a music center, where we can indulge in our “I coulda been” fantasies. Play that funky music, white girl.
The one-woman jam session continues with the doumbek, skin stretched tight, giving up its music to a sound beating.
We can still hear, in our memories, the warm melodic lilt of the cowbell, inspiring us to lofty sentiments.
But there is more to do here than just make beautiful music. Let’s play chess!
The earliest texts referring to the origins of chess date from the beginning of the 7th century. Three are written in Pahlavi (Middle Persian) and one, the Harshacharita, is in Sanskrit. One of these texts, the Chatrang-namak, represents one of the earliest written accounts of chess.
What the heck? How can I be losing so badly?
Dang! I was slaughtered. It seems like my mind wasn’t really on the game.
Well, there is always another game to play. Maybe I’ll do better next time…but probably not. She really knows how to use her queen…
So, despite the nonsense, we are having a wonderful time.
That’s all for now, but we will have more articles about our adventures in Peru soon!