In Spite of Pandemic Coffee Still Plentiful

Coffee lovers, here’s something to be grateful about. Unlike paper towels, disinfectant or yeast, coffee has never been hard to find during the pandemic.

It has remained widely available on supermarket shelves even though COVID-19 has been particularly bad in some of the world’s largest coffee growing nations. Brazil, which has recorded more cases than any nation other than the United States, is the world’s top producer of coffee. India, Mexico and Colombia all rank in the top ten globally for both COVID cases and coffee production. Other major coffee exporters including Peru and Uganda have found themselves cut off by border closures and lockdowns.

“It’s natural to think that the harvesting of the coffee crops may be disrupted or perhaps badly disrupted,” says Steven Hurst, a coffee trader based in London. “But quite honestly and quite frankly, we’ve seen relatively little, if any, evidence of that.”

Source: Many major coffee producing nations also have large COVID outbreaks : NPR

For Peru, there are no international flights, and many coffee regions only recently began to have domestic air service. Lockdowns have been very strict, yet cases have been some of the highest in the world. The bigger exporters & Cooperatives with previous contracts have been doing well, but the small farmers that have no long term commitments are suffering.

For us, it meant no trip to Peru this summer, and uncertainty as to when we’ll be able to return.

Selective Picking for Only Ripe Cherries


In pictures: Peru’s most catastrophic natural disaster – BBC News

On 31 May 1970, a huge earthquake struck off the coast of Peru. The quake and the massive landslides it triggered killed approximately 70,000 people. A wall of ice came loose from Peru’s highest mountain, Mount Huascarán, careered down the mountain at incredible speed and buried the town of Yungay. A statue of Christ in the town’s cemetery and four palm trees were all that remained of Yungay.

Source: In pictures: Peru’s most catastrophic natural disaster – BBC News

Click on the link for startling photos, and the sad story of this horrific earthquake.

Peru: riot police block highway as people attempt to flee amid lockdown | World news | The Guardian

Peruvians try to return home but are stopped in Lima (photo Reuters)

Riot police in Peru have blockaded a major highway and fired teargas into crowds of people attempting to flee the capital city and return on foot to their rural hometowns as the country’s strict coronavirus lockdown entered its sixth week.

Local television images on Monday showed hundreds of families, including young children, trekking along highways with their belongings on their backs as they made long journeys to family homes. Poor Peruvians have been trying to leave Lima since last week, many saying they had to choose between hunger or homelessness in the city or risking exposure to Covid-19 as they attempt to return home.

Source: Peru: riot police block highway as people attempt to flee amid lockdown | World news | The Guardian


The Last Incan Princess

Yma Sumac

She claimed to be the final descendant of the last Incan Emperor, Atahualpa — a claim the Peruvian government backed in 1946 — and she allegedly learned to sing from “the creatures of the forest.” Yma Sumac didn’t just hit octaves. She knocked them out of the park with a growl, and took them for ride around the Milky Way. For opera aficionados, the Peruvian soprano goes down in history as one of the most talented, and wonderfully weird performers in modern history.

She was born in 1922 as Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo in the misty Andes mountains. When she moved to New York in 1949, Sumac was singing in hole-in-the-wall-joints in the Greenwich Village.

Some reports claimed she had a six-and-a-half octave range, in lieu of the average three. And that made her nothing short of a miracle, and she soon signed with Capitol Records. Bruce Springsteen once declared: “It takes only a fraction of a second to succumb to her unique voice.” Audio restoration expert John H. Haley said her voice had, “the bright penetrating peal of a true coloratura soprano,” but in a place of “alluring sweet darkness…virtually unique in our time.”

Read more and watch videos: Before Björk, There Was the Last Incan Princess

H/T to Ace

Machu Picchu Monday

Monday, sure wish I could go to Peru…

Terraces at Machu Picchu

Lovely views at Machu Picchu, Peru

Looking down to winding roads at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Photo 1968

Opinion: I’m An American Stuck In Peru, On Lockdown Amid Coronavirus Outbreak : NPR

Dylan Baddour is a freelance journalist covering South America who is now stuck in Cajamarca, Peru, because of the coronavirus outbreak.

It was time to give up our adventure and head home to Texas. Every village in the Peruvian highlands was buzzing with talk of the spreading coronavirus. South American countries were starting to close their borders. So my partner, Pu Ying Huang, and I headed out of the Peruvian countryside and into the small city of Cajamarca, where we hoped to quickly find a flight home. But when we got there at night on March 16, it was too late. Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra had just declared a total quarantine for 15 days, halting all air and land transportation, even taxis.

With fewer than 150 cases of coronavirus identified at the time, the Andean country was immediately going into lockdown to stem the spread of the virus. (As of Tuesday, Peru — with about 32 million people — has identified 395 infection cases and five deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.) Coronavirus Live Updates Suddenly, we were among the thousands of Americans stuck in Peru.

Source: Opinion: I’m An American Stuck In Peru, On Lockdown Amid Coronavirus Outbreak : NPR