P.G. couple stuck in Peru

A local artist and his partner have traveled the world since last October.

That came to a sudden halt recently and now Joseph Cunningham and Melissa Bermudez are stuck in Peru under conditions Cunningham considers similar to martial law.

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Trying to get a flight back to Canada is like winning the lottery, Cunningham said through a series of Facebook messages to the Citizen.

Airlines email a code to those who made the request to get a flight out of a country with a travel ban set - for now- until April 14.

Cunningham got his code at 1:50 p.m. Thursday. After about 10 miniutes and providing payment information at the final click of the mouse Cunningham was told the flight no longer existed. It was sold out.

Talking to people through social media that includes about 80 people seeking a way home, he said about 10 people got tickets for the flight that was booked on Thursday.

Communication with the Canadian government about this matter is through emails.

"I'm glad some Canadians made it home," Cunningham said. "And I just hope others among us will be able to return home in what may be the greatest depression to have ever happened, given the global community and global economic situation we live in."

He is grateful not to be going through this ordeal alone.

Cunningham met Bermudez in Prince George. They went to the College of New Caledonia together for a time before realizing the education they both seek is one of global knowledge. Bermudez has dual citizenship for Canada and Colombia.

Cunningham said they've been together for four years.

 It was a year ago that Cunningham said a dream inspired him to find his way to Mexico to start a grand travel adventure.

Cunningham asked Bermudez if she'd like to go with him.

"Fortunately for me she did," Cuningham said. "I felt as though I needed to learn and grow and this was what my subconscious was telling me. Melissa and I were in Mexico and Colombia and traveled through both countries from Oaxaca to Playa del Carmen and Mexico City.

They then traveled extensively in Colombia, finally making their way to Peru and are now in Cusco. 

"Right now we are waiting for our flights from the government," Cunningham said. "I would like to inform people that taxpayers dollars are not paying for our repatriation flights. It's out of our pockets. The government of Canada has not announced anymore flights to repatriate Canadians and Peru is under what is like martial law."

This is what he posted on his blog site most recently:

“We have rules set by Peruvian government:

1. We have a 8 PM to 5 AM curfew.

2. All land, sea and air borders are closed.

3. All non-essentials will not be sold, like alcohol, clothes and goods.

4. One person from each household is permitted to leave the house only to go to pharmacies or supermarkets.

5. Must walk 1 meter away from others.

6. Can only leave the house if you have a mask. (We tried to get a mask since day 1 and they were all sold out)

And probably other restrictions that we don’t even know.

During this time we have stayed home, watched streets dogs wondering where people once roamed, watch police pass by, and the odd local or tourist rushing through the streets to get food and/or essential supplies. We have left a few times to get groceries and are constantly bombarded by police asking us where we are going, what we are doing, who are we and to rush home. 

"It's Meli's birthday on April 15 and we're hoping to be home by then to at least see family through the window," Cunningham said. "Prince George has family for us and during troubling times we will want to go and be close to them."

Cunningham said during better times travel is always the priority.

"Melissa and I are entrepreneurs and I'm an artist," he said. "That being said we have more opportunity the more we move around. Prince George holds a place for us in our hearts along with family and will be where we want to stay as times are troubling."

Cunningham said the travel blog he writes is done to show people how small the world is and to find similarities.

In their effort to get back to Canada, Cunningham and Bermudez have emailed local MPs to prompt them to take action, Cunningham said.

"But it's limited resources," he added. "There have been announcements they will not be able to get everyone home. I hope this brings people peace of mind knowing they have family and each other in what can be very troubling times."

To keep up-to-date on Cunningham and Bermudez check out his blog at https://voyageexpress.travel.blog

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