Adieu, Le Chou Fou: The End of One Era

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If you’re searching for my former blog, Le Chou Fou, you may be finding yourself here.

Le Chou Fou was my 2nd serious attempt at blogging. (Nanette’s Feast was the first. Testing the whole third time’s the charm thing.)

Le Chou Fou began life as a travel/food-focused blog. I worked on and off at it, not quite figuring out what I was writing about. It is, however, the source of the Spiced Lemon Rosemary Cake with Walnuts recipe, as well as a bunch of other really nice recipes that will be coming this way over the next few months.

Then, in March 2020, while Steve and I were traveling in Peru…

A photo from le chou fou, Nan Bauer's previous blog, depicts her and her trusty travel companion Steve clowning on the Malecon in LIma Peru.
I mug for my camera on Lima’s lovely Malecon while Steve takes his shot more seriously, both of us blissfully ignorant of what’s in store.

…and about to head to Machu PIcchu, the then-president Vizcarra announced that the borders of the country would be closed in 28 hours.

Thankfully, we managed to get out of Cusco—many, many folks were stuck there and it sounded pretty rough, primarily because Cusco isn’t built to handle a sudden influx of upset, worried people who often hadn’t brought enough money to last through the uncertainties of a sudden pandemic.

A photo from le chou fou, Nan Bauer's previous blog, shows the wall-to-wall crowds attempting to leave Cusco, Peru, on March 16, 2020 after the president closed the borders.
Wall to wall people at Cusco airport on March 16, 2020 represent only the lucky ones who had flights out. Many more people waited hopelessly outside.

But once we got to Lima, we couldn’t get any further.

Very fortunately for us, we had enough money to wait out the time in a rented flat until the US Embassy was able to put us on a flight home.

It was a stressful, but genuinely amazing experience, and I wrote about what happened every single day, including endless walks circling our rooftop, looking down on empty streets in what, just a week before, had been the third most congested city in the world.

A photo from le chou fou, Nan Bauer's previous blog, shows Miraflores, Lima, with completely empty streets under a dusky sky.
You don’t see this any more: the streets of Miraflores, Lima, utterly free of traffic, the skies free of planes and

Meanwhile, we also endured an “interesting” (“daft” or “batshit crazy” may be more apt) experiment in which women and men were quarantined on alternate days.

A photo from le chou fou, Nan Bauer's previous blog, shows "Ladies Day," an unfortunate experiment by the Peruvian government to gender segregate during the early days of the quarantine.
Aping Panama, Peru attempted an unsegregated and blessedly brief experiment in allowing men and women separate days to leave the house; Sunday, everyone had to quarantine.

24 days after the adventure began, we returned to a U.S.—united in name only, alas—of unrecognizably empty airports, toilet-paper depleted grocery stores, and people even more confused than the Peruvians we’d been living with.

A photo from le chou fou, Nan Bauer's previous blog, shows an eerily empty Miami Airport in April of 2020.
Arriving at Miami airport the morning of April 9, 2020, we saw this surreal vista.

Today is, not so coincidentally the day we have returned to Lima to do our trip over. We couldn’t get a refund, so a do-over is the only way to make good on our investment in the trip.

I am now ready, to close the doors on Le Chou Fou for good.

Of course, all of the content, most importantly my Peru diary, are safely backed up. The plan is to get that 24-day journal into book form, and add, in my own small way, a little bit to the literature documenting those first strange days of the 2020 pandemic. Yeah, I know it technically started in 2019, but it hit home with most of us in 20. So let’s not be too pedantic.

The working title is “Up on the Roof.” That’s where I spent hours, getting my 10,000 steps in, listening to podcasts, desperate for some sanity, some sort of assurance that everything would be ok.

But if you got an alternate title, float it by me.

If you’re interested in the book when it’s done, please sign up for our newsletter. We’ll keep you posted, and also send you other cool stuff as well.

And thank you for your interest in Le Chou Fou. It’s still here. Just a little less accessible at the moment.

As Martin Mull once sang, let’s not say goodbye.

Let’s just say hors d’ouevre.

A photo from le chou fou, Nan Bauer's previous blog, shows a little girl dressed in pink, wearing a foam pink tiara, holding her mother's hand. The mother wears a fuschia and white polka dot blouse. The two are shown from behind, crossing a busy street in downtown Lima, Peru.
I happened to notice this wonderful little girl walking through Lima in the days before the pandemic adventure began. I thought of her often. That energy in her pointing finger is so powerful, and I love her. Gracias, guapa chica.

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