Back in March, Jesse Katayama traveled to Peru from Japan and was anxiously awaiting his trip to Machu Picchu. He had already bought his entry ticket for March 16, which ended up being the very day the government shut down the site because of the coronavirus. Not only that, but they closed the borders, too.
Since he couldn’t travel back home, or even to other nearby countries, Jesse rented a room and embraced life as a local. He had no idea that his trip would extend to nearly 7 months or that his eventual visit to Machu Picchu would be well worth the wait.
Eventually, travel restrictions lifted in Peru, but Jesse was determined to stay until he could visit the landmark site, which was the very reason he traveled to the country in the first place. As time went by, though, he accepted the fact that it likely would not reopen in 2020.
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With everything arranged for him to head back to Japan, Jesse made one more effort to get to see Machu Picchu before he returned home. To his shock, with the help of the national Ministry of Culture, he was approved to see the site in person – without any other tourist there with him!
Jesse was thrilled to get to visit the site at all, and getting to have a personal experience was more than he ever imagined. In an Instagram post, he said, “I thought I never make it (to Machu Picchu) but everyone asked the government and the town and they gave me super special permission..Peruvians are soooo kind. Thank you soooo much!”
Machu Picchu remained closed to the public even after Jesse’s visit, so he wasn’t even the first of many tourists to visit, he was simply gifted a once in a lifetime experience.
Still, this was just one of many memories he will take home with him. He told CNN, “These seven months have been very special to me. I have discovered a new part of me.”
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