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Oh Corona!

The world is going to hell.
At least if you believe the frothy media reports. Their amplified tone. Is this a new “9/11” in the jagged shape of a virus? Global stock markets are tanking!
The world is going under!
We’re all going to die!
we can never ever go to Italy!
Or china!
Or New Rochelle! Although, that’s probably ok….

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macaroni penguinmacaroni penguin

macaroni penguin

Meanwhile, here on the south Atlantic ocean we couldn’t care less.

I’m on a delightful cruise on board Holland-America Line’s Zaandam for two weeks. We left a hot beautiful Buenos Aires a couple of days ago. Yesterday we visited the lovely capital of Uruguay, Montevideo. Now heading south towards the Falkland Islands, or Islas Malvinas as they prefer to call these contested islands.Everyone is excited about seeing penguins. I’m hoping to spot a Macaroni penguin!

My group talk about the trip. About previous trips. Upcoming trips. The predictable subjects are discussed, lots of joking, friendly teasing, musings over what to wear for the three “formal” gala evenings, raised eyebrows over the portly man who showed up for lunch buffet without a shirt – and was quickly asked to get dressed. phew! all that exposed flesh and chest hair. ew!

One thing we barely touch upon is the corona virus.
we’re happily cruisin’ on here in the south Atlantic without a care in the world in the safe hands of our skilled captain and his crew, an endless supply of hand sanitizer, wondering if that spectacular truffle mushroom risotto will be served again. It’s as if we’re on board a community cocoon of calmness.
Naturally, I keep my group updated with facts and useful info., but not many feel any major concern. the occasional sneer over the frenzy, a level-headed comment or a shake of the head.

Today the CDC announced that this is now officially a pandemic. The virus has reached the African continent where it most likely will spread like wildfire. Here onboard the Zaandam, the captain turned up the cleaning and disinfection of the ship. No open buffets, everything is served by kitchen staff wearing gloves.

It’s a surreal feeling to read advisories to avoid cruises, not travel if absolutely necessary, states of emergency, countries locked down, cities in isolation, flights cancelled, resorts closed, empty streets.

I’m concerned over my own survival as my industry is right in the midst of this. If a tour is cancelled, I don’t get any compensation. Several of my colleagues are starting to experience cancellations.
The glorious life of a freelancer.

It’s not just us tour directors & guides. It’s bus companies, restaurants, hotels, events, theatres – the small businesses, the mom & pop stores, the ones that live on what they make during tourist season.
I get depressed just thinking about it, but know that this devilish virus will eventually decline and the world goes back to a new sanitized normal.

meanwhile, the subway in new york city – now sprayed every 72nd hour and wiped down with sanitizer every day, has never been cleaner.
That’s a big win.


what do you think about this situation?

any advice to offer (no, i don’t need to make my own hand-sanitizer)?

what long-term effects will this have?







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