May You Live in Interesting Times! – COVID 19 and Travel (why getting there is no longer half the fun)

According to Wikipedia, my title caption is the English translation of an ancient Chinese curse, although there is no conclusive evidence of this. Nonetheless, the irony of this phrase as it applies to our current situation can not be ignored.

For most of us, travel over the next few months will be limited to trips for groceries and supplies, as COVID 19 and the associated steps being taken to lessen its impact on the world, grip us all.

My regular readers may be aware that we just returned from a 2 week trip to Vancouver to visit our son B and daughter K. Our trip had been planned for a while and as the date got closer and COVID 19 began to spread, we experienced a certain amount of trepidation. Our flight for Vancouver was scheduled for March 5, before WHO raised the status of COVID 19 to a pandemic on March 11.

For those of you who love Vancouver, I assure you I will have prettier and more hopeful posts forthcoming in due course. In the interim, I have a few observations on our trip to and time in Vancouver, up until our March 18 departure for home. This post deals with our flight to Vancouver.

I must preface this all with the fact that my better half is the queen of infection control, given her 40+ year dental office career. In simpler times, she has admonished me (nagging is too strong a word) about the “breaks in the chain” in my habits of touching surfaces on planes, trains and automobiles and then touching my face, eyes, nose, etc.

On this trip, she informed me over and over (polite definition for nagging) about the added risks during the COVID 19 crisis and I did listen more attentively, despite a few lapses in judgement along the way.

At YEG airport

  • The airport was quiet and only a few people were wearing face masks, many of them improperly. We could not tell if these people were sick or trying not to get sick, but masks tend to be a better defense on passing germs to others, as opposed to long term protection from the germs of others.
  • Social Distancing was not yet fully in practice. We tried to leave space and others simply squeezed in. Hmmmm.
  • My wife has often referred to my camera as a disgusting source of infection, so I did my best to limit touching it. Hence, no photos in the airport.
  • We had small bottles of hand sanitizer in our pockets and wet wipes in our carry on bags. We frequently gelled our hands as we prepared for and after we ate our usual pre-flight meal at Chili’s.
  • Boarding of our on time flight went pretty well, with people allowing space in lines. Any cough or sneeze caused the immediate scattering of crowds.

On Board

  • We boarded quickly and stowed our carry on bags.
  • We always wipe down all touchable surfaces on airplanes, but on this trip, we wiped twice.
  • Our younger seat neighbour noticed us cute old folks doing this and thought it was a good idea and asked to borrow one of our wet wipes. I assured her we did not want it back and gave her one.
  • One person in front of us (feature photo) was wearing a face mask, goggles and head phones. You would think this was adequate protection, right? Not really, as he continually touched his face mask, removed and adjusted his goggles and headphones all without gelling his hands. Oh well, it is the thought that counts, right?

I did manage to snap a few pix from my seat, sanitizing my hands between camera touches.

from the plane window, all appears normal
ready to go
flight disruptions and cancellations had not yet started
YEG tower (I prefer not to use the word “terminal”)
up, up and away
what would we be returning to?
last glimpse before the clouds

We arrived in Vancouver on time, collected our luggage and were cautiously off on this new adventure.

4 thoughts on “May You Live in Interesting Times! – COVID 19 and Travel (why getting there is no longer half the fun)

  1. We recently came through Edmonton as well, both going out and coming back. Such a difference (normal busy on the way out; almost completely deserted on the way back) We ate at Chili’s as well and were happy to find it open after all the closures in Toronto.

    Yup, wiping down the seats on the way out seemed to some (M and I were wiping) like germ phobia, but on the way back, the airlines were passing them out at the door.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you are back safe Lynette. We have not been into Edmonton yet, but went for a long walk in Beaumont yesterday. Streets were quiet and walks were deserted. Almost felt like we were walking in the Forbidden Zone of a SciFi movie.

      As to the wiping, we have been doing this on airplanes for 20 years. I do not think the vast majority of the populace fully understands what the airline announcement “we are grooming the plane” means. We all need to be a bit more careful, this pandemic is only the test run, I am sure. Stay well. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

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