A World of Problems

I’d rather like to travel. Abroad, to be specific. But there’s a problem. A whole bunch of problems, in fact. Should I list them? It’s hard to know where to start. Which is exactly why many people have just given up on the idea of foreign jaunts for this year. I haven’t, but it’s wearing on my patience. So let’s list the problems.

There’s the Political Problem. Boris has made so many awful decisions, he now seems loathe to make another one at all. So he invented a traffic light system to enable us to make an informed decision. Red, Amber and Green. And Amber Plus. And Green Watchlist. And Amber watchlist, obviously, although that could work either way. Have you ever seen an actual traffic light like that? It would spark chaos. No one would know whether they’re coming or going.

There’s the Bureaucratic Problem. Once you’ve sussed the traffic light system, you need to check what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office says. They don’t pay too much attention to Boris and his traffic light system. Perhaps they will say your chosen country is absolutely dandy. Or perhaps they will advise against any non essential travel, thus voiding one’s travel insurance.

Then there’s the Testing Problem. Some countries insist on a test before you leave Blighty. The UK requires a test before and after your return. A variety of different types of test might be required. But there’s no guarantee that the test you order will arrive on time. And the overflowing drop off boxes here in Blighty suggest the entire system has basically collapsed.

There’s the Moral Problem. Even if one can travel to countries like Mexico, where the virus is once again raging, does that mean that one should? Sure, the travel industry needs foreign currency, but there’s also the chance that one will fall sick with the plague and perhaps take a hospital bed that a local person desperately needs. It’s complex. Is it kinder to starve or suffocate the hotelier and his/her family?

There’s also the Lunatic Problem, exclusive to the United States, where antivaxxers and Trumpers have joined forces and are actively attempting to collapse the health care system and to kill as many people as possible. I wouldn’t be shocked if our October plans to visit the USA are kiboshed by the American Taliban, sending the country on to everyone’s red lists.

We will need a Plan B in case that comes to pass. Which leads us on to the next issue, the Planning Problem. Because the travelling situation is so changeable, we will also need Plans C, D, E, F and G. Plan H is to drop a hallucinogen, sit next to a radiator on max and watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and become one with the television. But I am hoping that it will not come to that. We have Malta booked. And Ryanair have fuelled my dreams with new routes from Bournemouth to Budapest, Lisbon and Wroclaw.

These are, of course, all First World Problems. As I write this, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are gasping for air. Tens of thousands will die today. Nonetheless, we strive to return to normal in a sensible fashion. It seems to me that once double jabbed, we are as safe as one can expect to be. Most of Europe should now be fully open, with few to no restrictions.

10 thoughts on “A World of Problems

  1. Much as I’d love to throw in the towel… and suncream lotion into my travel bag and take off for some hotspot. It’s not going to happen anytime soon for us anyway! It will be in the mid to high twenties for at least another week here so there’s no need to fly off anywhere to top off my tan.
    Oh I know what you are thinking in the back of your mind “that idiot is missing all the good stuff! It’s not all about the heat you clown, there is all the rest. Strange and unusual buildings and castles and museums and then there are the people, smiling faces the sounds, perfumes and glamour. Then there’s the music, the peculiar cooking aromas, delicious flavourings and the myriad of nuances that pickle a memorable holiday”.

    Maybe next year!

    They are not so enthusiastic about testing here, I think it has something to do with inaccuracies of the actual test or capabilities of the chap brandishing the tool or perhaps the three day turn around isn’t worth it! I believe I’ve had my temperature taken twice though just before getting jabbed though not out of any concern for me. I believe there were too many false positives/negatives at the beginning so they aren’t worth the trouble of taking them at all! However we are looking forward of course to visiting a few old haunts and I suspect that having flights of fancy eventually will lead to actual flights and they will be cheaper for a period until people are happier to wander off at will.
    They have been discussing Covid passports again, for some weird reason those of us double vaxxers with alternative jabs are persona non grata south of the border in the land of make believe but that’s ok as I’ve no intention of wandering down there anytime soon. Why would anyone? The Dakota boys were at it again last week. The Sturgis Black Hills rally went ahead with an expected 700,000 expected to attend this year! Talk about handing around the cup!

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    1. The PCR tests are very accurate. The lateral flow tests less so, but still good enough for community testing. It’s a shame they aren’t easier, less intrusive and quicker though. And whilst most countries haven’t tested enough, the UK are testing people like it’s an Olympic competition. You can overdo things…

      That said, Denmark have tested more per million, contained the virus pretty well and have run a rapid vaccination campaign. They are possibly the best example of how to do a pandemic in the west.

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  2. There you go again. “Travel insurance.” Until I had my run-in with a travel organizer in London that would not let me join one of their “exclusive” tours to the Pado without proof of such an exotic instrument, I had never heard of the concept. Maybe it is because I am viscerally opposed to anything including the word “insurance,” but “travel insurance” seems as illogical to me as “sleeping insurance.” I certainly have had more accidents doing the latter than the former. But there we are.

    I am about to pull the plug on my Emirates Tokyo-Dubai-Los Angeles flight. The Virus has restricted me from entering Japan (even to immediately board a place and leave Narita airport. It would have been a marvelous day spent in the air with the attentive hands of Emirates. But there we are.

    I thought I had revived my week-long trip to the Prado. The professor I had hired earlier is available in October, and my American passport will get me into Britain (for a connecting flight) and into Spain. The problem is my vaccination certificate. It is Mexican, and gives the impression I am a resident of Mexico. Which I am. That means I come from a red country. (That is far from the truth politically, though I have met more communists here than I have met in Italy or Greece. But, hey, I was one myself briefly at university. For about an hour or so. It involved a woman.) So, Spain appears to be off the list unless I can procure a CDC vacation card — formally or informally. But there we are.

    In February I am booked on an Antarctica cruise out of Argentina. The way The Virus is hanging on there (Argentina, not Antarctica), I suspect that trip will turn into a credit. I booked an American Airlines flight. Losing it will be nothing like losing the Emirates flight. And I have hopes almost as low that my Africa cruise in January 2023 will actually happen. At the rate the world is being vaccinated, I suspect we will be dealing with new variants when 2023 rolls around. The Economist has run models that The Virus will continue to be a problem world-wide until at least 2025. But there we are.

    And here I am. Like, you dreaming of a way to work around the current health situation — and bracing ourselves for the next.

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    1. Ha, you and your ‘insurance’ thing. Funnily enough, I did think of your aversion to such nonsense this week. I was looking at a trip to Ukraine that I might do by myself in the autumn. Sure my insurance might be invalid but I’d take the risk. I checked the countries entry requirements. Proof of health insurance is required before they’ll let you in…shucks.

      The long and short of it is that I buy travel insurance primarily for the health cover and to safeguard a significant other. Otherwise, I might be a bit more carefree. I did survive six years of Mexico without it…

      Travel is going to be difficult for a while yet. I suspect the Economist isn’t far wrong. For most of the world, we haven’t reached the half way point yet. I think the seriously far flung trips will have to wait. I’ll likely be seizing last minute opportunities for European jaunts for a while. Maybe, if we get a lucky break, Uzbekistan might become feasible. But we really need to get to Mexico when we can.

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    1. Taken with my iPhone on the Sandbanks chain ferry as I crossed Poole harbour for a bike ride. I’ve barely touched my Fuji this year. I took it off to Cheltenham in June, but that’s the only time it came out of the drawer.

      A new iPhone is out in a month, and rumour has it that the already excellent camera is getting a significant upgrade. Guess what I’ll be spending my holiday savings on…?

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      1. It turns out that I may have found a way to skirt the restrictions of entering Japan. That Emirates flight may still be on my plate. We shall see.

        Of course, my essays for the rest of 2021 may come to you from Narita Airport. Tom Hanks will have nothing on me.

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