More Travel Woes

More Travel Woes

‘I know we talked about travel woes a couple of weeks ago. Actually, it was me doing the talking and you drinking my beer.’

            ‘Which you so generously offered to buy me,’ Camp said.

            We were once again sitting at our local pub, even though it doesn’t really feel like a public place since there is hardly any public present. And it’s snowing.

            ‘Everyday there seem to be new travel restrictions, each more confusing than the last one?’ I said. ‘Travellers are now framed as disobedient distracters, to be vilified and punished.’

            As Sophie, Muriel’s daughter, would say: ‘Rich people’s problems.’ 

            ‘Unless you have the wrong test on arrival like those 2 guys in Calgary who were hauled away like criminals and incarcerated in a plastic lined room, with no information, inadequate food and no communication.’

            ‘Yes, I read about them. The Westin, Calgary Airport is now a quarantine Hotel but sounds more like a detention centre,’ Camp said.

            ‘Well, it’s still a mystery to me how herding back thousands of snowbirds and others will reduce the spread of the virus. My neighbour came back from England, visiting a sick mom, and now quarantines with her spouse and two kids, who go to school. No idea what kind of isolation that is,’ I said. 

            ‘It would be best to test everybody on arrival and if negative you’re free to go.’

            ‘We now have lost two important freedoms: Freedom of association and freedom of movement. You can add freedom of hugging to that. Hopefully, when we’re all immune either from the vaccine or the herd immunity, we will get these back but will it ever be the same world again, where people gather by the thousands to watch games and listen to music? With no masks and no distancing?’

            ‘The world will be different. Many changes will remain, like the home office and internet platforms for learning institutions. Travel will only come back if people, governments and carriers are on the same page. And all the tracing apps will remain in place. Nobody will want to give up that control tool,’ Camp said, taking a long swallow from his pint.

            ‘As we’re all impatiently waiting for a vaccine to roll into our towns, cities and blood streams, the vaccine politics are once again dividing the world according to wealth and power. Exotic travel destinations, mostly south and east, will not get the vaccines in a timely fashion and therefore it will be difficult to travel there.’

            ‘You may be right. We will only be allowed to travel to places on government approved ‘no risk’ list. Political? You bet.’

            ‘Stay home, don’t move, don’t plan any trips and get the vaccine. What a mess. Let’s change the subject. What do you think of the political theatre, playing out in the US capitol?’ I asked, ‘edited video clips and tweets and repetitive disturbing footage of the mob attacking the capitol building. Whom is this really helping?’

            ‘You just said it. It only helps the one guy who is again front and center on every cable TV channel. We already know the outcome. They will not get 17 republican senators to vote with the democrats for conviction,’ Camp said.

            ‘I turned on the TV last Sunday afternoon looking for a documentary by David Attenborough when the Superbowl flickered across the screen. I couldn’t believe the large number of spectators,’ I said.

            ‘A total of 25’000 fans, alongside 30’000 cut-outs, were allowed to attend the game at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, with 7’500 of those being health care workers, to honour their service during the pandemic. All of them were vaccinated.’

            ‘Wow, I didn’t know. A tremendous logistical achievement to pull that one off but that’s what Americans are good at. Organize spectacles.’

            Vicky brought our second round and I asked her if she watched the Superbowl.

            ‘I was here working. There were a few diehards and I watched the half time show. All glitter and bombast, no substance. Didn’t even know the performer.’

            ‘Circuses for the masses,’ Camp said.

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