Traveling in the time of Covid

We are in the very early stages of our long-anticipated return to Aruba. As many of you know, we love to travel. We love to go to new places and experience the diversity of culture and people throughout the world.

But we also indulge in a bit of comfortable familiarity by returning to the island of Aruba. It used to be an almost annual trip—we’ve been coming here since long before my daughter was born (we came here when my wife was pregnant with Kelsey who has now achieved the position of being a mother on her own and the ancient age of …I’ll just leave that there)—and it has been more than 18 months since we’ve been here.

It was the last international destination we reached before the time of Covid.

Caribbean Photo of the Week: The Colors of Sunset in Aruba

What I wanted to point out was the reality of travel in the strange new world we face. I love to travel, and I have never been one to worry about anything outside my control, but the reality is boarding a plane—something I’ve done so often I hardly even think of it any more than getting in a car—is now different, almost a bit intimidating. But I am here to tell you the process was almost flawless.

In the airport, everyone complied with the face mask requirement. The security lines were empty. The move through security a breeze. It was on the plane that the first unsettling aspect of relying on people to act mature and responsible reared its ugly head.

There were about 5 or 6 people who failed basic mask wearing. Since the plane originated in the US and from what I saw everyone carried a US passport, it was Americans who could not grasp the concept of covering your mouth and nose. Wearing the mask below the nose-which, since they had to comply with the testing requirements to enter Aruba, they would know is the primary source of spreading the virus—is self-defeating.

I find it troubling that people with the basic skills to purchase a ticket, pack bags, find their way to the airport, and board a plane lack the basic consideration for not only their fellow travelers but for the country which they choose to visit.

It shouldn’t fall on flight attendants to be the eyes in the sky for our country. They made sufficient announcements to remind people of their responsibilities. Nor should it rise to a childish confrontation between passengers. Perhaps, what the airline should do is document the passengers who fail to comply and let the FAA issue a travel ban.

I bet if we leave a few people behind with no recourse but a slow boat from China full of Amazon orders as their only way home it would make an impression.. Videos would garner millions of hits with stranded airline mask deviants puking over the railing in rolling seas on their 30-day journey home from Aruba.

Wear the damn mask, I do and so did most of the responsible passengers on board the flight.

If there is one downside to this trip, it is one of timing. Since we are here in September, and the weather at home is still pleasant, my usual level of schadenfreude is lowered. I normally can take particular delight walking on a Caribbean beach knowing my friends at home are shivering in wind-chills and trudging through snow…but I shall bear the disappointment as best I can.


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