20 March, 2020

I had tickets to Prague. Fly into Paris on the 11th, then short hop to Prague. Back to Paris, and then home on the 18th. I had tickets to Prague.

I did give the trip a lot of thought. I’m in two of the groups with a higher mortality rate from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But I haven’t had the flu in at least 42 years. And I’ve worked in the restaurant industry, around co-workers who can’t afford to stay home when they’re sick, and people who feel the need to go out to dinner when they have a fever and chills. And before those 42 years, I only remember having anything with chills/fever/cough twice. I add one when I tell people as there may be another one I was too young to remember. I’ve also been washing my hands the proper way for a good 25 years, coughing into my elbow for 15, and carry hand sanitizer which I use very frequently. I think that I’m fairly low risk of both getting and transmitting a virus.

So, since airlines weren’t yet refunding tickets, and the aforementioned “no flu in 42+ years”, I decided to go. I filled my travel bottle of hand sanitizer and off I went! Things were pretty normal from Mazatlán to Los Angeles. My hostel in Santa Monica was doing some extra cleaning, but they were business as normal as well. Restaurants all open. Same thing the next day on the flight to Paris – until I landed and my phone turned back on. Message from the airline to Prague: Czech Republic has cancelled all flights.

Paris isn’t my favorite city. It’s expensive. I’ve experienced the “snooty French waiter”. I like German/Hungarian food much more. And I stayed there four days out of my trip last time, so I’d seen many of the tourist spots – which were now closed. But I thought perhaps I’d give it another chance so I could make the best of the no Prague situation.

Instead of pointing my feet South from my Paris hostel, I decided to go North into the Montmartre neighborhood. Woo! Restaurants of all types, outdoor artsy places, and the Sacré-Cœur all within a 30 minute walk! Things were going fairly well until Paris decided to shut down all restaurants and bars. I saw the writing on the wall and knew this wouldn’t be the last step – and now I had nothing to do in Paris except walk the streets. Time to come home. Popped to the airport early in the morning and was able to change my flight. Well, I didn’t exactly ‘pop’ to the airport. They’d shut down the train from Paris to the airport and herded us all onto buses. I was now 3 times closer to other passengers than I’d have been on the train – I have no idea what they were thinking. Anyway, flight back to Los Angeles went without incident. Was able to change my hostel arrangements and get the flight to Mazatlán set for the next day.

After a grocery run, I’m now ‘self isolating’ for two weeks. It’s been 5 days now and no symptoms. If I get stir crazy, I’ll start doing some of my walks that don’t go near people. And I’ll be washing hands and using sanitizer at every opportunity. So, during these crazy times have a little look at some pictures of a drizzly Paris, and take a little trip in spirit if not in body! Next post will be all Mazatlán, I promise!

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