Stranded in a Hotel

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April 12th 2020
Published: April 12th 2020
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Horror stories abound these days, due to the corona virus. For example: A recent article by The Guardian revealed the terrible conditions that Australian citizens who are reentering the country are facing as they are placed at the Sydney InterContinental, a five-star hotel that’s been turned into a government quarantine center. Instead of hand-crafted, Instagram-worthy meals for in-room dining, citizens are receiving meals that are barely edible and that don’t take their dietary restrictions into consideration. Instead of being able to, at the very least, enjoy the stunning views of Sydney that the hotel is known for, those in quarantine aren’t allowed to leave rooms with windows that don’t open. Other Australian citizens being quarantined at other hotels have also reported that they’ve been put under armed guard at their quarters. Perhaps you are one of my friends who got "caught" in the Covid web. Several have returned from SE Asia and Italy, with no ramifications, so far. And one friend had his entire three week vacation scrapped, and could no go anywhere! My cousin's son is "trapped" in Tokyo, as he was traveling around the world. I have never been quarantined, but I have been stranded. Nothing serious, and mostly due to the weather. The first time was in Evergreen, Colorado. I was there on business, and got snowed in, up in the mountains just west of Denver. No problem, except I was scheduled to fly to Philadelphia the next day for a presentation. My rental car would not make it up a long, slightly uphill driveway. A layer of ice was covered with about two feet of snow! So what did we do? Their neighbor came by (at the top of the hill) with his four wheel drive vehicle, bringing the only food he had to share, M & M's. We had plenty of beer, so we talked him into towing us around the hilly roads on our skis, much like water skiers behind a boat. And would you believe, beer and M & M's tastes much better than it sounds! The second was much less dramatic. I was in St. Louis on business, when the snow closed the airport. So, after checking into a nearby hotel, we decided to drive to a local mall to see a movie. By morning, the airport re-opened, and we flew back to California. No big deal. Another "quarantine" of sorts occurred in Japan to friends of mine. They adopted a baby in a small country town, and were required to establish temporary residency while the paperwork was processed. Their small hotel utilized a nearby family restaurant for meal service. When I say small, the meal choices were quite limited, and most items were fish based. So, after two months of this diet, a Big Mac sounded very good to them! Getting trapped on a cruise ship would be terrible for me. I have a tendency to vertigo, and I do not like confined spaces. I would be terrible in jail as well (haha)! These poor people, especially those without a balcony! I would need constant sedation or lots of alcohol! I wonder if those people who are confined have to pay for their booze? Back in the days when I stand-by privileges on airline flights, we encountered several full flights on our way back from Hawaii. After a couple days of full flights, we began to panic. We had to go back to work, and the kids had school. Each missed flight raised the anxiety level. Renting a car for another day, finding a hotel, and meals became a chore, even in paradise. As desperation loomed, we found some flights on old Pan Am, I think. But it was to Los Angeles, and our car was in Oakland. So, we also had to fly stand-by back up to Oakland. What a mess, and became very expensive! Probably the worst story I ever heard was a travel friend getting caught in Tehran, Iran, just before Ross Perot rescued his employees in the famous raid in 1979 that produced the book by Ken Follett, "On Wings of Eagles." She was on a typical vacation, to see an old friend. By the time she made it to her hotel, she received the "shelter in place" order, which now sounds familiar to all of us in the corona zone. Fortunately, she had become friendly with the hotel staff, and they let her stay even though she was an American. So, between meals, she sheltered underneath the bed in her room!! She got the "B" treatment, bombs and bullets outside the hotel. A few days later, she was joined by the lady friend she was visiting, who was now being chased by the Iranian police. The friend was able to find a "friendly" policeman, read that as one who would take a bribe. He drove them out to the airport in his official police vehicle, at considerable risk to everyone! So, being stuck at home is hardly dangerous. You are safe, warm, dry, and hopefully fully clothed and fed. Your washing machine works, you have running water, and garbage service. Consider yourself fortunate!


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