It’s countdown day 10! A mere week and a half separates us from takeoff on our long-awaited flight to Bangkok and Southeast Asia. We drained a couple of frequent flyer accounts for some cushy Business Class seats, and we cashed in a bunch of hotel and credit card points for a string of comfortable hotel stays throughout Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
We made plans to meet several blogging friends; we have tours set up and hikes charted out. I’ve practiced my Vietnamese greetings and refreshed my internal map of Bangkok’s streets and the way to a fun rooftop bar. I’ve even started a little pile of clothes and toiletries, shoes and sunscreen, plane entertainment and sundry supplies.
But with each passing day this week, our trip becomes a little more untenable. The Wuhan, China-based coronavirus is putting a growing crimp on things, and it’s not because we have any real fear of getting the disease. Our concerns now are that we could get stranded in a country that has decided to close its airports (we route home through Hong Kong, for example), or that once in Southeast Asia, we will find things shuttered or devoid of life.
A few days ago, we were still gung-ho on going. Fewer crowds – yay! We are not going to China itself – no problems for us! The news media always overblow everything, we rationalize. Today, we are beginning to worry for real. Bangkok department stores are scanning temperatures, Hong Kong’s streets are emptying out, a few more cases are cropping up in the countries to which we are heading. What if …? we keep asking ourselves on a burgeoning list of topics. Wahhhhhhhh!
Unwinding the trip may take as long as planning it out. Can I shift everything to fall; will we be safely out of the woods with the virus by then? Will my airlines and hotels let me make changes or cancel without massive fees? Where else might we escape in these two and a half weeks we have carved out of our busy schedules?
I’m curious to hear some of your thoughts. Do we stay or do we go?