Friday, February 28, 2020

When a Pandemic Meets a Personality Cult

The Trump team confirms all of our worst fears.

By Paul Krugman

Opinion Columnist
Feb. 27, 2020

President Trump on Wednesday addressed the evils associated with the coronavirus. Among them: the reporters asking questions.Credit...Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times
So, here’s the response of the Trump team and its allies to the coronavirus, at least so far: It’s actually good for America. Also, it’s a hoax perpetrated by the news media and the Democrats. Besides, it’s no big deal, and people should buy stocks. Anyway, we’ll get it all under control under the leadership of a man who doesn’t believe in science.

From the day Donald Trump was elected, some of us worried how his administration would deal with a crisis not of its own making. Remarkably, we’ve gone three years without finding out: Until now, every serious problem facing the Trump administration, from trade wars to confrontation with Iran, has been self-created. But the coronavirus is looking as if it might be the test we’ve been fearing.

And the results aren’t looking good.

The story of the Trump pandemic response actually began several years ago. Almost as soon as he took office, Trump began cutting funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leading in turn to an 80 percent cut in the resources the agency devotes to global disease outbreaks. Trump also shut down the entire global-health-security unit of the National Security Council.

Experts warned that these moves were exposing America to severe risks. “We’ll leave the field open to microbes,” declared Tom Frieden, a much-admired former head of the C.D.C., more than two years ago. But the Trump administration has a preconceived notion about where national security threats come from — basically, scary brown people — and is hostile to science in general. So we entered the current crisis in an already weakened condition.

And the microbes came.

The first reaction of the Trumpers was to see the coronavirus as a Chinese problem — and to see whatever is bad for China as being good for us. Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, cheered it on as a development that would “accelerate the return of jobs to North America.”

The story changed once it became clear that the virus was spreading well beyond China. At that point it became a hoax perpetrated by the news media. Rush Limbaugh weighed in: “It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump. Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus. … The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.”

Limbaugh was, you may not be surprised to hear, projecting. Back in 2014 right-wing politicians and media did indeed try to politically weaponize a disease outbreak, the Ebola virus, with Trump himself responsible for more than 100 tweets denouncing the Obama administration’s response (which was actually competent and effective).

And in case you’re wondering, no, the coronavirus isn’t like the common cold. In fact, early indications are that the virus may be as lethal as the 1918 Spanish Flu, which killed as many as 50 million people.

Financial markets evidently don’t agree that the virus is a hoax; by Thursday afternoon the Dow was off more than 3,000 points since last week. Falling markets appear to worry the administration more than the prospect of, you know, people dying. So Larry Kudlow, the administration’s top economist, made a point of declaring that the virus was “contained” — contradicting the C.D.C. — and suggested that Americans buy stocks. The market continued to drop.

At that point the administration appears to have finally realized that it might need to do something beyond insisting that things were great. But according to The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman, it initially proposed paying for a virus response by cutting aid to the poor — specifically, low-income heating subsidies. Cruelty in all things.

On Wednesday Trump held a news conference on the virus, much of it devoted to incoherent jabs at Democrats and the media. He did, however, announce the leader of the government response to the threat. Instead of putting a health care professional in charge, however, he handed the job to Vice President Mike Pence, who has an interesting relationship with both health policy and science.

Early in his political career, Pence staked out a distinctive position on public health, declaring that smoking doesn’t kill people. He has also repeatedly insisted that evolution is just a theory. As governor of Indiana, he blocked a needle exchange program that could have prevented a significant H.I.V. outbreak, calling for prayer instead.

And now, according to The Times, government scientists will need to get Pence’s approval before making public statements about the coronavirus.

So the Trumpian response to crisis is completely self-centered, entirely focused on making Trump look good rather than protecting America. If the facts don’t make Trump look good, he and his allies attack the messengers, blaming the news media and the Democrats — while trying to prevent scientists from keeping us informed. And in choosing people to deal with a real crisis, Trump prizes loyalty rather than competence.

Maybe Trump — and America — will be lucky, and this won’t be as bad as it might be. But anyone feeling confident right now isn’t paying attention.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Have You Thought About This?

The CDC has warned Americans that a wide-spread outbreak of coronavirus infections is "inevitable". 

The results of such outbreak can hardly be imagined by anyone.
Why is the chance of an outbreak in the U.S. inevitable?

Here is why: 14.6% (roughly 50mill.) of all Americans live under the poverty level. many of those have no place to live and sleep. They sleep in cars and tents or under cardboard on the curb. If any of these people get infected with Covid-19, they will get very sick. Their attempt of going to a hospital for getting tested will be in vain. Hospitals have already charged more than $3500 pr. test. Needless to say the poor of America will not even go there. They have no health insurance and they certainly don't have the funds to pay out of pocket. Instead, they will have to suffer through the infection and many will die. BUT during their period of suffering they will spread the virus to the next person on the bus or if they are lucky enough to have a shelter, to the other shelter residents and shelter staff. And from the bus and the shelter it will be transmitted to hundreds of other people.
And so far, I have only mentioned the testing. What about having these people in quarantine? Who pays for that? Where are they gonna be accommodated during quarantine? And if scientists should really come up with a vaccine before it is too late, who is gonna get it? We already know that there will never be enough of it for the entire US-population of 320mill. It will be the old and weak people, those who have a reduced immune defense and general health issues who will die.

The spesific problem here will be that America's failing health care system has only been created for the economically well-off people, while those who could not afford private health insurance have fallen through the cracks. The fact that the poor have always been suffering under this cruel system might not have bothered you, but this time it has the ability to bite you real bad. When your kids come home one day with what you might think is a cold but it really isn't, when your aging parents start coughing after they volunteered at the food bank, well then it might come to you that it might have been better to have a system in place which would allow everybody to get tested and taken care off before the virus had been spread through-out your community.

This November you will have a chance to change the future of health care in America. Your vote can oust private health insurance and get it replaced with a single-payer health care like many other countries have had it for decades.

In Canada, the federal government passed the Medical Care Act in 1966, which offered to reimburse, or cost share, one-half of provincial and territorial costs for medical services provided by a doctor outside hospitals. Within six years, all the provinces and territories had universal physician services insurance plans. 
Depending on which province we live in we don't pay a dime for our health care. That's right ...not a dime. Only 3 provinces are charging a minor premium amount pr. month.
Yet supplemental private health insurance plans are still available. Examples are eye care and dental plans. Medical prescription plans are also available.

So here in Canada, whether I sleep under a bridge, in my car or I have a nice house, I could go to my health center and ask for a coronavirus test any day and if tested positive, I would be put in quarantine at no charge. I would also get available care and possible treatment at no cost. It must be clear to even the dumbest person, that this will be the most efficient way of combating a pandemic like Covid-19.

Friday, February 21, 2020

An Extremely Relaxing Day

This is just what I needed - an extremely relaxing day. After breakfast and some computing I was on my way to our local border station. Since Dixie had been looking at me anxiously when I left the house, I decided to take her along. She would get a nice milk-bone from the CBP officer. I would take her for a walk after my border errand was done. Actually, I was hoping that our local CBP-station would be able to fax my vehicle papers to the station in Calais as we don't have a fax machine at home. To my big and positive surprise they were actually able to process my export request form their office, which saved me a trip to Calais on Monday. And I always prefer to deal with our local officers. It took only 15 minutes until it was all done. Only thing left now is to wait out 72 hours before I can present the vehicle to them. 
After this was achieved, I drove over to where I had parked the rig. I needed a few things I had forgotten yesterday, and while being at it, I unhooked the trailer as well and reparked the van.

On my way back to the island I dropped by the local IGA-store and got a few groceries. And then it was Dixie's turn. We went right down to Herring Cove and had a beach walk. 

So much sun today, even though the slight draft out of the northwest made for a frigid return walk.
After lunch both of us got out for another Dixie walk, this time along a forest trail. And the rest of the day was/is spent on the couch. 
No more driving, no more frantic traffic patterns - just the calm and cozy atmosphere of a warm home.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Morning Madness

It's always the same picture. You wake up right early to get out on the road to beat the traffic. But when you enter the big road you realize, you are not the only one having had that idea. There they come, NASCAR on the interstate, and you are gonna be part of it. Like a swarm of bees are they coming towards you. You are still on the far right lane, need to insert your rig into the stream of bees. You push down the accellerator all you can, hear your engine start letting out a high scream, you have your left turn signal on and your eyes fixated on your left mirror. A truck might pull over to the left giving you a chance. You turn the wheel and try to slide over, but now...what is this?? An upper class SUV pushes out right behind you and starts passing you - in the lane you just tried to enter. Darn...that was a close call. You are back in the far right lane. The bees have now turned into hornets. They make good on their first come - first served right. Desperately you are still looking into your mirror. Another truck driver shows mercy. A second chance. Now or never, cause the end of the entering lane is in sight and beyond is only the ditch.

Finally you have made it, and you dry the sweat off of your forehead.

This I call morning madness. It repeats itself every morning when you start out on the road. These hornet drivers have all rushed from their lovely homes where they are loving family members. With a grim face they inject themselves into their cars to start the race to work. They usually are 30 minutes late and have to make up for lost time, else their boss is giving them hell.

And you know what's the worst? Everything goes into reverse in the late afternoon.

Thankfully, I am done for this time.
After a 10-hour day I hit home turf at 4:30EST. I left the rig on the American side as the van has to be officially exported from the U.S. And that cannot be done at our local border crossing. Nope, I have to go to the Calais border crossing on Monday. I guess the procedure was implemented as a guardrail against making financed vehicles disappear across an international border. Papers have to be faxed to border station 72hrs before crossing and it entails the professional help of a customs broker who, you guessed it, imposes a salty fee for his services.

What a world we live in!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Almost Done

Oh boy, what a good night sleep can do. yes, it was all quiet at Wallymart and I sure slept and slept. Headed out at 7:30ish and hit the highway. My GPS was aimed at Sturbridge, MA. And yes, that is the place where I had a very bad hotel night 2 nyears ago while getting into a blinding snow storm on the highway. This time around I am much, much more fortunate. Over the entire trip weather has been on my side. A little rain and a drab few hours in Michigan did not matter. Most days have been sunny and so it happened today as well. Of course, traffic increased again as I was getting closer to the centers of population. From I-80 I went to I-84 then to I-94. I almost made it into Massachusetts, but I needed gas. In Connecticut there seems to be no signs for gas exits. Running low, I stopped at a rest area to consult my trusty GPS again. A gas station was only a few miles off further down the highway but in a town a few miles off. (don't even know the name)

While filling gas I looked down the road and realized there was a Home Depot just a 100 yards off. And though the parking lot isn't huge, I managed to maneuver the rig into an empty space and set up for the night. And now I'm gonna make myself another coffee.

Tomorrow I'm gonna get home. And I am seriously excited about it. When you have been away for some time nothing can convince you more that it is home where you feel best, where you thrive and love to be.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

I Rattled Through Michigan And Ended Up In Pennsylvania

It was my very own fault that I had a bad night. It wasn't the cold weather, but rather the fact that a trucker pulled up with 25inches of space between my trailer and his rig, and then he went to rest with his giant engine running not more than 5ft from my pillow. My fault alltogether, as I shouldn't have parked in the truck area but over where the cars park. So at around 4am I got up and moved to the end of the parking area where it was quiet. Needless to say the bad sleep kept haunting me today as I was heading out of Michigan.

Speaking of Michigan I have to say that Michigan MUST be the state with the worst highways in the Union. Nothing but patchwork and potholes on those "highways". The moment I crossed the state line into Ohio the highway was fine. I can't understand how a state can let their highways deteriorate so much.

We did get a bit of snow last evening, but it had given way for rain in the morning. Today started out as a dull day and after some dry weather during the middle of the day it started raining again in Pennsylvania where I am parked for tonight in a little town's Walmart.
 Not my picture

Today I had to laugh as I saw a sign above the road saying "Dixie Highway".

That would be great to walk along with Dixie.

Monday, February 17, 2020

A Day In Michigan

Hey, I was up and running early. All Seasons RV is located real close to the Highway 31 running into Muskegon. I was surprised to see the amount of snow heaped up around the parking lots everywhere. And the yard of the RV dealer was sheer ice. Ooops... how would I get off from here again?
My trailer was sitting inside ready to be cleared out, Well not so fast young man...first we gotta add a battery to it and then there was the issue of the weight distribution hitch. These hitches are very expensive and since 2 hook brackets were still sitting on the frame, the sales lady had offered to find used bars and a used hitch assembly. So the mechanic and I went searching in a pile of used hitch equipment. Found the part which goes onto the van, and then we found one bar but was still looking for a brother. Finally he picked one new bar, so we were all set.
This saved me around 350 bucks.

Circling the trailer, I noticed that not only was there an electric tongue jack, but all jacks on this trailer baby are electric. That is just great, as I never enjoyed the gymnastics which are necessary to twiddle down scissor jacks manually.
Other little extras are the solar readiness plug-in and the vent hood on the roof.

The previous owner also left a 400-Dollar chair in the rig. I am pretty sure that AL from the Bayfield Bunch would enjoy this one. And I have to say that it is very comfy, but unfortunately it is way too big, so we will probably take it out of here, that is if we manage to get the monster out the door.

Then I had to back up to the trailer. Hm... I used to be pretty good at stuff like that but over the past 4 years I kinda fell out of training.

Finally I was ready to go. With the extra weight of the trailer on the rear wheels I got off of the ice easy.

First stop was the Walmart down the street. I spent ample time here as I needed food and kitchen supplies. 

I like fried eggs and they are so easy to make. So I picked a small pan. It's a bachelor pan. No room for more than 2 eggs in it. A small pot to heat a meal, a lighter, silverware, some toiletries, a towel. That was about it.

Next stop was again down the road in the other direction, at Harbor Freight. I needed an inverter generator to survive along the road. And H.F has a 2000W genny which has very good reviews. Looks like a Honda one, but costs just the half.

Bea was worried about me being too cold in the trailer, especially at night. But I have warm covers and I am sure I won't be frozen in the morning. The beauty with a trailer is that it warms up quickly once the furnace kicks in.
So I found a parking space along the road for the night. Looking forward to breakfast.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

From Spring To Winter

Without a droplet of coffee I left Bowling Green behind. A heavy cloud cover was hiding the sun, but it was dry and being a sunday, there was not much traffic on the highway. Not yet - anyway. It was still very early. 35 miles later I stopped at a gas station for coffee. Call me an addict, but I can't function without a cup of coffee. And it wasn't to be the last one for today. 

Today's goal was Grand Rapids, MI, a 495 mile stretch and the longest so far. Right north of Louisville, KY, I crossed into Indiana. Magically, gas prices rose from around 2.09/gal to 2.55/gal. I wonder whether that is all additional taxes by the state. 

Stopping again for more coffee before I reached Louisville, I noticed the warm air. "Springtime", I thought and got rolling again. But then I reached Indianapolis and suddenly the fields aside of the road were snow covered. I first noticed the change in temperature as I got out again - well yes, for another coffee. But the sky had changed as well. The dark clouds were long gone and finally I had a blue sky with bright sun. Wasn't I a lucky traveler? So far so good. 

I had reached the northern edge of Indiana at South Bend where Mayor Buttigieg is from. Nice guy by the way.
And then I rolled north into Michigan. The land looked very frosty and I had to crank up the heater a tad.

My AirBnB is in an old townhouse. Owner is absent, but keys were accessible. I believe 2 other dwellers are coming, at least I saw their luggage. I worried about parking in the street but there was no driveway to the house.

Tomorrow morning I will be heading into Muskegon to pick up our trailer. Getting the trailer ready for travel will probably take some time. Will likely stay in town before taking off for the home run.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

100 Miles To Memphis

It was 9:30am and a sign had just told me that I had 100 miles to Memphis. We have been through Memphis before and what I remember is the huge wide Mississippi crossing.
    The Big Cypress Lodge

Of course, I should have taken the time for an Elvis property visit but my wheels wouldn't turn off the I-40, so I let her run. keeping 65 - 70mph the van was just purring like a cat. Next big city was Nashville. By that time people had woken up and seems like they have places to go right away. Lots of traffic around the city.

However, I was heading north onto I-65. Weather was great, though there had been some frost on the windows this morning. A slight overcast sky but sun was peeking through, now and then. Overall it was warmer than the day before. Having passed Nashville, it wasn't too far to the city of Bowling Green where my next Air BnB was waiting for me. This time the GPS led me into a nice residential area. Here I have a nice clean room with bathroom just steps away across the hallway. Nice folks here and the best is, they have 2 super lovable cream-colored retrievers. They want to play all the time. Dixie would get very jealous about me petting those 2 guys.

So this has been the least exciting day of my journey. May it continue this way.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Tale Of A Journey II

Leaving Texas
If you are now expecting similar crazy experiences as in my recent posting, I have to disappoint you. Like I mentioned, I stayed in an AirBnB in Houston. The place was run by a Chinese couple with the strange habit of being active at least until after 2:30am. I know that as I made my way to the shared bathroom. 

I had a great sleep, bed was comfy and the space heater in my room was running on full blast. The rest of the house was cold. Don't know how these owners can live in such an icebox. Maybe because Houston summers are so merciless hot and humid that people relish a cold house.

Got up bright and early made myself a coffee in the kitchen and got my stuff back into the van. Had to program the GPS for my next abode in Little Rock, AR. The highway north is mostly HWY 59 and then the I-30 from Texarkana east to Little Rock.
The weather couldn't have been any better as I never saw a single cloud. 

  Leaving Houston in the morning rush

Morning traffic in Houston was what it supposedly is on any given day - chaotic, but once I left that behind the highway was mine. 
  Yahoo!!! The highway is mine

Some trucks, but not bad. Used a total of 7hrs for 443 miles, breaks included. The van runs like a charm. The new 6-speed tranny GM had put into it gives so much more power and accelleration speed. Should tow a whole lot better than our old 2006 van.
  Taking a break at the Arkansas Welcome Center

Now, the day didn't end quite so uneventful as it started. Following some winding roads I finally reached the address of my next AirBnB abode. The first look wasn't too encouraging as it was a mobile home. I knocked at the entry door, but despite that 2 vehicles were parked out front, nobody came to the door. First after I used my fist in a concerted effort which eventually might have ended in breaking down the door, I hear a faint voice from a window. A little brown lady was there saying something to me, like "nobody home".  I waved with my reservation print-out and finally she appeared in the door. As it turned out, she was another guest and the owners had left in a hurry for the hospital as their mother/mother-in-law had an emergency. They had not left any instructions and they were not answering the phone. So I finally left a text message and left in search of a motel/hotel.

The first one I tried to find was an Econo Lodge. Despite my GPS pointing that out to me the hotel was not where it was supposed to be.
Next  choice was an "Economy Inn", a place which obviously had seen much, much better days. Yet, I went in, asking for a room and a price. The obese young girl had a room but she wanted 100 Bucks. Why? "Because it was Valentine". I told her she was nuts and left. The next place turned out to meet my expectations - a Red Roof Inn, not far away asking $68 for the room. And turned out to be terrific. Have used Red Roofs several times, but never had seen such a great place. This was all new and up-to-date. Free breakfast as well. What more could I ask for?

Good Night folks! Tomorrow there will be more.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Tale Of A Journey

Time had been running up to my trip south, for picking up our new-to-us passenger van. So on February 11 I felt the typical unrest of an upcoming journey. Bea had then driven me to the bus stop in Whiting where we had been waiting in our van for the little bus getting me to Bangor, ME. The bus was on time and another passenger, a woman, was boarding the bus ahead of me. As soon has we got moving that woman starting chatting loudly with the driver. But this chatterbox got a lot worse once another woman had joined the bus some 20 miles farther down the road. Over the course of being together in this bus, I learned her entire life story, from her being pregnant to going to prison twice to now being in a rehab program. And, of course, the other woman joined in with stories of her own. It was nerveracking to say the least. 

Finally the chatter died out when the first woman left us in Ellsworth. From there it was another hour of riding in this rattletrap of a bus to Bangor from where I boarded a regular motor coach to Portland, ME.

Since my ticket was for an early morning flight, I had booked a stay at the Comfort Inn.

At 3:20am the alarm clock rang and I was tumbling out of bed.
An hour later the hotel shuttle dropped me off at the airport.

Now have you ever gone through a revolving glass door?  I might have gotten through without an incident, had I just been wide awake. But I tried to walk through the glass when I thought the opening was in front of me. I hit my head so hard against the glass that i lost both my suitcase and briefcase out of my hands. Luckily, a door guard was present and stopped the movement of the door. Otherwise, I might have been swept off my feet completely.
With a growing swelling on my forehead I was standing in front of the ticket counter a few minutes later. And that was when my next bad surprise should would come crushing down on me.
It appeared that I hadn't paid attention to the little "p" behind the departure time. Yes, the ticket agent informed me that my flight was a night flight. Realizing my most stupid mistake I slumped over her counter. In fact, I must have touched some thing in this ticket agent's heart as she now tried to find another flight for me. But it appeared all was booked to the brim. Meanwhile I was bemoaning my stupidity and looking more and more desperate. Suddenly her face was lighting up. "We normally don't do this", she said and then she was gone for a few minutes. When she came back she had the greatest smile on her face and started working her keyboard. She had informed her superior that my upcoming night flight would be in jeopardy because of a severe storm front moving in over Dallas that night. That made it possible for her to get me on a stand-by flight with departure at 7:25am.
I was told to go to gate and wait to be called up.
When the gate area was filling and the gate agent announced a full flight seeking volunteers to check in carry-ons complementary, my hope was waning. Towards the end I got to my feet and approached the ticket agent asking what chance there was to get on his flight. he looked at the ticket, and told me to wait another 20 minutes, but also said I'd be OK.
15 minutes later he came to my seat in the waiting area handing me my boarding card.

I felt a huge rock rolling of my heart!! The gate agent had been working at the ticket counter only 2 hours earlier and was fully informed about my case!!
These guys at American Airlines were just fantastic.

I reached Houston at 1:10pm that day. A cab took me down to the car dealer ship on Richmond Ave where I could finally inspect the van I had bought. I had ordered the van with a complete tow package, but discovered soon that they had only mounted the hitch, but no brake controller and no electric connector in the back. This was apparently due to misunderstandings and missing knowledge.
They issued me a partly refund, and today I went to an RV place and got them to complete the work. It resulted in a 5hr. wait during which I emptied 3 cups of coffee and a pop can and wandering a few hours across their sales lot inspecting and admiring hundreds of motor homes and other RVs. The company's name is PPL Motor Homes and they have 3 Texas locations. All they do is consigning RVs for selling. They proved to be very competent but also somewhat pricey. LOL. But if you are looking for a deal, it's the place to go. They will run you around the lot in their golf carts and your head will be spinning.

Have a great time.

Friday, February 7, 2020

I Never Thought I Would Witness This

Being born in the very country only 7 years after the end of the world's worst dictatorship leading to WWII, I never thought that I would witness the establishment of another dictatorship at close hold.

Yet, today it is a fact which I cannot overlook. What once was known as the United States of America has become a banana republic ruled by a corrupt dictator and his enablers. There is only one difference: People in banana republics tend to start a revolution against their oppressor. In America people are too complacent. While their democracy vanishes in front of their eyes, Americans are still busy counting dollars.

Today's firing of Lt.Col. Vindman, his brother Yevgeny Vindman and now Gordon Sondland, shows that the dictator in chief does not tolerate people whose loyalty is towards their country rather than the president.
Today will for ever be the day when America turned into a dictatorship. The history books of the future will teach a new generation how their country, once a beacon of freedom and prosperity in the world, became a hated despised place where honesty was banned and an evil lying administration had turned the country into a snake den of corruption and exploitation of its people. They will read the story about how Lt. Col. Vindman, a decorated soldier, loyal to his country, had stood up against a gangster-turned-president and was fired from his job at the White House.

This act of evil, based in the president's primitive seeking of revenge, has shown this man's real character. He has shown us that he relishes his position of sheer unlimited power which now has been amplified by the cowardly acting GOP senators who, knowingly, aquitted the president of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

America, you are in big trouble.

Why I Will Never Enter A Cruise Ship

I love to travel - along the road. I know it can be dangerous, somebody may hit me and I find myself waking up in a hospital - or worse.

But driving a car is still giving me a feel of being in control - to a certain degree.
Flying is not my thing, though I flew a lot when I was younger. However, some times I still need to take a flight. F.ex. coming Tuesday to Houston,TX.

But there is one form of travel I will never engage in - being on a cruise ship.

Being "prisoned" on a cruise ship is my absolute worst nightmare. Not only do I hate the formal requirements of staying on such a vessel, it is also the fact that cruise ships are breeding grounds for all kind of diseases. Right now there are 3 huge ships being quarantined in ports because of corona virus outbreak. With the incubation time of this virus being 14 days, and new patients being diagnosed at a steady rate, the ships will not be released out of their quarantine until they are completely empty, which can take weeks and possibly months. Being on a cruise ship you will expose yourself for an extended time to possible contamination from thousands of other passengers which have come together on the ship from the entire globe. You don't know under which circumstances these people live in their home country. And the ship's ventilation systems will blow the virus straight into your cabin. Food is prepared in giant kitchens and dished out in the restaurants. The chance of being trapped in your cabin for weeks is nothing I would want to endure.

And as if that is not enough, there are storms to fear and even machine trouble.
The cruise industry is driven by profits and they care about their profits way more than the tender care of their passengers.

Every year I have been contacted by a shore excursion agency to drive cruise passengers along the country side. If they ask again this year, they will have to look for another motor carrier. I am not spending time with possibly virus infected passengers in my van.