People Will Always Warn You. Some Of Us Just Don’t Listen
The story of how I ended up in quarantine paradise on the Riviera Maya.
During my bout with pneumonia in Buenos Aires last fall, I believed I was going to die in a country I had just moved to. I was yearning for sunshine and salty sea air.
In February, we flew to Veracruz, Mexico. A phenomenon called Norte blew in and almost tossed our plane out of the air. Everyone on that flight held hands. Even the flight attendants were nervous. We spent a chilly, overcast week in Veracruz, thanks to Norte.
On March 13th, we arrived in New York City, two days before Governor Cuomo ordered all non-essential stores to close. We were visiting friends and family. Our Jackson Heights apartment was blocks from Elmhurst Hospital, the COVID epicenter. Like everyone else, we went into hiding.
Life is always risky. People warned us before each trip we have ever taken. Your Guatemala City hotel is in a zone where the Marasalvatrucha drug gang operates! There were ISIS agents waiting to kidnap us in Turkey! Terror attacks in France! Drug cartels in Mexico! Maybe it’s safer to stay home, unless you are this man in Houston. On a lazy afternoon at home, a construction crane toppled and crashed through the apartment. His fiancé was killed instantly.
So by mid-April, we were on a flight to Cancun, eager for the fresh sea air of the Caribbean. There were seven of us on that flight to quarantine paradise.
What Is Quarantine Like In A Tropical Paradise?
Our beautiful Playa del Carmen condo complex is half a block from the beach. We arrived during the strict quarantine of closed beaches and restaurants open only for take-out and delivery. The streets were empty.
Every day, we saw the same few people around the swimming pool at our condo. Swimming pools are probably safe. We exchanged timid looks out of the corners of our eyes. Our curiosity convinced us to talk to them. After all, they were quarantined like us. Soon, we had a group of friends.
On June 18th, Quintana Roo eased the restrictions. Hotels and restaurants were opening and more tourists have been arriving. Life started to feel more normal again. We took the ferry to Cozumel for a four-day getaway.
Cozumel is for snorkeling. Satisfied with the hotel’s sterilization process for it’s equipment, we explored the reef. The fish swam around us, unafraid. We were feeling bolder. We rented a car for another four-day getaway, this time in Tulum.
Is Anything Worse Than Death?
Colleen, a former colleague, hated going to work. Every day, the supervisors pressured her to do a better job. She tried her best, doing whatever they asked of her.
Colleen dreamt of moving from Long Island to a simple life in a small town. Her unemployed husband (for three years) didn’t want to leave his family, though, so Colleen was counting down to retirement: eight more years.
Six months, several brushes with danger. From suffering pneumonia to a nail-biting flight to Veracruz, and finally finding myself in the epicenter of the pandemic. Life must be telling me something. I think the message is to enjoy my life while I can. And my quarantine in paradise? I am grateful and guilt-free.