Thursday, July 02, 2020

How the Coronavirus Pandemic affect the Way We Travel

(First time a guest post in my blog.) Gulshan Bafna is a leading travel entrepreneur with a passion for exploring every corner of the globe. His unique approach of describing and covering tourist hotspots as well as unknown retreats alike has won him a solid following online. True to his blog's name, he believes that travel is an exciting prospect for everyone!

For people that spend their entire life travelling, certainly, 2020 has been a tough year to deal with. Still, people are hopeful about finding a cure and overcoming this pandemic so that they can start to move around soon. As we test more and while scientists are trying to find cures, there is hope that things will improve. What is sure for now, is that the life of a traveller will be very different from how it used to be. Here is a list of things that one thinks how the coronavirus pandemic affect the way we travel: 

1.   Taking a lot more precaution: Clearly, these are difficult times. So, most people would think, and rightly so, about trying to ensure that we will try and avoid touching random surfaces. They will make sure to carry masks, alcohol-based sanitizers, and wear gloves whenever required. This is important because you are not only protecting yourself but also protecting others if you are an asymptomatic traveller.
2.    Not travelling if not necessary: This is one of the most important effects that coronavirus or COVID 19 will be on travellers. People are revisiting if any travel idea is really important or if they are doing it on a whim. Most random travels will be called off. Unless really required, most people are avoiding travel. Additionally, corporates are also spending less on travel when something can be done online. The travel industry has certainly taken a beating and there will be a slow increase in the people willing to travel.

3.   Selecting places: How we select places to travel to will also be viewed differently. For instance, if a place has a higher number of cases that will determine how many people would like to travel there. If most of the exploration includes enclosed places then that will certainly be a worrisome choice. This is because enclosed places show a higher likelihood to spread the coronavirus. So, the kind of places people travel to will be relooked at and reevaluated for a while.

4.    Opting for less crowded places: With the Coronavirus, travel will be affected and most people will consider unexplored locations to avoid the crowd. The more the crowd the higher the chance that you would knowingly or unknowingly catch the virus and spread it yourself. Therefore, people will find secluded places rather than where travellers would flock to usually. A lot of the unexplored places will start to gain popularity for sure.

5.    Traveller's health and age factors: It has been determined that certain people are more vulnerable than others to this virus. For instance, little children, old people, pregnant women and people with existing diseases are more susceptible to get this infection. So, people with any of these conditions will think twice about travelling during the coronavirus pandemic times. They will try and stay indoors and postpone their trips if avoidable.

6.    No more open borders: A lot of countries, states and cities are trying to protect their own people. So, across the world, a lot of governments and people are trying to lock down their borders for outsiders that want to travel. Even if they are allowing them to enter, they are asking a lot of questions such as why they need to travel, to begin with. There are many restrictions with regards to which country or states one can travel to or from.
7.    Watch what you eat: A lot of people are going to watch what and where they eat. Many restaurants are even trying to keep an eye on how they serve up their food. Also, many people will start taking hygiene a lot more seriously as providers of food and consumers of it. If hotels take the required precautions, there will be a higher chance that they will get more patrons. People are more cautious now, may it be during visiting restaurants or ordering food in. 
8.    Hotel Rules: Post-COVID most hotels will have to relook at what they need to do to be inviting and safe. They will need to focus on constantly disinfecting and taking care of people. Apart from taking all the precautions, it will also be more important to communicate it to the guests. People will also prefer finding isolated locations such as villas so they will be able to protect themselves. That the hotels are taking the required steps to protect their patrons will be the only way to get business.

9.    Budget travel: It is no secret that the economy is in the doldrums. There are a lot of problems and a lot of people that are losing their jobs. So, travelling has become a trouble. Therefore, a lot of people will look to travel, if they have to, in smaller budgets while staying safe through the trip. More hotels and restaurants will give discounts to make their place more affordable while ensuring they are careful.

10. Travel rules: Travel industry by itself will know how to undergo a lot of changes. Just having to clean up after customers and ensuring they disinfect and maintain hygiene will all become an important way that will change travel post the coronavirus pandemic. Despite how people decide to travel, air, train, bus or cab; all transport will come under the scanner. How well they are making the effort to keep it safe for public transport will determine their profitability. 

These are hard times, and a lot of people are finding it difficult to cope. We are going through times that we are not prepared for and the economy is not looking great. However, we know that people are waiting to get out and are itching to travel. Everyone should try and remember that the pandemic is not beyond us, yet. What we need to do is ensure that while we get the wheels spinning, we are also safe. Remember, travelling is a great idea, but ensure that you stay safe while you are at it.\

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Fever Triggered fear

Two weeks passed since I blogged. Lap times turned nap times – laptop unopened in last ten days.  Anxious ran through the nerves. Mind struggled to grasp anything that comes into attention. The days are hot as ever reflected up on me and I fell into fever that lasted more than a week. First my father caught fever and we feared really but his temperature is back to normal after two days on medicine. And before he touched norm fever clutched me and refused to give up until a doctor’s intervention and strong medicine to light down the heat. Being a pandemic period it is not easy to take anything lighter and more than the suffering from fever, the fear of what it could be jammed me. I know I was cautious with my every step into the pandemic field and keep reminding my dear ones to follow the same but we can’t be certain that everything is under control.

First it was guessed as viral fever because of normal blood test report but yesterday’s urine culture report reveals bacterial infection in urinary system and doctor told to take antibiotic injections for 5 consecutive days and he’s sending his staff to home to inject me daily.  He isn’t a regular doctor I visit, but I have no option as there’s any other doctor available and small hospitals are either closed or refuse to see fever patients in my neighbourhood. After more than 3 months, I stepped out of the house to visit the diagnostic centre in neighbourhood for the blood urine test and I was allowed only after the thermal scanning, which showed fever, but still they allowed perhaps I am regularly testing there.  I expressed my anxiety of fever in facebook and the fiends there really supported me and encouraged to think positive and now I have no fever and the nausea also reduced drastically. I’m on the second day on injection and injection is something I haven’t gone through in a decade is painful to take. Hope I get back to norm soon.4

Covid is something really reaching new peaks daily in Chennai and continues to be second hotspot of India. Chennai and its neighbouring districts are under complete lockdown until June 30 and it could be extended apparently to keep down the death and spreading rate. Take care and stay safe
Thank you

Friday, June 12, 2020

Pandemic Panic

Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu has become the second hotspot city of Covid 19 in India, reaching a new peak of cases with every passing day that counts above 1.5k. Our city is divided into 15 zones and my zone Adyar is at 7th place right now with about 1500 covid cases, the situation doesn’t seem to turn better sooner unless any severe actions are taken to control the pandemic despite people’s cooperation. The lockdown is relaxed almost 2/3rd here and perhaps this could be the causes for the faster spreading of virus and we have any idea where this led so rather creating a panic even though we’re conscious with our preventive actions. We know it is not easy to put stop it’s spreading and holding people at home with no work and income at same, but still something need to be done before yet many losses of lives.

While the experts believe in herd immunity or community immunity or group protection, which happens when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune. But it seems to take a while and before it covers a large population many lives are put at risk as the spreading become uncontrollable. So far we’re doing fine and it’s been 3 months I stepped out of home and it’s the days more than the ones I took for my femur fracture and traveling seems to be a distant dream for me, right now. The season for holiday or summer vacation is over here as the May ends, the time I dream a lot about traveling since many a tours took place during this time and this pandemic break the 7 years chain of visits to my favourite travel destination, Kodaikanal.

And this was the time the tourist hub (and all hill stations) waits for the remaining year to make a peak business but this pandemic and the following lockdown has quite blocked everything related to tourism and the revenue of the people. Though it was a great let down, the residents of Kodaikanal welcome this change or lockdown as it not only keep it pandemic free but also put the princess of hills at peace and pollution free, as it huff and puff usually during this time with lining up of tourist.  As you all know my uncle have a woodhouse and cottage near Kodaikanal and his situation is no different from the mentioned above and he too lose his business that only picks up during this time as his woodhouse is located away from the active tourism. Lately we too avoided visiting his place during the peak season time to not become a cumbersome. So we either visit earlier or later at the end of season, because the place his woodhouse is located is best at all seasons.

Uncle's woodhouse and cottages in night mood. Tried a blur effect on the image
My uncle and aunt had gone there right now to check how things are after getting an e-pass. My uncle used to visit Kodaikanal at least one or two times a month but past three months he haven’t moved out of home because of lockdown and now they got a e-pass with a condition to turn in in 48 hours. But things haven’t worked like they planned and someone locally had informed about their arrival to the health department and they have quarantined them for a week at the woodhouse and a covid test is taken. If positive they would be quarantined for 20 days but they hope for negative. While calling from there, they told us about the strange behaviour of the neighbours who avoids and stopped speaking with them because they come from Chennai – the hub of covid 19. I wasn’t surprised to hear this rather felt happy at the consciousness of the people of the Kodai hills and perhaps this makes Kodaikanal an infection-free state.

Monday, June 08, 2020

RGB Monday

A mini hotel or tiffin centre at Perumal malai near Kodaikanal. Perumal malai is an important junction about 12 kms before to Kodaikanal and the meeting point of roads from Palani, Periyakulam and Batlagundu. I remember landing on this junction when first time visiting the Kodaikanal in 1999, to call the person who invited us to the hill station to stay at their guest house.  

Friday, June 05, 2020

நிலா / Moon

பகலை வென்று இரவு பயணத்தில் 
என் வான் வழியே மேல்மாடத்தின் வெளியே.
அழகிய முகத்தோடு இரவை இதமாக்கி
வெண்ணிலவாய் வளம் வரும் நிலா.

--------------- ---------------
The moon on its night journey
After beating the day,
Outside the balcony – through my sky
Made the night with a beautiful face
came around as a flourished moon.

PS. No, this isn’t the penumbral moon. (The penumbral eclipse is scheduled to happen tonight starting at 11:15 pm to stretch out to June 6 and it is an occurrence of faint shadow of the earth engulfs the moon. Though the scientists say the eclipse isn’t easily noticed through eyes unless you are a seasoned sky watcher and the eclipse in June this year is popularly called the Strawberry Moon Eclipse. The month of June is when the ripening of strawberry crops in the United States takes place, which is why June is labelled as the month of Strawberries. And due to this lunar eclipse happening in June, it is being labelled as the Strawberry Lunar Eclipse.) But this moon shot on June 3.