Swine flu: Report from a tourist in Mexico
- May 8, 2009 11:04 AM |
- By Your Voice
Submitted by Susan Schafer
About: I am a 21-year-old journalism graduate as of April. My older sister also just graduated this past month from law school. Perfect timing for a family celebration vacation to Mexico, or so we thought.
My take: While packing my bags for an all-inclusive trip to the Mayan Riviera, not even word of an unidentified Mexican virus could get me down. Little did I know that within a couple days we would be at the center of a global pandemic.
At first you couldn't even tell anything was out of the ordinary in Playa Del Carmen. The sun was shining, the clear blue waves were rolling in, and drinks were being served to happy tourists everywhere you looked. If anyone had concerns about catching swine flu, they certainly weren't showing it.
But things began to change on the third day of our trip. We noticed the chefs were starting to wear masks and hand sanitizing stations were popping up throughout the luxurious resort. Turning on CNN we realized the increase in cases and just how much the H1N1 virus had spread across the world.
At this point, people started wanting to get out of Mexico and get out fast. But not me. This was my one chance to enjoy paradise flu or no flu. While I believe in precautions, there was no way I was going to let the paranoia ruin my vacation.
My plan of action? I would wine and dine my way around the swine. I decided to take advantage of all the amenities an all-inclusive vacation has to offer and make the most of the situation. After all, if I was going to catch the virus, I might as well get it while enjoying myself rather than worrying.
Unfortunately the staff in the area didn't share the same optimism. One of the resort employees explained to us that 368 people scheduled to arrive at the resort the following week had all cancelled. Luckily he said the hotel would not lay off staff members unlike some of the other resorts in the area.
Eventually our departure went on as scheduled and we left Cancun after passing the health check and having our temperatures taken at the airport. There were many people on the flight wearing masks and the pilot constantly reminded everyone that if we developed any symptoms they needed to be reported by law.
And so we made it back to Toronto safe, sound, and swine flu free. But things weren't over yet. Though I had no symptoms, I was quarantined from my job as a server, my family was asked not to attend a neighbour's baby shower, and anyone who takes one look at my tan eyes me suspiciously and practically runs away.
Swine flu may have put a small damper on my trip, but at least I can say this was one vacation I'll never forget.
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