To start with – I want to tell you the story of my first travel to Algeria in the ancient 1980. As a guest, the family of our Algerian contact, Ahmed, invited me to learn making cuscus together with the other women of his house. Well entered their simple but nice place, in a village not so far from Alger, we cooking-people should clean our hands at the spring in the middle of the open courtyard. Women around me, I grabbed the soap first of all, washed my hands, and passed the soap to my neighbor.
With a gentle face, all women around me laughed loud and, first thing first, showed me how to wash my hands. I felt a sort of shame for my European lack of civilization. Their hand-washing ritual took at least a couple of minutes per person and you can say was THOROUGH.
Much like the way we are told by institutions and doctors to wash our hands in these days of Covid19.
8/3 2020, Champoluc Ayas Aosta Valley, Italy
We have been struggling for two weeks trying to understand what is reasonable, legal and human to do with worried guests from Sweden. This is our highest high season as Thealps travel agency. And it is the highest high season for ski holidays in Sweden. So many want to be in the Alps and are ready to pay a lot for their family coming here to ski and eat and feel good. Our job has been to help them enjoy their holiday in the Italian Alps.
But the Covid19 could not wait until AFTER the highest high season of all in the Alps. And so could not the worries and the stigmatization of Italy in Sweden. It started with some Swedish companies closing the office for employees coming back from Italy. Went on with most of the companies telling the home-comers should work from home for 14 days. Then SAS closed the flights to Milan and Northern Italy, then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended not to travel to Northern Italy anymore.
In the meantime, the sick numbers of Covid19 increased, and so the measures taken trying to limit the spreading of the virus. No sports events, no social events, and no cultural events. No school for the kids.
But no limitations to skiing and having fun in the Alps.
Big stress and uncertainty for us working with travels. What to do? What to recommend? What to change? We obviously feel a responsibility for our guests; much more than what is stated in our travel package laws and rules.
And how long will this go on? It is not the same as for a natural catastrophe, a tsunami for example, when you know that it is horrible, it will take a while to heal from, but then it will pass and everything will be more or less good for most of us. We are here talking of a totally uncontrollable virus, a pandemic with no predictable forecasts and WE ARE TALKING OF THE HEALTH OF PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD.
Is there an evil conspirator spreading a virus (Covid19 or Randomware) to through us out of control? And which election are we talking about, then?
Anyway, I now sit in our cabin in the Alps, trying to get some order among all the cancellations, the juridical questions and the insurances, at the same time as I must decide how to get home from here, back to my family who is waiting for me with a bit of impatience.