Traveling Among the Waves – El Queretano

When the world thought the worst of the pandemic had passed, Omicron, which is considered more than just a wave, a tsunami arrived… While the previous variant, Delta, doubles cases in 30 days, the new Covid 19 mutation doubled in 2 days.

One of the reasons why this epidemic persists and continues, unlike the previous one, is the great human mobility of this century. Many people move around the planet, either to travel for vacation or work, or move people who are leaving their places of origin in search of better prospects, whether legal, illegal or refugees.

I only had the opportunity to travel, let’s say ‘between the waves’, when global tourism began to revitalize a year and a half after the border closed, and shortly before the viral explosion of Omicron.

The destination was Iceland, a strange and wonderful place, located within the Arctic Circle, an island in the north of Great Britain, formed from volcanic materials and parts covered with glaciers. It is located exactly where the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia meet.

Traveling these days is very complicated due to the different health measures in each country. To enter Canada, you must submit a negative PCR test, taken less than 72 hours before the flight, and fill out a lengthy online health questionnaire. Similarly, to enter Iceland, you must submit a rapid antigen test as well as fill out an online questionnaire.

When I first arrived at my hotel in Reykjavik, I wanted to check in early and leave bags in the room to catch the bus for the first flight. The young receptionist, who was very helpful, turned out to be from Palestine, told me that his mother lived in Texas, and saw the condition of Mexicans crossing the border with the United States; We agree that it is similar to the relationship between Israel and the inhabitants of the West Bank (Palestine), who inhabit an area also divided by a wall.

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Another day, in the same hotel, I met a girl at the reception, originally from Venezuela, who lived in Spain and ended up moving to Iceland. On another occasion, in a super mini we found it was attended by two young black men, most likely from Africa.

In that land founded centuries ago by the Vikings, who practiced parliamentary government in the middle of the Middle Ages, while kings ruled Europe, it was surprising to find Mexican food and drink. Walking in the beautiful city center, already with Christmas decorations, we came across a small restaurant serving Lebanese food, authentic Italian pizza, burritos, European wines and Garritos soft drinks.

How and why do Mexican products reach this far end of the planet? It is further evidence of the intense mobility of people and goods around the world, part of globalization.

Another pleasant surprise was to find it at a bus stop, once filthy and ugly – we read about it – turned into a modern fast food center, where we can’t just taste Icelandic fish supposedly better than salmon, Italian ice cream, Norwegian pastries and tacos Authentic Mexican. I couldn’t stop trying them, and found out that the business manager was Mexican, from Guanajuato.

It seems amazing that in those lands where the sun never sets in summer and in winter daylight lasts only a few hours, there are people from many parts of the world.

The trip allowed me to see how Covid has literally affected the entire planet, as well as try out the health measures mentioned above, and hear feedback at the hotel from Europeans complaining about the mandatory use of face masks, and how difficult it is to get face masks. Tests on time and the need to take social distance.

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To go back to Canada, I had to take another PCR test and fill out a form. When we left the hotel, they told us our weather was great, and they were about to force any visitor to stay in quarantine for a few days upon entering Iceland.

Upon landing in Toronto, the immigration corridor was complicated, and many flights arrived, perhaps from India and the Middle East, the lines were enormous – perhaps unsurprisingly – of all the people who arrived in Canada, many went straight to the office in which they were registered. Immigrants who come to reside in this country permanently.

Coming back to my point, in this century, many people are moving around the planet beyond the economic, political and social ramifications, at this time, this is one other factor that has led to the resurgence and prolongation of the pandemic.

Mexico is no exception. Some may think that for economic reasons not many people travel abroad, but let’s not forget that the country is one of the most important tourist centers in the world that receives, almost without conditions or restrictions, millions of visitors every year. In addition, the constant influx of foreigners on their way to the northern borders, not only from Central America, but from the Caribbean and even from as far afield as Africa and the Middle East, who joined the famous caravans.

Although scientists have said the new variant of Covid appears less deadly (especially for those who have been vaccinated), the scale it generates for infected people is pressing many countries to take drastic measures to contain its spread. An additional problem is that nearly two years into the pandemic, many doctors and nurses are leaving the workforce and some are isolated because they have already been infected; Leaving hospitals without enough staff to attend to the next wave of patients. We cannot let our guard down!

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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