I’m into a complete stop. Can’t go nowhere! What’s happening?
My trails of events.
Sometimes one little event can change immensely. The CORONAVIRUS is not a small event it’s shaking the whole planet.
First time I heard about the word coronavirus. I had arrived in Taito City in Origami hostel Tokyo.
Talking with the people at breakfast a few days after my arrival, they were workers,students all taking a long holiday. They were coming from China,Hong-Kong & Macau.
These tourists coming from different countries and backgrounds had mentioned that the Chinese government had extended the schools,universities holidays two weeks more that was until the end of January!
Not thinking more about the Chinese situation, I continue on doing what I had planned. I am in one of the most amazing City in the world. Got to go around and explore.
I had bought an other bicycle in Fuji to cycle to Tokyo,amazing experience. Now will visit the big city. Meanwhile, Mr.Minou name of my bicycle, was having a tune up & makeover in Seoul.
The coronavirus was just a whisper on local lips. Was it a way for people not to make a “panic story”. It is high season for the tourists industries. The only subject talked about was schools & universities had extended holidays.
I was leaving Japan from Tokyo Tuesday December 31st. I arrived late in Seoul at New Years eve.
My first feeling that triggered a bad sens of CONSTERNATION that was surrounding me. At that point I felt something was really going wrong in China and the countries nearby. Those thought put aside, I got to my Airbnb in Central Seoul and went directly in bed, I was very tired.
The next morning, I was getting ready to go out shopping for food. I noticed the stores and shops were closed. Streets were empty, accept for some taxis & buses doing their routes. I’m lucky after searching 90 minutes I found a big fancy shopping mall open. My only option. There was some strange people looking at each other, maybe because some had no mask, like me, and some locals too. I had a brunch style lunch then went back to my room. The positive side effects was that I was able to take photos without a crowd. I had a lot to do, Mr.Minou was waiting for me at the Bikely bicycle shop. It took me an hour ride by subway, yes subways where working as normal. Back to my room I did a lot of catching up on my blog and personal dairy. Organized the transport to the airport this time with two big boxes, Mr.Minou & panniers.
DOING SOME SEARCH. WWW
January, by that time coronavirus wasn’t a whisper anymore. The weather was bad. Cold and rainy not good for rides so did some intensive researchers on the web. Wow! Wuhan in China is going very bad. The government is locking down the city! I was surprised. Politics doesn’t interesse me that much, but this for me was very impressif and was becoming very critical. Of course lots of speculation I thought. Wasn’t sure if I should believe all that. So I prepared my plans for my next destination, Turkey.
Tuesday January 7th. I have arrived in Taipei safely to my next destination.
January 14th after visiting all the surrounding of the capital and riding most of the cycling paths, I’m gone. I started on the West coast. My intentions is to goi around the island. I have schedule two months. I misunderstood the directions so I went on the not so interesting side. The third day after studying the paper map, I went towards the mountains in the center of Taiwan. BEAUTIFUL
The Taiwanese are also wearing masks. No problem with me I am camping most of the time. My next stop is in Kaohsiung. January 25th I have arrived. Of course, again not much people and traffic when I arrived in the city. Everyone was calm, the population knew what to do. Preparing for the Chinese New Years everybody was getting ready for the event. Some things were going on but most of the big gathering was canceled. They organized in families dinner and activities. I still wasn’t aware what was really happening. Just notice some big changes of activities. By that time all Taiwanese were on high alert. They knew what to do. They remember SARS EPIDEMIC in 2003.
Meanwhile, I continued my trip. No lockdown just very high precautions applied. The lockdown was not good for the economy they thought. Frankly I thought it was a flu that had spread more than usual.
China first reported to WHO December 31st 2019. Then HHS the Secretary of “ Health and Human Service” of US government declared, January 31st 2020, a PANDEMIC !
Where am I ? On the road just had past the south tip of Taiwan. I was camping every day. Normal life seems to be going on as usual. I did stop and visit tourists attractions. They were open not, but not much people around. No Chinese around so no crowds. I was told that Chinese were not able to travel. It was not good for the tourists industries. Every air & ocean transports had stopped. Like I mentioned, Taiwanese remembered. They acted very fast. No one was complaining. I continued on my way as usual me too. I met a Belgium family cycling and French Canadian from Quebec. After resting in Hualien, I headed to the mountains again. I went up and saw the most amazing views for the next two weeks. So beautiful, I love to be in the mountains even though it’s tough sometimes. The reward is greater than the effort.
When I arrived in Taipei again, in the district of Tamsui. It’s a great place.
The Travellers hostel is a very nice place to be. Well known from the cyclist groups. I had the occasion of meeting some of them. When I arrived, they explained everything I needed to know concerning the coronavirus. The next day they cleaned the whole building inside out. Everything! I did stay there 8 days. My plan A was to take the ferry to China. My new year goal was to ride the Pamir highway, silk road & visit the Stans countries like we name them. My plan B, because China is not accessible at the present time I am getting ready to take a flight to Turkey
So the last 8 days I did my quarantine and rides in parks. Here in Taiwan they don’t think quarantine is necessary if we follow strict rules. So no contact with others, not near each other, never in crowds, in shopping centers always check temperature of everyone enterring. The same in subways or buses. All public transportation was washed every rounds. Exemple: a woman standing beside the mechanic stairs with a cloth in her hand put on the ramps all day. Night time streets were cleaned. Citizens cleaned their around their homes and more. Have you ever seen a cleaner wash a whole subway wagon? ( windows, poles, seats,walls, etc. This was done every day, all day long.
GOING TO TURKEY
March 4th. Here I come, next country Turkey. I landed in Izmir. We don’t forget I was check at Taiwan airport before going on the plane and very specific questions. Look at my passport then everything’s was okay I can go. No body but us passengers of our plane was in front of the border agent. Again, they check me. Then I was free to go. I did have some problems bringing my bicycle outside because I didn’t have any coins to pay for a trolley. Alone in the airport, I assembled Mr. Minou and then cycle through Izmir to my hostel. Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey.
In Izmir everyone & everything seemed an every day thing. Normal. Lots of people at the shops, buses and trains. No problem what so ever.
The government had a hard problem to convince the people that it was serious. Finally, when I arrived in Karahayit near Denizli. They started to get more serious. So I was able to ride until the 16th of March. Then visited Heiropolis by the time we got closer to the weekend government order a shutdown.
Presently in Karahayit since March 16th in private room. The owners are taking care that I am secure and comfortable. They even feed me for free. Turkish people are very nice and generous. Always ready to help.
So what is life in a routine? Monday to Friday no curfew. Only not aloud to go to other cities.
Weekends curfew is more severe. From Friday midnight to Sunday midnight not aloud to go out of my garden. No food stores open, no nothing is open. Police do their rounds. Every public parks are closed. Children under 18 years old can’t go nowhere without an adult. People of 65 of age and more can’t go out either.
The only stores open on a weekly basis are two convenient stores and two veggies shops. That’s all.
I can go walking anywhere with a mask at all times.
So I am in a homestay where 6 other tourists lives 1 Canadian,1 Korean, 1 Kirghizistan and 4 Russian.
I am not sure how I should feel. I am kind of disoriented. I feel a bit lost & confused. I suppose I am not the only one who feels that way.
I have decided to stay in Turkey instead of flying back to Canada. I am hoping it is going to past and continue my goal that is to go around the world with a bicycle. I am hoping in a few weeks from now I will get back on the roads and all will be better.
I have two plans.
First; continue my plan towards Georgia and so on into the Stans countries and the Pamir highway towards Russia.
If not possible because of borders closures.
Second; I will cycle through Turkey for a few months and maybe when I arrive in Istanbul the borders will be open by that time. It will be September then.
I have a saying “Plans are meant to be Changed”.
3 thoughts on “THE CORONAVIRUS THAT BECAME A PANDEMIC”
Well, you did get around a bit before you were caught up in this mess! I’m glad you have company and wish we can all continue touring soon!
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Happy you went and have a look at my stories. I do have a phobia for writing. Thanks for positive comment, it does encourage me to keep trying harder.
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not harder, just keep going! 😉
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