It’s taken around 12 hours in the past two days, not to mention more time over days before, to finally secure a reasonable route out of New Zealand.
Very few flight routes are available. Every Southeast Asian nation I can name has closed its borders, even to transiting passengers.
Prices are so outrageous you’d be up nights if I told you (e.g. $5,000 USD for 60 hour economy itinerary journey to an airport like Singapore, which no longer allows anyone in but citizens).
New Zealand would be the ideal place to lockdown. I was invited to stay for free at a vegan house in Arthur’s Point, just outside Queenstown. A former host in Auckland has a tent for me if I need it. I could live next to her garden, beneath fruit trees.
I’m only paying about 30% of the original nightly rate for this perfect spot in Arrowtown. I’ve stayed in my “sleep out” cabin here for 13 nights.
I’ve tried my best for weeks and weeks, since my original departure date of Feb. 14th, to carve the most reasonably logical route among issues of safety, finances, adventure, and the still unknown but much discussed question: When will schools in Shanghai return to face to face teaching?
I have not overplayed my hand. There is still no school restart date.
I’ve been screwed over, though, by a piece of trash ticket. At Queenstown Airport on Tuesday, I quickly realized 2 things: 1. I could not transit Australia since my layover would be over 8 hours. 2. I could not transit Thailand without a medical certificate proving I am virus-free AND evidence of $100,000 USD of medical insurance.
By now, I should be in Shanghai.
Alas, I’ve been caught up within New Zealand’s very serious national lockdown, begun at 11:59pm last night.
Air New Zealand confirmed for me today that my flights tomorrow will still run, assisting tourists like myself in getting out. Although it would be ideal to lockdown here, I do have a job in China–even if there’s still no return date for school.
Staying here would be for 4 weeks minimum. The government could easily extend that. New Zealand had 8 virus cases around 10 days ago. As of today, there are 283.
The news I woke up to today: Japan has new restrictions in place as of yesterday. I don’t know for sure if it applies to transit within airport…BIG question there. But coming in from Los Angeles, one of my only remaining options to reach China, will put me immediately on the hit list.
It’s possible I’ll be thrown into a 14 day quarantine in Japan, fly on to Shanghai, then thrown into another 14 day quarantine. I can only hope it will be in my apartment and not an uncleaned, roach infested quarantine hotel room like the one my friend John has been in for the past two days.
Like many people globally now, my life is at a crossroads.
I ran up the mountainside today, back to The Crossroads. Clear, icy water spilled down over the trail. I prayed for victims of the virus. I prayed for family, friends. I prayed I will listen more.
I will trust in the Path put forward..