Budget Travel, COVID, Musings, News, Travel Column, Travel Tips and Guides

COVID Diary Day 9: When this is over…

What would you want to do, when this is over?

People have speculated on the long-term implication the pandemic will have on travel, and how the travel industry will be severely affected by this. It is predicted that travel will now be more expensive, more exclusive, and involving more red tape such as health permits, to ensure safety concerns of travelers.

This could be the death of the budget airline era (and begpackers).

We had plans to travel overseas this year: maybe Hanoi, or Bali… But now, to be able to visit these exotic lands is the least of my mind. My only priority is to be able to go out, breathe fresh air, go on a drive and enjoy the local places nearby–like the mountains of Balamban or a beach in Moalboal.

I could not wait to give my child a hug, or share some beers with friends.

I would be tempted to do shisha, and even more tempted to dance salsa in socials.

To curb my wanderlust, I retreated to Netflix’s Marco Polo.

Unfortunately, Marco Polo cancelled after two seasons.

It’s ironic I’m watching a historical tale of a journey between Italy and China, just like the news headlines of now. lol

Sorry, that was a bit insensitive.

The Netflix historical TV series is an incredible spectacle to see, with an obviously expensive budget with its rich setting and characters–and although not quite accurate, the show certainly revived my childhood dreams to traverse the centuries-old Silk Road.

I have a few books on Marco Polo and his travels. Ever since I watched this NatGeo documentary ages ago of the award-winning photographer Mike Yamashita retracing MP’s footsteps from Venice to Xanadu, it forever caught my imagination. It sealed the deal.

If someone has a copy of Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed, please let me know 🙂

So back to the Netflix Marco Polo.Unfortunately I do not have the software to just ‘enjoy’ a series or film. I end up ruining even really good shows myself, where I shake my head in disbelief and yelling, ‘that can’t be historically accurate!’ or ‘the script is too intelligent for the character!’ or ‘why did the director tell him to do that?!’

This is why movies cannot be ‘fun’ for me. I kill all forms of leisure in it.

As typical of me, I kept on pausing Marco Polo to do Further Readings. It led me to research further on harems, the Mongols, the Silk Road trade, and finally, the Black Plague.

The odd thing was–even a historical drama set in the 13th century–reminds you of COVID. It is argued that while mercantile trade is good for many things: economic gains, trading ideas, etc.; it also brought some negative externalities, which meant spread of disease.

A lot of the diseases seem to have developed from the Far East before coming to the West (The Black Death, Bubonic Plague, etc.). But that is probably just an unjust observation from Western historians.

To be fair, the Columbian exchange was far worse and killed off millions of American natives; as Europeans came from Old World to the New, and in turn, brought a slew of diseases such as measles, smallpox, typhus and malaria. Populations fell by 50% to as much as 95%, particularly because Native American populations were not able to develop the immune system to fight off these deadly old world diseases.

From our Netflix show though, it seems as the Mongols have developed such a strong immune system for all the traveling they did.

What would you want to do, when this is over?

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