Day 35, Staying at Home
Monday, April 27, 2020; Dallas, Texas
We were warned we would come home to a different world. They were right.
Last Thursday marked a month since our return from the “Grand Half-World Voyage 2020” as I took to describing our interrupted cruise. We left after day 77 while the MS Amsterdam was docked in Fremantle, Australia, and flew home to Dallas.
Now I’m living in a guest room in my sister’s house. We carefully isolated ourselves for two weeks and, just as we hoped, showed no signs of covid-19. Elaine’s friend who lived with our pets while we were gone spends her weekdays working from the other guest room. Elaine is gardening while pondering re-joining the workforce.
And what do I do? Not nearly as much as I would have thought.
At first there was the unpacking, laundry, sorting mail and other immediate chores. I quickly finished signing up for Medicare and the related supplemental programs as my insurance ended a week after our return. I went ahead and did my taxes, even though I had filed for an extension, because I was due a refund.
Meanwhile, I’ve kept in touch with many friends from the world cruise on a group Facebook page and enjoyed some social distancing happy hours with a few on Zoom or FaceTime.
We are following the crazy journey of the Amsterdam. It sailed west to South Africa from Fremantle for a scheduled fuel and provisioning stop in Durban. From there the plan was to round the cape and head for Fort Lauderdale, Fla. But as it became obvious cruising wouldn’t resume soon, the corporate office decided to send the Amsterdam back east to repatriate non-essential crewmembers in Indonesia and the Philippines. It just arrived in Jakarta today.
The Amsterdam still is carrying the luggage many of us left behind to be shipped home once the cruise ship arrived in Florida. However, Holland America just emailed us saying it would try instead to ship our luggage from a yet-to-be-determined port in Asia (when they find one that will accept it), after which it will take up to 60 days to arrive here. I’m glad I didn’t leave anything essential. It’s not like I would be wearing those gala dresses to dinner at home.
I’m also following the roll calls of some of the seven – yes seven! – future cruises I had booked. My plan for the next couple of years was to spend as much time as possible on cruise ships, staying in my sister’s guest room in between. That’s not going to happen. The cruise lines are slowly announcing cancelations a month or so in advance, but I just don’t see cruises resuming this year. As long as the highly contagious coronavirus is circulating, ships aren’t a great place to quarantine, and countries aren’t likely to welcome them to their ports.
As for myself, I think I will take a cautious and prudent path and probably not cruise again until we have a vaccine. I’m at that point where age itself, along with the underlying conditions that come with it, make me think twice about setting off to sea with hundreds of people. So I’m going to give a little thought to what else I might do in the meantime.
These plans may not have much to do with life on the seven seas, but I’ve already heard from some followers of this blog that you’d like to follow along wherever the journey takes me. So I’ll keep posting – about life in the time of covid-19 from my perspective and how a cruiser keeps busy on land. I’ll include some updates on my sketching while walking the neighborhood, painting and whatever else might be of interest.
Please comment with what’s happening in your life and what topics interest you in the interim. Because I do believe it is an interim. We will cruise again, in one fashion or another.
As John Masefield published in Sea Fever in 1902: