Meanwhile in Shanghai is part of the COVID Trip Report, a trip that will never end.
It’s snowing outside. I’m locked away in my basement. I haven’t traveled anywhere since January of 2020 (see NYC Twice: A Recap of My 2020 Travels). I am waiting for the vaccine to arrive. I go on Instagram (follow ThePointsOfLife) and see people partying in Miami like there is no pandemic. I dismiss their good times as irresponsible as I turn on the news and see the escalating deaths, the number of hospitalizations, and the reports of variants. Like a follower of the cuckoo Q movement, I have to believe that there is a plan for resolving this crisis and that we are finally “rounding the turn.” And then I went on WeChat and saw videos of people partying at my favorite bar in Shanghai at Revolution Cocktail (see TPOL’s Guide to Libations in Shanghai). There’s bottle service, blaring music, smoke machines, and crowds that would make you think it’s 2019. The presence of the four letter word, m-a-s-k, is nowhere to be found.
I was left with so many questions: Did the virus just up and leave China? Has the QR tracking system been that effective? (see Ready to Party in Shanghai? Bring Your Passport, Mask, and QR Code). Who orders bottles of Macallan at the club? Like a disillusioned Q supporter or a tourist in Spain, I thought to myself, “what the f*ck?”
In 2020, I mused about moving to Taiwan in advance of the second wave. I was naive enough to think that there would be a window in the late summer where such a move would be possible. Now it’s 2021 and the sequel to COVID-19 horror show features a bogeyman that’s even more lethal and even more contagious. And this time around, any m-a-s-k won’t do. Indeed, some cloth masks are now shown to be only 26% effective.
Still in my basement, I wonder if this nightmare will ever end. Since I’ve already gone all-in on the shelter in place plan, calling the pandemic a hoax and jumping on a plane to FunkyTown is not an option. Unlike a Q supporter, I believe in data and science. However, that broad statement does not mean blind trust. There are more questions now than ever before that have yet to be answered. The first being, how can life be normal in China?
Disclaimer: TPOL lives in Puerto Rico where he golfs, goes to the playa, and works out on the beach every day. The snow and basement references are for dramatic effect.