Symptoms of the H1N1 virus may include: vacant hotel rooms, out of work taxistas and lonely dolphins.
When the H1N1 virus sprayed down like a giant estornuda over Mexico, I expected my Skype to go on overload with messages from friends and family begging me to come to the states. Well… not so much. Instead I got an inbox full of emails from every random person I’ve ever kind of met – long lost high school lab partners, a friend of a friend of my third cousin, my neighbor’s eyebrow waxer – either telling me they were cancelling the all-expense paid trip to Cancun they won on Wheel of Fortune, or asking me if they were going to die if they breathed Mexican air, even if it was a breeze from the turquoise waters of the Caribbean coast.
My answer to these inquiries: Ownt Know (shoulder shrug)
As luck would have it, I just so happened to have a research trip planned to the Riviera Maya last week and I wasn’t about to cancel it. So what was it like on the ground?
Freaking awesome for me. Pretty crappy for anyone involved in the tourism industry – which in this corner of the world, means just about everyone.
While I was enjoying a $30-a-week (plus tax and insurance) rental car, crowd-free beaches and 50% off just about everything, hoteliers were shutting down their properties indefinitely, taxi drivers waited at the airport for passengers who would never arrive and celebrity chefs at the fancy resorts in Cancún’s Zona Hotelera got unexpected vacations.
So, what’s my conclusion? Should you cancel your vacation? I might be a little bit biased, but I’m gonna have to go with a big fat “No.” Any time you make a journey from your safe haven of home, you’re putting yourself at risk. When you go on a cruise you risk gaining 10 pounds from the unending food, the Eiffel Tower could collapse on your Parisian getaway, or you could get your hair braided in the Bahamas and get laughed off the airplane.
These risks are what define adventure and all great travel includes a few bumps in the road.