Eye of the Storm

I set off from Hermosillo to Cozumel today, with a lay over in Toluca, in the center of the country and the center of the flu epidemic. My aunts dropped me off at the airport in the morining, which was pretty normal except I had to fill out a questionaire listing the major symptoms of bird flu (we worried about bird flu for years, and when it finally did what we predicted it would do, spread to pigs and then to humans, we suddenly called it swine flu... I don't get it). I checked no for all the symptms, as would anyone who wants to get on a plane, regardless of whether they had them or not, making this a relatively useless gesture.

I got on the plane to find it was mostly empty, carrying about a third of its capacity. It was rather lonely, but I wasn't really feeling sociable with my mask on. It also had the immediate effect of giving me three seats to myself, so I stretched my legs and couldn't complain.

Right before we took off, the pilot and co-pilot came out and gave us a speech about the plane's filtration system. He said that the plane changes air with the outside 35 times per hour (or something) and that we woudn't be breathing the air of someone a few rows back or a few rows forward. This honestly did make me feel better, since I wasn't worried about the people leaving Hermosillo so much as the people coming from Toluca on the plane's arrival.

So I took my mask off, and promised myself I would put it back on when we got to Toluca.

The airline, Volaris, was the cheapest option, yet the plane was brand new, the service was great, and the head phones were free. The musical selection was young and hip, ranging from techno/electronic to a mix of Spanish and English rock. The plane ride felt like what air travel must have felt like in the 1970's, when it was tailored to a young, wealthy audience, and before it became the only viable form of Mass transportation in the US.

We arrived at Toluca's airport to find it just as lonely as the plane had been, though I kept my mask on just in case. When we took off again, a couple of masked health officials took my temperature with a really cool touchless infrared thermometer. Definitely a step up from the questionaire.

The plane ride was empty, uneventful, and masked. I arrived in Cancun, took my mask off, and hopped on the bus to Playa del Carmen. Along the way, I spoke to two European tourists who had arrived in Mexico City before the plague, only to find all the ruins suddenly closed one day. They hadn't been keeping up with the news, so they didn't find out about the flu until a journalist tried to interview them about it. Like me, they had flown to Cancun to escape the pannicked center of the country.

I arrived at Playa del Carmen, hopped on a rather expensive ($16 bucks!) ferry, filled out more questionaires, and finnally arrived at the Island of Cozumel.


*Image Credit: I'm not sure if I can use this one, but it has a share link on the website so what the heck. It came from SDP noticias.

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