The next noon, it was Sunday, March 15th, I paid the hotel bill and ordered a taxi. I wanted to get to the airport as soon as possible. If suddenly everything was closed. I now knew that Trump could act very quickly. When I left the hotel, the famous California sun shone for the first time since I was there. What an injustice, I thought. Now it shines when I have to go. Neither the taxi driver nor I said a word on the way to the airport. Suddenly I saw the sign "Bewerly Hills". I looked through the window. Tall palm trees lined the street, behind the beautiful front gardens, villas were lined up. Despite Corona, many people still went by bike or on foot. I felt sad and depressed. I wanted to see so much in LA! But I only caught this fleeting moment of LA beauty and was already on my way home. After three days!
There was no chaos at the airport as I expected. Business as usual, although a conspicuously large number of people were walking around with masks - not just the Asians. There were a lot of places where you could disinfect hands. The airport employees looked like always. They weren't wearing face masks or gloves. I quickly passed the check-in and security check. At 1:30 p.m. I was already sitting in a restaurant and having lunch. I took my time, there were 4 hours until my departure. But I couldn't really enjoy the food. Fear was on my neck all the time: will my flight be canceled at the last moment? I definitely didn't want to stay in LA. Now that I was in travel mode, I just wanted to go home.
The flight was wonderful, it was a brand new, modern airplane. I think it was Boing 737. I was sitting right behind the business class, in front of me was the wall, to my left nobody was sitting in the whole row. The seats were wider than normal. There were better places that you had to pay extra.
We reached London the next noon, local time. Many people wore face masks. The loudspeaker constantly reminded you to wash your hands and not to touch your face. There were also places where you could disinfect your hands. But otherwise everything was normal. Again I had to wait 5 hours for the trip to continue. I spent most of my time on social media. Always with the Damocles sword over my head, whether the flight is canceled.
At 6 p.m. was finally boarding time. I couldn't get a better seat when I booked. I got one of the last seats. The machine was small and crowded. Everywhere someone coughed or sneezed. Almost every second person wore a face mask. There was no talk of “social distancing”. How should it be? People sat crowded like canned sardines. I pretended to be asleep, did not take the snack or drink that was offered.
After a little over an hour we landed in Zurich. I was in Switzerland! Nothing could go wrong now. I immediately caught a train to Lucerne. I was the only passenger. At some point the message came that the tickets are no longer checked because of the spread of the Corona Virus. I was arrived - in the middle of the apocalypse. At that moment I realized why I actually flew to LA, even though air traffic should be stopped the next day. Not only because of Alejandro's birthday. It was an escape. Escape from the Corona panic that prevailed in Switzerland. I thought that the virus would not arrive in America so quickly. But I was wrong. The virus went around the world faster than me. I was back now and it was still there - the virus, the panic, the feeling of the apocalypse.
But the trip also had something good. I met great people. People I felt at home with. The spirited father of Alejandro who can sing beautifully. His friendly aunt who makes the best tortillas with cinnamon. His 4 sisters, the brother and the nieces and nephews who had organized a wonderful party in a beautiful house. Some friends of Alejandro also became my friends. Viewed in this way, the trip was worth it. Thank you, Alejandro, my friend, for bringing me together with these great people.
I have not forgotten: in part 1 I promised to tell who Alejandro is and how our friendship came about. I'll tell you that tomorrow ...