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Getting out of the UK

Not sure I will even post this. This one is really just for me.

There was a new variant of COVID that popped up in the UK not too long ago. We are in Bath and things are pretty good here but there is a chance the whole country will go on lockdown and we would be stuck. We have been self isolating here in Bath for at least a week. We have had almost no contact with people. We decided we need to get out while we can. The problem was where? We looked at everything - . Spain, France, Ireland, Mexico, Caribbean, even going back to the US and ending the trip. We ran into road blocks left and right. For days we looked at websites and went back and forth about what to do and in the end we decided to go to Mexico. Head back toward home but not go home yet. (We can’t go home for another month because we are renting our house). We chose Cancun because it was one of the few places that we could fly to without breaking the bank and we could easily get out of when we wanted to head home.

We finally made a choice but that is just where the fun started. As soon as I booked the flight, I saw something on the airline website about travel restrictions. I always like to have more information so I clicked on it. The US was requiring COVID test for all people coming from the UK. Which was fine. We are not going to the US, we are going to Mexico. However, our flight goes through ATL. Do we need to have it? In short YES.
OK that is fine, we don’t mind taking the test but now we have to find where we can take it. That is another two hours on the internet and Shelley finds us a place. The only place we can take it, in time for our flight, is London. Which is in tier 4 lock down and is an hour and a half away. It is also the center of the new COVID strain which is 70% more contagious.
We don't want to go to London unless it is to fly out of here but now we have to. We are getting ready to go to London tomorrow. Any other time, “Going to London tomorrow” would be a wonderful statement. Right now it is making me nauseous. I have been nauseous for days. I am generally not a nervous guy but my stomach has been in knots and I can’t seem to relax.
This whole trip we have been careful and have felt pretty safe. This is the first time I am scared. Imagine getting COVID on the way to get COVID tests. Irony would be a really big bitch.
Tomorrow is the 28th of December (the original day we were supposed to go to Lisbon) and we fly out on the 30th. Hopefully we don’t run into anything else. Tomorrow is a long day of train rides that we don’t want to take, going to a place we really don’t want to go. I’ll write more later.

( Jan 7th 2021) It is a little over a week since I wrote the 1st part of this and I wanted to finish while it is still fresh in my mind.

So the day we went to London for the COVID tests, we left about 8:30am, our tests were at 1:30pm. We had to pack lunch because everything was closed in London, so there was nowhere to get food. The train rides were uneventful and not too many people, however the cost to ride the train was twice as expensive (Maybe to try to discourage people from traveling). Once we got to London we had to take the tube (their subway) to get to the test. Again, this is the last thing you want to do when there is a more contagious strain of COVID out there.
It takes about 40 min. to get to the testing area by the tube and we have to wait for about 30 mins to an hour to get the test. The test is very uncomfortable. We have to get both our nose and throat swabbed.
By the time we are done, it is about 2:30 and now we have to work our way back to Bath. We will get our results in 36 to 48 hours but our flight is in 40 hours, so we spend the next day and a half worrying about getting the results in time.
The next step is to book a train to the airport. A train is the only way to get to the airport from Bath. There is a bus but it doesn’t get there until after our flight. So I go to book the train and this time it is 4 times as expensive. I have no choice so I hit buy and it says “sorry sold out.” Panic sets in. I refresh the search and the price goes up. I still have no choice so I hit buy and “sorry sold out”. This happens a few more times and by the time I get train tickets the price has increased to 6 times the amount we paid a week ago for the same train but we have tickets.
The next day we pack and get our COVID results, negative. We are ready to go. We hopped the train at 5:30am. The train that was so expensive and kept saying “sold out” was pretty much empty. The rest of the trip to the airport goes pretty smooth. No problems with the train, we check our bags, the airline checks our COVID results and we get through security with time to spare. The flight is long but fine. It’s not very crowded and we know that everyone on the flight had to have COVID tests, so we feel pretty safe. Before we took off we booked a room near the airport in Cancun for one night. We did know if we were going to be able to get on the flight, so we waited until the last minute to book a room.
We get to Atlanta and switch planes. Everything has been pretty smooth up to this point and the flight is only about 2-2.5 hours Cancun. We board the plane and it is packed. Delta has crammed this plane full. I don’t understand why it is so packed and the dumbass Americans are halfass wearing masks and no social distancing at all. I am having thoughts of getting off the plane and just flying back to Portland. We have been traveling for over 4 months now and this is by far the worst disregard for COVID safety I have seen anywhere. Isn't it good to be back in the States?
On the flight it dawns on me why the flight is so crowded. It’s New Years eve weekend and these yahoos are going to party in Cancun. Now I know that is something that I should have thought of but with all that was going on it never crossed my mind. Doesn’t matter now. We are on our way.
We land and the “20 somethings” are pushing to get off the plane so they can party and all I can think is: “I hope you bring in the new year facedown in a mexican toilet!”
We get off the plane and we get in a pretty long line for customs. Well I think it’s a long line but it’s going to get longer. There are two people checking passports. One is checking Mexican nationals and flight crew and the other is checking everyone else. It's moving pretty slow. Then the one person checking everyone else, gets up and leaves for like 30 mins or more. In the meantime more planes land and the line gets a lot bigger. I am guessing there are 250 to 300 people in line now.
The one customs agent finally comes back to very loud applause and cheers. The line moves again. People are getting very upset and we hear arguments behind us which sounds like people trying to cut in line. Finally a second person shows up and it moves a bit faster and we finally get through. We catch our shuttle to the hotel and fall into bed. In total over 24 hours of travel. 2 hours on a train to the airport, 9 hours to Atlanta, 2.5 hours to Cancun, 2 hours in customs and the rest of the time waiting in airports. One very long day and one very long week but we got out of the UK.
About 5 days later. The whole UK went tier 5 full lockdown. We got out just in time or we could still be there.
We ended up in Cozumel and will be here until Jan. 26th then home to Portland. That both makes me happy and sad.

On a side note, with all the places we have been on this trip Cozumel is the most cautious place in regards to COVID. All places like restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores. They take your temperature, hand sanitizer and have you step on pads to sanitize for your shoes. Everyone is wearing a mask inside and out. Unless of course they are Americans but even most of them are doing it. I can’t speak for all of Mexico but Cozumel has their shit together.

Posted by tatehomberg 03:22 Archived in England

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