11 day hotel quarantine in London – Review

On Tuesday 7th September I arrived at London’s Heathrow airport at 07.00 am after departing Cape Town the previous day at 07.00 am and it was a slog. To begin with I had to fly to Johannesburg to be be able to catch the 13.00 flight to London via Doha with Qatar airways. Because of Covid, I was informed that I have to be at the airport 4 hours before so I had a lot of time before the flight. Luckily I had forgotten to complete a passenger locator form so there was still time for panic as I called my wife and asked her to complete it for me and mail it. This form confirms that you are departing a red list country as planned and confirms your arrival in the UK. I had had my Covid test and had booked the Quarantine hotel (you do this by phone if you don’t have the 1750 GBP on the hip to pay for it) and the Government allowed me to pay in 10 monthly installments.

Form taken care of, I boarded and headed to Doha, the plane was empty and I had 3 seats to myself. Changing planes at Doha onto a packed flight to London I had the crappy middle seat and was sandwiched between a 6 foot Nigerian and a 6 foot Indian, however.. I really enjoyed that flight. We all became BFF’s and swapped details and chatted a fair bit. The flight was smooth and before you know it, I was back in the motherland

Then it starts. I won’t bore you with the details but it took me 5 hours to get from the plane to my hotel opposite the airport. It makes no difference that I am British, every person coming from a Red List country is treated like a social leper, super spreading, contaminated bastard and it’s brutal, oh and a baggage handler told me my fucking bag was still in South Africa. Surprisingly I was fairly calm about that because there wasn’t a lot I could do about it although I was keen to get to the hotel to call Qatar and see what they could do. I very nice young man who was responsible for getting the lepers of the bus and and into their respective quarantine hotels allowed me to use his phone and Qatar informed me that they had the bag and that it had just been sent to the wrong terminal.

Now I am am in room 526 of the Marriot Courtyard hotel, it’s Saturday and I am beginning to find a routine to the day before my release next Friday. It is just like being in a luxury prison. You get 2 20mins exercise breaks a day that you can take anytime. I take mine at around 15.00 and 21.30 and the food is good. I have made a video explaining more so give it a watch if you are travelling from red list country soon. I had no choice as I am due to start university on October 4th but as I say in the video, it you can avoid it, I would.

Peace

Your Pal

Rob

This too shall pass. The future of tourism

On October 1st South Africa reopened for international tourists, with the exception of countries deemed to be high risk. On September 30th the list was released by the government and almost every country in the world was on it, so it was the illusion of progress more than anything else but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Tourism globally have been hit hard, if major airlines like Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are in trouble then small tour companies and businesses like Cape Convoy are doomed, like the last Polar bear, on the last ice cap, waiting for it to melt

Or are they?

There are 2 sides to this. On one hand it’s very sad to see everything you have worked hard for and worked towards get stripped away to nothing. I don’t have any buses or tour guides anymore, the money has run out and after 6 months of lockdown, my lights have been turned off by a situation bigger than me and beyond my control. Strangely, it is because of those reasons that I feel reasonably calm. Perhaps the feeling of being in control was always an illusion and all Covid 19 has done has brought home the hard, uncomfortable truth that anything can be taken from you at anytime, without any warning. People who are sick understand this, becoming unwell is never part of any plans we may have, nor is losing a loved one or a million other things that life can throw at you

So Cape Convoy is now just me and a website. I have gone full circle, back to where I started. Just like Ace in the movie Casino! And you know, it’s not that bad! The thing about life is that it goes on, Cape Convoy goes on. I am personally in the position where there is nothing more than can be taken from me (professionally speaking) and I am OK, it’s really not that bad. It could be called rock bottom but as JK Rowling said, rock bottom is a solid foundation to build from, I think of Kipling, in his magnificent poem ‘If’

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

I still love being a guide, I still love Cape Town and I am going to hit the ground running again in 2021, if Cape Convoy makes it or not, I don’t know (although I suspect it will) but I know I will always be able to give great tours!

What does the future of Tourism globally hold? no idea mate although I do feel I am on the right continent. Africa’s star is rising and there is so so much here. I can’t think of any reason why people would ever want to stop visiting

This global change that is happening and that we maybe lucky, or unlucky enough to be living through will pass eventually. It is bigger than us. We must surrender to it, accept it and become one with it because we have no choice. At least that’s the way I see it

Stiff upper lip