Imagen you had planned a trip of a life time for about a year and then the worst thing happens, it gets cancelled 48 hours before departure.
That is exactly what happened to me , thanks to the coronavirus.
I was supposed to leave for India on March 15, 2020 for a 9-day Golden Triangle tour of India that included Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. A trip I had been planning for almost a year.
When it comes to travel, I am like a kid in a candy store or a kid on Christmas day. I count the months, days and hours before any upcoming trip.
This trip was no different and it took a lot of extra preparation leading up to it. like getting 3 different vaccinations, hiring a travel agency to help me getting a visa (not easy to get on your own, but you can try!), several Amazon shopping sprees to buy travel essentials , etc.
Along came Coronavirus and it had other plans for ALL of us…
About a month away from departure, the news kept getting more and more alarmist about the virus. I kept thinking and hoping that all the fuzz would quickly winddown. Unfortunately it did not, on the contrary, every day, things began to escalate.
Selflessly , I kept praying the virus would slow down enough to let me start the journey and get to India. I did not, correction was not! going to consider cancelling, changing or postponing my plans until I literally had no choice.
3 days before departure, the President of the United Stated announced that he would close the borders to Europe….
My heart sank to my stomach, I thought, “well at least it’s not South Asia”. However, deep down I know my trip was doomed! And indeed , it was all downhill from there. Surely if Trump closed USA borders to Europe, more countries would follow suit.
I had not received any cancelation from the airline (Qatar) or the tour provider ( GAdventures). Only received an email from the tour company a few days earlier saying that we would have to complete a very detail health questionnaire upon arrival in India, but nothing indicating we would not be able to enter the country.
Googling frenzy begins…
I started googling every possible search on entry to India, until I found several articles saying that India had decided to suspend all tourist visas and entry to all visitors as of March 13, 2020.
I read in disbelief thinking that it had to be fake news , but the more I researched, the more credible sources were confirming the devastating news.
Immediately I emailed GAdventures asking if they had the same information and if they were canceling my tour. Why am I sending information to GAdventures instead of the other way around?
A few hours later I get a response from them saying that although, unfortunate, If I cancelled my trip, I would incur a $250 dollar penalty for being within 10 days of the tour. Are you serious?
Then I called Qatar to find out the status of my flight, I was told I could fly, but I would be quarantined in Doha. Ok, this is taken a turn for the worse and my vacation was on the path to doom.
A few hours later, the email I was dreading reached my inbox! “Your India tour HAS BEEN CANCELLED”! My gut knew it days before, but my heart wasn’t going to buy it, until I had no choice but to pay!
After spending several hours trying to cancel flights, hotels, and other social events I had planned during a 2 weeks’ vacation and after fighting the very deep resentment I have developed for coronavirus.
Finally, I was able to come to terms with the situation and I am grateful that things got cancelled when they did and I did not get trapped in a country or airport like Tom Hanks on the movie “The Terminal”.
Why me? Why Now…
This crazy Coronavirus is holding the world hostage right now and it is affecting me, you, all of us
No matter how many times I play this in my head and wish I had gone on my vacation a month ago , 2 weeks ago, any time before this madness. However I have no control over this and just need to let it go….
Me, you , all of us on the same boat can always reschedule a new trip. I am grateful that I am safe at home and will plan a new trip when the time is right . For now, it is uncertain when any of us will be able to travel again…
Qatar Airlines and G adventures have not confirmed refunds for all segments of my planned travel, but I hope that if they don’t refund me , at least they give me credit for future travel.
To end this posting, I leave you with a few pictures of “Le Residence” since I can not share any pictures of my anticipated Qatar Business Class experience… Or my journey thru India. Enjoy …