Sun. Dec. 12, 2021

Gail, John, and Christo

The Three Musketeers, they call us! As soon as we checked into our Amsterdam hotel this morning we introduced ourselves to the AMA Waterways cruise manager. We were supposed to be here with our travel agent’s group, I began—-“And you are the three who didn’t back out!” she exclaimed. “You are the Three Musketeers!”

Yes! It’s so good to feel welcome after a 9 hour flight! I asked if we could join their walking tour in the morning and she said she would check on the fee and let us know. We went to our rooms for a nap.

Long lines and empty desks at the International Terminal. Notice the long TSA lines on the second level.

We started at the Bradley Terminal at LAX about 11:00 AM on Saturday morning. There were a lot of people traveling today, but half the check-in lines were closed, making the terminal look empty and crowded at the same time. Another example of the Great Resignation? I wondered. The TSA lines were long and slow as well, making the labor shortage seem very real.

Safety video

The safety instruction videos on our full KLM flight were very up to date, taking COVID into account at every step, with flight attendants wearing face masks. “Take off your PPE mask before putting on the oxygen mask,” they reminded us solemnly. All passengers wore masks except during meal service and there was no fooling around.

Social distance at baggage claim

Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport had the same distancing and masking protocols that we have in the States. We continued to wear masks until we reached our hotel rooms. The cruise attendant asked if we had our booster shots. Of course, we did. She said that was good because we won’t have to get tested as often along the way. Our trip includes four countries, and requirements vary.

Testing is easy to find

Around 3 PM we went out for dinner, because restaurants and bars have to close at 5:00 PM. “Late lunch has become very popular around here,” warned the hotel concierge. At the restaurant we had to show our QR code on our phone app which we each got from Switzerland a week ago. They needed ID as well. We took our masks off at the table, because everyone else did, and when in Rome . . .

After dinner we strolled around looking at the spectacular Christmas lights. There were people everywhere, most without masks while outside. While indoor dining closed at 5, many restaurants had takeout available and you could buy pizza or crepes or kebabs on almost every corner. Grocery stores and pharmacies could stay open until 8. People were out shopping and gazing at the sparkling department store windows. It’s Christmas time in the city 🎶.

This afternoon we found a note under our door:

Dear Musketeers, Please feel free to join the walking tour tomorrow (9:00-11:00) at no extra fee.

Travel is back. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Today’s Notable Headlines

No headlines—it’s a vacation!

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. I intend to journal the pandemic experience from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, as a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary world crisis.

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