Saturday, May 20, 2023
It’s wonderful to see everything opening up–not just because it’s spring but because the Pandemic is over, even, at last, officially. This weekend is the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, opening up the summer season with music, hot air balloons, activities, food, and wine. It was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and then opened cautiously in 2022, but this year there is no doubt. Wine country is open for business.
This week a friend came to visit me for a few days and she stayed at the Embassy Suites. On Monday we had a delightful tapas lunch at the Bolero, part of Europa Village. On Tuesday we went on a wine-tasting tour with Grapeline and had a wonderful time visiting four wineries: Doffo, Cougar, Robert Ronzoni, and Wilson Creek. Every one has its own unique flair.
Remember when yellow caution tape was everywhere? Back in September of 2021, I spent Labor Day weekend at the Embassy Suites in Temecula. I was working on the most challenging chapters of my memoir, the Tehran chapters, so I took a writer’s holiday, writing intently at the hotel and taking a break every day to visit my son and his family who live here. The change of scene helped me concentrate. I was hoping to have some lunches or dinners in the hotel restaurant, but it was closed. Cordoned off with yellow tape.
This week, with my friend staying at the hotel, I was happy to see that the restaurant was open, but with a new no-touch procedure. You take a menu, order from the bartender, and they bring your food. It’s a good example of how procedures have changed in many places so that places can open for business while enabling customers to feel safe.
The Pandemic is swiftly working its way into history. Three years ago, I explored websites of events, universities, restaurants, hospitals, etc. and found that every single one addressed COVID on the home page, usually with a prominent banner. Today I did a quick scan and found no mention of COVID on the Embassy Suites site and no mention on the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival site. I was happy to see, however, that the San Diego County Fair has incorporated the Pandemic into its history on its site page “About Us.”
“Since it’s beginnings in 1880, the Fair was suspended on two occasions–during World War II and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It’s just one sentence, but still.
We can ignore our history or acknowledge it and move on. As a historian, I like to take the second path. I’m curious to explore how other websites are acknowledging the pandemic upheavals of the last three years. Maybe next week.
Happy ending, by the way. I finished the memoir and moved to Temecula.
In the News:
“Temecula Valley Balloon And Wine Festival 2023: Food, Music, Fun,” May 19, 2023. Patch, https://patch.com/california/temecula/temecula-valley-balloon-wine-festival-2023-food-music-fun
“Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival,” KTLA5, May 19, 2023. https://ktla.com/morning-news/celebrating-the-40th-anniversary-of-the-temecula-valley-balloon-and-wine-festival/
“What does the end of the Covid-19 national emergency mean? Our medical analyst explains,” CNN, May 11, 2023. https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/11/health/coronavirus-booster-vaccine-pandemic-wellness/index.html
Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, https://www.tvbwf.com/
2023 San Diego County Fair, About Us, https://www.sdfair.com/p/plan-your-visit/about-us