In the upcoming weeks, I will probably get some time off and was going to travel overseas for a coupla weeks.
Always wanted to see Manaus for some reason. It was, before the 1920s, a true boom town . I envisioned seeing the opera house, where the world’s opera companies made the long journey up the Amazon to perform. People would send their laundry to Paris to be cleaned. Although perhaps my imagination was too detached as the population today is over 2 million. But the rubber boom, which died in the 1920s with the rapid development of more efficient rubber plantations in Southeast Asia, made Manaus for a time one of the richest cities in the world. The thought just came to me that for a time, Manaus was the Virginia City of South America.
Manaus was at the center of the Amazon region’s rubber boom during the late 19th century. For a time, it was “one of the gaudiest cities of the world”. Historian Robin Furneaux wrote of this period, “No extravagance, however absurd, deterred” the rubber barons. “If one rubber baron bought a vast yacht, another would install a tame lion in his villa, and a third would water his horse on champagne.” The city built a grand opera house, with vast domes and gilded balconies, and using marble, glass, and crystal, from around Europe.
Anyway, I was thinking with this coronavirus, cruise ships are not the way to travel these days.
Plus if I were in all likelihood to discover Manaus today is covered with used car lots, McDonalds with an occasional relic from the past I would have been disappointed in making the long trip.
It would have been like the trip I made in 1992 back to Landstuhl, Germany, the site of my first Army station. The war had passed it by, and it was a wonderful little town. But in 1992, it was full of used car lots (catering to Ramstein AFB I suspect), video rental stores and Pizza Huts.
Plus if my trip last year to Banff, Alberta was any clue, Chinese tourists are everywhere.
My friend the CPA, who is working like a dog these days (although in truth I have not seen many hard working dogs), but after tax season he was going on a cruise, which he just cancelled.
So I thought that instead I would do another road trip. Want to see Gettysburg and Kill Devil Hills, but we’ll have to see how my driving stamina interacts with the time frame.
So anyway with that being said, I’ll segue to one of our local Costcos.
I was going there to get some things, among them toilet paper (which seems to be a constant staple with every Costco shopper), and got a surprise.
They were all sold out.
“Best time to go is in the morning, we are sold out by the afternoon and replenished during the night”.
Only thing I can attribute this to is the coronavirus panic.
I got some at the supermarket, no panic there.
And it’s not as if it is Ebola, which had the nation in a panic a few years ago. And the fatality rate for those afflicted is 90%. There was no pandemic.
From what I have read, the fatality rate for the coronavirus is in the low single digits. Certainly nothing to be blase about. But I’m not going to be part of the run on toilet paper at Costco. Nor am I going to become a hermit in my house.
And I’m going to take that drive.