Thursday, September 09, 2021

Parry, riposte

I hate to do the whole "I told you so" routine, but in this case it was always blindingly obvious that Dr G would be disinclined to simply stroll away once his curfew was stymied. 

He will come back with alternative ways to restrict activities, and for some, these will appear more, not less, onerous. With another 80 deaths recorded yesterday, he will be left with little choice. 

Other than Allan Rodríguez the thing that annoys me most about this little fiasco is the damage done, in the short-term at least, to the inflow of tourists. 

Arrivals from abroad already have to complete an online health form that, when it works, serves them up with a QR code. Was it completely beyond the authorities to allow this to double up as a transit pass during the toque de queda?  

In 2010 I visited Bangkok during a curfew imposed at a time of significant political instability. I spent the first night at the airport. I am not sure if I could have found a way to leave, but the restaurants in there are (extremely) good, so I didn't really care. 

The next day I found that the Thais had established a sort of tiny tourist pocket around Khao San Road, where bedtimes were effectively unrestricted. Travel into the downtown area was impossible at night and unadvisable by day, but I managed to treat myself to the thrill of turning up as a lone farang at some of the major temples. 

Antigua is pleasant when it is quiet, but deserted bars and restaurants are hardly a big lure and a nighttime curfew is always a total buzzkill. 

Already limited to tourists almost exclusively from this hemisphere Guatemala's leading industry could (really) do without enforced lockdowns after dark and other blanket restrictions on inter-departmental movement. If Belize can conceive of and manage a system of safe corridors and other  amnesties for foreign visitors, it surely cannot be beyond Guatemala. 

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