By Geraldine Hughes
Remember in the good old days when you’d board a plane for your holliers and casually wipe the remnants of the previous occupant’s meal off your lap tray, and you wouldn’t even flinch when a half-eaten croissant would fall out from the pages of the inflight magazine? Covid 19 was going to change all of this though, and I imagined us boarding spotlessly clean sanitised cabins possibly wearing disposable Haz -mat suits, and sitting with a seat empty on each side. Not so. I have changed my mind about many things during the last 18 months, and travel is one of them. I swore I’d be happy to never go abroad again if I could just get back to work and some normality.
So that happened, and we staycationed which was nice to a point, slightly dodgy weather, high prices and Covid warning signs all over the place, so hardly a break in the way we all needed one, which realistically was a trip back to July 2019. Mr. The View suggested a break away to the sun and I was very hesitant. I find airports anxiety inducing at the best of times, and I’m always pathetically grateful that I’m allowed on the flight, even though I logically know I’ve paid for my ticket and I definitely didn’t pack any weapons of mass destruction into my carry-on, but now Covid 19 has added a whole other level of checks. But I badly needed to get off the Island, and it was all surprisingly easy. All the checks were done online and uploaded, so you weren’t getting on the flight unless all was in order. I chucked some underwear in a plastic bag and skipped through the airport with no holiday preparations done.
Surprisingly with no delays in the airport we boarded a reassuringly normal crowded and dirty plane. I happily sanitised my seat and tray and kicked the rubbish on the floor out of my way and settled in for the happiest most cramped most breathless flight I’ve ever taken.
I have no idea why we in Ireland have embraced the misery that Covid has inflicted on us so much. It’s the main topic of conversation both in person and in the media but in Portugal (and other European destinations) they have kicked it into touch. The regulations are there for sure, along with a dinky little ph.App to check your covid pass should you wish to eat indoors. It’s all soooo normal! Normal conversations about normal topics. People looking happy and enjoying themselves. Just to sit on the beach and watch groups having the craic was balm for the spirit having listened to nothing but fear mongering and divisiveness forever. Of course, my Portuguese doesn’t extend beyond Hello, Goodbye and Thank you, so for all I know, they might’ve been murdering each other nightly on the news but if they were you’d never know, so if you’re thinking of heading for a break, get your paperwork done, grab a mask and a toothbrush and GO! (And some wipes for the plane!)