Major Cognitive Mistake: I Wasn't Alone in 2020 - One For the Books - CycleBlaze

March 13, 2020

Major Cognitive Mistake: I Wasn't Alone in 2020

As I was riding around at night in Khon Kaen I saw many signs of life, people eating outside, bars and clubs open, gatherings at the park, and more.  Most importantly, nobody was wearing any masks.  People could freely enter or leave homes or businesses and wouldn't think twice about going to the gym or visiting a massage parlor.  It suddenly occurred in a flash that I can no longer be taking this for granted.  What was happening in other parts of the world was looking very scary.  Manila had just gone into lockdown that night.  My mind starting turning to my ex.  This causing quite the head fake.

[Update November 2022]  Even at that time I still couldn't imagine that covid would affect that area too, but it eventually did.

In the last 24 hours I chatted with a bunch of Thai locals and a worrying theme emerged about case clusters in Bangkok.   They also said the government has not been as proactive as I was led to believe.  Bangkok saw a "surge" of cases in recent days that doubled the active cases about a week ago.  Also, Cambodia closed schools due to a single case.  Most likely the school I had volunteered at earlier was all shuttered now.

To make the point, I found out they started canceling social events in Bangkok.   Regardless, I went on ahead with my plan.  The bike was safely locked up at the 185 Residence in Khon Kaen to be retrieved at a later time.

It wasn't a surprise to see the sea of masks on the flight to Bangkok, and it seemed to confirm what all my friends were saying.  But where was my mask?  I figured at some point I would need to find one.

 As the flight landed, I went to my pre-booked hotel for an insane discount of course.  I started researching in a flurry where I could go next because borders were starting to close around the world.  An express trip to Malaysia might need to happen.  But the speed at which things were happening in the world was well out of reach of the speed at which I was planning or making decisions.  There was no way I could keep up, much less act timely.  

Options were in fact presenting themselves.  But this was starting to feel like a 'choose your own adventure' gone wrong.  Whichever outcome was going to mean being stuck for awhile, and each outcome could have vastly different consequences from another.    

I would need to do a few more business things in Bangkok and retrieve my luggage at the Sananwan Palace in the outskirts.  Dealing with my passport issue would be paramount.  I could enter Malaysia with the current one but it would expire too soon to get a work visa installed with the new employer.  The new employer advised me to fly back to Shanghai first and sort it out at my Embassy there.

[Update November 2022]:  In the end I did not go to Malaysia.  To this day, I keep asking the question ... what would have happened if I did?  In the age of covid and 2020 if I just flew directly to the new employer and took a risk, they could have sorted it out.  Even I could have stayed in Thailand and it would have worked out.  Many, many, many people were stranded in 2020.  I made the fatal mistake of thinking that I was the only one in this situation and that others were able to have figured it out.    

Today's ride: 5 km (3 miles)
Total: 1,440 km (894 miles)

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