H1N1 Flu Impact on Ensenada

We are surprised at the impact of the H1N1 flu. Today is day 5 from when it first hit the news. Yesterday when we were out, we noticed that the streets were desolate. It was almost a ghost town, with very few people or cars about. About 1/3 of those people were wearing surgical masks to cover their noses and mouths. Mind you, there are still no reported or even suspected cases of the flu in Baja California, but the media hysteria has definitely got everyone terrified.

Today things really got more serious. The governor of Baja, in an effort to stem any possibility of a pandemic here in Baja, has ordered all public events to be closed. All sporting events are still to take place and be televised, but no one is allowed to go to the games in person. All restaurant workers are required to wear masks. Everyone else is encouraged to wear masks. There is talk of even cancelling school and church.

But the big shocker was the governor announced he was not allowing cruise ship passengers into the country any more. We couldn’t believe it. The ships still pull into port. Someone gets off and goes to the Port Captain’s office to do the required paperwork. When the paperwork is done, the ship leaves again. At first we couldn’t imagine why the governor would do such a thing. Those ships pay $17,000 to the city of Ensenada to be there. That is a lot of revenue lost considering they get 1 2 ships in a day. Plus all the tourist dollars from the passengers aren’t coming into the economy.

In thinking it over, we realized that as ridiculous as all these measures seem to be, they are probably wise choices. If the flu does spread to Baja and the governor hadn’t cancelled the public events, then the governor would be blamed for the spread of the flu with people saying he didn’t do enough to prevent it. The cruise ship ban was even wiser. The ships come from Los Angeles and San Diego, and both cities have reported cases of the flu. It is very possible someone who is already contaminated could get onboard and infect the whole ship. Then the contaminated passengers would disembark here and spread it to all the locals. Not only would the local population be devastated, you can be certain the people on the cruise ship would all swear they were infected in Ensenada and that would scare off even more tourists than ever. We have to applaud the governor for being willing to sacrifice short term profit for what is best for the state in the long term.

The other cruisers think we need to head to San Diego today. They seem to think America is going to close the border completely and that they will not let us back into the USA. Of course, that is ludicrous. Given the location of the infected people, if anyone were to close the border, it would be Baja California refusing to let Americans in.

Anyway”¦ on to us. Last night, our friends on Gone Native arrived into port and we were very happy to see them. We made plans to go wine tasting today (just the adults). Just outside Ensenada is an area with several wineries that that are famous for excellent wines. For some reason, though, the wines are only sold domestically and are not exported. We were really looking forward to it. But, sadly, when the governor made his announcement this morning, our wine tasting tour was cancelled. And it looks like the tours won’t start up again until the hysteria dies down. Sigh.

We went out for a walk after the governor’s announcement. The usual street vendors are almost all gone. Some businesses are closed altogether. The streets are empty. There are virtually no cars on the road. We could even cross the dangerous boulevard with no concern about oncoming traffic, which is unheard of. And we were the only pedestrians out. However, wise we think the governor is, it still breaks our heart to see how badly all the local businesses are hurting, financially speaking — particularly the tourist based businesses.

Ever since we arrived in Ensenada, Christi has been feeling eternally tired and out of it. She blamed the hard and fast run north. She figured her body needed time to recuperate and she would be feeling back to normal. And she was right. Today she woke up feeling like her usual self.

Today is the two year anniversary from when we left home on our journey. We are pretty impressed with ourselves. We said two years from San Diego to San Diego, and when all is said and done it will be two years and three days. Are we obsessive compulsive planners or what?

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