Corona Diary - travelling in Southeast Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic (PART 1)
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
I was walking on the highway. It was raining lightly, and it was late afternoon, the dusk was slowly setting in. No, I was not trying to commit suicide, I was attempting to cross the border from Austria into my country, and all the smaller border crossings were closed. Two policemen were manning the checkpoint and they were looking at me with a suspicious gaze as I walked towards them. Not that I could blame them: I would be suspicious about myself, too, if I were in their shoes. I was wearing a pair of dark green army-style pants, as well as a black softshell jacket with a hood over my head to shield me from the rain. I was wearing a surgical protective mask that covered most of my face. My skin was dark, too - tanned from months spent under the equatorial sun. I was carrying a backpack and dragging a heavy bag, which was making a steady rumbling noise as I trod on the highway. Occasionally, a heavy truck drove past as I approached the checkpoint. In that situation, I must have looked very alien to them. And to make it even stranger, I was crossing a highway border crossing on foot. An immigrant who has lost his way, perhaps. An interloper, his intentions unknown.
But I am getting ahead of myself. The whole story began a few months earlier, in December 2019...