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A trip to Honduras

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Honduras, along with a number of other countries in Central America and the Caribbean region has been hit by a devastating hurricane called Eta.

The winds and the rains have devastated communities in the region, leaving millions affected: dead, displaced with destroyed houses and crops. All happens during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemics, which complicates the situation and the response greatly.

In order to respond to the humanitarian needs, together with my colleagues, we are planning a fact finding emergency mission to Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua (for now, later other countries may be included), so that we can support the humanitarian partners in their relief operations.

I am leaving Panama City for Tegucigalpa on Saturday and should stay in Honduras for around two weeks.

As usual, watch this space for additional updates!

A visit to the Pomerania Euro Region

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After hours of discussions with Mum, with have chosen that this autumn, we will travel to the Pomerania Euro Region, more exact: Usedom, the island shared between Germany and Poland. We start our trip, this coming Saturday, and will take a route through Poland and Germany. The trip is long, as it is 900 km. Good news is that both Mum and I can drive, so we should be fine. We thought, it was safer to take a private car, rather than a train, bus or a plane, given the threats related to the COVID pandemic. We will stay on the Polish side, in the town of Swinoujscie, but will be visiting both sides of the island. We decided to go there, as the place is meant to be beautiful, full of opportunities for walking and cycling, not crowded (important in the era of COVID) and with excellent infrastructure, when it comes to cosy lodging and tourist activities. Some of the attractions and features of the Usedom Island (both sides of the border) are well described on this website in English.

We shall stay on the Baltic Sea for 5 days. After the visit, we are returning to Nowy Sacz, where I spend the last week, before returning to Panama.

Enjoying family, friends and nature in Poland

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Beskid Sadecki Range, Krynica, Poland, October 2020

The trip from Spain to Poland went uneventful, and this is wonderful news.

I am now in Nowy Sacz with my mother, and have already seen my brother and some of my neighbour friends. I feel at ease doing so, as I appear to be healthy and without any symptoms of COVID for well over a week now (this was precisely why I decided to carry out the self-imposed quarantine in Krakow).

The weather here in the south of Poland is wonderful. It is a bit chilly, but then the sky is blue, there is lots of sunshine, and the early autumn colours of the tree leaves make everything look magic.

I am still teleworking this week, and only starting my holiday as of this weekend that is coming. No idea what we will be doing yet, but surely when the plans are clearer, I will all let you know.

In the meanwhile, in case you were interested, here are some pictures from
Madrid & Toledo and under this link from Krakow, which I took, on the way to Nowy Sacz. I will not surprise you by writing that I am planning to share with you more photo galleries from the south of the country in some days as well.

Made it to Spain!

E6AE0B22-1C0E-413E-8A67-DC1F0F2682B0_1_105_cChueca, Madrid, Spain, September 2020

I have managed to make it to Spain. Travelling through the airports of Panama City and Madrid was way easier than I had feared, though somehow a bit spooky, as they are still empty and clearly some people are scared to be there (I guess, they needed to travel, but still fearful for their health).

The centre of Madrid also looks better than I thought. You see people and some restaurants and businesses operate, however with some heavy biosecurity rules imposed. On the streets, essentially everyone wears masks, and somehow, I have a feeling that these have become a part of people's clothing.

I am going to see some Spanish friends today and tomorrow, and spend some time with them and their families (yes, they take a risk to see me).

If all goes to plan, on Monday, I am going to be travelling to Krakow via Amsterdam. There, I will be staying for five days, monitoring my health status, before I proceed to Nowy Sacz next Saturday. The plan is that I will keep on teleworking until 9th October, and after that, I will start my holiday. I should then be on my way to Panama at the end of the month.

So far so good! Hopefully the rest of the trip and the return to Panama City will go as painless!

Travelling to Europe for a month

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Centre of Krakow, Poland, July 2019

Travelling in the era of COVID in Americas is a challenge, but finally, after receiving a negative COVID tests, working out numerous charter flight options to fly to Europe (no commercial flights are allowed in Panama just yet), booking internal flights within Europe (restrictions also made this task difficult), arranging for my quarantine place in Krakow (before proceeding to Nowy Sacz), I am set to go to Poland. Before getting home in Nowy Sacz, I will pass through Madrid, Amsterdam and then Krakow. Madrid and Amsterdam are merely to change flights, but I will stay in Krakow for 5 days before I actually travel to Nowy Sacz to see my mother. As I already went through COVID myself, as you may remember, I am less likely to catch it again, but less likely does not seem that it is impossible. Therefore, even if not required by law, I will be isolating myself from older people, and live on my own in a rented apartment in Krakow for sometime, before joining the rest of the family and living with them for 3 weeks under the same roof…

It all sounds complicated and wired, but better safe than sorry! In any case, even if it still takes a while, before I see my loved ones, I am excited to be travelling again!

When in Europe, I will still be working for two weeks. With my employer, I have a deal that I will be allowed to work from my hotel/home, until the quarantine passes, and will only start the actual holidays, when I can enjoy more freedom, out of the major risk of being affected by the virus.

Wired times, wired measures I guess! I will try to have fun despite all of the tiredness! Watch this space for the updates!

Restrictions easing up at last?

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Casco Viejo, Panama City, August 2020

Yesterday, after weeks and weeks of the obligatory lockdown, we were allowed to walk again. As it is a second attempt of the Panamanian authorities to ease up the restrictions, we are all wondering whether they will last (last time, the restrictions were lifted only for five days)… to make sure that I do enjoy an opportunity out of the flat, I went for a longer walk. It was so enjoyable.

I am literally getting crazy in the flat… being on my own, without much opportunities to interact with other people has been very tough, and I am noticing are taking a toll on how I feel emotionally.

There is however more hope this time around. Except easing up the movement restrictions the government has announced a more detailed plan on how and when various sectors of the economy will open up (most of which should be operational by the end of October 2020)... Fingers crossed then!

I am now trying to find ways to fly to Europe to visit family in Nowy Sacz. Still no success there, but as soon s something comes up, I will let you know!

Back online!

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Panama City, June 2020


So it happened to me too. I caught coronavirus, and I was very sick for well over two weeks.

There will be opportunities to tell you more about my illness experience, but today, just wanted to assure you all that I am well, albeit still a bit weak, and apologise you for a longer break from writing updates.

I hope that you are all well and healthy on your side!

Here, I am certainly pleased to be back online!

The fifth month of the lockdown

77B489DF-933F-4282-ABF9-DCC96EA2AE98_1_105_cThe view on the centre of Panama City from the balcony of my apartment, April 2020

The month of July 2020 is certainly not the best one of my life, and is not the one that I will remember well. Instead of engaging with my usual work, and visiting projects in the continent, I am stuck at home, here in Panama, frustrated with lack of clarity on how much longer we will need to be under the lockdown. If additionally you take into consideration, the absolutely shambolic presidential elections (I am more referring to the style of it, rather than merely who won), as well as depressing pandemic situation in Panama and the rest of the continent, then it is easier to understand why I am not that enthusiastic over what is happening in my life.

I am however hanging in here okay, and looking forward for the times to get better! I hope you are all well, wherever you are reading this message.