Guy de la Bédoyère is a writer and historian. Normally he organizes his own road trips to the Western US, but with options limited he took a package tour to Rhodes along with hundreds of other Brits desperate to escape the misery at home.
I’m sitting on a Rhodes beach basking in the late October sun. Were I back home in Lincolnshire, I would be lurking in my living room, watching the rain teem down while the radio blithers away with a barrage of Covid-related gloom. Indeed, it is almost impossible to overstate the psychological benefits of being here, strolling the quiet streets of a Greek island under the pure autumn light, at an otherwise chaotic time like this.
As far as I’m concerned Britain’s response to this virus is entirely overblown, given its low mortality rate compared to past epidemics. In September 1665, London alone was losing the proportionate equivalent today of 130,000 people per week.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that just 40 years ago Britain experienced, annually, around 50,000 more deaths than the current average annual rate, and had done since 1950. Before that it was even higher – the tragic paradox of Covid-19 is that it is, to a large extent, the result of modern medicine, diet and living conditions that have kept vulnerable people alive for far longer than ever before.
Furthermore, as a historian, it goes to illustrate just how little we have progressed from the superstitious-driven medieval mentality of our past. Today’s ‘experts’ and their sketchy ‘science’ have replaced Rome’s soothsayers. Driven half-demented by the discovery they are not gods after all and thus unable to abolish death and sickness, the powers-that-be are resorting to ever more futile measures, only to blame the public when they don’t work.
At this stage, our government, egged on by SAGE members who compete for increasingly apocalyptic headlines, has done almost everything possible to drag us all into this self-fulfilling spiral of despair. Fear of this virus is being pumped into British people’s homes like mustard gas. But Covid-19 is like a cockroach hiding under the skirting board. It never vanished over summer, it just re-emerged when the coast was clear.
三级成人视频As the Welsh authorities cordon off microwaves and socks in supermarkets in the supposed interests of saving lives, life here in Rhodes is, on the other hand, operating fairly normally. My wife and I aren’t usually ones for package holidays. For years, we’ve been taking extensive self-organised trips in the Western United States, but with any prospect of that shot to pieces for the foreseeable we plumped for a desperate escape here with a tour company instead. At least this way, they have to get us home somehow.
Even in advance of travel, both the British and Greek governments appear to be operating under the ‘you’re not here to enjoy yourselves’ school of thought. The Greeks require completion of a ‘passenger locator form’ after which tourists are sent a QR code the night before departure. This code determines at random whether or not you’ll be tested at the airport upon arrival. Anecdotal evidence suggests that testing is increasing. I was one such lucky subject.
三级成人视频The FCDO website did warn that a test could result in a 24-hour compulsory quarantine, followed by a fortnight as a guest of the Greek government should one test positive. In response to that advice, and a raft of online horror stories, we nearly cancelled the trip at the last minute. Thank goodness we didn’t.
No precautionary quarantine was ordered; my untested wife and I were free to move to our hotel, and I heard nothing of the results thereafter, which either means I tested negative or that the whole ordeal is just for show. Either way, it does illustrate the absurdity of travellers being tested upon arrival rather than departure. Surely it would be more sensible to identify Covid-positive passengers before they get the chance to infect the rest of a plane? It’s more than absurd, actually, it’s downright insane.
三级成人视频Our hotel, which we picked without much thought from our travel operator’s website, is filled largely with overweight high-risk over-60s Britons. Judging from the accents, most are Tier 2 and 3 refugees who’ve had enough of Project Fear. If death is indeed imminent, they’re determined to expire in the sun, stuffed with spoils from the glass panel-shielded all-you-can-eat buffet – topless, in the case of at least three growing-old-disgracefully guests we spotted by the pool.
三级成人视频They were followed two days after we arrived by absconders from the Jacobite Reich (I discovered, a few weeks ago, that ‘contagion rules’ is an anagram of ‘Nicola Sturgeon’ – which I mention merely for the record). There are French and Israelis here too, and lots of Germans.
三级成人视频Masks aren’t compulsory in hotels, which is just as well. The warm temperatures make it impossible to wear one for more than a minute without one’s face developing an unpleasant film of bacteria-infested sweat. In practice, they are worn only on buses, in taxis or shops.
Elsewhere in Rhodes, most of the bars and restaurants are fairly empty though the hotels are moderately busy. There are Covid signs around, and plenty of hand-sanitiser.
三级成人视频The joys of Rhodes include the fabulous medieval walled Old Town and its Grand Master’s Palace. Like a set from Game of Thrones, the tiny winding streets are packed with decaying old mosques, cats, shops and restaurants – and currently it’s practically devoid of tourists. They’re mostly by the hotel pools.
The sensational Acropolis at Lindos was a different story – very busy, with coachloads of Germans off a cruise ship, which astonished us. For many working in the industry, this is no bad thing. I’m delighted in the knowledge that as tourists, we’re helping to keep the people of Rhodes in work, as well as those at Stansted and at our airline.
Rhodes isn’t an idyll and it might be bedlam at the airport when we fly home, but we don’t care. We’ve seen some amazing sights, enjoyed the sun, and reminded ourselves that – contrary to what our Government back home is peddling – this isn’t the end of days.