For the past week, Lief and I, along with all Paris and all France and those in a number of other countries, too, have been on lockdown.
The rules aren’t as strict here as in Italy.
From our apartment in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, we can go to the supermarket or the pharmacy.
It’s also been OK to go for walks, but, starting today, that’s interdict unless you have a dog. Lief has joked that maybe we should look into adopting one.
Every time we venture out, we must complete an official form stating our reason. The gendarme are patrolling. If you can’t produce a properly filled out form indicating a legitimate reason for being out on the streets when they stop you, you could be fined as much as 135 euros. Last Wednesday, the French police handed out 4,095 of these tickets.
Paris is not the worst place to be at a time like this. But, if I could be anywhere in the world today, it would be Panama…
Indeed, the plan had been for me to return to Panama last Thursday. However, my Air France flight was cancelled when Panama imposed restrictions on travelers from Europe.
In the days since, Panama’s restrictions have expanded to include anybody from anywhere. The country’s borders are now closed completely to travelers.
Goods, of course, remain welcome, and, yes, the Panama Canal is in business.
Generally, though, the country is in a state of emergency. Schoolchildren are at home, and, starting today, all businesses (with the exception of the Canal and others that are likewise considered essential) must shut their doors completely.
Our IT crew worked over the weekend to make sure all our staff has all the equipment they need to work efficiently from their homes indefinitely.
Visits to the supermarket are being managed by cedula numbers. If yours ends in a 7, for example, you can shop from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m.
Had I acted sooner, I’d be there following those rules, too. My plan had been to spend a couple of days in Panama City and then to travel out to Los Islotes, the 200-acre community Lief and I are creating on the Pacific coast of Panama’s Azuero Peninsula.
I can’t think of a better place to ride out this storm.
Friends and neighbors Peg and April, full-time residents at Los Islotes, are living it up right now.
Peg posted an update in our new Overseas Living Clubhouse yesterday:
“This beautiful beach is within our quarantine zone just 7 minutes away from our house also shown here. We are not worried. Salt water cures everything.”
Some places are better than others in times of global emergency, and I’d argue that few compare with the sanctuary of Los Islotes, where you can feel you’ve left the world behind entirely. No special permission needed to stroll down to the beach anytime you want.
Others are posting in our new virtual community—our Overseas Living Clubhouse—and I’m enjoying their daily reports of how social distancing and sheltering in place are playing out in different parts of the world…
Perpetual travelers Paul and Vicki Terhorst posted from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico…
Not too far up the coast from the Terhorsts, Senior Correspondent Lee Harrison is still walking his dog on the beach every day…
Friend and attorney João Figueira has reported in to fellow Clubhouse members from his home in Lisbon:
“This is what Avenida da Liberdade in Lisbon looked like this morning (I went to the office today, across the street from where I am taking this picture).
“For those of you that never been here, what’s missing are 150 cars, 10 electric scooters, and the 100 people who stayed home…”
Meanwhile, your fellow reader Lee Brownsword checked in from the beach in northeast Brazil…
What’s happening in your corner of the world? Are you locked down… sheltering in place… and, if so, how are you filling your days?
More important, what are you hoping to do when the dust settles?
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be?
I’d love to hear your thoughts over at our Overseas Living Clubhouse…
Whether you have an idea of where you want to go… or are overwhelmed by all your options… you’ll find support from this community of global experts, expats, and your fellow readers.
I’m checking in regularly… and very much hope to see you there.