Photographer's Note

Thailand - Koh Phi Phi - Return/Escape from Paradise

Some of you may remember that after my retirement last year I decided to take a longer trip to Asia.
I left in the beginning of November and I planned to return in early spring.
What I absolutely couldn't imagine at the time was that a virus would break out that would conquer the world and eventually force me to return earlier.
Hence the title of the picture.

Last week in Thailand I received several messages from friends and former colleagues that our country was planning to close the borders (as many other countries in Europe and in the world) and that a lot of flights would be canceled.
Belgium had called on all its nationals to return home as soon as possible.
Around the same time several Asian countries had closed their borders for foreign tourists (Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, India). Meanwhile probably several more.

Thailand had not yet done so but the number of people infected by the coronavirus grew suddenly stronger all over Southeast Asia.
Soon after China, some people in Southeast Asian countries were infected by the corona virus but in most countries those numbers remained rather limited for a long time. It’s only recently after the major outbreak in Europe and North America that the problem started rapidly increasing in Southeast Asia.

It became clear to me that I had to return to Belgium soon.
Since I could advance my return ticket only by two days, I had to buy a new one, an expensive ticket which was a financial loss for me but there wasn’t much choice and I could fly the next day.

So now I’m home already for 4 days. Today I heard in the news that thousands of countrymen are trapped in many different places around the world.
I realize that I may not complain. I definitely wanted to avoid getting stuck in another country while there was a lockdown.

That lockdown does exist in Belgium. We cannot go outside for unnecessary trips.
During four and a half months I experienced very busy and sometimes hectic situations in Asia and now I do find myself in a very very quiet Belgium. I seem to have come back in a different society.

But again, I should not complain. Remembering what I read about the situation in China and hearing how terrible the situation today is in Italy and in Spain, it is not that bad for me.

I wonder how all TE members are doing.
Hereby also my best wishes that in these strange times all may go well for everyone.

I note that this site too has not remained unchanged during my absence and where did the beta site go???

The pictures are taken on the islands of Koh Phi Phi (on Koh Phi Phi Don and on Koh Phi Phi Leh) in the south of Thailand, normally a very very touristic destination but in these times without Chinese visitors and also without certain European nationalities a bit less busy.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6217 W: 22 N: 14711] (58393)
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