"Year of the Rat" or would it be aptly called "Year of the Wrath"? What do you think?
It's just the third month of the year yet we're inundated with much fear and uncertainty. The Australian bushfires, locusts swarm in East Africa, Jakarta flooding and now, COVID-19. The DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia) area have closed schools, canceled events, and most or all of office workers will be telecommuting for the next two weeks. This is to contain or slow the spread of the virus.
As of today, there are 12 cases in Maryland and out of precaution, Governor Hogan has declared a State of Emergency. The grocery store shelves are devoid of hand sanitizers, masks and toilet papers. Panic buying has taken over people's sanity. It's impossible for me to tune out the news media, as it is part of my job to monitor it especially for our members. I am not panicking. However, I am scared of catching the virus, as I am still immune compromised. We just have to stay calm and keep living our lives.
Now, onto a happier post.
Back in January, Kepi and I traveled to Iceland for the second time. COVID-19 wasn't a media hot commodity yet. It was a quick trip for five days. People thought we were crazy for leaving cold Maryland to a much colder Iceland, but that's what adventure is all about. The main purpose of this trip was to see the Aurora Borealis. Unfortunately, the whole time we were there it was cloudy and most of the time snowing. I have to tell you. My heart ached leaving Iceland without seeing the Aurora Borealis, so I bought a bunch of Icelandic chocolate to fill that void.
Below are a few of the photos from our trip. All photos were taken by iPhone.
|Perched on a high hill, Reyniskyrka Church watches over Vik.|
|Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik. I took this photo early in the morning while we were out for a walk.|
|The Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Beautiful view but the Sneaker Waves are deadly. The small dots on the photo are snowflakes.|
|Beautiful, towering Skogafoss. It's a favorite. In winter time, you have to be careful walking on the rocks because they're all covered in ice.|
|This is Tjornin or the Reykjavik City Pond. We enjoyed our long walks here. It's a very relaxing place to be.|
|This is the other side of Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. This is where two tourists were caught in a Sneaker Wave. They're both okay, but I think one suffered from hypothermia and has to be taken to one of the cottages for treatment.|
|The Sun Voyager is a popular place to take photos.|
|Our early morning walk searching for a place to eat breakfast.|
|The main road in Reykjavik painted with LGBT colors.|
|Hallgrimskirkja from a distance.|
|The highlight of our trip is hiking towards Solheimajokull Glacier. The hike was more than I could handle. We navigated through slippery rocks, drenched with rain and got pelted with hail.|
|Sadly, this glacier is shrinking rapidly. I hope that we can do something to help our rapidly warming environment.|
|Here's a perfect example of how the weather can change in a heartbeat in Iceland. This photo was taken when we just arrived at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Now, see the photo below after a few minutes.|
|Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach after hail storm. Of course, all the visitors ran for cover.|
We have two more trips planned this year, but they may be rescheduled or postponed for next year due to travel bans and restrictions. I am hoping the airlines will be easier to deal with.
I remain hopeful that we will get through this difficult time together.