Honduras travelers return home to Tahoe; Some local residents sheltering in Bali
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — After getting stuck in Honduras due to the coronavirus outbreak, Brian and Kim Cohen are finally back home.
The group they were traveling with got home a few days later than expected, on Wednesday, March 25.
Cohen said there was a lot of uncertainty during the week and he couldn’t relax until they got the ball rolling on traveling and actually got onto the plane.
They flew to Miami and then took a non-stop flight to San Francisco on an almost empty flight.
“There were 20 people on a big air bus,” Cohen said.
The Cohen’s own Overland Meat and Seafood Company in South Lake Tahoe and were navigating the closures from the Governor’s stay-at-home order from a distance.
Even though they are home, the Cohen’s are self-quarantining for the 14 days before returning to work.
Cohen said he is so grateful for his staff and the community’s support in keeping his business running.
“It’s pretty much business as usual,” Cohen said. They are open everyday 10 a.m.to 6 p.m. with the exception of Wednesday and Sunday.
Local residents in Bali
While the Cohen’s are lucky enough to return home, one South Lake Tahoe resident is stuck in Bali.
Leslie Broderson, manager at Tahoe Dive Center, set out on Jan. 1 for, what she hoped, would be a life-changing journey. She spent one month in Bali before heading Ambon, Indonesia for a two month scuba diving trip.
“As we watched the world unravel online we felt safe in our little bubble,” Broderson said in an email. “Ready to isolate there if needed. Then the virus arrived in our tiny paradise.”
The medical facilities on the island couldn’t handle the outbreak so Broderson had to cut her trip early to start heading home. She flew back to Bali but her flight to Taipei was canceled. With little options available, Broderson scheduled the next available flight through Taiwan, which is May 1.
“I am doing well and trust me, Bali is a paradise especially when I see a couple feet of snow falling in Tahoe,” Broderson said. “But getting home to my worried family and friends would be even better. Knowing I had adequate health care is a bonus as well.”
The upside to her predicament is that the people around her are willing to share, the place she’s sheltering has a pool and there isn’t a toilet paper craze in Bali.
South Shore resident Scott Hoffman is choosing to spend the crisis in Bali. He’s been traveling in Southeast Asia since mid-November and situated himself to shelter in Bali during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I am staying in Kuta Beach Bali, arguably one of the largest and most popular travel destinations in Southeast Asia,” Hoffman said in an email “Normally this area would have tons of traffic people crowd in the beaches in the streets.”
As of Monday, March 30, the area he is staying in is not on lockdown and he’s been able to surf and ride his motorbike around, all while video documenting his experience for his YouTube channel, Bangers Blog.
He said he chose to stay because of the cheap food and accommodations, friendly locals, having “paradise to myself,” and because he’s seen horror stories from other travelers trying to get home.
“A few people want me back home, to be as expected,” Hoffman said. “I’m 30 years old. Only I can make the decisions as intelligently as I can. No one can decide for me. I’ve been a south east asia traveler out of a backpack eight months over the past 2 years. This experience will only teach me more and will have a good story in the end.”
Both Broderson and Hoffman have been watching the situation play out in America. While Broderson said she misses the health care system in America, she’s disappointed in how America has handled the situation.
“People are locked in their house in America,” Hoffman said. “Here, I have more freedom to enjoy my day. Who knows, maybe the worst is yet to come for Indonesia. As for now, I know I am in a much better place here, than I am back home.”
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