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Locked down but not out in Italy

Singing from the balconies! One nice thing about this crisis ... solidarity! “Guess you’re not living like a tourist anymore,” was the funny, truthful and somewhat gut-wrenching message of a friend the day the lockdown in Italy began. Today is day 6. My beloved Italia has been hit hard with the COVID19 epidemic. With the second largest elderly population in the world, the epidemic has meant a disproportionate amount of deaths in the country. So though I haven’t been worried about contracting it myself, this isn’t about me or someone like me who, if contracted it would probably have a sucky couple of weeks and then recover. It is about if someone like me contracted it and then spread it to a person with a complicated health history or an elderly person with a weakened immune system. Eerily orderly: Lines for the grocery store, each person one meter apart In a country with no concept (and no physical room really) for personal space, and in a city with reproachable hygie

Two different Isola del Giglio(s)

Isola del Giglio 2008

I am still on my break in the U.S., and it is always a little strange to hear news about Italy (let's face it, my defacto home) when I am outside of the country. And the news and images these days from Isola del Giglio, a tiny island of the coast of Tuscany, have been a bit mind-blowing. 

I know the island pretty well after a long weekend of some rather posh camping and boating along its shores. In fact, that I dared call it a "camping" trip made some of my outdoorsy friends huff when they saw the pictures. 

Camp site among palm trees

Breakfast at the camp site cafe

Boating around the Island

Swimming in turquoise water
In this light, it is an absolute non sequitur to think of that calm beautiful little island as the scene of a major cruise ship accident... It is so odd in fact to reconcile the two that, instinctively, I just want to close my eyes, and preserve my own memories of Isola del Giglio: a serene, sparkling, inviting little island where three years ago a group of friends and I enjoyed a holiday weekend. 

If it is strange and difficult for me to see the pictures in the news, I can only imagine what it is like for the family and friends of those who lost loved ones. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those people.