I’ve spent the last five nights in Christchurch due to my replanned itinerary after my Dunedin Fringe show being cancelled.
As it turns out, the entire Dunedin Fringe festival has been cancelled in the past week due to the coronavirus.
Despite my petulance and moaning about ticket sales at my other shows, I’m lucky I did get to perform any of them and that the festivals even went ahead in the first place. At the moment, the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe hangs in the balance. The organisers are still insisting that it’s going ahead, mainly so they don’t have to give refunds for registration fees to thousands of performers.
In other places I’ve visited on this trip, I’ve made an effort to get out and see things. But the mood has changed pretty dramatically within the last week due to that pesky virus. As a result, I’ve mainly tried to avoid contact with people. Although this isn’t the easiest thing to do when staying in hostels.
I also tracked down one of the last remaining face masks in Christchurch.
And I’ve been desperately hoping that the sniffles and sore throat I’ve got isn’t anything more serious. The sniffle started on Stewart Island after the colder temperatures there, so there.
Originally, I’d booked to fly home on 25 March. But the airline I’m flying with changed my flights early last month due to the coronavirus. In another strange coincidence, the end of the day tomorrow is when New Zealand closes its borders, stops flights, and goes into lockdown.
I’m going via Hong Kong, which will close its borders with NZ minutes after my flight arrives there. It’s all feeling a lot of like Indiana Jones rolling underneath a closing door. I’ll make sure none of my hats get left behind.
Being caught in the midst of a global pandemic isn’t quite how I saw my trip ending. Still, it’s certainly a new experience – just not one I’d choose.