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Quarantine Diaries, Day 21

21:00 Thinking about Cruise ships also reminded me of SAIL - a once-every-five year nautical gala that Amsterdam is due to host in August. Hundreds of boats and ships of all shapes, sizes, provenance and vintage descend onto Amsterdam’s waters and docks for five days. The atmosphere that week is celebratory with many parties, special events and firework shows1. Here is a video from five years ago to give you a sense of just how unique this event is:

(the distant song you hear was playing on one of the ships)

I have a sinking feeling (always a bad one to have when talking about ships) that SAIL 2020 might get called off this year. Perhaps they’ll merely postpone it to 2021 - just like the olympics.

20:00 A lot of mental fatigue of being home has been from deciding what to have for our next meal. Today we put down a weekly schedule of 3 meals a day + some extra choices on the side to give us a little bit of wiggle room. Let’s see if we stick to the timetable, roll the dice or end up making something completely different.

10:00 Come April and cruise ships start arriving in Amsterdam at a regular cadence. Given the deaths and misery caused by the pandemic this year, especially on the cruise ships, it’s no surprise that they haven’t come calling yet. There are also tens of smaller river cruises that you usually see docked on the way to the north entrance of Centraal Station. They’ve vanished from the landscape too. There’s no telling when either would be back. Given that the demographic that favours cruises is also the demographic that the coronavirus is most lethal to, it’s unlikely we’ll see any this year. I have mixed feelings about the current plight of this industry. My view used to be a lot harsher because of the high environmental cost of cruise ships. As I’ve come to realise that for a lot of people this is probably the only viable way to see the world (quite possibly for the last time), I’ve turned somewhat sympathetic. Cruise ships now remind me of the old man from Up who wants to go see the world and after the death of his wife jerry rigs his house with balloons so that he can go travel. Cruise ships are that house with balloons for a lot of people.

A cruise ship departs Amsterdam in Sep 2019A cruise ship departs Amsterdam in Sep 2019


  1. The only downside is that for those five days, the smell of burnt diesel in the air is palpable.

Up next Quarantine Diaries, Day 20 Quarantine Diaries, Day 22
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