Just being in Jersey

I got on an airplane yesterday. That’ll be my first one for much longer than usual.

Travel is not touted as being easy. I can only speak for travel to Jersey, but it’s been surpisingly fine both times since Covid kicked off – first by boat at the height of it and now by plane. We are led to expect the process of going anywhere to be an expensive hell of testing and waiting. It WILL be that expensive hell once they’ve sorted out the model. But right now it’s infrastructure testing. You can still get through things reasonably quickly and cheaply.

Jersey airport arrivals has turned into a labyrinth where the Minotaur is replaced by a friendly lady in terrifying nuclear protective gear who skillfully rubs a swab on your tonsils for just shy of the time it takes to make you puke, and then shoves it up your nose as you recover. The unnecessary ground you walk on arrival to get to her lair is no more than the unnecessary ground you walk on departure as you trudge your way through that shiny and terrible compulsory “duty free” shopping maze. I had no checked luggage, so I was through and out before the crowds. I blissfully avoided getting trapped in the labyrinth. I passed through reasonably efficiently. Maybe those with bags were less fortunate. But there seemed to be lots of efficient people doing tests. So long as it’s staffed it won’t turn into a horrorshow, even if it’s impossible to hire a car at the airport anymore.

Jersey pays for your test, and pays for the well staffed testing centre, so there’s no hidden cost to travel (yet). To go to Jersey just costs what you pay for in advance. No more. You might find that surprising.

The idea of travel is being discouraged quite heavily. If you go on the internet and look for basic travel stuff, you’ll quite quickly come up against info that tells you to be wary of going anywhere at all. The noises made by people hit with hidden costs will always be the loudest. Also, inevitably, travelers from the UK into Europe are going to be persona non grata (which if you voted Brexit is dirty foreign speak for people who you’re not happy to see). We will end up conflating the effects of Covid with the effects of Brexit, because we haven’t had any mass travel since we fully “took back control”. Even in Jersey, the French wine has run out in restaurants I’ve been to. Not the Portuguese wine, mind you. Just the French. But there’s worse to come I’m sure. Not that we should have access to the best things from all countries at all times. This pandemic might help us remember to be more seasonal and less stupidly demanding of everything all the time.

Anyway. I made it here. I didn’t have to sit right next to somebody on the planec either. I got my PCR for free and I’m not gonna have to do three like we did in May. Coming here, both in May and yesterday, both proved a great deal less stressful than I had anticipated – even though I had to quarantine a few days in May. The thing I’m most happy about is not having to answer the daily “YOU ARE AN OUTSIDER” text messages sent by the government of my home island.

Every day. Basically “you don’t belong here”. But I DO.

Who knows where it’ll land, all of the restrictions and constraints and fears and questions. For now I’m glad to be here, on my island, without any fucker trying to make me feel like I don’t belong here…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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