I have not blogged for slightly over a month. Thanks to DS for contributing a few entries in the past weeks.

I thought I would have some happy news to share when I next post an entry but it turned out to be a sad news…. 😦

After weeks of “researching” and planning, I was all excited and satisfied to have finally drafted my itinerary for a two-week, free-and-easy holiday in Hokkaido. It is a holiday which DS and I have been talking about and looking forward to. We were scheduled to leave on Thursday (21 May) night, for Sapporo (our first-stop in Hokkaido), via Tokyo.

Hokkaido booklets

Unfortunately, with the sudden outbreak of the H1N1 cases and the rapid increase in the numbers since the past weekend in Japan, we painfully decided to abandon our travel plan for now. Although Hokkaido is far from the two affected areas (Osaka and Kobe), I was extremely uncomfortable in taking any risk given the fact that I have a weak body resistance and I am prone to infections, especially ENT (ear, nose and throat) infections that always lead to running nose and sore throat. Furthermore, travel insurance does not cover anything related to H1N1. I only found out about it when I spoke with the agency this morning.

What a timing, isn’t it? I feel really sad, but I would rather be safe than to be sorry later.

I had a busy morning calling the airlines (SQ and ANA) and insurance company, and talking to various parties to cancel all my bookings. Fortunately, SQ was kind enough to allow a cancellation as a result of this exceptional situation.

One small consolation though – I have yet to make my hotel arrangements or it would be even more tedious to sort out cancellations with the hotels. In the past weeks, I had basically identified the hotels that we are going to put up in the various locations in Hokkaido, and I also made some enquiries to them, including a car rental company. We were planning to drive in Hokkaido, for the first time in all our travels all these years. We have heard that driving in Hokkaido is very pleasant and enjoyable – the roads there are broad and straight and the scenery during spring is beautiful – so we were keen to have that experience.

So, here’s my tips on accommodation arrangements for those who new to a free-and-easy holiday.

  • Identify the hotels that you plan to put up, check out all the necessary information, and have an alternative hotel on standby as well, in case your first choice is fully booked.
  • Do not book your hotel until it is very close to your departure date, perhaps just one or two days before departure, depending on your destinations.

The last time we had to cancel a holiday at the eleventh hour was September 2001, when we were scheduled to depart for San Francisco on 12 Sep, just one day after the 911 incident that rocked the whole world. We only made it to San Francisco in May 2002.

It is sad that our lives seemed to be under more threats these days…..new communicable diseases like bird flu, SARS (in 2003) and now H1N1 flu, terrorists attacks, food scandals caused by humans, global warming, etc. etc. Aren’t we supposed to expect to live better as the society and the world progresses?


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