What Do You Do When a Global Pandemic Hits While You’re Surfing Abroad?


The day I left New York City for Managua, things were almost still normal. Subways were packed, offices were full and bars and restaurants bristled and jangled as they do in the city. While there had been a handful of cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, reported within the state, no one was wearing any masks. Not yet.

I had been due in the Philippines for a freelance assignment—to tour a burgeoning new rum distillery, take some photos, get the back story, pontificate on the finer points of rum making, etc. It wasn’t a vacation per se—in my 9 to 5 life, I am a “service journalist,” which means I write reviews of everything from kitchen knives to coolers, fishing rods to patio furniture—but certainly a very welcome change of pace. And while I was over there, I figured I might as well tack on a few extra days to chase the rum with some…

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