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North Hampton man recounts being in Ecuador when pandemic hit – Information –

NORTH HAMPTON – In years to come back, when tales are written of the historic COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, Bob Rand may have a outstanding story to inform.The 77-year-old retired gross sales govt is again in his North Hampton residence, having fun with New Hampshire’s shoreline along with his spouse, Sherry, and along with his daughter Kris McClelland close by in Hampton. However for months, his return residence was a dicey proposition, for Rand was in Ecuador when the coronavirus pandemic shut down nations and borders everywhere in the world.For the final 10 years, Rand has spent winters in Ecuador’s capital of Quito the place his son, Courtroom, runs a bike rental enterprise. Rand raves in regards to the nation, the local weather, tradition, meals, biodiversity and the actions the South American nation on the Pacific Coast presents.Typically his spouse travels with him for the annual three-month tour, however this 12 months Rand went alone. He arrived Jan. 29 along with his return flight booked for mid-April. However his greatest laid plans have been waylaid by the virus. And since Rand is a most cancers survivor, COVID-19 offered a threat not solely to his well being, however to his life.The shelter-in-place order got here down for Rand in Ecuador on March 16, about the identical time as in New Hampshire. However there was a distinction.“We were told by the government of Ecuador to isolate in place for two weeks,” Rand stated. “It was a real lockdown. They had an abundance of police in Quito to enforce the order. You pay attention to police down there.”Weeks progressed and industrial flights have been canceled. By the top of March, Rand was monitoring the American Embassy in Ecuador, which supplied a couple of flights out to People stranded within the nation. Termed “humanitarian flights,” they flew out of Quito’s airport, Rand stated, however with a grueling itinerary on navy planes with no meals or water out there.Together with his immune system compromised as a consequence of earlier rounds of chemotherapy, Rand determined to move that up.“I figured (the shelter-in-place order) wasn’t going to last that long and I’d be able to book with an American airline when it was over,” he stated.Neither did Rand think about remaining in Ecuador as a hardship. A nation situated between the Pacific Ocean, Columbia to the north and Peru to the east and south, as its title signifies, Ecuador is situated proper on the equator. Rand stated it has all kinds of pure wonders to supply, just like the Andes Mountains, the ocean and entry to the Amazon River Basin.“Quinto is at 9,350 feet above sea level,” Rand stated. “The temperature rarely gets above 80 or so degrees because of the altitude. It’s spring there all year round.”SEACOAST CORONAVIRUS NEWS IS FREE: This content material is being offered totally free as a public service to our readers. Join our free day by day or breaking e mail newsletters and Seacoast Well being publication to remain knowledgeable. Please help native journalism by subscribing to or by subscribing to Quickly the unique two-week order was not solely prolonged, however curfews have been additionally established permitting individuals to drive someday per week and for just a few hours a day. However Rand remained constructive.“We were doing fine except for the self isolation and business shutdown,” he stated. “I was isolating with my son and three other guys in a beautiful home in Quito. They never stopped delivering water and propane to us. We had plenty of food and we were an eight-minute walk from a (large store). We had everything we needed.”However March turned April and April rolled on. United Airways started flying out of Ecuador, and Rand booked a seat on the Thursday, April 30 flight. However he by no means made it.“I picked up something and I got sick the day before the flight,” Rand stated.He isn’t positive what the sickness was; he was over it inside a day or two. He was in a position to get one other seat on the Could 11 flight. After a layover in Houston, Texas, he arrived at Logan in Boston on Could 12, the place Sherry was ready to take him residence.One of many first issues the couple did was take a drive alongside the coast, he stated, ending up at Petey’s for a takeout fish dinner.Mates and his daughter have been calling, he stated, however he’s nonetheless honoring New Hampshire’s shelter-in-place order.“I feel the best I have in three or four years,” he stated. “I am very happy to be home.”

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Jung Min-seo


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