Live From Mexico: Avoiding Swine Flu While Working on That Tan

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Photo: Everett Bogue; Photo: Getty Images, istockphoto

Because New York staffers live for thrills, Emma Rosenblum is on vacation in Mexico, swine flu be damned. This is her pandemic report from the front lines (er, beach).

Yesterday morning my boyfriend and I left for Cancun, but not without a 5 a.m. debate about changing plans.

"What's wrong with Puerto Rico?" I asked.

"We can't tip-toe through life!" my boyfriend replied.

So we went. I didn't want to be a neurotic New York cliché, even though I had scary quarantine visions floating through my head. And now, what was supposed to be a romantic vacation with my boyfriend has turned into an anxiety-ridden exploration of a global health crisis.

Our JetBlue flight was about half full; the older gent in front of us asserted to anyone who would listen that Cancun was disease-free (I didn't feel like ruining his trip by informing him that all the New Yorkers with swine flu had recently been there). When we arrived, we only saw one person in the eerily quiet airport wearing a mask.

I decided to crack a joke with the Mexican customs officer. "Will we be able to get back into the States?"

He frowned. "Yes, I think." You think?

By the time we got to our hotel, the U.S. had recommended canceling all non-essential travel to Mexico. Whoops. Our waiter at dinner seemed unconcerned: "No one died here; if you don't go in crowds, you'll be fine." Fair enough?

The tourists I've spoken to seem relatively unfazed. "I'm not worried," said a woman who'd arrived from Ohio last Friday. "I'm not kissing any Mexicans." Her companion mentioned that two men at their hotel were wearing masks — but they were working construction, so she assumed the masks weren't swine-flu related.

Another woman and her husband flew in from Colorado yesterday morning without any problem.

"All my friends keep writing worried posts on my Facebook page; I had to post a CDC link so that they got the right information. We are really reading about it and think there's hardly any risk for us. We're not going to party in Cancun," she said, adding, "Though if I were you, I might be concerned about flying back to New York."

For now, everyone seems to feel okay, though I'm debating having my mom FedEx a Tamiflu prescription. Wish you were here!