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Transportation Dilemma

To get to the stunning view over the Forbidden City from the top of Jingshan Park's Coal Hill, you have two options: climb the 400 or so steps, or hire these porters and their sedan chair. However tempting that was, my wife (in the background) and I chose the former.

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Coronavirus

Masks And Me: Take This Pandemic Story At Face Value

Even if COVID cases are rising again, the author isn't ready to mask up again. But she's also not quite ready to say goodbye forever...

Photo of someone holding a surgical mask

Hold on to your mask. For COVID, or maybe the flu? And then there are the memories...

Emma Albright

-Essay-

PARIS — Waiting in line at the pharmacy the other day, I heard a customer ask for a COVID-19 test. The pharmacist let out a long sarcastic sigh: “We’re still doing those?”

Of course they are, as cases are again rising ahead of winter here in France and many other places around the world. But the true sign of the depth of our collective COVID fatigue were the masks at the pharmacy. That is, there were none, not even the pharmacist was wearing one, even if a sign hangs in front saying they’re required.

The regular announcements that have begun airing again on French radio about the importance of masks in containing the virus sound beside the point. Indeed, wearing masks is no longer a requirement anywhere in France, merely a suggestion.

Still, masks have by no means gone away, either in society, or my mind. That becomes clearest when I’m riding the metro in Paris. As I count the ratio of masked to non-masked, and hear the daily announcements on the benefits of wearing one, a dilemma starts to creep in…

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