Travellers in a pandemic in Uruguay – Where are they now? (Part 1)

The coronavirus pandemic trapped them in a country they did not know, yet they adopted it as their refuge. Where are these travellers a year later?
By Karen A Higgs
Last updated on March 26, 2021
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Kate & Jao: Russia to Rocha

Ekaterina ‘Kate’ Chernysheva’s story was like something out of a film. In March 2020, the Russian and her French partner, engineer Jao, were cycling along the litoral, 100% offline, when they found the Uruguay-Argentine border closed and discovered they were in a pandemic. Incredibly, the closest town—where they sought shelter—was San Javier, a town founded by Russian immigrants, from a neighbouring town to Kate’s own, over a century earlier.

Impressed by her curriculum in the hospitality industry in Emirates, I had introduced Kate to the owner of a luxury hotel in Punta Del Diablo. In October Kate and Jao left their adoptive home in San Javier and cycled across the country to start work at Remanso del Diablo.

Despite the pandemic, the hotel had a good season and Kate is looking forward to some time off and the opportunities the low season brings. Their journey has been challenging for different reasons especially as they didn’t speak Spanish at the time they landed in Uruguay. But given the climate of uncertainty in the world, the couple are grateful that they were stranded in Uruguay of all places and are hoping to stay here for the time being.

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