PM360 recently spoke to Mark Weihmann, Director, Managed Markets Marketing at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, about traveling the world and being in China right before the pandemic.
PM360: When did you get started with traveling?
Mark Weihmann: Even though I have always liked to travel it was not until I first saw Crocodile Dundee in the movies that the travel bug bit me. Luckily, I have cousins in Australia and within two months after seeing the movie I was in Australia and visiting Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, and the outback!
How frequently do you take trips?
I try to take at least two trips every year. In January 2020, we went to India and Hong Kong, so we got that trip in pre-COVID-19 pandemic. If not for COVID-19 I would have been on a trip to Austria, Germany, and Hungary (literally as I type these words in May 2020).
What did you do while in India and Hong Kong?
In India we were in Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra, which is where the Taj Mahal is—it was stunning. Jaipur is known as the “Pink City” and the fort there and other old buildings were amazing. Hong Kong was also great and after the hectic hustle and bustle of India and it’s 1.3 billion citizens it seemed almost “calm” and quiet (but is still hectic in its own right). Going to the top of Victoria’s Peak and taking the ferry across Hong Kong Harbor at night was dazzling and the food was amazing.
Since you were there in January, what was it like in those early days of COVID-19?
In India they were reporting on COVID-19 as a “strange new virus” in the newspapers and TV very early in January. We Googled to see where Wuhan, China was in relation to Hong Kong as that was our next destination and felt a lot better knowing Wuhan was quite a distance from Hong Kong (at least before the global spread that started in February/March).
We had our temperatures taken when entering Hong Kong with temperature scanners in full biohazard suits “greeting us” when we got to the arrivals terminal. On the flipside, there were no temperature checks or extra steps when we left Hong Kong for the U.S.
Thankfully we were not exposed to COVID-19 and we left for home about 10 days or so before things really started picking up in China. But I would definitely recommend visiting either Hong Kong or India once we all get through the pandemic!
What have been some of your other favorite places you visited?
I have been fortunate to go to Australia, Russia, South Africa, Poland, Italy, France, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Germany, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, various Caribbean Islands, and to most of the 50 states so far. I particularly loved Morocco and India as we were invited to some local people’s homes and shared a traditional meal with a family. You learn a lot more about people and a culture when in their home and helping to make the meal.