​Coronavirus pandemic stalls globetrotters' trip in a Florida parking lot - GulfToday

​Coronavirus pandemic stalls globetrotters' trip in a Florida parking lot


Italian chef Aldo Giaquinto prepares breakfast for he and his wife Vera Kozlovskaia.

They have been traveling the world for four years on an ambitious trek that has taken them to 50 countries on five continents.

But the coronavirus pandemic has stopped the couple in their tracks. And now they have been stuck in Florida for two weeks, living in their car in a shopping center parking lot north of Miami, their visas about to expire.

"We had a dream," said Aldo Giaquinto, a 38-year-old Italian, "and our dream was to drive around the world with a car."

For four years they were able to live that dream.

globe3 Italian chef Aldo Giaquinto (L) and his wife Vera Kozlovskaia share their breakfast with people on a park near the Walmart parking lot.

But then came the pandemic. The travel restrictions imposed by country after country were like doors slamming around the world. And now, Giaquinto added, "We're stuck here in Florida."

Stranded but 'lucky'

And now, said Giaquinto, "we are stranded here in Florida."

Still, he added, "our life has not changed. Somehow we're lucky" and have stayed healthy.

With their tourist visas set to expire on Tuesday, however, the couple is growing increasingly nervous. They have applied for an extension but so far heard nothing back.

globe4 An aeriel view shows Italian chef Aldo Giaquinto grabbing supplies from his car parked in a Walmart parking lot.

So for now, their Toyota remains parked in front of a Walmart store in Hallandale, 20 miles (30 kilometers) north of Miami.

The car has become the couple's home. They sleep and wash up in it. The "kitchen" is a stove in the trunk. Internet connection comes free from nearby stores.

'Good people'

The couple normally relies on public facilities, like restrooms on public beaches, but "right now everything is closed," Kozlovskaia said. That, fortunately, does not include the nearby Walmart store.

The couple's Instagram account, @alvetoexpedition, tells of better times: visits to California's spectacular Lake Tahoe; to the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flats, in Bolivia; to the breathtaking Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors) in the Argentine Andes; to the mosques of Brunei, Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple and the Red Square in Moscow...

globe12 Italian chef Aldo Giaquinto (L) and his wife Vera Kozlovskaia clean a bowl using water stored in their car.


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And with so many new experiences under their belts, the couple has drawn up a long list of projects they hope to undertake back in Italy to help the environment.

But for now, everything has come to a halt. They hope to get their visas extended and then wait out the virus in Florida until the crisis passes and they're able to travel to Africa.

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