Tuesday 03 August 2021 – Auckland.
There is a knock on the hotel room door, ‘Good morning, health check!’ booms the cheery voice from outside. Mask on, we open the door to be greeted by someone in full PPE (Hands up anyone who knew what PPE meant before Covid-19), we have our temperature taken and are asked how we feel. 30 seconds and it is done, the only regular daily contact with someone from outside the room.
Quarantine, Day 2, Monday
We started our second day at 7:00 am with a Zoom call with friends Paul and Paula; Paula in London and Paul at their holiday home in Liria, Valencia, where we have enjoyed a number of holidays. We have been remotely watching TV with them on a weekly basis since the start of lockdown and are currently watching the series Russian Doll. It was great to be able to carry on with normal things from the other side of the world. Admittedly they were drinking wine and brandy and we were eating breakfast, so it was not quite normal, I should have had a brandy with my coffee.
Breakfast arrived as we watched. I was expecting a repeat of yesterday’s cereal, but today it was pancakes with banana and maple syrup, and it was a good as it sounds. I have gotten fat during the last few weeks and am now the heaviest I have ever been. I had some vague hope of losing some of the fat while in isolation, but this seems completely forlorn and I have no idea why even thought that, the food has been plentiful and nice. Tomorrow we are going to ask for no ‘treats’ in our food package. (This has yet to happen).
Here is the room, pre-covid test result and tidy up. 6 metres at the widest, else a 4m by 4m box with a bathroom.
Note the masks hanging on the door handle and key card. We have to wear masks at all times outside of our room, even in the outside exercise area.
We got the great news of negative Covid tests around mid-day so were issued the fabled and crucial ‘blue band’ which we have to wear when we leave the room.
We are allowed out to walk in an area out the front of the hotel any time of the day, as long as there is space, you have to ring reception first. We can also book a time slot to walk on a roof terrace and the ‘ramp’. I am excited to see what these are. I am guessing we were some of the last to get our blue bands, so we didn’t get to walk outside immediately, in fact we did not get to walk outside until close to 5:00pm. I think the promise of being out of the room is more the reality than actually getting out.
I did 30 minutes of walking in the room again, that’s two days done. My aim is wear a track in the carpet. I was listening to a 60s freak beat playlist I created a while back, good walking with hips swinging music.
We finally did the unpack of the suitcases and setup of the room, we had been holding off doing this until the test results came in. A positive test would mean a move to a more specialised facility and we didn’t want to jinx it by settling in. It was good to get organised and the room feels a lot better now.
Now we know we are not going anywhere we placed an order with a supermarket, which was delivered in the afternoon. No food, though there was some wine, it was mostly things like shampoo, vitamin supplements and things too large or heavy too bring with us. Like putting things away, having proper shampoo and moisturiser etc made the room feel a lot more homely.
It has been great having the Olympics on the TV in the background as we go about our day, though I missed the events I wanted to see the most; the BMX and skateboarding.
Quarantine, Day 3, Tuesday.
We woke about 2:00am again, like last night it took a long time to get back to sleep, though unlike last night there was a heck of a storm, with some really high wind shaking the hotel. As I was wide awake I took some night photos out of the small high window, standing on a chair to do it. Looking down Hobson St towards the seafront. We did get back to sleep once things settled. Thankfully.
Breakfast was the best yet and I wish I had taken a photo. Poached eggs on corn fritters with salsa and guacamole. It was really good. Yum.
I had to make some hard decisions when packing my bags for this trip and it took three goes to finalise the content of the suitcase and backpack. I had to make a number of sacrifices and left behind my tablet, the 24-105 lens for the big Canon camera as well as the small Panasonic camera. I was only allowed 30kg and didn’t really want to pay the high price to purchase more weight allowance. Even with those sacrifices my two bags totalled 31.5kg and I was grateful to Emirates for not charging me, nor for weighing my 10kg of carry-on, a further 3kg over the limit. Phew.
What I was not prepared to compromise on was bringing the cafeteria, coffee and the milk frother. These have certainly made the mornings nicer.
Mum brought some more goodies in the morning, including a couple of jigsaw puzzles, we were hoping to be able to go and see her and wave through the fence from the outdoor walking area, though this was closed again today as it was day three testing day. We were called up for our tests just as mum would have arrived, so in some ways it was good we were not outside. A further two day wait for results. There is one more test on day 12, just before we leave.
Eleanor had a surprise delivery of a lovely and huge bunch of flowers from her new employers, her contract starts on 30 August. I am rather envious; I have never had an employer send me flowers before I start work as a welcome to the country. Lovely.
The rest of the day passed quickly enough, Olympics on the TV provided a background to reading, photo editing and blog writing. I finished (reading) the novel I started on the plane and have now started reading a hefty tome on the space rock band Hawkwind, a band I long derided as hopeless acid-head hippies. My music tastes have changed over the years, and it is time to learn something about, and listen to a band that are key influencers on so much music that I like. 14 days in isolation seems like a good time to listen to Hawkwind. This book contributed to my overweight hand luggage.
At 6:00pm we had an appointment with the level 10 walking area, there is a removable roof though it was mostly shut, just a fraction open to the night air. I stood in that spot and took these two photos on my camera. It was nice feeling even a slight breeze of air that was not from the aircon.
We had a 30 minute walk and shared the space with two other ‘bubbles. I enjoyed stretching my legs, and getting an opportunity to start wearing in a new pair of boots.
The floor has windows on two sides and it was really nice just walking and staring outside, a much bigger view to the one we have in our room.
Three days done.