Saturday, March 6, 2021

Quarantine Diary - Day Number 3

 Let me fill you in on all the exciting stuff that's been happening in my quarantine stay - I'm not sure I'm going to be able to fit it all in! 

Well, maybe not, but we're managing to fill our days pretty well. Today is our first day off work, but between breakfast, cleaning up the room, a quick session on the spin bike, and a walk around outside, I've got through to lunchtime, and there's a couple of cricket games to carry me through the afternoon.

Exercise is interesting, now that we've passed our first COVID test, we get three sessions a day to walk around the 'exercise area', which is the hotel parking lot, screened off from the outside world with black fencing. There's a couple of windows in the fence that people are using to chat with locals outside, but in general, each exercise session is the same 20 people drearily walking around the perimeter of the lot. Despite that, it's good to be outside and to see some different faces.

Alcohol is proving to be a minor problem - we are allowed 6 cans or a bottle of wine into the room every day, but if you get out of sync on your deliveries, it's pretty easy to run out. However, we will soldier on.

We took our Day 3 COVID test today, which means I'm only going to have my brain impaled by a swap one last time, on Day 12. Thank heavens for small victories.

The three meals are the highlights of the day, but the breakfasts are a little weird - yesterday was bacon and egg pie, which I thought was awesome, and today's was a doughnut and a brownie, which was a little much for 7 in the morning. Last nights dinner was roast lamb, and it was amazing. I forgot how good meat is here.

Alright, the cricket is starting, time to go. Go Black Caps! 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Quarantine Diary – Day Number 1

Yesterday I flew from Vancouver to Los Angeles to Auckland to Christchurch over about 30 hours, and if I have any advice for you about flying in a pandemic, it would be “don’t”.

The flights themselves weren’t that bad, but from constant worry that at some point an overzealous gate agent would tell us our COVID results weren’t comprehensive enough to fly (we saw it happen more than once), to nothing being open in the airports, to a surprise extra leg when we learned we were being quarantined in a city 1000 miles from our destination, it was a long and tiring day. So much so that I claimed I’d lost my bag, when I really just couldn’t pick it out from the baggage claim.

However, we’ve now spent one full day in quarantine, and we’re getting into the swing of it. So far, it’s not too bad. The team at the hotel are wonderful – a mix of New Zealand Defence Force personnel, public health nurses, and some hotel employees, and all are friendly, empathetic to what we’re going through and incredibly nice, even when they’re confiscating your third bottle of wine.

We got our first COVID test just after arriving (and I swear they put the swab deeper up your nose than elsewhere in the world), and we’re confined to this room until we get that result back. We get three meals delivered a day (which is way more food than I can handle) and we’ve had a range of things delivered – groceries (including the contraband wine), fresh ground coffee, a pie, an extra desk, and even a spin bike that arrives later today. It still feels a little weird having a uniformed soldier deliver your lunch, but I guess we’ll get used to that.

The attention to wellness is pretty amazing – half of the material the team has provided has been around keeping yourself sane through this process, and we’ve had both phone and in-person checkins from the team here.

It’s good to have work to do -spending 9 hours a day looking into a computer screen fills a good chunk of time, and we’re still maladjusted to the time, so we’ll sneak in a quick afternoon nap before dinner.

After dinner, there’s a cricket game to watch, then we’ll be back up early for work again tomorrow.

Pie Number 1 - Modern Life is Rubbish/Wonderful

 Day Number 1, Pie Number 1

After 5 years away, my first pie back in New Zealand was a little inauspicious, but the circumstances around it were unique. See, I’m in a Managed Isolation hotel for the next 14 days after arriving from Canada, and so far, the food has been great. However, lunch today was smoked salmon, which is not my favourite, and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, within minutes, Brent from Uber Eats was off to the local gas station to pick me up a Mince and Cheese pie. I could quibble that it wasn’t as hot as it could have been, and that they didn’t have the pepper steak flavor on the online menu, but at the end of the day, I just ordered a delicious pie off the internet while being housed in a military-run quarantine facility, and that isn’t a sentence I thought I’d ever type.

Location – BP/Wild Bean CafĂ© Harewood, Christchurch

Pie – Mince and Cheese

Rating – 7/10

Accompaniments – A sausage roll

We never really went away

After 11 years, I'm dusting off the blog to capture a very unique time in our lives. I'm currently in quarantine in New Zealand after traveling here to escape the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Here I'll share notes from my travels, and the feature that you're all here for, review all the pies I have.