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.

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