Gidday from Australia!
Yes, I made it across the ditch to Brisbane where the Ginger is working on a TV show and our four-legged friend Jimmy is now barking with an Aussie accent as he chases loud squawking birds in the sunshine.
But here’s the world we live in today: a dog can get off the plane and go straight to the beach, but the human accompanying him is escorted by Border Patrol, police and the army to a hotel room where she must stay – without once stepping out the door – for a period of 14 days.
Thanks, Covid! You’re a real peach!
You know I’ve often dreamed of living in a hotel, but it wasn’t this one. In my mind Venice’s Grand Canal was out the window, or Manhattan’s SoHo, or a small European principality of which I had somehow become the queen.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the Rydges Fortitude Valley if you’re having a weekend in the Queensland capital and are free to leave at any point.
I just think the sheen slithers off even the most salubrious of suites when it has such a hold on you. And this one is too small to be salubrious – with horrendous carpet.
However… I have to say, I’m on day 10 and have not lost my marbles. Of course if I did they would be easily found, as there’s nowhere for them to go. But it turns out there are, oddly, pluses to being held captive this way.
One of them is sleep. Ever since New Zealand went suddenly into lockdown and my plans to join the Ginger across the ditch were scuppered, it’s been a worry fest of how, when, if etc etc etc. we were to be reunited.
By the time I finally wrangled a flight, got on it, arrived at an empty Brisbane airport for a spot of queueing and waiting, then was led on to a bus with police escort to eventually be shown my room, I needed a lie-down.
And a hotel bed is a hotel bed, even with a frightening floor covering. I confess I’m sleeping better than I have in weeks and that’s without an opening window. Yes!
In New Zealand quarantine you’re allowed outside once a day for good behaviour, but in Oz you do not leave the room and most don’t have fresh air.
It’s worse to think about than it is to actually be in, which is helpful. Also, three times a day there’s a knock at your door, you wait 30 seconds, open it and voila! Sitting in a brown paper bag is your breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Actually I’ve cancelled the breakfast. The first one was pancakes with hash browns and maple syrup and my muffin top quivered with excitement, but my jeans called out from my suitcase, reminding me that in two weeks’ time I would have to wear proper clothes instead of PJs or cycling shorts.
My muffin top quivered with excitement but my jeans called out from my suitcase.
Which is the third good thing. Not having to change your clothes. Or wear make-up. Or even brush your hair.
Fourth good thing: it doesn’t open, but I do have a big window from which I can see the sky (always blue, FYI) and the comings and goings on the corner. Once a day, the Ginger and Jimmy come and wave at me, which is rather spiffing after six weeks apart. Although Jimmy has no clue and must be wondering (a) where his mama has gone and (b) why he’s spending quite so much time on that particular piece of footpath.
So, it’s not all bad. There’s nothing to worry about. One’s needs are taken care of and there’s time to moisturise and do face masks. I have hired a stationary bike and if I move it out of the way I can do online exercise classes. (Yes, yes, jeans. I hear you.)
Plus, at the end of it, I’ll be free and with the ones I love which is what this whole great exercise in saving lives is ultimately all about.