Stories, thoughts, musing and even reflections from Covid Quaratine
Geschichten aus der Quarantäne … Part 1
So, here I am, Day 3 in quarantine. Needing to fill my day – and the next 11 ones – with some semi-meaningful occupation. Otherwise boredom will overcome me together with a feeling of “wasting my days/life”.
So, to counteract this I have been looking for things to do. Let me assure you there are considerable limitations in quarantine, but one’s mind can roam freely and my phantasie is much invited to come to the fore. The latter a lil’ bit difficult. due to the constant heat 32 degrees with typical tropical high humidity, kind of damping my spirits …. BUT I shall fit against it!
Since being in quarantine is – for me – and I guess most – a rather unique experience, with not somehow capture it beyond memories only. Writing this journal therefore fulfils several purposes and most of them benefits :
- recording this experience
- sharing it with loved ones outside ‘the zone’
- breaking the advent of potential boredom
- exercising my brain to capture it in a – well, ‘meaningful’, perhaps … no wait? definitely cathartic-inducing way.
I am in Howard Springs in the Northern Territory (N.T.). Howard Springs is almost a suburb of Darwin (being the Capital of the NT). It’s about 30 kms south-east of Darwin. I am in a camp, precisely a re-purposed workers camp. This camp was established to house workers for building a nearby industrial plant. The camp consists of several rows of ‘demountables’.
“My” demountable …
These are prefabricated houses, rectangular shape, each about 30mtrs long and 10 meters wide. On one side a long, raised-above-the-ground veranda allows one to sit in front of his/her unit and enjoy fresh air and plenty of sunshine.
Let me assure you, especially those in Victoria, there IS plenty of sunshine here. Actually I seek the shade in order not to burn … the contrast of Australia …
Back to the demountables: each ‘block’ harbours four one-bedroom flats. Equipped quite basic but clean and certainly recently renovated. I have a TV, aircon, shower&toilet.
After completion of the industrial power plant , the camp with about over 300 of these blocks stood empty. With the advent of Covid the NT government refurbished the entire camp in order to geographically implement its entry restrictions: one must do 14 days of quarantine before being allowed “in”. Here, in the NT this quarantine is not at one’s home, neither at a Hotel, rather here at the camp in Howard Springs – only at the camp! and this is the one-and-only quarantine camp in NT. Moreover the cost for the quarantine is born by oneself. The two weeks mandatory period will set you back $2,500 … I reckon a reasonably fair amount for what you get in coping with this 14-day period being basically locked away. I get a room, clean sheets twice for this period, and there meals a day. “Vollpension” one would say in Germany. So, if I do my Math correctly it equates to $~180.00/day fully catered for.
The food? what is the food like I hear you ask ….. is it nay good? … value for money
Well, a all matter of taste – literally. I must tell you that it’s not too bad at all. It’s not The Ritz, neither your own fav eatery, but it’s above a pub meal. The food is more than plenty, I hardly , actually I do never! eat all of it. The serves morning, lunch and dinner could be smaller for me. That is – for me – a problem, as much is wasted and goes into the bin, I guess, to ask for a reduced portion would logistically make it even more cumbersome to accommodate such a wish, considering there are about 1200 ‘residents’ currently in this facility.
So, with trying to eat smaller portions despite the waste-issue, here is another opportunity to engage my mind: self-control. Thus far, I have been able to only eat half or less of each serve. It hurts me, as a lot of food is wasted, but since I have hardly any physical activity, I need to put on even more weight, on top of my already growing Covid-belly. Covid-belly as probably most of us gained weight in the lock-down period/s due to lack of movement and spurred on by boredom, one tends to munch more and more and a little more. Add to this the probably – no excuses here – increased intake of alcohol … “just another glass of wine as there is nothing else to do …” – such a convenient excuse, at least for me. Have I mentioned that there is absolutely NO ALCOHOL allowed here in the camp. Whilst one can utilise the ‘Click&Collect’ from nearby supermarkets, Alcohol, any type of it, is strictly banned. Many ‘residents’ probably struggle with this forced-upon abstinence. Many might even do it harder, after their foresightful, smuggled in rations have been depleted …. Then, on the other hand, many may re-recognise the worth of reduced alcohol or even short-timed abstinence, but I don’t want to appear being seen as a wowser or supporter of a Temperance movement. Everybody to their own, as long as ….
I am side-tracking myself, again! Sorry, back to some final words about the food thus far (remember: only 3 days in …) Food is rather variable, so different meals, always with a piece of fruit, a little sweet cake, yoghurts and other ingredients. Moreover, I can choose what type of dietary requirements I prefer. Initially I started with ‘None’, so got the ‘normal’ stuff, presumably what the majority got. Others choose a gluten-free option, a vegetarian option (probably with all of its ‘important’ aberrations) or a low-carb option. This latter one appealed to me. “Low carb ..?! hmmh, perhaps best with lack of movement/exercise..” So, after just one day, I changed to low carb. From now on, we compare – three times daily – what’s in our food-bag. The food is hand-delivered (hang on … is there anything other than ‘hand’-delivered???), so the food is delivered on a trolley at set times, packed in a labelled bag with my room number – K4 1D – mentioned here, just in case you want to send me a care-parcel … Everything is wrapped and/or packed in plastic with a set of plastic cutlery. So, a lot of more waste, this time plastic goes into the bin. I guess this is part of the Covid-precautions, to avoid possible contamination.
On a final note of this initial entry is that all of us arrivers (is this the male or female version …?) have been tested for Covid within the first 24hrs after arrival. Today Monday October 5th, I got my result per text message!
Let’s see how things will unfold further …