This is a picture I found on some app and it was one with the greatest amount of details of the entire Howard Springs camp.
Well, all good things must come to an end …. the not-so-good one as well.
But before I draw the curtain on this rather unusual, perhaps once in a lifetime experience, let me share some of the more up-lifting things which happened in Howard Springs quarantine.
The term ‘quarantine’ here at the ‘camp’ took on a new meaning. Previously, and shaped through recent Covid TV news, I connected quarantine with HOTEL-quarantine only. I spoke about this before and still believe it’s too hard, especially for a couple with children or even ‘only’ one single child. The Officials, elected or not, should undergo it themselves and only after having had a true first-hand experience, they should have formed and mandated this or any alternatives, of which they are many, probably as cost-effective/costly as the foresaid hotel quarantine ….
Nevertheless, for me, after MY experience at Howard Springs this term has taken on a new, less negative connotation. Influenced by the type of accommodation, the sincere friendliness of all staff, but also by the interactions with fellow ‘inmates’. To compensate for the limited options of engagement and physical activity, these inmates helped themselves, almost always within the boundaries of the prescribed rules (1.5mts, mask, no more that 15mins etc etc).
A number of various ‘events’ were generated fostering aforesaid controlled interaction:
Firstly, a second time in the pool! how good was THAT!!?
Moreover, we had several Mario-Games competition – somebody must have had the foresight to bring along the necessary equipment, or even bought it via ‘Click&Collect’ to keep the kids (and adults) in check.
We had movie nights, screened on a large white bed sheet, spanned tightly over a veranda-roof arrangement
There were trivia nights and even a home made Bingo game. small numbers cut out of re-purposed brown paper-bags, initially used for the 3xdaily delivery of food.
A lot of exercising ‘classes’ were conducted: sometimes solo or in pairs right on their veranda, others under the shading roof and off, below and besides wooden picnic tables and benches. Even entire classes, with the ‘instructor’ demonstrating from a veranda, whilst the mob, spread out on the footpath on their matts and blankies followed to the sound of pumping gym-music.
Morning and evening Yoga classes operated in the same way. Here the sounds were much more calming, almost serene and, as with all, everybody could join in, as long as the rules were – kind of- adhered to.
Word of mouth was one of the ways these news spread around the sectioned-off area of our camp, but crayons were the much more effective carrier-pigeons. As almost everybody took up their twice, 20 minutes walking time, masked walking time, some even claimed to have walked more than 100 kms in their fortnight (??) as the time wasn’t controlled at all, rather relied on one’s own timing. So, imagine, there were only a small handful of possible footpaths one could run, walk or power-walk, meander along, and there it was? Written in LARGE letters in most colourful crayon-writing, impossible NOT to see. The announcement of what & where was taken place this arvo or night.
“Not macht erfinderisch” – old German proverb, or it reaches new heights of creativity …
A you can see, one MUST form a new, better view based on 1st-hand experience about the meaning of quarantine at Howard Springs.
This is not to say that we disregarded the health-advise, same same as in Victoria, form where most people were escaping. Not al all, we just may have carefully stretched the boundaries a little, knowing we all had a first negative test and eventually all of us a second negative test, entitling us to some lee-way …. The support team equally adhered to these rules at all times!
Eventually, almost regrettably, well at least a tinge of regret, the time came to an end. Like with all group dynamics a time for ‘mourning’, leaving the groups formed and going along our separate ways. Everybody had an ultimate destination ready to proceed to. After all, this destination was the reason for submitting to a fortnight’s quarantine in the first place. All of our lot, about 80 people, were packed& ready Friday morning. Our beds were cleared, all stuffed into a bag, placed outside on the veranda. The last surplus items of food were distributed to later arriving quarantinees, some walking off with armful of stuff – all useful to make their time more pleasurable. Some even scored a camping bed, good for sleeping outside or resting under a shady tree, of course with masked firmly fitted!. Bit-by-bit were we – still masked – walked in a conga-line towards the exit. Here we received our bill, dumped the mask and were allocated a taxi to our non-quarantine destination.
We could hardly believe our eyes on our way to a Darwin hotel. No masks on the street. people walking in bunches, people sitting in bars and cafes, enjoying themselves almost as if normal. The N.T. hadn’t had a Covid case for several months – so beside the 1.5mtr, hand-wash, elbow-sneeze rules, all was as per pre-Covid.
We will need several days to get used to this “new normal” …. almost an Orwellian term.
Thank you for reading my trivial thoughts, occasional rants and perhaps useful-for-some reflections. My expectations of this quarantine have been exceeded. I’ve been tested twice – still negative and soon, having escaped Victoria, managing to make it mentally refreshed through quarantine, Heike and I can go bout our original plan: mixing business with travel by exploring new and old destination throughout the Northern Territory for future tours.
One can almost predict that there will be heaps of penned-up travel (GET-ME-OUT-OF-HERE!!) demands post Covid. NatureTrailz shall be prepared with better and new tours to cater for this, s this time ultimately will come …. (I am sounding almost a little bit religious here … waiting for the Erlöser ……)
Sorry, but didn’t find religions whilst cooped up – just weird thought ..