Lockdown Journal – The Spain Quarantine Diaries was first published on our Instagram account during 2020’s late Winter and Spring.
It’s being a rough winter for humankind. On top of wars, terrorism, climate change, famines, wildfires, droughts, natural disasters and what not; a new threat has been added to the list of potential killers: Covid 19, aka c*virus.
We knew about it on January, 22nd and our lives have not been the same ever since. Too many papers, reputable source articles, twitter threads and reports from friends all around the world told us from the very beginning things were not as we were being told.
Chinese numbers never felt right, but if something seems to have worked is the lockdown its inhabitants endured for 7 weeks so far as the country is now reporting single-digit numbers these days.
Now the ball is in Europe and along with Italy, Germany, and a few other countries, Spain – our homeland and where we are based – has been too blind to realize how this was unfolding at the speed of light and climbed to the top 5 of countries by # of infected people in record time.
Perhaps we will soon talk about the anxiety that looking helplessly at the little that was being done in our country – after having several examples to pay attention to – produced us. Maybe not. Be that as it may, today we are relieved to say that Spain has finally passed its first day of quarantine. At least, it seems that something is beginning to be done to slow down this disaster.
We took this picture on our last nature walk a few days back. Very aware of what was to come, it felt great to admire once again how gorgeous nature is before confining ourselves at home for an indefinite time. Because here is a warning, whoever thinks that this lockdown is only for the next 15 days, maybe very wrong.
We’ve taken a one day at a time approach to this, and as we also try to figure it out, we hope to be of help to our community if we are healthy.
From here, and to everyone working day and night to return as quickly as possible to what used to be normal, THANK YOU. You are absolute heroes and humankind owes you big time.
That’s all for now. As of day 1, we are really happy to be alive. We always are, but today more than ever.
Stay safe out there.
Inma + Jose
If Spain quarantine worked, we could save time and many lives. But we are failing big. And today, after the first lockdown weekend when it seemed we were starting to get our act together, it was clear we still have no clue.
How long will it take people to realize this is not a drill?
We were ready to share a comparative of how three different nationalities reacted to the first days locked at home. We’ve all seen them:
– Chinese shouting at night from skyscrapers, creating viral videos while trying to get the message out there that something was going on.
– Italians singing opera from balconies, playing instruments and djing for their neighbor’s entertainment.
– Spanish working out in the sun, playing bingo and following the rave wave.
But we felt calling our country out was needed.
SPAIN: Whether you like it or not, we NEED TO STAY HOME for the next weeks. A few exceptions have been mentioned to keep everyone as fed and healthy as possible but that’s about it. Everyone else should just follow what’s been instructed and every not essential company or business must close if working from home isn’t possible. Especially when they cannot guarantee their employee’s safety.
An economic fallout is inevitable, but lives should always come before everything else.
How is the situation where you are?
? Please, let us know in the comments below ?
As the world slows down, more and more nations are coming to a partial or full lockdown. The travel industry will need time to recover, but it won’t be the only one. If you are affected, think of how a unique time this is to be alive and try to see the positive even if it is difficult sometimes. Believe us, there is always something good.
Other than that, our daily routines haven’t changed much so far around here. Jose is still working his day job outside as industry has not stopped in Spain – things weren’t supposed to be this way – and Inma works remotely, something she has learned to love many years back.
Those afternoon walks and tapas with friends though… Hang in there, and see you all at 8 PM tomorrow in the balcony. Let’s celebrate once again the lives of everyone taking care of us right now.
Cheers from Galicia.
Two months ago we learned about the reality of C-word through Twitter.
At that time, only a few dared to mention it on social networks, often silenced and almost always branded as alarmists.
We know that the situation is difficult, that many more measures are needed than our government has put in place to stop it, but after going through a period of great anxiety two weeks ago – when we felt helpless as nothing was being done at the same time the disease was already running through our country – we have been calmer for a few days now, with more faith that together we will win because at least, it seems that some are beginning to take it seriously.
To the doctors, nurses and other personnel who are fighting to stop the disease from progressing, and save the greatest number of lives:
Thank you for your dedication,
thanks for the courage that makes you be in the front row knowing the danger it entails,
thanks for the hours of sleep lost due to incessant work and for the thoughts that perhaps disturb you during the hours of rest,
thanks for moving away from your families in these moments,
thanks for facing what others only see on television,
thanks for fighting this invisible war.
You are true heroes, and the rest of us can do nothing but respect your good work and follow your instructions, knowing that only then we will win the battle.*
*Fragment of an email we sent yesterday in response to a campaign to support the sick and those taking care of them.
We woke up to the terrible news Italy shared with the world today.
Almost 500 people died yesterday. As Spanish, we feel Italians are our brothers and sisters, so close are our cultures. On top of that, we have a myriad of friends there.
The worst, though, is that Spain is headed in the same direction at a faster pace. And in just 2 or 3 days we will be reporting the same amount of casualties. We are not future tellers, it’s maths and the way things work with C virus.
Keep staying home, guys. Please, please, please.
Today we have decided to post our little daily testimony before the applause we give from the window at 8 pm like every day to honor those who work tirelessly to stop the invisible enemy we are fighting against.
It is almost a tradition, and I hope that it will last until the end of the confinement, although I doubt it is possible if the progression of the disease continues at the rate it has been going up to now (keep in mind that Spain is one of the countries in the world where not only are there more cases And the faster the problem grows, it is also one of the least performing diagnostic tests – which could indicate that there are many other cases that have not yet come to light.) On the other hand, going out to the window daily at 8 pm is a great way to see that our neighbors are still there, that they are fine, and that they are not alone, even if only for a few minutes.
How are you doing?
A hug from Galicia (to a region with approximately 3M inhabitants and 600 cases) and have a good weekend. Indoors if possible.
PS: The whole series’ pictures were taken before the lockdown. Some of them a few weeks or months ago, some others even years back. Stay cool, stay home.
One of us went out today to throw the garbage, buy medicines and do some grocery shopping. Everything was on: hood, scarf, gloves seconds after entering the market, contactless card payment, over 2 meters of distance with everyone all the time, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and whatnot.
There was a guy at the supermarket that kept breaking the safety distance all the time. He was told to be away by three people, his answer in our case was ‘if you don’t like this, fuck off’. How kind.
The most curious thing is that once at home, it took longer to unpack the food and disinfect everything that had gone out into the street than the total time spent away.
The new normal in corona times.
Cheers from Spain, still racing to become the first country on earth in infections and deaths. It’s doing quite alright there. We might become first anytime soon.
Quarantine routines are beginning to emerge. Ours is quite simple, but they fill our day with entertainment and tranquility – hopefully not to be missed until the end – and cheerfully transport us to the next one.
Maybe one of these days we will tell you what exactly a typical day consists of, for today we want to tell you some of the highlights of a quarantine Sunday, the first of spring. – Being able to talk to our families on the phone
– Practicing yoga in our living room at sunset
– Being surprised by a caravan of the emergency health services at 8 o’clock – the hour of applause in Spain – who toured our town with sirens on, thanking people for staying home and the daily gesture of applauding to give them the thanks to all who are fighting this crisis
– Having a glass of wine with our friends via video conference after the applause
– Having dinner and watching a movie together
– Ending the day thankful for being healthy, having enough food, and a roof over our heads
What were your highlights today? We would love to read them.
A hug from Galicia,
Today we will be brief.
Which number of infections must we reach for this pandemic to be taken seriously by all countries on earth?
Aloha from Spain, a country that is today ‘celebrating’ its 10th day in lockdown – although some people started staying home way earlier. For them, today perhaps is the 15th or even 20th day without leaving their homes unless necessary.
And while Italy has just launched even more strict measures – closing every business that is not essential right now – our government is still figuring this out. A field hospital has just been built in 18-48 hours (depending on the source) in Madrid’s Ifema fairgrounds with over 5000 beds, that will soon be filled with patients. Some people see this as a success, comparing it with the ones China built in 10 days. They differ vastly, and anyway we believe way more could have been done to avoid this – given we knew about this a couple of months back.
Just then, these same fairgrounds – 10 pavillions – were hosting one of the largest travel trade fairs in the world: Fitur. One of us was there for a few meetings and to be part of a panel about female travel among other things. It’s crazy to think about how many things have changed since then.
We’ve discussed before how the travel industry won’t be the same after this global crisis. But that should not be a negative thing after all. It was about time that we started to pay attention to all the negative effects our non-stopping travel adventures were having on mother earth.
Will we see a new era of local travel and staycations? Will airlines, hotel chains, tour operators, and other travel-related businesses recover as if nothing had changed? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: We should not miss this chance to start doing things differently. ?Are you with us? This is a topic we cannot wait to hear your thoughts about, as we are also struggling to know which kind of content you’d like to see from us from now on – esp. during the lockdown.
Thanks and hang in there, we are stronger together.
Sometimes you feel like writing, sometimes you don’t.
Today one of us has coughed a lot, we have heard of new cases among acquaintances, and we have little desire for anything.
Spain is advancing rapidly to position itself as the first country by the number of cases and deaths, only behind China and Italy at the moment. Although it will overcome them in a few days.
It is quite sad, and even more so considering the poor measures that our government continues to take. Always with a long delay and completely insufficient considering what is happening. To give an example, today it was said that they have bought nine hundred and fifty respirators that will arrive between now and June. If someone thinks they are enough, they have no clue.
Impotence and rage in times of c*virus.
10 minutes lost on social networks are enough to feel overwhelmed with the amount of information about this world crisis, and on the other hand, with so many options with which to occupy your time (if you are lucky enough to be healthy and you are not taking care of anyone now same) if you have the most precious asset after health, time.
I have rarely had time left and I could almost swear that I have never been bored since I was little, but I do not believe in the message of trying to make this quarantine one of the most productive periods of your life, where online training, concerts and streaming festivals, new disciplines to get fit that fill the internet, and countless other proposals have to fill every minute of your time. Especially the first days of the lockdown.
Although some personalities indeed created masterpieces in similar periods, it is also true that many other people may feel anxious, afraid, and uncertain in the face of this situation. The sensations can be many, but being focused may not be among them.
I imagine things will improve for many after the first days. Let’s cross our fingers and f*ck hyper-productivity!
Almost two weeks after we shut ourselves in, and with an extension of the state of alert foreseen by the government for at least another two weeks (although we think it will be a few more), things have not changed much around here. Thank God.
Day after day, our closest working environment continues to wonder – to a greater or lesser extent – what the future of the travel industry will be like now that airspace is closed in many countries, and hotels are no longer open in many countries for tourists, as they begin to be transformed into ICUs and temporary rooms for medical personnel.
And then there are all those who claim that what is to come will be better as if there would magically be a miraculous cleanse of everything that was being done wrong like over-tourism, and the great carbon footprint attached to the whole business, especially the flight industry. By the way, I recently wrote an article filled with ideas on how to travel without taking a single airplane. Check it out.
The fact of not being able to see the end of the confinement or know-how staggered the return to reality will be, makes many people wonder how to continue talking about trips, us among them.
We do not want to be tone-deaf and start publishing articles like yesteryear, which, however sustainable and responsible they may be, above all would be utopian at least given the world situation today. On the other hand, we also don’t suddenly want to forget everything that we have built during the last 7 years leaving the web aside.
So as we continue to sort ideas, today we thought it was okay to leave you with a screenshot of our last international trip. That’s how beautiful Havana looked in late February, as shit was starting to hit the fan in Europe.
Enjoy Cuba through your screens, ladies, and gentlemen. We will also try to do so.
Good weekend to all of you, and stay healthy. The world needs you.
Related read: Top 10 Post C*Virus Dream Destinations
It took around 1,000 deaths a day for our government to finally order the closure of all non-essential activity. I hope that the rest of the countries that have not yet reached this point will act much sooner. Lives over money.
A big hug and happy Saturday night, everyone.
One can dream.
Of getting lost in a new city again.
exchanging smiles with other people nearby.
Of the ocean spray refreshing your face.
Enjoying the latest sunbeams of the day.
One can dream.
As if it were a small gift, most of the days of this confinement the sun has shone throughout the day giving us heat and helping us to fix the vitamins if we place ourselves right where it falls after passing through the windows.
Oh, the little pleasures of life!
On the other hand, the situation in our country is far from being controlled, as much as politicians insist on talking about how some regions have already reached ‘the peak’. Please, gentlemen, have a little respect for people who believe what you say. God knows how there are still a few of the latter around here.
What do you want to do when all this mess is over?
Today we watched a wonderful video with multiple great movie scenes with people dancing. We thought it was appropriate, considering that we saw it the same day we found out that one of the most exciting festivals we were to attend this year, the Boom Festival in Idanha a Nova, was postponed to 2021 due to Covid19.
We will have to wait to celebrate.
And you, what do you want to do when it’s all over?
Considering that we are healthy at the moment, total confinement for us is not proving to be a big problem. The sun continues to appear, even for a few minutes, through our windows and we are not short of food. Once again, we can consider ourselves lucky.
So, when people around us complain and don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel due to the successive extensions of the alarm period – which translate into more total confinement time – we try to be positive and think that we are doing everything which is in our hands to change the situation as soon as possible. In our case, as simple as staying at home.
Today we want to leave you with the lyrics of the song – from the 80s and composed by a Spanish group called Duo Dinamico – which has already become the ‘official anthem’ of resistance to this crisis and one that is played all the afternoons at 8 on the balconies across our country: Resistiré (I will resist).
Cuando pierda todas las partidas
Cuando duerma con la soledad
Cuando se me cierren las salidas
Y la noche no me deje en paz
Cuando tenga miedo del silencio
Cuando cueste mantenerse en pie
Cuando se rebelen los recuerdos
Y me pongan contra la pared
Resistiré erguido frente a todo
Me volveré de hierro
Para endurecer la piel
Y aunque los vientos de la vida soplen fuerte
Soy como el junco que se dobla
Pero siempre sigue en pie
Resistiré para seguir viviendo
Los golpes y jamás me rendiré
Y aunque los sueños se me rompan en pedazos
Cuando el mundo pierda toda magia
Cuando mi enemigo sea yo
Cuando me apuñale la nostalgia
Y no reconozca ni mi voz
Cuando me amenace la locura
Cuando en mi moneda salga cruz
Cuando el diablo pase la factura
O si alguna vez me faltas tú
Resistiré erguido frente a todo
Me volveré de hierro
Para endurecer la piel
Y aunque los vientos de la vida soplen fuerte
Soy como el junco que se dobla
Pero siempre sigue en pie
Resistiré para seguir viviendo
Los golpes y jamás me rendiré
Y aunque los sueños se me rompan en pedazos
Although this will be published at night Spanish time, today we write to you in the morning. Something sensational has just happened: The bedding that we had laid days ago in the clothes line (which we had almost forgotten), was collected by the neighbor on the first floor.
So when I opened the window at the back of our home a few minutes ago, I heard:
– Neighbor! I have your bed sheets.
And there you have it, while I made a homemade pulley to rescue the sheets, the most pleasant conversation of the day took place – the only one perhaps except for the daily greetings during the 8pm applause – with the ‘outside world’. As it happened, I began to have a terrible urge to get in touch with the cloistered nuns who live next to the back of our building. Surely they know a lot about confinement. The case is that this is going to be complicated, I will notify you if I make progress, but they have made a vow of silence. Or so I think … we’ll see.
I said goodbye to the neighbor, thanking her (this has happened before, the Galician wind can be quite vigorous) and I closed the window after airing the house for about 10 minutes.
Numerous scientific studies have already shown that the virus is airborne.
After a few hours of video calls with friends and a few glasses of wine, we can only wish you all a good weekend. Hang in there, hoping this will be over soon.
Cheers from Galicia,
With a week to complete the first 15-day extension (we have been locked up for 21 days), today we have risen with the news that the confinement will be extended for 15 more days. We believe it will be extended a minimum of a third time, to complete a 60-day cycle. Especially if we take a look at the events in the east (Wuhan has had around 75 days of confinement until it finally ‘opens’ on April 8) to know how this could evolve.
Do not despair. Opening up ahead of time is just plain insane, and the perfect recipe for us to have to confine ourselves again very soon.
Greetings to all,
A few years ago, probably during one of our multi-week trips, one of our plants died. Its pot – the largest of all to this day – can still remind us of its large size, even if we don’t remember what plant it was or what it looked like. Not that we expected it to be reborn after all this time, the fact is that its large pot was still in the same place as always. With soil, without life.
Two weeks ago I found some parsley and red radish seeds at home, I don’t know – like the plant – where they came from but I decided to plant them in two small empty hummus bowls.
Today I am happy to announce that the big old pot has new inhabitants, tiny red radishes.
I will tell you about the progress in their growth when they happen, right now the shoots are about 10 cm high so I just separated them (putting the big pot in use) to give them space.
Seeds + soil + sun + CO2 + H2O = magic
Which edible plants grow fastest without being outdoors? I would love to start a small garden next week.
Agriculture in times of quarantine.
Uplifting music sounded on our street before the community applause today. On the other hand, our gifted neighbor played the piano for about an hour and we overheard a couple of conversations in the street earlier too.
Other than that, life goes on without much noise around here. It was never a super busy street, or village for that matter. But now it’s quieter than ever.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We like it loud at festivals and so on, but there are a time and place for everything.
How quiet / busy is it where you are right now? Does silence bother you?
In our homeland, Spain, Easter is a time for getting together. With or without religion by your side, families, and friends usually catch up during this ‘holy’ week.
That said, our video calls schedule for the upcoming days is still not fully booked so if you want to jump on one, let us know when and what time you’d like to chat. We are usually free from 8:15 to 10 PM. Wine glass and all.
Inma + Jose
Today Wuhan woke up free. It was relative freedom since many things will still take time to return to normality. Among them, the classes of the schools still closed. But after 76 days, many (thousands) were finally able to leave the city that had ‘trapped’ them for almost 11 weeks.
How long will it take us to return to normal?
Only time will tell.
Will we be able to see each other on the 26th? – asks my mother, referring to the supposed end of the state of alarm in our country, next April 26 (it will probably be extended).
I don’t think so, mom, this is going to take a while – I answer.
Yes, I was assuming something like that. As long as we are all well … – We continue the conversation.
Talking to our people is often, hands down, one of the best things this Spain quarantine period is bringing us. The virtual world brings both those at 100 meters and those at 10,000 km away close. Furthermore, we now have an excuse (the almost global confinement we are experiencing, a situation of a relative novelty for all) to speak frequently.
We miss you a little less each time you answer by video call and share data minutes with us.
Since yesterday, it seems that there will be at least a third extension of the state of alarm in Spain. Therefore, if approved, we would be confined until mid-May.
On the other hand, the changes in the criteria of the Ministry of Health are hurtful. Late and poorly implemented, they are taking measures and recommendations that are vox populi in other latitudes since January, such as:
· Leave the shoes worn on the street near the front door of the house, along with other objects you won’t need at home such as keys and wallet
· Disinfect the mobile phone appropriately
· Store your outdoors clothing in a separate place until it can be washed at high temperature
· Maintain a significant social distance (way more than 1 meter as they said for weeks)
But if there is a measure that has been, unnecessarily, postponed it is the necessary use of masks.
To have denied the need for its use to help curb contagions, and to have hidden the benefits of its use from the population due to not having enough units, is plain and simple to LIE us.
Leaving our borders, today (Easter, Passover, almost Ramadan) we go to bed thinking about the more than 100K victims that the pandemic has claimed, how everything is developing in the USA and, above all, the chaos that must be in New York City if the media is right. Both are suffering from the exponential scourge of the virus.
Much encouragement to those affected and those around the world who face the first days of confinement with fear and anxiety – among many other emotions – that such a fact entails.
You are stronger than you think.
If a few days ago google animals went viral and, locally, the creation of projections with messages on a Concheiros façade in Santiago de Compostela; Today it was the turn of ‘What did Hubble see on your birthday?’ by Nasa.
After entering your month and date, you may admire a fascinating cosmic wonder Hubble cosmic telescope took on that day at some point during the last 30 years.
And so we got the Triangulum Galaxy and Saturn.
If anything, both are a reminder of how tiny our issues are if we have a look at the big picture. And that this too will pass in a whim.
What did you get?
It doesn’t matter where this pandemic caught you. Or does it?
Having a roof and food, in addition to health, has become a real privilege.
Even if your home does not have a balcony, terrace, patio or garden, you can feel lucky to have a place where you can take shelter until the storm passes. And that’s not a small thing.
In case of doubt, see what happened with the massive exodus of day laborers and their families in the largest cities in India without going any further. Overnight, they were deprived of home, food, and income; something that made them flee to their home villages, where they could at least be with the rest of their family on arrival.
A humanitarian catastrophe that is still unfolding as we write.
We wanted to wish you a happy Easter – Passover, but we have settled for wishing you a home, enough food and good health.
Have a great week.
Today we ‘celebrate’ a month of confinement. If there is something to celebrate, it is that we are alive. We hope you are all well, or otherwise, a speedy recovery.
A big hug and here’s to the next 30.
What’s on your to-do list for when you can go outside freely?
Maybe in your country you can still roam free, but this question is directed especially to all inhabitants of countries enduring a full lockdown such as Spain, where unless you go grocery shopping (preferably once a week maximum), to the pharmacy , to work or to walk the dog if you have one; you cannot leave your home.
Here are some of the things on our list:
Going to the beach.
The closest one is less than a couple of kilometers away, but we are surrounded by dozens of stunning beaches that we used to visit almost daily. Especially in spring and autumn, since the sunset coincides with the end of the working day and timing was perfect.
Visiting our closest relatives.
Both of them. It is one of the things we miss the most. There is nothing to supply the warmth of the family, if you get along with them.
Attending a music festival and going crazy, like it’s the end of the world kind of crazy.
This is one of the things on the list that will definitely take the longest. Some sources already place them in 2021 at the earliest, and some that we were going to attend this summer have already postponed the appointment for a year. So in the meantime, we settle for a local party with music.
Hanging out with a lot of people – friends! – that we miss on a daily basis since this started.
Those we used to see during the week in the bars, and those we were lucky to meet on the weekends. Also those we see only a bunch of times a year. All of them.
Walking, walking and walking a little more.
From one end of our house to the other there are 20 steps, insufficient to avoid atrophy.
Playing with Rufo, our dog.
These weeks he is staying in another house as having him in an apartment would be kind of cruel. He’s pure joy and we cannot wait!
Witnessing how everything returns to a relatively new normality.
Traveling to distant countries is not on the list. Travel is part of our DNA after 20 years at it, but it is not a priority in our lives right now.
Now it’s your turn, what will you do once we can get out of the hole?
While France instills fear in its population – and in neighboring countries – with rumors of an extension of almost half a year of the containment measures, South Korea continues to report reinfections everywhere, there are numerous infections that cast doubt on the effectiveness from the heat to kill this virus in Africa, and the USA remains the world leader in infections; Our country (Spain) gives a pass by default to all schoolchildren this school year.
The world is crazy right now.
Or has it been too many days since I left home?
Our last proper hike in nature – in mid-February – keeps coming to my mind lately.
It took place the same day as our first-ever picnic. Jose made a delicious and slightly undercooked potato omelet, we bought some fresh bread and added some cured loin, scallops and a can of foie that the company I worked for had sent me as part of the Christmas basket. What a feast we had!
The fact is that, as sometimes happens to us, we stopped too many times on the way to take photos and aware the night was coming, we decided to call a taxi before finishing it when we were about three-quarters of the way.
How little did we know back then that only a couple of months later, we wish we could walk that remaining quarter of the way madly. Even if it was pitch black.
I have just walked through our apartment from end to end over three hundred times to walk 6000 steps and break the starvation that has been trapping me for more than a month.
We had it all.
Related read: Hiking Spain – 6 Awesome Trails
Every time I get asked which destinations I’d love to go back and which ones I’d absolutely avoid in the future, my answer is usually along the lines of ‘all places in the world have something, so anywhere and everywhere’. I know, it’s ridiculous. The answer couldn’t be vaguer.
I guess I do not want to hurt anyone, but the truth is that there are some places I would never go back to.
This morning I saw it crystal clear. One of them is Chernobyl. I was invited there three years ago and I do not regret visiting, but after having done so, I can’t help it to hate myself for putting my own life at risk – just a tiny bit – and especially the lives of those who work there day in and day out for the sake of dark tourism. From the perimeter security guards to the canteen cooks and guides who day after day bring the Geiger counter to places where it shouldn’t be for the joys of tourists (these eyes saw it marking 273 cm away from the infamous yellow Ferris wheel of Pryp’yat ‘), it’s plain stupid. And dangerous.
But why do I bring this issue up today?
Bear with me just a bit more, please.
The media in Spain has been exclusively talking about the c*virus since the countrywide status alert was established five weeks ago. Thus television went from being trash to being a c*virus trash pretty much overnight. And it was filled with so-called experts discussing ‘groundbreaking’ stuff that had already done the rounds in Asia a couple of months ago. Almost the same old sh*t on TV we were used to.
Until this week, when other disasters began to unsettle the media – of course, catastrophes sell! – like the wildfires in the vicinity of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, an already dated problem that started on April 4.
As a result, it has been a long time since we limited our consumption of news to global, online, and on-demand stuff for 5 minutes.
And, on the other hand, questions are changing. Would you like to go back to how you were before? Well, yes and no. As a society, we could as well start changing some things.
Ah, the c*virus joys and silver linings.
As it happens, it looks like we’ve just had one too many tonight to write something compelling. This is what lockdown does to us.
Happy Saturday, everyone. Stay safe.
Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Maxwell Maltz seems to be the father of the ’21 days to form a habit idea ‘as published in a 1960 self-help book called’ Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life ‘. The truth is that after 36 days locked up, the habit of confinement has taken over us. The idea of going outside crosses our minds a little less every day, and we have even created new routines in our lives adjusted to this new reality.
I wonder if this has anything to do with the confinement that inmates experience in jail. And although I doubt that, it is increasingly clear that this period of our lives will be remembered as our particular period in prison, freedom deprived.
Today’s tale of the great outdoors comes straight from one of our favorite countries in the world: Nepal. – How much is left to finish today’s trekking? – I asked the guide after several hours of climbing steps up the mountain, breathless. – Just twenty minutes, half an hour. – He answered.
Two hours later, exhausted, I finally arrived at our eco-community lodge, the first of several where we would sleep while undertaking the Mohare Hill (Mohare Danda) trek, at the Annapurnas’ footsteps.
For the extra hour and a half, mixed thoughts crossed my mind: How could I lie to myself? Wasn’t he able to see that I was on the verge of fainting?
I miss that trip so much. After the first day of adjustment to what was to come, things were only upwards and onwards on the following ones – with their ups and downs that I’ll tell you about another day.
It was one of the biggest challenges I have faced so far. I kid you not, I was this close to abandoning the trek that day. The funniest thing is to think that the uncertainty of not knowing when that endless day would end almost drives me crazy. Little did I know that three years later the uncertainty would be when we would be able to leave the house after a month and a half locked up, knowing that at least another one is ahead of us.
How right is he who said that life puts us in our place!
A day before the end of what should last a quarantine if we take into account what the name indicates. Nonetheless, here’s what google says about the latest buzzword:
crisis / ˈkrīsis / · A time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.
· A time when a difficult or important decision must be made.
· The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.
Draw your own conclusions.
Let us tell you: We don’t believe in those theories that say the earth is trying to tell us enough is enough. Now, we also do not deny that it can finally ‘breathe’ a little. And while this global situation helps to sensitize the world to climate change (which we strongly believe in), we will not reject the silver linings of the pandemic either.
It wouldn’t hurt if we (those of us who are guilty) start to slow down a bit the greed machine either.
In other news, I have started studying Arabic today, a language that has fascinated me since I was a child. Arguably it is one of the four languages that somehow surround – or are closest to – my country (along with Italian, French, and Portuguese) and it was time to get on with it.
I will be telling you about my progress (slow, I imagine, as its incredibly beautiful writing is new to me) soon.
Cheers and happy Earth Day to all humans and living things that are currently alive or have lived on it.
Quarantine: Restriction on the movement of people and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests. It is often used in connection to disease and illness, preventing the movement of those who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, but do not have a confirmed medical diagnosis.
It is distinct from medical isolation, in which those confirmed to be infected with a communicable disease are isolated from the healthy population. Quarantine considerations are often one aspect of border control.
The concept of quarantine has been known since biblical times and is known to have been practiced through history in various places. Notable quarantines in modern history include that of the village of Eyam in 1665 during the bubonic plague outbreak in England; East Samoa during the 1918 flu pandemic; the 1972 Yugoslav smallpox outbreak, and extensive quarantines applied throughout the world during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.
Ethical and practical considerations need to be considered when applying quarantine to people. Practice differs from country to country.
In Spanish, quarantine is ‘cuarentena’ and also means 40 days.
How are you all doing?
Here days go by as slowly as they go fast. And although we try to break the monotony, in the end, it is almost always the same. Get up, work, lunch, work, clap for carers, a glass of wine or three, dinner, television runs the nation, and sleep. Repeat everything the next day. As there are no major differentiating events, it seems that spring started yesterday and it has been over an effing month since that happened!
Anyway, we try to be as positive as we can and move on, what else can we do? Any ideas you smart humans?
A hug from our little reality box: the endless Spanish (global) quarantine.
Parties in times of c * virus.
8:05 PM. As I listen to a song that says ‘if it is true that it is the end of humanity, we’d better get really drunk’ at an impossible volume through the window – our neighbors upstairs have been blasting loud music since 11 am to celebrate San Marcos, a local ‘fiesta’; an ambulance passes slowly with its siren on. After driving down the whole street, it finally turns the noise off as it turns the corner. Looks like it’s an empty ride, and its drivers simply want to say hello at the always busy ‘clap for carers’ time.
It’s a fact. The c * virus has not yet wreaked havoc in our street.
I wonder how parties are being held in neighborhoods, towns, and cities where this disease has claimed a high number of victims.
The answer is almost certain. They are probably not being celebrated in this way. Or yes, who knows. Nor does anyone know how or when all this will end. One of the reasons why life is celebrated in my town today.
Last night, while the neighbors were dressing their windows and balconies up, we asked to take the musical command for today’s ‘closing’. Let’s see how it goes. Without a balcony, like the neighbors above, we tend to be deaf after a while while the rest of the street only listens to our – amazing – songs halfway.
A hug from Noia, Galicia.
PS: Sorry for the temporary destinations/caption disconnection (the photo is from a 2017 Nepal bound). To give you an idea of how the confinement is being lived here today, we have just uploaded a tiny story video of the street from our window, the only one without hanging balloons but also the only one from which good music will soon be heard.
It had to happen. With the very announced arrival of the recent measure taken by the government of our country – Spain – by means of which children under the age of 14 were allowed to go out for 1 hour in the street accompanied by an adult and no more than a distance of 1km from their usual home, also came the mass criticism.
Up to three different WhatsApp groups are burning today with mixed opinions on how this de-escalation measure has been implemented and its apparent ineffectiveness. Along with videos and images of crowded streets and parks.
Here we have a deep-rooted saying: ‘It never rains to everyone’s liking.’ And it seems that, once again, it happens to be quite right.
Why does it not occur to all those critics to think that in some cities the population density does not allow lower concentrations of people?
Why do they stone others without stepping in their shoes?
What harm does it have for two or more young children to be accompanied by their two parents with whom they have probably been living 24/7 for the past 6 weeks?
Do they think that it would be better for those people who are not lucky enough to live next to nature to take the car en masse and start moving to second homes and beaches, as it happened at the beginning of the confinement?
How many critics are there in times of c * virus and how little do they allow others to live in peace. Little faith in humanity today. That is why there have been – and will always continue to be – regrettable shows such as the Roman circus among us. People crave blood.
Loath and shame in times of c*virus.
And yet, the world kept spinning.
Today I wonder how the people of this Nepalese town, 8000 km away from here, are going through these times of pandemic. On the other hand, right now – without going to the hard drive and checking the exact date of this photo that I selected days ago – I don’t remember if it was Kathmandu, Pokhara or some other city in the country. Selective memory, they call it.
Surely that does not happen with the natural landscapes that I have been sharing these days.
Does nature also make you happier than cities?
Little by little all the lockdowns are approaching the first of all, that of China. Especially if we take into account that, for example here in Spain, two more months (phases 0, 1, 2 and 3) of ‘de-escalation’ have been announced today, extensible if we do not do our homework as citizens and there is a rebound in cases.
That means that in total – if everything goes according to plan – we would have had more than 100 days of quarantine before proceeding to phase 4, which will be a ‘new normal’, as our president called it repeatedly. Go figure.
Hopefully, we will still be here to write about it.
How is everything going where you are?
The countdown has started. Although we should have been in Southeast Asia for 15 days already – specifically in Vietnam – today what worries us the most is:
1. That our people remain healthy and the c * virus away from our community
2. That the politicians of our country define at once the measures of lack of confinement regarding local mobility, as well as the ‘freedoms’ that we are supposed to start enjoying on Saturday. Namely, to be able to leave the house to take a walk or do sports for 1 hour (possibly at dawn or at night). Yay 2020!
By the way, what happened to April?
It was kind of sweet while it lasted.
Tomorrow we will finally be able to go out for an hour to walk or do some kind of sport between 6 and 10 in the morning or between 8 and 11 at night within a radius of 1km from our homes. It looks like the strict lockdown in Spain will start to relax a little so that we can finally breathe.
We have no idea if we will continue to tell you about our quarantine day by day – which will continue for a long time, although it already seems to be less strict – as we have been doing for the last 7 weeks because we have not decided it yet.
However, chances are we will probably leave it here. It had been years since we did not upload a daily photo to Instagram and it has been a good exercise for both of us. But since the de-escalation begins, perhaps we will start to do other things instead.
Meanwhile, we hope that all of you who read us daily, plus your family and friends are doing well. This pandemic is here to stay, so hold on and be strong. We’ll get through this.
We love you.
Notes: At the time of writing (Friday, May 1st), Spain’s 7-week-old lockdown is one of the strictest in the world. Recently, its government announced a four-phase (Phases 0, 1, 2, and 3) approach to reach a ‘new normal’. Children under 14 – kept inside for weeks – were allowed to go outside for 1 hour a day since April 26th. On the other hand, everyone will be able to leave their homes to play sports, do exercise, or take a stroll for 1 hour starting tomorrow Saturday, May 2nd, 2020.
Moving forward, with Phase One street stores (but not malls) that have taken the needed precautions will be able to open May 11th. Tourist infrastructures such as hotels can also reopen, except for their common areas that will be off-limits for a bit longer.
During Phase Two, restaurants, museums, and monuments will allow visitors up to a 30% capacity. Educational institutions will also reopen for kids up to 6-year-old whose parents are both at work, for those who have fallen behind in their studies, and for students to take their college entrance tests. However, in any case, schools won’t fully reopen before September.
Phase Three measures will be put in place before reaching the ‘new normal’ and include further freedoms and mobility within the inhabitants’ region.
This rollback will take place at different speeds in the country’s provinces. Each will be measured according to key ‘markers,’ such as the number of infections, the economic status of people in the area, and the local health service’s capacity, before advancing to the next phase.
A total of 24,824 deaths in Spain are attributed to the new c*virus, with over 215,000 infected.