They delivered pancakes for breakfast this morning. I’ve never been a huge fan of pancakes – often overly filling and too sweet for breakfast. I inspect the contents of the foil container and replace the lid straight away. Michael picks at the top pancake in his pack, with a drizzle of imitation maple syrup but ultimately moves on to the tub of vanilla bean yoghurt which was also included. We need to start working on our yoghurt stores a bit – they have been delivering a tub for each of us every morning. Michael’s not a huge fan of the stuff normally anyway but I thought it wise to save some in the fridge as contingency for the more unappetising breakfast options.
The Aussie breakfast news is all about vaccines this morning. The headlines regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine are ominous, and include words like “blood clots”, “death” and “ban” – designed to trigger fear and anxiety. The messaging is subsequently smoothed down by the politicians and media (perhaps in an effort to demonstrate their power, control and ultimate responsibility for the viewers’ collective wellbeing) during the feature news stories with their assurance that it is safe for use in those over 50. After so long living away, the focus of Australian news feels somewhat foreign – nothing is said about the ongoing lockdowns in Europe, instead it’s the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble, the resuming of international flights to Melbourne and delays in the vaccine roll-out. It’s no surprise that Michael and I are in almost the last group of Australians who will receive the vaccine; originally targeted for October, but now due to delays seems like it may not occur until even later.
Mid-morning, we get a message from my friend in LA who has just received the J&J vaccine. The pandemic management strategies between the US and Australia are almost beyond comparison – and it’s hard to complain about Australia’s slow vaccine roll-out when countries around the world are clearly in situations of greater need.
Our hotel room is small, for two people for two weeks – there’s no other way to describe it. I’m contemplating a further low-impact step workout this afternoon to keep busy and active – until Michael looks up from his screen. The hotel quarantine Facebook group is advertising exercise bike rentals from Perth’s gym – all we need to do is email the address provided. I get right on it, and shortly after receive an email from Rob confirming the rental price and asking if I want to proceed. The bike is delivered outside our door the same afternoon while I’m chatting to my mum and at 5pm off I go for a 30 minute ride. I can see why this kind of equipment is useful for people in apartments – I put in my earphones and watch the Friday traffic below as I pedal away.
My girl group has given me a couple of writing tasks for today’s daily challenge. For one I have to write a poem about things I am looking forward to doing when we are out of quarantine. I reflect for a moment and decide to use a rhyming style with a repeated line for each stanza. When I’m done with the words, I logon to Canva and create a design so that I can send it to them. I’m not normally one for art and design, but Canva is fairly easy to use, and given that I’m not exactly strapped for time, I figure I may as well. I choose a template with the image of a robin and it’s not until I’m finished that I realise I’ve accidentally chosen a template that you’re supposed to pay for. Slightly annoyed, I delete the robin and hunt for simple borders and flower prints to use instead.
I have grand plans of pizza, beer and movies given it’s Friday night. The sun is beginning to set, so I crack open a corona and position myself in the single armchair by the window. The sunsets have been quite spectacular since the one that greeted our arrival on Day 0 as we waited on the transfer bus . Dinner has already been delivered, again far too early at 5.30pm, and it sits on the coffee table losing whatever heat it may have had by the minute. Michael is engrossed at looking for flights to Brisbane when we finally clear quarantine. None of the options are ideal and he’s getting frustrated. For me, it’s a tiny spec on top of all the other hurdles we’ve already faced in getting here. In the end, he begrudgingly books a Qantas red-eye for our expected day of release. It’s not direct, it will route us via Sydney, but means we should arrive in Brisbane by around 8.30am on 21 April 2021.
By this time it’s past 7pm, and I’m kind of hungry. I think the bike ride helped with my appetite. But after the tension associated with booking flights and the lengthy delivery times showing on Uber Eats, I don’t feel like ordering pizza. We move the bike out of the way and eat the coolish contents of our foil boxes. The fish isn’t too bad, but would’ve been much improved if eaten hot. Luckily there is chocolate cake for dessert – reminiscent of the stuff that you buy from Woolies in the plastic containers – but we’re happy with it.
We retire to bed at probably the earliest time so far this week and browse the free movie selection on the hotel TV. My preference wins in the end and we put on “The Dry” – a 2020 Australian movie with Eric Bana set in country Victoria. I read the book a few years back and enjoy the Victorian summer scenery shown in the film and the stereotypical Aussie characters. The scenes remind me of hot summer days growing up in Castlemaine – the songs of cicadas, the cracked dry earth, the scorching sun sapping the moisture out of the air, causing the leaves to droop and burn.
In bed and we suddenly here a popping sound coming from outside. We look at each other and dash to the window – it sounds like fireworks – and sure enough, it is. We can see the colours from the fireworks reflected in the hotel windows across from us, and we wonder what the occasion is. The people in the hotel across from us (also in quarantine) have their curtains open too, watching and filming the fireworks. They are facing the fireworks and must have a better view than from our side. Eventually, we give up and head back to bed.