It’s Day 10 – double digits, which means we’re (theoretically) at the business end of our stay. We still need to have another PCR test on Day 12 as well as a wellness/symptom check on Day 14 before release, so we’re not home free yet but the end is definitely starting to become visible.
I wake up early again to darkness. Luckily, I’m able to return to sleep for another hour until the light wakes me up somewhat anxiously before 7am. I’ve already decided that I won’t be partaking in this morning’s main breakfast (pancakes) and so am not in a hurry for the customary breakfast door knock. I stick to the vanilla bean yoghurt, a museli bar and part of a crusty dinner roll with butter. The fridge yoghurt supplies are not depleting as quickly as I’d perhaps unrealistically envisioned; in fact they continue to grow, so I bite the bullet and toss a couple of tubs in the trash – lemon flavour plus a banana & honey one which I tried the other day. I feel bad throwing out perfectly good food but the hotel system doesn’t allow for personal preferences beyond the now relatively common vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, halal options. It’s particularly frustrating when it’s so obvious that waste improvements could be made but I’ll save my feedback for another day.
The morning tea coffee order is fraught this morning. My first call at 10.30am goes answered so I call back a few minutes later. There is still no chai (bad luck Michael) so I order my almond latte and return to my morning routine. Forty minutes later, the coffee still hasn’t arrived. I call up downstairs and speak to a different lady who sounds surprised I have waited so long and goes to check. The phone rings again and the kid I spoke to originally is on the line “apparently you ordered a coffee?” “Yes – I ordered it from you about an hour ago.” “Ohh… what was it…” I repeat my order and he assures me it will be right up. Twenty more minutes later there is a loud rap at the door, and when I open it two coffees are sitting on the carpet. One is cooler than the other and it’s clear that one has been sitting downstairs waiting to be delivered and forgotten about. I call up downstairs once again, and explain to a third person what has happened and that only 1 coffee should be added to our bill. While I am in the shower she phones back and tells Michael that there were two coffee orders put in. Michael explains the story again. I guess we’ll find out when we check-out all the extras they want to slog us for.
On the hotel Facebook page they are advertising rooms in the “Green Zone” for those needing to stay an extra night once cleared from quarantine. As soon as we are released at 5pm on Tuesday, we are required to immediately vacate our room in the hotel “Red Zone.” However, some inmates (like us) will be traveling to other destinations within Australia afterwards. This is part of the reason why we booked a redeye flight for the Tuesday night – we couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of moving all our shit to another room/hotel for a single night. The hotel’s strategy with respect to room allocation is a joke. The rooms they are advertising in the “Green Zone” for private, paying customers are modern and “nice” while the rooms they provide for return travellers to exist in for 14 days are frankly un-renovated shitholes. It shouldn’t come as a surprise given that businesses are all about making money, but when we compare some of the hotel quarantine experiences from return travellers in other hotels in other states, the difference in standards and service is totally incomprehensible.
The afternoon sun filters through the window for a few hours of tepid warmth. Once 4pm draws near however, the chill starts to take hold so I get on the bike for half an hour of pedal power. Spotify has kicked me out for being abroad for more than 14 days, so I stream some bad/very uncool 90’s music on YouTube and intermittently sing along. I glance over my shoulder at Michael who is in his usual position on the bed working (playing?) on his laptop. He doesn’t have his headphones on so I’m sure my singing must be irritating but there is no reaction. Whatever he’s doing, he’s totally engrossed – so much so that he doesn’t even answer my unimportant prattle about dinner and sunsets as I climb off the bike.
The sun is beginning to set and it’s another stunning one. I sit by the window, crack open a Corona and watch as the pinks become more intense. Dinner has already been delivered but we’re not eating it tonight. I pull out the in-room dining menu and once again conclude that we’ve already tried their best dishes. I give Michael the option of Nasi Goreng or a burger and we agree to split the Nasi Goreng again. We snack on some salami and cheese from the mini fridge and Michael calls downstairs to place our order. It arrives about 30 minutes later and comes with an egg on top, fresh red chilli, dried anchovies plus two chicken satay sticks. It’s really tasty, full of flavour. We eat in our usual spot by the window. It’s totally dark by now so Michael closes the blinds to try and keep some heat in.
7pm – it feels like an achievement in here – the day is done, signalling that you’ve made it through another one in quarantine. All that’s left is to crawl into bed and find something to watch on the box. We choose a movie tonight, another Oscar nominee “Minari.” It starts out quite funny and cute but meanders towards something somewhat heartbreaking. I was expecting a happy(ier) ending but it’s going for a more realistic, “life goes on” kind of feel. Michael is frustrated with the film’s lack of conclusion but I am comfortable with imagining the story continuing.
“Pretty Woman” has started on free to air. I haven’t seen it for ages and find a lot of it quite comical. We leave it on for a bit but the constant ad interruptions every 10 minutes is painful, Michael isn’t even watching, he’s pretending to sleep, so we finally switch it off. Tomorrow is officially the weekend.