Our second last morning in this room. The breakfast news is full of the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble, there is footage of the first planes taking off and interviews with emotional people that haven’t seen their families or friends for over a year. It’s an important reminder of the huge number of people stranded around the world far from the people that are important to them. Of course, the selection of travelers shown on TV is only a tiny percentage of those still waiting to see their families and who may not see them still for many more months. We wait for the customary breakfast knock and luckily it comes on time just before 7.30am. There’s plenty of time for me to scoff the hot breakfast before I have to get on a work call at 8am. We open the lid on the foil container and are slightly disappointed – they haven’t given us the good bacon this time but mini chicken(?) sausages instead. I try one, they’re not bad, but not a match for the bacon I was so eagerly anticipating.
Right before I sit down for my work call we both receive a text message from WA Health. Our final PCR tests are negative. We are still required to stay another day and a half in quarantine though in case we happen to develop any last minute symptoms. My work call goes for a full hour and when I get off there is a feeling of excitement and energy in the room. We are nearly there. We’re going to be released tomorrow. It’s kind of frustrating that they won’t release us right now given the level of risk remaining but at this stage it’s so close it doesn’t really matter.
There’s an announcement on the hotel Facebook page to prepare those on our flight for departure tomorrow. Michael reads out the fairly lengthy note about departure process – the hotel doesn’t stagger it and it will be one family group/room per elevator. It’s going to be a long process. We are instructed to fill out some form which I find included in the WA State Government pack that was left for us which apparently we will need to give to a healthworker tomorrow. I start filling it out with our contact details and onward flight number. Something tells me the check-out/departure process is going to be quite the shit-show
Despite the excitement I go through my usual morning routine and after my exercises are done I call up downstairs for coffee. Chai lattes are back on the menu so Michael is happy. So far, it’s been a pretty decent day. We sit together and sip our tepid drinks by the window then I go ahead and take a shower. We are getting low on soap and toilet paper, I’m hoping that we will have enough to make it through tomorrow without having to call housekeeping for more supplies. I’m not particularly excited about lunch today – it’s the “Arabic Mezze” again – that salad mix with a dollop of runny hummus and a couple of cold meatballs. I send a picture to our friend from Lebanon who finds it hilarious. The green salad leaves are starting to rot and remind me of the plastic containers of spinach and rocket we get delivered in EG. I eat around the icky bits and finish the meatballs instead.
Today’s challenge has been ongoing all day. I am supposed to surreptitiously swap the items on my bedside table one by one with the items on Michael’s until he notices. It’s slow going, I manage to get the less obvious things shifted across but it’s difficult when he’s sitting on top of the bed in full view even if he is fully immersed in his laptop with headphones on. I’m not sure how far I’ll get with it but remind myself I’ve got all day and all evening. Given I kept up with my work emails over the weekend I don’t have much to do this afternoon and so am happily interrupted by calls from some girlfriends. I have very much appreciated the regular contact calls as well as messages that have broken up the days and provided a connection to the outside world, not only in Oz but all over the globe.
Michael is still working, Monday’s are normally busy for him, and it’s nearing 5pm so I get on the bike. I’m planning to ride again tomorrow before we check out but as I alter the resistance to make myself ride harder I start to suspect that perhaps I won’t have time. Tomorrow besides my usual exercise/write/work routine we also have to pack, fill our suitcases with dirty washing and our stuff that’s been strewn all around the room, plus I’m expecting to have to complete the final challenge set by my girl group. I get off the bike and it’s getting close to 5.45pm now. I ask Michael if he’s heard a knock for dinner but he hasn’t. Not that we are planning to eat the nasty beef stroganoff anyway but I want to remind myself of the dessert offering and see if there’s anything else of interest in the bag (there is not). It takes us a while to make a decision on dinner, we scroll through UberEats and I am overwhelmed by choice – a kid in the candy store type syndrome that tends to manifest after working a hitch in EG. Unnecessarily stressed, we finally select a Vietnamese place and order a random combination of things which should be delivered around 7.15pm.
There are a couple of beers left in the mini-fridge so I crack those out just after 7pm while intermittently checking progress on our food. I receive the notification that it has been left with hotel reception and we are shocked when it arrives at our door not ten minutes later. We relocate to the coffee table and inspect our order – rice paper rolls, crispy chicken wings that actually taste like real chicken, and some rice noodles with raw veggies and BBQ pork. A clear improvement on the beef strog!
After dinner we relocate to the bed for the usual evening TV viewing. I’ve progressed pretty well with my challenge during the day and while Michael is brushing his teeth I switch out the last few items, his handkerchief, my lip balm and hand-cream. It’s not until we are ready to turn out the lights and read that Michael starts to notice and hands me back my watch which I placed there after finishing my ride. I keep hold of it until he finally stares down at his bedside table “What is all your shit doing over here?“ I bubble up with laughter as he realizes “and what’s all my shit doing over there?” He’s incredulous and I explain the objective of today’s challenge. He gives me full points, I report back to the girls and we finally turn the lights out.
Michael closes his Kindle before I do, but I figure he’s probably right and it’s probably time to try and sleep so I close mine too and snuggle down. Thump thump thump. Pause. Thump thump thump thump. Pause. Thump thump thump.
What the fuck. I guess it’s one of our neighbours doing late night exercise. It might be the last night, but it’s going to be a long one.