It looks like a gorgeous morning and it’s probably the first time that I let myself think how nice it would be to be able to go for a walk outside in the sunshine. The sun brightens the Swan River making it look blue as the sky. Groups of cyclists are out and there are people jogging along the river. I remind myself that we’ll be joining them soon enough and go back to sipping my Nescafe Gold.
We are due for our next PCR test tomorrow. Though we’ve been tested so many times already the stakes are always a bit higher when you need that negative result in order to get on a flight or in this case, in order to clear quarantine. The thought of testing positive and having to remain in this room for another 14 days is unthinkable. Logically, the odds of us testing positive at this point are fairly low given that we already tested negative so many times over the last month, meaning that we didn’t contract the virus in Dubai and we definitely hadn’t contracted it in EG. The risk therefore is during travel, in the plane or the airport, again, less likely given we tested negative on Day 4, or somehow contracting it while in this hotel. It’s the latter that gives me the most cause for concern – there are reports in the news of transmission between two separate families in a Sydney hotel and it’s quite possible that a similar thing could happen here simply as a result of delivery of meals to different rooms.
The other concerning thing is the air conditioning after what happened in Melbourne. The air conditioning continues to be cold and in my paranoia I start over-analysing my nose dripping and asking myself whether my throat feels scratchy. The paranoia and anxiety is no stranger to others I’m sure; a simple cold these days can double one’s blood pressure if the consequences of testing positive has undesirable consequences (beyond the obvious health implications). It was on our last trip out that I started taking multi-vitamins in an effort to strengthen my immune system and I’ve been taking them since we started travelling a few weeks ago. I must have miscounted though and my stocks are low so today I make myself a vitamin C drink instead. Vitamin C soluble tablets are a recent addition to our travel medical kit, for peace of mind if nothing else.
We miss out on the lunch competition today so decide to order from downstairs rather than sampling the dodgy looking “Thai beef salad” which we successfully avoided last weekend. Michael orders a “Hellfire Burger” with the hotel’s trademark awesome chips. The burger is spicy but good, they cook them nicely here, but I think I still prefer the first burger we ordered – how can you criticize anything that comes with an egg on it! It’s very possible there will be other burgers in our future before we are out.
It is also the first day where a sense of purposelessness really seems to dig in. It’s Saturday, so it’s not a workday and people won’t be hassling me for this or that. I logon anyway just to check emails that have come in overnight, but there is nothing which needs my urgent attention so everything can be put aside until Monday. My afternoon is therefore a little bit listless and I finally pull out the purple nail polish that I bought in Dubai for this exact scenario, sit by the window and pain my nails. I’m happy to say my nail painting skills have improved somewhat despite the fact that I rarely attempt it myself these days. I’ve always been far too impatient to wait for them to dry – but this afternoon I have nothing to hurry me along, so I take my time and read in the sunbeam which is happily quite strong today, while I wait.
Saturday night in Pan Pacific Quarantine is pasta and wine night. Just after 5pm Michael calls down and orders us a bottle of Aussie chardonnay and some fancy beers which the hotel is spruiking on its Facebook page. The drinks finally arrive outside our door 45 minutes later surprisingly before the food has even arrived. They must be running late with their deliveries today.
We set up in our usual position by the window with a couple of beers. Perth is smoky this evening and we wonder if there’s a bushfire nearby. The sun is veiled by a layer of dust and turns bright red as it sinks below the high rise buildings. Michael and I gaze out at the Novotel windows opposite. You tend to see more people at this time of day as evening approaches, people leave their curtains open and turn their lamps on. It’s strange to gaze out across at all the other inmates who are in the exact same situation as us with nothing specific to do other than play on their devices or gaze down at the street below.
The window characters are active tonight; the guy in the black singlet apparently has a roommate and kisses her passionately in front of the window, the man in the rusty coloured jumper is glued to his computer screen and doesn’t move from his side-on position. There is even a couple that appears to be practicing or teaching each other some kind of dance routine which involves a kind of step and elbow flick. Michael and I theorise about that what they are actually doing – I’m convinced it’s either an audition or a quarantine challenge they have been set by their friends. But it’s the couple performing the live sex show that really captures our attention – behind the sheer curtain (which does nothing to obscure the view into your room where lamplight is involved by the way) their silhouettes and ever-changing positions cannot be ignored. I can’t stop laughing at the crude exhibitionism of it, and we wonder if black singlet guy is aware of what’s going on on the other side of his wall.
The pasta is cool and slightly congealed by the time we get to it, but we eat it anyway. Dessert tonight is two tiny tubs of vanilla ice-cream which led to my discovery of the freezer compartment on top of our mini fridge. Like all mini fridge freezer’s it’s not adequate however and our ice-cream is more like slightly aerated sweet cream by the time we get to it. We finish the wine while having a fairly robust typical-university student debate about the effects of things like class, gender and culture on politics. I’m easily frustrated when people can’t see more than one side of the argument – it’s hard to shake the style of thinking which was hammered into my head during law school, despite the fact that I’m no longer a lawyer.
Somewhat drunk we fall into bed ready to wake for our last Sunday in quarantine.