Jackpot. The hot breakfast we’ve been waiting for has finally materialised outside our door. Eggs (scrambled but still good), proper bacon and somewhat soggy hash browns. Perhaps it’s a good omen for the rest of the food day – who can say.
We’re back on official work days now it’s Monday. I’ve got a few late calls scheduled this week so I’m expecting the days to be somewhat long. Michael leaves the TV on longer than usual this morning – our standard Australian reality shows are on free to air. We catch the end of Border Security and roll into some show where cops breathalyze drunk motorists. I vacillate between laughing at the drunk dickheads driving home after “a coupla stubbies” and shaking my head at the cops on a power trip who have clearly signed up to the force for the purpose of swinging their dicks around and antagonising the public. I finish my physio exercises, sit down at the desk and try to write the entry for Day 5.
It’s getting harder to find things to write about as the days bleed into one. We’ve set the routine; the novelty of having things delivered and inspecting the food that’s delivered has lost its sheen and things have become generally pretty mundane. But I’ve committed to myself to continue with these daily entries for the duration of quarantine, and so am determined to write something even if it isn’t particularly interesting or readable (sorry about that – but I’ll still write even if no one reads). The main goal is to give me something to do, to pass the time, and if I end up writing incoherent nonsense, so be it. Michael is restless this morning, he’s like a teenager trying to unscrew the bolts from the windows so we can get fresh air after seeing someone successfully open their window across at the Novotel, and it’s distracting and annoying. I ask whether he is planning on doing a morning workout and he confirms that he is. I relocate to the bed to give him more space to use the skipping rope.
Mid-morning there is a knock at the door. Lying on the dodgy carpet is an express post envelope. We had ordered some Australian sim cards for our cell phones before leaving EG, intending that Michael’s parents would deliver to us so that we could set up our phones during quarantine. With the unexpected change in location to the other side of the country, Michael’s dad re-posted the sim cards to our hotel in Perth. The system works. After his workout, Michael goes ahead with setting up the sims so we now have Aussie numbers – useful for making local calls (and for linking to your Woolworths Online account).
It’s almost 10 minutes to 11am which has become our coffee break time. I call up with our usual coffee order. The young guy confirms that they will be sent up in 20 minutes. Delivery times are variable – we’re at the mercy of the availability of security guards, which accounts for the temperature of the coffee once it finally makes its way to our room. Twenty minutes comes and goes – I am expecting a wait of at least 30 minutes despite what the guy downstairs has told me. Normally I would be impatient, but locked away up here, my impatience is somewhat dulled. There is no real rush for anything while we’re in here. After 45 minutes, I call downstairs again and ask about our order. The same young guy says he’ll check and assures me they’ll be up shortly. By this time, we’re butting up against lunchtime, and it’s 11.45 when our coffees finally arrive. Michael is pissed off – instead of a large they brought him only a regular-sized chai latte – drinkable in 3 sips, definitely not Starbucks sizes. It’s not like we can do anything to rectify that though, even if we were inclined to do so. That’s the thing about being in quarantine, they can pretty much treat you how they want and you’ve got no choice but to cop it.
We finish our coffees but lunch has already been delivered. It’s confirmed – this morning’s breakfast was not at all an indicator of things to come – the published menu tells us to expect an Arabic Mezze with pita bread – what we receive is a plastic container of salad mix topped with a couple of balls which I initially assume to be falafel but actually turn out to be some kind of meatball, and a splat of runny hummus. The “pita bread” is the same kind of dinner roll we were supplied for breakfast. Given the time, we officially break a Quarantine Rule and have lunch prior to showers although at least we have both changed out of our PJs.
Even all these years after high school I still haven’t lost my love of dressing up or character acting. Today’s quarantine challenge is therefore perfect – create 10 different characters based on what I have available in the room and in our suitcases. I have a blast – it’s easy to create something from nothing with a slither of creativity and imagination. By lunch I already have 7 characters created and photographed. It provides some comic relief for both Michael and myself while at the same time is perhaps somewhat concerning that at the wrong side of 35 and I still like to play dress-ups. Favourites voted among the 10 are “Moody Melbourne Student,” “Scary COVID Stresshead” and “Ya Best Aussie Mate.”
The meal quality for Monday continues its descent towards zero. A post in the hotel Facebook group had warned that Monday was beef stroganoff day and comments were less than favourable. Our expectations were therefore not high (even if they had been without the warnings) and the truth of the reviews is quickly confirmed – a pile of dry brown meat sitting atop a mound of pasta. I’m sure there was probably sauce at the bottom of the foil pack had we attempted to dig. I can’t even talk about the fluroescent orange dessert that accompanied it and was positively unidentifiable. Agreement was quickly reached: Monday night = UberEats night. I browse the multitude of Asian noodle restaurants on the app and we settle on Mama Joy’s. I am a little apprehensive about logistics; we have included a note with our order instructing the food to be delivered to the hotel reception – but even after this original hurdle, we still run the risk of not seeing our food for an hour depending on the security guards’ availability. UberEats does their part quickly at least and our food arrives at the hotel 20 minutes ahead of schedule. We wait anxiously and sure enough 30 minutes later there is another knock at the door – our noodles have arrived, complete with veggies, flavour(!) and still at a reasonable temperature. We devour as much as we can – one container would have been enough for both of us. It’s a shame that we don’t have a microwave otherwise we could have heated up the leftovers for tomorrow.
Michael still has some work to do so I watch a couple of episodes of “The Office” until he is finished. We browse the documentaries on Netflix again and select one about Jim Carrey making the Man on the Moon movie in the late 90’s. I loved Jim Carrey when I was at school and Ace Ventura came out, and have since thought that he’s ridiculously talented albeit manic. His manic nature comes across absolutely in the doco – though taking his craft totally seriously he was clearly infuriating to work with and no doubt has an ego to go with it.
After it finishes, I try to read for a bit but the book isn’t holding my interest and I put my Kindle down. For some reason though, I can’t sleep and I spend the night tossing and turning until the light starts to nudge through the window early Tuesday morning.