Part 3: First Impressions and Days of Quarantine

A highly satisfying sleep on my first night of quarantine after a long day and getting to bed at about 1am (3am Sydney time from where I’d started the day) and also knowing I was finally in China!

Still, it was up and into work – especially now that my starting time was actually 9am since I was actually in the same time zone as my work and not a couple of hours ahead! I didn’t have time for my 20km run / 50km cycle or 10km walk before starting work – not to mention I couldn’t leave my 18m² hotel room!

I took another look through the quarantine rules of meal times, putting chlorine tablets in the toilet before a bowel movement and then leaving your stomach contents in there for an hour before you can flush it and other assorted quarantine rules!

The day before hadn’t consisted of much food other than the 4 trays of the same food on the plane (see part 2) so I eagerly awaited my breakfast mentioning to reception the evening before that I prefer a vegan diet if possible. Not possible. A hard-boiled egg and tetra box of milk with 3 little stale bread rolls was brekky. Luckily, I’m not really a food person and just eat to stop feeling hungry and function as a flexitarian for these very situations. Food drop off rules are pretty strict. Food gets put on a little table out the front of your door at 8am 12pm and 5pm. It ‘s put in numerous plastic bags and packaging and you are allowed to open your door, peer out, snatch your food and cower back into your mole hole or room. Unsatisfied with brekky I hoped for something more filling for lunch.

Anyway, I was soon into work, meetings and delighted to tell everyone I was actually in China! With every conversation, email or checking of my calendar I was remined I didn’t need to do the mental calisthenics of working the time back 2.5 hours or daylight savings and being able to be on the same time as my work colleagues! It was a delight every time I realised it!

What an animated morning sharing my sheer delight with everyone on me finally being in China and their delight rebounded back to me 😊 I did have a few meeting interruptions where I have to give my temperature twice a day at about 9am and 11am and then not for the rest of the day. The thermometer they gave me was so hard to read I couldn’t figure it out and more or less guessed my temperature and must have gone a bit hi as they sent a hasmat to my room to get a digital reading, and all good there!

12 noon came with expected excitement for lunch. Alas I was in meetings for another half an hour when they came with a multiple ring of the doorbell which meant lunch is served on the little table outside your door! When I did get out there and brought in my lunch I eventually fought through all the plastic I had a lovely vegetarian meal with rice smelling and tasting the goods!

I hate sharing photos of food on the internet! It seems slightly appropriate on this occasion…

The rest of the day was work right up till bed and catching up after a couple of days of travel and being offline. Again, total satisfaction in being here and utter excitement that I was really in China!

The next day, a Friday, I took in a little more of the surroundings of the room and views from the window. I could actually see the hotel where I had stayed in Jan 2020 running a youth leadership conference right before China, and then the world, shutdown!

I learnt that breakfast was going to remain disappointing, but lunch and dinner were proving to be great vegetarian fairs of Chinese food with various mushrooms, greens and other good flavours. I even got a delivery of some crackers and instant noodles from my work colleague (dropped off at receptions and delivered once a day to your door at a certain time) to top me up between meal times.

Friday evening was the first time I had to pause and take in the fact I was trapped in this room for the remaining 13 days but somehow the feeling I had was freedom and more freedom than I had felt in South Australia for the past 8 months – see previous blog. Quarantine isn’t a preferred way of living but it meant I was working towards a life I love of living abroad. It is a feeling that feels deep either because it in my DNA from an ancestry of nomads or, more likely, a way of being as a privileged nomad that I’ve calved out over the past 21 years!!!

I seem to be measuring days in tetra box milk cartons which means Saturday (today as I write this) is day 3! Hmmm, the new challenge of a weekend in quarantine where I would have usually been going for a 5km Parkrun attached to a 20-30km extended run. It also seemed I woke up with that energy and expectation! So I tried expending some energy by jogging around my room with high knees, legs kicked up at the back, lunges, crab walks and more…

I managed 3500 steps laughing at myself the whole time. I got bored pretty quickly and looked for alternative physical exertions and created an obstacle course till I realised my shoulders and hips don’t fit under the chair.

From there I created some step ups, more high knee lifts and created some dumbbells out of the 24 pack of plastic water bottles that I won’t be using! At least they have a good use in my room!

No chin ups but plenty of push ups and sit ups with some beginner yoga on YouTube and anything that seems to soothe the soul and spend a little of my boundless energy!

In the end it was a great day of getting prepped with Shanghai life (like finding a place to live), online communication with folks and for the past couple of hours writing longwinded blogs that likely no one will get to this point but nice for my own historical reference 😊

As for the remaining 12 days, this will be my life in this room but it will be done with gratitude and excitement knowing I will be stepping out to a life where I will be a Shanghai resident, doing work I love and with people and schools I’m keen to interact and grow together with!

I better go as I have important things to do around the room – ha! 😉

Like putting up my Teaspoons of Change & Global Goals Posters!!!

About Living Geo d'Arcy

Experiences are the richest thing in life. Love them and live them.
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