Have you heard the one about quarantine? Probably not. It’s an inside joke. (Internet gets credit for that). The title tells most of the story. We are in Bangkok living the self quarantine life. Since Bangkok is the best place for us to be overall, we are trying to stay here as long as possible. However, my visa will probably be the determining factor as to how long we can stay.
Arriving in Thailand
When we arrived, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Thailand was in the double digits. All things considered, that wasn’t that bad. Everything was still open. We went to the mall to get food, take fun pictures, and sip on boba tea. People remained calm and nothing was hoarded (not even toilet paper). However, we decided that it was time to stay inside to protect ourselves and others. It has been over 4 weeks since we arrived and neither of us has had any symptoms of the virus. Yay! Since we want to keep it that way, we are staying inside the vast majority of the time. With respect to the mortality rate of COVID-19, a meme said it pretty well… If I gave you 100 skittles and told you that 3 of the skittles would kill you, you probably wouldn’t eat any skittles.
The COVID-19 prevention measures were rapidly getting more restrictive but have levelled off recently. When we arrived, people decided to wear masks on their own and there was screening at the airport. We would walk around the neighborhood, Jyn would pet cats and spot exotic flowers and birds, and we both exercised in the park. Then, the daily restrictions increased. First, the numbers of flights departing/arriving were reduced, and people traveling from certain countries were banned from entering. Then, the playground and exercise equipment at the park was roped off, social distancing began, and a curfew was implemented. Shortly after, the entire neighborhood park was closed (as were all parks in Bangkok), we were advised to stay inside, and the curfew was lengthened. The most recent restrictions include the ceasing of commercial flights into Bangkok, further departing flight reductions, prohibition of movement between provinces, and automatic extensions of visas (phew!). The automatic extension was implemented two days before my entry stamp expired.
Thailand has been doing a good job managing the virus, and we feel safe here. The curve is flattening and nothing is being hoarded (as far as I know). With a population of ~70 million people, there are “only” a total of ~2643 confirmed cases and 43 deaths (at the time I wrote this). To put those numbers in perspective, Florida has a population of ~22 million people with a total of ~21,000 cases and 571 deaths. California has a population of ~40 million people with a total of ~23,000 cases and 758 deaths. Perhaps it is underreported, but it is surely underreported everywhere.
What have we been doing?
To fill the time, I have been organizing/backing up/taking pictures, eating, writing the blog, keeping up with the news (generally aggravating), generating concepts for knitting, calculating the cooling time of coffee in varying conditions, having tea, designing a tiny house for fun, knitting, swatting mosquitos with a tennis racquet bug zapper, feeding the dead mosquitos to spiders, adopting a disabled juvenile house gecko, swimming, playing games, dealing with our flight cancellations, sweating, and doing taxes. Jyn is usually knitting, reading the news, sweating, playing her bird game or word game, or having tea. In the late afternoon/evening, we usually work out in the house (calisthenics and resistance bands), have dinner, FaceTime or Zoom with friends, research my evolving visa situation, and watch TV (Tiger King, Tiny House shows, and Ro-Cos). Under these conditions, a big “event” is seeing a giant spider, going to the grocery store, petting the dogs or making an origami crane. Jyn finished knitting a red silk dress that was supposed to take a year to knit! A little bit of structure to the day to keeps us from going bananas.
We miss dancing, being able to travel, seeing our friends, and being able to freely get boba on a whim at any moment. Plus, quarantine is the perfect time to have access to all of our belongings from home, but we don’t. Our stuff is thousands of miles away and the mail system is not 100% reliable here. We have about 3-5 outfits that are appropriate for this climate (living in a sauna). My hair is turning into the little shop of horrors. I may continue to grow it out so I can get a crazy haircut eventually.
What about the Around-the-World Trip?
More like “around-the-house trip”. It is nearly impossible to make plans at the moment, but Plan A is to stay in Bangkok as long as possible. We are not sure where we are going next because the world is basically closed. We expect to be here for another month and a half or so, assuming my visa gets automatically extended again. After that, we will need to see the updates to the travel restrictions before we move elsewhere. If everything goes wrong, we will have to return to the US. Unfortunately, it would probably be difficult and circuitous to get there. For the time being, things are good and we will continue having quaran-tiny bits of fun until more information is available. Stay safe and sane everyone!