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Hotel Quarantine: [Day Seven]

Sunday December 6 2020 Today I'm halfway through. It’s gone faster than I thought... but I find the afternoons are a real drag in here. From about 2pm onwards time seems to stand still. Some days I just go to bed. Which then screws up my night time sleep.

Since posting photos on my Instagram, lots of friends have been curious about the experience and asking similar questions, so I thought I’d write down a few answers.

1. Where are you quarantining? I'm in the Novotel Langley in Perth and then will fly onto Sydney when I'm released. It's not super luxe or low-end, it's in the middle. It's clean and the bed is very comfy.

2. Do you get to go outside and get any fresh air? No. None at all. The hotel room window doesn’t open. The police escort you from the airport to the hotel on a bus, then they block off the street with police cars while you're getting off (calm your tits). You’re not allowed to leave your room until checkout on day 14. There’s a security guard sitting on a plastic chair on each floor of the hotel 24 hours a day to make sure nobody leaves. Again, calm yourselves, people.

Some quarantiners are lucky enough to get a balcony room, I was not. You get no choice about which hotel you’re put in and have no idea where you will be staying until you get off the plane.

3. What’s the food like? At my hotel it’s hit and miss. You get 3 x meals a day included in the cost (I have to pay $3,000 for 14 days (yeah...) The food is provided by the government, not the hotel chefs.

4. Can you order food in? Yes, you can order supermarket deliveries (one of the first things I did: fruit, my favourite oat milk, cereal, chocolate, crackers, cheese etc as I have a small fridge) and also Uber Eats or similar if you get heartily sick of the smell of the hotel food (a point I reached last night).

You can also order pretty much anything you want from anywhere else (Kmart, Ebay etc) the hotel will open your delivery first though (they are checking for cigarettes and alcohol which aren’t allowed or sharp objects which is kind of outrageous but only in a list of all the things that are OTT about this experience). Also, what if I wanted to give myself a tattoo? I'm an adult, with time on her hands.

5. Can you order in wine? If you want alcohol you have to order it from within the hotel and it’s capped at 1 bottle of wine a day or 4 beers/spirits. Many Aussies have complained about this. I hear them, but personally have not felt like drinking in here. I did order a G&T last night but it was so strong I found it undrinkable.

6. How do you stay sane? A huge thing was joining a couple of FB groups for Australians in quarantine + Perth quarantine. People share their sad moments (lots of people are grieving sick or dead relatives), upload their gross hotel meals or creative videos, share tips, frustrations, pick-me-ups etc That connection with people experiencing the same thing is essential for me.

7. Are your children with you? No. I flew to London at short notice and they were better off staying in Australia and being free to run around outside than cooped up indoors for 5 weeks.

8. Other things that are helping:

  • Sticking to a (loose) routine. I call my kids first thing. Then I work during the day. I call my mum in London every afternoon at the same time and in the evenings have WhatsApp connections with friends

  • My daily coffee which is delivered to my door each morning

  • I hired a spin bike and do a 45 min cycle class every morning on YouTube. That makes a huge difference to my mood. People have become very resourceful around this quarantine thing... you can hire lots of things for 14 days from local businesses and people: Playstations, gym equipment, microwaves, air purifiers, kitchen equipment etc

  • Yoga with Adriene

  • Streaming UK BBC Radio 2

  • Netflix

  • Podcasts and colouring

  • Epsom salt baths

  • Not thinking too much about the fact that I.can’

That’s today’s installation. I’m halfway through now. The third thing I’m going to do (after I hug my kids and look them in the eye and tell them how much I love them, and thank their dad for doing such a great job of looking after them) is put up my Christmas tree!!

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