The coronavirus in Spain: lockdown Diaries Day 18
Tuesday March 31, 2020.
“Well, Isn’t that fucking special !?”
Who else had that reaction upon hearing that China – where the coronavirus all began – decided to close its doors to all foreigners? It happened late last week.
However you feel about China, you have to applaud the Chinese for the manner they’ve controlled the virus. It’s the most populated country on earth and they managed to limit the spread to 81,000 cases and 3,300 dead. That’s less than many European countries as well as the United States. Life is returning to normal in China which should give everyone else a bit of hope…
Here in Spain the latest numbers are 94,417 infected and 8,189 dead. The only good news is that the number of people infected has decreased over the last few days. The government on Saturday decided to toughen rules even more, allowing people with only essential jobs (health care workers, food suppliers, people who work in Pharmacies) to continue working. Everyone else has to stay home. You can only go out to get groceries, go to the pharmacy…or to go to the hospital.
We noticed the difference yesterday. We’ve had an active construction site in front of our window the last 2 weeks. It was shut down. That’s great. But in a way it increases our sense of isolation. It’s eerie how quiet everything is. The only thing we hear are the occasional footsteps of our upstairs neighbour.
Abandoned tractor behind our building
On Saturday the Canadian consulate advised us that there were 2 remaining flights (on Air Transat) back to Canada. The last one was today, March 31st.
We had family members urging us to get back to Canada before flights shut down. I thought about it for a second…but it just doesn’t make sense for us. We have a great apartment here in Leon. We also have Spanish health insurance. The last thing we want to do right now is go to the epicentre of the virus here in Spain (Madrid), get on a plane…and then be subjected to a mandatory 14 days of self-isolation once we arrive in Canada. As much as being in lockdown is no fun, who knows what the situation will be in Canada in a week or two? A week ago the US was just getting a few cases. Now suddenly everyone is in full crisis mode.
The lockdown is supposed to end April 12th in Spain but we’re pretty sure (considering the numbers) that it will be extended. So this weekend we extended our booking until May 5th, our host charging us 550 Euros for a month’s rent. She’s a sweet woman and when we’re through with our stay I’ll give everyone the link to the apartment. We’ve been very lucky.
As far as the Schengen rules limiting our stay here (you’re normally allowed 90 days in the Schengen zone within a 180 day period), that was frozen when the lockdown came into effect. So we in theory have 47 days to stay in the Schengen zone once the lockdown is lifted.
All to say we have it really good compared to other people out there, whether they be locals cramped up with family members or tourists in exotic locales that haven’t been able to get back to their home countries. There’s a lot of them.
Having said that we really hope that by May 5th the lockdown will be over here in Spain. Air Transat, according to their website, will be going back to a regular Madrid – Montreal schedule the 1st week of May…We’ll see.
My first lockdown diary focused on our apartment here in Leon. The second on what it’s like to go grocery shopping in Spain during these times. Now, week 3, the novelty of being in lockdown has kind of faded (we’d love to be able to go for a walk). So the focus this week is on what we’re doing to keep ourselves busy during this time.
Keeping busy during Coronavirus
I’m thankful for having this blog. I mentioned last week that with the coronavirus nobody is thinking of travelling right now. Traffic has plummeted. But the time off has allowed me to work on some things like SEO and Pinterest. So I’ve kept busy. I think I’d be depressed otherwise.
Lissette has found it a bit more difficult. She’s reached out to friends on facebook. Last week she decided that she felt like drawing, inspired by the many paintings and photos in this apartment (our host is an artist).
She drew herself, inspired by Picasso.
I drew myself, inspired by da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
We’ve also worked out once. We found some Bob Harper videos on the internet (we switched out the weights for some bands). We plan on being more regular this week.
Other than that, we’d watched a lot of stuff on TV, some good, some bad…
What About Bob? A 1991 movie with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus. It’s a comedy. I love it, my kind of humor. Lissette didn’t. I found it on the pirate site that I’ve mentioned previously (if you email me privately I’ll give it to you…)
Gate of Thrones. We’ve made it to the middle of season 3 but it’s getting a bit slow and the pirate site sometimes gives us issues. We’re kind of struggling through it…but I’m told it gets better and with all the hype we’ll persevere. We were in Dubrovnik just 2 months ago (it feels like years right now) so it’s interesting seeing how they filmed many of the scenes there.
Love is Blind. I really like trashy reality shows. Love is Blind is on Netflix and if you like trashy reality shows you’ll enjoy this one.
Unorthodox. Excellent German-made mini-series on Netflix about a girl who rejects the Hasidic Jew lifestyle. Very, very well done.
Molly’s Game. A pretty good movie I found on Netflix. Based on a true story of a US Skier who gets injured and somehow ends up being the queen of an underground poker empire. More exciting than I’ve described…good entertainment (although it could have been better I think, the casting was at times weak and the 2nd half of the movie dragged).
We’ve at times watched a few of our favorites: Big Bang (on Netflix), Chopped (the cooking show, on our pirate site), Veep (a comedy with Julia Louis-Dreyfus in which she plays vice president. Not bad. Found it on the pirate site). We re-watched the Bourne series of movies on Netflix (the Bourne Identify is one of my favorite movies). We’ve also found The Office (US version) on the pirate channel and will start watching that this week. Best comedy series ever in my opinion. Worst series of the week: Freud which is a German-made crime series somehow having something to do with Sigmund Freud…
For some other ideas, have a look at the post we previously wrote on all our favorite Netflix series. It’s a huge post, travelling full-time over the last 5 years we’ve really counted on Netflix. Now with the virus it might give you some ideas on things to watch while bored at home.
So what have you been doing to keep busy? (assuming you’re in lockdown as we are)
Ok. The “lockdown” beard.
I know I promised not to shave during the lockdown but I’m getting sick of the beard. It’s itchy and scratchy. I’m feeling pressure to keep it but don’t be surprised if I shave it off by next week. Besides which Lissette told me that if I’m not shaving she’s not either. I’m getting sick of her hairy armpits.
Around the world. Well, basically everyone is in lockdown. Even Russia. Often “lockdown” isn’t the same as we have here in Spain. I was speaking to my son in Toronto this weekend and “lockdown” there seems pretty relaxed. Anyone reading these posts should prepare themselves for our version of a lockdown because I think it’s coming to you in North America. Again, not to panic anyone. It’s all about prevention and “lockdown” seems to be the only agreed upon method to stop the virus from spreading. Even idiots who claimed weeks ago that the virus was a “hoax” are coming to grips with the reality of it.
All the best to everyone, especially if you’re a health care worker. You deserve a world of gratitude from everyone.