Updated: Apr 3, 2020
Day 3 - You know how there’s always someone in your life who ‘gets on your goat’?
It’s not a situation peculiar to being locked up in detention. Everyone knows the feeling - someone who’s a sour grapes, a spoilsport, an aggravating yin to your ebullient yang, who always knows what’s best for you and doesn’t hold back from nagging you constantly about it.
Well, here in my hidey-hole that annoying presence is the air-conditioning. Let’s call him AC (why I’ve gendered his powers as male when yin is usually associated with the female, I can’t imagine!).
You might remember I referred to AC in my first blog. He was blowy and wouldn’t tone down his rant, while remaining far too cool. And if I went to the trouble of heating him up, firing up his ardent passion to, say, 23 or even a shocking 25 degrees, he’d seem to go along with it for an hour or two but then resume his coolness, a consistent 21.5, citing energy savings. And during the night he was positively frigid. But it was the extreme exhibitionism of his blow-hard, pushy forcefield, even on ‘low fan’, that made him unbearable and me nauseous.
Well, I’m not sure if it was his bellicose character or the first hot cooked meal I’d received since arriving - a stale Thai tofu dish - or, more likely, the mix of these two that created conditions that were not at all soothing to my nature - and I woke at 1.30 am with a severe headache.
Forsaking a patience I’d been trying to nurture over a couple of days, I moved straight into action.
I promptly turned off AC and propped open the door to the hotel corridor for the rest of the night, devising a method of using a piece of cutlery balanced in such a way as to prevent entry by any person, yet allowing in some corridor air.
Yes, it was also AC air, I know, but not as intense or dusty, perhaps, as AC’s own personal outpourings in my private ‘petite chambre’. Admittedly, I knew I would still be under the influence of AC, or one of his kind, though it would not be so intense as being force-fed by him in my small room.
Then I went to the bathroom, drank copious amounts of water and swallowed 2 Vit C tablets. Back to sleep - and I woke around 7 am, still feeling tender-headed; but come late-morning, my body was beginning to feel much more like my own.
And breakfast, a breakfast arrived like so many others I’d enjoyed in the past, and so unlike the tidbits I’d had over the previous two days. Clearly, hotel management had responded to my complaints from the day before ... even while the staff were also doing their best to satisfy the whims and fancies of so many other detainee guests.
I found out that the establishment had been required, with just 2 days warning from the government, to re-open quick smart to be ship-shape ready for a band of adventurers back from South America.
There it was, this remarkable and much appreciated breakfast of yoghurt, cereal & fruit; not the inevitable chunks of melon, cut prior into pieces by unknown possibly-corona-infected hands (as I imagined) but whole fruit I could peel or cut myself! Strawberries, a banana, luscious grapes, a tempting apple and a cute nashi pear. Life had improved so markedly in just a few hours!!!
I spoke with the powers that be later in the day and finally a compromise interim measure was taken to ameliorate the situation, let’s say.
I mean, too much detail about such measures is often more than a reader is able to take in. So let’s just leave it there with a happy ending for this particularly inventive 3rd day of my quarantine, and conclude with news of:
1. my chat with the hotel’s resident doctor reassuring me it was unlikely I was suffering coronavirus - no fever or dry cough - and ...
2. another two hot vegetarian meals: a late lunch of potato and leek soup with typically Sydney, warm artisanal bread rolls, followed by dinner of mushroom risotto.
And so it was, a heady adventure that made me feel I was safe, back home in Sydney’s ‘can-do/fix-it’ emotional landscape, even while not yet ensconced in my own personal home sweet home. A way to go still ... 11 days, in fact.
A relief that a bunch of Australians who were stuck in Nepal have arrived back in Queensland - but what about Australians still in Peru and other parts of the world remote from their home country?
Come on Foreign Minister Payne - why so timid, neglecting your responsibilities?
Talk tomorrow - Day 4.
One wayward traveller’s opportunity to emote via her daily diary ... Copyright Christine Williams.