We arrived in Thailand on January 29, one day after my wife’s birthday. We have a condo less than a mile from Jomtien Beach near Pattaya and we like to spend 4-8 weeks there at a time. This trip was scheduled for seven weeks, with a jaunt to Kuala Lumpur in between. Why Kuala Lumpur? Well, our tourist visa allows us to stay 30 consecutive days in the country, then we can wither 1) pay money to extend or 2) leave Thailand for one day. This time, we chose to take a mini-vacation to Malaysia. In Thailand, we live fairly poor. We spend less than $15 a day on food, and most of the time that number is well into the single digits. We never take taxis, we walk three miles roundtrip for dinner, and spend our days at the pool at our complex. Our vice is massage. For $6-$10 per hour, we must indulge.
A combination of occurrences led me to contact United Airlines about leaving early and going back to the United States. Least of these, was Covid 19. Sure, the virus had spread throughout China with two knowns cases in northern Thailand, some 700 miles from us. There was one case in Singapore and a few more in South Korea. To be honest, I was just ready to come home. I am not sure why, but I was. I contacted United Airlines via Twitter, and they informed me that due to Covid 19, we could leave Asia for no extra charge as early as we wanted. We chose to have our mini-vacation in Kuala Lumpur, and it was awesome, but that’s for another time. Three days after returning to Thailand from Kuala Lumpur, we came home, to our home in Texas. We were not scheduled to leave Asia until March 15. Had we have stayed, we may still be there. But we didn’t. And perhaps this is why I wanted to come home, perhaps some intuition deep inside my soul surfaced to my cerebrum cortex and told me to get back to the States. Whatever it was, I’m glad we did. Covid 19 is now real, and it isn’t leaving. As I write this, 1,000,000 people are or have been infected with the virus. The entire world has shut down, millions have lost their jobs and billions have been lost in the economic collapse of nearly every nation. Schools are closed and all sports are canceled. That’s right, canceled. The world has turned very Orwellian. Hopefully it’s just the virus. Hopefully it’s just because governments want to stop this thing before it gets worse. But one cannot help but wonder.
I’m writing this on April 2, 2020. I never expected the quarantine to last this long, but alas it as. We are about two weeks in. Quarantine is from the Italian language and loosely translates to 40 days of isolation. I hope it is only for 40 days. But I fear it will be longer.
My quarantine started on March 19, 2020. My stepson, Seven, and his stepbrother, Jaxson, came to stay with us upon their school closure in Virginia. Didn’t I say we live in Texas? Yes, yes I did. Seven and Jaxson live with Seven’s dad and Jaxson’s mom during the school year. Having no school with both their parents working meant no place for the 12 and 10-year-old to go. Alas, my wife, Seven’s mom, volunteered to take them for 10 days. Jaxson went back home on March 29, 2020, Seven is staying until April 8. At that time, we will drive to Virginia and hunker down in my wife’s remote cabin in the Appalachian wilderness until this virus is gone, or at least contained and slowed down.
I’ll be chronicling this quarantine here. Hopefully this will never be needed. Hopefully the world will get back to normal soon, and the Covid 19 era will be half a chapter in a 2035 history book. Hopefully.