The Corona Diaries - February 15th

Boredom Sets In 

It’s only day three for me and the boredom is already setting in. Remember, Lily and Jia have been cooped up inside for just over three weeks and as a result, our apartment  is immaculate. You can only clean a house in so many ways but these two women are exploring new territory with their antiseptic approach. They did leave the office for me to take care of. They say it was only because they were afraid of putting something somewhere I might not find them again later. Doubtful, but I’ll play along. I”ll start tomorrow and take a slow methodical approach, as there isn’t any reason to hurry. We found out yesterday that the Guangxi Bureau of Education has decided to suspend public school classes across the region until at least March 1st. I only hope that is long enough. Some local factories and businesses have cautiously gone back to work, all on reduced or staggered schedules. Some of the local automobile manufacturers have shifted all or part of their assembly lines to the task of making face masks. 

Every conversation, everything I see on Chinese social media, every newscast, every newspaper story, is in someway relevant to the virus. In our neighborhood the propaganda machine is rolling hard and for once I’m glad. Red and yellow banners emblazoned with slogans encouraging and otherwise reminding folks what they should be doing to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and how, if we all work together, we can beat this thing. I’ve got to give it to China, most everyone seems to be taking this threat seriously. Across the country public gatherings have been prohibited. Weddings, funerals, dinner parties, drinking with the guys… none of that is happening. 

Yesterday officials announced the discovery of 2 new cases of the virus being detected here in Liuzhou, bringing the total number of cases to 24. None of those cases have proven fatal so far and some patients in that number have already been treated and left the hospital. Lily went to the pharmacy today, about 300 meters away from the house, for my insulin. Before being allowed to come back in she had to have her temperature taken. There are now guards stationed at the main gate and at the entrance to the parking garage, their sole purpose being to check temperatures. Jia took Elvis out this morning and when she got into the elevator someone, I’m assuming a security guard, spoke to her via the speaker and admonished her for taking the dog out, once again saying it is forbidden. She went ahead this time. There was nobody outside by the way. I’m hoping to to find some reasonable person in a position of authority who might realize this directive is overkill. I’m not sure what we are going to do if we are forced to obey this inane policy, but it’s looking more and more like we might have to figure something out. I guess we’ll have to lock the poor thing up in one of the toilets until he realizes he has no other choice. I know this dog though, he’ll fight it because he knows he isn’t supposed to go in the house. My fear is that the little old man might fight it so long he damages his kidneys or bowels. He’s already had issues with his heart and is not in the best of health.

As you can imagine, the rumor mill is operating at full force. I’ve begun collecting some of the especially worrisome, humorous or outright insane ones and will share them here another time. Maybe I will. There is a fine line trying to figure out what I should or should not be sharing. Limiting the spread of these “alternative facts” may be one reason why the sensors have once again blocked VPN service. It began yesterday morning and I haven’t been able to get over the Great Firewall since then. That means no Facebook, no Instagram no Twitter, no WhatsApp. It feels like it could still be a while before I can access those formats. Most International news outlets are  blocked without the VPN. CNN, The BBC, NBC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal are all currently unavailable, as well as any and everything Google. Google Maps, Gmail, Google Search - nada. Interestingly, I am still getting Fox News. Not my first choice but I’m happy to have that resource today. I can still access NPR and USA Today as well. 

We’re entertaining ourselves here as best we can, watching a lot of movies and television shows. Lily and Jia watched almost every Oscar nominated best picture while I was still in India. Looks like ‘llI have plenty of time to catch up. I did see “Parasite” before I left Calcutta… meh. We’ve begun a daily devotional reading, we’re checking out new recipes and I’m at work processing photos and putting together three separate travel stories from Romania and India. I’m also busying myself  keeping up with these diary entries.

If you are reading this, I would appreciate you sharing these posts on Facebook. Like I said yesterday, while I’m still able to write these updates, at least for now, I’m not sure anybody is actually seeing them.

Next - The Neighborhood

 Liuzhou - February 15th - 7:02 PM

Addendum: After six days, one of my VPN’s began working again last night and I’ve been able to share this post and others to Facebook.

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