Travel

I had my Chinese lesson today. I didn’t have a lesson last week because my teacher went to Sanya for a holiday last week. Prices are really good at the moment because of the rona: apparently their flights for the four of them cost around the same amount as the price of just one ticket normally 😲 And their hotel room in a five-star hôtel with a sea view cost something like A$60 per night! 😲 I wish we could travel to Sanya too!

It’s really close too, the flight is probably only around 1-1.5 hours, much like a Sydney to Melbourne flight. I think it’s about 1.5 hours to Taiwan (also on the map below), so I’m guessing that Sanya would be roughly the same. The problem is the rona and quarantine measures 😔 For mainland Chinese, they can travel around freely domestically to cities that are not deemed high-risk. But HK, despite officially being part of China, still runs very separately to the mainland (despite what the protesters and western mainstream media would have you believe) and so we follow the HK government’s regulations on travel. And that still means a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone coming back from overseas, which I think also includes mainland China.

So I have basically succumbed to the fact that we won’t be travelling anywhere in 2020 😔 And you know what one of my goals was for this year? Explore different parts of China! 😩 I thought that’d be a pretty cool goal, given our current proximity to the mainland at the moment. We may as well take advantage of it!

And then February rolled around, and all those ideas went out the window 😔

Things are slowly returning to normal!

The library reopened for I think the first time since this virus broke out. And remember that the virus was here earlier than the rest of the world, so they’ve been closed since early Feb. So it’s been three months 😱 I’ve had to continually renew my loans online this entire time. And they kept extending the maximum loan period during this time because no one could actually return books! But because they reopened today, I had reached the maximum number of times I could borrow one of my books, so I had to actually go in and return it.

When I got there, there was a queue outside the building to enter! I guess a ton of other people also missed the library these past few months! They were limiting the numbers inside the library at any given time, so they were staggering the times that they were allowing people to enter. So I had to wait until the next ‘window’, which meant that I had to wait for almost half an hour 😱

Waiting in the queue to enter the library 😱

But once I was inside, it was faaantastic 😁 I felt like part of my old life had returned. The library is still not fully operational: they removed all the chairs so you couldn’t sit around and read, and any study areas/rooms were still closed. They’re still preventing large gatherings of people inside. But it’s slowly returning to normal and that’s really promising 👍

Things in general feel like they’re slowly returning to normal. Today was the 17th consecutive day where we’ve had no local cases, and only a handful of cases from overseas during that time – YEAH!! 👍 So the government is slowly relaxing some of the restrictions that have been put in place since around mid-March when we saw a spike in cases largely due to all the people coming back from overseas. So things like upping the number of people who can go out in a group from four to eight, and allowing bars and gyms and other places to reopen. But the strict social distancing remains, and cleaning and disinfecting also needs to stay.

I had my Chinese lesson today, and apparently temperature taking prior to boarding public transport in my teacher’s city of Xi’an is no longer happening. Hopefully we’re not far behind with removing this requirement prior to entering buildings and restaurants too 🤞

A promising start to the week

The weather was niiice today. I finally felt comfortable, which means that summer is pretty much here – woohoo! 🥳 I need to swap my summer and winter clothes, I still have jumpers and ultra-warm Uniqlo Heattech gear in my closet 😂 I’ll try and do that this weekend.

HK will be relaxing some of its restrictions soon. We haven’t had any local cases since the 19th April, I believe 👏 The few recent cases that we’ve seen have been people coming back from overseas, so it’s still looking promising! I think civil servants are back at work this week, which means government owned facilities will probably slowly start to open up again soon too. I think schools will slowly start reopening in late May / early June. We will soon start to see what our new world is going to look like.

And I watched a few more episodes of One Punch Man today. I can’t believe just how much I’m enjoying this anime! I’m enjoying it so much that I’m considering reading the Japanese version of the manga series 😱 Never mind that it’s for advanced Japanese language learners! The story is so interesting that I can probably persevere and try to study it anyway! 🤪 I might go and see if I can find the manga at a bookstore somewhere. Maybe I can get a Chinese and English version of it as well hehehe 😆 #polyglotgoals

Still mega-tired, apparently!

I forgot to hit ‘publish’ last night 😂 I was mega-tired, though, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised!

I had my Chinese lesson today. I haven’t been studying as much these days, so my skills are deteriorating, unfortunately 😔 I think I should make language study part of my morning routine so that I always make time for it, even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes a day. Daily practice is so important in language learning, and I don’t want to go too far backward and lose a ton of the hard work that I’ve put in the last few years.

We talked about tv shows and my teacher watches Survivor and Amazing Race! 😂 I haven’t seen those shows since moving to Asia. She lives in mainland China. I didn’t even know they showed those shows in China, I certainly haven’t seen them in the past five years we’ve been living in Asia. Although she is learning English, so maybe she deliberately sought them out.

We had four new cases today, all of them imported cases. So no local cases recorded for three days now… 🤞

This whole global lockdown is quite weird, actually. There are a ton of memes on social media, and everyone just keeps talking about it. So it sorta feels a bit weird that we’re not, if that makes any sense. Back in February when the rona was taking hold in this city and everyone was panicking and hoarding toilet paper and masks and hand sanitiser, the rest of the world felt like it was just going about its daily life – probably because it was! 😆 And then the panic died down and things somewhat stabilised here, and that’s when the rest of the world started panicking and hoarding toilet paper. Countries started locking down cities, and then all these memes started to show up on social media. Although what is circulating on social media was 6-8 weeks too late for me. We sorta went through the worst bit with mainland China, so we experienced it much earlier than the rest of the world. So in a way, it feels like I’m watching my future unfold again, if that makes any sense whatsoever! Not that we were ever in lockdown, it was more self-imposed quarantine here in HK, but the effect on the spread of the virus is essentially the same.

Anyway, I don’t know if that last paragraph made any sense, it feels like I just rambled on… So I think that’s a cue for me to sign off now… 😂

A lovely start to my day – not

My stomach felt like it was eating itself this morning when I woke up 😖 I obviously ate something bad yesterday, but I have no idea what. My stomach was uneasy for most of the day, so I just stuck to bland foods – ie boring foods 🙄 Even my drinks today were pretty bland: I didn’t have my usual coffee and just stuck with black tea; and I didn’t have any wine with dinner. And I drank drank a lot of water. Fun 😒 My stomach no longer feels uneasy, so hopefully I can go back to my regular meals tomorrow 🤞

I also woke up to Trump pulling funding to the WHO. During a pandemic. Sigh. There are no words.

So this lovely start to my day didn’t quite put me in the best of moods to face the rest of the day 😔 But I pushed on anyway, and I actually managed to film my next YouTube video, and I also had my Chinese lesson, so it wasn’t a complete waste of a day 👍

Past, present and future

More Groundhog Day today: work, break, work, break, work 🙄 I did speak to my mum, though, and I had my Chinese lesson, so that broke up my usual daily routine a little bit 😆

SG hit 1,000 cases today 😔 I watched this Aussie documentary on how SG has been able to contain the virus. I think some Asian countries were more prepared than most after having been caught totally unprepared for SARS back in the early 2000s. So when this new strain cropped up, a lot of these affected countries kicked into gear. And its people also know the drill, having gone through SARS and learnt some hard lessons from it. They’ve gone straight into defensive mode. They’re all managing the virus in their own way, but they’re all managing to flatten that damn curve 👍

But even here in North Asia, we’re definitely nowhere near the end, unfortunately. We still have a long way to go. And what will the new world look like after we get this under control? Travel, work, our health and welfare systems. Will governments learn from this or just sweep it under the rug and just go on with their usual lives?

Different perspectives

I had my Chinese lesson today. She asked me how the coronavirus situation was in HK, and I said, ‘Not bad, we only have one or two new cases a day now’. She, on the other hand, didn’t think this was good at all! 😂 She then gave me the stats: HK has the fourth highest number of ‘live’ cases across all of China, including Macau and Taiwan, at 58. So, yeah, from that perspective, we’re pretty bad! But I’ve been comparing our rate of increase to other countries like Italy and the US, so of course the HK numbers look so much better!

After our lesson, I checked a chinese website that one of my students sent to me, and I actually prefer it to any of the other sites that I have seen so far. It provides more granularity, showing the number of ‘live’ cases (ie people who are still sick), the number of deaths and the number of people who have gotten better. It’s not as depressing as just seeing the cumulative numbers all the time!

Stay safe, and take all the necessary precautions that you need. And don’t touch your face with those grubby fingers of yours!! 😆