Friday, 3 December 2021

Sitting at the coffee shop and wondering …

Sitting at the coffee shop and wondering …about this and that, including an oft-asked “how you doin?’”

To which a simple answer is, for us, “fine”. We’ve got our comfy place, can sit outside in this wonderful fall weather, 20-odd degrees, <50% humidity, clear skies (no, really!), wonderful hiking weather in the nearby hills, hills I ignored in my first twenty years here, young man, unattached, working… playing. Biking. Swimming. Enjoy our Gardens and Flowers.

Not everyone is so lucky. Average apartment sizes here are small to tiny. Developers are building “nano-flats”, 150-200 sq ft. (15-20 sq metres). That’s like, a square four paces per side. People living in tiny flats, what do they do in a pandemic? Answer: they come out to us here in Discovery Bay: picnic, bike ride, eat out, hike trails, passeggiata the promenade. Stay at the hotel. We feel blessed in our little eyre, while we know there are family businesses ruined and lives upended by sackings and lockdowns. 

We have a Zero Covid policy (ZCP) And we also have zero Covid. At least domestically. The only cases we have are a handful each day caught incoming at the border. So we still have strict quarantine. The strictest in the world, with 21 days to be spent, alone, in a hotel room, 16 tests taken over that time. Yet, there are no hotel rooms available until April. 

Everyone wears masks, despite the virtually zero chance of catching Covid, given all ths. The old guy in the pic above is not wearing one*.  And neither am I as I type this. For we have the bizarre situation where people outside in a fresh northeast breeze, with zero chance of catching the virus, are masked and they take off the mask when they enter the coffee shop. Because, well, science…. *(ADDED: I’ve since met him.He’s Clement, a Chinese-American with houses in San Francisco and here. Retired software engineer)

(I’ve characterised our ZCP as being inward-looking — the Greater Bay Area (GBA) policy — as opposed  to an outward-looking policy — the Global Financial Centre (GFC) policy — which was our default until 2020. Now, on this, we are, if not exactly ruled, at least strongly guided by Beijing).

We don’t have any family coming for Christmas, nor do we plan any travel, because of above-mentioned quarantine issues. I’ve spoken to people who’ve done it, and they say it’s not worth it, unless you really have to for work or some emergency. John did it, but wouldn’t again, and he had the advantage of family here delivering goodies every couple of days. 

Christmas Day will be lunch out. That’s what we’ve done for some years and it’s always fine. More than fine. Very fun. Food good, people friendly, weather crisp. Yesterday I booked for us at the Italian place in the Plaza, il Bel Paese. The fine restaurant has an attached deli, where I get our truffle salami and parmigiano from one of their dozen Parmesan wheels. 

That’s it for now. Wishing everyone who gets around to reading this is getting along ok. For which, Thoughts of Dog always help:

And the Dog Squad