Trials and tribulations 2. Returning to Thailand in the Covid era – a personal view

by guest writer David Jackson

Part II in the series of articles from David who has been writing from his quarantine room. David waxes lyrical as even the tiniest moments seem larger than life in his 25 square metre cocoon…

I begin writing this second article on Day 7 of my quarantine in a Bangkok hotel, so the sentence of quarantine minus hard labour is halfway complete. I am officially ‘covid free’ following my nasal attack from two charming nurses a couple of day’s ago and this result represents some very good news indeed. Nevertheless, I can hardly announce that I am in any way euphoric because I am definitely beginning to struggle with the boredom.

Thoughts of Papillon begin to come to mind as I focus in on my sealed window to my illegal balcony; I can hear the odd sound of humans from the complex, however I don’t think they have set up the guillotine from the 70s film quite yet… pull yourself together David… you can do it!

So, how do I keep busy, maintain spirits and not pile on the kilos too much whilst restricted to the confines of a fairly tiny room with a limited view?

Luckily, I prudently remembered to bring a tube of glue, some poster paints plus a craft knife whilst panic packing last week so I have been surprisingly busy on constructing a Thai temple complex using some of the recycled boxes used to provide me with my three daily square meals. You can see the fruits of my labour when boredom initiates motivation in the accompanying photograph. My apologies to any perfectionists reading this article… I cannot guarantee any specific scale, it was just nice to pass the time.

Trials and tribulations 2. Returning to Thailand in the Covid era – a personal view | News by Thaiger

The food is surprisingly good and I have used the halfway milestone to switch from Thai to ‘Farang’ food. So, the volumes of carbohydrate in the form of rice have now been replaced by something slightly more familiar to my western palate; the food is adequate and does the job and will probably do a particularly bad job to my rapidly expanding western belly if I am not careful.

Unfortunately, though, the volume of food packaging is quite disconcerting although I believe this is all part of our new neurotic regime; it will probably have to be incinerated to cover the rare event that it might indeed be covered in covid. I can almost see the perplexed faces of all future geologists examining the brief epoch of human expansion and wondering where all my pointless plastic knives, forks and bags surrounded by larger bags suddenly came from in their ice core.

So, back to the boredom…

I decided a few days ago that some kind of exercise routine might be in order. Luckily the wifi in this hotel is excellent so I had no problem enjoying, yet failing miserably, to recreate the shapes from some random yoga sessions on You Tube. In looking for further adventure I discovered that by placing both of my single beds into the centre of the room it was possible to make a figure of eight track and, when augmented by the judicious placing of my huge pile of dirty washing on the floor, it was possible to introduce a small chicane along the home straight. Hence, in classic Schumacher style, my increasingly competitive time for twenty laps of my abode is rapidly reducing as my desire to escape begins to increase, sounds like a kind of weird maths paper… “If X represents boredom and Y represents the number of laps a slightly autistic quarantining expat runs around his room in time T, use algebra, trigonometry or maybe even bananas to express how X is inversely proportional to YxT!”

Oh… what’s that, a sound of a door squeaking and emanating from my deserted corridor? I cautiously open mine less than an inch so as not to upset the rigorous anti-covid regime in place and behold, with eyes peering out at me I spy a fellow human lurking in room 925. Quickly we both realise the poignancy of this fortuitous random timing and, with doors held firmly ajar at less that 5 degrees a conversation of magnitude begins for the first time in a week.

With visions of claxons blaring and boots stomping like some kind of prisoner of war film, my fellow Brit, Michael, and myself begin a quality conversation about nothing. The sheer delight of face to face discussion , albeit sideways through the thin slit of a thoroughly soundproofed door, is amazing as we both quite boringly realise we are both teachers and therefore have nothing seemingly interesting to talk about.

Nevertheless, a human is a human so I wish my fellow expatriate every success in his new international school and we agree to meet in a similar fashion tomorrow to talk about exciting things such as phonics, onomatopoeia and why that man is currently randomly blowing his whistle outside in the car park as no one even bats an eyelid!

My final article, assuming the light at the end of the tunnel finally arrives, will be on Monday where I will go through the pre-departure documentation again more thoroughly as there is some ambiguity in the current process. In the meantime If anyone knows an invisible barber please ask them to breeze into my hotel to sort out my scruffy mop. Thank you.

David Jackson in an English teacher and former headmaster from London working at St Mark’s International School, Bangkok.

You can read David’s previous article HERE.

Bangkok NewsCovid-19 NewsOpinion

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