I’ve had a lot of messages from wellwishers asking about where I am, if coronavirus is affecting me, and if I’m OK. Here’s the story so far.
Personally I’m currently in the very south of China in a city called Beihai. In many respects I’m in one of the best places in China where I could be, as generally speaking things are quite calm here.
As to daily life, face-masks are basically a legal necessity, particularly if you want to use any form of transport. The city itself is a bit like a ghost town, although much less so than other cities, of which I’ll get to later. There are no entertainment venues open, such as cinemas, bars, or clubs, and the overall policy is to eat and stay at home. I’m in an apartment that was rented for the holiday.
I’m not gonna lie I’m eating a lot more Rahmen noodles than any human should ever have. But, i have food (and soju and valium).
In many ways, I’d like to just bolt from the country, but borders to other nations are not only closing by the day, but travelling in a vehicle, be it a plane, train, or boat with other humans right now is not an attractive prospect.
But, and as previously mentioned I’m probably one of the luckier ones. In our other offices in Beijing, and Xi’an there have not only been much more cases of the virus, but the cities are much more closed down. Beijing for example is of ghost town proportions that have never been seen, whilst Xi’an is under Tier 1 emergency status (it borders Hubei).
Schools and work have been cancelled, or delayed for almost everyone, but where this would usually provoke a sense of joy, there’s literally no joy here right now. It’s far from panic, but it’s an extremely pessimistic atmosphere tinged with sadness.
There’s also been a fair bit of craziness pop, with it genuinely not uncommon to see people with bottles on their heads, or full-on gas masks. From the sublime to the ridiculous…
That being said people are also being very considerate and understanding. Anyone not in a government job is, or at least will suffer financially, but there’s a certain resignation and acceptance to things. There’s almost a freedom to having a situation that is completely out of your control.
Life is all about choices, and there’s some irony to the fact i moved from some of the most deserted islands on the planet back to this shit show.
But, this is my 14th year as a resident of China, and I owe a lot of where I am today to it, so it seems fitting at least in some ways that it’s where I should be right now.
If you’re following the media on coronavirus at all you’ll see all manner of statistics telling you how the flu kills more people, etc, etc, blah blah. You can honestly stick these statistics firmly up your arse. As things currently stand statistics aren’t going to help me travel, or earn money to support people.
Sorry if this is one of my more depressing of blogs, but hey, it can’t always be a non-stop mardigras.