We are healthy. We are safe. And this feels like a World War Z series without zombies.
For my fellow zombie enthusiasts, you get the parallels. For those who don’t, World War Z is a dystopian fiction story by Max Brooks written in journal-form as a ‘historical’ account of a global zombie virus infestation and its fallout.
The Earth Vagabonds “Philippine Quarantine” series also feels like World Made by Hand by James Kunstler – a doomsday enthusiast who foretells through fiction a world with broken societies because no one has useful skills during systematic crashes – no one can grow food or livestock, sew, woodwork, etc.
I’ve read my share of ‘end of the world’ books. I stopped when I got sober in 2010. It was too depressing.
Intuition? Sixth sense? God whisper? Spidey sense? Something has always told me this would happen. And I used to wonder: what would I do in a pandemic or zombie apocalypse or asteroid hit?
Dystopian victors always have one thing in common: acceptance of the situation. It’s the biggest mental hurdle to overcome — that life has changed and won’t go back to the way it was.
Philippine Quarantine: Day 2
Acceptance is the answer
The most important thing I can do is to accept what is happening as the new reality. Mental clarity on the reality will help me be clear about possible scenarios and potential plans.
Our reality: we are quarantined in the Philippines for 14 days.
After that, one current option is to stay right where we are – in an apartment at the Hangout Beach Resort.
Here, on Panay Island, there will always be fish from the sea, which is a couple hundred feet away from our apartment.
Fish like the one pictured above. That was our Philippine Quarantine Day 2 dinner! A white snapper that weighed about 4.4 pounds.
There will always be produce in the tropics where people still know how to grow it. And there likely will always be eggs and chickens.
We watched videos on how to cut a pineapple with the least amount of waste. Tedly did an amazing job! It was so freakin’ delicious.
I can’t help but wonder: how many of my family and friends in the U.S. got to eat fresh pineapple on this day?
The Filipinos around us know how to catch and grow these types of sustenance because they are not suburbanized. They don’t order groceries from Amazon.
Processed food delivery
Day two for us was “like Christmas,” said mom Diane when she saw the supplies brought to our doorstep.
We sent a list via WhatsApp, and a friend went shopping for us, and she left things outside, on a table at our doorstep. We have never been as happy to have instant coffee as we were during this delightful delivery during day two.
We noticed on the receipt our friend had to go to two stores to get get the version without sugar added. We are so grateful. Caffeine withdrawal headaches aren’t any fun.
Almost everything on our quarantine basic wish list was ‘junk’ food: modern ‘processed food’ like chips, vitamin-enhanced drinking chocolate, crackers, pasta, sauce. Most everything else we eat during quarantine will be fresh from the Hangout Beach Resort restaurant.
Health workers came to take our temperature twice, once in the morning, once in the early evening, as per the rules. They bring us news and smiles as they point the temperature guns at our heads.
We all were in the 36 Celsius degree range, which is slightly under the typical average 98.6 Fahrenheit.
We appreciate these ladies coming to our door. We know they must be a tad bit nervous, even if they don’t show it.
We are foreigners in a tiny community – a barangay – a Filippino neighborhood, like a small village. We heard some neighbors here were “freaking out” even though we are not sick. We don’t want to scare anyone, and we understand their fear.
True, we could be asymptomatic. Or, we could have already had this virus. Who knows? We’ve been in the Philippines since November. We have crossed paths with many tourists at popular destinations.
But so have the locals.
Tourism is a big employer here. Locals cater to the international tourists to nearby Boracay Island.
It doesn’t even matter. We are not spreading anything by agreeing to this quarantine.
In the morning of our “Philippine Quarantine Day 2”, I was on the balcony. Two young girls looked up at me as they passed walked by down the street. They covered their mouths and noses with their hands. Still, I could see their timid smiling eyes, and I waved to them.
They giggled and waved back, showed me their faces and smiles. One even gave me a “hello” between giggles.
As the spouse says, all we can do is smile and wave.
Like a refugee; like a migrant
I can empathize with refugees in Greece, who are often looked at with suspicion. These are people who had no choice but to flee their homelands for war or political persecution.
As a former volunteer at one refugee camp in 2018, I could only sympathize with how people must have felt as they were stuck in a holding center.
Today, I have a taste of what that feels like. To have my freedom constricted through no fault of my own. To be considered — by some people – as unwelcome and dangerous.
I also can better imagine what it must feel like to be a migrant on the U.S. border with Mexico, and to feel icy stares of contemptuous disapproval from people privileged with freedom.
The difference, of course, is that I am here because I wanted to be here as a world traveler; not because I had to run from danger.
Day two featured a nice sunset. I watched it from the rooftop of our apartment.
We are lucky to have the space. For now.
I am worried about family back home. Will they get the virus? Will there be help if they do? Will it get to the point of extreme supply shortages in America?
Your guess is as good as mine. I’ll guess: yes. Food rationing, medication shortages, and other vital supplies will be disrupted at best, nonexistent (eventually) at worst. I have accepted that as a possibility there – and here – in the future.
To be honest, day two left me feeling a bit empty. And I know it’s OK to feel like that. For now.