Dearest Rachel –
It’s been an eventful day. Every time the phone rings, every time there’s a knock on the door, I expect this to be the moment when I’m escorted off the ship. The last knock turned out to be one with my lunch. So I’m sitting here eating it, knowing I’ll have at least an hour to enjoy it before I’m hauled off.
I’m about a day behind on my reading, what with all the traveling going on (yeah, once again I’m too busy writing you to read The Manual), so imagine my reaction to the very first verse of the chapter I’m catching up on.
Don’t brag about tomorrow; you don’t know what ·may happen then [L the day may bear/ bring forth]Proverbs 27:1, Expanded Bible
I’ve been trying not to get too over excited about this particular vacation, almost as if this sort of thing was bound to happen. If it weren’t for the fact that I feel like I’m about to be marched off like I was some kind of criminal, I’d almost feel some kind of relief, like ‘well, there goes that other shoe.’ As it is, I’m sitting here, just… waiting. They were supposed to come for me at three; it’s now a quarter after. Can everybody just get on with this?
Finally, Stefan arrives, and he walks me to the main staircase.
Once on an open deck, he hands off my suitcase to another fellow who is better dressed for the weather in a heavy coat. He opens the back door of a black Mercedes, offering to take my backpack for me (I decline) and puts my suitcase in the trunk, in order to drive me off to the Hotel Pullman, where I am to stay for the next ten days, like it or not.
I chat with the driver, as he’s been doing this (by which I mean driving unvaccinated people to various hotels for quarantine) for various tourism operations for at least a year. I may not win the top prize for equanimity, but more often than not, most of the people he has shuttled have been very short on symptoms. And most of them are at least somewhat annoyed about the requirements. I’m not particularly happy myself, but with the head cold I thought I had, I was probably not going to be welcome at those fine tables in any event.
Interestingly, while he has been vaccinated (twice over, no less – bear in mind, he’s dealing with the unvaccinated and infected on a regular basis), his girlfriend isn’t, as they have a few-month old (I can’t remember now if it was two or three months), and he mentions studies about how the vaccine seems to have fatally adverse effects on pregnant and nursing mothers, to say nothing of their children. Coming from a town that houses so many pharmaceutical concerns, that’s quite an admission. Wonder why the folks in the States aren’t this honest about potential issues like that.
I get a call from Louise, the host from the cruise line based here in Basel. She wants to make sure that I have everything that I need, and more to the point, and whatever I need in the near future, I can call her about. She tells me she will be checking in with me every day, partly to make sure that I’m okay, partly to see if I need anything, and presumably, partly to make sure that I’m still in the hotel room. She implied that the possibility existed that I might get more official wellness checks as well; like I said, they are serious about quarantining. She’s fairly certain that the test knows the difference between a rhinovirus and the coronavirus, as her husband had a bad cold, and still tested negative. But supposedly, it’s a good thing that it happened here in Basil rather than anywhere else, as the quarantine requirement in Switzerland is only 10 days, compared to 14 in France, Germany or the Netherlands.
It occurs to me at this moment that, considering the antigens that will begin running through my bloodstream over the next few months, I’m going to test positive every time for a long time; I’m not gonna be doing that much traveling anymore.
I get another call, this time from the front desk, asking me if I need anything, and advising me about both room service and the possibility of ordering out via eat.ch. I’m really not in any frame of mind to respond to that (heck, I haven’t had the chance to unpack since getting set up here), but I do appreciate the man’s solicitousness. I tell him that I’ll let him know if I need anything, and wish him a good day.
To a certain extent, I figure I can keep myself occupied as long as I have a decent Internet connection and the computers that I brought. The former is managed easily enough with my name and room number as my access; the latter… not so much. I plug my adapter into the setup mounted on the desk, and I can charge up my iPhone, but when I try to plug in my surge protector, there’s a loud ‘pop’ – and the lights go out.
Now I call the front desk back. He says he’ll come up there and work on it, and while I never see him – indeed, he doesn’t even knock – the lights do go back on. But I still have to plug my computer in so… Yeah, I do the same thing again and get the same result. Finally, after the third try, rather than unplugging the surge protector I leave it in the adapter, and the lights come on again. But when I plug anything into the surge protector, nothing works. Nor does it serve to plug the computer directly into the adapter (although the adapter still works with regard to the iPhone charger). I’m not entirely sure what specifically I’ve fried, but I think I’ve fried something; I just don’t know what, or how to remedy the situation. Assuming the gang still wants to play games (yeah, at 9 p.m.my time) I may end up having to do so on battery power, and worry about a fix later.
But that’s how things are going for now, honey. I’m sure things are so much better where you are. I guess it’s another one of those adventures they keep telling me about.
As always, honey, wish me luck. I’m going to need it.