LOCK-DOWN – FINAL EPISODE

On Thursday, 28 May I was taken to Pretoria to go to the Qatar Embassy. I was expecting about 15 to 20 people at most but when we got to the area, there were 12 buses and around 1000 people outside in the street. Now, remember – I had all my luggage with me… not much but enough to really test my strength…

Each person had to go inside, up 4 and then 4 more steps, luggage and all, except if you were flying with someone who could look after your stuff for you. Well, I managed to get up the first lot of steps, park my luggage on the small landing and then joined the queue. We were given forms to complete that had to be handed to the airport ‘COVID police’.

We waited 2 hours before we could board buses and needless to say, the organisation skills were sorely lacking. The traffic police were supposed to block off the street so that we could get loaded and board safely… they showed up when we were leaving… There were children and elderly people waiting – no toilet facilities, no water supplied.

Eventually we got going and when we reached the airport, we had to remain seated while each piece of luggage was off loaded and set out flat on the pavement and tarmac. After that, we had to leave the bus, identify our luggage, and place ALL of our hand luggage with our suitcase(s). Step away and wait… again. They employed sniffer dogs – quite a show!

After that bit of sniffing, we could take our luggage and queue to enter the building, hand over our completed forms, show our passports and boarding passes with predetermined seats allocated. Another long wait inside where we could at least buy water and snacks; I’ve only had breakfast that morning… Thank goodness for the forward planning of both my sister-in-law and myself for stocking up on nutribars and other goodies to munch on! The chocolate was melted – the wait was in full sun!

Eventually we boarded the aircraft. Physical distancing? Go fish! The flight was packed solid. I was lucky to have a seat open next to me only because it was a no show passenger. Off we went into the night, flying north to Doha. The food was good. We reached our first destination sometime after 06.30, more than an hour late because of delays in South Africa; I had a connecting flight at 09.30 to Athens… and it was a long walk between terminals.

I carried my laptop and other paraphernalia in a backpack. The times I had to take it off, put it on, take it off, and so on AND of course, the laptop had to be taken out to go through security. We managed to board our flight on time and arrived in Athens around 13.30.

During the previous 36 hours I had been trying to get a connecting flight for that same afternoon, but Aegean Airways just didn’t come through on time. This resulted in me having to leave the airport to go to a Government sponsored hotel. Leaving the airport I had to have a mandatory COVID test. Aegean eventually came through with a booking to Larnaca, Cyprus the following day, and all was well when we got the results of our tests some 14 – 16 hours later. This meant that we could catch the Larnaca flight and get home.

Arriving at Larnaca, we encountered another long cattle-herding line, two more forms to be completed and then had to have yet another COVID test… Unbeknown to us, there were untested people on the flight who joined it in Athens… The test in Athens was from the throat, whilst the Larnaca test was from the nose. Both truly horrible!

Then we had to board the busses again to go through immigration control and collect our luggage. Once again dragging luggage behind us, we eventually boarded buses that took us to a hotel in Larnaca to await the results of the tests. These came through on MONDAY late afternoon which tested my patience to the limit – the food was awful, only because I stated that I was vegetarian. It resulted in helpings enough for four people of boiled vegetables of various kinds. NO protein of any kind. Even breakfast consisted of fried vegetables only… Well, On Sunday evening I flipped and complained. I got fish and chips instead plus… carrots and beans…!

My daughter collected me from the hotel that evening at around 21.30 and we got home safe and sound. I can tell you now, a Famous Grouse had never tasted that good before!

I am still under self-isolation and my daughter stocked my fridge and freezer to the gunnels, together with fresh fruit and vegetables. How blessed am I to have a one like her!?!

So, to come to the end of the saga of the lock-down:  I am safe, I am at peace, I am at home but I really feel the effects of this entire period. I’m exhausted, mentally, physically and even a bit spiritually. However, the next 11 days will be used to recharge the batteries and get myself back to perfect balance in every way.

I’m sorry there are no images with this post.

OK, here is one… my home-coming drink!  The flowers are courtesy of my landlady; thank you, Fanoula! And I can’t even get to the hairdresser until after Monday, 15th!

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Thank you for sharing in my lock-down; let’s hope it never happens again!

My next post will touch on my view of the global pandemic, unnecessary violence and the control that Big Brother is gaining over the entire population of the world…

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P.S.  I prefer to call it physical distancing instead of social distancing – it’s just another way to indoctrinate us.

6 thoughts on “LOCK-DOWN – FINAL EPISODE”

  1. Pleased you are safe at home. Enjoy the summer, stay safe and healthy. Arthur da Costa

  2. Hello Maria Long time no speak ! Glad to have your post and must say your journey is not to be envied. I was intending to come to Cy to do my medical bits in early March, but luckily flights were cancelled so avoided lockdown in the Troodos just when it started snowing , hope to get to Cy later in the year and will touch base then. Pen probably told you we moved house in Sept ,worst mistake ever, all sorts of problems with huge expense and artisans in lockdown we little progress so far, although we have now had our new roof completed by end week. If we have any cash left we will try to get back to CT in Jan, we love it so much. Hope to see you in Autumn. With love from us both Robin and Penny.

    Sent from my iPad Air 2

    >

    1. Great to hear from you again! Cyprus: yes; CT: Don’t think so… at least not yet.
      Please get in touch when you get to Cyprus and we’ll have a good chinwag.

  3. Exiting story with happy end good that youbare home. Katja has money from me to you as we are in Switzerland Brit

    Sent from my iPad

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