Last night I went to bed almost 4 o’clock and didn’t get to eat the fried rice provided in the room thanks to my extensive list of food sensitivities. Despite the drapes being closed, a beam of light woke me up at around 8:30 a.m. Thinking to myself “I’m finally back in the Land of Smiles,” I walked to check out the view and heard a male street vendor saying:
“Delicious freshly made soy milk, Chinese steamed buns and dumplings.”
And that was when I realized I couldn’t order anything from outside shops/restaurants until I got out of this quarantine. We were not allowed to get any deliveries or even do online shopping. I got asked from some of my fans if they could send me stuff to bright up my days in quarantine. Unfortunately, no…
However, this state quarantine (SQ) wasn’t so bad after all also becaused all the expenses were taken care of by the Thai government. SQ is free for Thai nationals only. One of its limitations is you just can’t choose where you’ll be staying. It is believed that the government gives the amount of 14,000 baht to the hotel per head. Basically, it is 1,000 baht a day per person for room and board.
ASQ, on the other hand, is optional for Thai nationals. You can choose your hotel, just that you will be responsible for all the expenses. In other words, the government will not compensate for any amount spent for ASQ even though you are a Thai national. Unfortunately, ASQ is mandatory for non-Thais. The prices range from approximately 30,000 to 150,000 baht
Now let’s take a look at what we were required to do during the quarantine.
First thing in the morning, I needed to take my temperature and reported over Line. Some of us just took of a photo of the thermometers and sent to the Line group. While it wasn’t being monitored closely and you could just make up the number, I didn’t think none of us did that or would want to, anyway.
The hotel’s amenities included a small set of toiletries, a microwave oven, a kettle, a TV, air conditioner, 4 packs of botted water (48 bottles), a broom + a dustpan, and a chiller. The broom became my precious item because it was the only thing that helped keep my room clean. The cleaning staff would not enter our rooms at all until we checked out. They even refused to pick up any wet towels and told us to just find a place to dry them or keep those in a garbage bag, claiming that it was one of the regulations from Public Health Ministry. I heard some of us used foot towels to mop the floor. I chose to just wear clean shoes (which my mom brought me the following day) and sweep the floor twice a day.
The chiller here was very special because it was really like a cabinet due to its non-existent cooling system. On the day I arrived, I was told it was cool enough to chill some canned beverages and so I asked my mom to buy me some pops, only to find out later that my pops never got chilled. I asked again and I was told it was what it was–they were using this place for state quarantine before having a big renovation and that was why things that were broken and didn’t seem necessary for living didn’t receive any proper maintenance before the renovation happened. We were discussing how we wish we could trade the air conditioners which was freezing for the chiller that had better cooling system.
Apart from not having cold drinks, I was quite satisfied here. They were pretty attentive to the extensive list of my food allergies and sensitivities. The dishes were not bad at all and they did their best to accommodate my requests for not having soya sauce, fish sauce, garlic, red onions, onions, most of which are considered main ingredients in Thai cuisine.
For smokers and/or drinkers, please expect to go cold turkey should you decide to go through a 14-day state quarantine here as no cigerettes and alcoholic beverages are allowed (my bags were never searched for those, though). You couldn’t smoke on the balcony, nor could you leave the room. Basically, it could be a little rehab for you and you can come out healthier than ever.
On day 3, I started to work the footage for my repatriation flight. My morning went by so quickly and then I realized it was about time to get the first swab test. I was a bit nervous because I heard it was going to be quite uncomfortable. They didn’t allow us to bring our mobile phones. I just tried clipping my wireless microphone on my body but the procedure was done on a different level so the microphone was way too far from the receiver and I couldn’t get any sound of the ambience and myself while having the test done.
“Room 1012,” called the staff.
I sat on the chair and was told to lean back and put my neck on the backrest and relax. Then the staff started to insert a cotton tip very far up in the nasal cavity. It lasted about 5 seconds. I couldn’t help holding my breath for those 5 seconds. I was also advised to hold the armrest really tight to make sure I wouldn’t move during the test.
I came back to my room and worked more on the footage. My dinner was served around 5:30 and it had an interesting message for me.
If you don’t get any phone calls tonight or tomorrow morning,
It means your result has come back negative.
I woke up feeling fresh on the fourth day of quarantine and realized it was my dad’s 65th birthday. I usually sent him an e-card and took him out for dinner. This time I was stuck in this quarantine, so I planned on singing live on my channel for his birthday. I picked the song that I sang and played piano for him earlier in 2011 when I was still in Vancouver. The song’s title was “I’ll always be your person.” (ฉันจะอยู่เป็นคนของเธอ ของโบว์ สุนิตา)
After finishing practicing the lyric’s lines, I went out to pick up my breakfast and couldn’t help laughing when seeing the note attached to the bag:
Allergic to EVERYTHING. No coriander or spring onions.
It sounded quite sarcastic but I did understand it was way easier to tell them what I could eat instead of what I couldn’t.
Speaking about mental health, the staff team made great efforts to make sure that we all would stay sane and not do anything harmful to ourselves. We were requested to fill out a survey and advised to check out their playlist on YouTube, prepared by Department of Mental Health, Ministry of Health. After settling in, I also made sure I got back to my workout routine. I usually work out 3-4 days a week and 30-45 mins each time. I do mostly body weight exercises and not a lot of cardio so being in a small room wasn’t really a torture for me. I actually enjoy being left alone and being by myself really helps in terms of productivity and regaining peace of mind especially when editing videos for my channel.
Being in my own world for quite some time, I heard the notification from my other phone. It was around 6:00 p.m. when the results came back:
The message was translated into English as:
“The results showed that none of you were infected, and one of you was infected.”
We were discussing in the Line group what it really meant as it sounded very confusing. Was it one or none of us?
I’ll tell you more in the next blog.