Friday 20 March 2020

To be in India during the COVID19 outbreak

Seeing as it is everywhere right now (both verbally and literally) it doesn’t seem right to just continue my jolly little blog without addressing the large issue of COVID 19 and what it means both for us - from Bertie working in the events industry, and me working for him, whilst doing some teaching. 

Unfortunately, both Bertie’s work, and therefore my own, have been cancelled. There are no tours to be had whilst the world panics. This means we are both left without work, and may ultimately mean we have to move back in with our parents at the age of 30. It is not ideal, but we are so fortunate to have that as an option. 

As it stands, our landlord has been very kind, and has accepted 50% of the rent, with the understanding it will be repaid at a later date. 

All that aside, currently, as you know, we are in India. These whole circumstances are beyond our control, and from what we can see, us getting home is very dependant on what the airlines, and the people in charge of “airspace” deem is the right thing to do. 

Unfortunately our airline (I’m looking at you, Qatar Airways) are absolutely fucking useless, completely uncontactable and are just going full ostrich - burying their heads in the sand and refusing to take calls or be contacted in any way. 

My flight is showing as “not confirmed”, which it has been for the past few days, meaning for the time being we just have to have faith that we will get home, when we are meant to get home. 

However, from what I can see, we actually have it better here than at home. At least for this current moment. The beaches are basically empty. You get a beer a lot quicker than usual! 

Last week they stopped issuing visas - a knock on effect of this is that no more tourists arrived in Goa. The streets are becoming emptier, and the sales people slightly more desperate. People are still very friendly and respectful - as it stands we have had no ill will towards us. We are living in a small community here and everyone is talking and being very vocal about the situation. Sometimes this isn’t massively helpful, as it turns out they love a bit of gossip (like all small towns) but it means you’re always kept up to date with the latest rumours. 

On a practical note, I have ensured that all eventualities have been catered for. I have secured us accommodation (that we can move to once we need to leave our hut) with a kitchen, for just £9 a night. Also as we are living in a local area, as opposed to a tourist town, the bakers, butchers and veg man will continue to open. We will manage, and we will be looked after. 

We also know many families here, and have many friends we could call on if times were to get hard. There are many brits here - very nice brits too, thankfully! We are all keeping in contact, and sharing news as it comes. 

England appears to be struggling much more than India at the moment. It is hard to be here, with the sun and some holiday feeling, whilst knowing back home everyone is struggling and wishing that we were there. Unfortunately the decision was taken out of our hands, and in a way it has been easier to make my peace with that. 

There is a government issue lockdown tomorrow, from 7am to 9pm we are not to leave our base. We will be totally fine - we have two sunbeds, and the restaurant attached to our huts will be open. It is only a one day lockdown. Goa is then stopping all flights for a week. All we can do is have faith, keep washing our hands and ride this shitstorm out.  

We are together, we are safe, and we have lots of paneer. Priorities. 

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