Jonas Amir Kadah
Happiness never decreases from being shared.

A gringo in quarantine in Spain day #1

Vikings, hispanics, europeans, middle-easterners, asians. Doesn't matter. We are all in the same line now. (Photo credd: Wikimedia commons, 2018, unknown)

This text will be boring. It will be repeating. It will be no news. It’s purely therapeutical for me and if you choose to read it, it’s your waste of time.

So I ended up in Spain. For many reasons. For shutting off. For reflecting. For relaxing. For helping. For anything to do something else. And I really don’t like winter. I’m not a winterperson. The snow is beautiful. The scenery can be beautiful. But stepping on snow, walking in it, shoveling it…. That sucks.

Now I am already well-travelled and I travel frequently. Last year counted in miles I did 3,83 round trips around the world. Yeah – I’m one of those who fly. Spare me of your flight-shaming, school-strikes and climate issues. I am aware. I compensate for all my flying.

So what’s going on in Spain? A complete shutdown and total quarantine of the whole country, without exception. I learned it the hard way. But I’m back at my five-star hotel. The SAS Radisson Blu Spa & Resort. I am free to roam the hotel compound which includes seven restaurants, four bars, one olympic size pool, one shallow relaxing warm pool, one salt water pool and at least two bubble pools. I’m staying in the presidential suite. It’s larger than my house. I have high-speed WiFi and free room service.

So really, I am not feeling sorry for myself at all. Quite the opposite in a way. The quarantine is in action for 15 days. No one is sure when it actually started – some say friday, it became official on saturday and today sunday it went totally into effect.

I have made peace with myself and I accept the situation. I see the hotel staff stressing out. They are not allowed to leave for home either. As I speak a good portion of spanish, thanks to my lengthy research in Latin America during 2019 – I’ve talked a lot with the staff. They are worried. They are scared. They don’t know who is really taking care of their kids. Some are left alone at home. One hotel worker went into tears – her 10 year old son was at home alone – she is working here and her husband is stuck in another part of the country.

That hurts me. I can only imagine what she is going through mentally. Or if I was put in that spot – forbidden to travel home and my wife stuck somewhere and our kids being home alone. Like what kind of advice do you give them?

Here, in Spain. Since it’s a complete lockdown, no one is allowed to set foot outside. I’ve seen the news and I’ve seen it live – the policia, national guard and the army nabs everyone leaving his or hers premises. Everything is closed. Shut down. A slim select of pharmacies and grocery stores are open. But you need a ticket to go there, be there at a certain time and then go straight back. Those working at the pharmacies and stores open more or less wear protective clothing resembling a total apocalypse.

I wonder if we, as a world are actually experiencing an apocalypse? While things seem to be fairly calm in South America, the rest of the world is just reaching more and more infected. When will it peak? In China, the curve is going down. But they have worked seriously hard to combat this. And I actually feel safer being in quarantine rather than being at home – Sweden.

If I compare Sweden to other countries in the western hemisphere – Sweden has taken minimal efforts to combat this. They chose the path of not inflicting panic upon it’s population. Only three people have died in Sweden. And they have about 1000 infected people. Now I have no clue if that’s actually a high or a low number. Other countries has taken extremely serious precautions. I’d rather be in a country where people are and governments are cautious – like Israel as a prime example. In a way I wish I was there. But now I’m in a country second only to Italy of being one of the hardest hit countries. A country that quarantined now – maybe a bit too late but at least they are doing something.

Maybe this pandemic virus brings something good with it – perhaps we will learn to co-operate. Perhaps we will see that we actually are in the same boat. United as one against this. Since this started – the number of people killed in conflicts has drastically shrinked. My wish is that we – as a world are forced to help each other – no matter what. And that in turn can bring peace or some kind of calm. People will come to terms with not only the situation they are facing, but also the interaction with countries or people perceived as enemies. Sweden has an ongoing cold war with China due to political stand-off’s. I hope that will end with this. I hope the friends of Israel will increase. I hope the people of Gaza will get a better life.

Someone told me “hey why are you asking so much about this quarantine. Look at Gaza, they have been quarantined for a decade or more!”. Well – I don’t necessary agree with that statement, but it kind of makes sense. We are now under lockdown. And we are all facing this together. My utter wish is that people will unite instead of saw split. I wish they become friends. I wish we can realize we are all on the same page.

I was one of those downplaying this, and I admit I was wrong. I even mocked some countries. This is a pandemic influenca virus. Those who succumb are our elders and people with pre-existing conditions. Our elders. Those who taught us to walk, read, write and cared for us. It’s our turn to care for them. And for those who are living in diring conditions.

That’s it for now. Peace to all of you and take care of each other. Stay in touch with each other. Care for each other.

About the Author
Jonas is a fierce critiqeuer of everything unjust. He is well-educated, well-travelled and believes firmly in pragmatism and progressiveness rather than religion and outdated conservatism. He dares to challenge anyone or anything and is super-tired of racial slurs and internet trolls. Jonas is a painting in progress.
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