Quarantine In Hotel Room 2315, Hong Kong

Marianna Whistlecroft

Apparently there’s a heat wave back in England, if I open my window to the minute degree it will allow, I am hit with a similar wall of humidity. My only point of contact is this four-foot screen window through which I watch this city that I’m in.

Detached in my hotel room bubble, I see the varying climates of the typhoon season. I see the sparkling of extreme heat on the glass pillars of the city and the release of thunder and lighting that has been building throughout the day on this oceanfront.

Floor 23 aligns with the top of an office building, the glass opposite my hotel acts as another screen reflecting images of the street-goers down below. All of whom are wearing masks 24/7 even in these 31 degrees. I observe the pattern of people, eyes peeled for my Deliveroo, awaiting my daily dose of contact with the outside world. I open the door, and reach my hand out to pick up the local cuisine, thirsty for a taste of the city.

I realised then that I’m not so invincible

My only experience so far has been the hours of waiting in queues to have my deep throat test in the testing facilities, and then straight to the holding centre for a night, awaiting my results. I realised then that I’m not so invincible and that I could have picked up corona from any one pub, restaurant or shop I’d wandered into back in England.

The novelty of living in the countryside of England is starting to show. I read an article from Hong Kong Vogue ‘Forest Bathing: Everything You Need To Know’ by Dervla Louli about the importance of being away from technology, going outside and having fresh air. I start to think about the people who were stuck in their flats for months not just two weeks.

The article mentions the Hong Kong hiking trails as the perfect city escape. I think of the mountainous greenery of sporadic islands that surround this city.  My flight in had teased me with a perfectly clear, blue afternoon. It’s so easy to forget the broader world when your life is encompassed by your immediate physical surroundings.

Travelling so far abroad has forced me to think

I configure stories of the minute people and cars below to remind myself those other lives are still being lived. Travelling so far abroad has forced me to think about how this pandemic has affected every inhabitant on this planet; maybe pivotally or maybe just inadvertently.

I realise how lucky I am to be in a position to StayHomeSafe during this pandemic. The privilege of what being able to socially distance really means is apparent, especially when so many people around the world don’t have this option.

Marianna Whistlecroft

Featured and in-article images courtesy of Marianna Whistlecroft. No changes were made to the images.

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