Stranded in Penang- Part 17
Updated: Mar 7
Our release into freedom commenced today. After snaffling down some cornflakes, we virtually thanked the staff who had been taking such great care of us during the quarantine, (by bringing us our deliveries), and headed out to one of our nearby parks. Mike went with the kids on the E bike and I followed on in all my jogging gear and some idea. I was feeling a little nervous about going outside, knowing from some inside sources that foreigners are looked upon with much more suspicion and paranoia. The local residents have begun petitions to local government to get all incoming foreigners into a centralised quarantine system, preventing them from reentering their homes and compound.
I did have to blink as though I hadn't seen daylight for a few weeks. Which would be accurate. And I felt a bit dizzy and off balance as though my limbs didn't really know how to behave given such a lovely roomy space in which to freely roam. But I soon acclimatised. Everyone was wearing masks. At any entrance, I was required to present my green code on my APP which shows I have completed quarantine and have been symptom free. The park was fragranced in blossom, the trees were blanketed in pink and white and purple lace. Emily and I have skipped the Chinese winter and are glad. It's still cool enough to need a jacket but the pollution is less consistently in the danger zone.
Overall we didn't sense too much fear, the compound guards were friendly when handing over the blue slip of paper that would allow us to reenter the compound later, the park wardens were very friendly when we had to have our temperatures taken and write our names down to register to enter the park, the Starbucks staff seemed pretty nonchalant when taking our temperatures for our after-jog coffee.
In the afternoon, Emily and I surreptitiously, (afraid we'd be caught by one of the guards), walked into a friend's block and left a package of chocolates and a card outside their door as they were still in quarantine. On the metro to the supermarket, some local Chinese moved away from us, to a seat further away and squeezed their children tight as though to protect them from us, which is probably something we'll have to get used to over the coming months.