It was raining cats and dogs. We were on our way to the marina when Sorin suggested that we stop at the supermarket. Not ideal in the pouring rain. But, as the Romanian saying goes ‘don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today’, I agreed.
When we entered the supermarket we were stunned by the agglomeration of people around the counters. Some were wearing face masks.
This took us by surprise. Not because we were not up to date with the latest news. But, because we wouldn’t have thought that it would have such an immediate impact on people. Earlier that afternoon it was announced that 1 case of Covid-19 was discovered in the community. That’s right. One single Covid-19 case and reality was all of the sudden upside down.
Later that afternoon, following on from a Cabinet emergency meeting, a stay at home order was issued for the entire country for 3 days. Later it was extended to 7 days. And then 2 weeks. Some people here and abroad denounced this as a terrible exaggeration. They are entitled to their opinion, of course, but they ought to be reminded that this is how NEw Zealand afforded a normal life for most of the last 18 months. Through “a hard and early response” meant to stamp out the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, this time.
The Covid-19 cases increased exponentially and spread geographically. Due to the immediate government response the cases were contained to Auckland and Wellington. The local managed isolation facilities were struggling to accommodate the emerging new Covid infected cases timely. We hope, however, that the discipline, commitment and hard work of ‘the 5 million team’ will pay off eventually.
Our partying mood culminating in Ana’s birthday celebration just days before the Delta outbreak in NZ had to come to a halt. We felt very privileged for having been able to make the most of her big day: – aboard Mehalah with ‘twin sister’ and away enjoying a teepee experience.
Before lockdown, we also had the opportunity to further sink into the local culture and its idiosyncrasies:-
Pastafarianism and the Flying Spaghetti Monster
Whether or not you like Bob Marley’s music, you will have heard of Rastafarians. I bet you did not hear of Pastafarians and the flying spaghetti monster though! Sounds like I am taking the mickey but I am not. Pastafarianism is a recognised religion in New Zealand. We came across one of its adepts at a ‘mid winter Xmas party’. Initially we too thought that our newly made friend is taking the mickey, but when asking Mr Google we were proved wrong.
‘Mid-winter Christmas Party’
What is a ‘mid winter Xmas Party’? you may ask. Is it something to do with the Pastafarianism? No, it isn’t. It is a welcome opportunity for a big ‘piss up’ as one of our kiwi friends reckons. However, in all fairness, although New Zealand is a Christian country, Northern Hemisphere Christmas traditions do not translate that well in the middle of the Southern Pacific summer. So, clever types realised that the solution is to have two Christmas celebrations a year:- a summer themed one for the actual Christmas day and a ‘faux Yuletide’ marked in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere winter. We wonder if we will come across this ‘celebration’ on the other side of the Tasman, or is this idiosyncrasy just a creative expression of Kiwi quirkiness?
During the Covid lockdown in NZ we continue having fun in the best way we can. We keep ourselves entertained mainly by catching up with work on Mehalah, but also with some leisurely physical activity. We are noticing, however, that our positive response to this change is starting to wear off…we are clearly ready to resume normal life. But, will we?