So I am all set for my flight back to Hong Kong. I am glad that we will be getting COVID-19 tested upon arrival because it saves me the trouble of getting another COVID-19 test here in Holland. I got tested two weeks ago because I was feeling tired and my husband was feeling like shit, so we both went for a test only to be told we were negative within 24 hours.
Makes sense to test people upon arrival, I mean, you hop off a plane where anyone on the plane could pass germs on to you, be it from you using the tap in the bathroom sink to someone coughing as they walk past you in the aisle. I know, I know, its nuts to think of every single person as a possible vector for disease, but I have been blown away how each country seems to be handling the Coronavirus situation so differently! Here in Holland we are in full lockdown, the only place I get to visit is the supermarket. Shops and restaurants have been shut ever since I got here, I don't know how small business owners will survive this shit. I don't care what the governments say about giving people money, you can tell that they are panicking themselves as the government has essentially dissolved here, the ruling party has abdicated over some tax department mishandling of funds where they racially targeted a segment of the population, falsely claimed those families owed them money and then went about destroying these families financially with some even ending up with divorces, depression and even suicide.
Its a mess.
And with all the government "relief" packages going out, you can see why they scam the public the way they do, anyone caught not social distancing or out after curfew is fined heavily, yeah, you need to find ways to get your money back, the money you got from taxing the public in the first place. Taxing them on houses they already own, cars they already paid tax on, and fuel that pollutes the environment even when there are eco friendly alternatives out there!
My dutch isn't great, so for the most part I get some of what the talking head on TV is saying and my husband has to fill me in on the rest. You know there was a farmer/engineer who created this ginormous greenhouse, like...think as big as your eye can see, its just like a huge warehouse that spans several fields length, and its completely powered with solar and even the water is geothermal heated, 170m beneath the ground, and this dude despite having this 100% carbon neutral set up, gets a tax for the environment. So he's all, "Wtf? Why do I have to pay this tax when my entire business is carbon neutral?" and he's told, "Yeah, you got to pay for the rest of the environment to be saved!" and guess what he did? He switched his set up to use natural gas, coz it cost him less, as businesses surviving on that get government subsidies!
Greta Thunberg is right, she is bang on the money when she talks about politicians saying, "Climate change, blah, blah, blah. Targets, blah, blah, blah. Emissions, blah, blah, blah. Carbon, blah, blah, blah...." that they blah, blah and f-ing blah so much and yet for the past 20 years nothing has really changed and targets have not been met.
Nowhere have I been more overwhelmed of the blah, blah, blah of politics than here in Holland. They talk politics all the time, and people are miserable about the decisions the government makes, the lack of housing, the improper management of funds, the outright scamming of the inland revenue department and there being no one taking responsibility, and yet, nothing seems to really change.
Its not a socialist country anymore, not like it ought to be for the amount of tax people pay. They pay more for insurance than ever, and its mandatory, even schooling is mandatory, as in I was surprised that home-schooling is illegal! So our kids will have to go to school once I leave, as we managed to get that bit of permission for our situation, all so I don't increase my chances of getting coronavirus from them. Their classes are in person, none of the kids wear masks, the teacher doesn't either. Yeah, don't ask.
I am genuinely looking forward to setting sail. Although we are living in a lovely space, overlooking a man made lake, the quack of ducks to wake us each morning, I just want to finally be going somewhere and seeing the scenery change. I dream of wintering in Croatia or Summering in Ibiza. How cool would that be?
Of course, all the other little details of life will be mundane, daily cleaning of the boat and such, maintaining the boat, home-schooling the kids, and making videos of our adventures, but for the most part, I am truly looking forward to the next year, broadening my horizons, traveling places I have never been before, and learning more about how capable I am of handling drastic changes in the weather or the sea.
For now I am looking forward to my trip to Hong Kong. I am much more settled about the aspect of 21 day quarantine. The hotel room is a Superior Suite, I checked their website and that room normally goes for HKD2600 a night and I think I am paying something like HKD560 a night, inclusive of breakfast, lunch & dinner! I mean...how the hell are they even managing to run at a time like this?
I mean, who am I kidding, I have been sitting here with the restaurant running through the month of January with no dinner dine-in option. All things considered, January wasn't as bad as the month before, but then again, December had Christmas in it. Its not even a matter of what can hold us back when the looming dark cloud of COVID-19 is forever destroying the numbers on a daily basis.
There may be no real recovery around the corner. I think landlords are just squeezing the last out of people while they can, all so they can get those last dollars for the century out of the final tenants they will have. The offer I got for the license and all our equipment and furnishings are just about going to cover my trip back to Hong Kong, that is how low its been, but I don't care, honestly, as I know I will be ready for a break once we come to the end of our lease.
My team has been stupendous. To have survived through all this and to have thrived, I am just so proud of them, no words can describe how much love and respect I have for them. I think back to our early days and how tired I used to get and how tight a ship we ran that if I needed a break I had to give everyone a break, now I realize how capable they have become, and how dependable they are. That confidence took time to cultivate, as most of the team are quite young, but it also took maturity on my part to be willing to give them that space, that room to grow into their authority.
Only three more days now, more like two, as my flight will be on Wednesday and I land in Hong Kong on Thursday morning. I am carrying mostly presents in my bag, I am not even sure how I will pack for the trip because 21 days of that will be likely spent in my PJ's as I won't even be able to leave the room! Does it make sense to dirty more than one set of clothes when you may have to handwash all of it? Heck, until last week I didn't even know food was included in my booking, I was ready to fast for the majority of it and get my team to deliver food to me! Lol. So something as simple as hoping they have enough soap for me to wash my undies in daily, is actually a matter of great importance to me!
I grew up in boarding school in India, so I know how to wash my own clothes by hand, but don't ask me to go about trying to get jeans to dry in a hotel room that has no open windows or doors! 21 days of doing that and they would end up with a serious moldy room!
Well, I am guessing the next time I write I will be jetlagged in Hong Kong. So until then...be safe & see you soon.
My name's Lisa. I love to cook, I love to laugh, I love to write. I don't always believe I have the time for creating, and now I am going to work on simply going with the flow, with the food, the restaurant, the writing...and if I can, for one moment, spread a little joy along the way, well, its worth the effort.