Yup, I’m locked down in paradise. Everything is closed, including the resorts and beach bungalows, the bars, and beach clubs. Most restaurants are closed, except for a few offering take away, and some drug stores are open. The streets are super quiet as people are hunkering down in their homes.
The airports are closed, with the exception of a few flights organized by various governments and airlines. But they keep getting canceled and the tourists are stranded. Since the resorts are now closing and all bookings are being canceled, the government will move any remaining tourists to a selected resort while they wait for their flights home. Some countries won’t let their nationals back in without a health certificate confirming 14 days quarantine. So the government is going to help them with their visa extensions, quarantine needs and virus tests.
We now have a curfew from 10 pm to 5 am, which isn’t a problem as there is no where to go here on this small island. And we’re tired. All day we’re on social media, the chat groups and on calls back home in the West to figure it all out. Sure we are all worried and stressed, like everyone else. But no one here is stockpiling toilet paper, masks and wet-wipes. The shops are well stocked and there is plenty of food everywhere. No one goes hungry in Thailand!
The important thing is that we are safe. It’s easy to practice social distancing here, there are so few people. Even in the markets and food shops, everyone is respectful. Everyone is wearing a mask, which is strange in the land of smiles. To compensate, a local woman is making tons of masks from colorful fabric. Maybe we don’t see someone’s smile, but we get the friendly message from their mask.
I bike around the island in the morning, which is rather difficult breathing through a mask. Feels like a face sauna, but such is life now. This morning there was no one on one of the biggest beaches. Reminded me of when I first came here almost 20 years ago. I walk another large beach at sunset. Yesterday I did see a few people here and there. Some, like me, are doing their daily sunset walk. I suspect that the others are trying to get some stress relieve. The sunsets are amazing, a perfect way to escape the reality of this very scary virus pandemic on our planet.
The phrase ‘locked down’ gives images of people held someone, and they can’t get out. That’s exactly what is happening here. Koh Lanta is definitely locked down. No one can’t get out, unless they have a plane ticket, or are providing an essential service, like medical staff and the delivery of food and medicine. And then once out, you can’t get back in. This started yesterday evening. There was about a day’s notice for people to get back to Koh Lanta.
For sure there are locals that can’t get home. A Thai friend was driving her parents back to their village. She realized she couldn’t get back in time, so she stayed with her family. Her poor husband and kids here are realizing how important Mom was to their daily meals, laundry, and all the other things that she did each day. I do have faith in the Thai authorities. They may not react immediately, but when they do, it’s well thought out, carefully planned and highly organized. I’m sure they will let the locals in, and my friend will be returning in a few days.
So I’m locked down in paradise and doing okay. How are you doing? Where are you now and how is it? I’d love to hear from you.
Remember, it’s all good, and we’ll get through this…