Wowzer! When the quarantine started just a few months ago, I, like a lot of people thought it would blow over pretty quickly and since we weren’t doing any traveling, I revived the podcast interviews that l had started five years ago. 20 weekly episodes in, no end in sight for the pandemic, and with still no foreseeable travel, Here is an update of the new normal life in Valencia and the changes forthcoming.
New Normal Life In Valencia Spain:
We stick close to home. Social distancing at the beach is part of Spain’s new normal. This is the farthest we’ve gone.
I am enjoying doing the podcasts a lot, and l intend to do more. At the same time, I realize that l might be confusing folks who come to the blog looking for our travel stories. The reality is that travel is the farthest thing from our minds right now. If it happens anytime soon, it will be weekend trips close to home and we will take the dogs with us.
Travel slowly picking up:
I have slowly seen travel stories gaining steam on my social pages. Slowly, but surely, people are starting to head out again, virus be damned. I am not going to start a debate on what side is right or wrong as I was pretty cynical in the beginning too, and we barely made it out of Italy before the lockdown. I think we are all capable of making our own decisions. We just choose to stay put. Road trips seem to be the latest way to travel. I certainly agree that it helps with social distancing.
Staying put of course doesn’t necessarily mean you’re immune from catching covid. I lost one of my cousins to this disease on my birthday a few days ago. She was healthy as a horse and had stayed home since the lockdown. An asymptomatic worker must have brought it into the house. It’s a luxury being able to stay home in Nigeria as a lot of people are dying of hunger instead and must work to afford food. No solution in sight. The world is in for a lot of hurt.
Our new normal daily life:
An unfortunate side effect of the new normal. The beagle has grown so used to us being at home more that he has started howling whenever we leave for longer than a couple of hours. It’s like he has a timer!. The neighbors are not too pleased :-). He has become such a big baby. The good part is that there are other babies in the building, so no complaints as of yet, but guess who’s getting a correction collar that vibrates.
Our day to day routine is pretty dull. Aside from our morning walks, and the dog walks, plus visits to the grocery store, we try and stay in as much as possible. We have ventured out to restaurants a few times with friends or by ourselves, but we much prefer to stay in and have started having friends come over again for lunch/dinner and small gatherings (something we have always loved doing). To be honest, it doesn’t seem that much of a departure from our lives previously. We like staying in and the restaurant scene was never a huge part of our lives when we are home.
Simple birthday celebration at our favorite pizza place in the city.
Eyeing my new “precious”:
As most long time readers of the blog know, I have had my iMac since 2006 (really!) and it’s about to give up the ghost. It’s had two hard drives replacement in that time period. It’s time to move on as it is now a dinosaur.
My beloved dinosaur. It has served me well.
I have been lusting for the new 27 inch iMac 2020 which will have a bigger screen than my current 24 inch one. If it lasts me another 14 years, I’ll be extremely happy. Yes, I know it’s a lot of money, and l could get a Windows-based computer for much less, but the heart wants what it wants. I am just waiting for the last breath, which will be here sooner than later.
Once the lockdown ended at the beginning of July, the government gave control back to the provinces to monitor the covid cases. There is an upward trend in the numbers that are disconcerting enough for them to shut down cities/towns with breakouts as they occur.
Changes for Spain as a whole:
Masks are compulsory everywhere.
Gatherings are now limited to ten people again.
No smoking outdoors either if the social distancing can not be met. People had of course been taking advantage of the loophole. It kind of sucks for smokers, but l can’t say l don’t love that!
Nightclubs are dead for now. A lot of infections have been traced back to young adults partying. First, they had reduced the hours of operation, and when that didn’t work, they are now to be shut, along with discos and dancing venues.
No more Botéllons. This practice is very common with young kids in Spain, and we first encountered it in Seville. They gather in parks, parking lots, etc with huge bottles of beer and hard liquor and just drink themselves into a stupor. My thought is that some do it to get their buzz on before going to clubs so it’s a cheaper night out. A liter of beer costs anywhere from 65 cents to €1 :-).
Each province is supposed to implement these steps as they see fit. What l find concerning is that when they shut cities, you are forbidden from leaving the area, which means it is quite possible to be within Spain, and still “stuck” somewhere. Technically, you are allowed to go back to your home, but sometimes you encounter the hardass cops who seem to make up their own rules. No thanks!
Past trips will have to do for now :-). The Trevi fountain will still be there.
To makes matters worse, a number of European countries such as Germany, the U.K, and Norway are now imposing a 10-14 day quarantine on people who have visited Spain upon their return back home. I have mentioned before that l think the borders were open too soon, especially to places like the U.K who were lax with their shutdown. Now, it’s come back to bite them in the butt. The money grab was too strong. We might be headed for that second wave.
There are some demonstrations scheduled to protest the crackdown. At this point, I don’t know what to think, but l can’t help thinking it might be a way not to have to pay back all the funds received from the E.U. Like “see, we need this money, look at all the new cases! boohoo!!!. They had previously stopped reporting cases.
Seeing things clearly:
I had mentioned my bad eyesight a while ago. It indeed turned out to be cataracts (when did l get that old? :-) ). Long story short, my right eye is as good as new, and l am scheduled for the other cataract surgery in September when the clinic reopens post-vacation. Another reason to stay in as a covid test is necessary before any surgery. If you’re curious as to how much we pay monthly for our medical insurance, the service we have received so far when seeking care, and how much my copay was for the surgery, check out this video l did which tells you all about that, and then some :-).
More than likely, podcasts will now going forward, be available on the podcast page on this blog which can be found here.
It’s also available on other listening platforms like Deezer, Listen notes and a bunch of others. You can subscribe so as not to miss any episodes. To everyone far and near listening, I thank you very much. A lot of weeks, I find the podcast in the top 100 of a bunch of countries, like Canada, Sweden, and South Africa, it once cracked the top 150 in the States in its category, so yeah!
Our home version of seafood paella.
I hope everyone is having a good summer so far, and trying their best to keep healthy. Are you doing any traveling right now? Or are you staying put like we are?
Kemkem Casinelli is a licensed pharmacist and published author of fiction, self-help Ebook and guide to settling in Malta. She is a freelance writer. Currently based in Spain with her husband and 2 adorable beagles. Their frequent travels and foodie experiences are focused on cultural immersion and discovery which is documented on the blog to inspire. Find her travel gear suggestions here. https://nextbiteoflife.com/recommendations/best-travel-gear/