Our View from Colombia
How we are dealing with the Coronavirus
Thought it is time to update all newsletter readers about what is going on with us in Colombia in regards to the Coronavirus.
Overall we are doing well as a country. Our cases are lower than the majority of other countries. Consider that my home state of Michigan in the USA has a population equivalent to that of just Bogotá. While at the time of this writing Michigan claims almost 10,000 cases, Bogota announced around 500 cases. I saw an estimate today that University experts predict the peak for all of Colombia to reach 22,000 people infected with a death count of 800. Perhaps the city will catch up to Michigan in a few weeks.
Bogotá is on lockdown and has been for a couple weeks now. Those over the age of 70 are not to leave their abode until May 20. Others told us that taxis are to carry only one passenger at a time. At this time those in the city are not to leave and no one is suppose to drive in from other places. The airport is pretty much closed. Residents are allowed to leave their home only for medical emergencies, purchase medicine or purchase food. I have heard stories about people trying to spoof the system. If they are caught and tell police they are going for medicine they had better have a prescription. If they say they are going for groceries they should be carrying a shopping list. If not the police are issuing 980,000 peso ($245 USD) fines. That amount is more than a month of working at minimum wage.
On my cell phone and on television there is "#quedateencasa" in the upper left corner. For those who do not read Spanish it means stay at the house.
The news reported that 150 Israeli hikers were stranded in Colombia. Their government sent a plane to pick them up.
Here in Bogota there seems to be the same scarcity of some items just like the rest of the world. Face masks are no where to be found. Shelves in stores are empty where sanitation cleaning products like gels and alcohol are suppose to be.
My wife and I went out to purchase vegetables. The small local market had two handwritten signs. The first said that customers should sanitize before entering the store. The second announced that customers must wear face masks and gloves.
We spend most of our time inside the house. I still have plenty of wood to build with and am making a special table for the kitchen. Of course, we are watching far more television than normal.
With our new espresso machine we can enjoy a tinto (coffee) in the morning and cappuccino in the afternoon. I am doing very well and feeling the best I have in months. My extroverted wife however is going a little stir-crazy. She is use to moving around the city and talking with people. Thank goodness for Whatsapp video. Though she is noticing an increase in friends forwarding cute but useless videos.
Since we have to stay in so much Graciela ordered a small freezer over the Internet. The store said it is in stock, but delivery will be in 21 days. Now if we can just get a grocery store to deliver the goods to fill it.
We are home more and therefore messing up the house more. However, our weekly house cleaner can't come. Now add to it that Graciela is adamant about a clean house. So far we are dividing up the chores amicably. But I have heard stories of other couples not faring so well on that front.
Shopping and paying bills has changed with the lockdown. We went out to do our first large shopping in two weeks. The ATM machine had a line of about 20 people that stretched down the block as two policemen watched everyone maintain a two meter distance. Walking to the store where they accepted payment of our utility bills we passed drugstores and other places with bars blocking their entrance. Customers just yelled at the clerk what they wanted and after payment the product passed through a small opening. Big signs at the payment place announced only one person could enter the store at a time. The large grocery store also allowed only a certain number of customers inside. Along the building they placed tape every two meters to show people in line where to stand to keep distance from each other. After purchasing our goods there were no taxis picking up people on the street because they are not allowed to do so. We walked very slowly the ten blocks to the house with heavy bags.
North Americans surviving in Spain.
Spain is one of the worst hit countries for COVID-19. Bloggers Frank and Lissette at the blogsite www.bbqboy.net started visiting cities in Spain before the virus hit. Now they are stuck in Leon and writing about it. Check their writing out. Frank is very frank in his description.
Hope all readers are doing well.