Well it’s as much of a surprise to me as anyone finding myself locked down 3 hours south of Bangkok!
After a holiday here booked to return to the UK on the 28th February I am now in week 8 and adapting to life as a slightly surprised expat!
After my fiancée became ill and was hospitalised here at the end of Feb we rearranged flights to return but with some post op complications we had to abandon them too and eventually took the decision that we were both unsafe to travel back internationally ( I am an “at risk” person and my fiance too soon post op). Then Thailand shut the borders and the flights substantially dried up
We have settled down in a rented pool villa and we are making the most of things here although our lockdown is tighter than in the UK. Having a terrace and a swimming pool from which to enjoy the amazing weather has been priceless.
We have to wear masks all the time if outside the home, social distancing is paramount, all shops except food and medicine are closed, only take away food available, local travel only, any shopping trips require masks, plus temperature checks and alcohol hand wash before entering and so it goes on….including a curfew from 10pm to 5am. If parcels are delivered they are not touched and put inside the gate for several hours.
So all the fun bits of Thailand are gone; the bars are shut / the staff are back with their families / the beaches are closed (although many people are still going for strolls and respecting social distancing) and whole islands which rely on tourism have closed and the staff have gone….
On the upside the citizens and military have taken the opportunity to clean the towns so during the curfew hours whole city centres are cleaned and disinfected and the beaches are spotless again with a resurgence in marine life everywhere (there is currently no fishing either)
What does this approach teach us? Hit the problem hard and hit it early!
Admittedly this is easier to do in a country where the military heavily influences decisions and the population willingly does what it is told. Also there are a lot of police and military here to enforce compliance where it is needed, along with a top drawer medical system and loads of supplies of PPE – because it’s made here! Lastly it’s never less than 27c here!
Outcome to date: 2,839 infected
Still in hospital 359
new infections last 24 hours 13
So the world I am living in is similar to yours – and I still work a relatively normal day; starting at 2.30pm and finishing sometimes after 11pm. (have to be a little careful with the wine at dinner)
Curry night is Wednesday and catch up calls with friends on social media have become very important to feel a bit normal here!
Not missing the rain and cold one little bit.
This whole experience has made me realise that I can work from home and it’s more than possible to become a full time expat here with 2 or 3 trips back to the UK every year. The lifestyle here (even under the circumstances) is very attractive indeed. We are now looking at prospective properties for a purchase as I’m not a fan of renting, it just feels like dead money.
Jamie T. 54