THE night of March 11, 2020 will be branded in my memory for as long as I have a functioning brain. I didn’t know it at the time, but when my husband Marcus and I joined a couple of friends for dinner and drinks, that would be our last social gathering for what could be weeks if not months.
Alice and Paul were at the tail-end of a four-month stay in La Cala, and we were discussing, among many other things, our plans for Marcus’ birthday celebration in Benidorm’s Old Town on March 25.
Then, on the Friday, came Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s bombshell announcement of a ‘State of Alarm’ – the first in Spain’s history – in response to Covid-19.
This had a devastating effect on the couple’s holiday – and, indeed, the vacations of thousands of others. They were informed that they wouldn’t be able to fly home on the date they’d booked, and would have to get a much earlier evacuation flight on Wednesday, March 18.
There would be no birthday party for us, or any other form of mingling.
Socialising is the very essence of being human, and is so much part of street life in Spain that its absence is the most surreal and disturbing thing I’ve ever experienced. This is the stuff of fantasy.
So was the arrival the day after the ‘State of Alarm’ of a delivery man. In all my years in Spain I have never had a delivery on a Saturday. He came bearing a small parcel from Amazon… and a huge, heavy carton on a trolley containing heaven alone knows what. A fridge? A freezer. A cooker?
He explained it was for the concierge of the building, Julio, whom he couldn’t locate. He asked if he could leave it in our apartment. Of course I agreed.
I tried phoning Julio but got no reply. When I finally managed to contact him he said was away, but he’d pick the carton up first thing on the Monday. It’s still partially blocking our front door. And very worryingly Julio appears too have vanished off the face of the earth.
When you’re a virtual prisoner in your own home, unable to get out except to walk the dog and buy food and medication, you immediately start thinking about the things you really need but cannot buy.
In my case the first item that sprung to mind was vaping liquid. Tobacconists, whom are allowed to open, do sell the stuff but my experience is that their brands are inferior, so I stick with my favourite vape shop.
Then it hit me: Vapour Bros has on online store. So last week I put in an order for enough liquid to float Queen Mary 2. That order should have arrived by now, but it appears that no delivery personnel or posties have been to our apartment block all week.
Has the virus impeded or halted deliveries in Spain? I could find nothing on the Internet to suggest that it has.
I’ve decided to use my confinement to improve my Spanish, and a new phrase I added to my vocabulary today is ‘me estoy volviendo completamente loco’ (I am going completely crazy).