Running off at the mouth...
May 11, 2020
We are almost at our 2nd month of residential confinement, with another 2 weeks expected to be added on today. The country remains in a state of emergency, with a nightly curfew from 5pm to 6am.
I will focus more on the local situation, more so than that of the country in its entirety.
Punta Cana and the easternmost province of the country, have faired very well when it comes to the containment of Covid19. Our actual population is 273,210 and includes the major city of Higuey.
Our current numbers read as follows: (as of May 10, 2020)
Confirmed Cases: 167 or less than 1 person per 1,000 (.6112/1000)
Recovered Cases: 79 or 53% recovered.
Deaths: 1 (an elderly man in Higuey with multiple existing health issues)
As you can see, the region is doing ok, in controlling Covid19. Other parts of the country are having greater difficulty, but as I mentioned, the focus is on Punta Cana.
I have on occasion, stepped outside to take a look around the community. Things are pretty quiet overall, but informal work seems to be creeping in. Although all non-essential work is being restricted, there are those who are taking chances. Most on the streets are wearing masks or makeshift facial coverings. The imagination runs wild! LOL
I quickly learned that internet banking is the way to go, as lines at banks are long and the pace is slow. Soon, many of us will not have to worry about banks, as there will be no money left, sad to say. The supermarket I frequent (Nacional) has remained well-stocked and to date, I have found the number of people inside to be just like any other day. Most are doing their part to keep at a distance.
I went to Iberia last week (in Bavaro) and the scene was totally opposite. Social distancing simply meant nothing... people reaching over you to get what they need... it was a different world and one more reflective of what it is like in the country beyond Punta Cana.
Personally, life is moving on. It seems that weeks pass quickly, but we are never any closer to anything. My daughters are lucky enough to have an internet-based education system provided by their teachers, so they can complete their school years.
A few personal observations about isolation.
1. 80% of movies on Netflix are not worth watching. I am actually amazed at how much garbage there is on the screen. I now struggle to find something and often resort to watching reruns of Beverley Hillbillies, Hogan's Heroes, Taxi...etc.
2. I have discovered the joy of playing my guitar again! My fingertips have calloused up and nothing beats strumming along to a parade of classic rock music and a plethora of acoustic ballads!
3. There are birds in my back yard! Most frequent is a family common house sparrows that gather round the cigar box to eat raw rice and stale bread. They certainly let me know that they are hungry at 6am (my normal time to rise). More fascinating and perhaps more personal is my regular visitor to the Hibiscus hedge. A rather large hummingbird, who over time has become much more tolerant of my presence. We are often just feet away from each other as he (or she) takes a rest on a support line. Depending on the lighting, he can look as dull as anything, then suddenly transform into a buzz of colours...electric purple, chrome green with a dash of pink thrown in.
4. Having a Zoom TGIF drink with the boys just doesn't work.
5. The weather has been absolutely perfect, ever since our livelihoods were taken away. Today, is the first overcast day in 2 months and I am enjoying the sporadic light rain!
6. I guess I am still a sailor. I have spent countless hours looking at sailboats and following sailor's youtube videos over the past month. It is like I am planning "planB" if this market does not recover enough to survive. Even Carmen has expressed an interest, although I know she prefers land. I mentioned that we should all live in one room in the house for a week to see how we do, as that would be the case on a sailboat!
7. Pasta and rice gets boring...FAST! A stop at Wendy's is like fine dining!!!
8. As many know, I enjoy my cigars. Some could say (my wife) that I enjoy them too much! I was quick to learn that my lifestyle was in for a big change, once I was down to one cigar left! I did find that special moment, where I could enjoy to the fullest, the tranquility that a good cigar provides.
Being on a very tight budget, buying more would be out of the question, but like all good men, I came up with a valid reason to myself, why a 5 pack would be an acceptable purchase. I limit myself to one per week and only if, I really feel like having one. I have 3 weeks supply left at this time!
9. Alcohol is much stronger at home than at the bars! Or perhaps I have fallen out of practice. It seems it does not take much great rum these days to take me to the other side of life and dread tomorrow.
10. I am a talker. That is what I do for my job! Some would say I talk too much! When you do not use your voice, it seems to disappear. Your mind is talking, but the words don't come out. Kind of a strange feeling.
In closing, a serious note.
Firstly, I wish you and all who are your family, friends or community, good health as we venture into the unknown. A good number of us here (myself included) are basically broke. We stand to lose our homes, our businesses, our possessions.
As it stands right now many have less than a month's finances available (only when you take out mortgages and other deferred payments). If I was a single guy, I would cope with this in a better way. When you have 2 daughters and a wife to support, you think differently. At the same time, you keep your thoughts to yourself and keep a positive outlook, casually reminding them that life is changing. A dramatic sudden change is never good, but a slow transition can make a bad situation easier. With all that in mind, I am not giving up!!! To the contrary!
I know that with all that is going on, that our local recovery is months, if not years away. I have to be realistic.
With that in mind, I ask you all to support local business when you do return to Punta Cana. There is an ever-growing market of tour resellers, many of which are not licensed to do so, plying the internet market. They are selling what you can (in most cases) book directly with the company, as is the case with PCMike.
The money you spend stays here....not in a foreign bank or shoebox...RIGHT HERE.
If you are uncertain of when you will be coming but know that it is in your plans to do so, any advanced bookings (can pick a date later) would be greatly appreciated and will give us hope for tomorrow, whenever that might be.
Cheers and good health,