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Corona_restaurants_closed Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Oh no, not again

Corona-tofu-mix Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Just as we thought 'the camera eats first' craze was well and truly over, or at least petering out - now here they are again, the dreaded 'Photos of things I am going to eat and which I am under the misapprehension that you will be interested in seeing.' But this, the second, wave, is much worse, for instead of snapping beautiful restaurant food, people are now showing food they have cooked for themselves in their miserable quarantine existence - two sausages and some fried potatoes in fluorescent lighting. (Not you, Ellen!)

Don't think I'm not sympathetic, though. This curfew house arrest home alive burial thing is like being on an endless long haul flight but without the little tv screen in the seat in front. The only thing to look forward to all day is food

In these Robinson Crusoe-like situations it is important to keep a certain standard, so in addition to washing my hands 200 times per day, I change into my ballgown and party rubber gloves for lunch and dinner, put on a tiara and sharpen my chopsticks. Here is today's effort (the bottle is just for effect - Corona really doesn't taste good! However I have read that its sales have seen a healthy increase): 

Corona-beer-and-lunch Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

But how about Chinese products? I'm running out of deep fried tofu and fresh lotus root; in fact most of the ingredients in the dish above. And I need peanut oil to cook! Chinese food cooked in olive oil... Ahhrghhhh. No, it doesn't bear thinking about. 

I'm surprised that in all the good advice we get on what to eat and drink and how to behave, no one mentions closing the toilet lid before you flush. During SARS in Hong Kong, a whole apartment block was infected by droplets coming out of their loos. So that's my advice for today. Not only is it smart health-wise, but it is also good feng shui to close the toilet lid at all times when not in use. If you keep an open lid, you flush all your wealth away. You'll thank me later! 


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Living in genteel poverty 2

Today, for the first time since I came here in January 2018, I did that thing that you're supposed to do when you live by the Mediterranean: Sat on the balcony and drank coffee. 

Corona-Genteel-poverty-2 Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's PenAndWok.comIt was really only to reward myself for having cleaned that balcony, mostly of the droppings of a certain tree I have in my garden. It's a Norfolk Island Pine, the most meaningless tree in the world. It is so tall and of such an 'impressive' (idiotic) girth that when people are in my (tiny) garden they can't even see it. It has no function except creating work for its victims with its incessant droppings. Yes droppings! They are not cones, but long, slightly slimy, torpedo - no, poo! shaped droppings. So that was the highlight of today. And talking of poo:

Koldbrann-human-poo Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

To be honest I've never understood the point of eating human poo. I know dogs have different tastebuds from us, but come on! I thought by moving from the countryside of Hong Kong to a city in Europe I would avoid al fresco human poo, but no. It's everywhere, and Koldbrann is on it like a Polaris missile. But I'm thankful that he eats it - when it's eaten it's gone. My old dog, Piles (a pain in the arse) used to roll in human poo. 

And thus I finished a whole blog entry without mentioning the word Corona. 

Risking life and limb for art 

Mallorca-photos-1-La-Rambla Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

First of all, let me mention that the photos in these posts have little if anything to do with the posts. They are just photos from the past, like, before Corona. If I go outside to take photos, I risk getting fined up to 1000 euros. Well, according to the new and even more draconian rules from the Spanish government at least. Are people really that unruly? Not in my neighbourhood they ain't. Here's the latest: 

One person per family may visit the local supermarket, chemist, tobacconist, petrol station. 

Dogs may be taken out to relieve themselves but not for walks!

Remember the fines for disobedience are high ranging from 300€ to 1000€ + or even prison will be contemplated.

"Taken out to relieve themselves but not for walks" indeed. I don't think they understand how dogs work. I really don't care for the word "disobedience" either.

How could this happen in only five short days? I risk being fined more than the gross domestic product of North Korea just for going outside? How is it even... legal? Sounds like certain officials could be longing for the days of a certain military dictator of not long ago. Anyway, when I do go outside, everything seems pretty normal. 

And no one can force me out of my Luddite-hood! So this morning I did a drop. Yes, a drop. A friend, let's call him or her IT, has many DVDs just like me. One would think IT had lived near paradise for fake DVDs and handbags Shenzhen just across the border from Hong Kong, but no. Still, we did an exchange of DVDs, because, busy as I am, I still need to relax with some moving faces and talking voices that aren't Breaking Bad or Friends. 

We saw each other at a pre-designated place and did the drop behind the third Audi from the left. I had disinfected the DVDs with vodka and, while wearing latex gloves,  put them in a plastic bag not touched by humans for several weeks. We dropped our bags, making sure we had at least 10 metres between us, exchanged some bitter pleasantries and turned back in opposite directions. 

Later today I handed over a key to my house (sterilised and put in a plastic bag) to a neighbour - in case I fall down the stairs and break my neck - so she can get in and take Koldbrann to relieve himself, not for a walk.

Then Koldbrann ate a lot of human poo on our afternoon walk. Yes walk, because there must be limits to my obedience. I wish humans wouldn't poo outside. Dog breath takes on a new meaning. 

Here is the illustration for the advert I made for my neighbour's alteration business: 

Angela_advert_copy Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's


Using the time wisely by elbowing in on a saturated market

Have you ever read Gone With the Wind? Or any novel about a war or warlike situation? These books are often about one type of person sitting around reminiscing about the past and how much better things were, dreaming about what they will do "when all this is over", while the other type, the Scarlett O'Haras of this world, go out there facing the enemy head-on without looking back, setting up profitable businesses in the bomb shelters during the Blitz, so to speak. 

Trinidad-cafe-Luis-and-customer Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

So now here we are, five days into this baffling situation, and people are already saying, "when all this is over..." - including me! But that is mostly to cheer people up. For this is not going to be over any time soon. Even without the virus the world economy will probably suffer for years to come, and nothing will ever be "the same." But then again, what has ever been the same? We (westerners my age and younger) are the luckiest generation that ever lived. It's been 70 years since a major upset. Before that, life was short, nasty and brutish for the majority of people. You want someone to invent a vaccine for Covid 19 which, if you get it, will probably feel like a normal flu? It's not that long ago that you couldn't even get an injection for extracting a tooth. If you had teeth at all. My grandparents' generation often had their teeth removed before they were 20 so they could be fitted with dentures. 

Anyway, the highlight of today (so far) was going to the post office. This is a good time to write letters, don't you think? Especially to old people, isolated at home. After a 20 minute wait I was allowed into the post office where only one of the two clerks was wearing a mask. But hey. I asked for sillas, which means chairs. But this clerk must have been of an unusual intelligence (which I complimented her on) because she understood that I meant sellos (stamps)! 

Picasso-Arts-Society-Waiter Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Vowels, eh? 

But this brings me to the theme of today's Lockdown! Namely: How to use the time wisely. And yes, that means not only watch Downton Abbey and drink moonshine. 

It started a while ago but now I'm really ramping up my new project, namely writing a Spanish textbook in a market simply overflowing with Spanish textbooks. What the...? Why, that would be like writing a course in Mandarin (except I can actually say "stamps" in that language)! But my course is different in that most of the people in it are plonkers and make lots of mistakes, so the people taking the course, taught by my excellent friend H who is super fluent, can learn from other people's mistakes. 

Spanish_for_idiots_with_remark Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's


You see, the course is a meta course, a course within a course, where the people in it are learning Spanish from a book called Spanish for Idiots. Because I didn't want to call my book that. And it's not for idiots, per se! Only for people who for some reason think they are bad at languages. But you know what? Nobody is bad at languages. If they were, they wouldn't be able to speak their mother tongue. 


No social life, society pulling together - ish

Last night at 8 o'clock the whole neighbourhood erupted in cheers and applause, combined with a lot of boats hooting or honking or what they do, in gratitude to our health personell and how they put their lives on the line. Or maybe it was in gratitude to someone else last night? Whatever the reason, I joined in. It felt good. In fact, I feel I'm part of something now, for the first time since... Oh! Since I was on a road trip, or had dinner with someone, in what seems like another lifetime. Ah, restaurants! Wine! 

Corona-no-social-life Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

This morning I risked trekking over to Mercadona (a famous Mallorcan supermarket), very ostensibly carrying shopping bags to prove to marauding police that I was going out with a purpose, not just milling around to spread death. I saw some black-clad people down a side street. Was it a road block? Checking of ID? Meh - nothing like Tibet in 2004 when all foreigners were unwelcome, as we discovered when we tried to cross the country by hitch-hiking.  Still, I imagine this must bring back bad memories for many locals. 

In Mercadona it was business as usual; the staff were all wearing masks and gloves, but many customers weren't. The shelves were mostly well stacked and I managed to get three packets of frozen meat for my dog Koldbrann. As long as the supply lines stay open, this quarantine thing won't be too bad. Something good must come of it. Oh, I know! Now I can finally sort out my millions and millions of photos stored everywhere, and file them properly. 

Not in Dropbox though. They DELETED all my files last year. That's right, I bear grudges! Because I had paid Dropbox to store those files. 

koldbrann urns Pen & Wok Blog - - Cecilie's

Koldbrann in Hong Kong, resting among urns full of human bones.