Lockdown New Zealand Style
If you’ve been wondering at all – while we have all this time to mull things over – what it would be like to be in a country not your own while the worldwide lockdown is going on, have a read of this email conversation we’ve had with friends David and Nicky who are in New Zealand until June, nearly 3 months longer than they were planning! Here’s what they had to say about their unexpected extension to their holiday –
“Kia Ora – greetings from New Zealand
We came out here in January for our annual trip to New Zealand, travelling round in our camper van and we are now refugees….since the 25th March when Emirates announced they would stop flying as the UAE were stopping all transits. We missed our flight by one day….. then New Zealand went to level 3 and within 48 hours, to level 4 lockdown meaning stay put, only go out for exercise and essential shopping.
We are extremely lucky to have been scooped up into a fabulous group of people here where we store our campervan. The family who live here and the other campers who stay here permanently have been amazing. Straight away we were given water, power, drainage, the use of a toilet and a fridge freezer and a washing machine…we’ve even got a proper stove with an oven now after using a 2 ring gas burner for a while. We are set up for however long this is going to take.
The first evening, over a G&T, 6 of us sat more that 2m apart, for our first of many happy hours; this has happened a few times over the past couple of weeks and we now sit round a fabulous fire chatting and just hanging out in our bubble. Think my liver might take a hit if this goes on too long!
So what’s the “bubble” – over here you can only socialise within your bubble; whoever is here no one else can join in. We still keep to the 2m rule whilst chatting, cycling or fitness. One of the residents here is a delivery driver and when he wanted to continue working, he realised he couldn’t stay here so has had to leave.
We feel so safe; I have been out to do a shop, gloved and masked up, for ourselves and our fellow residents. They very kindly lent us a car so we didn’t have to move the van. I didn’t have to queue for too long and most people were very good with keeping apart, just one or two idiots who walked around as if nothing had changed.
Whilst we were out, our van had an upgrade – Robert, the owner of the site, had found he had a brand new awning that was a perfect fit for our van and so he’s put that on for us. It’s made such a difference; it’s like another room, keeping the sun out of the van as well as the rain.
Our days seem to be pretty full, with one thing and another – sitting in the office (our bed!) every morning with our morning cuppa; answering messages from friends and family that have come in overnight or chatting to them and checking on the news from both the UK and NZ.
Then there is the daily exercise – the 12 mile bike ride around the area and the challenge to get the time down each day. And then possibly some mat work including stretching with bits of yoga, Pilates or band work; ouch! Now some golf has been introduced as well.
We registered with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and get any email updates re flights. Yes there are flights but if you take these flights you cannot get off at all if there is a medical emergency or similar. They are very expensive and to be honest we would prefer to get our flight back with Emirates, not pay out any more and fly back when it’s safer to travel. When we came out here in January, we never imagined any of this might happen. There are over 10,000 Brits in New Zealand at the moment and many are in a far worse situation than us so we feel it’s best to let them go first. We’ve now found out we can come back to the UK in June using the return tickets we had already which is great.
We’re obviously missing friends and family but it’s easy to keep in touch with Whatsapp and emails. David’s mum turned 90 while we have been delayed so the surprise party we planned for her will have to be a not such of a suprise 91st birthday party. She did get her cake though and Happy Birthday sung by her neighbours through her window.
So as I sit here in the office, the birds are singing, the sun is making its welcome warm appearance drying out the dew from last night’s clear sky; David’s made our morning cuppa and another day in lockdown begins.
Nicky & David x