I am currently on Day 10 of my 14-day quarantine in Shanghai. The last ten days have gone by very slowly, there really isn't much to do when I can't leave the hotel room. I am very excited to be getting out soon and moving onto the next hotel. My current plan is to leave the hotel after the fourteen days and then stay at another hotel in Shanghai, that a bunch of other Schwarzman Scholars have recommended, for another 7 days to complete my medical observation period. After I finish that, then I will be able to take the train from Shanghai to Beijing, where I will spend another 7 days in a hotel in Beijing under medical observation before I can finally enter the college and move into my dorm. This whole process is quite complicated and at any particular moment there are dozens of things that could throw a wrench in the plans, so each day brings its own adventures.
During my ten days in the quarantine hotel I have had quite some interesting experiences. From attempting to eat the hotel meals, which are, how should I say, not my favorite, to trying to order a permanent SIM card for my phone, to attempting to use my credit card to order delivery, to my daily temperature check-up phone calls, I have been challenged to use my very very limited Chinese vocabulary, and it rarely goes well.
The food has been the most interesting part of my time in the hotel. They bring us food at 8:00 AM, 12:00 PM, and 5:00 PM everyday and it is pretty much consistently the same kind of thing: rice, vegetables, a meat (though usually it is fish), a soup, and an additional meat/vegetable. On the first day or two, I had some good meals but after a while it got pretty bland and the meat is usually not the best quality. I was extremely fortunate to have packed tons of snacks, like protein/granola bars, instant ramen noodles and various crackers to help me get through these two weeks. I was advised that there was no way to know if delivery would be available, so don't count on it, which is why I packed so much. However, my hotel does have delivery. It took me a while to figure out how to use the delivery app. I got my first delivery last night as a special Saturday night treat; however, the one downside is that it takes so long to get the food. The delivery took about 30 minutes, which is pretty normal for food delivery, but then it sat in the lobby of the hotel for about 50 minutes before it was delivered to me, which meant that the food was not exactly hot when it got to me. Regardless, I was glad to have ordered food because it was a fresh change of pace from the food I have been getting at the hotel.
I am really looking forward to when I leave the quarantine hotel and head into medical observation. Even though there are restrictions about the kinds of things we can do and see, it will still be cool to be able to walk about and enjoy the city. Also, day 15 in Shanghai is the day before my birthday, so I will get to spend my birthday out of quarantine and I've been talking with some other scholars here and I am sure we will come up with something fun to do.