Quirke’s Quarantine

Nicholas Quirke was recovering from two days of plane travel on 1st March 2020 going from Osaka to Seoul and then Seoul to Beijing. He had decided to return to Beijing after learning that the regulations concerning overseas travellers allowed foreign travellers back into the country. He was spending a lot of money on hotels and eating and sightseeing and he needed to start conserve his resource. Peng had invited him to stay and it made sense to make his way back to begin sorting out plans and earning money. This did mean though taking a plane back to Seoul to get the original flight he had booked. He had to check out of the capsule hotel by 10am and he took to the streets dragging his suitcase behind him. Though he had barely added anything the suitcase just seemed to get heavier and he was worried that he would have to pay for any extra weight on JeJeu flight. It was a long ride on the train to the airport which appeared to be on an man made island in Osaka Bay. He experienced a hold up at the airport checking in due to his final destination and as he remained patient the staff rewarded him with an upgrade and he was given a free breakfast on the flight. A simple and fairly swift flight and a quick passage through immigration. The situation had changed dramatically in South Korea since he had left with huge numbers of people being diagnosed with Coronavirus at a rate of 600 a day. He had booked a hotel about 2 kilometres from the airport and he got a taxi. The driver didn’t Know the hotel and took a while to work out where it was. When he discovered it was relatively close he started shouting at Nicholas which felt a little threatening but he kept his composure and actually felt some empathy for the man, though he thought he would not get a tip from him. The hotel was a cheap rate but was quite a luxurious room. He had an early start the next morning but managed to fit in a quick video call with his sister first to let her know his plans. Another travel day meant that there was little to report on so he gave himself a break from the blog. Although he had an early start to get Gimpo Airport it took a while to get through immigration. The process was, not surprisingly, extra vigilant and he was actually surprised by the amount of people headed to Beijing, though it may have had something to do with China starting to look Like a better place to be than South Korea. It was another simple straight forward flight and though immigration became a challenge he knew he had Peng waiting for him the other side and he wasn’t going to have to find his own way into the city for once. As he was staying in a private residence it seemed more complicated and he was told he had to go to the police station after arriving in Beijing to report where he would be. Peng advised that regulations were changing all the time but that the outlook in Beijing was looking better every day with still no new cases reported. Once at Peng’s address he had to be registered with the Neighbourhood and had to give details of flights including his recent travel Itinerary and after dropping off bags they went to the local Police Station. The department were closed so they would have to come back the next day. They ordered lunch which was delicious when it arrived but as they were eating there was a knock at the door. There were at least 4 people including a policeman advising that the regulations had changed and as he had travelled from Japan and Korea he was going to have to be quarantined for 14 days. This meant either staying in Peng’s apartment which effectively meant Peng was in quarantine too or go to a hotel where he would be on his own and have to pay for the pleasure. Peng insisted that he stay so for the next 14 days they were not to leave the apartment apart from going to the police station to register his presence which bought them to the 1st and day one of the incarceration. The short walk to the police station was the last time he would feel the pavements and roads of Beijing beneath his feet for two weeks and even though the Policewoman shouted at him for being so foolish as to come at this time once he got his certificate, he felt quite excited by the idea of an enforced period of imprisonment. The good news was he would have company and as Peng had been flirting with a vegetarian lifestyle he would now eat well and healthily and in the well furnished apartment, with 75 inch television, massage chair, and every modern convenience, he would save money and seriously have the time to Map out the next few months.


  1. It was just going to happen! And better than being unwell. I am just as excited to hear about your days in quarantine as travelling. A journey of a different nature.

  2. I suppose it is a miracle it has taken this long and very fortunate that you have such s delightful host and companion. We are all very grateful to Peng for agreeing to join you in your confinement. X

  3. Oh Nick!! It caught up with you, dammit. Well, you’re in great company as Jon Snow (the journalist) is also in quarantine here after a trip to Iran. I hope your positive outlook lasts and thank Peng from us, your friends, for being such a fabulous host in our absence.

    I had a great birthday: a walk, a swim and then treated to see Parasite with Rachel & Kate.

    My family and friends seem to be closely associated with this nasty:
    three sisters: Brighton (1st UK cases), Swansea (1st welsh) and now Kirkland, Washington (1st US death & several cases). I suspect we may be behind it all…

    BTW: Sounds like witchcraft but 2 or 3 proven antivirals are sage, oregano and elderberries. They build your immune system for resistence. Sage tea perhaps? God knows if you can get hold of black elderberry syrup but the bottle I made in autumn has seen me through so far with not a cold or cough in sight…

    Best wishes and find the fun indoors.Stay sane and positive. Keep posting.
    P x

  4. Thank goodness for Peng! What an angel, so good you can stay with him and have company rather than have to be locked up alone in a hotel room.

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