Quarantine On The Friendship Highway, Part IV. Real fear and paranoia set in. It was our fourth day and for all intensive purposes we were in an information black out. The day began like Groundhog Day, the same as the day before. The Yetis silently crept into our room with thermometers clutched in their white latex gloved hands. I stirred awake in my damp bed and stared at my roommate Jessica as I propped my body up in the bed to get my morning temperature reading.
All of my fellow imprisoned friends eventually shuffled their way out of their rooms and headed to the lobby. I poked my chopstick against the morning slop, lazily stirring the food in the prison-like metal tray. The gossip and speculation began anew. When would we be released? Tomorrow? A week? A month? No one knew, but we all felt comfortable presenting our own pet theories.
Chewy entered the lobby and shared with us that we were to receive big news later today. Some government officials were planning to visit us later in the day to provide us with an update. An electrical charge of anticipation ripped across the room. Smiles broke out as we predicted a release.
Anger erupted. Voices crackled with fear. The government officials had finally decided to grace us with their presence. They informed us that they were removing us from the Zhangmu Caiyuan Hotel and resettling us into a nicer hotel. After four days of isolation our collective paranoia had set in. We didn’t trust the government officials. We concluded that this must be a devious ploy. We conjectured that the fancy hotel was really a prison. The government wanted to isolate us further and keep us separated from each other. After more raised voices, wagging fingers, and angry stares the government officials clad in hazmat suits departed.
A slight cheer erupted. Our group had won. We thwarted our evil captors. As much as we disliked our prison, the Zhangmu Caiyuan Hotel, we were not willing to risk leaving for unknown locals.
Night began to settle in and the cold seeped in. We solemnly lined up for our evening meal. Our future still a mystery.
Quarantine On The Friendship Highway, Part IV