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I decided to try a little pre-breakfast experiment: one packet hazelnut instant coffee (sadly, it doesn’t include creamer – I didn’t realize that when I ordered it online to bring with me to quarantine), one packet “3in1” instant coffee (with creamer and sugar) provided by the hotel, and two large squares of extra dark chocolate, all stirred together in hot water in my mug showing my awesome niece and nephews.

The elements in my experiment.

Verdict: the niece and nephews are still pretty awesome, but the coffee mixture, not so much. The dark chocolate is a little too extra (bitter). I’ll stick with the two types of coffee from now on. Oh well, it was worth a try!

I heard some exciting news today. I found out that I get to go out on my field trip tomorrow! I wasn’t expecting it till day 13 or 14 of my quarantine, but my quarantine officer called and said the taxi will come and pick us up at 10:00 tomorrow morning. Yes, you heard me right: I said US! That’s right, Floyd and I will get to ride in the taxi TOGETHER! It will take us to a local hospital, where a doctor will administer PCR tests as one final check for COVID. Then the same quarantine taxi will take us back to the hotel for the rest of our stay (which has not been shortened, unfortunately, just because our field trip got moved up – Floyd asked!). I’m so excited, both to leave my quarantine tomorrow and to see my husband face to face! Maybe we can even (gasp!) hold hands in the taxi!

Here are today’s meals.

Breakfast was different again today – still no greens, and no hard-boiled egg, either! Hooray! Sweet potatoes, chicken nuggets, a fried egg, and rolls with sweetened red bean paste inside. Normally I’m not a fan of sweet red beans, but in this case, it worked. Oh, and lemon tea.
Lunch: a folded slab of pork on rice, soft squash, bok choi, a different kind of (breaded) pork slab on a different kind of green, slightly sweet fish paste in the middle, and white gourd tea.
Today’s dinner was one of my favorites so far! It was sort of like a stew, but with only the tiniest bit of broth, just enough to make everything juicy and moist. There was a layer of rice at the bottom, topped my mushrooms, greens, and other veggies, plus a bit of seafood, I guess? (I don’t actually remember.) In any case, it was delicious. This was one of the few times I’ve eaten everything they served in a meal here (well, everything except the asparagus juice).

Now I’m watching Taiwan play China in men’s badminton for the gold! See you tomorrow! GO, TAIWAN!!!

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Today got off to an exciting start. When I heard the thrice-daily squeak of the meal trolley starting down the hall, I peered through the peephole in my door and saw three Real Live Human beings out there delivering breakfasts! Just to clarify, for anyone in doubt: yes, there really were three of them together! I saw all three of them all at once right outside my door!!!

As if that wasn’t enough, breakfast was exciting too. To my shock, it contained NO BOK CHOI! Not only that, but there were no green leafy vegetables involved at all! That was the first time that has happened in any meal here. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Did it even count as a meal without bitter stir-fried greens?? Oh well, at least there was some form of pork, a mysterious translucent glutinous glob, and two fried items (not to mention the boiled egg that has shown up at every breakfast except yesterday’s so far – in this case, it was stuck to the glutinous glob), so I suppose it could still qualify as a not-too-abnormal quarantine meal after all.

A most unusual breakfast! See the explanation above.
A close-up of the glutinous glob and its contents (pork and bamboo shoots), for anyone interested.
Lunch: some form of hot pot take-out, plus jasmine tea, I think. I was excited about the hot pot at first, till I dug in and realized it was very different from the hot pot take-out I know and love in the afternoon market near Morrison’s campus. This one contained greens, shrimp, pork, fish paste, a bunch of things I couldn’t identify, and lots and lots of rice noodles. And more rice noodles. And after that, more rice noodles at the bottom. (I didn’t eat most of the rice noodles.)
Dinner. Clockwise from top left: flavorful and delicious pork fat (with small amounts of actual pork meat) on rice, pieces of fried fish paste with green pepper, some of the best leafy greens I’ve had here yet (these ones were kong shin tsai, which literally means “hollow heart vegetable” – they were full of flavor tonight), slices of a different kind of fish paste with pieces of tofu so juicy that the one I bit into squirted all over, and in the center section, delicious eggplant. I think the soup had pieces of turnip in it.

Since this was the tenth full day of my quarantine, it was time for me to take the COVID self-test they gave me at the airport. I had never done anything like it before, and I was quite nervous, but with the help of an instructional video (that I watched twice), I managed to get through it. Later, my quarantine officer called to ask me if I had administered the test to myself and what my results were. I offered to send her the picture I had taken (below) as proof, but she said she was happy to hear I was negative, and that was all she needed.

Negative! (Not that I’m surprised!)

Another piece of excitement happened on this eventful day – this was actually the most exciting of all (and not in a good way). I was sitting in my cell minding my own business like a good little inmate (okay, fine, I was jumping on the bed. Hey, I needed exercise!) when all of a sudden an announcement blared through the hallway speakers in Chinese. It was the first time I’d heard anything from those speakers (I didn’t even know there were speakers there), and I couldn’t understand anything the person was saying. The message repeated several times, sounding insistent and urgent.

Of course the first thing I thought of was the news article from a month ago, about a fire that broke out in a different quarantine hotel here in Taiwan. (Okay, to be honest, the FIRST thing I thought was that it was some sort of announcement that guests shouldn’t jump on their beds, but it only took me a second to realize how unlikely that was! Yeah, I guess I was feeling a bit guilty….) Anyway, not everyone in that other hotel was able to evacuate in time; there were a number of injuries, and three people died trapped in their rooms (plus a firefighter).

So I sniffed worriedly around my door but didn’t smell any smoke. Should I open it? What if the announcement was about something totally different, and I left my room inappropriately and got served a huge fine? I remembered another news item about a quarantined man who stepped out of his hotel room and walked back and forth in the hallway for EIGHT SECONDS, and was fined $3500 for breaking quarantine! Just in case, I put on my mask so at least I wouldn’t get in trouble for going out without one, pulled my laptop bag out of the drawer where I keep it, and started scrambling around for important items to pack in case I did have to rush to safety. Meanwhile, the announcement kept repeating intermittently, sending my pulse racing faster each time.

Fortunately, a friend quarantining in a different part of my hotel correctly guessed that I would be freaking out and called me to tell me what was going on. It was just an announcement that we should all stay in our rooms as they tested the fire alarm system! Sure enough, then an alarm started to sound, so I’m really glad she got ahold of me before I heard it, or I would truly have freaked out! Of course, it was at that point that someone from the front desk sent out a text on the Line app in English and Chinese: “Hello,sorry to bother you, we’re now testing the Fire security. if you hear the alarm,please stay calm,thank you”

Once the scare was over and the alarm stopped, I knew I was back to normal because I wanted nothing more than to proofread their message and send it back with the errors fixed (and perhaps an offer to let them hire me to proofread any other hotel materials). And to ask them to please send us a warning in English next time BEFORE the Chinese announcement and the fire alarm, thank you very much!

Anyway, I’ll close with this nice, calm picture of my view this evening. If you’re reading this on a large enough screen, you may notice the building reminding people to stay home!

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Today was a pretty uneventful day. There isn’t much new to talk about, so here’s a picture of my evening tradition.

Long before we left California, Floyd bought me this special package of coffee nut M&Ms as a quarantine treat. I was very disciplined and did not open the package early! Once we got here and I unpacked my luggage in my room, I put it in the little fridge. Every evening in between dinner and bed-time, I take it out and empty eight M&Ms onto a tissue on the little table where I eat my meals. (I checked the serving size and number of servings on the package and did the math. That’s how many I get per day in order to have the same amount each day of my quarantine.) Then, as I’m working on my daily blog post or other things, every time I get up for a stretch break, I walk over and eat an M&M. I almost always have them one at a time, drawing out my dessert over the course of the evening. Today, though, I actually combined them with a little package of mixed nuts, seeds, and raisins that I had, and I must say, it made quite a delicious trail mix!

Anyway, on to my meals. As you can see, breakfast involved a surprise again today!

Breakfast: a fried egg (oh my goodness! Not hard-boiled?! I could hardly believe it!), along with salad, French fries, and turnip cake with sauce, and barley tea. It hardly seemed like breakfast without any stir-fried bok choi (ha!), but since there was lettuce, I can still say we’ve had green leafy vegetables for every single meal so far.
Lunch: soft squash, bok choi (they had to make up for not serving it to us at breakfast, obviously!), chicken on a bed of green onions and tofu strips, spring rolls over rice (YUMMY!), and I believe those little thingamajigs in the center were made of deep-fried slightly sweet fish paste (you think I’m kidding!).
Dinner: fried noodles with bits of pork (it’s only the second time we haven’t had rice for a lunch or dinner) with very very fibrous greens (the kind you keep chewing and chewing and chewing …), along with a separate slab of breaded deep-fried pork and bitter melon (the bumpy things). I believe the item in the other dish was squash blossom soup.

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Today I got to enjoy video calls with a total of six different friends and family members (some of them together on one call). It was awesome to connect with so many special people! And another blessing that came later was that I received another care package today. Yippee! One thing I have learned is that the little things can be big blessings in quarantine!

Items from home that I’d specifically requested: my khanga, house shoes to replace the duct-taped hotel slippers, a bottle of drinkable yogurt (YUM!!), and non-disposable chopsticks so I don’t have to keep thinking of how I’m harming the environment going through three pairs of disposable ones a day.
Delicious treats: my neighbor sent me a fresh mango smoothie and some Korean kimbap! They arrived at my door about 15 minutes before dinner. Needless to say, I didn’t have much appetite for dinner!

Okay, now for today’s meals. Not many surprises there, unfortunately … except with breakfast!

Breakfast: the usual stir-fried bok choi and hard-boiled egg, plus fingers of meat that couldn’t make up their minds if they were trying to be hot dogs or sausages (but failed at both and somehow left all flavor behind in the process), plus chicken nuggets and apple juice. And an interesting something-or-other that I can’t remember the name for. See the picture below.
When I unwound the banana-leaf wrapping, there was a tasty little squashed pyramid of fried rice with mushrooms, pork, and a few other miscellaneous foodly things inside. Floyd didn’t care for his (we ate breakfast “together” on a video call, as usual), but it was my favorite hotel meal item in the last few days, mostly because it was something NEW!
Lunch: ground pork on rice, chicken on stir-fried green pepper strips, the ever-present bok choi, and the frequently recurring soft squash. I believe the item in the center was squid with stir-fried celery, and the drink is lemon tea.
Dinner. It was a pity I wasn’t hungrier, since I like the hotel’s curry! I mixed the greens in with the curry and rice, which made them a lot better, but the deep-fried breaded pork slab and chunks of tofu were easy to pass up.

Well, one more day is just about over. Eight down, six to go! It’s all downhill now that I’ve passed the halfway point, right? Right??

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Something amazing happened today. For the first time in a week, I made direct contact with a Real Live Human Being! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I can confirm that the fabled species really does exist. I opened the door of my room to pick up my lunch, and lo and behold, a Real Live Human Being was out there! He was only about twenty feet away when I spotted him, placing food outside another door down the hall. He was dressed in a hospital gown, gloves, and a mask, because what else would someone wear when walking past the closed doors of people who might be bringing COVID-19 into the country, even though they’ve all had at least two negative COVID tests in order to get there? Anyway, he saw me, probably gaping at him like an idiot from my doorway (good thing I was wearing my mask). Almost to my surprise, he didn’t turn to flee. In fact, he actually said hello! And I found my voice and said hello back, and I thanked him for lunch, and he said you’re welcome! (All in Chinese.) And as he turned to go, I shut myself back in my room feeling moved and grateful that he was willing to make eye contact and communicate, instead of shying away and treating me like a walking, talking virus. Believe it or not, the encounter actually brought tears to my eyes. (Hey, if you think I’m pathetic, you try spending a week without any direct contact with a single Real Live Human Being!)

This morning I did a little surgery on my slippers. The hotel had provided three pairs of disposable slippers in the room, and all of them are now completely worn out. But fortunately I have some useful mending supplies with me!

I was reminded today of how much God has blessed me here. The song “Count Your Blessings” made it into my short but growing quarantine playlist. The picture below shows a collection of some of the items he has used to bless me in this room. Most were gifts from family or that friends sent over in care packages, or items they gathered from my apartment for me. I have it so good here – I really can’t complain! (Even though I still sometimes do.)

I’m so grateful for the eleven blessings represented here!

Anyway, here are today’s meals. Guess what? There was a real winner today! (I mean that literally, not sarcastically!)

Breakfast. I opened the boxes and thought, “Wow, this looks familiar.” The egg went into my little fridge along with the one from yesterday. I can only eat hard-boiled eggs so many days in a row!
This time I got a close-up picture of the swirly thing. Trust me, it wasn’t as exciting as it looks! I believe the ingredients were glutinous rice flour, water, and food coloring. If there was anything else involved, I couldn’t taste it. Actually, I really couldn’t taste much of anything in the one bite I took.
Lunch. To be honest, my first impression when I saw the pork patty on the rice was that it looked as though a cow had passed that way and left something behind. But it ended up being tender and flavorful! As you can see, there were also the usual greens, a sour bamboo shoot dish that was surprisingly tasty, some whole shrimp on cabbage, and in the center, cooked cucumbers with pork pieces. I believe the boxed drink is oolong tea. (It joined my collection of unwanted boxed drinks that I’ll bring back with me when I leave to offer to anyone who wants them. If you live at Morrison, YOU could be the lucky recipient of many boxes of oolong tea, barley tea, green tea, and asparagus juice!!)
Dinner: pork carnitas enchiladas! Oh my goodness, was this EVER delicious!! Wait, you say, that doesn’t look like one of those quarantine hotel meals. Well, it wasn’t! Floyd and I decided to celebrate making it halfway through our #luxuryincarceration by ordering from Uber Eats. This is from the wonderful Aztec Mexican Restaurant conveniently located not far from our hotel.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. We are officially halfway through our quarantine! Sometimes I can hardly believe we’ve been here only a week. But knowing that we’ve made it to the halfway point makes the rest of it seem more doable. I’ve survived this long. With God’s help, this long again won’t be too bad. But boy am I looking forward to going home sweet home!

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Today was both good and bad. I enjoyed the chance to participate in an online Zumba class with some friends. That was followed by two separate enjoyable conversations with fellow authors who are just starting out on their careers and needed some help with the publishing process. (Shameless plug: take a look at the services I offer authors here.) But after that I had a headache and felt really stiff and uncomfortable from sitting so long (about four hours altogether!). Normally, I’m really good about getting up and taking stretch breaks. I have an app that reminds me to do it every ten minutes, so then I get up and walk from the door to the window (nine steps), turn the corner around the bed, and walk to the wall beside the little table (three steps), then back to the door again, for a total of 24 steps round-trip. I normally do this five times in a row before I sit back down at my computer again. As you can probably imagine, there was a very noticeable difference in my overall sense of physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing after skipping most of my regular walking for four hours! I did feel better after some Dance Dance Revolution, a shower, and a banana.

Well, here are today’s meals. I have to confess that it’s gotten to the point where, as soon as I open the containers, I inevitably sigh and say, “Oh, it’s you again.”

Breakfast: a glutinous blob with meat inside, French fries with ketchup, amazingly flavorless sausages, and – surprise, surprise! – a hard-boiled egg and green leafy veggies. With green tea.
Lunch: some kind of deep-fried patty (Floyd says he thinks it involved shrimp) on greens, pork with black pepper and onions over rice (that was actually my favorite of our at-least-twice-daily pork dishes so far – it was really flavorful!), sour bamboo shoots (no thanks), soft squash with carrot (also flavorful), and cabbage with (my favorite!) tofu skins. (I’m not being sarcastic – I love tofu skins! They’re so fun and nubbly!) And asparagus juice … also a no thanks.
Dinner: yet more green leafy veggies, cabbage with sausage slices, chicken leg over rice, stir-fried celery with bits of carrot and I’m not sure what else, and some eggplant that was quite delicious once I added a little salt. (I really enjoy eggplant – I wish they could substitute that for the greens at least one meal a day!)

I’ll close with one final picture for the day – not of the sunset this time. This is the label on the outside of the door of my cell, er, hotel room. When I open the door to pick up my meals from the chair outside, or to set my daily bag of trash out, I see notes like this on all the doors up and down the hallway. They are the constant reminders of the dates each prisoner, er, guest, came in and will be allowed to come out. And yes, it’s technically a little more than two weeks, since we’re required to stay for fourteen FULL days. The partial day when we arrived doesn’t count; neither does the few hours after midnight that we’ll probably stay on the final partial day. (I do know some fellow quarantinees who are planning to leave at 12:01 a.m. on the day their sentence, er, stay is up, but I imagine Floyd and I will stay for the rest of the night, since we have to pay for it anyway, and check out the next morning.)

Six days down.

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Today was another really good day! I “went” to the online service for my church, House of Blessing. The whole thing was really good, but the most meaningful part to me was the song “Here Again”. (This link is to a different but also excellent version, in case you just want to listen to the song without searching through the whole church service for it.) I’d heard and sung it many times, but the lyrics were never so meaningful as they were to me today, shut in a room away from everyone and everything as I am:

I’m not enough/Unless you come./Will you meet me here again?/’Cause all I want Is all you are./Will you meet me here again?/Not for a minute/Was I forsaken./The Lord is in this place./The Lord is in this place./Come, Holy Spirit,/Dry bones awaken./The Lord is in this place./The Lord is in this place.

Later I finished up some other tasks on my to-do list and finally had time for something I’d wanted to do since I arrived: working on my new series (working title: The Wolves of Cedar Crossing – yes, it’s about werewolves!). That is, I didn’t actually start drafting the series yet, but I read back through some of the many ideas about characters and plot that I’d brainstormed a while back and organized them more logically. Now I have a better idea of what needs to happen in book one. I hope to work on it a little every day for the rest of my quarantine and hopefully actually start drafting some scenes before I leave.

Here are today’s meals:

Breakfast: the usual hard-boiled egg and greens, plus chicken nuggets and a couple of rolls. One of the rolls had a sweet red bean filling. And don’t forget the “mixed fruits and vegetables juice drink” (I could taste the veggies as well as the fruits)!
Lunch (clockwise from top left): bitter melon (I think – it was bitter and in the plant family, anyway), greens (surprise, surprise), scrambled eggs with raw green onions, pork, a seasoned chicken leg on rice, and a piece of steamed pumpkin in the middle. I think the pumpkin was my favorite, if only because it was the first time it had shown up in any of my quarantine meals. Let’s just say that barley tea never makes my list of favorites.
Dinner (clockwise from top left): greens (bet you’re surprised!), stewed pork with carrots and broccoli, some sort of spring rolls on rice, green beans, and I have no idea what that was in the middle. It was soft and ginger-flavored. The spring rolls were really good, and so was the broccoli – tender and very flavorful. I wouldn’t have minded a second helping of that.

I settled down to dinner with my Kindle, but after reading for a few minutes, I decided that God’s art gallery outside was much more interesting than the book. The sky kept changing as clouds drifted across the setting sun, turning gold at the edges as the sky turned orange. The picture doesn’t really show how awesome it was, so you’ll have to take my word for it!

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Today seemed to go by fast (which was nice!). Three separate video calls with family used up pretty much all the morning. Some editing, some work on my Amazon ads, some exercise (Dance Dance Revolution for the win!), and some lesson planning for the after-school classes I’ll be teaching this year used up the afternoon. As usual, working on my blog post is my after-dinner activity. And then I’m off to bed with one more day of quarantine under my belt!

This building, just visible to my far left as I peer out my window, intrigues me. During the day, it usually looks like a normal, solid, white building with a dark gray striped design in the middle. But after dark, it manages to look as though it’s shaped kind of like an arch, with the enter part completely open (you know, like all those buildings in Hong Kong designed with the big holes so that dragons from the mountains can fly through them at night on their way to drink from the harbor … never mind). A few irregular little lights in the gray part somehow look as though they’re on buildings behind this one, adding to the night-time illusion that the center section is empty. (Or is it an illusion? I’m not completely convinced!) And on a foggy day, the white part fades into the mist, making it look as though a tall, narrow, dark gray structure stands there instead. I’m beginning to wonder if someone purposely designed this building to provide hours of perplexity for stir-crazy inmates peering out at the city from their solitary cells and trying to keep reality and their imagination separate. Then again, is it worth even trying to keep them separate? Some days I’m not so sure …

Ok, time for the obligatory meal photos. Today I actually really enjoyed parts of both lunch and dinner! A couple of the items were actually my favorites out of everything we’ve been served so far.

Breakfast: the usual green leafy veggies and hard-boiled egg (but this time I actually had salt to put on it, thanks to yesterday’s delivery from my friends!). The thin meaty thing pretending to be bacon wasn’t bad, and I always like the almost-hashbrown patties with ketchup. I would like to also draw your attention to the large glutinous blob at the bottom right. I have no idea what it was this morning, but I’m pretty sure that in a past life it was part of the landscape on an alien planet, or perhaps a prop in a low-budget sci-fi movie that took place on said alien planet.
Lunch. Those breaded shrimp things were delicious! I wouldn’t mind a couple of those every day! Spare me the lecture about how fattening they are, please. I’m pretty sure we’ve had at least one deep-fried item in every meal so far, so it’s not like they’re much worse than anything else. The greens were tastier than usual, too – good and garlicky, just the way I like them, not bitter like most greens here have been so far. The mushrooms in the center section were pretty good, too. The dark little strips at the top right I’m pretty sure were ni the fungus family too, but I didn’t care for them much. One bite was plenty. I didn’t eat the chicken wing with the green pepper pork, either, but the shrimp made up for the rest of it. Oh, and the white gourd tea? Just look at the squash in the picture, imagine it turned to liquid with sugar added, and that’s exactly how it tasted.
Dinner: chicken curry with potatoes and carrots over rice. What a delightful change from the norm! This was definitely my favorite hotel dinner yet. I mixed the greens in with the curry and couldn’t even taste their bitterness. I wasn’t going to eat the deep-fried breaded pork slab, because deep-fried, but I took one bite and decided it was too good to let it go to waste. (I couldn’t say the same about the slab of tofu.) Even the soup was pretty tasty. It had some kind of vegetable blossom (squash?) in it, which I know sounds weird, but it worked. The broth had a pleasant flavor. I had promised my Kindle we would have a dinner date this evening, so all in all, the meal was quite delightful.

Anyway, here are some pictures from tonight’s sunset. The sun itself stayed hidden behind a cloud bank most of the way down, but the evening sky was still pretty. I’m so thankful for a room with nice big windows and a sunset view!

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Today was a good day! One of the first things I did was chat online with a colleague of mine who just started her quarantine on a different floor of the HiOne Hotel. Her wonderful attitude encouraged me, and so did the song she sent me a link to. “As the Deer” instantly became my quarantine theme song. I’ve heard it dozens, if not hundreds of times before, but it had never brought me to tears before. Of course, I’d never before listened to it when locked in a room alone for two weeks … and yet not alone. The phrase “you alone” takes on a whole new meaning when the Lord is all you have – and you realize he is really all you need after all. I can’t remember the last time a song touched me that deeply.

Stormy Morning in Taichung

The picture above is what I saw when I opened my curtains. Typhoon In-Fa is hanging out off the east coast at the moment. Rain splattered my window, “falling” almost horizontally at the time. All day, there have been intermittent heavy winds, sometimes making my windowpanes rattle, and it’s rained on and off.

This morning when I opened my door to pick up my breakfast, I stuck my phone out and took a couple of quick pictures. Below is the view from my doorway. For some reason I always feel a little sad when I see all those other chairs with meals on them. I’ve never glimpsed any of the other guests/inmates here (though this afternoon I heard someone sneeze on the other side of the wall), but every chair represents a person sitting in a room by themselves. There are at least eight of us spending our two weeks in solitary confinement in this hallway, so close together and yet each completely alone. I hope the others have found meaningful ways to fill their time and connect with friends and family in the outside world, as I’ve been able to.

This chair just to the right of my door is where my meals magically show up. You can see from the stains that a lot of previous guests’ meals must have leaked! None of mine have, as far as I’ve noticed.

Here’s what I see to the left of my room. Floyd’s room is the one where you see that distant chair on the left side of the hall. The elevator we came up in is just beyond it.

A highlight of my day was receiving a delivery in the late afternoon!

Part of it involved items from my apartment (like extra clothes, so I won’t have to do as much laundry in the sink) that a friend who has the key had been willing to get for me. She also bought me some fresh fruit, yogurt, and a few other goodies. The rest of it was the delicious dinner that you see below, a gift from another friend. Yum! It was definitely the best meal (and the healthiest – nothing was deep fried!!) that I’ve had since I’ve been here.

This delicious dinner consisted of a blueberry-filled bagel, fresh cut veggies and dip, and chicken over rice (with half a hard-boiled egg and a few other ingredients mixed in).

Meanwhile, here are the meals the hotel served today:

Breakfast: French fries, some sort of glutinous pastry (the spiral pattern went all the way through), barley tea, a hard-boiled egg, those sausages I’d been hoping wouldn’t return to haunt me, and greens.
Lunch: the ubiquitous greens, shrimp with bean sprouts, a chicken leg on rice, soft squishy squash with rice noodles, and eggplant. The eggplant was a tasty change!
This is the dinner the hotel provided. I didn’t eat most of it, since I had the other one. I did try one of those little things in the round center section, just out of curiosity. It turned out to be chewy tofu sprinkled with sesame seeds. Oh, and I had the pieces of pork at the bottom left – they were tender, flavorful, delicious, and very fatty. (Have you noticed that fatty pork in various forms, tofu, and greens have been a recurring theme in these meals?)

One last picture before I close for the night. I didn’t actually see the sunset this evening because of all the clouds over the horizon, but it did make its presence known very briefly in this gorgeous display. Just a few seconds after I took this picture, the clouds shifted and the colors vanished.

God’s artwork at dusk.

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The highlight of my day today was being able to do a fun new form of exercise! I had bought a very basic version of Dance Dance Revolution long ago but hadn’t seen or thought of it for years. Then this summer I rediscovered it up in the closet in my grandparents’ house. Since the dance pad plugs directly into a TV, with no other equipment required, I thought it would be a perfect quarantine activity that I could do in my hotel room. So we brought it along, along with spare batteries, even though it’s a little on the heavy side and we had limited space and weight to spare in our luggage. When we first arrived in the hotel, however, it looked as though it wasn’t going to work right with the TV in my room. So Floyd went online and ordered something from PCHome that would help it connect. The something arrived and got delivered to my room today, and after a lot of fiddling and some tech support from Floyd over a video call, we discovered to my disappointment that it didn’t work. And THEN we discovered that the dance pad could connect to the TV the way it needed to after all, with no external help required! I was delighted, and spent the next hour dancing away! I’m really excited to know that I have DDR to look forward to every day now for the rest of my quarantine! (Hey, when you’re locked in a room alone for two weeks, you have to find excitement where you can!)

Here are today’s meals:

Breakfast: slightly sweet rolls with a red bean filling, hard-boiled egg, chicken nuggets with ketchup, and green salad, plus strawberry milk tea.
Lunch, clockwise from top left: greens, a chicken leg sitting on little pork strips mixed with something that looked like bits of onion but wasn’t, breaded pork slab on rice, something very moist and squishy that I’m pretty sure was in the vegetable family (only because it didn’t taste meaty and was definitely not mineral). The item in the middle involved a different kind of greens and something else unidentifiable but spicy. I stuck the boxed drink in the fridge without opening it. Maybe I’ll try it at some point if I’m desperate for a change from water.
Dinner: a deep-fried, breaded something-or-other that I thought at first was pork but wasn’t. It involved a slightly sweet paste that I believe may have been some sort of seafood in a past life. Also squash, an egg (not sure why it was that color – that’s the white you see, not the shell) and fried noodles. And clear soup with what I assumed were fishballs but weren’t. Perhaps some distant relative of the dumpling? (That is, Western dumplings, not the Chinese kind.)

There’s a typhoon moving in at the moment. It’s been raining on and off all day, interspersed with blue skies overhead but fast-moving dark clouds traveling south just above the horizon. My window panes have occasionally rattled in the wind, and when I stand near the door, I hear the wind whistling through some window that must have been left ajar somewhere down the hall. I wonder what it will be like in the next couple of days to watch a typhoon hit the city from the 22nd floor.

I’ll close with this photo I took out my window this evening of the storm closing in on the city at dusk.

See later posts in the series here (once they’re live):