Stocking up on dogs

While most people were stocking up on food (and toilet paper) ahead of the Jordanian government’s non-compulsory but strongly advised self-isolation instruction (whatever that means), I was welcoming this little three-legged pup into my apartment. My friends here warned me it was a ridiculous idea but my reasoning was my work was about to dry up and what could be better entertainment in self-isolation than a puppy?

I wholly stand by my decision. Not sure my dog Nebo is too impressed though. She’s already claimed his bed as hers and is most definitely in charge – in between rounds of play (in which she has no issue in giving his legs vicious little nips) he skulks past her trying to avoid eye contact.

Her story is a pretty sad one. She was rescued after children cut off her front leg. She’s since had surgery and is learning to manage on three legs. You’d never know the trauma she’s been through though – she is a bundle of energy and her tail never stops wagging. I’m only fostering her until she finds a permanent home so if anyone wants to adopt her let me know!

This coronavirus lockdown has really brought out some interesting characters. A couple of days ago I was heading into the supermarket to get some last bits and I spotted an old Jordanian lady with a walking frame precariously making her way across the road to the same shop. I slowed down to see if she needed any help and kept an eye on her as she caught up with me while I walked through the main entrance. I caught her eye and smiled, to which she responded by bellowing at me something about being a foreigner and having coronavirus. She was speaking in Arabic so I didn’t get the specifics but that was the gist of it.

Violently jerked from a place of sympathy for this doddering old lady, I pulled my best aghast facial expression and snapped back at her in Arabic that I lived here. Apparently unperturbed by my response she continued, asking aggressively if I was American. For a split second I wasn’t sure whether to be more insulted at the assumption I had coronavirus or that I was American. Considering the UK’s number of infected has sky-rocketed I felt it best to let her have that one, so I just turned my back and got on with my shopping.

In the last few days, businesses have closed and the streets have become a lot quieter but there are still plenty of people not adhering to the isolation instruction. The government has pushed through a raft of measures in an impressively short time frame to ensure essential services and food supplies are maintained. The army has been deployed and we’re no longer able to leave the city. We’re now up to 56 confirmed cases here and I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up facing mandatory confinement.

Coronavirus 1.0

My fridge freezer has never been so full. Really, it’s incredible. It’s made me feel like an organised, fully-functioning adult.

My full fridge finally being used to its full potential

That’s the silver lining of being one of the few remaining expats left in Jordan who chose not to make a run for it before all flights were suspended – being able to score a whole bunch of free stuff. Predominantly food. And free food always tastes so much better because it’s freeeee!

I’ve also inherited skincare products, makeup, a coat, some shoes and a vacuum cleaner. Although, considering we’re all supposed to be self-isolating from today, I’m not sure the coat and shoes are going to get much use for a while. Still, hours of fun using the vacuum cleaner lie ahead of me.

In the lead up to what is now not quite compulsory confinement, the Jordanian government has gradually been implementing more measures to try and combat the spread of this blinkin’ coronavirus. One approach was to stop people attending prayers at mosques, which is a huge deal. A particularly amusing observation from the other day though was one mosque’s revised ‘call to prayer’ which emanates from the loudspeakers mounted onto the minarets of hundreds of mosques across the city. Rather than the adhan (the guy who’s voice is delivering the directive) changing his script from the usual “come to mosque” to instead “pray at home” – due to what I can only assume is some sort of unrelenting protocol – the adhan repeated several times in quick succession “do not come to mosque, stay at home” ahead of the traditional dialogue still instructing everyone to come to the mosque. Somewhat confusing, no?

Yesterday I had to take the doggo to the vets. I get on well with the vet and we often have a good chinwag. Yesterday’s topic was obviously coronavirus in which he expressed his opinion that Covid-19 is just influenza and this is a big lie by governments the world over. Unsure how to respond, I asked how he’d come to that conclusion, to which he replied (quite enthusiastically): “Well you’re a journalist…” with a look suggesting we had some sort of shared understanding. At which point I felt it was time to leave.

And finally; the official number of people in Jordan infected with coronavirus has shot up to 40 thanks in large part to a Jordanian father and daughter with coronavirus who flew back to the country from Spain for the daughter’s wedding a few days ago. Obviously they felt self-isolation wasn’t plausible (and likely were unaware they had it) and have transmitted the virus not only to guests but also to the bride’s new husband!