Hotel California, Doha (3) – On the Fly : 90 second read by Farriz Mashudi 18/01/2021

Perhaps I was seen as the Black Widow here?

Like a silken moth he was covered in that mesh which hotel shower caps are made of (when it’s not flimsy plastic). One on his head, the coveralls in the same cloth are a perfect match. All arms helping with the bags, the bellhop quickly transforms into a spider. The Fly, that Jeff Goldblum classic comes to mind. Not wanting to enter the lift the spider was pointing us into, neither did I wish to offend its occupant. Or perhaps I was seen as the Black Widow here?

Last night the nurse from the Ministry of Health had knocked on our door just before midnight. Pulling a chair into the corridor for us to sit on, in marked zip-locked bags I saw the swabs of at least twenty quarantiners already tested. This morning our ‘negative’ result (which means we’re okay) came in just after breakfast. “Would we be staying for lunch?” —Uh, no thanks! Downstairs now, it was just past 10.30. Already a dozen rooms had checked-out. We weren’t alone.

Laundry can leave whenever it likes.

Although we’d been unable to leave before this, laundry, strangely —was coming in and out as usual. And if you liked, Housekeeping would tidy twice during the mandated 6-day stay (even though you pay for 7 nights). Poor Pete, another colleague of Jack’s—was sneezing non-stop from the dusty carpeting and ended up hoovering it himself. Housekeeping at that hotel —A 5 star, too!—was happy to provide the appliance, but not the staff. And I had chosen to not have anyone come into to our room. So, it’s a two-way thing, this ‘keep away from me’ business.

As we emerge out of our cave, Jack and I are like insects breaking out of cocooned sacs. What shall we do first? He’s ready to murder a burger. I could kill for a coffee. Either way, whatever the fix, we’re FREE! But only to go home, and to remain socially distant. Still here —the Police SUV stationed outside the hotel when we first arrived doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere fast either.

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