Life as a pariah in Argentina (part 9)

I never expected to get to part 9, but here we are, still stuck in Argentina.

We now live out of our suitcase. If they call us, the embassy, we only need to put our pijamas in the suitcase, lock the house and go. We now shower before we have our coffee, we don’t leave the dishes for later, we swipe the floor immediately after a meal, we clean the bathroom after each use. You never know when they call.

We could paint the house -we have all the material- but we daren’t. What if they call when we are in the middle of a wall? We need to be ready to jump into the car and drive to the airport in no time.

But we do need to eat. My husband ventures into town to get some food from the fiambreria, the butcher and the bakery. The food from the local almacén is just horrible, with half rotten tomatoes, plastic tasting cheese, and rubber sandwiches. We didn’t even dare and order meat there.

He sets off. He got stopped at the edge of town where he said his usual opening phrase ‘soy belga’, but this time it didn’t work. They asked for his passport, checked the entry date (check!), but said that as a foreigner he has to stay in his house (quarantaine) and can’t go out, not even to buy food or go the pharmacy. He has to order at the local almacén, they say. When he told him he must go the bank, they decided to call the police….

The police then escorted him to the bank, and then back home, as if he were a criminal, or more like a celebraty. No way he could do something else. No butcher and no fiambreria. And apparently he was lucky his car wasn’t confiscated.

The thought of having to eat the junk from the almacén for a couple of weeks isn’t a pleasant one. Especially knowing that there are such great delicacies for sale close by in the center, but out of reach because we are foreigners! Not being able to chose your own fruit and vegetables. I know, we are too spoiled, but a Belgian and his food!!??

But help is close by. Literally! We have some great new neighbors, who also prefer the food from town and don’t mind helping us out and who, being Argentines, can leave their house to go shopping! They are not afraid of us and from the beginning we have been in close contact. They too are stuck here, their main house being in Capital.

So now that we have food, I can dedicate myself completely to boredom. And bored to death I am. Hardly any internet, we can’t download movies, no video talks. Nothing we can do around the house. Bored.

But then I like to leave the excitement for last.

All of a sudden, out of the blue, I receive an email from the embassy stating that we can book a flight on the French repatriation flight of Sunday. In just a second I kick boredom off and I go into total stress, opening laptop, trying to connect to the internet, going to AF website… trying to book online while my husband calls AF. It takes ages. Really ages. The website constantly blocks, gives errors., time and time again, but on the phone HB had more succes.

A couple of hours later it is official. We leave on Sunday with a special repatriation flight of AF. So until further notice, this is the last part of life as a pariah. These are the last few days as a pariah, more then ready to go into quarantine in Belgium…. I can’t wait to get to work, I have loads of things to do, catch up. I can’t wait to be locked up in my office. Knowing my family is close by.

Thanks to you all for your support and your messages!!

Ps. According to the ambassador it’s not correct that foreigners have to stay in their house. He is checking and doing the necessary to solve that.

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