At least that is Korea's alleged sobriquet.
Because of the bally airline, what should have been a 16 hour trip turned out to be a 26 hour trip. The real fun was when I was pulled out of line at Incheon for an on-the-spot COVID dual swab. I guess I had a 37.3°, which is a low fever, but I was wearing a lined coat over a sweater dragging two large bags. The quarantine officer had me strip off the extra layers and waited a few minutes, and this time I was only 37.1°, which is definitely not a fever. Regardless, I was taken down to the tarmac in shirt sleeves (it was -3°C/27°F) to get swabbed, and I must say, of the two, I much preferred the cold. I was then made to wait in a cubicle (carrel) for seven hours for the results to come back, which predictably were negative, especially since I was required to test within 72 hours of flying. Even if I had caught it along the way, it wouldn't have been soon enough to test positive. During this wait, I was given a bottle of water and a mylar blanket and told to stretch out on the floor if I wanted a nap. Over the next seven hours, the only person I saw was the person who delivered a fish bologna sandwich, which are words that must never be said together again.
By this time, my wife was already whisked off to another quarantine facility 40 km away. I finally managed to get to my quarantine hotel about five hours after I was released from airport detention. Despite this hotel's reputation, the room is small and a bit shabby, and they are very miserly about supplies. Meals and rubbish are done by blind drop. The door alarms if you're not quick enough. The only person you see is a young man in a Tyvek suit come to take your temperature, in case you're lying about your temperature in the government-mandated self-reporting app. And the facility doctor, who interrupted my breakfast yesterday to administer another dual swab, despite getting one the day before at the airport. I'm ashamed to say I cut him off mid-explanation to just have done with it already. He promised to come back on the 13th day (second to last day of quarantine) to administer another one. I hope he brings flowers and chocolate to our little date!
So, this is the second full day of quarantine. The meals are Korean, as one might expect, but not much better than the meals you would get flying economy. You squirrel away any utensil or snack item that may be useful later. The word "prison" is never far from mind. The view out my window is a highway, a drydock, and a narrow channel lined with industrial infrastructure. Zero people watching potential. TV has only four English-language channels, one of which is a news outlet owned by the Communist Chinese government (you know, the fellows who gave us North Korea). I haven't got all the streaming services working with the VPN, but I have figured out the one, so I can watch Frasier before bed. Mostly I've just been listening to Beethoven and Satie, endlessly reloading the same websites on my phone. I have books, and I'm sure I could pull up Bob, but those seem like activities to be done in joy, not sullied with captivity.
I don't mean to carp on so, it's just much worse than I expected. Indeed, I wish my government had taken half as much care as are the South Koreans with this virus. But, American that I am, I would rather it not apply to me! And thus the pandemic at home is explained. The rules are always for someone else. Except not here, emphatically so.