A day in the life: 3rd-wave Covid in Barcelona edition

January 19, 2021

Hey y’all!

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these day in the life posts.

But it’s not because nothing’s been happening.

Actually, it’s because I’ve been working on some new projects. Projects that – hopefully – will put some new passive income in my pocket.

More about one of those projects in a bit.

For now, let’s start the day…

8:01

I’m awake, and my first thought is coffee.

I head to the kitchen.

I’ve recently moved to a new house, so I’ve got a new induction stove that only sometimes works with the coffeemaker. I have to position the thing in the exact center of the burner for it to turn on, and it’s not always easy to find exact center.

Today it works pretty well, though.

Also, and incidentally, the fact that I’m thinking about coffee first thing is a welcome change of pace…

Because for the past 9 months, most of my first thoughts upon waking up were about:

  1. The Coronavirus Pandemic.
  2. The horrific mismanagement of said pandemic by the idiots in the Spanish and/or Catalan governments.

So all else being equal, I’ll take angst about coffee over the other kind of angst any day.

A few minutes later I’ve got a cup of bitter oily heat in my hand and I’m on the sofa, planning the new week.

The year 2020 sucked pretty hard. So far, 2021 is looking better.

8:45

Morena’s up and getting ready for work.

Of course, we’re working from home, so what this means is that she’s rolling out of bed and connecting to the WiFi just before the daily team Zoom meeting.

I’ve been working from home for years, so I’m used to it. What I’m not used to is having to share a WFH space with someone else.

It’s been (somewhat) difficult, but we’re managing.

9:35

Sitting on the sofa, trying to come up with topics for a new video.

I’m teaching Spanish now, and you should totally subscribe to my channel on YouTube…

That’s the video I ended up making.

Not bad, huh?

Anyway, I haven’t actually studied Spanish for years – this will be a good opportunity to refresh my memory.

10:42

Working out.

My goal for 2021 is to work out “every day”, even if it’s just a little bit.

I’m tracking it on a calendar.

Back in one of the lockdown posts, I talked about the “Do it every day” heuristic for decision making.

It’s really easy. All you do is decide you’re going to do something every day, and afterwards you don’t have to wake up and decide whether or not to do it.

I do some squats, some pushups, some Captains of Crush.

I feel the exercise buzz.

All good in the ‘hood.

11:02

Headed to the market.

Santa Caterina market here in my new neighborhood is great.

Tons of amazing fish, meat, and produce – and no tourists.

Of course, “no tourists” describes everything in Barcelona these days.

There aren’t even tourists at the beach. The Picasso museum is empty, and Sagrada Familia has about four random pensioners standing around outside, most days.

It’s actually not bad – presuming that your income doesn’t depend on tourism. If nothing else, we have a greater sense of community than before: a year ago, I still felt like a tourist myself. But now, we’ve all been through something together.

The people at the market have seen me week after week, through this whole ordeal. They know I must be serious about this Barcelona thing. I know I must be, too. Because the times I’ve thought about getting the fuck out of here since the first lockdown have been… several, at least.

I still love Spain, but I’ve never hated Spain more than this past year.

Of course, being from the US, I know a thing or two about incompetent governments. And I know how it feels to find all political parties repugnant. Thing is, in my country we only (really) have two.

Here there seem to be at least 28 parties, and they’re all full of vapid private-school twats in blue suits – people you’d never agree to have a beer with, even if they were buying.

In any case, I now have a love / hate relationship with two countries.

Oh well.

As if my opinion counted for anything.

12:08

I’ve dropped the food from the market off at home, and I’m out looking for coffee.

Most things are closed, but there’s a restaurant up the street with a table blocking the open door. The guy there gives me an espresso in a tiny paper cup. 1,30€.

In about an hour, bars and restaurants are allowed to open for lunch. Otherwise they’re shut down. Only takeaway.

Most places are just staying closed.

I drink the coffee and then wander up towards Arc de Triomf.

arc de triomf barcelona
Arc de Triomf, Barcelona. Official slogan: “This arch represents no actual triumph. We just liked the name.”

13:12

I find a terraza that’s not bathed in cold wind and sit down.

The waitress brings me a glass of Ribera del Duero. Wine at midday, because Mediterranean lifestyles.

I pop in my earphones and listen to Tim Ferriss interview some guy who’s a proud New Yorker and just happens to work for a billion-dollar hedge fund.

Honestly, I’m sick of everyone being from New York. As a guy from the middle of nowhere, I feel like the “proud New Yorker” meme gets way too much press.

Of course, most of that is owing to the fact that they’re the ones who own the whole media.

If there’s one group of people I respect less, after all that happened in 2020, it’s the mainstream media.

(Politicians too, of course, but I honestly never respected most of them.)

Anyway, let’s not talk any more about that…

14:09

Morena’s escaped from her job for lunch at our favorite Chinese place.

Peking duck, spicy beef, xiao long bao.

peking duck yue lai barcelona

People back home seem to be surprised when they learn that I eat Asian food in Barcelona.

“But you live in Spain… Surely you must eat nothing but Spanish food all the time!”

Um… not really.

Barcelona’s got all kinds of great international restaurants.

So while Spanish (or Catalan) food is always an option, it’s not exactly our go-to for the day to day.

15:45

Back at home, reading Rebel Yell, a biography of Stonewall Jackson.

Listen, y’all…

If you think things in the US have never, ever, ever been as polarized as they are now, I’ve got just five words for you:

READ A GODDAMN HISTORY BOOK.

Just not necessarily the one I’m reading. Unless you’re into a lot of mind-numbing detail about marching.

And incidentally, if you think that your life in 2021 is in any way difficult or uncomfortable, you should probably also go read a history book.

I’ve actually got a whole hypothesis about it.

I call it the “history sucked” hypothesis, and one day I’ll write a full article about it. But suffice it to say, we’ve got it pretty good these days.

At least most of us here in the “developed” world.

19:44

Between reading and napping and generally being lazy, the whole afternoon has passed.

Time to make dinner.

Normally, I’d consider going out.

But bars and restaurants are closed, and curfew is at 10 pm. Or maybe eleven.

Anyway, there’s nowhere to go. Because bars and restaurants are closed.

I wouldn’t mind travelling this weekend. Or even going on a hike somewhere. But that’s illegal, too. Can’t leave the city limits. I think.

Actually, it’s hard to tell what’s legal and what’s illegal these days.

Last night, in the supermarket, a police officer told me I needed to lower the hood on my jacket.

Like, why, bro? New anti-hood law just passed?

I considered arguing with him. But I don’t think it would have turned out well. He had a gun, and all I had was my huge problem with authority. Could’ve gotten messy.

And anyway, as far as I know there is a new anti-hood law. They’re passing new moronic, insane laws every day. Maybe I’m only allowed to wear hoodies on Wednesdays and Fridays between 6 and 8 pm. Maybe if I wear one at any other time, everyone gets the coronavirus.

I mean, probably not. But at this point I wouldn’t put it past those buttwipes in government to do something like that.

Anything’s possible in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

If fashion is outlawed, then only outlaws will be fashionable.

Dinner tonight is homemade macaroni and cheese.

Here’s the recipe.

It’s fatty and delicious, just like Cardi B’s WAP.

(Get it? Because she says “macaroni in a pot” in the song? Ha!)

And with that, I’m out.

Safely and corona-freely yours,

Mr Chorizo.

P.S. I know I’m corona free because I already had corona. All in all, it was a pretty underwhelming experience. But hey, I guess I was lucky. How ’bout you? You feeling lucky today? Hit me up, right here in the comments…

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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  1. I’m incredibly amazed at the next law that’s passed with no actual effect on the spread of Coronavirus. Now that they have the vaccine, apparently they just keep it in their fridges and pass more laws to restrict us, because laws are more effective than vaccines apparently. This after 9 months to plan the vaccination. They constantly talk about “illegal” parties even though the state of alarm doesn’t infringe upon our right to reunion (i.e. they can’t tell us what to do in our houses). In Madrid they had 5 days and a state of alarm already declared to keep people off the roads in the biggest snow storm in 50-100 years and yet they didn’t do it and had to rescue 1500 people from the highways. Apparently the schools will finally be reopen 12 days after the snowstorm. We’re in a perpetual state of “nothing makes sense”. There are reasons I love Spain but frankly seeing their leadership during a moderate crisis has made me ponder seeking other opportunities.

  2. Hello, Daniel, glad to know about you again. Apparently, we still are OK. I just wanted to add: although I am pleased that you are virus-free because you’ve already passed it, I guess you know that you cannot catch it, but you can spread it hand over fist. That’s why you should get vaccinated when your turn comes.
    By the way, today I’m quite disappointed and dumpish because I’ve just talked with my doctor and he has told me that, here in Cantabria, health personnel has totally got vaccinated, and now they are doing it to the geriatric centres. BUT… Vaccines shipments are paralyzed, and nobody knows when they will restart the process.
    I share with you the bipolar feelings with this country and your taste for the Chinese food.
    And I appreciate you’ve taught me two important words: “vapid” and “twats”.
    I always enjoy your posts and how you don’t mince words, and I agree with almost everything you say. Have fun, under the circumstances.

      1. Thank you! Let’s stop repeating this unscientific propaganda. You get a virus, you produce anti-bodies and specific lymphocytes that then will ward off a re-infection and also keep you from getting it and thereby spreading it in the future. Would be nice if the gov’t and “experts” also started thinking in a rational manner.

          1. Yeah Maria, your whole argument is “some bullshit my friend SAYS that his doctor told him.” It sounds like our friend CC has actual information here. Believe science 😉

  3. Hi Daniel. Delighted to know about you again. I don’t like treating people like walking contagious vectors, I only just know a person who has passed COVID like you, and I only repeat what his doctor has told him. I’m not a virologist, but they say it. Moreover, it is reliable proven that reinfection is possible.
    Don’t kill the messenger. I’m looking forward to a time when no need to talk about these topics.
    I wish you the best for your new activity as a Spanish teacher. If you are as good as in your classes of English, you’re bound to succeed.
    Cheers.

    1. A nurse in tears said to my brother she had lived terrible situations in ICU. She also said a doctor caught the virus THREE TIMES (sorry for shouting).

      1. If the virus doesn’t create an immune response (i.e. a normal person can catch it 3x – NOT have 3 positive PCRs) how does a vaccine work? If this is true, then we should all go out and party like hell because there is no saving us (vaccine or not). Yes it sucks to be a doctor or a nurse in the time of pandemics. It also sucks to treat a family after a car wreck and be able to save 1 passenger out of 4 or work in pediatric oncology. It all sucks and my hats off to them. However, it is there chosen profession and we’re all free to choose what we want to do (except for walk down the street at 11PM) and if they don’t like it then they should choose another profession. The numbers show that this is an old persons disease and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do our best to protect older people from this. All I’m saying is that the risk is very low unless you fall into a certain age group (which is what Sweden failed to do BTW). Spain has now lost 11% of it’s GDP and has given up many of it’s constitutional rights in the name of a largely irrational fear. It would be nice to have logic return to governance.

      2. So someone “said” something, allegedly, in your little world. Okay. Millions of people are in poverty. That’s a fact. Have fun with what someone said.

        1. Now you are talking as a political partisan. The comment was in a hospital by a nurse in tears saying it to my brohter and fahter.

          It’s very sad what ideology is doing nowadays. Before we were crushed by religion and now ideology has taken its place.

  4. Months before you said people were too afraid… and you wasn’t and you got COVID-19.

    Now you show yourself without mask and say you can’t get COVID-19 again and pass it to another people.

    Don’t you see a trend/trait?

    “Ego is the enemy”, Ryan Holiday

      1. So, you know more math than epidemiologists.

        Surely you also know you couldn’t, as presymptomatic, have passed COVID-19 to anyone, don’t you?

        There’s an interesting book “The almost nearky perfect people”. Someone is cited saying purely capitalist or, in theory, meritocratic societies are prone to have people with too much vanity because they value themselves enormously when they think have succeeded.

      2. https://www.elimparcial.es/noticia/220855/sociedad/simon-dice-que-el-impacto-de-la-cepa-britanica-sera-marginal-y-twitter-tiembla.html

        Anyone who has even a basic understanding of math knew that the British strain being nearly 2x as contagious was going to become dominant quickly. Anyone who understands risk understands that if you are under about 60, although there are the outside cases (as there are with car accidents/the flu/flying/bicycling/etc), that you will get this and then recover and move on with your life.

        If the “experts” you are talking about are the ones advising the gov’t then YES, I know more math than an epidemiologist. Did you guys also believe Bush and Colin Powell when they went to the UN to tell the world that everyone needed to blow up Iraq? They were “experts” too! The CIA were experts when Sept 11th happened.

        Keep giving up your basic freedoms to gain security and we’ll quickly end up drinking Victory Gin!

          1. I heard of a woman (possibly named Maria) who gave herpes to every sailor in the Puerto de Santander.

            Question:

            1) Did she have herpes?
            2) Did she not have herpes, but still managed to transmit it to others?
            3) Do I not have any understanding of science and so I’ll repeat any stupid thing I “heard” from someone?
            4) Am I completely making this up to prove some bullshit point that only Covididiots believe?

            Choose wisely. History is made this way.

        1. Yes, as you said if you are “young”, you’ll survive. But, what about those you inadvertently passed them the virus? Do you bother care about them?

          1. How am I going to “inadvertently” pass a virus to someone I’m not in contact with? If you’re old you should be pretty damn careful who you are in contact with these days. ABSOLUTELY! I have not seen my parents for about a year, nor will I till they are vaccinated. I don’t ride public transport and I don’t play bingo. If you fall into a risk group, you should stay away from people. Others should continue living and that’s based on math!

          2. Ok. Your plan is to protect people endangered for being old or ill and let others roam freely, isn’t it?

            Do you know that was Sweden’s plan? Find out their outcome.

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