Flight to Canarias – a day in the life, escaping Catalonia edition

October 30, 2020

It’s good to have a morning routine.

Here’s mine, these days:

  1. Wake up. Grab mobile phone.
  2. Check news. Feel horrified.
  3. Check Twitter. Feel even worse.
  4. Get up.
  5. Drink coffee.
  6. Check news again. Feel horrified again.
  7. Repeat news / coffee / Twitter pattern until it’s time for lunch.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been doing the same thing since March. The year of Covid has been pretty good for your various feelings of horror.

Dontcha think?

But occasionally something happens to break you out of the routine.

For example: on Tuesday morning I woke up to the words “confinamiento total” on the front page of La Vanguardia.

My blood instantly ran cold.

Waves of sadness and anger. Horror. Pain.

Apparently, the folks at the Catalan government were thinking of locking us up at home again. Just for 15 days.

I remember what happened last time they said “15 days”. And the time before that. In fact, I’m totally sick of hearing “15 days” from these people.

What to do? I took a deep breath, got on Skyscanner, and started looking for departing flights.

Turns out, air travel still exists, even though I haven’t been to an airport since February. There are a few flights out, and tickets available.

I hop in the shower to think, and by the time I’m done, I’ve made a decision.

Morena’s awake by now, so I tell her the news.

“We can leave tomorrow, or we can leave today. The way things are going, today might be better.”

She’s hesitant, but agrees.

Within an hour I’ve got a flight to Gran Canaria and a hotel room for the next few nights. We can find an AirBnB and stick around. Canarias have very few cases these days, and they’re not on lockdown.

the life of a digital nomad in Spain

Time to stop hoping…

One of my favorite politicians ever is Barack Obama. And as you might remember, one of his big slogans back in the day was “Hope”.

One of my favorite quotes ever is from Rudy Giuliani – who, incidentally, I don’t like at all. He responded to Obama, saying…

“Hope is not a strategy.”

Touché, Mr G.

Anyway, the tickets are bought, and Morena tries to calm me down.

“I don’t think they’d actually lock us up again. It’s stupid!”

“And I didn’t think they’d do it the first time. Look what happened.”

“I hope this all works out and things can go back to normal.”

“Hope didn’t work last time either. They locked us up like factory farmed chickens, remember?”

“Yeah, but I hope this time it’s different.”

“Hope is not a strategy!”

I’m done with hope. I sat around last time and “hoped” things would work themselves out. This time I’m getting the fuck out of town.

Because if one thing is abundantly clear this year, it’s that the people in government don’t care about our hopes.

The perils of corporate slavery

Morena’s boss isn’t too excited about the plan.

Of course, she’s been working from home since she joined the company.

And – stupid me – I’d just assumed that “working from home” and “remote work” were synonyms.

But Mr Bossman explains that no, they’re actually completely different. “Working from home” means you have to stay home. The HR people might be slightly inconvenienced if everyone just starts working remotely, from wherever. And of course, we can’t inconvenience the HR people.

I’ve never worked for a company that actually had an HR department, so I’m a bit out of my depth here.

But this is the big problem with having a job. They’ll have no issued firing you – in fact, they won’t even consider whether being fired is an “inconvenience” for you.

You’re just a line on an Excel sheet for them.

But god forbid you work from a hotel room somewhere. It might create 5 minutes of paperwork for Mildred down at corporate.

Anyway, Bossman explains the situation to Morena, and promises to get back to her after he’s talked to HR.

I go out for a walk, and a little bit later she texts me.

“Bossman says it’s okay.”

Great. Time to start packing.

Adiós, Catalonia

I’ll say here, and I’m completely serious, that if I never set foot in Catalonia again, I’ll be fine. I’m sick of sitting around while those incompetent turds in blue suits find new ways to ruin everyone’s life.

(And I’m not just talking about Catalan politicians. The national ones seem just as bad.)

Two weeks ago, they closed all the bars and restaurants – again. Then they announced they’d be giving extra funding the the food banks.

It’s a socialist’s wet dream…

Take away people’s livelihoods and dignity, then make them stand in line for free beans. Don’t worry. It’s for the common good.

Anyway, I throw some clothes and a couple of books into a suitcase.

I fill my backpack with various electronics.

Ham sandwiches for the airport. Passport, national ID, boarding cards.

And we’re off.

The airport is mostly silent. There are more people doing security than there are passengers. They make me empty my backpack so they can examine my various idols.

“Can’t leave town without Buddha and Ganesh. The idols might bring good luck… and I could fucking well use some good luck right now.”

Morena rolls her eyes.

On the other side of security, there’s a departures board that’s three screens wide. The first screen has about 12 flights listed, for today and tomorrow morning. The rest is empty.

The shops are shuttered, McDonalds and Starbucks are closed. There’s one bar open. I get a beer and we sit down.

“Never seen anything like this before. It’s a ghost town.”

“Yeah.”

An hour later we’re on the plane. It’s about half full. They’ve only sold a few tickets in each row. Everybody’s wearing a mask, and the safety demonstration has a new line in it.

“In case of a loss of cabin pressure, please remove your face covering before putting on the oxygen mask.”

You almost never know, at the time, what moments in your life mark a before and an after.

But this certainly feels like one.

Morena grabs my hand. The lights dim, the engines roar, and the plane floats up into the dark sky.

I’m out.

Mr Chorizo.

P.S. Now, as I write this, it’s Friday. And so far, I’d recommend coming to Canarias 1000%. It’s beautiful, it’s cheap, and the weather is great. Hit me up when you’re down here… Beer’s on me.

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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. Hi, Mr Chorizo. You spot on with this write-up when describing the feelings we all share.
    You wise quick decission honours you.
    I admire you and envy you.

    MARÍA

  2. Good morning, Daniel. On second thoughts, I wouldn’t like my previous comment seemed to be sarcastic. If it is so, my sincerest apologies.
    I enjoyed all your article, hugely insightful and brilliant, and for sure the people in government don’t care about our hopes and I kind of feel our lives either. What a shambles!
    I’m learning so much thanks to you, thank you ever so much. You’re a star.
    TTFN

  3. Dude Daniel, we dont know each other but that’s cool. My wife and I are working in la palma escaping UK lockdown and have been here for 1 week. Hit me up if you come here. Beer’s on you 🙂

  4. Hey Mr Chorizo!

    Welcome to my hometown!! Let’s go for a beer! Feel free to ask whatever you want (including Canario tips) about your new city.

    Regards,
    Borja

  5. Up to now I’ve followed your blogs and enjoyed your insights on Spain. Nevertheless I’m now gobsmacked at your attitude towards Covid control. Obviously everyone is against lock downs, especially the “blue suits”, who must be loosing a fuckload of taxes. We also have food lines here in the USA, but here it is all by car. I’m impressed to see the number of Mercedes and BMWs in the queues. Here it seems more like a capitalist “wet dream” to me.

    So, if you are against present policies, what is your alternative? Other than scuttling off to Las Canarias, you haven’t told us what you would do if you were in the place of the “blue suits”.

    For your sake, I hope that the population of Catalonia doesn’t decide to follow you to Las Palmas. In that case they would have to shut that place down as well!

    1. Covid restrictions in Spain have been far more draconian than in the US. We were not able to leave our homes for 6 weeks, not even for exercise — and most people live in tiny dark apartments (<600 sq ft). After such a huge sacrifice, cases were almost gone in June, but that advantage was squandered. The government went on summer holidays for three months instead of doing anything to increase hospitals' capacity or add ICU beds. Politicians would rather bicker and put people on furlough (ERTE) rather than invest in better testing, tracking, and treatment. Lockdowns are not a solution for poor governance. So given the reality, I'm all for running off to Las Canarias!

    2. Basically, the blue suits promised to spend the summer ramping up health care facilities for the second wave. Remember “Two weeks of lockdown so we can save the healthcare system from collapse?” Two weeks, my ass!

      In reality, as “American in Madrid” said, they spent all summer doing jack shit, now they’re ruining our lives again, and their only plan seems to be to get money from the EU and hand it out to people who are being robbed of their jobs and dignity.

  6. Best of luck Daniel, not as bad here in Canada, but weather is changing, cold is on the way so who knows? Keep writing, enjoy your views and love Spain!

  7. I hear words in my head, now I see them written down.
    Dam, my escape tunnel was put out of action before I used it.
    You seem to have used yours in time.

    Good luck with your new adventure, when you find out what it is, let us know.

    Yay to the escape!

  8. It’s weird that countries like Finland and the Scandanavian countries (and others) that are democratic socialist don’t ¨wait in line for beans for the common good¨ but consistently top the list of the best places to live with the highest standard of living in addition to being the happiest people. 🤔

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