Life in quarantine: Gangnam-style

Well, not actually Gangnam, if you want to be pedantic. We’re in Seoul city centre, which is north of the river, and Gangnam is across the river from here, according to my map … but Jung-gu-style just doesn’t have the same ring to it, I’m afraid.

It was a stress-free journey from a deserted Heathrow –

on a half-empty flight, with some passengers taking the pandemic threat very seriously –

After a tedious 3-hour wait at quarantine in Seoul airport, while the British Council sorted out some quarantine accommodation for us, we were finally awarded our coveted Covid certificates –

– allowing us the privilege of two weeks’ quarantine in the city at our own expense. So we headed off in a taxi for our Covid test – no public transport allowed for quarantiners. The test centre had a row of chairs on the pavement outside – the sort of chairs I associate with school music lessons – where we gloved up and filled in the forms –

Then you’re escorted to a bio-hazard booth

where the test operator sticks his hands through rubber sleeves in the wall and rams a test swab up your nose and down your throat. I reared back in alarm the first time, and had to go through the painful nose process a second time.

Finally, our patient taxi driver took us to our Airbnb, for our 15 days in total isolation, and we were finally able to remove our masks for the first time in days.

It’s a small studio apartment which is pretty well equipped with coffee maker, microwave, toaster, large TV etc. And being Korea, there are face creams, collagen masks, hair straighteners and all the other essentials for those of us lucky enough to be in the beauty capital of the world. Just what I’ll need to beautify myself every morning in preparation for a day of isolation on the sofa –

Collagen mask … let the process begin!