I’m here. The land I’ve dreamed of visiting for twenty years. The land hardly anyone is allowed into. I’m in!
Well, sort of.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when we approached Porta Coron. The hills immediately invited me for a hike with their spring green colour. The beaches seduced me for a sunbath with their immaculate white sand. Of course I’m not allowed to do anything of this as I had to follow the protocol. While the crew started unloading supplies citizens of Pangheya ordered, I had to put on the airtight suit, put on gloves, and wear the full face mask. I’ve seen videos of others wearing this, but those videos can’t make you feel for real. I wasn’t prepared how stuffy it felt. Within minutes I started sweating big time. Especially when I walked of the ship into the hall for new arrivals.
Everyone entering Pangheya has to visit this hall first. I call it a hall, but it’s not that big. It’s the size of a decent home, but without rooms and a second floor. A high ceiling and windows on the front and back side make it feel more spacious than it is.
As soon as I entered the arrivals hall a person greeted me, hands pressed together and a small nod. This person was dressed just like me, so we only had our eyes revealed to each other. I felt completely out of place. An invader who shouldn’t be here. Then the person started talking. I heard a woman’s voice. She sounded warm, calm. She welcomed me and explained she was going to do some tests. She measured my body temperature, took some blood and took the blood to a machine on her desk. She said it could take up to an hour before the machine processed everything. I should wait in the seating area. As I’m not allowed to touch anything yet, she couldn’t offer me anything to drink. At first I sat silently. Watching the lady work on her computer. She was typing a lot, despite the gloves she wore. I guessed it had nothing to with me, but that she had some other stuff she worked on. Or she was typing a report on me already. Perhaps they track your character as well and she is now typing up a report on whether I behaved nervously or calmly.
After about ten minutes speculating in my head I dared ask her a question. I wanted to know how many other visitors came to Pangheya. Just one in the past few months, she said. There are five foreigners in total at this time, excluding me. They’re all researchers such as me. I was a bit surprised to hear there are five. I know the names of four researchers who have been stationed here by their institutes. I tried asking for the name of the fifth person. She responded it would be hard to miss number five once I was allowed in. She apparently trusted my to blood to come out clean.
After about half an hour of her typing and me silently speculating about researcher number five, my blood indeed turned out to be clean. I was allowed to proceed. The ship was unloaded and the crew waved one last time, before sailing of. They didn’t have to take me back home.
Still in my air tight suit the lady directed me into the car that was waiting on the land side of the hall. The driver, all suited up as well, took me to quarantine hotel.
That’s where I am right now. For the next two weeks I will need to stay in the hotel. I guess I have plenty of time to catch up on the sleep I lost on the ship.