Eight months of COVID-19 quarantine have come and gone in the blink of an eye. So much for all that talk about only needing fourteen days to flatten the curve and whatnot. Onward to the ninth month of this new quasi-perpetual reality of ours.

What can I say? It’s certainly been such a turbulent year for everyone. I’m worn, exhausted, and beyond tired of it. Time is such a precious resource that has become more ephemeral than ever before during this year, and I’m in such a crucial point of my life where I can’t waste any of it, yet the circumstances of this pandemic force you to do so.

As this is a reality that I cannot affect or change in the slightest, all I can do is continue doing my best to keep going. Things have finally, after all these months, begun to slowly return to a modicum of that normalcy that we used to have before mid-March of 2020—too slow for my own comfort, though.

Every country has adapted and created their own routines, the current iteration of Venezuela’s is called “7+7 Plus”, as if it was some sort of promotional package of sorts; the gist of it remains as it has been: We undergo seven days of ‘radical’ quarantine, followed by a ‘flexible’ week that now lets some more sectors of the economy reopen its doors, such as banks, dentists, and liquor shops.

The case count remains ‘steady’ as it was—that is, once again, if you go by the regime’s official statistics, something that I leave entirely to your discretion.

The country is as it was, and as such, I honestly don’t have much to say about this past month of quarantine—it simply was a continuation of the previous month, and within a Venezuelan collapse context, it means the same old tale: collapsing utilities, erratic supply of water, internet issues, very punctual blackouts, et al.

When it comes to the ongoing gasoline shortages, however, things have once again gotten quite dire. The Iranian fuel that the regime depends on simply works as a palliative measure, with our oil refineries completely run to the ground due to neglect and mismanagement, we simply aren’t producing oil for ourselves, let alone producing oil to cover the regime’s political tithes to countries such as Cuba.

The long gasoline lines, which never disappeared in its entirety outside of Caracas, have once again resurged in full force in the Capital over the past weeks. With no real solution in sight, this too has become part of the new normal in Venezuela’s pampered capital city.

Added to that is the drastic cooking gas shortages that plague so many now, which, coupled with the worsening blackouts, has flung many back to the stone age, being forced to rely on firewood to cook meals, as they’re unable to use their kitchens in any capacity, be it gas or electric.

While worldwide attention is set upon the United States’ 2020 Presidential and all that has transpired since the night of the 3rd of November, the Regime continues its preparations for their upcoming electoral ‘fiesta’, slated for the 6th of December, that is all that seemingly matters for them. Given how rigged they are, you can already bet who will be poised to win these upcoming legislative elections. I honestly couldn’t give less of a damn, as I cannot participate in them, nor would I if I could.

The promise of a month-long “flexible” quarantine to celebrate Christmas is something that has been mentioned by Maduro himself. The Venezuelan Bolivar plummeted yet again over the past weeks, hovering the 700,000 Bolivars per USD exchange rate threshold. For those that have access to foreign currency its life as usual, but for those that do not then life continues to become more miserable by the minute—and it’ll only get much, much worse during this upcoming Christmas season.

On a more personal level, I must confess that over the past month I’ve experienced a rather steep depressive roller coaster, which I can mainly attribute to the unsolved puzzle of my visa and the uncertainty of the future—made worse by the impending expiration of my passport, and inability to travel anywhere or do anything about it right now.

This now technically useless passport is a bomb that I can’t defuse, and yet another puzzle in my life that I lack the tools to solve right now—add that to my own personal burdens and well, fire up that Depeche Mode playlist . . .

After all these months, flights have finally begun to reopen in a very limited manner. As of the 2nd of November, flights to Mexico, Panama, Dominical Republic, Turkey, and Iran have resumed while commercial interstate air travel continues to be suspended until February of 2021 at the earliest.

You can take a flight to Ankara from Caracas, but you can’t take a plane to travel from Caracas to Maracaibo and vice-versa. If that sounds a bit incongruent to you then we’re in the same boat, my friend. I strongly suspect that has to do more with the ongoing fuel shortages than with any COVID-related quarantine measure.

I don’t like this new perpetual quarantine life of ours, as if my past Christmas hadn’t been bleak enough, this one will yet again, be an atypical and monochromatic one. Yet, as downtrodden and melancholic as I feel right now, I must continue to do everything in my power so that my brother’s life is as normal as possible. I’m also glad that my brother is less anxious and scared over the whole pandemic, and that he’s become less fearful of it—he’s even begun to accompany me to the supermarket once again.

This pandemic sure screwed up everything, and I had no intentions to spend another Christmas in Venezuela, much less one confined to this apartment, but, given all the circumstances, that is the most likely scenario now, whether I like it or not.

As such, I have no choice but to start planning our Christmas celebrations. First and foremost is upholding our family traditions and setting our Nativity scene sometime during this month, and then start seeing and scouting options for what to cook for Christmas Eve and New Years, something simple, as that’s what we’re accustomed to. Perhaps a little bit of Christmas cheer and the corresponding prayers of the times will give me that final push to finish snapping out of this anhedonia that plagues my mind.

I would like to end this ninth Lockdown entry by hoping that you are all safe and sound out there. Take it easy, and remain hopeful that the best is yet to come.

Until the next one,