Day 46 of Benidorm Lockdown: Our New Normal

Tuesday 5th May 2020

Standing outside portus Massai benidorm lockdown

If I thought the 4th of May was bad, it was just a warm up for the fifth of May. I think one of the major things about moving forward and acknowledging the good times, is recognising and admitting the bad times. So this here is what I’m doing. Recognising the bad and moving forward to the good.

Things are getting better here in Spain, but this just hasn’t been a good week so far for me personally. In some ways it’s been a fantastic week, in other ways it’s been terrible. Upsetting, lonely, strange.

The thing about going out for exercise is that it makes it all so real what’s going on outside. Whilst we were cooped up in our apartment unbeknownst to the outdoor world it was almost like a safe haven. We were hidden away like Rapunzel in her tower. (sorry to all my new followers, you’ll have to learn that I love Disney and might reference it wherever I can, you’ll get used to me, everyone else does!). The world outside was scary, unnerving, but it was behind our four walls and we didn’t see it. It was just figures wasn’t it?

But it stopped being figures. It stopped being just numbers when it started to be names and faces. Going out and doing exercise is one of my favourite times of the day, no doubt about it, but in another sense it’s one of the strangest. We walk the streets recognising what’s going on. Seeing the locked doors. Seeing the “for sale” signs. The amount of businesses that have suffered and will continue to suffer. Will we make it through this?

A deserted Benidorm beach

I’ve never known Benidorm so quiet. May is one of the busiest months of the year, the streets are filled with couples on holidays or stag and hen dos. Bars and restaurants are usually bustling and businesses boom. It’s the time of year that businesses rely on. May-September is the best times for businesses to make their profits to keep them ticking over during the winter season. Many close for winter, or work on a reduced timetable. The lack of tourism is going to be catastrophic for so many. And that morning walk is just the daily reminder that Benidorm like many other places, is and continues to suffer in the hands of COVID19 and the global pandemic.

I look out towards levante and wonder what is in store for Benidorm and its future. When will tourism restart in Benidorm after COVID19? Nobody knows at the moment but it’s a question on a lot of people’s lips. The sun still rises and falls over the Benidorm beaches, but there’s a certain chill that looms with the summer days. The feeling of loneliness. The feeling that something is missing. The tourists. The happy faces of those on holiday. Benidorm is lost without our tourism. It’s you that makes Benidorm what it is. And we all miss you.

Crying in Benidorm lockdown

I try not to cry but for most of the day I do. I cry for confinement. I cry for those who are currently ill across the world, I cry for those who are less fortunate than us and I cry for the businesses that are suffering. I cry for myself too. I don’t know why I feel sorry for myself but I do. I end up in a spiral of just downward thoughts. Am I even good at my job? Do I let people down? I didn’t sleep well, and my emotions are pretty heightened at the moment with hormones and the confinement is not helping. I’ve had the worst headache all day too, which didn’t help paired with abdomen pain. I thought May 4th wasn’t my day, I’m just going to say so far it’s not my week.

Everybody makes mistakes. I made errors in Spanish today. Nothing small, but the small stuff adds up until it overflows. I set the blog post to publish at 8:30pm instead of AM so that was my first error of the day that was the result of yesterday not being great. I then misinterpreted some stuff which caused conflict. I made a spelling error on a clients graphic that I published. It was just a series of errors.

I don’t want to come across as negative here, and I hate to maybe sound like I’m moaning and droning on. Of course, these things are nowhere near the extent of what’s going on in the world, but it all adds up and just made me feel down. I want to try and be positive and see the good and upsides as much as possible, but for the past couple of days I just haven’t been able to see them.

I try to keep upbeat but I’m losing interest in things quickly. I’m distracted reading today, I don’t feel inspired to do my languages. In fact, I have an hour video call and I just find that I feel so stupid because I can’t get my words out and express myself like I want to. I know what I want to say in English and it causes me to want to cry when I just can’t get out the words that I’m thinking. I start to think that people must think I’m stupid that I suddenly can barely say anything in Spanish yet before I was having full conversations. It’s been 10 weeks, at least, since I spoke Spanish and although my writing is still pretty decent, my speaking and listening has deteriorated. You stop using a language and you lose it. I’m just so behind frustrated that tears just flow. How can I express myself if this words won’t come out? This is how toddlers and babies feel, isn’t it?

My cheeky cavalier King Charles spaniel

Something else happened today which made me feel sick to the stomach. I don’t know if your dog has ever gone missing for a while, but it’s one of the most gut wrenching feelings. Sheer horror. Panic. Every alarm state sets in and you just go into a robot mode of trying to find him. I was in a meeting and Alex was watching TV. I thought Rio was with Alex in the apartment, and he thought he was with me outside. Turns out, he wasn’t. I charged around the apartment block screaming his name, trying to stay as calm as possible so I didn’t scare him. I knew if he heard me calling he’d come, but he didn’t. The main thing is, I found him. The daft dog was sitting by the lift waiting for somebody to let him in. He’d made his way down the emergency stairs and had found himself in reception, waiting for the lift to take him home.

His little face lit up when he heard my voice and came running to me on the stairs. Every feeling of fear just escapes your body. Just that one second of lack of communication caused so much grief and anguish. Communication is clearly key, and it just goes to show it only takes one second of taking your eye off the ball for something to happen. Rio is home and safe. He had been gone for a couple of minutes but it felt petrifying. I don’t know how people cope when their pet goes missing for days or months.

At least a little later when we listen to Bob Iger’s book I start to feel more inspired. It was talking about how Michael Eisner started to suffer with pessimism and how it was affecting the whole company. How working how he was created problems across the board. He shared how many problems Disney was having back in the early 2000’s and the massive effects that 9/11 had on Disney, both economically and on staff morale. Hearing how they dealt with the whole situation, both Eisner in a downward spiral and the company at hammerheads with Pixar was actually quite uplifting to hear about. In a way, it validated feelings. Let me know that even those we think are untouchable, like the company giants, still have things they have to go through behind closed doors.

I hope that’s what this blog today will show you. Not everyday is perfect in lockdown. Some days, we’ve had wonderfully quiet and chilled out days and everything has been roses. Other days, have been like the past two days where everything just doesn’t seem to go right. And that’s okay. We all have these days, we all have sufferings. We all have stuff going on which causes our spirits to drop.

I’m always so upbeat on my morning walks. I’ve started doing Facebook lives of the walk letting people see the streets and what’s going on in Benidorm here and it seems they’re quite popular. (My most recent one has reached 10,000 people which is mad!). I really enjoy showing people around and saying morning to everybody. So, tomorrow on my walk, I’m going to focus on the good. The flowers that have grown. The beauty that we can do exercise. The sun rising.

There’s one other thing that’s laying heavy on my heart. The thought of the government vote tomorrow. Sometime after you read this blog, the government will announce whether they agree or disagree with Pedro Sanchez’s request to extend the state of alarm past May 9th. VOX and the Catalan party want to vote against the state of alarm extensions ignoring health secretary and doctors advice that it needs extending. We’re doing well here in Spain seeing a massive reduction in deaths and cases, but we’re not out of the woods. Rejecting the state of alarm means all of Sanchez’s plans would be thrown out. Staying in would not be enforced by law. It’s so dangerous it’s scary. There would be no easing off of lockdown, it would just become recommendations to stay at home. What would that mean for businesses? Would they be able to open as normal? It would be great for some businesses I’m sure, but money can’t be made if the population are suffering and not able to reintegrate safely to lower the chances of a second wave.

A day in lockdown can feel like a few minutes, or it can feel like it just won’t ever end. As the candle burns, I appreciate that this one is coming to a close. We have these days to remind us to appreciate the good days. How could we love the good if we didn’t know the bad? Could we ever truly realise how blessed we are to have good days if we didn’t know the bad days? Would good days feel so good if we didn’t know what a bad day felt like? I’m thankful for today, no matter how exhausting it’s been. I’m healthy and tomorrow I get the chance to start again tomorrow. As the sunset, I knew that it was closing the chapter of today. Tomorrow, we restart and reset.

“Los caminos difíciles a menudo conducen a hermosos destinos”

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. Some of the worst Spanish roads lead to the best places. And at the end of this up and down rollercoaster, we’ll have reached a new normality. One with more awareness and appreciation for life. New beautiful destinations.

Keep safe,

L x


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