Day #257 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Plan B is in place if South Africa won’t let us enter…

This pelican was trained to entertain tourists as the man passed around a cup.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2017 while visiting Pisco, Peru, as a port of call on our cruise along the coasts of South America. For more on that day’s post, please click here.

Previously, we discussed the possibility of a Plan B, in the event we can’t board the flight to South Africa for any reason on January 12, 2021, and what we’ll do from there.

Locally harvested seashells for sale along with a few pairs of flip-flops.

A few days ago in this post, in case you missed it, we’ve booked flights from Mumbai to Dubai to Johannesburg to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger on January 12, 2021, arriving in Marloth Park on January 13, 2021. But, as mentioned in prior posts, we had booked such a flight on March 20, 2020, arriving at the Mumbai Airport at 2:00 am, only to be turned away when South Africa refused to let us enter the country due to their imminent plan to close the borders due to COVID-19.

In no way are we totally confident that this won’t happen again, especially as cases continue to rise in South Africa at a very high rate. We’ve carefully reviewed and will continue to review all the conditions under which we will be allowed to enter and of course, we’ll be diligent in every aspect.

Ship sculpture made from bones.

However, typical for us, preferring to leave no loose ends in our travel plans, we knew we had to come up with an alternate plan, thus Plan B, in the event for any reason, we aren’t allowed to fly on that or a similar flight in its place. With bated breath, we hope we don’t hear from Emirates Airline informing us that the flight has been canceled.

This could easily happen, especially when we see the number of flights that are canceled worldwide on a daily basis, including many in India. The worst-case scenario in this travel plan, other than contracting COVID-19 or other health issues, is that we are turned away once again and have to return to this or another hotel in Mumbai and continue to wait.

Activity on the boardwalk in Pisco.

At this point, we’re in no state of mind to allow that to happen. The thought of returning to such a hotel room, makes us cringe. Instead, after considerable research online over the past few days, we’ve decided we’ll book a flight to Seychelles, a popular island resort country which certainly isn’t as far away as South Africa.

With a 90-day visa available at the Seychelles Airport upon arrival, we can easily find a place to stay. We’re considering, just in case, to book a room under the pay-at-the-hotel option, canceling it once we know we’ll be able to fly to South Africa. If need be, we can book a week in a hotel and then go to work to find a holiday home to see us through the next almost three months.

Various feathered friends resting on a moored fishing boat.

Of course, we can’t book a holiday home now since doing so requires a partial or full payment upfront and we would lose our money. It’s easier to book a hotel, allowing us to pay upon arrival. This is a common practice available at Hotels.com on our site with no penalty for canceling.

Plan B gives us peace of mind. Seychelles is a beautiful country with the sea as the main focal point is described as follows at this site: is an archipelago island country consisting of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean at the eastern edge of the Somali Sea.

A boat tied up on the beach near the pier.

“Today, Seychelles boasts the highest nominal per capita GDP of any African nation. It is the first African country with an HDI score exceeding 0.800, and therefore the only country in the continent with a very high Human Development Index. It is one of only two countries in Africa classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank, the other being Mauritius. Despite its relative prosperity, poverty remains widespread as the country has one of the highest levels of economic inequality in the world and markedly unequal wealth distribution, with the upper and ruling class commanding a vast proportion of the country’s wealth.”

A pelican proudly posing for a photo.

Of course, our intent is always to maintain a positive attitude and now, with this plan, we feel we can do so. Otherwise, we’d face a sense of panic at the airport in the middle of the night as happened on March 20, 2020. We don’t want to repeat that situation, under any circumstances.

So there it is folks, a back-up plan, a Plan B, a peace-of-mind maker, and a solution to a problem that may never transpire. We’ll see how it all rolls out in 39 days. Please stay tuned.

Stay healthy!

Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2019:

While visiting family in the US, last year at this time, we didn’t often take photos. Subsequently, we posted photos from older posts as has been the case in our year-ago photos. While in Penguin, Tasmania in 2017 we took this photo on our way to the town of Ulverston. Tasmania never disappoints! For more, please click here.

Day 14… Cruise to South America… Part 3… Visit to Pisco, Peru… A colorful, interesting culture, shown in our photos

A liquor store.

 “Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

We had no idea what was going on at this building in Arica, Chile.  Any comments?

Today’s post will be of minimal interest to most of our readers since we are totally preoccupied while sitting in Cafe al Bacio with friends Lisa and Barry who are sad to be getting off the ship in two days.  We’ve all had such a great time together. 

Bikers stopping in the desert to fix their bikes.

It’s hard for me to pay attention to what I’m writing here as we chat and laugh incessantly.  I’m a little sluggish today after little sleep last night when once again we had an early start to our day at a required meeting for the 266 passengers staying for the next leg of the cruise on the back-to-back.

Buildings along the main road.

We’re curious about the 1800 plus passengers who’ll board the ship in San Antonio, Chile assuming most will be foreign language speaking.  Our social activities may be severely limited with so few English speaking passengers aboard the ship.

Dog sitting outside the data store.

Today, we’re hoping to get done here before too long to be able to learn a card game that Lisa and Barry enjoy playing called Five Crowns.  Here’s a link to the rules of this game which requires a special deck of cards. 

Shops along the boardwalk in Pisco, Peru.

The past 24-hours have been a whirlwind of activity.  After we finished yesterday’s post, we took a shuttle bus to the town of Arica, Chile.  We were dropped off at the port entrance, where we went through security and were off for a walk through the festive little town. 

Beachgoers sunning and funning.

In the next few days, we’ll be posting many photos we took in Arica, Chile as we wandered through the fascinating town with an approximate population of 155,400.

It appeared many locals frequent this area as well as tourists.

Upon returning from Arica in the afternoon, we grabbed our computers to load the photos from our outing only to find ourselves nodding off at the table.  Shortly thereafter we returned to our cabin for a nap.  Tom was successful.  I was not.  It’s hard for me to “shut off my brain” when we’re having such a great time.

A band playing on the beach.

By 5:00 pm, we were showered and dressed for the evening’s happy hour where once again we met up with Lisa and Barry.   Since they dine in a specialty restaurant each night, we go our separate way for dinner, meeting up at the Martini Bar a few hours later.

Several fishing boats out to sea.

Again, we didn’t get to bed by midnight and bolted out of bed early this morning to get to the first of two meetings.  The second event was a private tour of the ship’s engine room with first officers conducting a presentation for a select group of passengers.  We were thrilled to be asked to attend and soon will post photos of that event.

The boardwalk in Pisco, Peru.

That’s it for today, folks.  Lisa and I are taking off for the seafood buffet being offered today for lunch in the Oceanview Cafe on deck 10.  In this particular case, I’ll be eating twice today. 

Hanging clothing, scarves, handbags and more.
The interior of a small shop on the boardwalk.

May all of our loyal readers have a fabulous day!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 6, 2016:

Penguin statue at the beach in Penguin, Tasmania dressed in Christmas clothing and various locally inspired pins and decorations. For more details, please click here.

Day 13… Cruise to South America… Part 2… Visit to Pisco, Peru… A colorful, interesting culture, shown in our photos

This pelican is trained to entertain tourists as the man passed around a cup.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Activity in the port in Pisco, Peru.

Today, we began checking flights for February 10th when we plan to fly from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Mpumalanga/Nelspruit, South Africa.  Prices are high for the shortest flights of 16 hours with two layovers.

Locally harvested seashells for sale along with a few pairs of flip-flops.

It’s always tricky deciding if we should book now or wait for a price drop which may appear closer to the time we plan to fly.  We’ve tried both ways and on occasion, we get lucky finding a price drop during the last 60 days.

Ship sculpture made from bones.

It’s too risky to wait until the last 30 days when we’ve often found prices rising with few remaining seats available.  There’s never an easy way or set plan on how to book expensive flights.  We’re expecting to pay US $3,500 for the one-way tickets for two.

Activity on the boardwalk in Pisco.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to get to South Africa from Argentina that avoids an overnight flight with a layover in the middle of the night.  After all these years, we’ve finally gotten over the fact that a “red eye” may be the only way we can get from Point A to Point B.

Locals and tourists enjoying the beach on a perfectly sunny day.

The simple reality is that we won’t sleep for about a 24-hour period.  Neither of us is able to sleep for more than a few minutes on a flight and taking a nap after arriving at our location also alludes us.  But, we’ve found, if we can manage a mere 20-minute doze, it can do wonders when we’re exhausted.

Various feathered friends resting on a moored fishing boat.

Yesterday morning on a sea day, after we’d uploaded the post, I found myself nodding off while seated in Cafe al Bacio.  We both decided to head to the cabin to see if we could snooze for a bit.  Magically, we both slept, albeit lightly, for about 30 minutes, feeling totally refreshed upon awakening.

A boat tied up at the beach near the pier.

“They,” say (whoever “they” are who often provide incorrect information) a short nap (under 30 minutes) is more beneficial than a long daytime doze.  For once we agree with “them.”

Local trinkets.

Last night, we had lots of fun with friends Lisa and Barry.  The usual two-hour Captain’s Club event in the Constellation Lounge was canceled for a Senior Officer’s party at 7:45 pm.  Usually, at this time we’re in the dining room having dinner.

A small fishing boat lying on the beach.

Instead, we decided on an early dinner at 6:30 so we could head to the party after dining.  It all worked out great when we sat at a table for four in the Constellation Lounge with Lisa and Barry after which we all embarked on a “bar hopping fest” where live music and dancing was on the menu.

Bronze sculpture welcoming guests to a restaurant on the boardwalk.

Tom and I both love dancing together.  It’s good exercise, reminds us of our youth and is a fun shared activity.  Last night, hanging out with our new friends only added to the experience as we used the ship’s program to decide where the best spot for dancing was coming up next on the agenda.

A pelican proudly posing for a photo.

It resulted in another late night.  We arrived at our cabin around 12:15 to another one-hour time change.  We’re a little bit sluggish this morning but once we’ve uploaded the post we plan to leave the ship to visit the town of Arica, Chile where our ship docked early this morning.

Local band playing Peruvian music hoping to earn tips.

This first leg of the back-to-back cruise ends in three days.  There are only about 250 passengers out of 2,170 staying behind for the second leg.  Last night, there was a notice on the bed stating there’s a meeting at 9:00 am on December 6th (tomorrow) for us back-to-back passengers.

A tightly packed RV park in Pisco.

We’ll be provided with instructions for the process of staying onboard when the remainder of the passengers will be disembarking at San Antonia, Chile.  This final stop was supposed to have been in Valparaiso, Chili, a much more exciting town than San Antonio.  

Ocean inlet along the sand dunes.

Due to strife at the port in Valparaiso, the cruise line decided to change this final port of call to the less complicated San Antonia.  Many passengers were disgruntled.  For us, it made little difference when we’ll be back in South America down the road.

So, folks, have a wonderful day!  We’ll be thinking of YOU!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2016:

Historical Furners Hotel in downtown Ulverstone, Tasmania.  There were many small towns we explored while in Penguin.  For more photos, please click here.

Day 12… Cruise to South America… Part 1… Visit to Pisco, Peru… A colorful, interesting culture, shown in our photos

We had no idea Pisco, Peru had this type of desert terrain.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

A variety of vendors set up shop outside the ship hoping to attract shoppers leaving and arriving on shuttle buses.

Pisco, a town in Peru

Pisco is a port city on Peru’s southern coast, known for the grape brandy of the same name. It’s a gateway to the uninhabited Ballestas Islands, home to scores of sea lions, pelicans, Peruvian boobies and Humboldt penguins. Nearby is the Paracas National Reserve, which encompasses desert, ocean and the Paracas Peninsula. Also here is the Paracas Candelabra geoglyph, a huge hillside etching of mysterious origins.
Area1,536 mi²
Weather66°F (19°C), Wind SW at 6 mph (10 km/h), 84% Humidity
Population99,550 (2007) UNdata
Local timeMonday 7:45 AM


The sand dunes reminded us of Morocco.

We had no idea the shuttle bus ride to Pisco would take us through a desert of rolling sand dunes, not unlike those we’ve seen in many countries in the Middle East.  Here’s a bit of information about this subtropical desert climate:

Geography of Peru – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Peru

The Peruvian coast is a microclimatic region. The region is affected by the cold Humboldt Current, the El Niño Southern Oscillation, tropical latitude, and the Andes mountain range. The central and southern coast consists mainly of a subtropical desert climate composed of sandy or rocky shores and inland cutting valleys.

Area‎: ‎Ranked 20th
Lowest point‎: ‎Bayóvar Depression‎, −34 metres …
Coastline‎: ‎2,414 km (1,500 mi)
Highest point‎: ‎Huascarán Sur‎, 6,768 metres …

A metal dolphin sculpture In Pisco, Peru.

After a 25-minute ride through the uninhabited and barren desert, we arrived in Pisco, a town dominated by its seaside industry which included tourism and fishing, evidenced by the many colorful fishing boats in the harbor.

Our ship appeared to be the only one in San Martin Port in Pisco, Peru.

A pleasant boardwalk, wide enough to accommodate the thousands of passengers that walk along its tourist-themed shops on the inland side, was easy to navigate in the crowds, most of which were from our ship.

Vendors line the boardwalk hoping for a sale.

The flavors of Peru permeated the air with over a dozen restaurants, with staff literally pleading with passersby to partake of their many offerings.  There was no doubt in our minds that this small town was thriving with its frequent status as a port of call by over a hundred ships throughout the year.

Some shops and restaurants are decorated for the Christmas season.

And yet, the town’s persona was one of low income with old worn buildings and the most minimal of infrastructure when many former utility poles were void of any wiring of any type.

This dog may not have been a stray when he appeared well-fed.

However, it’s these less affluent tourist towns that intrigue us the most; the stray dogs lounging in walkways; the young children running willy-nilly through the streets; the vendor’s hopeful expressions as we walked by bespeaking a lifestyle few of us can fathom as we sit at our computers.

There are dozens of restaurants along the boardwalk all offering local delicacies.

For us, the town of Pisco offered an interesting array of fascinating scenes as will be illustrated by our photos today and over the next few days.  Whether it was the faces of the locals, marine wildlife or friendly strays dogs lying in the road, it’s genuine culture remained consistent.

A variety of handmade and imported goods are peddled on the boardwalk.  Vendors are relatively aggressive in promoting sales but not particularly offensive.

This type of seaside town may not appeal to some travelers for a long-term stay but as a port of call, it was definitely worth seeing.  We spoke to several passengers who participated in a variety of tours offered by the ship and on private tours, they or others had arranged.

A restaurant with a bougainvillea-covered lattice roof.

In each case, we heard nothing but rave reviews about each tour. As mentioned earlier, we’ll be returning to Peru in the next few years when we return to South America for an extended stay. 

This is possibly a memorial for a local, lost at sea.

At that point, we plan to visit many interesting locations in Peru including Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands and more.  For now, we continue to tighten our belts as we carefully watch our budget based on the pricey upcoming Antarctica cruise.

Children playing at the beach with views of colorful fishing vessels.  These boats remind us of the colorful fishing boats in Negara, Bali. (See that link here).

Last night, we had a blast; Captain’s Club from 5:00 to 7:00 pm with friends Lisa and Barry; dinner in the Trellis Restaurant; then off to the Ice Bar for the 10:30 pm Silent Disco bouncing around with many other passengers we’ve come to know.  It was too much fun!

Shopkeepers were enthusiastically attempting to attract shoppers from the cruise.  A cruise in port is crucial for this existence.

By the time we got to bed, it was after 1:00 am.  Then, the clocks moved forward one hour and it was 2:00 am.  We were up and dressed and out of our cabin by 8:30 am, new time.  Pooped?  Yep!  Ready to go again tonight?  Yep!

Many fishing boats are anchored in the harbor.

We’re going to need a “vacation” after this cruise!  Ha!


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Photo from one year ago, December 4, 2016:

Our first morning’s view from the living room window in Penguin, Tasmania.  It was a cool sunny day. Tom always says when asked that Penguin was his favorite place to stay in our world travels.  For more details, please click here.