Day #274 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Part 3…Christmas wishes…Chanukah wishes (belated)…Kwanzaa wishes…Boxing day wishes!…

On the last night of the Maharajas Express, we were all assisted in dressing in traditional Indian attire.

Today’s photos are from the post on March 18, 2020, as we recapped some of the time we spent in India prior to the lockdown. For more on this date, please click here.

Reading the post from March 18, 2020, made us cringe when realizing it was two days later, when our booked middle-of-the-night flight to South Africa, for which we were turned away at the airport at the last minute, required that we return to the hotel from whence we’d come, only to close a few days later. This resulted in our search for a hotel that was allowed to stay open during the lockdown. Subsequently, that scenario brought us to this hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport.

We never imagined we’d see the Taj Mahal. And yet, that morning in the haze and pollution, it lay before our eyes in its full splendor.

This is no typical Courtyard by Marriott one finds in cities throughout the US and other countries, often with few floors and fewer amenities than many larger hotels. This hotel is comparable to a regular Marriott with outstanding decor, many levels, and great amenities. There’s nothing budget-like here.

Amid all the issues over foods we don’t eat, noise, inconsistencies in food preparation, and the endless stream of mask-less guests, overall it’s as good of an experience as we could have expected under these challenging circumstances. Never once was any request we made dismissed or not regarded with the highest esteem.

Exquisite decor in ancient palaces and temples.

The cleaning, room service delivery, and management staff have excelled in every way. We’ve been treated with the utmost respect, kindness, and consideration for which we are very grateful.

Fortunately, booking the continuation of our stay, month after month enabled us to get the best possible pricing, allowing us to easily afford this long hotel stay, unlike any stay in the past. Most recently, the prices for about a six-week period dropped to as low as US $50 a night, INR 3697, per night, the lowest we’ve paid anywhere in the world.

The locals doing their laundry in Lake Pichola but no laundry soaps are allowed. Fishing and private boats are not allowed on the lake in Udaipur.

Being able to use our accumulated “stamps” from Hotels.com on our site, also provided us with many “free” nights when 10 stamps result in one “free night” of comparable value. Of course, these low rates reduce the value of the “free night” credits for future bookings, using the accumulated stamps.

The food situation surely has been the most challenging during this stay. With my ultra low carb way of eating and Tom’s picky taste buds, we had no choice but to order meals outside the realm of our desires and tastes. In the interim, eating a diet of increased carb consumption each day, more than I was used to. The red Indian sauces and excess amounts of vegetables, often greasy and overcooked, caused my health to go downhill.

Several castles are located in or near the man-made lakes in Udaipur.

Tom had no options other than eating chicken pasta with a creamy white sauce every night resulting in a weight gain. I hadn’t gained during that period, but my weight was up considerably from my usual, which had crept upwards while recovering from open-heart surgery.

Many of the medications I’d been taking after the surgery (none of which I still take or need) left me sleeping half the day and grossly inactive, rapidly gaining weight. A year later, I was up 25 pounds, 11.3 kg, and my blood sugar was high, bordering on familial Type 2 diabetes, which only exacerbates cardiovascular disease and blood pressure.

A snake charmer, an expected event in India.

Chronic pain returned making walking the corridors all the more difficult, although I never missed a day. A few months ago, I stopped eating those high carb sauces and vegetables, reducing my blood sugar to a low normal range, and have been able to totally stop taking medications for hypertension, with my blood pressure now at 100/60 without drugs.

As of this morning, I have lost the extra 25 pounds, 11.3 kg, and now fit in all of my old clothing. Thus, when we pack soon, I will be able to donate all the clothes I’d purchased in larger sizes, while in the US a year ago. Whew! So, in that respect, being in lockdown forced me to research ways in which I could reduce my blood pressure and blood sugar, which subsequently resulted in weight loss with relative ease. What a wonderful Christmas gift to myself!

The fantastic chef on the train, John Stone, who assured all of my meals would be perfect and they were..

Tom has lost a portion of the weight he needs to lose as a result of eating that high carb pasta, but surely will do so within the next two months, especially after we get to South Africa when we can prepare our own meals. Hopefully, if all goes as planned, we’ll be leaving  India in 21 days (three weeks from today), arriving in 22 days. We wait with bated breath!

For those who celebrate, we wish you a Merry Christmas and New Year!

Photo from one year ago today, December 22, 2019:

Photo of the beautiful Crocodile River taken from Marloth Park on this date in 2013. For more, please click here.

Settling in…Two Ketuts getting it right…Tom’s losing weight!

This close up of my dinner from a few nights ago appears there’s a lot of chicken on this plate. But, once I dig in there’s only a few good bites on each leg and thigh section. Tom eats the two breasts which are a little meatier but the dark meat which I prefer, is sparse as a result of locally lean free range chickens.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

This is nature, a first for us, a mating pair of dogs stuck during sexual activity. We’d heard about this but hadn’t ever witnessed it. The dog on the right looked on, seeming concerned. They stayed this way for a howling 10 minutes and then were able to separate. Although one was collared they could have been wild. There was nothing we could do to help. One more unusual (to us) sighting on the beach!

I guess it took getting me out of the kitchen to help Tom lose a few pounds. Over the past year, we’ve been on three cruises during which Tom gained a few pounds, never quite getting rid of them with me doing the cooking.

Oh, it’s not that I wasn’t preparing our usual low carb, moderate protein, high-fat meals. It was due to the fact that he simply was eating too much food on any given day. There’s no manner of eating that allows for an all-you-can-eat mentality. Too much of any food raises insulin, resulting in fat storage, subsequent weight gain, and possible health issues.

We love all the flowers beginning to bloom.

The fact that I tried not to tell him to cut back to avoid “preaching” which I can easily do given the opportunity, gradually he gained a few more pounds here and there.

Well, it’s entirely different here in Bali when some of the low-carb, sugar-free, grain-free snack items he usually enjoys aren’t available in the tiny markets. When we’re shopping and cooking in many countries, the availability of foods we enjoy is a lot different than in Bali. It’s sparse here, particularly when we’re so far from the biggest supermarket Denpasar (the four-hour harrowing drive). 

The local markets where the two Ketuts shops only have basic items: eggs, vegetables, fish, seafood, and chicken. Since we don’t eat fruit due to its high sugar content and carbs, our choices are few. 

Not only are there lovely plants and flowers on the grounds of the villa but they’re easily found on a walk down the road.

Shopping at the largest markets within a 45-minute drive left us with few items in our basket. They don’t carry cheese of any sort other than the highly processed individually wrapped packages many tourists purchase. A portion of natural unprocessed cheese is always a nice treat if hunger pangs although not available for us here.

As a result of the lack of snack options and with the intent of dropping these excess pounds, unprovoked by me, Tom has steadily lost weight over these past three weeks since our arrival. 

Against a white stucco wall in a neighboring villa…

As we readily fell back into place on our 24-hour-intermittent-fasting, dining on one hearty high fat, veggie laden and moderate protein meal each day, Tom has since lost 16 pounds, 7.26 kilo, 1.14 stone. The bulging belly is gone, gone, gone.

For me, it’s not about the “look” of the belly that is of concern. As far as I’m concerned he’s always adorable to me. It’s the medical issues that may result from belly fat that easily could put a fast end to our world travels. 

We both share the responsibility of staying healthy, utilizing every aspect of good health within our control, to ensure we can continue for as long as we’d like. We don’t take this lightly. In reality, at this point, the only thing that would stop us is a medical issue that we couldn’t resolve on our own. 

Although there aren’t a lot of chickens at the villas on our road, there are many on the side streets. Most aren’t meaty like this one.

I can’t tell you how many times over these past years that we would’ve visited a doctor in the US had we still be there. It was so easy to do. Spend three or four days coughing, having a sore throat, or feeling some new type of pain or discomfort, and off we’d go (in our old lives). 

Now, it’s different. If something doesn’t feel right, we don’t rush to a doctor or urgent care. Of course, if it felt outrageously serious, we would. Only twice in our travels have we visited a medical facility; once when I had a groin pain in Kauai (since resolved, nothing serious) and again when we had physical exams and tests last July in Trinity Beach, Australia. 

A type of orchid, perhaps.  Sorry folks, I just don’t have a knowledge of flower types and the wifi is too slow for research.

Plus, we’ve both had our teeth cleaned and, Tom had issues with an abscessed tooth which was since pulled in New Zealand months ago. Not every country is suitable for dental work and cleanings.

Do we worry about being in Bali with less than stellar local medical care within reach? Worry causes stress.  Stress causes illness. Why worry? Just taking good care of ourselves is our best worry reducer. Sure, something unforeseen beyond our control could transpire. We have an emergency plan in place, just in case. But worry?  Nah, not worth it.

This cat wanders about the neighborhood.

Instead, I’m reveling in his weight loss, as he is too, feeling it’s one more layer of health we embrace as we continue to travel the world. In the process, I too, have lost a few pounds I’d gained in Hawaii last year, now back to my comfortable clothes-fitting weight. 

Perhaps, the two Ketuts are getting it right after all! Maybe I’m learning something from them, less protein., more fat (coconut oil), and more veggies!

We hope your day finds you feeling well!

Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2015:

A year ago today, we were almost at the end of our four-month stay in Kauai posting favorite photos such as this newly hatched albatross chick, nestled under a parent. What an amazing experience we had in Kauai in many ways. For more, please click here.