Part 3…Musings over the peculiarity of life in a lockdown in a hotel room in Mumbai, India…

Dozens of mongooses in our garden in Marloth Park. See the post here.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Today’s photos are from our post one year ago today. Please click here for more details.



At the end of yesterday’s post, we mentioned, we’ll be sharing what we’re missing the most during this time of COVID-19 besides the obvious aspects of missing family and friends. 


In speaking with our loved one, we found that each person and each family have their own list of how lockdown has impacted their lives and what they are missing the most.

Two barn owls in the rafters at the Mugg & Bean Restaurant in Lower Sabie. For more on this year-ago post, please click here.


It has varied from socializing with family and friends, to walks in the park, shopping in malls and local shops and dining in restaurants, to such basic needs as being unable to find favorite necessary foods and beverages.

For many business owners, they are sorely missing the much-needed revenue stream they typically see in their businesses coupled with the fears as to how long they’ll survive financially if lockdown continues any longer.


For many, they miss the peace of mind they’ve experienced in the past and perhaps didn’t appreciate enough, in the freedom of not worrying about life-threatening illness befalling them and their family members and friends.

Female lions lounging in the shade


Regardless, of what others have missed, our hearts go out to everyone during this difficult time. This is the first time in history that non-infected citizens have been quarantined. Sadly, this insidious virus cannot be detected in the healthy without a test. Taking temperatures is simply not enough. 


As more and more guests check-in to our hotel, (we’re now back up to about 20 guests) we wonder if they are carrying the virus, although their temperature was taken at the door when they entered. They could easily be carrying the virus without any symptoms at all.


What do we miss while living in this hotel in lockdown in Mumbai, India? Here’s our list, not necessarily in any particular order since it can change each day:

Dinner in Kruger National Park when friends Lois and Tom visited when we’d gone on a nighttime game drive.


1. The freedom to order products we need online, knowing a shipment may be on its way soon:
At this point, no international packages are being delivered in India, not through FEDEX, DHL, or any other service. Our mailing service rep, Eric at Maillinkplus in Las Vegas, Nevada replied to our inquiry stating that at this time, there isn’t a single shipping company in the world shipping parcels to India, although big shipments from some companies are arriving. We have a package waiting to be shipped to us with important supplies that we may not be able to receive for months to come.


2. Purchasing groceries and cooking our own meals:
No doubt, I miss having a kitchen with the ability to create a week’s menu and to shop and cook accordingly. As we mentioned many times, having the same meals over and over again is boring and unsatisfying. Thank goodness the hotel chefs are good cooks and the repetitious meals are flavorful. We both miss the variety.

Ms. Bushbuck resting in the garden.


3. Beef, snacks, hard cheeses:
Neither of us has had any beef in over three months. This is a first for Tom, not so much for me. I’d love a grass-fed beef burger, minus the bun, with cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo. Tom mentions roast beef, beef taco salad, meatloaf, steak, and hamburger. Snacks would be nice.


4.  Wine for me, beer or cocktails for Tom:
This speaks for itself.


5.  Paper towels, Windex, and disinfectant cleaner:
I’ve always been a paper towel person. Although I was always careful in not using them excessively. Now, I’d love to be able to wipe things down although our room is very clean.

A cute bunny on the road in Kruger National Park.


6. Freedom:
To be unable to continue on our travels as we have over these past 7½ years is frustrating along with the uncertainty of the future. Here, we are unable to go outside for a walk or sit in the garden (yard) for some fresh air and sunshine. We’re taking big doses of Vitamin D3 to compensate for lack of sunshine.  Being unable to jump into a car and drive somewhere will be greatly appreciated in the sometime in the future.


7. Socializing:
It’s true, in some countries we don’t have an opportunity to make friends and socialize. But, in others and on cruises its been such a joy to engage in lively conversations. Now, we only speak casually to the kindly staff, but it’s not necessarily considered socializing.

A pair of hippos and a pair of cape buffaloes.


8. Cruising:
A big part of the joy in traveling the world has been the pure pleasure of cruising to many exotic locations and frequently conversing with travelers from all over the world. The entire ambiance of the cruise experience has been a vital part of our lives, also in getting us from location to location enabling us to avoid flying as much as possible. Will this ever be possible again?


9. Living in a more spacious environment:
Living in one room, except for a few hours a day, isn’t easy. We keep our room tidy and relatively clutter-free, but even so, it’s a small space.

.
A Nyala, the first we’d spotted in Kruger National Park.

10. Doing laundry:
We’re sure you’ve heard about our laundry situation ad nauseam, but I do miss doing laundry providing more options on what we wear.


11. Sightseeing and taking new photos for our posts:
It’s been about six weeks since we were sightseeing in India, taking and sharing many photos along the way. We look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead. 

More Nyala in Kruger.

Sure, we miss all of the above-listed items and maybe a few more we aren’t recalling at the moment. However, we’re both holding up quite well. Our biggest goal through this entire process has been to maintain a good attitude with hope for times to come, regardless of the inconveniences we may be experiencing now.

We hope and pray for all of you as we each work our way through these difficult times. 


Stay safe.

______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 30, 2019:

The only squirrel we’d ever seen in South Africa. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Musings over the peculiarity of life in a lockdown in a hotel room in Mumbai, India…

We had an opportunity to see the feared Tasmanian Devil, while in Tasmania. They weren’t very scary with their mouths closed. See more at this link.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
Today’s photos are from our post one year ago today. Please click here for more details.

Frank, our resident francolin who lived in the garden with his mate, The Mrs. (shown below).

A few days ago while chatting with our DIL Camille, she and I were laughing over the peculiarities of us living in this hotel room, now for 37 days. Not only did we discuss the nuances of our day-to-day lives during these circumstances, but we also discussed what we miss the most which we’ll share with you today.

The Mrs.

Here is a list of the challenges we’re facing under these unusual circumstances, some of which we’ve mentioned here and there in prior posts:


1.  Do we have access to food during the day?:
You may ask, why don’t we eat lunch to hold us over for dinner? There are several reasons, including the fact that neither of us cares to eat lunch since we don’t eat when we’re not hungry. But, in our usual lives, if we become hungry around 3:00 pm, we’ll have a piece of cheese. No cheese of this type is available here. Instead, we have the coffee/tea, which seems to hold us over. We don’t eat anything after dinner.

2.  Where do we sit all day long?:
There is only one comfortable chair in the room (besides a desk chair) with an ottoman. I have always felt uncomfortable sitting on a bed, even propped up with pillows. Tom sits on the bed all day with his feet up, except for the times when we dine twice a day and a third time when our room is being cleaned. I sit in the comfortable chair, jumping up once an hour to do my walking. This past week, I walked 24 KM, 15 miles in the corridors, and now have begun increasing the number of times I embark on the walk along with increasing the speed.

This oxpecker is singing in sheer joy, after eating some bugs off of this kudu’s back.

3. How do we wash our clothes?
Today, we gave the laundry service two pairs of Tom’s jeans. They are too difficult to wash by hand and wring out, taking days to dry. Nor do we have ample space to hang them. Otherwise, we hand wash all of our pants and shirts in the shower while bathing. We each have two pairs of pants we alternate and three shirts. I’ve stopped wearing a bra since it results in one less item to wash. We wring out the items as well as possible and hang them in the closet on hangers to dry, with a bath towel placed on the floor of the closet to collect the drips. This is working well for us so far. We each do our own laundry every other day.


4.  How do we pay bills? Handle our mail?
We performed these tasks in the same manner as in the past when living in holiday homes or hotels. The only bills we have are credit cards and insurance all of which we pay online. Our online mail service in Nevada, USA, receives our small amount of mail and collects any purchases we’ve made storing them in our oversized box. Soon, we’ll be ordering a shipment of items waiting in our mailbox to be sent to us in India. But, we are currently checking to determine which services such as FED EX or DHL are in fact delivering packages in India. It’s questionable at this point.


5.  How do we stream movies and TV series? 
Since we both acquired Chromebooks, we can no longer use Graboid which is a fantastic streaming service for INR 1570, US $20 a month. Instead, we’ve mostly been reliant upon Amazon Prime (US version). However, Amazon doesn’t allow streaming outside the US. Subsequently, we have a VPN, Express VPN, which opens up our access to streaming shows on Amazon and other US streaming services. Netflix and HULU don’t work for us from India. At the moment, through Amazon Prime Video, we are subscribed to HBO and Acorn (British shows) for a combined total of INR 1441, US $19, per month. We just ended two subscriptions after seeing everything that interested us in Showtime and CBS All Access. We don’t watch shows during the day. Instead, we listen to podcasts and watching the news on the TV through the BBC worldwide and India News.

A handsome male impala in the garden.

6.  How do get exercise?
Tom doesn’t and as mentioned I do the walking every day, 10 times a day at this point.


7. How to we make phone calls?
Although our cell phones are supposed to be able to make calls in other countries we find we aren’t able to do so from here. Instead, for friends, we talk for free on Facebook Messenger (but who’s listening???) and Skype with a cost of about INR 73, US $.01 per minute when calling from Skype to a phone. I load money directly from PayPal to the Skype app and its very easy. When I get low, they automatically add a small sum.


8. Are we collecting packages locally?
We have placed a few online orders from Amazon India some of which have been delivered and others that never arrived and we were credited. Why this happens is most likely due to COVID-19 and lack of delivery staff. We have been able to order a few much-needed toiletry items such as toothpaste, contact lens solution, and a few other items. The packages arrive at the guard gate and then a staff member walks to the gate to collect the package. If a package doesn’t arrive, we just re-order the same items after the credit comes through. Amazon India has limited supplies at this time and only necessities.

Tree frog foam nest, made overnight above the cement pond.

9. How are we holding up without an occasional cocktail?
No doubt, a glass of wine, beer, or cocktail would be great during the lockdown. It’s now been a month since we last had a beverage. No liquor stores or bars are open during the lockdown, nor is the hotel’s bar. All the alcoholic drinks were removed from our tiny refrigerator when we arrived and the lockdown commenced. Sure, we certainly would enjoy an icy cold beer or a glass of wine for me. It could easily be another month or more until such items are available for purchase.


10. What are we doing for ice?
The hotel is not making any ice during the lockdown. Tom keeps two bottles of Crystal Light Iced Tea in the very cold refrigerator and drinks it without ice. I rarely drink the iced tea, but when I do, it’s the same way, without ice. During the day, I drink plain bottled water (provided by the hotel in six bottles a day) or decaf coffee or green tea. During dinner, we drink “purified water” provided by the hotel also at no charge.

Movie night in the bush as a charity event for saving wildlife in Marloth Park and surrounds.

So there it is folks. As you can see, we’re managing just fine. In tomorrow’s Part 3 post, we’ll share what we’re missing the most. From what we can determine from local and world news, we could end up staying in India through the summer. We continue to strive to make these adjustments work well for us without any whinging!


Stay safe. Stay strong. Please share some of the challenges you’re experiencing during thes unusual times of COVID-19.

______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 29, 2019:

Our boy “Little” attempting a nap in the garden when even his little tusks get in the way. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…Musings over the peculiarity of life in a lockdown in a hotel room in Mumbai, India…

Elephant seals cuddled together in Gyrtviken, South Georgia Island on our way to Antarctica.
See the link here.


Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Today’s photos are from our post one year ago today. Please click here for more.
As inquiries as to our well-being flood our inboxes, we can’t help but feel humbled and blessed to experience the outpouring of love and concern from our family and readers/friends throughout the world.

Mr. & Mrs. Hornbill eating seeds off the veranda table. We weren’t able to put up the birdfeeder with monkeys nearby and placed the seeds on the table after they’d banged at the window with their beaks to remind us to feed them.  

Living in a hotel room which may prove to be for many more months to come, is rather peculiar especially under these trying circumstances. Fortunately, based on our years of attempting and often succeeding at being resilient and resourceful, these circumstances are not unfamiliar territory for us.


Of course, being entrenched in a pandemic is new for all of us, including the complicated mechanics of protecting ourselves from contracting the virus, even here in our somewhat pristine environment.

At this point, no new guests are allowed to check-in to the hotel. But, as India’s Prime Minister Modi and state officials have begun to lessen a number of lockdown restrictions, and domestic travel is reinstated, we expect this business-friendly hotel will start booking business travelers.

Willie loves making eye contact when I talk to him. But, since his eyes are far apart, he tended to look at me by tilting his head using one eye

From what we’ve observed thus far, it appears domestic travel will be instituted long before international travel which could leave us in a precarious position with guests from all over the country beginning an influx into our otherwise safe surroundings.


Will we need to start wearing masks and gloves to go to dinner or sit in the lobby while our room is being cleaned? Or will we escalate our protection and ask for room service and never leave the room, even during the period when the room is being cleaned?  The cleaners wear masks and gloves now. What added protection might they need?

Will staff and cooks still sleep here at night as they do now which provides us with an added layer of protection? Will our food be safe if they start returning to their homes at night when the lockdown potentially changes on May 3rd?

Suckling baby kudu and her mom.

All of this is up in the air right now. They don’t know the answers to these questions. nor do we. Our current safety from the virus is predicated by our lives in this hotel and until international flights re-open, not only here, but worldwide, we have nowhere else to go.


I freely admit I am considerably more concerned about getting the virus than Tom is. Then again, he tends to worry a lot less than I do under certain circumstances. He worries about the small things. I only worry about the big things.

If we were in a holiday home, it would be much easier in many ways. If we chose to keep ourselves in lockdown long term, we could make that decision easier by receiving food and supplies from online retailers. 

Sunset over the Crocodile River from the veranda at Ngwenya Lodge.

We could cook our meals and tend to task around the house and live a somewhat normal life while we waited for such time as we felt it was safe to venture outside, see friends and interact with others.


Here, although for the moment, it’s been safe, going forward is questionable. Once we can fly out of here, the situation at the airports will be frightening, filled with potentially infected individuals, who may not even know they are carrying the dreaded virus.

Blooming Bird of Paradise.

Still, we remain assured we made the right decision not to return to the US. With today’s number of cases in the US at 1,010,507 and 56,803 deaths compared to India’s 9,451 cases and 939 deaths, it feels safer to us here in a hotel than we’d be in the US.


As for our hope to return to South Africa, as of today with 4,973 cases and 90 deaths, we’d feel safer there as well. Of course, we realize all of these numbers could be inaccurate but its all we have to go by at this point.

A majestic waterbuck.

So, we wait. And, oddly, while we wait we are both OK, both sleeping well, both learning as much as we can, with neither of us exhibiting any signs of stress. We have hope, we have determination, and we have faith, all of which will see us through, however long it make take.


Be safe. Be strong. Be hopeful.

______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 28, 2019:

Parade of elephants crossing the bone dry river before the rains. For more on this story, please click here.

Poll response from many of our readers…

Although this video isn’t relevant to the cruise photos below, this video was from rough seas as we sailed through the Chilean Fjords, in December, 2017. See that post here.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

White sand beaches on the island of Vanuatu in April 2017. See the post here.


Today’s photos are from a 24-night cruise on this date in 2017, on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas from Sydney to Seattle, while visiting the islands of Vanuatu and Isle of Pines, New Caledonia. See the post here.


Here we go! I know many of you are anxious to hear the results of yesterday’s poll as to whether or not they are interested in COVID-19 news on our daily posts. And, the response was overwhelming.

These tropical island musicians and dancers greeted us in Noumea, New Caledonia.

It could take months to respond to all the wonderful email messages I received in the past 24-hours. I will work on responding to the messages in which readers wrote a message included with their yes or no responses. 


I will personally respond to several messages each day, but it could be quite a while until I get to you. Please know we are reading every message and taking your responses to heart.

Writing in the sand. Sweet.

Most readers simply wrote “yes” or “no” and to the best of my ability as they flooded my inbox, I ticked them off, keeping fairly accurate records. But, it was in the first hundred responses that a pattern came to light.


As it turned out, 55% said no, 40% said yes and about 5% said they wouldn’t mind one way or another. But, the consensus was clear in the “no” responses. 

The coral reef in the Isle of Pines was exquisite.

Many mentioned they read our posts to escape from the constant news on TV, podcasts, and online. Thus, our site is a respite from the bombardment of COVID-19 news, which can be discouraging and disheartening.


We understand and respect your opinions and will continue to post as we have in the past. Thus, our response going forward will be like most of you requested; information about our current situation, whether it’s during this period of the lockdown or once we’re on the move again when we can continue with our world travels.

View toward our tender boats waiting at the pier to return us to the ship.

Thank you to all who have responded. Having compiled a great sampling of our readers, it is no longer necessary to respond to the yes or no inquiry. However, please feel free to write at any time and I will respond as quickly as possible.


As primarily a travel site, of course, we’ll continue to post information on our (and your) ability to travel going forward. Many of our readers and friends have been communicating with us by email, sending data back and forth. We’ll continue with this communication.

Me, at the beach in the Isle of Pines.

Thanks to many of you who’ve mentioned they don’t mind seeing our previously posted photos again. As you are all aware, new photos are not an option at this point.

Some readers were concerned we would start getting “political” here. We will not. Although a few of our comments may have led some to believe we’re espousing a particular political viewpoint. That is not our intention. In the future, we will make a more concerted effort to keep such inferences in check.

Tom on the beach in Isle of Pines, New Caledonia.

As for what’s happening today… Like most of you, not much! Other than our communication with all of you and family and friends, our daily lives are relatively repetitious. 


We spend part of each day researching future travel plans and attempting to discover when airports will be re-opening, enabling us to leave India. With little hope for South Africa allowing incoming international flights over the next several months, we’re trying to find other countries that will be opening their borders, once the airport re-opens in Mumbai. So far, no luck.

The pier where we waited to reboard the tenders to return to the ship.

If we can find an appropriate country that will allow us to enter, which is a reasonable distance to Africa, we’ll wait it out there. Perhaps, a tropical island? Looking at today’s photos made us think how nice it might be for some sun and sand!


Keep the faith!

______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 27, 2019:
There was no post one year ago today, due to a power outage lasting throughout the day.

Do we go down the “controversial road ” during times of COVID-19?…It’s a tough decision…We need your help!…

Killer whales we spotted in the Polar Circle in Antarctica in 2018. 
See our link from that date here.



Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.


Today’s photos are from a post one year ago today as we reminisced over a wonderful evening with friends in South Africa with more wonderful scenes from Marloth Park. The event depicted there didn’t necessarily occur on this date since during this period last year, I was still recovering.

A giraffe and a few impalas spending time together. From our post on this date one year ago, found here.

After an overwhelming response from our readers in regards to our post on April 24th entitled, “Conspiracy Theories…Alarming News” we’re faced with a dilemma of sorts.


Do we continue on this path espousing information on COVID-19 that we’ve gleaned from reliable sources or do we step back a little and let each person decide for themselves? What do our readers feel about us sharing some of the information we discover on what is transpiring all over the world in regard to the virus?

Two Big Daddies head butting for dominance.

Our long term readers are well aware we do not flippantly post potentially unreliable information in our posts. Our fact-checking is a mainstay of our daily posts. 


And yes, writing a new story 365 days a year could result in an occasional mishap in providing information perhaps something altered intentionally or unintentionally as presented from what appears to be a reliable source, for example; Harvard Medical School or the Mayo Clinic.

That night, us girls had our hands on the top of our heads for some reason.  From left to right; Louise, Dawn, Me, Linda and Rita, the birthday girl.  Sadly, Kathy and Don missed this party when they were away.

But, even those appearing reliable sources are stating some questionable theories and “opinions” at this time of COVID-19. For example, such sources, need to stop beating around the bush about where this virus generated from and face the facts. It was China. Plain and simple. 


And, political correctness by not saying it came from China is purely ridiculous. If it came from the USA, UK, or France, no one would hesitate to call it the US Virus, the UK Virus, or the French Virus. 

Visiting dung beetle minus his partner and his ball of dung.

Oh, don’t let me go down this road. It’s a slippery slope for me to be hauling out my soapbox which definitely in my nature, for which I struggle to temper on a consistent basis.


So the question to all of you is this… Do I share what I learn conducting research about eight hours a day, or do I stick to the theme of our website; world travel, personal experiences, and now the experience of being in lockdown for over a month in a hotel room in Mumbai India?

The boys toasting to the events of the evening, the night we celebrated Rita’s birthday.  From left to right; Danie, Leon, Tom, Gerhard, and Ken.  What a fun night we had!

We’re going to leave this up to all of you. Please send me an email (see our links on the top right side of the daily post above the photo of us in Petra) and either write (in the subject line):


YES:  Meaning you’d like us to post information we find reliable with  substantiating reliable links and videos or,

NO:   Meaning stick to the usual


Your opinions mean the world to us. We value every one of you who stops by each day to read our often mundane and simple messages along with some occasional more interesting content. Your opinions matter.

It was a dreadfully hot day when I made eight pumpkin pies for our Thanksgiving dinner in the bush. The temp was 40C, 104F, and I had trouble with rolling the dough properly in the humid heat. Thus, I made all of them with a thick crust, all I could manage in the heat and humidity  They tasted good anyway, so they said.

If the majority says YES, we won’t go on a rampage with our opinions, although we may interject a few. We will share what we’re learning each day, along with the trivia of our confinement, future plans, hopes, and dreams.


This doesn’t mean the format or nature of our posts will disappear. It only means we’ll share a few new morsels each day, including from where and whom they’ve been discovered along with appropriate links, which may be web pages or videos.

Bushy-tailed bush baby at Jabula Restaurant’s veranda one Saturday night.

In no way will I be offended or disappointed if you’d prefer we keep our posts to our usual lighter nature, perhaps offering you a respite from being bombarded with COVID-19 news day after day.


We can easily save our views to share with each other, our family and friends, many of whom feel the same way we do…Information should not be censored. We are all adults and mature enough to siphon what information we’ll take to heart or we’ll dismiss entirely or in part.


Of course, when and if we get back to a somewhat “normal” existence once again and return to traveling, our focus will also return to living in the moment, exploring our surroundings and sharing our daily experiences.


Thank you for being on this journey with us. As alone as we are, isolated from social interactions, we never feel alone due to all of YOU. Duh, and each other, too!

______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 26, 2019:

Tom tossed out some cut banana peels to the kudus and one landed on Big Daddy’s head between his massive horns of which he was well aware.  After eating these pellets he made his way to a tree using the branches to knock off the wayward piece of banana peel. 
It took him a few minutes to resolve the issue but once it was done, he walked away shaking his head a few times. Sorry, Big Daddy! For more, please click here.

Haters in the time of COVID-19…Yesterday was a stressful day…Urgent scientific update on COVID-19…


                                     

A heartwarming video we took of a precious little bird hitting the glass walls in the house in Costa Rica in October 2017. It’s a long video but worth watching. See the original post here.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.


Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2018. Please click here for the link.


We were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive responses we received from many of our readers yesterday based on my rant about losing our freedom of speech, particularly during this time of COVID-19. If you missed the post, please click here. Thank you, dear readers, for the feedback!

Happy caterpillar dancing across the floor! Later on, I learned these caterpillars cause a nasty itch that lasts for days when coming in contact with their venom. Later I learned these are Processionary Caterpillars who form a train and crawl up walls, verandas and form a train across the garden.  Not so cute after all.

Fortunately, we didn’t receive a single message from any “haters” which I honestly don’t believe we have who read our site. It’s not necessarily a site that would appeal to haters since we keep controversial topics primarily to ourselves and among our like-minded family and friends.


Haters are not necessarily searching for travel-related sites on which to espouse their toxic opinions. Most travel sites are happy places, sharing the joyful nuances of travel and its many benefits and pleasures.


Now, in this time of COVID-19, while stuck in lockdown with most of the world, I can’t imagine haters will come our way. What’s to hate about these two senior citizens without a home, traveling the world on their own dime, without too much drama other than occasional travel challenges.

We shot this photo of the Crocodile River while standing at the brick overlook. 

Speaking of travel challenges, yesterday presented a few (unrelated to our post) stresses we’ve yet to discuss in detail here. One was the fact that our newer travel health insurance policy through United Healthcare Global’s Safe Trip, was expiring on April 28th according to notes I’d made on our online Cozi calendar.


Noticing this in the morning sent me into a tizzy when based on the time difference I wouldn’t be able to reach the company until their offices opened in the morning which would be close to dinnertime here.

I tried to renew the policy online, but their online site wouldn’t open to their usual purchasing page with a variety of options. All I could find was a notice in bold to call their offices directly, due to COVID-19, during business hours. This meant we had to wait until 5:30 pm. I tried a few numbers and a message stated. “This is no longer a working number.” I panicked.

Could United Healthcare, a huge US insurance company be going out of business? Finally, I called the phone number on our insurance card for medical emergencies when the rep gave me a working number.

On that day, we didn’t see any wildlife along the Crocodile River but, the scenery is always stunning.

Moments later, I was speaking with a competent-sounding representative who explained, after looking up our policy, that our current policy was good until July 28, 2020. 


When my computer crashed several months ago which I replaced with a Chromebook I purchased in India, I’d misplaced the latest purchase on the wrong cloud and couldn’t find anything except the one that expires on April 28th.

We both had forgotten that at the beginning of the explosion of the virus when we hoped to return to South Africa, we’d read online they are now requiring proof of insurance and thus, we ordered the extension to July while we were still touring India. We would have done so anyway but in this case, we ordered it to extend beyond April, just to be safe.

Male ostriches typically have black feathers while females and youngsters are a greyish brown color.

Once we recalled this, we remembered the day we ordered the new policy and moments later the rep sent me the updated documents. He also explained based on my inquiry, that even during this pandemic we will still be able to renew in July for an additional 90 days. Whew.


By the time I was done on the phone, we headed to dinner, both of us feeling relieved. The next thing on our mind was getting our refund from Viking Cruise Line for almost INR 1,526,360, US $20,000, for their cancellation of the 29-night cruise that was scheduled to embark out of Mumbai on April 3rd. 


We’d been notified of the cancellation on March 12th and had begun to worry the smaller cruise line might go bankrupt with all the cancellations and subsequent refunds. Each day since that day, I checked our credit card balance to see if a refund had been posted.

When we saw these baboons, we immediately shut the doors to the house.  Once baboons enter they can tear a house apart.

Last night, after watching two episodes of a British TV series on Acorn TV, I decided to check one more time before settling in for the night. Alas, the credits appeared. We couldn’t have been more thrilled and relieved (other than the day we can finally leave lockdown in Mumbai). 


I slept like a log, as they say. My Fitbit displayed that I’d slept for 8 hours, 9 minutes, only awakening a few times for short periods. I am a new person today.


With renewed enthusiasm and energy based on these two positive outcomes, it feels a little easier today as we tackle yet another day in a small room in a hotel in Mumbai. We’ll all get through this, each in our own way of coping with a variety of stressors and complications.

What a shame, broken pottery next door, all caused bt the baboons. I suppose this lighter weight pottery makes no sense in the bush.

URGENT: We do not profess to be medical experts by any means. However, the attached link of a scientific study on COVID-19 found that high doses and exposure (sunlight) of Vitamin D3 may be influential in reducing the severity of the worst cases of the virus. Right now with so many of us indoors and not exposed to direct sunlight with bare skin, we may be particularly low in this essential nutrient.

Please see this link and decide from there if it’s appropriate for you. Apparently, patients with low Vitamin D3 levels are more susceptible to severe cases of the virus. I just ordered 6 bottles of 10,000 IU gel caps at this link. Please check with your medical professional if this is appropriate for you.
(We are not affiliated with this company in any manner other than for personal purchases).


Stay safe. Continue following guidelines…

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Photo from one year ago today, April 25, 2019:

Rhino hanging out with warthogs. For more photos, please click here.

Conspiracy theories…Alarming news…

From the rooftop of our riad in Marrakesh Morocco in 2014. 



Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.


I made an error in yesterday’s post. The photos included were actually from today’s date one year ago. Since it would take so long for me to make the adjustments, I will leave them in place. No big deal, right?


Today’s photos are from our post on April 24, 2014, while we were living in a riad (a three-story house with a huge open-air center courtyard) in the souk in the Medina, known as The Big Square, in Marrakesh Morocco. It was quite an adventure. We hope you enjoy the photos.

As we walked the souks deciding where to dine, these varying roof lines of a courtyard caught my eye. For this post from April 24, 2014, please click here.

As for today’s heading, I must admit, as an information junkie, I am somewhat obsessed with reading information on COVID-19 which also includes opinions from health professionals, universities, medical institutes, and individuals with expertise from over the world.


Realizing that exploitation is the name of the game when it comes to the news media it’s a challenge to fetter out the truth from the lies and exaggerations. When I hear or read something that rattles my cage, I do my own research, often for hours, seeking the truth of a claim that may sound farfetched.

We were curious as to what lies behind the many doors like this, similar to ours, in the Medina.
My intent today is not to express my personal views on any of the wide array of conspiracy theories that are flooding the news and social media. Some may include a few morsels of truth with a lot of “spin” on it and some may, in fact, be totally accurate or totally false, which may frighten and increase fears of what has transpired and what is yet to come in light of COVID-19.



My own personal truth which I willingly share today is that censorship of our opinions, however farfetched they may be at times, violates our civil rights and freedom of speech. 

There are endless styles of rooflines throughout the Medina.

No, I don’t advocate rioting and toxic vitriol spewed out at random by vehement individuals that have little knowledge or expertise. But, we are interested in hearing the opinions of those who may be qualified to espouse their views and have firsthand knowledge and exposure to truths being discovered at this time.


This morning while on the first of my hourly walks I was listening to a podcast by an individual whom I trust for gathering and sharing information.  What I heard made me walk faster to return to our room so I could verify the facts.

This kitten was tiny, no more than 60 days old, on its own to search for food and shelter. The locals are fond of cats so most likely someone was feeding her.

Effective immediately YouTube will no longer allow videos by anyone, regardless of their expertise and affiliation to express views contrary to those stated by WHO, the World Health Organization. Please see this video here from YouTube’s CEO stating this restriction.


As most of us who are Facebook users, we’ll be seeing fewer and fewer posts on varying views on COVID-19 (and other topics) that don’t concur with their (Facebook’s) views as mentioned in this article.

After hundreds of years of wear and tear, the stones crumble in certain areas, leaving an open spot for trash and debris.  Overall, the souks are very clean.

This infuriates me. Tom, on the other hand, has told me for years this was coming…censorship by social media of what we can and can’t see. When we see information such as this, we can easily fall prey to conspiracy theories since in essence, deciding what we can and can’t say, hear and read may appear as a conspiracy theory in itself.


If those, who weren’t aware of this censorship heard about this, they may say “Hogwash. We have our constitution to protect us!” 


To this, I say “hogwash!” As COVID-19 proliferates throughout the world we see more and more governments dictating our actions, our thoughts and, our right to voice our opinions.

Shades of pink and orange are seen throughout the Medina and souks.

Lockdown is a tough situation for all of us. We understand the necessity of this and most of us have willingly complied. We hope that doing so has ultimately reduced the number of deaths worldwide. 


But now, people need to get back to work, exercising extreme cautions, or our countries as we knew them will be changed forever, while our freedoms may be greatly impacted in the process.


I could take out my soapbox and go on a rant about all of this for months to come. But, I won’t. I can only encourage those of you who are interested in knowing more, to conduct your own research (as long as we can) to determine where you stand on these matters. Perhaps, sometime in the future, the collective, will “have a voice.”


In the interim, please stay safe.

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Photo from one year ago today, April 24, 2019:

This same time the prior year, our little friend, this female toad, (or perhaps another) came to live on this light fixture on the wall of the veranda.  For months, every night, she ate many flying insects to fatten up. We’d leave the light on for a while to ensure she’d have plenty of options.  In the spring, a small male joined her on the fixture and they stayed there together for a few weeks and left, not to be seen again until she’s returned this week. Yet, another cycle of life in the bush. For the post from one year ago, please click here.

Sitting Kills…Moving helps with health and stress…




While living in Atenas, Costa Rica in October 2017, we experienced quite a tropical storm. Please click here for that day’s post.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

A waterbuck at the Crocodile River.

Today’s photos were all from our post from one year ago on this date. Again, we’re disappointed to be posting many photos we’ve already posted in the past, but right now we have no other options when we never step out the door to take photos.


It would be nice to get some fresh air, but now the temperature in India is rising and humidity is high and uncomfortable. At the moment with our room being cleaned, we’re situated in the lobby on comfortable furniture, but it’s very hot in this area.

The ceilings in the lobby and dining room are very high and to keep costs down during the lockdown the air con is turned off in all the common areas including the corridors. We aren’t complaining. We are just happy to be here.

Hippos in the Crocodile River.

After sitting here now in the lobby and also in the hot dining room during breakfast and dinner we’re both hot and sweaty, looking forward to returning to our cool room. Our room bakes with the curtains open and we often consider keeping the sun-blocking drapes shut during daylight hours.


But, it’s imperative to have sunlight in our eyes during the daylight hours to maintain our circadian rhythm to allow for a good night’s sleep. Thus, we keep the darkening drapes open until darkness falls.

A female lion on the prowl.

As I walk through the corridors once an hour the warmth and humidity hit me the minutes I exit the room. I’ve adjusted to this situation by walking once an hour instead of over long stretches. 


Besides, it’s beneficial to get out of a seated position once an hour, which has a vital impact on our state of health. Many years ago I wrote a post about a book I’d read, entitled Sitting Kills. Here’s the link to that story and information on the book, in case you’re interested in reading it. 

A parade of elephants kicking up a lot of dust in Chobe National Park in Botswana. Todays’ photos are from a year ago post. See here for details.

During this disastrous time of COVID-19, it may be of particular interest to those of you who are feeling a little guilty for sitting so many hours a day. Before I started walking I felt angst each time I thought of walking but didn’t feel motivated.


Now, that I am doing it, I can’t express how much better I feel and what a stress reliever it is during these tough days of lockdown. Now that parks and walking paths are opening up all over the world as some restrictions are lessening, it may be the perfect time for many to start walking.


Unfortunately, due to ongoing lockdown restrictions in India, we can’t be seen walking outdoors, besides the fact that it’s too hot and humid. Also, we aren’t in a particularly safe neighborhood in the center of Mumbai.

These knobs on the head of giraffes are ossicones. Females have hair on theirs. Males have lost part of the hair from headbutting when vying for dominance.

I’ve promised myself to continue walking once we eventually leave here, whether it’s safe or allowed to do so outdoors. Walking is walking. Where one does it is irrelevant, as long as its a safe location. Indoors is fine with me if that’s necessary. The steps are still tracked on my FitBit and I continue to experience the benefits.


Yesterday’s post wasn’t my best effort. After days and days of writing with little to no new fodder, the content has been challenging. Thank you, dear readers, for staying with us during these boring times.


I’ve run out of sci-fi movies and Married at First Sight episodes and I’m scrounging for some new content to watch during the quiet afternoon hours when Tom is busy on his laptop. He doesn’t care to watch shows during the day while I can easily get outside my head with a good series or movie. 

Mongooses standing at attention while awaiting eggs. Note the little “arm” holding onto her friend. So cute!

I try not to watch any shows he may like to save those for in the evenings when we watch together. Yesterday, I signed up for Acorn TV on Amazon which is a compilation of great British TV series, some of which we’ve already seen. 


If any of our British readers have any suggestions for TV series they’ve liked, please let us know. We’re now watching a few suggestions from our friend Liz in Bristol, UK. She always makes great recommendations. Thanks, Liz!


So here we are… another day without a huge amount of optimism. But, somehow, we’ll all get through this, regardless of how long it takes for some semblance of our former lives. It will never be the same. I believe we’ve all resigned ourselves to this reality.

Ken, Tom, and Don having a good time, as usual.  We’d planned to all be together again soon before we left in May 2019.

The more we can do to use our time in lockdown for our benefit, both health-wise and emotionally, the better off we’ll be when it does come to an end, of one sort or another.


Hang tight, dear friends. We’re thinking of all of you, along with our family and friends.

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Photo from one year ago today, April 23, 2019:

 A mating pair of hornbills stayed around our garden each day, most likely a mating pair. When they wanted seeds, they sure let us know. For more photos, please click here.


No big COVID-19 talk today…Almost…

As we’d mentioned, we’d post some of our videos on most days. Unrelated to today’s post is Hubbard Glacier while on a cruise in Alaska in May 2017 which is found at this post.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Note the triangular shape of this praying mantis, a photo I’d taken when friends Lesley and Andrew stopped by for a visit and I allowed myself to sit outdoors for a  while with the camera in hand.

All of today’s photos were posted one year ago from here while still in Marloth Park as we awaited the doctor’s OK for us to book a flight to Ireland leaving South Africa on May 11, 2019. 

A face only a mother could love.


Flying on an airplane was a scary prospect for me based on the fact by the time we’d leave, it had been a rough 90 days since the open-heart surgery and only a little over a month since the two surgeries on my infected legs.


We decided to book a business class ticket for me when that particular plane would have special seats that completely reclined. With pillows and blankets provided this would be a much more comfortable option for me, especially being able to keep my legs up throughout the flight.

A distant elephant from across the Crocodile River.

With the added expense of the upgrade, Tom insisted he’d stay in the “coach” section and would be available for me if I needed him. At that point, I was far from recovered. We ordered a wheelchair at each of the airports. As it turned out, it all went well, much better than expected.


Many who’ve had known heart disease before their surgery claim to be so much better once they heal. I never had any signs of cardiovascular disease other than the pain in my jaw which started about a month before my condition was discovered so I never observed feeling better than I had before the surgery.

View of the Crocodile River from Aamazing River View (spelled correctly).
I never had shortness of breath, nor did I ever have chest or arm pain, weakness or a feeling that “something was wrong.” May this serve as a warning to those that may have familial cardiac disease and not be aware of it, until its too late.


Please get checked if members of your familiar had hypertension, heart attacks, strokes, required stents in clogged arteries or ever had any type of cardiac/heart surgery, regardless of your age.
A zebra contemplating his next move.

It’s not a bad idea to have some tests after reaching the age of 60 or 65 to see if you potentially require treatment even if you don’t have any risk factors. By doing so, many fatal heart attacks and disabling strokes may be prevented.


As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, by no means, am I out of the woods. I have chronic, permanent coronary artery disease and there is literally nothing I can do to reverse the damage done thus far.  


All I can do is eat a healthy diet, exercise daily, get plenty of sleep and keep stress to a minimum. Hopefully, my efforts may impact it from getting any worse than it already is.

Baby zebra frightened by all the commotion from the dazzle of zebras nearby.

Fortunately, during the lockdown in India, I am able to eat fresh, healthy meals twice a day; a vegetable and cheese omelet with chicken sausages for breakfast with green tea; and grilled salmon or chicken breasts for dinner with a huge plate of steamed fresh vegetables. 


As for stress, neither of us is feeling stressed, under these peculiar circumstances. The only time we’ve felt stressed, especially me, was a month ago on March 24, when for a few hours, we didn’t know if we had a place to live. 

Instructor Chris and Tom at snake school dealing with a black mamba, one of the most venomous snakes in the world. Yikes!

Today, we paid our hotel bill including the meals for the last four weeks and confirmed our reservation for the next four weeks. With the speed at which India is logging new cases of the virus every day, we could be doing this many more times. 


We accept this fate and continue on with determination and confidence for the future for all of us.


Stay in, stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask and gloves, social distance, stay busy and, continue to have hope.

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

This is one of my top five favorite photos of sightings in Kruger National Park…the prolific impalas.  For more photos, please click here.

Prospects for airports allowing us to enter diminishes over time…

A group of five ambitious men met each day to ride the FlowRider on the ship. 
See this link here for that post two years ago.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Most weekdays, Josiah stopped by in the morning to wash and sweep the veranda, rake the garden and clean the pool. No more than an hour after he’d done, the veranda would dirty again with leaves from the trees, pellets residue and soot from the burning sugar cane a few kilometers away. Tom was always sweeping in order to keep us from tracking the dust, dirt, and debris in the house. By the end of each day, the bottoms of our bare feet were so dirty we’d have to shower again before getting into bed. Today’s photos are from this post two years ago.

Today’s photos are from two years ago today at this link.


With the US closing its borders to all immigrants over the next several months to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are faced with the reality that many other countries will follow suit.

If we’d been in Kruger National Park, we wouldn’t have been able to gain access to this area.

Currently, almost every country around the world has closed its borders to international travel along with its airports and travel is at a standstill. Today, I asked Tom, “How long can we hold out here?”


He answered with a wide grin on his face, “With the Mumbai airport closed, we won’t be going anywhere.” 

Duh, I get that. But at some point, the Mumbai International Airport will open and the challenge for us at that time will be, where we will be able to go? What country will allow us to enter after living in India for three to six months (or more)? 

Taking photos through the fence in Marloth Park was tricky, so we got what shots we could.  At times, we were pleasantly surprised at the finished product.

It may not be South Africa if they, too, impose a ban on all foreigners entering the country for an extended period. Right now, all we’ve heard so far is May 31st. But we don’t have a lot of faith that they’ll allow foreigners to enter even at that date.


Well, the world is a big place. And once the Mumbai airport opens, we’ll let it settle for a few days while we decide where we’d like to go that has an open airport. The possibilities may be few.

But, the magic of our lives is the fact that we can go anywhere we’d like that will be open to our arrival, which we’ll obviously confirm in detail before we book a flight and accommodations. 

Male elephants are kicked out of the herd (parade) when teenagers.  When we saw large numbers, it was unlikely many were males except for those youngsters yet to reach maturity at 13, 14, or 15 years of age.

We can literally pack and be out the door in a few hours. We both believe that within three months, we’ll have some options if South Africa isn’t one of those. We can always go there later when the airports open.


Oddly, we have an Azamara cruise (690 passengers) booked for November 10th from Lisbon to Capetown. If things improve and we aren’t yet in South Africa, we just may be able to make this cruise. The question will be, where we’ll wait for the cruise in the interim, if we are able to leave Mumbai.

Tom’s dear sister Colleen kindly offered her place in Arizona if we decided to return to the US. However, as we’ve mentioned many times in past posts, we have no interest in returning to the US at this time. 

A mom fussing over her offspring.

Even in months from now, the virus in the US will still be rampant, nor do we want to live in the high heat in Arizona during the summer and fall months, there again, stuck inside all day. 


As mentioned in several posts, I am very high risk with asthma, heart disease, and my age and our health insurance can only be used outside the US. We don’t want to take any risks being in the US at this time. Then again, how would we get there with no airport open here?

There are many other countries we’ll be able to travel to at some point. Fortunately, as much as we don’t like wasting valuable time as we age, we are prepared to stay in Mumbai as long as necessary to get us to a suitable location where, perhaps, it will feel more like a continuation of our world travels than trapped in the lockdown.

Neither the elephants nor the waterbucks seem to mind one another’s presence.

Oddly, we are quite fine, as we’ve mentioned. Nor, do we expect our emotional state to change as time marches on. We are doing what many are doing now; reading; watching the news; streaming shows; listening to podcasts: and for me, exercising throughout the day while eating a healthy diet


Tom has been eating a high carbohydrate diet and for now, isn’t gaining weight or suffering any ill effects at this time. (We don’t have access to any snacks or alcohol). Once we get somewhere when I can cook again, he’ll get back to eating a diet similar to mine. 

For us, accepting the realities of this dreadful virus and the consequences facing all of us has provided us with a sense of peace while reducing stress and worry. 

Each day these two females stop by several times with two piglets, most likely several months old.  The two females may be sisters, a mother and daughter from a prior litter or who knows, another relative of one sort or another.  This particular morning the two of them were playing a nose-to-nose game while the two piglets busied themselves with pellets.

Now that DIL Camille is on the mend and sister Susan has been allowed to stay in her assisted living facility (for now due to COVID-19), I can breathe a sigh of relief and make every attempt to live in the moment.


Our hearts go out to all who have lost loved ones during this trying time, either through COVID-19 or other illnesses and to all of the millions of citizens who have lost their jobs, businesses, and sources of income. 

What are you doing today to bring you comfort and reduce the boredom? We’d love to hear from you!

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Photo from one year ago today, April 21, 2019:

An elephant in the bush watching us take photos. For more photos, please click here.