Day #181 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel….Why write a blog about travel?…Today’s 2000 word post for (SEO) Search Engine Optimization…

 

The Treasury in Petra, Jordan! This sight made us gasp with our hearts pounding wildly, less from the  long walk in outrageous heat and more from sheer joy! Please click here for more.

All of my life, I loved writing. As a student, I used the written word as a means to bypass a certain degree of studying by writing flowery essays and compositions in place of countless mundane and boring assignments. Writing as a profession was not only my dream, whether to write a book to be published someday, hoping to attain a level of success or, to explore vast experiences throughout the world, providing me with ample fodder to inspire the words that so freely flew off my fingers on an old fashioned typewriter.

As we all know so well, life gets in the way of many of our dreams and we find ourselves entrenched in the responsibilities of daily life; working, parenting, and financial obligations. My biggest dream was to travel to the African continent, taking endless numbers of photos of wildlife, culture, and nature as well as seeing the other six continents, the rest of the world. Many years passed before the possibility of writing as a profession would present itself.

The walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Please click here for more.

The segue from a dream to reality…

In the 1980s, for the first time in my life, I had an opportunity to travel to several countries, each leaving me longing to sit down and put pen to paper about my experiences. But, here again, the demands of my life as a business owner and parent left me little time to write about my world travel experiences.

Serendipitously, in 1991, while at a business-type social event, I stumbled across a wealthy gentleman who asked me if I knew a writer who may be interested in an unusual project. He’d written two dozen songs and had a burning desire to incorporate them into a play to eventually be produced at a local playhouse. It was impossible for me to resist saying, “I am a writer and I’d be up for the challenge.”

A few days later I met with him at his office, bringing along the favorite pieces I’d written over the years; essays, poetry, the start of a book, and business-related journals. He hired me on the spot. Within days, he presented me with a years-long contract specifying I could take more than one year to write the play using the accompanying music scores he’d written, I’d receive a bonus if it was, in fact, completed in one year.

The Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal, as we entered. Please click here for more.

Traveling to learn to write a play…

Part of my contract provided me with an extraordinary benefit. He’d pay all costs incurred for me to travel to New York, for private training sessions with a world-renowned playwright and professor at Northwestern University. I had no clue how to write a play, although I felt confident I could learn the art. In no time at all, I was on my way to New York City, booked into a fabulous historic hotel with every amenity.

An added perk while in New York was to go to as many Broadway plays as I could possibly attend, making notes on verbiage, nuances, and unique writing styles, adding to my repertoire of experience and the use of language in a major production. I traveled to New York three times to meet with my “teacher” and again, watching a Broadway show each evening. I wished Tom had been with me to revel in this unique opportunity. Somehow, on my own, I grasped every morsel of knowledge I could glean along the way.

A reality of this writing assignment was that I was to be a “ghost” writer and I would never get “credit” for the comprehensive and cohesive story I’d written to work cohesively with the wide array of songs that had nothing to do with one another. Somehow, the magic happened and the year-long task came to fruition.

Looking up at the sky, day and night, is a rare treat, from inside the riad we rented in Marrakech, Morocco, which is defined as a traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard. It rained inside the house while we stayed in the rooms surrounding the center courtyard. For more, please click here.

During this period, when I found myself writing each day, on occasion my mind would wander to the prospect of worldwide travel writing, wondering if that dream would ever materialize. This was almost 30 years ago. When the play was finally produced in the theatre district in Minneapolis, Tom, and I attended opening night to delightfully discover, he had included my name in the program as a “consultant.” I was content.

Where did I go from there?

After the lucrative year-long assignment, I was at a loss as to what to do with my career from there. Writing as a career wasn’t a field whereby one could easily earn a living. So, I opted to return to the business world, where I languished for the next 20 years, to finally retire in 2010, hoping I’d have sufficient fodder to begin to fulfill my lifelong dream of writing about world travels. But, how would that transpire?

Tom and I had married in 1995 and lived a full life in Minnesota, USA. He couldn’t retire until 2012. Like many Minnesotans, they often retire to warmer climates such as Arizona, Florida, or Texas than continue to spend the bitter winter months in the Upper Midwest. This type of life, owning two-homes, didn’t appeal to either of us.

On a Thursday morning in Marloth Park in 2013, as I stepped outside onto the veranda, camera in hand, this was the first thing I saw. Quietly alerting Tom, who was still inside the house, he rushed out to witness this same sight. And then, in minutes they were everywhere, a dozen total. No words can describe our elation. For more, click here.

One day, on a whim, 10 months before Tom’s retirement date of October 31, 2012, I asked him, “Honey, what would you like to do when you retire?”

Flippantly, waving a hand in the air, he replied, “Let’s travel the world!”

I was shocked, never thinking for a moment he’d leave everyone and everything he’d known and loved for all of his life, to begin a life of world travel.

World travel, my dream, my fodder!

My first thought, after shaking my head in shocking wonder was “At last, I could fulfill my dream of becoming a world travel writer.” The fact I was already 62 years old at the time was irrelevant.” A lifelong dream was coming to fruition. Instead of trying to write a book about the simple life of a 62-year-old grandmother, living on a lake in Minnesota, I could ride on a safari vehicle, surrounded by lions and elephants in the savannah of Africa.

Over the next 10 months, every waking moment was spent in the planning stages, and the painstaking process of selling everything we owned; house, cars, household goods, while leaving treasured items for our children, and six grandchildren. No, the decision to leave our family, friends, and everything we owned didn’t come easily.

But, once we made the decision, we were committed to seeing the world and, along the way for me to write a very long, seeming never-ending story of our worldwide travels, day after day, month after month, and year after year. The idea of a years-long journey sent our hearts and minds into a frenzy of incomprehensible joy which neither of us had ever known before.

Alas, we arrived at the magical splendor of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Please click here for more photos.

The painstaking process…

The concept of eliminating every item one has accumulated over a lifetime, resulting in no storage facility that would leave us with an eventual “out” was earth-shattering. We didn’t want to be in a position whereby we wouldn’t “tough it out” if things became difficult. If we stored our belongings, it would be too easy to return to our old lives, taking our “stuff” out of storage, buying a new house, and setting up housekeeping once again. No, we wanted this to be a serious commitment. The world is a huge place and, it was conceivable we could continue to travel for years to come.

Somehow, we managed to unload all of our personal belongings and physical possessions. In the process, we discovered a newly found sense of freedom, one we’d need to carry with us in our worldwide travels and remains with us today.

Fulfillment of a dream… The writing began…

Less than two months after we’d decided to travel the world, I uploaded our first post on March 15, 2012 while naming our site, WorldWideWaftage.com. We found the word “waftage” in an old English dictionary which means to “travel gently by air, sea or land.” That was our plan, to travel the world gently, leaving a small footprint behind us, one of kindness, consideration, acceptance, respect, with profound reverence for the world surrounding us, its wildlife and its people. That philosophy has served us well, eight years later.

We held our breath as we approached Highclare Castle, home of the famed BBC TV series, Downton Abbey.  No interior photos were allowed. Please click here for more photos.

That first post, found here, was finally my chance to write while stepping outside the box of my otherwise uncomplicated life into a world I never dreamed possible. Sure, it was a little late in coming, but we were totally committed to writing about our experiences in traveling the world, with no home to return to, no physical possessions other than that we carried with us, and no easy means of “calling it quits.”

Once that first post was uploaded when miraculously, readers from all over the world found us, I was hooked, as was Tom, who. Although he doesn’t write the words in the posts, he is my right hand, constantly researching to ensure we provide concise and accurate information at every turn. Our diligence in sharing “the truth” and not embellishing our experiences has been a vital aspect of our writings and images. We tell it, “like it is,” rather than some fluffed up the notion of what traveling the world is really like.

In the process over these eight years, we’ve had no haters. Instead, we’ve been blessed with readers who appreciate the opportunity to share in our now daily stories. To date, we’ve written almost 3,000 posts, rarely missing a day since we began posting daily over seven years ago.

At one point while Tom had an opportunity to be a shepherd in Witheridge, Cornwall, the sheep turned and made an incorrect turn (herd mentality) and again, Tom guided them back in the right direction.  Please click here for more photos.

What about writer’s block?

“Writer’s block” doesn’t exist in our world, even after the past over six months we’ve spent living in an average-sized hotel room in Mumbai, India whereby we had to cut short a prepaid 55-day private tour of India when COVID-19 hit and the lockdown began. At the onset of the lockdown, I was worried we’d run out of topics and stories to tell.

Fortunately, our previous almost 3,000 posts provided us with exciting photos from the past eight years of world travel. Each day, we’ve shared some of our new thoughts and experiences while in lockdown, while adding photos from past posts to fulfill our reader’s objectives of staying in touch with us as they, too, remain in lockdown all over the world.

As for the writing of the past posts, I can honestly say, there was never a day in our ongoing eight long years of world travel, where we couldn’t come up with a story to tell, a series of photos to share, or a message from our hearts. We’ve weathered unbelievably stressful and worrisome events to some of the greatest joys of our lives, never failing for a moment to appreciate these gifts we’ve been given of traveling the world for years, not weeks, not months.

Pairs, at night on a dinner cruise on the River Seine. The Assemblee Nationale, the French National Assembly.  Please click here for more photos.

What does the future hold? Will we have more world travel stories to write?

These challenging times of a worldwide pandemic, impacting every man, woman, and child wherever they may be on this vast planet, will eventually waft away. We can only hope and pray that we’ll have enough desire and commitment to manage our way through the upcoming obstacles presented from this disaster, by continuing in our worldwide travels, writing new stories each and every day, sharing a tender, earth-shattering, profound, and jaw-dropping experiences as we continue to strive to fulfill the final stages of our journey.

In conclusion…

We’ve traveled to seven continents. We’ve walked the rough terrain in the islands of Antarctica, witness to millions of penguins. We walked the long and arduous journey to the unearthed city of Petra in Jordan in 110F, 43C, temperatures. We’ve sailed on 27 cruises throughout the world.

In Antarctica, both of us holding the “I crossed the Polar Circle” sign. Please click here for more photos.

We’ve transited the Panama Canal twice. We’ve walked in the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. We’ve dined on a luxury watercraft on the River Seine in Paris. We’ve lived on working farms in the countryside in Cornwall, England. We’ve lived in the bush in South Africa with wild animals wandering about our holiday house, day and night. We’ve felt the spray from Victoria Falls in our faces in both Zimbabwe and Zambia in Africa. We lived in a riad in the Souks of The Big Square in Marrakesh, Morocco. We visit the famous castle from Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle, in England.

We never imagined we’d see the Taj Mahal. And yet, in February 2020 on a hazy morning, it lay before our eyes in its full splendor. Please click here for more photos.

And, most recently, we’ve traveled India on the world-renowned Maharajas Express luxury train, eventually ending up in Mumbai in a six-month-long lockdown in a hotel near the airport, hoping someday to be able to carry on.

Through it all, we’ve continued to write our thoughts, our feelings, our dreams, and our sorrows as we’ve embarked upon this year’s long journey to see the world and its treasures, many of which are yet to behold.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 20, 2019:

During a visit to the Bodmin Moors in Cornwall, England, Tom wasn’t comfortable in this position for long. From this site: “The pillory is a device made of a wooden or metal framework erected on a post, with holes for securing the head and hands, formerly used for punishment by public humiliation and often further physical abuse.” Please click here for more photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Day #180 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Frustration over WiFi issues…A cultural experience in Kenya in 2013…

 

This is a rendition of Hans‘, our landlord’s new construction project. (The pool is not illustrated in this rendition.). He was proud to show us the construction phase of his project which proved to be fascinating to us. Construction is done very differently in Kenya and overall in Africa.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

Yesterday, when I was attempting to upload the post I was unable to edit the line and paragraph spacing. I tried everything possible to accomplish this to no avail. I uploaded the post anyway. A few hours later as I was working on editing the archived posts, I ran into more issues, finally giving up for the day.

As we entered the multi-unit building site under construction, we were amazed by all of the handmade ladders, made from materials on the site.

Hanging over my head is the necessity of preparing those 2000 word posts for our website optimization process. One is done with four more to go. It will take me weeks to accomplish this task. The WiFi issues simply added to the stress of having the 2000 word posts on my mind.

Branches, used as supports.

At 3:00 pm, I finally gave up trying, figuring “let’s take a break” and stream a few favorite shows. After trying to stream for almost an hour, I gave up and called the desk to report our WiFi wasn’t working. It was way too slow. Within minutes I was on the phone with the hotel’s tech support person.

The expected completion of the first of four buildings on this particular site was expected to be at the end of 2013.

It took another hour to get the WiFi working properly on our Chromebooks and Tom’s phone, which finally seemed to be working efficiently. But, my smartphone would not allow the connection to take hold. The tech guy met me outside our door in the hallway to work on my phone. He wore a new pair of rubber gloves and a face mask as I’d requested.

Another hour later, after making several calls to his support team, my phone was working. I was sweating profusely while waiting in the hot, humid corridor that has no air-conditioning and was anxious to get back into our cool room. By then, it was time to order dinner.

Seemingly fearless workers worked atop the highest levels of the building utilizing their handmade ladders.

Thoughts ran through our minds on how awful it would be to be without WiFi while in lockdown in this room. There are few English-speaking TV channels. That would have been one long night. We were grateful everything was up and running, anxious to return to our usual routine.

These coral rocks for both the pool and the buildings were hand-dug on the premises.

The chef sent me a complimentary treat of a side plate of garlic buttered prawns as a possible alternative dinner option. Before I order these, which, by the way, were delicious, I’ll check on the portion size and price. Ordering a tiny 4 oz. filet of salmon runs about US $18, INR 1325. These tasty prawns could easily be US $20, INR 1472 or more. Based on the fact the only side dish I can eat with it, is a half-cup portion of sauteed vegetables, is not worth it to me. It would be the same if I ordered the prawns.

Coral and mortar, placed by hand, to build a swimming pool.

After not eating anything from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm, a tiny portion doesn’t do it for me. Nor is it worth the cost for us to pay US $30, INR 2208, or more for dinner each night. I can easily live with chicken meat, spinach, or mushrooms for dinner occasionally adding two hard boiled eggs I may save from breakfast. This meal will hold me through the evening. Ah, the trials of living in a hotel!

These solid cement blocks were made on site in one of the future bedrooms!

Today’s photo from Diani Beach, Kenya makes us realize how many opportunities we had for adequate fodder for our daily posts, with many accompanying photos. Now, I look around this small room and don’t see a single thing worthy of taking a photo. If you have any suggestions, please do share.

This is the stairway we took, albeit carefully, to the 3rd level to see the penthouse, also still under construction.We were long gone by the time this project was completed.

Not much on the agenda today. Once I upload this post I will get to work on the next 2000 word post. I’m sure happy I got the tax information to our accountant this past week. That’s one less project on my mind. I may be bored but I’m definitely busy.

“Jambo,” yelled the workers as they smiled and waved at us.

Hope your day is filled with pleasant projects. If we had a home of our own now, every drawer, every closet, every cupboard, the attic and the basement would be spotless and organized. Lockdown has certainly inspired me to get things done, even in our life of world travel.

Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 19, 2019:

Goats love standing on the highest structure wherever they may be. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Day #179 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Hope on the horizon???…

 

Last night as we greeted Jeri and Hans in the yard, Tom took this shot.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living on the island of Diani Beach, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

Yesterday, after preparing and uploading the daily post, I spent the entire afternoon, writing, and editing the first of five special 2000 word posts required for our web developers to set up with keywords to increase our web traffic. Doing so will increase our position in Google and other search engines for us to be found more readily by the user searching using specific keywords.

Only moments later he took this shot, but oddly, the sky appeared brighter.

Since our site’s main focus hasn’t been to generate income in the past, we never went through this procedure in the past. Generally, this is a very expensive process since the site must be observed by the developers on a regular basis.  Based on the wonderful relationship we’ve built with Kate, we have been able to secure a reasonable cost of this ongoing process. She can be reached at the following:

Name: Kate Miller
Phone No: +91 8431344070
A baboon shot on our return cab ride from the grocery store. They approach the car when we stop, curious to see what food we may have for them. We had none but a lot of tourists buy bananas to give to them.
Several weeks ago we wrote a detailed post, at this link, about this fine company who has diligently and professionally handled my frequent questions and changes with the utmost patience and ease. I couldn’t recommend them more. The fact they are also in India was merely a fluke, but somehow it provided us with an added level of comfort knowing they were working with us from India.
However, they will work with clients from all over the world. No longer is a face to face meeting needed for web development for small to mid-size sites and businesses. Writing a post with 2000 words was challenging. Our usual posts are 1000 words or less. By the way, recently, we watched a fantastic Australian TV series, entitled “800 Words” about a blog writer, his daily 800 word posts, and his interesting life after his beloved wife passed away.
Our glass table was set and ready for our dinner guests, the landlord, and his wife. With no Windex or glass cleaner in the grocery stores, I’ve had a heck of a time cleaning the glass table top. I asked Hesborn how he is able to clean it so well with no streaks. He said he uses soap and water on a rag, drying it with a dry towel. I tried this method, only to end up with streaks.
If you’re into “binge-watching,” “800 Words” is an easy and entertaining series to keep you engaged for days, if not weeks, with its many episodes. We found it on Amazon Acorn for US $5.99, INR 439, a month. Acorn has many fantastic British, Irish, and Australian series. Please feel free to ask us for suggestions if you decide to give it a try.
On another note, there’s a lot of commotion in the corridors lately, making it difficult for me to walk every 30 minutes. I recently changed my walking schedule from every hour to every half hour still reaching my 10,000 step goal each day. Breaking it up this way has made it less boring, I’ll do anything within reason to break up the boredom.
This is Jessie, who disappeared for 24 hours to later be returned by a kind local man after he’d heard that a small long-haired dog was on the loose. She and I became very close during the three months. She wasn’t allowed indoors but she waited outside our front door all night, excited to see me in the morning.
Lately, busy with the new site and all the changes requiring most of my day, along with the walking, I’ve had little time to watch shows in the late afternoon, instead, saving dinner time and the evenings when we can finally relax. I have never been one to enjoy “working” in the evenings.
But, most recently, the web developers who work well into the night, have asked me questions which couldn’t wait until the next day.
In an attempt to avoid stress and cut into our relaxation times, today, I asked them to save their questions for me for the following day, if possible. It’s a true balancing act for us to maintain a positive attitude in this peculiar situation.
We’ve found that maintaining our comfortable routine helps us avoid “over-thinking” and worrying. Escaping into our shows each evening is an excellent opportunity to escape.
Jeri and Hans, our landlords, neighbors, and new friends joined us for dinner.

Subsequently, we are both holding our own, staying upbeat, and hopeful for the future. News coming out of South Africa states (true or not) they are opening their borders soon, but are restricting travelers from certain countries from entering.

This could easily exclude India and the US. Both have to be allowable for us to be allowed to enter. The wait continues.

Right now, we can’t plan a thing until our FedEx package arrives. It’s still stuck in Delhi, after two full months. We shall see how this goes.
Stay safe.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 18, 2019:

An adorable pygora goat on the farm in St. Teath, Cornwall, England, posing for a photo atop the picnic table.  “The pygora goat is a cross between the pygmy goat and the angora goat that produces three distinct kinds of fleece and has the smaller size of the pygmy.” For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day #178 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…The challenges of a new site…Photos from Fiji in 2015…

 

Yesterday, Tom took this stunning photo of the coral reef in Fiji from a high peak he climbed with our friendly neighbor, Sewak.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2015, while we were living on the island of Vanua Levu in Savusavu, Fiji. For more on this date, please click here.

Firstly, I felt compelled to share a challenge I am facing over the next few weeks, one I am not in the mood to do whatsoever. in order to acquire new traffic on our new site, This is called SEO which is described as follows:

What is SEO?

“SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”

Sewak’s home of over 40 years includes a separate Hindu temple area and family shrine which he happily showed us.

This is a normal process to accomplish on most websites, especially in our case, when our newly revised site looks forward to further enhancing our traffic than we experienced in the past on Blogger. Why more traffic? Our goal for the upcoming years is to increase the revenue on our site by more clicks on our advertisers. The more clicks, the more revenue we’ll generate.

Once this is accomplished, I’ll begin to work on adding advertisers to our YouTube page. There, also, we’ve had millions of readers, but this is another opportunity to generate more revenue, a normal part of having an online presence.

The hilly side yard at Sewak’s home.

Over the years, I’ve mentioned we weren’t doing our site to earn a living or to fund our world travels. However, we’d like to generate enough income to pay for the cost of maintaining our new site, including ongoing developer support, promotional costs and design enhancements.

This will not impact your continued readership in any manner. You do not have to buy a thing or even use our advertiser links if you prefer not to. However, we appreciate the tiny commissions we may earn if you do so, keeping in mind, you do not pay a penny more from using our advertisers than going directly to those sites from Google or another search engine.

Sewak drove us up this steep hill in his truck for this view. It was outrageously steep.

In the interim, the web developer has given me “homework.” I have to write five new posts of at least 2000 words each, (twice our usual daily text count) to include the “keywords” we’ll be using. The last thing I feel like doing right now is writing additional posts, over and above those, I already write daily, a project I thoroughly enjoy.

Ensuring these SEO posts consist of this large word count will be challenging so I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think how I can make this fun for me and also, enjoyable for YOU to read once they are uploaded as five individual daily posts over five scattered days.

Some of my photos were slanted. I was standing on a steep hill and didn’t properly adjust for the angle.

The only way I could reframe this task was to find a sense of satisfaction in the knowledge that I’ll be summarizing multitudes of accumulated world travel tips that hopefully appeal to readers of all ages and from many parts of the world. These five posts will be a compilation of our vast travel experiences over the past almost eight years.

We’ll be focusing on tips to save money on travel; tips in regard to safety, health, and well-being while traveling; reveling in the safari experience and wildlife in general;  booking hotels, holiday homes, cars and flights and more. Each of the five posts will have their own theme.

The wind was blowing requiring Tom to hold this perfect flower for my shot while we toured Sewak’s grounds.

For our long-time readers, some of this information may be redundant. But, we’ll make every effort to make it light and refreshing in every manner possible. We’ll also be factoring in the new normal we are all facing in light of COVID-19 and how it may impact each of these topics.

As for today’s photos, last night, after watching the exciting new series on Amazon Prime, “The World’s Toughest Eco-Challenge Fiji.” It’s been special for us to once again see the warmth and kindness of the Fijian people as they assist the competitors along the way. Also, it’s been fulfilling to be reminded of the beauty of these exquisite islands. Fiji, info follows:

Fiji’s 300 islands

“The archipelago consists of some 300 islands and 540 islets scattered over about 1,000,000 square miles (3,000,000 square km). Of the 300 islands, about 100 are inhabited. The capital, Suva, is on the southeast coast of the largest island, Viti Levu (“Great Fiji”).”
Badal, Sewak’s dog, bounded up the steep hill with ease. Badal visited us every night for dinner. We made him a plate of the delicious meats we were having for dinner. We’d asked Sewak if it was OK if Badal ate meat with us since he is vegetarian as an Indo-Fijian. He assured us it was no problem. Badal arrived at our door every night about 30 minutes before we dined, politely awaiting his plate of food.
If you are Amazon Prime members you can watch this fascinating race at no additional cost. Lately, we’ve been watching many of Amazon’s original series, some of which we’ve thoroughly enjoyed while in lockdown, day after day.
Off I go now, for yet another walk in the corridor. The convention guests have left and the hallways have re-opened for us, making the walking a bit less boring. Anything to keep us from being bored while in lockdown, now on day #178, in this hotel.
Have a safe and pleasant day.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 17, 2019:

The church’s bell tower is similar to those seen on series, “Game of Thrones” and other historical movies and TV shows.For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

Day #177 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Two spaces or one at the end of sentence?…

 

Hans invited us up to his third level veranda in Kenya for “happy hour” and to watch the sunset. As we enjoyed the view from up high, we all noticed this animal’s butt sitting inside a window of a thatched roof. Definitely not a monkey with this type of tail, we anxiously waited for it to turn around. By the time it was totally dark, it hadn’t moved, leaving us all without a clue as to what type of animal it had been.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya for three months. For more details from that post, please click here.

The sunset is beautiful everywhere. From the third floor of Hans’ house, we were thrilled to take photos of the progression of the sun’s setting on the horizon.

As I muddle my way through our almost 3,000 archived posts to make corrections I continue to stumble across a dilemma…Do I remove two spaces after each sentence/paragraph and change it to one space or leave it as is, at two spaces? For us old-timers who learned to type on an old-fashioned typewriter, two spaces were the correct procedure.

Today, with the advent of digital means of typing, this simple dilemma may have changed. Subsequently, as I labor through post after post, barely able to get through 20 posts a day, I realize that the bulk of the corrections I am making in tightening up the space between two sentences.

Hans made Tom one of his special local concoctions while I sipped on my usual ice tea while chatting with Hans’ lovely wife Jerie.

Of course, I searched online for the answer, hoping to find a definitive solution. But, like many topics, the variations in opinions are overwhelming, Some dictionary sites say “one space” and others say “two-spaces” makes the text easier to read. Oh, good grief. I’ve already spent hours correcting thousands of these.

As the sun set, the lush greenery appeared brighter than during the day’s sun.

Here’s some information I found on this topic:

“Why you should or shouldn’t put two spaces after a period?
Hence the adoption of the twospace rule—on a typewriter, an extra space after a sentence makes text easier to read. … Because we‘ve all switched to modern fonts, adding two spaces after a period no longer enhances readability, typographers say. It diminishes it.”
Or,

“There was a time when every period, question mark, or exclamation point was followed by two spaces. These days, depending on what you’re reading, you can find either one or two spaces between the end of one sentence and the beginning of another.”

Look at these lush ferns, abundant in Kenya’s humid weather.

After reading further I came to the conclusion that in today’s world, one space after a sentence should, in fact, be one, not two. So, how does this impact my corrections on almost 3,000 posts going forward? I’ve opted for one space, thus doubling the time it takes to correct errors on each page.

And, what types of other errors am I encountering?

  1. Spelling: (I am using Grammarly and Ginger for assistance)
  2. Font size: Which I’ve decided to leave as is since it takes so long to correct.
  3. Punctuation
  4. Grammar: Many comma placement errors and sentence structure (I am using Grammarly and Ginger, two apps, for assistance)
  5. Paragraph and line spacing
  6. Missing or inadequate links
  7. Verbiage errors, restructuring sentences, etc.
  8. Photo placement/positioning
  9. Caption errors on all of the above
  10. Issues with headings
  11. Repetitive words reduction
    The haze, a result of both humidity and fires burning, leaves an eerie view over the horizon.

Well, as you can see, making these corrections is a lot more complicated than one might expect. Why am I doing this when the majority of our readers don’t really care one way or another? (Thanks for that!). Many of our posts were completed under time constraints, or days when I wasn’t as attentive as I should have been. Many other posts were completed when the WiFi signal was poor and making corrections was nearly impossible, let alone typing the text.

From high up on the veranda, these coconuts caught my eye. They are everywhere!

Excuses aside. Human nature. We make errors, especially me when 365 days a year I write the equivalent of an essay from 700 to 1000 words, mostly with photos which is a breeding ground for human error.

Now, as I go back through each post, one by one, I am certainly missing some corrections or, in fact, making new errors in the process. Also, I am making new errors in the new posts I am doing now. It’s not perfect, nor am I, nor is Tom’s daily proofreading. But, we continue to strive, each and every day to get this message to our loyal readers/friends/family to let you know what we’re doing, feeling, and thinking.

Soon, the sun would set and darkness would fall as the sounds of the nocturnal wildlife rings through the air throughout the night.

Hopefully, in the near future, we’ll have more to discuss than mere “dots.”

Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, September 16, 2019:

As we approached St, Michaels and All Angels, Church of England in Michaelstone, Cornwall, we were in awe of its beauty. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Day #176 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…The adventures in Kenya continue…Dining in a cave…

 

Dinner in a cave at Diani Beach, Kenya, seven years ago today. I thought Tom looked great in this photo, but I reminded myself of Morticia wearing all black or, on the day in Abu Dhabi, UAE, when we entered the famed White Mosque, requiring that I wore the black abaya in the 100+ degree weather.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya for three months. For more details from that post, please click here.

Standing at the top of the stairway leading down to the natural cave, we were able to look down at the bar below. Every effort was made to maintain the original integrity of this environment when it became a restaurant over 100 years ago, renovated in the 1980s.

As we recall the photos and story from seven years ago today, we are reminded of how we may have taken our “freedom” for granted. To be able to dine out, be outdoors, see wildlife, flowers, plants, and trees and people were always a delight, but, perhaps, will be all the more meaningful going forward.

The lounge in the bar where we had our drinks while waiting for our table. The restaurant didn’t open until 7:30 pm with most diners not appearing until 8:30 or later. I guess us old folks from the US are early diners. We’ve found that dinner is typically served at 8:00, often 9:00 pm or later as we’ve traveled the world.

As mentioned in a prior post, we’re attempting to determine a lesson or purpose that will serve us in years to come from these many months in lockdown. Will a greater sense of freedom be the answer to this question? For our regular readers, it’s been evident all these years that we’ve been grateful and appreciative of our surroundings, never taking anything for granted. Should a sense of freedom become the focal point for our past and future appreciation and gratitude?

Another view of the seating areas in the bar, depicting somewhat of a Moroccan theme, which was ahead for us at this point when we’d booked a holiday home in Marrakesh, Morocco, a mere six months later.

Today, as we see how much enjoyment we derived from yet another evening’s foray in sampling Kenya’s dining various establishments in Diani Beach, my heart did a flutter thinking how much fun that would be now. The variety of food options, the ambiance, and the possibility of a cocktail or glass of wine, sends my taste buds and brain into a frenzy of hopefulness and excitement.

View of the walls in the bar. All lighting in the walls and at the table as a result of candles, creating a warm atmosphere, romantic to say the least.

This special experience in Kenya on this date seven years ago, dining in a cave was memorable, so much so we returned a second time. The ambiance was over-the-top as shown in today’s photos, the food was fresh and delicious and the service was exemplary.

Diners began to filter in around 8:00 pm, filling all tables by the time we were ready to leave around 9:45 pm. We’d been warned not to rush the servers in Africa. Many countries’ servers are accustomed to taking their time in delivering the bill. Most often, as is the case in Kenya and many other countries, tips are only allowed to be paid in cash, not added to the credit card slip.  That required us to keep adequate cash on hand.

The ambiance of any venue is definitely a  factor in enjoying a meal. Whether it be in a pleasant holiday home, comfortably situated at a dining room or kitchen table, dining out in a lively atmosphere of a popular everyday dining establishment or a cozy, romantic spot such as illustrated in today’s photos, it all adds to the enjoyment of the meal and of course, the companionship.

Compliments of the chef, we were both served this tangy GF marinated salad. Tom took one bite turning his serving over to me, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

In this case, in Diani Beach, we couldn’t have enjoyed it more. The unique decor, lighting, and service added another element to our meals. We’d expected it to be more expensive and were pleasantly surprised by the reasonable bill, which, with the cost of the driver (who waited for us in the parking lot), the food, tax, tips, and beverages, the total was only US $68, INR 4999, for the entire evening. I didn’t order alcohol, only a Perrier, my drink of choice at that time.

This was the view to my right as we sat at a cozy, not too small table against one of the walls. We always prefer a wall, table as opposed to one positioned in the center of the room.

As mentioned in the past, I didn’t drink any alcohol for about 20 years. I didn’t have a “drinking” problem, but just decided to stop for health reasons, thinking it was “better for me.” Ultimately, it seemed to make no difference at all in my health whether I drank wine or not.

My dinner, Cheesy Chicken atop a pesto sauce was well seasoned and pleasing to the palate, although the serving size was small. Rather than a chicken breast, this serving was a small single thigh which with the vegetables proved to be sufficient.

After open-heart surgery, the cardiologist and surgeon suggested that drinking red wine in moderation was good for the heart. I’m still not certain if that’s been proven inconclusive, but for now, I’ll go with that theory. Good grief, one has to enjoy life, too! Then again, there’s certainly no wine in my life at this point in time, and won’t be until we leave here someday.

Tom’s dinner of two small Filet Mignon, each with a different sauce.

When looking online, it appears that Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant is still open, even during this time of COVID-19. If we ever return to Diani Beach, Kenya, which we may, we’ll visit this fine restaurant once again, to renew the experiences we had in 2013.

The stairway going up and out of Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant. Gee, we’ve gone up and down a number of stone stairs in those past months!

For now, we have what we have; safety, relative comfort, air-con, a comfortable bed, housekeeping, shows to stream in the evenings, good WiFi, and… All of you beside us, encouraging us with your positive feedback each and every day.

May your day bring you comfort and peace of mind amid all this madness.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ____________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, September 15, 2019:

The driveway from our house in St. Teath, Cornwall, England, to the narrow road. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

Day #175 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Amazing memories in frustrating times…

The lodge at Sanctuary Olonana where we’ll experience our first safari in October 2013.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya for three months. For more details from that post, please click here.

Recalling the day we booked our first safari while sitting on the veranda/living room outdoors at the holiday home in Kenya, is as easy as if it was yesterday. Our enthusiasm coupled with a tinge of fear made our hearts race. One never knew what to expect going on safari. And watching YouTube videos wouldn’t be helpful at all when so many consist of dangers encountered while on safari.

Our hope was to see The Great Migration but once we arrived in Tanzania, the bulk of it had moved on, although we did see the tail end.

Now, seven years later, we’ve been on more safaris than we can count in several African countries including Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Morocco, and now, in India at three different national parks. We’re not trying to break any safari expedition’s count or race. We simply revel in the vast experiences we’ve had over the years.

Our first safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in  Kenya still remains our favorite of all the other experiences. A few times, we’ve been asked how many times we’ve been on safari and counting all the self-drives we’d done in Kruger National Park, most likely, we’re well over 100 safaris.

We went on two game drives each day, one in the morning from 6:30 am until lunchtime and another in the early evening from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Often, meals will be served in the bush, as we and the other guests feast our eyes on the surrounding wildlife.

The bouncing, the dust flying in our faces, the jolts, and fast turns make a safari as unusual adventure requiring a but of stamina and endurance. After each several hour-long safaris in the jeep-type vehicles with open sides, we felt as if we’d been exercising for hours.

Oddly, with my newer Fitbit, when we were on safari over 12 times in India, my readings showed I’d walked almost 30,000 steps each day from the mere rough ride in the vehicle. This made us laugh when we’d spent the majority of the day sitting in the vehicle.

Most of these photos were from the Sanctuary Olonana website. .

Getting in and out of a safari jeep can be challenging for those with mobility issues and unsteadiness. While we were on safari in India, it was only 11 months after my open-heart surgery. My legs weren’t stable after two surgeries only nine months earlier, and my breastbone felt as if it hadn’t entirely healed.

Even my arms were still weak and guarded. Riding in the vehicle was challenging when holding on tight which was imperative in many situations as our guide worked his/her way around rough roads, potholes, and uneven terrain. Somehow, the prospect of spotting tigers in the wild was sufficiently exciting to keep me from thinking of any potential discomfort.

In the event of rain or if we were able to be inside air-conditioned comfort. The lodge at the camp provides indoor activities, a bar, and a restaurant although as it turned out we were on safari for the bulk of the day. Our living quarters were lavish private tents on the banks of the Mara River, overlooking families of hippos splashing and snorting in the water. We could hear the hippo sounds starting around 3:00 am each morning.

Now after walking 5 miles a day (8 km) for so many months, I know I’d do a whole lot better. I continue to work my arms while walking to build up strength and resilience and staying mindful of good posture and stance.

As for the Maasai Mara, named after the Maasai people of Kenya, a tribe known for their colorful red garb and unusual diet consisting primarily of cow’s blood, it is also known for the Mara River which millions of wild animals, mainly wildebeest cross each year on their annual migration.

This is a typical interior of one of the permanent tents, outfitted with full bathrooms, electricity, free WiFi, and mosquito nets.  We always share one bed when there’s two, using the other for our “stuff.”  We brought our laptops, two cameras, binoculars, and other digital equipment, writing here each day with many photos.

Ah, my heart aches for such an experience now. The dust in my face, the jarring ride, and the challenge of getting in and out of the jeep are insignificant compared to the joy of being witness to this world of wonder once again.

As we continue over the next several weeks, sharing photos from that stunning expedition, we’ll be reminded once again of this exceptional adventure, unlike anything we’d ever done in our old lives. And now, who knows what the future has in store for us in months or years to come? We hold our breath in anticipation of leaving India to head to other lands with other joys, many of which are almost impossible to describe.

We were fortunate to see many Mr. or Ms. Rhino while in the Maasai Mara.

Be well.

___________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, September 14, 2019:

The Towne Centre Theatre in Wakebridge, Cornwall where we watched the Downton Abbey movie the day it was released in the UK. For more details, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Day #174 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Waiting for two items from FedEx for months……

Hesborn, our houseman in Kenya, with his machete preparing to cut this thick stringy exterior off of the coconut before releasing the stringy brown interior that we’ve seen for sale at the grocery store. He willingly cut these for us whenever we requested.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya for three months. For more details from that post, please click here.

This morning I ventured downstairs to the reception desk to pay our food bill for the past 12 days (we’d already paid for the hotel for this period using priority points from Hotels.com on our site) and allow the hotel to put a hold on our credit card for the next number of days we have booked until October 3rd.

At dusk, Tom shot this Kenya sky. Rather impressive for the infrequent photographer.

You’d think after living here for almost six months they would dispense with the “hold” and just charge our card for actual charges when it was time to pay again. I suppose they have rules and regulations preventing them from doing it any other way.

With little to no future travel booked, we have plenty of room on our credit cards which all have been at a zero balance due to paying them off quickly when the new hotel charges are posted. I guess it doesn’t really matter since we don’t pay interest on holds nor do we have to actually pay the amount of the hold.

In Kenya, I pulled up a chair close to the open wrought iron weaving (to keep us safe from the monkeys or other larger animals) surrounding our outdoor living room to take photos of the many birds singing in the yard. In my impatience, I was unable to capture many birds instead, focusing on items that caught my attention such as these branches in the shadows.

Holds are there for security for the hotel that we don’t bail in the middle of the night without paying. That’s unlikely, let alone bailing at all, after paying the current bill. The security here is tight, not only for potential thieves who might try to escape without paying but to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

Speaking of credit cards, in July, one of Tom’s card numbers was stolen while we’ve been in lockdown in India, for an unauthorized purchase in the US. The credit card was immediately canceled and a new one was mailed to us mid-July via FedEx. Also, in July, we ordered a package from our mailing service that included our new second passports, among other much-needed items. Neither of these two packages has yet to arrive, although they arrived in India a few days after they were sent. They are just sitting in Delhi.

The red in the background is a bunch of flowers on the bush behind this palm.

We’ve called FedEx. We’ve emailed FedEx. Each time, they say they are working on it. I am going to call again tomorrow but now I need to get “mean.” I don’t like threatening and being forceful but I can do this while staying calm, whereas Tom would flip his lid. Flipping one’s lid never works.

We need to receive these items before we leave here or we’re in big trouble. We need these items. We knew it could take four to six weeks to receive the packages but two months is ridiculous. We’ve often had such problems receiving packages in various countries in the past and, in the future, we will try to figure out ways to avoid the necessity of receiving packages from the US, if possible.

The tall pointed thatched roof of the house next door to us.

As for my recent change in diet, eliminating the carbs in my dinner each night, I am managing without the carb-laden meals, instead, eating smaller portions of protein and healthy fats, such as eggs, salmon, and cheese. It will take quite a while for me to reap the benefits of a much lower-carb diet, potentially as long as two to three months. In the interim, I am experiencing what they call, the “keto flu,” when your body starts burning its own fat stores for fuel as opposed to those derived from card-laden foods.

This is the very noisy and particular female of the yellow bird, the African Golden Weaver, less colorful. They are elusive, sensitive to movement, making photo taking a near impossibility for a novice such as I. She seeks the colorful yellow male capable of building a satisfactory nest. She landed in our outdoor living room, enabling me to get this lopsided shot.

It was this way of eating nine years ago that totally eliminated the pain I’d been suffering for years. Now, I am hoping my strict return to this manner of eating will serve me well once again. As a result of the diet change, the “keto flu,” leaves me sluggish with a lack of energy. This will pass within a few weeks. After all, I have all the time in the world.

This coconut meat Hesborn prepared for us was exceptional, the best I’ve had. Tom has no interest in eating this without sugar so he passed it up. What a treat!

As hard as it’s been to continue walking right now, every 30 minutes I force myself to get up and get out into the corridor to walk for yet another ½ mile until I reach 5 miles per day (8 km). With convention guests still here, there is still only a short portion of the corridor we can walk (Tom walks, too). Hopefully, soon we’ll have access to the entire corridor making the walks less boring.

As we’re sitting in our outdoor living room that morning while writing, seven goats jumped over their stone wall behind our yard directly into our yard only a few feet from us. They decided to dine on the lush leaves of the hibiscus bushes in our yard.

I am still working on the edits/corrections for all past posts. Today, I’m on page #128 of #149 (I’m working backward. There are 20 posts per page) which means that in approximately 4 months, 28 days, I’ll be done. I hope by then, I’ll be finishing this huge project from some other location. Good grief!

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Photo from one year ago today, September 13, 2019:

A gorgeous countryside view as we drove toward Port Isaac from St. Teath (pronounced, “breath”) For more photos, please click here.

 

 

Day #173 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A learning experience in Kenya…

Hesborn, our houseman, in Kenya stopped by Wednesday morning, after a full night of rain, showed us this carnivorous, stinging, dangerous creature which actually has less than 100 legs, and yet is still referred to as a centipede.  He warned us not to walk in the grass after rain. A sting from this ugly creature will require a trip to an emergency room. These not only walk but also are known to climb up bedposts. Oh.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya for three months. For more details from that post, please click here.

Living in Kenya for three months beginning in September 2013 was the best possible introduction we could have asked for in order to adapt to life in Africa. As many of us are well-aware Africa is an entirely different and unique environment from that we were used to, spending the majority of our lives living in the US. This may well be the case for many citizens of the world who are living in modern-day, developed countries with infrastructure and lifestyle commensurate to that in the US.

Non-venomous. This good-sized lizard came to call as we lounged in our outdoor living room. Thanks for the nice pose, Ms. or Mr. Lizard.

Arriving in Kenya on September 2, 2013, we were in for a rude awakening and culture shock while we riding for an hour, in a well-worn van from the Mombasa Airport to Diani Beach, the location of our holiday home we’d booked for three months. We chose to visit Kenya in order to eventually make our way to the Maasai Mara National Reserve to embark on our first of many wildlife photography safaris.

In the next several days, we’ll share the photos and the stories of how and where we decided to stay for this big adventure, one I’d dreamed of all my life. Of course, the exciting photos of our many safaris in the Maasai Mara, an experience we’ll never forget, will be re-posted soon as we continue to share our past experiences while in lockdown.

Mildly venomous. Hesborn referred to this as a millipede. We didn’t bother to count the number of legs. Apparently, these are harmless, although if walking on a person, they leave a trail of “itchy liquid.”

During that hour-long drive to the holiday home, I was practically hanging out the window of the vehicle in the sheer wonder of what my eyes beheld, scenes of which neither of us had ever witnessed in the past. The people, the cows, the buffalo, the goats, the pigs, and the chickens walking along the crowded pot-hole ridden highway, sent me into an awe-stricken state unlike any other in my life.

Often tourists comment that they felt uncomfortable seeing the poverty, the way of life, the commotion, and the traffic in what was formerly referred to as “third world countries.” Witnessing these scenes sent me into a jaw-dropping state of curiosity and wonder. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s heartbreaking to see the poverty up close and personal.

A millipede in relation to the tip of my shoe. One wouldn’t want to snuff this out with their foot if discovered in the bathroom in the middle of the night.

For me, it represented the strength and resiliency of a people who were making the best of a seemingly impossible situation with many thriving in the best manner possible. Perhaps, that was my overly optimistic viewpoint, but it served me well when over these past eight years, we experienced many similar scenarios, not unlike much of which we’d seen in India during the two-month tour.

On that day, the shutter on the camera was clicking nonstop. I shot hundreds of photos in that first hour and thousands more during the three months we spent in the country along with the precious time spent in the fantastic Maasai Mara National Reserve, one of the most pristine and wildlife-rich places in the world. I’d go there again if we could.

As Alfred, our driver for the three months drove us to the stores, we passed many similar buildings.,

Those challenging days and nights in Diani Beach primed us for the harsh realities of Africa along with its life-changing wonders we beheld in one way or another almost every day. Whether it was the curious facts about a venomous insect as shown in today’s main photo or the exquisite heart-pounding experience of taking a photo of a lion enjoying his zebra-lunch a mere 3 meters from our vehicle. It had it all.

It’s these run-down lean-to type shacks that depict the aspect of a third world country, many without running water and electricity. And there we were in what was considered an upscale resort community of Diani Beach.

Once a person gets Africa in their blood, especially those who are deeply moved by its magic, it’s hard to shake. And now, as we remain in lockdown, just eight days short of six months, the only place I long to be is, back there in Africa, amid the wildlife, the vegetation, and it’s amazing people.

The Nakumatt grocery store is guarded by armed military security who, for security reasons, refused to be photographed. The car was thoroughly examined by armed guards, including using a mirror on the long pole to search for explosives. We were searched and wanded before entering the market. This was the day I tossed my handbag, never to be used again in Kenya. From that day, Tom carried my lipstick and passport in his pockets.

Perhaps, in time, we’ll be able to return to the heat, the bugs, the snakes, the excitement interspersed with a tinge of danger in the wild, and the blissful experience of seeing nature in its finest form, both human and animal.

Stay safe. Stay healthy and have hope…

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Photo from one year ago today, September 12, 2019:

Blue sky, blue sea, and craggy cliffs in Port Isaac, known as Port Wen in the TV series, Doc Martin. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day #172 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Kenya in 2013…Seems like a lifetime ago…

Tom engaged in power lounging in our outdoor living room, in Diani Beach, Kenya in 2013, while searching for future cruises. Tom wasn’t naked. He was wearing shorts.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013 while spending three months in Diani Beach, Kenya. For more, please click here.

The more time we spend in lockdown, the more distant our recent travel memories become. Even the almost two months we spent touring India from January 31 to March 24, 2020, feels as if it happened a long ago. COVID-19 became more and more of a concern in early March causing us to lose interest in visiting crowded venues.

Although very hot and humid, these flowers against the blue sky were refreshing.

What was planned as a 55-night tour of India, after our seven-day expedition on the Maharajas Express train beginning on February 2, 2020, we ended up being cut short by no less than three weeks. We knew then that it wouldn’t be safe to continue a day longer than we did.

In essence, we’ve been “locked down” since around March 12th, which is 12 more days than we’ve been in lockdown in this hotel since March 24th. In total, we’ve been locked down for a total of 184 days. To keep it simple, we count the total days in lockdown from the date we arrived here at the Courtyard by Marriott, Mumbai Airport which is the same date India officially locked down.

 

These flowers, known as Plumeria, also known as Frangipani, also grow in Hawaii, where we were 15 months later.

Ironically, when we review our three months spent in Kenya in 2013, a full seven years ago, those memories are more at the forefront of our minds. Perhaps, like for so many of you, the time we’ve all spent in confinement has been but a blur of days and nights rife with worry, concern, and confusion over what is yet to come.

More ironically is the fact that most of the world has felt this same anxiety and worry about what the future holds for themselves and their loved ones. Will COVID-19 impact not only their financial security and for many, their ability to put food on the table, as well as the risks of being impacted by the virus itself and the possibility of losing loved ones and friends?

The small white flowers grow within these larger Bougainvilleas.

We continue to hear that many have not personally known a single person with COVID-19, not a relative, friend, or neighbor. In the realm of the total of the world’s population, 7.8 billion souls, to the number of total cases, as of today at 28,328,131, it is less than .03% of the entire world’s population.

With these numbers, it’s not surprising that many do not know a single person who either had the virus or had the virus and sadly lost their lives. No doubt, these numbers are considerably lower than have been reported. Imagine how many people have had the virus and didn’t report it, didn’t take a test, and went through the process at home (or not) on their own. Imagine how many have been carriers, never testing, with their cases unreported.

Shards of glass are embedded into the top edge of this stone wall protecting the property from intruders climbing over the wall. Surprisingly, this enchantingly noisy bird lighted atop the glass, seemingly comfortable.

Anyway, on to Kenya which as mentioned, is as prevalent in our minds as if it happened a few months ago. I must admit, those three months were some of the toughest living we experienced in our 8 years of world travel. The heat, the humidity, the lack of air-con, the venomous insects, placing our shoes in the bed with us each night, having no indoor place to sit and lounge at night, the mosquitos, the risk of crime, and constant need for security with a red panic button next to the bed, being searched at the grocery store and on and on.

But, somehow, that challenging time primed us for the almost two more years we later spent in Africa, making us tougher, stronger, and less inclined to fuss over uncomfortable situations. Accomplishing this early on in our travel journey made all the difference in the world. We became seasoned travelers.

Aren’t these breathtaking?

And now? What lessons do we learn here in lockdown all of these days and nights? I wish I could say it made us more grateful. But, we were already grateful for our lives, for space, room to breath, friends in our midst, readily available food, dining in a restaurant, cooking our meals, enjoying “happy hour”, reveling in the scenery and wildlife surrounding us, and having the opportunity to see more and more of the world.

So, what will we take away from here? At this point, I’m not sure. We already felt blessed for every day of our lives. We already appreciated the treasures that Mother Nature and God (or whatever your faith beholds) bestowed upon us. Our enthusiasm level was already “over the top.” when stumbling across an interesting insect, an animal in the wild, a pretty flower, a kindly person, or an ocean scene.

Could Mother Nature be more perfect in creating this well-shaped hibiscus, a common flower in many warmer parts of the world?

I do know this for sure…at some point, we’ll know this answer and if, in fact, the only answer is, that we avoided becoming another COVID-19 statistic, the time will have been well-spent. There is no way either of us was ready to “throw in the towel” and end this usually interesting life, whether it was a life of world travel or not. We carry on.

Stay healthy.                                                                                                                                                                                    _____________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, September 11, 2019:

We visited the popular town of Port Isaac, Cornwall, England, known as Port Wen in the British TV series, Doc Martin. This was one of our favorite ocean views in Port Isaac. For more photos, please click here.