Day #215 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Cultural experiences in remote Fiji…Kava?…

A pig and a few ducks living off the land and sea in Vuodomo, Fiji.

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

It’s hard to believe it was five years ago today that we visited Vuodomo Falls on the island of Vanua Levu, Fiji while living in the highly cultured and fascinating village of Savusavu. During our entire three months stay in a little house overlooking the ocean, we may have seen a total of 10 Caucasians in this less-often visited holiday/vacation spot for most travelers.

Handmade ladder outside of a villager’s house. We speculated this ladder is shared from house to house as needed.

On occasion, we’d see a couple or two, often sailors who anchored their sailboats near Nawai Island at the Waitui Marina, a common spot for world-travel sailors to stop to restock supplies. Often, they may have been sorely disappointed when there was only one food aisle in the tiny market (of three aisles) with few non-perishable food items. But they, like us, may have shopped at the meat market and the huge farmer’s market, open daily, packed with farmers offering their organic vegetables and fruit.

Every day during our three months in the village presented new cultural experiences different from any we’d experienced in our prior years of world travel. One of our favorite outings was visiting the tiny village of Vuodomo, to see the exquisite waterfalls.

Handmade raft for fishing, which Rasnesh explained is safer than a boat when there’s no chance of being stranded or sinking.

But, the most fascinating aspect to us was when our driver explained we needed to stop at the “kava store” to purchase kava to bring to the chief of Vuodomo, who then, upon receipt of our “gift” would allow us to walk to the falls, down a distant path, assisted by his lovely granddaughter, Tima, to escort us to the falls.

Kava is described as follows:

“Kava, otherwise known as yaqona, or quite simply, grog, is the traditional national drink of Fiji. It is a mildly narcotic and sedative drink made from the crushed root of the yaqona (pronounced yang-GO-na) strained with water. It is served in a large communal bowl as part of the traditional kava ceremony.”

Other handmade rafts were ready for fishing along the inlet.

We supposed kava is considered to be comparable to smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol. But in this case, it’s a drink shared in a group out of one bowl, intoxicating everyone in the group. At one point, we were offered to participate in drinking kava and more or less, pretended to take a sip, to avoid offending the villagers.

The chief graciously accepted our “gift” and off we went with his granddaughter, Tima, and our driver to the falls. Today’s photos aren’t reminiscent of the waterfalls, but more so about the tiny village that taught us more about culture in remote areas of Fiji than any other tours we made during those three months.

Clothes dryers are unheard of in many parts of the world, regardless of their modernization. A bench is located under this beautiful tree for quiet reflection with ocean views.

Looking back now puts smiles on our faces. How we miss exploring, learning, and for a time, becoming a part of a culture, unlike anything we’d experienced in the past. Savusavu, Fiji provided us with a constant flow of interesting experiences as we made every effort to blend in with the nuances and some adaptations we needed to make while there.

It was very hot and humid with many mosquitos and other insects. There was no air-con, poor WiFi, no TV. We had limited access to many food items we typically used to cook our favorite meals. The little house had no oven, only a stovetop, but the owner kindly purchased a countertop oven for our use.

Tima explained these are crab holes located all over their grassy areas. Crab, shrimp, and other fish are a good source of food for the villagers often caught in the nets as shown in the next photo.

Ants are a huge issue in Fiji. The night we arrived at the little house, I went to bed before Tom. I noticed a strange feeling in the bed as if something was “buzzing/moving” under me. I grabbed a beach towel and laid it on the bed under me. I hardly slept all night. Tom did the same when he came to bed.

In the morning, we pulled off the sheet to find the tiny double bed literally infested with thousands of ants on the move. They were even inside the bed pillows. We squealed in horror. Thank goodness the owner agreed to replace the mattress (no box springs) and all the bedding. The cleaning staff scoured the entire bedroom to ensure no ants remained using non-chemical based products. That night, we finally got some sleep.

A fishing net drying on the grass is regularly used by the villagers.

But, ants continued to be an issue. They’d appear while I was chopping and dicing for dinner, while the food was cooking, and even while we were eating. We were constantly washing all surfaces to get rid of them. No food products could be left out for even minutes. We adapted and stopped complaining within a day.

Oddly, it seems as if the places we’ve visited over these eight years (our eight-year travel anniversary is one week from today on October 31) requiring us to adapt the most, have been the places of most interest. Funny, isn’t it?

Seeing this starving puppy broke our hearts. We must accept that in Fiji and many other parts of the world, dogs are not regarded with the same love and care familiar to many of us. Their function is for protection, not intended as a pet. Although, we’ve found exceptions, such as in Badal, our daily visitor, who is well nourished and loved by his Fijian owners and all the neighbors. 

Thanks to so many of our readers for the email and comment regarding yesterday’s mention of the Garage Logic podcast from Minnesota, USA, where Joe Soucheray told our story about being in lockdown in Mumbai on his podcast on October 22. If you haven’t read that story, please click here. Hearing from so many of YOU, was certainly a day-brightener for us! Thank you! Thank you, Joe and his group.

Have a fantastic day!

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

Our cabin, on our ship from Southampton, England to the US, was nice and tidy before our luggage arrives. For more photos, please click here

 

 

Day #214 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Fun story about us in a Minnesota podcast…Listen up, folks!…

 

On this date in 2013, we finally spotted a bushbaby eating a banana next to us at dinner as we dined outdoors at the Leopard Beach Resort. A small platform was set up for the bushbabies loaded with bananas to encourage them to visit the guests while dining.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2014 while living in Diani Beach, Kenya. For more from this date, please click here.

In 1993, Tom started listening to a radio show, most often on his way to work entitled, Garage Logic, often commenting to me how much he enjoyed listening to the show. When we began our journey in 2012, he was still able to listen to the shows via the internet.

Often, I’d listen to the shows in the background while I prepared each day’s post, chuckling from time to time, easily understanding why he enjoyed it so much. In a way, it kept him in touch with his lifelong history of living in Minneapolis, Minnesota (except for these past eight years).

Although extremely shy, bushbabies aren’t tame and are very cautious around scary-looking humans. Their bulgy eyes cause the flash to reflect off their eyeballs presenting this eerie look. Little did we know, when we selected our table close to the trees that we’d be as close as we could get to their natural habitat.

In 2018, the sports-related radio station dropped the show, and with a huge and enthusiastic following, in Minnesota and throughout the country, the show moved to broadcast via podcast which may be found at this link. Once they began podcasting, Tom continued to listen on a regular basis, sometimes the latest day’s episode (always one day late for us), or multiple episodes during the times we were out sightseeing, had a poor WiFi connection, or were on the move.

The show has become a staple for me while posting each day, listening in and out as I work diligently to get each new day’s story and photos uploaded. Tom, also multitasks on other websites while listening more intently than I. At times, I am so engrossed in the details of the daily post, I miss an entire show.

On and off over the years, Tom sent Joe Soucheray, the head podcaster, various articles about Minnesota, from This Day in Minnesota History, and occasionally, he’d mention Tom’s name as having sent in the information which they’d include over the air. At times, Joe would mention, “Tom Lyman from Marloth Park, South Africa,” or “Tom Lyman from Bali, Indonesia” and such.

Ordering the seafood platter for two resulted in a fabulous meal we both enjoyed, each receiving our own huge platter. That sure looks especially good now!.

Once we became “stuck” in lockdown in Mumbai, India in March 2020, Tom started sending in an email each day of the five days the show is podcast. Early on, we noticed Joe stating, “Only, because they come all the way from Mumbai, India, (with a huge emphasis on these words), our friend, Tom Lyman…” And then, he’d proceed to share the story about Minnesota that Tom had sent in.

Each of those five weekdays, we’d laugh out loud as Joe mentioned the above statement and in our boredom during this lockdown, we particularly enjoyed hearing him mention “Tom Lyman.” For us, it became a highlight of those five days a week.

During this period, many listeners to Garage Logic have written to Tom commenting on how much they enjoy hearing his name mentioned on the podcast while we’ve lived under these unusual circumstances. As a matter of fact, at the end of yesterday’s post, (found here), a reader commented, “And because you come to us daily in your posts to the GL Podcast, it seems I have yet another vehicle at my disposal with which to chase the Covid Blues away. You two take care, you hear? Good Luck.”

Tom’s platter included white rice. He ate everything on his plate, except he moved the calamari, cauliflower, and broccoli to my plate.

We can’t help but chuckle all the while appreciating such comments. In a funny way, it connects us to the world and for Tom, particularly to his birthplace, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Every contact with the outside world means so much to us, now more than ever.

On the October 21st podcast, Joe mentions us, wondering why we’re still in Mumbai, India. We wrote back and he read our response over the air on the October 22nd podcast for over three minutes, found here at the point where it was 1 hour, 10 minutes, and 53 seconds (01:10:53) into the podcast (in the event you prefer not to listen to the entire podcast) where Joe tells our story.

This put big smiles on our faces, brightening yet another relatively repetitive and boring day in lockdown. Feel free to share those smiles with us by listening to our mention on Garage Logic.

While at the bar, we noticed this cigar menu. Tom had hoped to order a Cuban cigar to enjoy in our outdoor living room, but for whatever reason, they were out. Not a cigar aficionado, he had no clue as to an alternative, so he passed.  (KES $1000 = US $11.76).

Have a great day!

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

Image result for leonardo royal southampton grand harbour
The Leonardo Southampton Royal Grand Harbour hotel where we stayed for two nights one year ago while awaiting a cruise to the US to see family. (Not our photos). For more photos, please click here.

 

 

Day #213 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Gentle musings on the simple things…

Tom’s gluten-free, low carb, starch, and sugar-free pizza with fresh mushrooms, green olives, onions, and Italian sausage, topped with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. This will last for three delicious nights. We never mind repeated dinners for three nights in a row. The crust is made with grated cheese and one egg. He’ll be drooling over this photo today.

Today’s food photos are from the post on this date in 2014 after grocery shopping in Maui, Hawaii. For more from this date, please click here.

When I checked out Kenya photos from this date in 2013, there were few photos worthy of posting today. Instead, I jumped forward to 2014 on this date, once again, while we were spending six weeks on the blissful island of Maui. We’d been out grocery shopping and were pleasantly surprised over our purchases in the nearby town of Kihei.

My pizza is made with free-range chicken sausage, anchovies, onions, olives, mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, organic zucchini, eggplant with mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. This crust is also made with cheese and egg and is low carb and gluten, sugar, and starch-free. Love it!

Ironically, for the first time in almost two years since the onset of our travels, I drove the rental car, finding my way to the Safeway supermarket, a 20 minute drive from our condo, and the largest market we’d seen in so long. It felt great to be driving again after so long.

Yesterday, Tom and I were chuckling over this time in Mumbai as the longest period he’s gone as an adult without driving a car. Continuing in our world travels, there were plenty of times I didn’t drive for extended periods when I don’t feel comfortable driving a manual transmission with the stick on the left side. My left hand is useless.

As I entered the store, my eyes darted everywhere in awe of all of the “stuff” for sale.

On top of that, I don’t possess the ability to retrain myself to drive while managing the stick shift, while on the opposite side of the road from which I learned in the US at 16 years old. I suppose it’s a lack of coordination. Under familiar circumstances, I know how to drive a stick shift. At one point, as an adult, I purchased a vehicle with manual transmission.

Upon returning to the condo, I used the Ziploc bags to individually wrap each of the three steaks which Tom will eat while I’ll have the rack of lamb.

Well, anyway, that day in Maui, I was thrilled to once again be driving and totally loved the time I could spend meandering around the huge supermarket with nary a thought of how slow I was going, inspecting countless products along the way. Most often, Tom had been with me while grocery shopping, and although I enjoyed his participation, I loved it when he waited in the car reading a book on his phone.

Having not purchased meat at this store on our visit the prior week, I was pleased to see the prices on meats were no more than we paid in our old lives.

If and when we return to Africa, I’ll be in this same spot with most rental cars having manual transmissions and all driving in the left lane as opposed to the familiar right lane. Tom will drive me everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, he gets tired of being my chauffeur, but he freely acknowledges that I am a terrible driver even with an automatic transmission and driving in the right lane, as in the US. Hey, we all have our flaws and I certainly have my fair share.

I’d purchased this 3.32-pound package of three New York Steaks for $26.93 at $8.98 a serving. That was an excellent price!

So, shopping in Maui during those six blissful weeks was a treat for me. If I wanted to peruse the other shops in the strip mall, before grocery shopping I could easily do so. If I wanted to read the labels on every product I could do so at my leisure. If I wanted to stop and chat with another customer or staff member, nothing held me back. It was indescribable fun.

Ziploc freezer bags in the half gallon size surprised me at only $4.49.

Wow! At this point, this sounds to me like a trip to Disneyland for a kid. It’s not surprising that the simplest tasks I may have taken for granted in the past now rise to the forefront as absolutely desirable and delightful. Then again, I think of how fun it will be to be sitting with good friends in Africa, sipping on a glass of red wine, enjoying the sounds of nature, the consistent flow of “visitors” and I literally swoon.

I cut this free-range Rack of Lamb into three portions which I’ll have when Tom has the above steaks. At $20.15 for the entire package, it is $6.72 per serving. We’ll cook the lamb and the steaks on the outdoor grill that overlooks the ocean, which we’re anxious to use.

I’ve kept asking myself what we’ll learn from being in this hotel, possibly for one year, (now at seven months), and perhaps it will be as simple as the heart-pounding enthusiasm I’m feeling putting these thoughts to “paper.” During these peculiar circumstances, it’s imperative to glom onto hope, knowing full-well at some point in the future, these memories won’t be so far removed from current-day reality.

The gorgeous Maui scenery on the return drive to Maalaea Beach.

Hum, I think I’ll feel equally enthused to machine wash our clothes, eat some of the above-shown pizza, smell the fresh air, set the table, see a sunset, and of course, spend time with humans and animals. No doubt, we’re grateful we’re safe and, we’re equally grateful knowing at some point, this will all change.

This receipt is not easy to read resulting in my listing the items above for details and clarification.

Be well.

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

Friends Linda and Ken with us in front of the Raglan Castle in Wales. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Day #212 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Losing weight after lockdown???…

No, this was not a creature that we found in our bathroom during the night. It was my delectable entrée, delicate grill calamari with an octopus topper at dinner a week ago Saturday at the divine The Sands at Nomad.

Note: Due to WiFi issues in Kenya at the time, some of the captions for the photos, couldn’t be added when I carried over the photos. Subsequently, I’ve left out a few captions in today’s photos. 

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

My dinner plate in its entirety, seven skewered grilled garlic buttered calamari atop a plentiful portion of grilled non-starchy vegetables. I didn’t try the sauce, fearing it may contain sugar. 

How exciting it is today to see these dining-out photos from seven years ago today at The Sands at Nomad restaurant and resort. However, after acquiring a long-lasting stomach bug from eating too many baby octopus on Christmas Day in Fiji in 2015, I’ve yet to eat a meal such as this again.

Tom’s pork chop dinner that same evening with fried potato wedges and sautéed vegetables.

As good as this looks to me in its concept, minus the octopus topper, right now we’re both craving a huge juicy steak, such as a rib-eye or T-bone. I can’t imagine how tasty that would be. It’s been nine months since we’ve had any beef, which isn’t served in India due to the sacred nature of cows.

Tom was looking forward to dining with the cool ocean breezes washing over us.

We appreciate and respect their religious beliefs, but never imagined we wouldn’t be able to eat any beef or pork (other than bacon) for such an extended period. Uncertain, as to the source of fish here in India, and considering the polluted oceans, I tend to avoid fish as much as possible.

One of the many lounge areas in The Sands at Nomad, not only a resort and restaurant, but a welcoming stopping point for thirsty visitors seeking a spot to relax and unwind either inside the bar or at the tables on the beach where food is also served.

The only fish options in this hotel are salmon and prawns, both of which are tiny portions. Sure, I could place a double order for an average-sized portion of either of these. But I’m not willing to pay US $36, INR 2643, for a fish or seafood when I don’t know the source. When I asked the chef these questions regarding fish and seafood, the answers were vague and unclear. So, chicken is it, night after night.

This morning I ordered a cheese plate with a few hard-boiled eggs. The cheese plate was so huge, (again, inconsistency) that tonight I may take a break and not order dinner at all, finishing the remaining egg and cheese.

That Saturday night, the 19th, after the complimentary taxi ride, we walked the short distance to the restaurant. We were enthused to see the property in daylight. Although shortly after 6:00 pm, we’d still have an opportunity to see a few of the suites and peruse the remainder of the property while still light.

Tom has stopped ordering dinner altogether. It was either swimming in butter or too dry. We’ve both reviewed the menu over and over and there is literally nothing else to order that I can eat or that Tom’s is willing to eat.

There are some takeaway menus online that could be ordered and delivered to the hotel, but mostly, it consists of deep-fried, starchy, sugary options, none of which appeal to either of us. In any case, both of us are losing weight, which we both needed to do after all this time in lockdown.

I am only 7 pounds, 3.19 kg away from my goal, my lowest weight in the past eight years, where all of my remaining clothing in my luggage will fit me. While in the US last winter, I’d bought a number of items my sister Susan and I always referred to as “Heidi” clothes which we called clothing that attempted to “hide” excess weight.

Felix, the host for our tour of the suites, took us along a path parallel to the ocean to see the interesting and appealing grounds, a part of which included these private cottages. It was only two weeks later that we booked a three-night stay here to celebrate our travel anniversary on October 31, 2014.

Getting rid of all of those four-sizes-larger clothing (which we’ll donate before leaving India) will help reduce our luggage weight, that within the next month will result in a total loss of 25 pounds, 11.3 kg, for me. After I had open-heart surgery in February 2019 in South Africa and was relatively immobile for so long while also taking those awful medications, I gained weight and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t lose it. 

It was only in the past few months, that I bit the bullet and resumed eating a very low carb/keto diet to reduce the pain in my legs, that I found I started losing weight, about 3 pounds, 1.4 kg a week. The pain in my legs has improved about 75% coupled with the weight loss. So, I guess there’s a benefit to the food situation here after all.

The executive cottages were exquisite.

Now that Tom’s stopped ordering dinner and eats a big breakfast instead, he’s also losing what he’d gained during lockdown from eating that dish of chicken pasta every night with a side of roasted potatoes. He continues to walk and do the stairs daily.

The cooks at the grill were friendly and helpful in assisting us to make our decisions.

That’s it for today, folks. It’s time for me to head back out into the corridor after having completed half of my daily 5 miles, 8 km, walk in the corridors. 

Have a healthy day!

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

Tom’s Italian chicken pasta lunch in Wales. Little did Tom know that he’d been eating chicken pasta in Mumbai, India for over 200 nights! For more, please click here.

 

 

 

Day #211 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Reminiscing about Hawaii…

This is a Gold Dust Day Gecko that we found on the wall in the lanai during the storm. She/he looked up at me as I shot this photo. 

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2014 while living in Maui, Hawaii. For more from this date, please click here.

Note: The auto email issues for our daily posts have been resolved. Those who have signed up to receive the post each day, will now only receive one post per day with our appropriate heading in place as I’d requested, as opposed to that awful yellow bar. If you’ve signed up and aren’t receiving the posts, please email me and I will try to discover what is wrong. When you sign up, you will receive a confirmation email that requires a response. Thank you for your patience in this process.

This full-body shot of the Gold Dust Day Gecko shows the colorful spots on her back and the cute little blue fingers.

It’s a new day. I’ve pulled myself up by my bootstraps and awoke in a better state of mind this morning, after yesterday’s downtrodden attitude. A good night’s sleep helped and an uncomfortable physical feeling has subsided.

I must admit, I felt achy and lethargic yesterday and my mind did a trick on me. Did I catch COVID-19 after visiting two ATMs on Saturday? Of course, this ran over and over in my mind while I struggled to walk in the corridors. I had planned to take off the day and postpone walking, but as always, I pushed myself and managed to get it done.

The surf settled down as Hurricane Ana wafted away.

As it turned out, the walking boosted my energy level and the closer I got to my 10,000 steps, the better I felt. I think I was suffering from a “negative attitude” which most certainly can impact how one is feeling physically. Today, I am my usual “chipper” self with lots of energy, and most of all, hope. It will be a good day.

It helped to think about all the tasks we’ve completed over the past months; the majority of the new site completed; the taxes done for 2019; records kept up to date and progress on the 3000 posts requiring edits. As of today, I am one-fifth of the way through. I’ve taken off the pressure to accomplish this in months. If it takes a year, no big deal. It’s not as if there is a deadline. I will do some each day after finishing the daily post.

A warning sign on the ground of the condo building.

Also, influential in my upbeat state of mind, have been the countless supportive email messages we received overnight from our reader/friends after reading yesterday’s morose post, found here. I don’t recall a single post revealing a negative state of mind as did that post. I suppose, under the circumstances, I’m surprised I hadn’t felt this way sooner.

We still have a few items to correct on the new site. But, this is an ongoing process that will continue for some time as we discover items that can be improved. If you experience any issues, please feel free to let me know. We want our site to be as user-friendly as possible.

Flowers blooming on a tree in the yard.

As I researched the past photos we’re sharing today on this particular date in any year, it appeared the continuation of Kenya didn’t quite work out with fewer photos on this date. I moved forward to 2014 and found these photos from our glorious six weeks in Maui.

We stayed in a lovely spacious one-bedroom condo with ocean views and with every possible amenity. The day we arrived, we shopped at the closest Costco store when a hurricane appeared to be on the horizon. Hawaii has dozens of types of Spam. We ended up purchasing more than we’d ever need when we became excited over the multiple varieties. This item would work well with scrambled eggs in the event of a power outage, cooking on the gas stovetop.

This interesting palm type tree is growing on the grounds of the building.  Tom’s walking along the shore checking for points of interest.

Well, of course, the hurricane wasn’t as bad as predicted, the power stayed on, and we had Spam coming out of our ears, which we hauled in our luggage to the next island, The Big Island, where our kids were coming for the holidays. Finally, we used it all.

Maui, where I’d vacationed many times in my old life, before Tom, was as wonderful as I remembered it. Sunny, breezy, perfect temperatures and lots of marine wildlife made it a fantastic spot to relax from our somewhat hectic prior months. 

The Maalaea Marina walking distance from our condo.

We spent days by the pool, walking and exploring, cooking great meals, never disappointed by its tropical treasures. We walked along the beach to spot sea turtles almost daily. Wow! That certainly sounds good right now!

That’s all for today folks! Again, thanks for the thoughtful messages.

May you have a safe and pleasant day!

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

The lush green countryside that surrounds the Raglan Castle was breathtaking. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

Day #210 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Nothing has changed…

This is what I heard flying around in the empty second story of the house in Diani Beach, Kenya, which proved to be an owl, 

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013 after returning from safari to Diani Beach, Kenya. For more from this date, please click here.

Nothing has changed. We’re still in this hotel room, attempting to make the best of it each and every day. This morning, Tom’s omelet was overcooked and his bacon was undercooked. He called the restaurant and asked for “crispy bacon,” a seemingly difficult food item for Indian cooks to get right who really don’t eat bacon. We try to be patient. They sent up a new batch.

The moon is a crescent on the bottom portion when this close to the equator. Who would have ever thought of this? No, we didn’t watch the toilet flush in the opposite direction as it does in the US. 

Each day, each evening the same items we’ve ordered, are different than the day before. Tom finally gave up ordering dinner. Instead, he eats a big breakfast.  I haven’t been having much in the way of breakfast after becoming tired of the same things, day after day. I focus on my dinner of grilled chicken parts, broccoli, and sauteed mushrooms, changing up the vegetables periodically for variety.

From time to time, I’ll order the grilled salmon, but the portion is so small I end up hungry after the meal, often ordering two hard-boiled eggs to round it out. We never realized how eating for pleasure was so important until this situation. We both long for variety to no avail. 

Diners at Madafoo, in Diani Beach, as well as most other resort properties are welcomed to sit outside, near the beach, and in some cases by their pool. 

This morning, I felt out-of-steam walking my first mile. Maybe today, I need to take a day off, the first time since I began in March. I slept well last night, but wonder if the repetitive nature of this same old, same old, walking path in the corridors, hour after hour, may finally be getting to me. I’ll continue on tomorrow, but need a change of pace today.

Often, I’m tempted to say this is comparable to being in prison, but I don’t, realizing prison would be much worse. The bed here is divinely comfortable and we have a private bath. We have a flat-screen TV and can stream shows, although they stop every seven or eight minutes for a few minutes, to the spinning red wheel, when the signal is poor.

While we sat near the ocean at Madafoo’s a few vendors approached us, relentlessly trying to encourage us to make a purchase. Watching the windsurfers was fun but seemed more befitting the younger crowd. We only observed one person possibly over 40 partaking in this activity.

Two days ago, I forgot to mention that when I left to get cash from an ATM for the package, it was the first time I’d been outside the hotel in seven months, except for a few occasions I stepped out the main door to collect an item from Amazon India when we’ve ordered basic toiletries and pharmacy items. Since that time, I’ve asked the hotel staff to please collect our packages and bring them up to our room. 

The sunbathers left as the sun began to set and we moved to the restaurant for dinner,

I would never have imagined not going to a market, a pharmacy, or any store for over seven months. How peculiar that is. During our last foray in the US, I stopped at a Walgreens at least once a week for an item or two. Now, not at all. Amazon India has many items but different quality, prices, and actual products. Also, each item is shipped individually, resulting in lots of monkeying around including:

  1. Sending me a text with an OPT (one-time password)
  2. The driver waits for me to respond and if I don’t respond immediately they cancel the shipment
  3. If I do respond immediately, I have to enter the OPT.
  4. Then, the package is left with the guard at the distant gate who calls the front desk staff to collect it
  5. Then, the front desk calls our room phone to inform us the package has arrived, asking if we want to get it or have it delivered to our room. We always request, “Deliver to our room, please.
  6. Within 30 minutes the item arrives at the room after the doorbell is rung. I get up to answer the door and take the package.
    This adorable guy, a part-time resort resident belonging to one of the windsurfing trainers, hung around with us during our dinner looking for morsels.  Once we gave him several bites and he saw our plates were clean, he moved over to the table of other diners with full plates.

Yesterday, my single bottle of TUMS antacids didn’t arrive, falling short at item #3 above. I didn’t see the text until it was too late. The item was canceled and now I have to reorder. Shucks! The nature of the beast. 

Ah, I don’t mean to sound down or morose. But, regardless of how busy we stay, how much we get done, how many shows we stream, and how many podcasts we listen to, this is not easy. Yes, it’s better than prison and for this we are grateful.

The moon at Madafoo’s second night we visited upon returning from the safari, then on October 15th, was almost full.

Ultimately, we are grateful to avoid becoming infected with the virus which is rampant here in India, especially in Mumbai. In no time at all, India will surpass the US in the number of cases, and probably already has, with the poverty here and the thousands, if not millions, of unreported cases and deaths.

We remain safe in this cocoon and for that, dear friends, we are grateful. Nothing has changed.

Thank you for being at our side, continually offering so much love and support which means the world to us. 

Stay healthy and hopeful.

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

Ken and Linda set up our camera timers for this photo of the four of us in front of Raglan Castle in Wales. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

Day #209 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Package delivery from hell…

Moments before it rained in the Maasai Mara, Tom captured the clouds rolling in at precisely the right moment. Wow, Tom!

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

It all began in July when we’d ordered necessary supplies from the US to be sent from our mailing service in Las Vegas, Nevada to our hotel in Mumbai, India. Included in that box is our new second passports, which we’d applied for while in the US last November.

 Arriving at the landing strip, this tiny plane was the only one in sight.  Then I knew this was Edwin’s plane and we’d be flying in it once again.

Note: On Monday, for those of our readers finally receiving the daily posts, we are in the process of changing the look of these emails to be more consistent with the look of our site and reducing the number of posts in each email from five to one, as we had in the past when using Blogger as opposed to WordPress which we’re using now. It is only through your kind comments and support that we are able to make our site as user friendly and appealing as possible. Thank you for this, and of course, for continuing to share in our daily updates.

OK. Here goes. Another package from hell story and folks, as I’ve promised Tom, our last. We will no longer be ordering favorite items we need from the US, not now and not in our future travels, providing someday we can get out of here. The most recent and LAST package was sent from our mailing service on July 28, sent FedEx Express. 

Edwin prepared for takeoff while I was sitting behind the empty co-pilot’s seat. For the first leg of the flight, it was just Tom and me on the plane with Edwin. Tom sat behind me so he too could look out the window.

Since we had a number of items in the box of varying values, I insured the package for INR 73,443, US $1000, probably more than the value of its contents but I rounded it off. If it was lost, at least we could recover the INR 29377, US $400, shipping fees plus the contents. That was my second mistake, the first being sending the package in itself. I shouldn’t have insured it at all, which I will explain going forward.

FedEx in India is not like the dependable, efficient FedEx in the US and perhaps some other countries. Here, you can call for help and be on hold for hours, never to reach a human being. I am sure part of this was due to COVID-19 but from what we’ve discovered as businesses have now opened up here, the process for receiving a package is horrendous.

Approaching the landing strip to pick up seven more passengers, most complaining they hadn’t seen the Big Five. We kept our mouths shut when we’d seen the Big 5 in the first 10 hours on safari.

It was only about three weeks ago, after sending dozens of email messages, that we were informed we needed to submit a number of documents, including passport bio and back pages, a letter from the hotel, and our visa documents. Why all this to receive a package? It’s obvious, they certainly went through the box to view the contents. Why all this?

Then, while still in Delhi after 2½ months, it finally went through customs to determine a customs duty. Regardless of the contents, they assessed the contents for the insured US $1000, with a duty tax of INR 71364, US $974, including some arbitrary COVID-19 processing fee. In other words, we had to pay this horrific amount in order to receive the box based on my declaration of the insured contents. My faux pas, entirely.

         Control panel of the single-engine plane.

Then, on top of that, there was virtually nowhere online that we could pay this amount in advance. The only way to pay was to do a bank transfer. While sitting in the lobby yesterday, with the help of the wonderful hotel manager, Umesh, I was on the phone with our bank in the US trying to do the transfer but, FedEx India’s SWIFT number wouldn’t work through a US bank account. 

Oh, good grief, I was sitting down there for over an hour with no air con in the open lobby, temperature around 90F, 32C, wearing a mask and gloves and sweating up a storm while the FedEx guy had the package in his truck and wouldn’t deliver it until we paid.

 A breathtaking view from the plane.

Our amazing hotel manager offered to pay out of his bank account for which I could pay him, but that didn’t work either due to the SWIFT account issue. Frustrated, we both racked our brains. Basically, we needed INR 71364, US $974, in cash. Who carries that many rupees in their possession? Not us. That’s a lot of bills.

Finally, after multiple sweaty attempts to figure this out, I told Umesh we had no choice but to go to ATMs to get the cash. When we first arrived in India and tried to get cash, we had to go to several ATMs when, in India, they only dispense INR 10000 maximum per transaction. We have two debit cards and this would mean four different ATMs.

 As we flew over Diani Beach the smoke from fires burning, clouded the view. In Kenya, there’s no ban on burning often resulting in noxious fumes filling the air.

Plus, when we got here many moons ago, we tried five or six ATMs on a weekend and all of them were out of cash. I imagined yesterday, Saturday, we’d run into the same problem. Umesh and I took off in the hotel’s van heading to the closest bank ATM expecting more luck at an indoor bank facility and they were out of cash!!!

We drove to another bank ATM, five minutes away in dense, noisy, traffic. The walk up to the second bank’s ATM room was treacherous with uneven clumps of cement in an undefined walkway. I hung onto Umesh for dear life.

The miracle of all miracles, the two machines in that tiny room, allowed me to make eight transactions, each at a cost of INR 200, US $2.72. I used both mine and Tom’s debit cards four times each. With the Africa bag in my possession, including a plastic bag to hold the huge number of bills, a sense of relief washed over me as we made our way back to the hotel.

A final view of the King of Jungle. We were never disappointed, continually offering an opportunity for a close-up and the opportunity to observe his/her playful antics and instinctual behaviors. Thank you, lions.

Umesh called the FedEx guy to return to the hotel with the package at which point, I met him in the lobby while he counted out the money, gave me a receipt, and placed the 8.62 kg, 19-pound box onto the hotel luggage trolley. One of the staff members brought the package up to our room.

We’ve yet to open the box, after waiting 48 hours to handle it. If there is COVID-19 on the outside of the box or on the interior contents from inspection, a sufficient amount of time would have passed.

Enough about that! We won’t be writing any more posts about delayed packages in the future. We’re done ordering stuff from the US. 

Well, anyway, we’re emotionally recovered from that debacle and can now go back to the debacle on hand!

Be well!

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

In this case in Chepstow Castle ruins, the presence of vines created such a pleasing effect that it remained in place over the centuries.For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day #208 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A review of an exquisite first safari experience…Firsts!…

It was hard to say goodbye to the staff at Camp Olonana Sanctuary Retreat after the extraordinary stay and safari.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013 while on safari, staying at Camp Olonana in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

The lodge was an invited place for us to sit, sip beverages and post our photos and stories. With no Internet access in the tents but available at no charge in the lodge, we spent most of our limited spare time in here.

Seven years ago today, we wrote a comprehensive review of Camp Olonana Sanctuary Retreat in the Maasai Mara in Kenya where we had the privilege to experience our first safari in Africa, forever emblazoned in our hearts and minds.

The dining room’s ambiance was easy going and welcoming.

There’s a lot to be said for “firsts” and without a doubt in our minds, that particular first left us reeling with sheer wonder and delight. Throughout our world travels, over and over again, we’ve had the opportunity to experience a wide array of firsts, that above all, stand out in our minds years later.

One evening, as we were busy posting after dinner, the staff and guests began dancing around the lodge to celebrate a couple’s anniversary. It was an intimate group with no more than 16 guests on-site while we were there. (The camp holds a maximum of 28 guests). With a little prodding from the staff, we joined in the line.

Whether it was our first transiting of the Panama Canal, the first in-person view of the Eiffel Tower, the first sighting of The Treasury in the hidden city of Petra, the first visit from a warthog in our garden in Marloth Park or our first cruise, they all hold special meaning with us.

 Windblown, with hat hair, at dinner each evening we wore our daytime safari clothes, feeling too tired to change. Also, arriving from safari between 6:30 and 7:00 pm, food was more important than fresh clothing.

Frequently coming up in conversations between us and others, firsts litter our itinerary, year after year, combined with the easy memories of the events surrounding such events. Isn’t it ironic how we all remember such times as our first date, our first kiss, our first airplane ride, our first bicycle, our first car, our first pet, and our first job?

The gift shop had a wide array of souvenirs and gifts, none of which we purchased with no room in our bags as we continue on our world travels.

Traveling the world the past has provided us, old-timers, with a wealth of firsts we never imagined in our dreams, and yet, here we are, universally, worldwide, all experiencing our first pandemic, our first months in lockdown and our first times wearing face masks, as non-medical professionals.

On the second night at camp as we were finishing up yet another safari, Anderson took what appeared to be a new route back over unpaved bush areas.  Bouncing about, we all giggled over the new route wondering why we were taking this route. With the gates to the reserve locking at 6:30 pm, we were late getting out. We’d assumed this new route was a way around going through the gates. Instead, suddenly we saw this campfire, to be surprised by everyone at camp, all guests and most staff were awaiting our arrival that tonight was the ritual “dinner in the bush” was a total surprise for the six of us.

Firsts are not always pleasant, as in the case of COVID-19, and many of us may prefer to have this event excised from our minds, which does nothing more than elicit painful thoughts and memories we wish had never happened. In our attempts at positivity, many of us strive to find meaning in even the most sorrowful of experiences to guide us through our lives, adding to our purpose and depth of character. 

The Maasai villagers were in attendance to sing and dance before or dinner as we all sat in a half-moon of comfortable chairs, enjoying appetizers and beverages, sharing our various safari stories. 

This period of COVID-19 still leaves me wondering what we’re supposed to learn from this. Each day, during the past seven months, as I walk the corridors, earbuds in my ears, listening to some informational podcasts, my mind wanders away from the voices I’m listening to that same question. “What am I supposed to learn from this “first?”

Look at my plate at the “bush dinner!” It was exciting to know that most of the meat and vegetables were within my dietary constraints, all prepared to perfection, seasoned with local spices. Once again, great job Chef Ambrose!

Was it resilience? Patience? Tolerance? We both already feel we’ve had these bases covered after living without a home for the past almost eight years, amid many stressful and challenging situations. We’ve often mentioned the need and commitment we’ve made to adaptability as, scenario after scenario, we were tested as to our ability to adapt. We not only managed but most often, somehow, we thrived.

After the bush dinner, we posed for a photo, although after a day on safari, I hardly felt photo-ready. Tom’s face was sunburned from the almost 8 hours we spent on safari that day, exposed to the elements, loving every minute. We couldn’t wait to put our clothing in the dirty laundry hamper to be washed, dried, and folded to perfection that was returned to our tent that same evening. This service was included in the all-inclusive pricing.

I suppose time will tell. Perhaps this query to ourselves on this topic will present itself somewhere in the times to come, once we’re blissfully removed from this confinement-type existence, purely predicated by an invisible toxin wafting through the world at a ravaging pace.

Ah, the naysayers who espouse this virus is a hoax! Those who have lost loved ones, young or old, don’t call this a hoax. 

On the first night, we both had the same entrée, a grilled sirloin steak atop a medley of sautéed vegetables. Tender, cooked exactly as requested, this steak required only a butter knife to cut it. Neither of us had appetizers or dessert that evening after having had lunch earlier in the day upon arrival.

As for today’s photos, they are a pleasant reminder of a “first” that we can easily determine its purpose, in its impact on our lives, the changes we’ve made, the adaptation we’ve embraced and the awe and appreciation we gleaned from such a glorious and memorable experience.

My nightly dessert of fine cheese and Kenya is grown cashews and macadamia nuts. The night of the “bush dinner” Chef Ambrose had remembered to bring these items for my dessert, as the only guest in camp unable to eat the traditional desserts. Wow!

Enjoy these photos with us, knowing our comments from the past event, seven years ago today, were heartfelt and passionate.

Enjoy your day!

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

Coat of arms on shields at the entrance gate to Chepstow Castle in Wales. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

Day #207 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…An outstanding cultural experience, long ago…

 

Chief Richard of the Maasai tribe in the Maasai Mara posed inside one of the houses with us.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013 while on safari, staying at Camp Olonana in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

It was especially exciting to see our photos from seven years ago today while we visited the Maasai people while on safari in the Maasai Mara, Kenya.

One of Chief Richard’s two wives. Each wife has her own house, made by women only hands using cow dung and mud. The houses will last for 9 to 10 years before they begin to crumble. The tribe moves to a new location every 9 to 10 years, leaving behind all the houses, taking along all their household goods, livestock (cows and goats) and they begin building a village anew.

Today, I am copying and posting many excerpts from the post on this particular date exactly as I’d written so long ago. That post clearly defined our extraordinary experience at the Maasai village which, if I rewrote it today, I’d miss several key points. This won’t become a habit, copying and pasting an old post, but it seems right to do so today. So, here we go:

The roofs of the homes are made by the women-only using cow dung, dirt, and grass. Stepping on cow dung is considered a sign of good luck and we were encouraged to do so as we wandered through the village. I decided to step on it as much as possible after hearing we’d be picking up our pilot for yet a smaller, single-engine plane ride back to Diani Beach. Apparently, it worked, right?
“With our flight leaving at 1:30 pm, we knew the only time we had available to visit the nearby Maasai Village was Tuesday morning. (Maasai is spelled with two “a’s” when referring to the tribespeople, with one “a” when referring to the Masai Mara).
As more guests from Camp Olonana arrived, the women and children waited patiently to begin their welcoming dance.
Had we decided not to visit the village, we could have embarked on one more morning safari with Anderson. Enthralled with the enormous number of animal sightings and the stories that followed, it was time to round out our Maasai Mara experience, especially after several other guests suggested a visit to the village was definitely worthwhile.
The children were included in the welcoming dance dressed in their finest colorful garb as we all waited for the other guests to arrive.
The village was located less than a five-minute drive from the camp. We certainly could have walked deciding instead to accept the ride offered by Camp Olonana with our limited time frame, preferring to spend the time with Chief Richard.
After a delicious breakfast, our first actual breakfast eaten at the lodge, we were ready to see the Maasai Village. Almost completely packed, with our ride to the landing strip scheduled to depart at 1:00 pm, we’d left ourselves plenty of time to have a stress free departure, which is always our ultimate goal when moving from one location to another. 
Chief Richard also waited for the remaining Camp Olonana guests to arrive in order to tell his story of life in the tribe.
Conscientious Concierge Christine informed us during breakfast that our flight time had changed from 2:00 pm to 1:30 pm with no apparent bearing on our 1:00 pm departure from the camp. The landing strip was a 20-minute drive from Camp Olonana but we were stopping at a nearby resort to pick up our pilot, Edwin, who was having lunch and needed a ride. Oh.
Anderson had hoped to be able to take us to the landing strip himself, rather than another staff member. This would require him to complete the morning safari on time. 

We were hopeful, wanting to spend any last minutes with him going over our glorious safari.  We had left a generous tip for him the prior evening in the event he wasn’t able to drive off to the landing strip. Of course, knowing Anderson, he doesn’t disappoint and at 1:00 pm he was helping us load our bags into the Land Cruiser.

Once hydrated and “beaded up” I actually enjoyed the ritual singing along in my usual awful voice, having never been able to carry a tune or in this case, a chant.

The ritual dance and chanting completed, Chief Richard enthusiastically shared the story of his village, his life, and his people. When the ritual dance and chanting were completed, Chief Richard enthusiastically shared the story of his village, his life, and his people. 

Finally, the other guests had arrived. The tribeswomen gathered us into their “dance line” hoping we would chant and dance along with them. Feeling a bit overheated, I hesitated to join in but Tom reminded me discretely, that they may be offended if I didn’t. He grabbed a bottle of water for me. I took a big chug and joined in the line, later glad that I had.

At present with two wives, he finds himself preparing to take a third wife, yet to be chosen, although his wedding plans are in motion. She must be from another tribe. His first marriage was arranged by his parents, his second wife chosen by his first wife and he is allowed to pick his third wife. He was excited about this fact, chuckling and rolling his eyes in playful anticipation.

The tribeswomen were anxious for us to attempt “mashing” the cow dung with the stick used for that purpose. Actually, I was adept at this task and the Maaasi women were pleased.

Upon sharing his marital status with us, he began asking the four women in our group as to how many family members we have in our immediate families, including if applicable, how many husbands we’ve had. The larger the family, the more the women cheered. None other than I mentioned more than one husband. When my turn to disclose arrived, I unabashedly stated I’ve had three husbands. Tom is my best and last.

A “street” in the Maasai village of 56 tribespeople from 4 families, was neat and orderly. The business of selling their jewelry generated from the nearby camps enabled them to purchase more cows which ultimately made life easier for them with the ready food supply.

That comment, “brought down the house” with laughter, cheering, and clapping in unison. The Maasai women are only allowed one husband, where the men may have multiple wives at any given time. I quickly chimed in, telling them that I didn’t have all 3 husbands at once. Again, they erupted in laughter as we all laughed along with them. Chief Richard explained that my multiple husbands made me special in their eyes.  Gee…finally someone thought that was cool.

This is the area in which the cows are herded at the end of the day after grazing in the bush.

Boys are circumcised at 15 years of age with no anesthetic. Their manhood is determined by their ability to withstand the pain of the cutting with the man-made tool.

We assumed this was the bathroom in the tiny houses.

Women were no longer subject to the barbaric ritual of “genital mutilation” for which the 4 women in our group clapped. So often we’d heard of this cruel ritual still practiced in many tribes worldwide. 

One of the most interesting facts Chief Richard shared with us was the Maasai diet which consists entirely of the following:
1.  Beef
2.  Beef blood, only from healthy cows
3.  Milk from cows and goats.

Chief Richard explained the quality of the work-women-ship (as opposed to workmanship) in the support system for the roof.

They consumed no fruit, no vegetables, no grains, no sugar, no processed foods in any form, subsisting on a low carb, gluten-free, sugar and starch free diet. Tom and my eyes darted to one another as we heard this.  

This is the bedroom where a husband with more than one wife will sleep with the family as he switches back and forth to houses. To signify his presence for the night, he leaves his spear outside the door at night. The round white circle to the right is a window, the only source of outside light for the two-room house other than the entrance. 

Fifty-five of the 56 members in the tribe were all slim and fit with the exception of Chief Richard’s big belly. We surmised he was either partaking in other foods in his dealings with the local safari camps or eating too much meat, milk and blood. Perhaps, it was expected that the chief is rotund as a sign of wealth. We didn’t ask.

The kitchen where they cook the meat. With no means of refrigeration, meat is always cooked, never eaten raw. There are no accompaniments to the meals other than the blood and milk. They do not eat lunch, only meat, milk, and blood in the morning and again at dinner.

Tom and I later chuckled about their diet. The only differences in my diet are the addition of non-starchy vegetables and the deletion of drinking blood and milk, neither of which I care to consume.

The door, which is closed at night offers light during the daylight hours.

Chief Richard explained that his people live long lives, often over 100 years, although they didn’t celebrate a birthday and speculated on the age of an “elder”. Seldom did illness befall his people. If they did become ill, they were quick to use medicinal plants readily available in the area. Midwives aided in childbirth as well as the women providing support to one another during pregnancy and childbirth.

The other guests often stated, “I don’t know how they can live like this.” In our travels this past year, we’ve seen more sparse lifestyles. The Maasai were happy people, full of life and laughter mixed with a bit of whimsy. They looked healthy as did their children. Their children attend a local school, learning to speak English, often sent to universities to expand their education. In Diani Beach, we see many professional Maaasi people holding jobs and living a more traditional Kenyan lifestyle. They are recognizable by their colorful clothing and their kind and courteous demeanor. 

He stated that if a tribe member fell prey to animal attacks or an accident requiring medical care they would seek assistance from traditional medical care in the area. They value life, limb, and well being, not foolishly avoiding care in emergencies due to tradition.

Women are forbidden to enter the tabernacle, a place of worship, and conducting tribe business. During a meeting, women may wait outside of the structure on their knees and may pose concerns and questions. They are forbidden from offering input for resolution. As we approached the tabernacle I stepped back to honor the traditional. Chief Richard invited me and the other women to enter along with the men in our group.  He explained, as visitors, we were welcome to enter and take a seat.
As our visit to the Maasai village came to an end, we were invited to visit the house with the beaded jewelry which we could purchase if we chose. There was no pressure to do so. 
This man could have been anyone we’d see out in the world, as opposed to being a Maasai warrior living in this small village of four families with 56 residents.
Instead, we chose to give Chief Richard a donation as a thank you for his and his people’s willingness to share their village and the story of their lives with us, willingly and openly.
A Maasai man making a fire. After only a few minutes of twisting the stick into the small hole in the piece of wood, there was smoke. There was no flint, only the two pieces of wood.
Without a doubt, the visit to the Maasai village rounded out our safari in an enriching manner, leaving us ready to return to our own simple life in Diani Beach, Kenya, with a smile we still can’t wipe off of our faces and a special memory in our hearts to remain with us forever.
Working the dry grass in his bare hands, facilitated the fire in igniting.
Tomorrow, the final review on Camp Olonana and many photos we’ve yet to post. Hope to see you back!”
It’s a fire! Wow!
That was the end of that day’s long post, a day we’ll always recall with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts for yet again, another outstanding experience, enhancing our knowledge of people from all over the world, a blissful aspect of our world travels.
Be well.

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

Our friend Linda and Ken spent time with us while we were in Chepstow, Wales. Here we are, having a few drinks at the Boat Inn in Chepstow on the river. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day #206 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Auto email issues resolved!…Romantic Lion Couple…Rated “R”…

It was a perfect morning. The Romantic Lion Couple in the Maasai Mara in 2013, appeared casual and at ease under the shade of this tree. But, the air was filled with passionate tension.

Note: Many of our readers were not receiving the automatic daily email posts and have notified me accordingly. Our web developers have been working on this issue and a few minutes ago, I received an email that the issue has been resolved. Thank you for your patience. If you’d like to receive an auto-email daily with the newest post, please click the link at the top right of our homepage at SIGN UP TO NEWSLETTER where you can enter your email below that. You will receive a confirmation email to reply to. You can unsubscribe easily at any time.

The female lion occasionally opened an eye, checking out his next move.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013 while on safari, staying at Camp Olonana in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

We’ll always remember the day while on safari in the Maasai Mara, of the mating lion couple we aptly named the Romantic Lion Couple. When our guide, Anderson, spotted this female and male lion lounging under a tree at a distance through his high-powered binoculars, he knew exactly what was going on and drove like a “bat out of hell” to get there in time for us to watch the rarely seen event.

“She likes me. She really likes me!” He looked at us as if seeking approval to move along.

We all waited patiently for an hour in order to get today’s repeated photos. It was amazing to see the cycle of life with these two majestic animals getting along so well, when often they are at odds with each other, often over food. Generally, in the wild, female lions hunt and nearby male lions steal their food.

Was this a precursor to women notoriously being the cooks and men eating the food we shopped for and cooked? Of course, in today’s world that has changed dramatically, for the better with men often cooking, and from what we understand becomes more and more prevalent in these times of more equality.

 Although he appeared relaxed, he was well aware of the task at hand, politely awaiting the perfect opportunity.

Right, now on day #206 in lockdown, while longing to do our own cooking, I’d be thrilled to cook a meal while Tom sat by and watched. He can steal my food anytime! But, for us, when preparing meals, he helps with the prep and does all the dishes. I love this arrangement and can’t wait for it to begin once again.

In the interim, I’m still working on the revisions on our almost 3000 past posts, one by one. Most days, I can complete one page of 20 posts out of a total of 150 pages. I am only on page 34 with 116 more pages left to do.

“I think it’s time to get this show on the road!”

Now that all five of the long 2000 word posts are done, I can focus on the corrections to ensure I can complete one page of 20 per day. At this rate, it will take approximately four more months for me to complete the task. A part of it has been enjoyable, rereading every post we’ve done while I search for errors to correct.

 Actively engaged in mating before our eyes.

By no means, is this an assurance that I didn’t miss some of the errors. But, it’s certainly a lot better than it was in the old Blogger format I was using as opposed to WordPress which allows for proper line spacing and font construction. Also, I am correcting all the double-spacing after a period for each sentence.

Afterward, he moved back to the tree in his usual spot, perhaps contemplating his next move.

During these past eight years, the use of double-spacing after a period has long been defined as unnecessary. Originally, this double spacing was established as important when typing on a typewriter. Old-timer that I am, I learned that old habit and didn’t start changing it until recently. I have no doubt, I am missing some of the corrections in this regard when editing each of the 3000 posts.

It takes about eight minutes of editing time per post resulting in almost three hours each day, beyond the time it takes to do the daily post plus stopping every ½ hour to walk in the corridors. These tasks keep me busy most of the day. What else do I have to do while in this hotel room? When I am done, I’ll be relieved and grateful I took the time for this daunting task.

Their tree on the left, we drove away, with those same smiles on our faces knowing that for some magical reason, we had a safari that couldn’t have been more perfect, more fulfilling, more life-changing than the 21 1/2 hours we spent with Anderson in that sturdy Land Cruiser, bouncing too high heaven, feeling lucky, so lucky!

May you have a pleasant day!

                                                                    _________________________________________

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

The view of the Wye River in Wales, we encountered on a drive in the area For more photos, please click here.