Air India opening up international flights but see the caveats here…Why we’re excluded…We can handle this…

While in Campanaria, Madeira, Portugal, we heard the music coming from the fish guy’s truck and raced up the hill to his trucks. He held up a tuna for us to inspect. It was smaller than some of the others but, this size was perfect. It weighed 7.7 kg, 17 pounds, and the cost was INR 2569, US $34. He cut them into portion-sized pieces, wrapping each piece individually.

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Today’s photos are from June 6, 2014, while living in Madeira, Portugal. See the link here for more photos.

Many of our concerned readers (thanks for your interest and support) have been sending us messages about international flights opening up via Air India or other countries. It all sounds well and good.

But, here are the countries to which they are flying per this news story:

“Air India will operate around 300 flights to Europe, Australia, Canada, the USA, the UK, and Africa between June 10 and July 1 during phase 3 of Vande Bharat Mission.”

Next, they weighed our tuna. It was slightly under 8 kilograms, approximately 17 pounds.

First off, in most of Europe, all of Canada, all of Australia, and most of Africa (including South Africa), the borders are closed to US citizens, regardless of the fact we’ve been in India since January 31, 2020. 

Now, as India’s number of cases escalate, the fact that our passports indicate we’ve been here during the worst of the pandemic, there is an additional whammy against us entering many countries.

With the number of cases in Europe continually increasing, we have no interest in going to Europe at this time. In 2020, we spent three months in Ireland and two months in the UK and had no interest in returning at this point with their ongoing increases in the number of cases.

First, he removed the head and tail using a huge knife.

But, all of the above is a moot point when we read this news today at this news story:

“The national carrier (Air India) posted at 8.20 PM on Friday on Twitter: “Bookings for select destinations in the USA, Canada, UK & Europe, etc., under Phase3 of #MissionVandeBharat opened at 5 pm today. Around 60 million hits were received till 7 pm on our website & 1700 seats were sold through the website alone in 2 hrs. Bookings continue & tickets are being issued.”

Only 1700 seats were booked for the above locations, and they received 60 million hits. Their website crashed. Most of these flights were designated for Indian citizens and others returning to their places of residence, not for “tourists” like us trying to leave India to go to another country to continue our travels.

The flights involving Africa for repatriation purposes are as follows from this site:

“Phase 3 of this repatriation drive covers around 17 African countries — Air India will operate flights from Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Seychelles, and South Africa and charter services for Djibouti, Morocco, Sudan, Morocco, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, and Sierra Leone.”

All of the above country’s borders are closed to US citizens. All of these flights are for repatriation. This does not include us unless we’re interested in returning to the US for repatriation. As mentioned, we are not. We’d rather wait it out here for many more months to come than return to the US, with no US health insurance, no home, and the high cost of living.

He reached into the cavity and started removing the entrails.
If we were to return to the US and rent a home, we’d have to buy a car, outfit the property, sign up for US Medicare Part B and supplement, and give up on our dream to continue our lifestyle of world travel. 
We couldn’t afford to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in the US while continuing to travel the world. After all, as we’ve mentioned, we are not wealthy, nor is our retirement income sufficient to support both ways of life at any given time. Sure, we could go on a trip or two each year, but that is not what we want.
No, we’re not like everyone else in this regard. We understand and respect how the majority of the senior population find comfort and pleasure in their retirement, living in a retirement community (or not), and filling their days with what they enjoy the most. It’s just not us.
He was highly skilled, most likely as a result of years of experience.  Plus, he had all of his fingers.
So, after 7¾ years of world travel, if we have to spend 8 or 9 months in lockdown while we emotionally and financially continue to handle it, be it. No, it wasn’t easy living in other countries, with over 40C, 104F temperatures without air-con (except at night). It’s a lot easier here in this hotel in India. We can handle this.
If we survived my dreadful experience of having emergency open-heart surgery in a small hospital in a small town in South Africa with numerous complications, we could handle this.
Even if we wanted to take advantage of one of these 1700 available seats on Air India, how would we compete with the 60 million hits on Air India’s website, all clamoring for these relatively few seats? 
This was our remaining tuna after we gave Judite, our cleaner, and Gina, our property manager, each a good-sized bag, some of which we’ll cook over the next few nights and the remainder, which we sealed in Ziploc bags and froze for future meals.
Once international flights open up in India for some of the areas we’d consider, who then have open borders to US citizens, we’ll wait a few weeks for the “rush” to settle down and then book our preferred locations as they become available. 
I check this ticker for the number of cases, the new number of cases, and new deaths each day. We realize it may not be 100% accurate, based on reporting procedures in various countries. But it’s easy to see why we aren’t interested in visiting most of the countries mentioned above when the risks are so high and why we are interested, if possible, in waiting it out to go to South Africa (#24 on this list) or certain other African countries or islands in the Indian Ocean, while we wait.
Yes, it’s possible that at some point, India could require us to leave with the only option available to return to the US. If that were the case, we’d go for a short period, stay in a holiday home or hotel, and then we’d fly away, continuing our journey. The less time we spent flying in crowded airplanes, the better.
We can handle this.

Photo from one year ago today, June 6, 2019:

Cows in the garden. As we drove down the shared driveway between ours and the owner’s house, we noticed we had cattle on both sides. The owner allows a local farmer to let the cattle graze in her grassy fields. For more photos, please click here.

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