Day #116 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Messages from readers make our days special!…Negative comments from readers?…

Day #116 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Messages from readers make our days special!…Negative comments from readers?…

Check out how many kudus we had in the garden on this date in 2018!

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

Today’s photos are from July 17, 2018, while in Marloth Park, South Africa. See the link here for more details.



Today’s post is, by no means, intended to “toot our own horn.” Instead, it’s about the kindness of people, of our readers, so many of whom have taken the time to write to us to provide support and encouragement.

That morning’s 17 kudus in the garden. See the above video for details.

I don’t often share the actual email messages we receive, but somehow the following message that arrived in my inbox yesterday, (who’s name and email I’ve excluded, protecting her privacy), left us reeling with appreciation.


How well this reader understands our love for Marloth Park and the reasons we can’t wait to return someday when COVID-19 settles down. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to meet this couple in Marloth Park sometime in the future?

Wildebeest Willie and friends stopped by another night.

In her message, as shown below, she writes,” Thank you for the encouragement you bring to my life.” Our response is, “Thank you for the encouragement you bring to our lives.” Ironic, isn’t it?

Although not all are shown in this photo, for the first time, we had six bushbucks in the garden at one time.

Here’s her message received in yesterday’s email:                                                                                                   
“Good morning Jessica

I have been following you for quite a while and today just feel prompted to make contact.
I am so in awe of how well you are coping!!
My husband and I have lived in Cape Town all our lives and retired to Knysna for 10 lovely years

We decided to put stuff into storage a few years ago and explore South Africa after selling our home. It has been wonderful and we discovered Marloth in our travels!! We spent several months there last year.

Giraffes came through the parklands next to us. On foot, we rushed to see them up close to take photos. But, dad wasn’t too happy with us with his young calf nearby.  We carefully backed away.
It truly is just the most amazing place. We found a passion which we share.
We had to come to Cape Town due to health reasons in Dec last year… with every intention of returning there. BUT by the time things got sorted, we went into lockdown and we are stuck in Cape Town.
We are staying in a lovely home with all we could need but are just so longing to get back to Marloth!!
Some days I feel so frustrated at the limits on our lives..especially socially and the boredom of every day and then I read one of your posts and realize how blessed we are. Thank you for the encouragement you bring to my life.
Keep well. God bless you both
Hope to meet you one day in Marloth”
We knew better than to get too close.

Wow! This message couldn’t have meant more to us. I will write back to her today, asking her and her husband to read today’s post so they see how much their message meant to us.

It was nearly dark when they visited.

Going forward, especially during this quiet time of COVID-19 lockdown, we will be posting more comments we receive from our readers. We welcome any of you to write as well.


You may ask, do we receive negative comments? Much to our surprise and delight, we do not. It’s a rarity for a “hater” to write to us. I suppose if haters don’t like us or our site, they certainly have the option not to read the posts. 

A young zebra in the garden of a house on the river road.

We are working hard at staying positive under these difficult circumstances, and engaging in heated discussions is not conducive to our mental wellbeing at this time. Neither of us finds such discussions uplifting in any manner especially when there is nothing we can say to change their minds or ours.

This must have been the above baby’s mom resting nearby.

On another note, in the past few days, I tried a different dinner option after speaking with the head chef. He now prepares a delicious, spicy chicken curry for me, made without starch (potatoes, peas, etc.), sugar, or flour and it is such a welcome change. 


Tom says the curry looks like cat puke, but it doesn’t bother me. I have no idea what cat puke tastes like, but this version of curry sure tastes good to me. Tonight, I will take a photo and share it tomorrow.

We spotted two rangers on the road with rifles. We assumed it had something to do with poachers.

“They” are saying if everyone wore a face mask, socially distanced and washed their hands, in two months the virus could be over. Let’s all strive for this goal! Please pass this post on to others and hopefully, they too will get on board with those of us making this commitment!


Be well.

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

The view across Lough Pollaacapull as seen from the castle’s veranda at Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.

 

Day #115 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Is the “head in the sand” premise the best response during these times?…

Day #115 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Is the “head in the sand” premise the best response during these times?…

These are the locked iron gates closing off easy access to the church across from our 300-year-old stone villa in Boveglio, Italy in 2013.

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

Today’s photos are from July 16, 2014, while in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy. See the link here for more details.
This unattached separate building on the church grounds may have been the original church on the grounds based on the inscription near the entryway.

We shake our own heads in wonder as to why we’re holding up so well emotionally. Is it a concerted daily effort or is it a by-product of our long-term goal of attempting to remain upbeat and positive since the onset of our travels, during even the toughest of times?

A part of the entrance to the larger church.

For me, being in lockdown in this hotel room in India is a piece of cake compared to having emergency open-heart surgery in February 2019 and the horrific long recovery with complications. 

This gate was locked preventing us from getting inside the church.

So what, if we can’t go outside. So what, if we mostly eat the same meals over and over again. So what, if we hand wash all of our clothing which on occasion, smells moldy when dry due to the air-con in the room and how long they take to dry. So what, if we have no social interactions outside of this room. So what, if we don’t have the freedom to leave to a more appealing environment.

Overlooking the iron railing around the cemetery.

Are our “heads in the sand,” in denial of what may prove to be a year-long-hotel-room-confinement in Mumbai India? We stayed in a self-imposed lockdown for a few weeks, even before the official lockdown began in India on March 24th, the day we moved into this hotel.

Another view of the cemetery from the iron railing. A gate was also locked to the main entrance but we were able to enter through an unlocked side gate.

In total, we’ve been in lockdown since March 12th, the day we discovered our planned upcoming cruise scheduled for April 3rd, from Mumbai to Greenwich, UK, was canceled when we chose to end our 55-day private tour of India with three more weeks remaining until completion. This results in a total of 137 days since we’ve been confined. So what?

These steps were much steeper than they appear here, more so than many of the steps on the walk to Bar Ferrari in our neighborhood. We found an unlocked gate allowing us to enter at the bottom of these steps.

Maybe we do have our heads in the sand. So what? It’s helping us get through. But, most of all, the fact that we are safe and unlikely to contract COVID-19 makes this confinement all the more tolerable.

These were the first gravesites we spotted as we entered the cemetery.

Sure, it would be great to be able to have a glass of wine or cocktail now and then. Sure, it would be great to have social interactions, shop at a grocery store, cook a meal, use a washing machine, hang up clothes on an outdoor clothesline, or feed visiting wildlife at the edge of a veranda. Sure, it would all be nice.

Tom, ancestry.com obsessed, was fascinated with the stories revealed by the many headstones, names, dates, and photos.

Hopefully, someday in the future, all of this will transpire. But, at the growing rate of infection in many countries that we’d consider visiting, we patiently remain in a state of limbo, not with our heads-in-the-sand, but instead, a safe state of acceptance and reverence for this awful disease, that we avoid at all costs.

Some of the headstones were quite impressive, both old and new.

There’s no easy answer. We walk with vigor. We talk with vigor. We laugh with vigor, especially on those mornings when Tom asks as he did today, “What’s on the agenda for today?”


And, I answer, “Guess what? We get to “order room service twice!” We get to “go to the movies!” We don’t have to clean, make the bed, do dishes, or sweep the floor! We get to go for a walk several times!


But, most of all, one more time, we get to write to all of you!

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

This is the over-the-top Kylemore Abbey, a former home, castle and grounds of a wealthy family in the 1800s. We visited this site, taking photos, while in Connemara, Ireland, one year ago. Please click here for more photos.

Day #114 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…In a darkened room, hiding away…No sunshine here…

Bananas were growing everywhere on the island of Madeira, many farmed for resale while others were available for personal use.

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

Today’s photos are from July 15, 2014, while in Campanario, Madeira, Portugal. See the link here for more details.



We both are advocates of the value of getting Vitamin D from direct sunlight for 20 minutes a day. With all outdoor areas closed to guests in the hotel, there is nowhere we can go to get some sun directly on our skin.


Besides, its the monsoon season in India now and it rains almost every day and night, often in torrents. As hard as this is to admit, based on our year’s long advocacy of the value of direct sunlight for setting bio-rhythms to produce better sleep and general health benefits, we now sit in a darkened room (with lamps on), 24 hours a day.

Some flowers are continuing to bloom through the summer season as is the case in the Alstroemeria.

It happened during the first month. One sunny day, we closed the drapes on the full wall of glass due to the glare on our laptops and to keep the room cool. The view isn’t pleasant and we had no interest in seeing outdoors, especially when our chairs back up to the windows.


Over the next few cloudy days, we opened the drapes, but again found the glare annoying and felt no benefit from keeping the drapes open. Finally, over a period of a week, we gradually kept the drapes closed entirely. 


And now, over 100 days later, we spend each day in the darkened room with lamps on, while providing somewhat of a cozy feeling that we’ve both embraced. Now, if the cleaner leaves the drapes open after cleaning, we immediately close them in order for the room to return to its familiar ambiance.

What were these red things growing on a tree in our yard?  

The fact is that it may be more beneficial with the drapes open right now as we continue in lockdown month after month. However, right now, our general comfort seems to be of the utmost importance to us.


We walk daily and Tom adds in numerous flights of stairs to his walks in the corridors. I’m up to no less than three miles, almost five km, per day at a good pace, although I break it up into several segments to avoid sitting for any length of time. Tom does his exercises while our room is being cleaned.


Are we hiding away in a darkened room during these trying times? Is it impacting our moods? We aren’t hiding away but feel right now that avoiding the glare and the less-than-desirable view has a more positive impact on our ability to stay positive, contrary to what “they” may say.

These berries were growing on a palm type tree in the garden.

During these challenging times, we each have to find ways to console and comfort ourselves, while easing the stress of confinement. Our dear friends Kathy and Don, who are currently living in Oahu, Hawaii (when not at their home in Marloth Park to which they aren’t allowed to travel at this point), are able to walk outdoors and get together with friends at outdoor restaurants while maintaining social distancing.


Enjoying a glass of wine or a drink with friends (or even with each other) would be such a treat along with the opportunity to walk outdoors in the sunshine. Our level of appreciation in times to come will surely be over-the-top. Although, it’s not as if we didn’t appreciate it in times past.


We hope you are safely able to be outdoors in bright sunlight and perhaps enjoy snippets of time with friends and family at safe distances.


Be well.

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

With great reviews on TripAdvisor, it’s no wonder many visitors stopped by the unique eatery, The Misunderstood Heron in Connemara, Ireland with its stunning scenery. We didn’t order any food when all of it included wheat and high carbs. For more photos, please click here.