Day #186 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Recap of our situation…

Mom appeared to be showing her offspring how to drink from the river.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2018, while we lived in Marloth Park, South Africa. For more on this date, please click here.

We spent 15 months in Marloth Park from February 2018 to May 2019, the last three months of which I was recovering from open-heart surgery and was unable to fly. We’d overstayed our visa by those previous three necessary months, leaving us described as “undesirables” based on South Africa’s immigration department with a five-year ban on returning.

Mom was standing by the river’s edge, waiting for her baby to join her, who was a short distance away.

We hired a South African attorney at quite an expense to allow us to return anytime, removing the five-year ban, and then COVID-19 happened. On March 20, 2020, we arrived at the Mumbai Airport at 3:00 am with tickets to fly to South Africa and were turned away when checking in. South Africa had yet to close its borders, but it didn’t want anyone to enter with a US passport. The next day they closed their borders.

From the airport, we returned to our former hotel in Mumbai, the SunNSand. A few days later, they closed the hotel, literally kicking us out on the street. We spent several stressful hours trying to find a place to stay, and finally, we were directed to this hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport, on March 24, 2020. We’ve been here in utter lockdown for the past 186 days and nights.

The word was out! Little birds stopped by our vacation home for seeds.

As our long-term readers know, we were determined to return to South Africa. A year ago, we’d booked a cruise for April 3, 2020, sailing from Mumbai, India to Greenwich, England, spending several months in Europe, then sail out of Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa on November 10, 2020. We planned to spend a few days in Cape Town and then fly to Marloth Park. All of these plans were canceled months ago.

Well, the best-laid plans…were changed by COVID-19, and here we sit over six months later with nary a plan on the horizon. It looks as if South Africa may be opening its borders very soon, but excluding US passport holders and recent visitors to India. And, India certainly doesn’t have flights from Mumbai to South Africa, even if they would let us in. So, here we sit. Six months later.

Down they went, in an awkward pose, to drink from the river.

Daily, we’re checking updates on when India’s borders will open, going anywhere that may appeal to us. But right now, the only flights available are these listed at this link. None of these work for us. We’re not interested in returning to Dubai, having been there for two weeks in 2013. It was interesting for that period but not appealing for us to return. There would be no benefit for us to sit in a hotel room in Dubai instead of doing so here in India.

Also, it makes no sense for us to fly to another big city in India. We’d be risking unnecessary time at the airport and would still be stuck in a hotel room. So, much to our chagrin, we stay put.

The baby tried it on her own while mom watched. Giraffes are vulnerable to predators in this position.

We continued to work on receiving our two FedEx items. A few days ago, we were “kicked out” of their system when attempting to upload the necessary documents, including; passport bio page and back page, a letter from the hotel authorizing them to deliver the items, along with our e-visa document. We weren’t allowed to try again for another 24 hours.

Yesterday afternoon, I was able to get the documents uploaded, and this morning, I received an email that we’ll hear from them about the “customs fees” we may owe. After that process, we’ll accept the items. Good grief. I’ve never heard of so much hoopla to receive FedEx packages.

A few zebras meandered down the hill to the water, but mom didn’t seem concerned. Giraffes and zebras seem to blend well in the wild.

Most likely, in the future, we won’t be ordering anything from the US, as more and more countries are adding products to their online websites. We’ve had awful problems receiving international packages all over the world.

Today? Status quo. We’re hanging in there, both of us with a good attitude, coupled with hope for the future for all of us, all over the world.

Stay safe.

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

Sheep grazing near Pond Cottage, our farm rental in Devon, England. This paddock is where the older rams reside to live out their lives. For more photos, please click here.

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