Day #226 in lockdown in Mumbai, India…Election results day…Bubonic plague in Africa, two years ago…

More than 1,300 cases have now been reported in Madagascar, health chiefs have revealed, as nearby nations have been placed on high alert
This map of Africa in 2017 illustrates that there was a high risk for bubonic plague. At that time, we were planning to be in South Africa beginning in February 2018 and other countries to renew our visa status. We, ultimately, stayed in Africa for 15 months at that time.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2017, during the news on the bubonic plague impacting the east coast of Africa. See the link here.

After a solid 5½ hours of uninterrupted sleep, I bolted out of bed at 5:00 am, anxious to shower, dress, and get ready to start the day, watching US news on the elections. While getting dressed, I had the news on my phone in the bathroom, but the results were only dribbling in at that time.

Tom’s early morning view of the moon setting on the horizon, taken from the veranda.

Not wanting to awaken Tom, I decided against turning on the news on the TV to one of the few English-speaking channels in India. My phone is a perfect resource for information and at the moment, at 6:00 am, I’m dressed for the day, sitting in my comfy chair, earbuds in my ears, listening to the news on my phone while I’m preparing today’s post.

My goal is to complete today’s post by the time Tom awakens and be able to plug in my laptop to the TV with live broadcasts of US news available to stream. I don’t mind not working on my laptop today. Instead, use it to see what’s transpiring with the election.

We’ve often been asked if we pay attention to what is transpiring in the US as we’ve traveled the world, and without a doubt, regardless of our fears and frustration over recent events, of course, we care deeply about our home country. We always stay in close touch via the news and read a variety of publications online.

A boy covers his mouth as a council worker sprays disinfectant during the clean-up of the market in the Anosibe district, one of the most unsalubrious districts of Antananarivo.
Street scene in Madagascar during the plague. (Not our photo).

Over these many months in lockdown, we are paying particular attention when we’ve had news on, in the background,  most days, switching between the few English speaking stations, most of which are international news which also has a significant impact on our lives. There are one or two English-speaking Indian news channels which we also watch for updates on COVID-19 and the possibilities of the opening of international flights.

As for today’s photos, on this date in 2017, news broke about the bubonic plague (ironic, eh?) hitting the eastern coast of Africa. It caused us concern with our plans to head to South Africa in February, three months later. Fortunately, the virus was contained by the time we arrived in Africa. We headed to Marloth Park to celebrate my 70th birthday at Jabula with friends and hopefully stay for an extended period.

By traveling in and out of South Africa by visiting other countries in Africa, we were able to stay for 12 months with only applying for one visa extension by traveling to other African countries and returning to South Africa for another 90-day visa stamp.

People queue at a pharmacy in downtown Antananarivo, Madagascar to buy protection masks against infections and medicines against plague on Monday, October 2.
Locals outside a pharmacy in Madagascar. (Not our photo).

When I had open-heart surgery in South Africa and couldn’t travel for three months, we overstayed our last visa by 90 days. Tom was too busy taking care of me to spend days working on another visa extension. We were told we couldn’t return for five years when we left the country, described as “undesirables.” We had letters from doctors and proof of payment for medical bills to prove the reason why we’d overstayed. Still, we were banned.

While in Ireland after leaving SA, we hired a South Africa law firm to help us acquire a waiver to allow us to return sooner than in five years. After considerable legal fees, it was granted months later, and now, ironically, we can’t get there. So much has changed for us and people all over the world in 2020. I don’t believe this will be over with the new year.

Regardless of today’s US election results, we pray for the safety and well-being of our fellow US citizens and citizens of the world.

Be well. Be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, November 4, 2019:

The travel anniversary cake was hosted by Murano, a specialty restaurant on the ship. Tom didn’t eat any of it. We handed it over to the neighbors from Minnesota in the next cabin for them to enjoy. For more photos, please click here.

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