|On the last night of the Maharajas Express, we were all assisted in dressing in traditional Indian attire.|
Today’s photos are from the post on March 18, 2020, as we recapped some of the time we spent in India prior to the lockdown. For more on this date, please click here.
Reading the post from March 18, 2020, made us cringe when realizing it was two days later, when our booked middle-of-the-night flight to South Africa, for which we were turned away at the airport at the last minute, required that we return to the hotel from whence we’d come, only to close a few days later. This resulted in our search for a hotel that was allowed to stay open during the lockdown. Subsequently, that scenario brought us to this hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport.
|We never imagined we’d see the Taj Mahal. And yet, that morning in the haze and pollution, it lay before our eyes in its full splendor.|
This is no typical Courtyard by Marriott one finds in cities throughout the US and other countries, often with few floors and fewer amenities than many larger hotels. This hotel is comparable to a regular Marriott with outstanding decor, many levels, and great amenities. There’s nothing budget-like here.
Amid all the issues over foods we don’t eat, noise, inconsistencies in food preparation, and the endless stream of mask-less guests, overall it’s as good of an experience as we could have expected under these challenging circumstances. Never once was any request we made dismissed or not regarded with the highest esteem.
|Exquisite decor in ancient palaces and temples.|
The cleaning, room service delivery, and management staff have excelled in every way. We’ve been treated with the utmost respect, kindness, and consideration for which we are very grateful.
Fortunately, booking the continuation of our stay, month after month enabled us to get the best possible pricing, allowing us to easily afford this long hotel stay, unlike any stay in the past. Most recently, the prices for about a six-week period dropped to as low as US $50 a night, INR 3697, per night, the lowest we’ve paid anywhere in the world.
|The locals doing their laundry in Lake Pichola but no laundry soaps are allowed. Fishing and private boats are not allowed on the lake in Udaipur.|
Being able to use our accumulated “stamps” from Hotels.com on our site, also provided us with many “free” nights when 10 stamps result in one “free night” of comparable value. Of course, these low rates reduce the value of the “free night” credits for future bookings, using the accumulated stamps.
The food situation surely has been the most challenging during this stay. With my ultra low carb way of eating and Tom’s picky taste buds, we had no choice but to order meals outside the realm of our desires and tastes. In the interim, eating a diet of increased carb consumption each day, more than I was used to. The red Indian sauces and excess amounts of vegetables, often greasy and overcooked, caused my health to go downhill.
|Several castles are located in or near the man-made lakes in Udaipur.|
Tom had no options other than eating chicken pasta with a creamy white sauce every night resulting in a weight gain. I hadn’t gained during that period, but my weight was up considerably from my usual, which had crept upwards while recovering from open-heart surgery.
Many of the medications I’d been taking after the surgery (none of which I still take or need) left me sleeping half the day and grossly inactive, rapidly gaining weight. A year later, I was up 25 pounds, 11.3 kg, and my blood sugar was high, bordering on familial Type 2 diabetes, which only exacerbates cardiovascular disease and blood pressure.
|A snake charmer, an expected event in India.|
Chronic pain returned making walking the corridors all the more difficult, although I never missed a day. A few months ago, I stopped eating those high carb sauces and vegetables, reducing my blood sugar to a low normal range, and have been able to totally stop taking medications for hypertension, with my blood pressure now at 100/60 without drugs.
As of this morning, I have lost the extra 25 pounds, 11.3 kg, and now fit in all of my old clothing. Thus, when we pack soon, I will be able to donate all the clothes I’d purchased in larger sizes, while in the US a year ago. Whew! So, in that respect, being in lockdown forced me to research ways in which I could reduce my blood pressure and blood sugar, which subsequently resulted in weight loss with relative ease. What a wonderful Christmas gift to myself!
|The fantastic chef on the train, John Stone, who assured all of my meals would be perfect and they were..|
Tom has lost a portion of the weight he needs to lose as a result of eating that high carb pasta, but surely will do so within the next two months, especially after we get to South Africa when we can prepare our own meals. Hopefully, if all goes as planned, we’ll be leaving India in 21 days (three weeks from today), arriving in 22 days. We wait with bated breath!
For those who celebrate, we wish you a Merry Christmas and New Year!
Photo from one year ago today, December 22, 2019:
|Photo of the beautiful Crocodile River taken from Marloth Park on this date in 2013. For more, please click here.|