Day #279 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Yikes!…Our flight got canceled!…

Simple, yet lovely.

There are no photos from a prior post to share today other than the above from this date in 2016 while in Penguin, Tasmania, Australia, due to other “fish to fry” today, as you’ll see below. Please click here for the post.

While settling in for our lazy second half of the day yesterday afternoon, I noticed an email from Emirates Airlines. Our flight scheduled for January 12, 2021, has been canceled. No explanation. No refund included. It was just canceled. We spent the remainder of the afternoon searching for and booking another flight.

Fortunately, we were able to book another flight on Emirates Airlines one day earlier. However, on January 11th, not the 12th, this new flight includes a 16-hour layover in Dubai. There were no other shorter-flight options. Frustrated and fearing this would happen again, last night, I stayed up late to listen to Cyril Ramphosa, president of South Africa, speech about re-instituted Level 3 lockdown measures.

Much to our relief, at this point, South Africa’s borders won’t be closing, hopefully, not over the next few weeks anyway. However, this doesn’t mean this new flight won’t also get canceled. Based on fewer tourists and business flyers traveling at this time, these airlines will cancel flights if they aren’t full enough.

While booking the January 11th flight, we noticed that the business class was sold out. This might be a good sign that this flight may be more fully occupied, increasing the odds of staying in place. We’d considered upgrading to business class at one point, but the extra cost of US $2000, INR 146741, per person wasn’t worth it.

By 7:00 am, we’ll head for the nearby Mumbai Airport for the 10:30 am flight. The only good part of this flight is that we won’t have to leave this hotel in the middle of the night. The hotel has rescheduled our COVID-19 test for January 9th since it takes a full 24-hours for the results. We couldn’t risk having the difficulty on the 10th for this reason.

Based on the new flight details, our overnight stay in Johannesburg still works out along with the flight on January 13th from Johannesburg Tambo Airport to Nelspruit/Mpumulanga/Kruger Airport and the booking for our pre-arranged rental car. All said and done. We’ll arrive in Marloth Park on the same day and time on January 13th, after a two-day travel period.

Thank goodness, we’ll have the overnight in Johannesburg and be able to catch up on some sleep and food. But, alas, much to our dismay, President Ramaphosa banned all alcohol sales in South Africa until January 14th or perhaps longer. “No, worries,” says dear friend Louise last night amid the madness. She’s got wine and brandy for the night we arrive. That’s our Louise and Danie!!!

We aren’t “lushes” by any means, having had no problem going without drinks the past ten months, but settling in with a big steak and a glass of red wine for me and brandy for Tom was definitely in our minds as part of our arrival festivities. In more news today, I’ve been reading that the alcohol ban may be overturned since it severely impacts South Africa’s economy and jobs. We shall see how that goes.

To top it off, we took a peek at India’s visa status. The previous statement that all foreign traveler’s visas would automatically be provided with an extension if they leave within 30 days of the re-opening of all International flights has been reversed. Well, that went away, and now, much to our chagrin, we have to apply for an extension after all.

You wouldn’t believe how complicated this process is! That’s why I haven’t included more photos today and am wrapping up this post as quickly as possible. There’s a 14-day window to accomplish this, and when our flight changed from the 12th to the 11th, this places us on the 13th day today. As soon as I wrap this up, we’ll start the process which, most likely will take the remainder of the day.

I won’t be finishing my walks today and will be sitting at my computer filling out forms for the remainder of the day. Lots of small-sized documents have to be attached, so I will have to make adjustments accordingly. Oh, good grief. Stressful.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 29, 2019:

We often encountered beautiful flowers when we walked the neighborhood in Pacific Harbor, Fiji, on this date in 2015. For more on the year-ago post, please click here.

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