Day #280 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Visa extensions done!…12 days and counting…

Tom’s burger in Palermo, Buenos Aires, with ham, eggs, cheese, and beef plus fried potatoes.

Today’s photos are from December 30, 2017, while staying in Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, over the holidays in a boutique hotel, awaiting our upcoming cruise to Antarctica, sailing on January 24, 2018. For more on the post, please click here.

Only three years ago, we arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Tom’s birthday, December 23, 2017, to begin the one-month wait to fly to Ushuaia, Argentina, to board our upcoming 18-day cruise on Ponant’s Le Boreal. We’d booked that particular cruise after searching for weeks to find a cruise meeting our primary criteria; being able to disembark the ship while in Antarctica to board the 10-person Zodiac boats to embrace the authentic Antarctica experience, up close fully, and personal.

This is where we dined one night, San Serrano Deli & Drinks.

The cost was outrageous for our budget, over US $36,000, INR 2,637,995, but we felt it was worth it as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. We paid it off over many months, so it was paid in full by the time we sailed, and the only other expenses were those on our cabin bill. WiFi, meals, drinks, and tours were included in the cruise fare, resulting in few costs after sailing.

However, that one month in the tiny boutique hotel in Buenos Aires presented some challenges of its own, none of which we couldn’t handle with ease. An included continental breakfast consisting of boiled eggs, deli meats, cheese, fruit, pastries, coffee, and tea got us through the day. With no restaurant in the hotel, we headed out on foot to find yet another spot for dinner each evening.

Guest started filtering in when it was hot outdoors, although many patrons dined at tables near the busy street.

Due to the fact we prefer to dine by 7:00 pm, our restaurant choices were limited to a degree. Many restaurants didn’t open until 9:00 pm or later. We prefer not to dine so late, especially as early risers have the small breakfast to hold us through the day since we choose not to eat lunch, resulting in way too much food. With our low-carb/keto way of eating, we’re never hungry until the early evening.

That month in the hotel was challenging in some ways, particularly around Christmas and New Year’s. Most restaurants were closed on Christmas Eve and day and also on New Year’s Day. We diligently searched for dinner options for us for those three evenings, but there were none. We weren’t willing to walk the streets at night in the dark, which didn’t seem safe or sensible.

We stretched our necks to read this menu on the wall. After a while, a server brought us menus.

In the end, it all worked out well. We enjoyed a few drinks at the hotel bar (no food available) as we laughed over the irony. We were the only guests in the hotel at Christmas! Subsequently, we ended up purchasing a wide array of deli meats, canned tuna, and a variety of cheeses to eat at the little table and chairs in the Jacuzzi area in our hotel room.

We made it through the holidays, looking forward to the upcoming cruise, often laughing over our peculiar situation. That was one long month. But, it was nothing compared to the ten months we’d have spent in this hotel. At least there, we went out each day and evening to explore the exciting area, often walking for many miles.

You couldn’t pay me to eat this grilled chicken salad with grilled tomatoes. I need some beef!

As for today, we’re settled down, hoping our new flight will continue to stay in place as it has in the past 48 hours. With only 12 days until we depart, now on January 11th, we’re getting all of “our ducks in a row.” The hotel manager had booked a different lab for our Covid-19 tests on January 10th when the company we’d booked didn’t respond to email inquiries or answer their phone. I sent an email canceling the first company and feel comfortable that the second company booked by the hotel will suit our needs.

After uploading our hurried post, we began the painstaking process of filing for an extension of our now-expired  Indian visas. Whew! What a cumbersome process! The website stated it would take approximately 14 days for approval. Our applications were posted on the 13th day.

Sullivan’s Irish Pub, on a corner in the neighborhood.

Suppose by the time we’re ready to leave. We don’t have the extensions. In that case, we’ll have the hotel print the documents and email verification that we did apply. Hopefully, the immigration department at the airport will accept those records at the airport as we depart.

What are our odds of actually being able to leave for South Africa? At this point, it feels as if 50% is fair speculation. We have decided that we will not stay in India if we are turned away at the airport. We’ll find another flight to some other country while at the airport and head out. Since everything changes day by day, at this point, we can’t commit as to where this will be.

One of many historic buildings we’d see each time we headed down Gorriti road.

Today, I will start going through luggage to see how I can lighten the load. Tom doesn’t usually care to pack his bag until a day or two before we depart. That’s fine with me.

May you have a good day as we all wind down this dreadful year. Be well.

Photo from one year ago on December 30, 2019:

Painting on the wall outside a sushi restaurant in Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina on this date in 2017. For the year-ago post, please click here

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