Scary news in the hotel…

Vervet monkeys playing in the garden from this post. 

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Today’s photos are from our post one year ago today. Please click 
here for more details.

A young male kudu at a nearby construction site.

Last night at 10:30 pm, our room phone rang. In the seconds until Tom answered and told me the nature of the call, my first thoughts were that the hotel was going to close down and we’d have to move out in the morning. 

Over and over I heard Tom say, “Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh,” as he carefully listened. The rich accent of the Indian people is often difficult for him to decipher since he’s hard of hearing after years of working on the railroad. 

He often hands the phone over to me, but this time, he didn’t. I practically held my breath in anticipation. He hung up to tell me that 40 guests are checking in the hotel on Sunday (today) and will be on another floor with their own designated lift. This morning we noticed a sign on their lift).

Vervet monkeys are cute and fun to watch but are extremely destructive especially if they manage to get inside the house.

Wanting to know more, I called the reception desk asking myriad questions, hoping to diminish our risks of being in contact with these people from the outside world with any one of them potentially carrying COVID-19 without symptoms.

As we all know, taking temperatures, as they do here when new people check-in, is of little value when the vast majority of “carriers” don’t have abnormal temperature and no symptoms whatsoever.

The business group of 40 will each stay in their own rooms with no sharing allowed, which makes little difference. Why would this be a concern to us, if they are staying on another floor, using a separate lift and dining in the dining room while we’re dining in our room?

A giraffe in the bush checking out her surroundings.

For several reasons. It still goes back to the “carriers.” As we’ve seen on the news regarding cruise ships, many staff members developed the virus and passed it on to guests and visa versa. 

While these 40 people are here, the staff will be serving their meals, touching their plates, and possibly some of their food. In addition, the staff will clean their rooms. 

Although we see that all staff has begun wearing masks for the first time since we arrived on March 24th, our concern is that their hands will come in contact with these potentially infected individuals from the outside world.

A fish eagle, one of the most prolific eagles in Kruger National Park.

You may think we are being overly cautious. But, if you’ve followed how easily and quickly the virus is passed on, especially in groups, our concern is well-founded.

Today, we ramped up our protection even further. No longer will we wait in the lobby while our room is being cleaned. We’ll wait outside the door to our room, standing in the hallway, wearing our masks. During this period I’ll probably walk the corridors. 

Next, this morning, we advised the restaurant manager that we do not want any servers to handle our plates of food, now while the 40 people are here for five days or into the future. The cooks can place the food on plates and place them on the counter and we’ll pick it up from there. 


At first, we used stainless steel covers. Now we won’t use the covers since a server would have placed them atop our plates. We will cover the food with a clean hand towel from our room.

Once they leave, we won’t have peace of mind until two to three weeks pass. However, now that this business group is checking in, we can assume there will be other business travelers arriving in days, weeks, and months to come. After all, this is a corporate hotel. 

This group is arriving from various parts of Mumbai, the biggest virus hotspot in all of India. Our concerns are not unfounded. Once domestic travel resumes, we can expect many more business travelers to stay at this hotel. 

This toxic caterpillar is to be avoided at all costs.  The hairs can cause a toxic reaction and considerable distress.

We must remain vigilant in our mission to avoid contracting the virus and diligent in our sanitation methods. Through Amazon India, I ordered more disposable face masks, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizer while it was still available. 

These items will arrive within 10 days. In the interim, we have a sufficient number of face masks we’d purchased while in the US with the intent of protecting us from the smog in India. Fortunately, we’d selected masks that protect against viruses as well.

There’s nothing as pretty as a full moon.

Plus, the masks we’re saving for the airport when we fly away are N99 masks, even more protective than the N95. When we purchased all these masks in December, we had no idea about the virus and never thought we were buying items needed by the medical profession. Now that we have them, we’ll certainly be using them.

Well, that’s it for today folks. Each day poses its new challenges as we’re sure transpires for most of you. There’s no easy way to get through this. We each forge ahead in the best way we can.

Stay safe.


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

Fish eagles often land on dead trees which enables them to scour the area for food.  They are also known to eat carrion as well as fish and are classified as kleptoparasites (they steal prey from other birds). Goliath Herons are known to lose a percentage of their catch to fish eagles. Their main diet is fish, sometimes dead, but mostly caught live. Catfish and lungfish are caught most frequently. For more on this post, please click here.

Comments and responses Scary news in the hotel…

  1. Unknown Reply

    We are a couple in our 70's here in Columbia, MD USA and understand your stress during this time. Fortunately I purchased a large quantity of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes right as this all started in early March. IF you can get disinfecting wipes, they are very good to have, if not, then you can soak sheets of paper towels in alcohol in a covered container and they will serve to disinfect once your cleaner leaves your room. We go to the grocery store once/week and to Costco every 3 weeks, to our daughter 5 miles away once/week and bring take out….she is single, lives alone, works from home and only shops once/week at our grocery store so we feel that is safe. The grocery store cleans every check out, the belt for food, the counter, the card reader after every customer, police at entrance let in so many in when so many leave from a different door, masks for everyone, and hand sanitizer throughout the store. Also have a man disinfecting each cart as it is used. So safe as we can be under the situation. We find that on some nights we can't sleep and there are days where we feel anxiety…..the situation is ever present for sure. We wish you well and hope you can find a safe country to stay in at some point since the situation in India will get worse in all likelihood. Take care.

  2. Jessica Reply

    Dear Reader,
    Thank you so much for your message. Unfortunately, we can't get alcohol here. We tried to find some 8 weeks ago when we were still outside before the lockdown, but India was all out and there was none to be found. Plus, we have no access to buying paper towels which I do miss having. We have enough sanitizer wipes to get us through an upcoming flight, but not enough to wipe down our room. The same cleaners do our room each day wearing masks and gloves nor do they service any other floors. All the staff and guests living on this floor have been here for a month or more. We sure understand about the anxiety. We are careful in trying to remain upbeat, fearful if we go down that road, it may be hard to get out. Sounds like you are safe and local shops are being careful as well. Continue to stay safe.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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