|This was our favorite photo of the day, a giant Billy Goat with quite the beard and defined facial markings.|
Today’s photos are from this date in 2016 while staying in Penguin, Tasmania, Australia. For more details and photos, please click here.
Yep, we’ve started the countdown until we leave India. In 17 days, on January 12, 2021, we’ll hopefully be on our way. The only scenario that could prevent us from going to South Africa, as planned, will be that President Cyril Ramphosa decides to close the borders once again due to the new strain of Covid-19.
|On a drive through the countryside in Penguin, Tasmania, the ocean can be seen in the distance.|
From this site, the following was posted:
“Scientists and officials have warned the country’s 56 million people that the new variant, referred to as 501.V2, carries a heavier viral load and appears to be more prevalent among the young. “It is still very early, but at this stage, the preliminary data suggest the virus that is now dominating in the second wave is spreading faster than the first wave,” Prof Salim Abdool Karim, the chairman of the government’s ministerial advisory committee (MAC), said.”
Over the next few weeks, Cyril will announce any changes necessary regarding this update. We continue to hold our breath, awaiting any news, striving to stay upbeat and hopeful. At this point, it’s been incredibly challenging to do so. Christmas Day was undoubtedly a memorable day in this hotel, but not in a good way.
|Cattle are curious when humans pass by.|
I’d considered not mentioning what transpired yesterday in an attempt to remain upbeat. But, after what happened and our goals of being “transparent” in our experiences, good and bad, we decided we’d share our highly disappointing Christmas Day.
Many of our readers have kindly written to us, espousing our determined attitude and resilience in bearing the brunt of this situation. We appreciate all those thoughtful comments. But, we are no different than many of you when managing a challenging situation. We “buckle up” and make the best of it. Thankfully, our loving relationship with one another and generally good demeanor have been instrumental in getting us through this.
|Cute countryside signs.|
We’ve often reminded ourselves how fortunate we’ve been that we are staying safe from the virus and have comfortable surroundings. However, lacking in space, and no matter what, we’ve been able to remain calm and composed. This acceptance served us well until yesterday, Christmas Day.
The morning started OK. Then, as the day continued, we encountered several guests in the corridors, talking loudly to one another, spewing spittle as they spoke, talking on cell phones, pacing in the halls, not wearing masks. Regardless of them being on the phone or in conversation, we kindly asked them to put on a show or return to their rooms.
|Cattle on a hill.|
Our comments were of no avail. We stayed back from them, by no less than five meters, 16 feet in each case, except once when I was carefully rounding a corner, and three unmasked individuals ran right into me. I couldn’t help but raise my voice, “You must wear a mask in the hotel!” They ignored me. I bolted in the other direction.
This scenario continued throughout the day. I finally gave up and discontinued my last walk for the day. Twice, I notified the front desk to hear once again their apologies and statements that have told every guest to wear a mask in all public areas. The guests don’t care for their well-being or care to follow the hotel’s government-mandated requirements,
Once back in our room, all was fine for the next few hours. Later on, as we settled in, watching the new Netflix period series, Bridgerton, a delightful bit of mindless drivel, we were conscientious of excessive noises spewing from the corridors. People were yelling and talking loudly while outside of their rooms. Why not go into the room and make noise? Since it was daytime, and we weren’t leaving our room, we didn’t make a fuss.
|Highland Breed cattle. See this link for details on this breed.|
By 9:00, we settled in bed, continuing to watch another episode of the series. We were well aware that the door to the suite next to us was banging every minute or so during this time. Each time someone on the floor opened or closed a door, that partially opened door slammed so loud it startled us each time. Whoever was in that room engaged the deadbolt, leaving the door ajar. The air pressure in the hallway causes this.
No less than 20 times in the past months, we had reported this issue to the housekeeping manager when the staff was cleaning the large suite, going in and out, not wanting to use their keys to enter each time. All they had to do was push the door open with the deadbolt engaged with the door ajar but not locked. Each time we complained, within a half-hour, someone came and locked the door properly.
At times, this happened at night when we were trying to sleep. On occasions, guests were leaving the door in this state when they snuck into the stairwell to smoke (not allowed) or go back and forth between rooms where their friends or family members were located. This happened several times after 1:00 or 2:00 am, and as late as 4:30 am, at which point, we had to call the front desk, again complaining.
|This annoyed male approached the fence when we stopped for photos.|
During the next few hours, people were going in and out of that room, slamming the door each time and often leaving the deadbolt engaged for the big jolt in our room. We must have fallen asleep five or six times to be startled awake after we’d reported this.
As it turned out, the staff was having a party in that suite next door, unbeknownst to management, since we were told (after calling again) that no guests had booked that room. After reporting it a short time later, the door banging finally stopped, and the noise died down, but not entirely.
The only time a guest should be awakened during the night in a hotel would be in the event of a fire or other type such an emergency. But, the worst of it was yet to come when at 11:30 pm, during one of those times we were attempting to doze off, our doorbell rang. Tom bolted out of bed, opened the door with the chain engaged, and handed a letter stating the restaurant could only service 50% occupancy at any given time due to Covid-19. Tom lost it.
|Although this one mooed at us, they didn’t bother to get up.|
I won’t write what he said. But the question remains in our minds today, why didn’t he place the letter under the door (it fits) or on the little table outside of our room?
Finally, at around 1:00 am, when I was falling asleep, I heard the dreadful sound of a phone vibrating in the room next door, loudly and repeatedly every 20 minutes throughout the night. The head of the beds in our room and the room next door abut one another, and once again, whoever was in that room, didn’t turn off their “notifications.” They’d have to be passed out not to hear the noise!
This morning, my FitBit indicated I’d slept one hour and 56 minutes. I’m exhausted. This morning, after speaking to my son Greg’s family in Minnesota, I decided to see how I’d do walking the corridors in my current state. No way! I did 1.5 miles, 2.4 km, and gave up, dragging too much to continue through the day.
|The countryside in Tasmania certainly reminded us of New Zealand, where we stayed for three months in 2016.|
However, during the 1.5 miles, I saw no less than six guests without masks, with as many wearing masks, and heard a woman “coughing up a lung.” No way was it safe to walk the corridors today. I gave up.
Tom is watching football on his laptop using his earbuds. I’ll spend the remainder of the day working on the corrections on our site with Nat Geo Wild on the TV in the background. It’s comforting to see wildlife in Africa and other parts of the world, so hopeful that soon we’ll be face to face. So hopeful, in 17 days.
Thanks for listening to my rant.
Photo from one year ago today, December 26, 2019:
|During the cocktail hour before dinner on Christmas Day in 2018, Tom and Kathy posted last year on this date. For more, please click here.|