Do we go down the “controversial road ” during times of COVID-19?…It’s a tough decision…We need your help!…

We spotted killer whales in the Polar Circle in Antarctica in 2018. 
See our link from that date here.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Today’s photos are from a post one year ago today as we reminisced over a beautiful evening with friends in South Africa with more beautiful scenes from Marloth Park. The event depicted there didn’t necessarily occur on this date since I was still recovering during this period last year.

A giraffe and a few impalas spending time together. From our post on this date one year ago, found here.

After an overwhelming response from our readers regarding our post on April 24th entitled, “Conspiracy Theories…Alarming News,” we’re faced with a dilemma of sorts.

Do we continue on this path espousing information on COVID-19 that we’ve gleaned from reliable sources, or do we step back a little and let each person decide for themselves? What do our readers feel about us sharing some of the information we discover on what is transpiring all over the world in regard to the virus?

Two Big Daddies head butting for dominance.

Our long-term readers are well aware we do not flippantly post potentially unreliable information in our posts. Our fact-checking is a mainstay of our daily posts. 

And yes, writing a new story 365 days a year could result in an occasional mishap in providing information. Perhaps something altered intentionally or unintentionally as presented from what appears to be a reliable source, for example, Harvard Medical School or the Mayo Clinic.

That night, we girls had our hands on the top of our heads for some reason, from left to right, Louise, Dawn, Me, Linda, and Rita, the birthday girl.  Sadly, Kathy and Don missed this party when they were away.

But, even those appearing reliable sources are stating some questionable theories and “opinions” at this time of COVID-19. For example, such references need to stop beating around the bush about where this virus was generated and face the facts. It was China. Plain and simple. 

And, political correctness by not saying it came from China is purely ridiculous. If it came from the USA, UK, or France, no one would hesitate to call it the US Virus, the UK Virus, or the French Virus. 

He was visiting dung beetle minus his partner and his ball of dung.

Oh, don’t let me go down this road. It’s a slippery slope for me to be hauling out my soapbox, which is definitely in my nature, for which I struggle to temper consistently.

So the question to all of you is this… Do I share what I learn conducting research about eight hours a day, or do I stick to the theme of our website; world travel, personal experiences, and now the experience of being in lockdown for over a month in a hotel room in Mumbai, India?

From left to right; Danie, Leon, Tom, Gerhard, and Ken.  What a fun night we had! The boys toasted to the events of the evening, the night we celebrated Rita’s birthday.

We’re going to leave this up to all of you. Please send me an email (see our links on the top right side of the daily post above the photo of us in Petra) and either write (in the subject line):

YES:  Meaning you’d like us to post information we find reliable with  substantiating reliable links and videos or,

NO:   Meaning stick to the usual

Your opinions mean the world to us. We value every one of you who stops by each day to read our often mundane and simple messages along with some occasional more exciting content. Your opinions matter.
It was a dreadfully hot day when I made eight pumpkin pies for our Thanksgiving dinner in the bush. The temperature was 40C, 104F, and I had trouble rolling the dough properly in the humid heat. Thus, I made all of them with a thick crust, all I could manage in the heat and humidity. They tasted good anyway, so they said.

If the majority says YES, we won’t go on a rampage with our opinions, although we may interject a few. We will share what we’re learning each day, along with the trivia of our confinement, plans, hopes, and dreams.

This doesn’t mean the format or nature of our posts will disappear. It only means we’ll share a few new morsels each day, including from where and whom they’ve been discovered, along with appropriate links, which may be web pages or videos.

Bushy-tailed bushbaby at Jabula Restaurant’s veranda one Saturday night.

In no way will I be offended or disappointed if you’d prefer we keep our posts to our usual lighter nature, perhaps offering you a respite from being bombarded with COVID-19 news day after day.

Information should not be censored. We are all adults and mature enough to siphon what information we’ll take to heart, or we’ll dismiss entirely or in part. We can easily save our views to share, our family and friends, many of whom feel the same way we do…

Of course, when and if we get back to a somewhat “normal” existence once again and return to traveling, our focus will also return to living in the moment, exploring our surroundings, and sharing our daily experiences.

Thank you for being on this journey with us. As alone as we are, isolated from social interactions, we never feel alone due to all of YOU. Duh, and each other, too!

Photo from one year ago today, April 26, 2019:

Tom tossed out some cut banana peels to the kudus, and one landed on Big Daddy’s head between his massive horns, of which he was well aware.  After eating these pellets, he made his way to a tree using the branches to knock off the wayward piece of banana peel. It took him a few minutes to resolve the issue, but he walked away, shaking his head a few times once it was done. Sorry, Big Daddy! For more, please click here.

Conspiracy theories…Alarming news…

From the rooftop of our riad in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2014. 

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

I made an error in yesterday’s post. The photos included were actually from today’s date one year ago. Since it would take me to make the adjustments, I will leave them in place. No big deal, right?

Today’s photos are from our post on April 24, 2014, while we lived in a riad (a three-story house with a substantial open-air courtyard) in the souk in the Medina, known as The Big Square Marrakesh, Morocco. It was quite an adventure. We hope you enjoy the photos.

As we walked the souks deciding where to dine, these varying roof lines of a courtyard caught my eye. For this post from April 24, 2014, please click here.

As for today’s heading, I must admit, as an information junkie, I am somewhat obsessed with reading information on COVID-19, which also includes opinions from health professionals, universities, medical institutes, and individuals with expertise from over the world.

Realizing that exploitation is the name of the game when it comes to the news media, it’s a challenge to fetter out the truth from lies and exaggerations. When I hear or read something that rattles my cage, I do my research, often for hours, seeking the reality of a claim that may sound farfetched.

We were curious about what lies behind the many doors like this, similar to ours, in the Medina.
Today, I intend not to express my personal views on any of the wide array of conspiracy theories that are flooding the news and social media. Some may include a few morsels of truth with a lot of “spin” on it, and some may be accurate or false, which may frighten and increase fears of what has transpired and what is yet to come in light of COVID-19.

My truth which I willingly share today, is that censorship of our opinions, however farfetched they may be at times, violates our civil rights and freedom of speech. 

There are endless styles of rooflines throughout the Medina.

No, I don’t advocate rioting and toxic vitriol spewed out at random by vehement individuals with little knowledge or expertise. But, we are interested in hearing the opinions of those who may be qualified to espouse their views and have firsthand knowledge and exposure to truths being discovered at this time.

This morning, while on the first of my hourly walks, I was listening to a podcast by an individual I trust to gather and share information.  What I heard made me walk faster to return to our room so I could verify the facts.

This kitten was tiny, no more than 60 days old, on its own to search for food and shelter. The locals are fond of cats so most likely someone was feeding her.

Effective immediately, YouTube will no longer allow videos by anyone, regardless of their expertise and affiliation, to express views contrary to those stated by WHO, the World Health Organization. Please see this video here from YouTube’s CEO stating this restriction.

Like most of us as Facebook users, we’ll be seeing fewer and fewer posts on varying views on COVID-19 (and other topics) that don’t concur with their (Facebook’s) ideas, as mentioned in this article.

After hundreds of years of wear and tear, the stones crumble in certain areas, leaving an open spot for trash and debris.  Overall, the souks are very clean.

On the other hand, Tom has told me for years this was coming…censorship by social media of what we can and can’t see. This infuriates me. When we see information such as this, we can easily fall prey to conspiracy theories. In essence, deciding what we can and can’t say, hear and read may appear as a conspiracy theory in itself.

If those who weren’t aware of this censorship heard about this, they might say, “Hogwash. We have our constitution to protect us!” 

To this, I say “hogwash!” As COVID-19 proliferates throughout the world, we see more and more governments dictating our actions, thoughts, and right to voice our opinions.

Shades of pink and orange are seen throughout the Medina and souks.

Lockdown is a tough situation for all of us. We understand the necessity of this, and most of us have willingly complied. We hope that doing so has ultimately reduced the number of deaths worldwide. 

But now, people need to get back to work, exercising extreme cautions, or our countries as we knew them would be changed forever, while our freedoms may be significantly impacted in the process.

I could take out my soapbox and go on a rant about all of this for months to come. But I won’t. I can only encourage those interested in knowing more to conduct their research (as long as we can) to determine where you stand on these matters. Perhaps, sometime in the future, the collective will “have a voice.”

In the interim, please stay safe.

Photo from one year ago today, April 24, 2019:

This same time the prior year, our little friend, this female toad, (or perhaps another) came to live on this light fixture on the veranda wall.  For months, every night, she ate many flying insects to fatten up. We’d leave the light on for a while to ensure she’d have plenty of options.  In the spring, a small male joined her on the fixture, and they stayed there together for a few weeks and left, not to be seen again until she’s returned this week. Yet, another cycle of life in the bush. For the post from one year ago, please click here.

Sitting Kills…Moving helps with health and stress…

While living in Atenas, Costa Rica, in October 2017, we experienced quite a tropical storm. Please click here for that day’s post.
Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
A waterbuck at the Crocodile River.

Today’s photos were all from our post from one year ago on this date. Again, we’re disappointed to be posting many photos we’ve already posted in the past, but right now, we have no other options when we never step out the door to take photos.

It would be nice to get some fresh air, but now the temperature in India is rising, and humidity is high and uncomfortable. At the moment, with our room being cleaned, we’re situated in the lobby on comfortable furniture, but it’s scorching in this area.

The ceilings in the lobby and dining room are very high, and to keep costs down during the lockdown, the aircon is turned off in all the common areas, including the corridors. We aren’t complaining. We are just happy to be here.

Hippos in the Crocodile River.

After sitting here in the lobby and the hot dining room during breakfast and dinner, we’re both hot and sweaty, looking forward to returning to our fabulous room. Our room bakes with the curtains open, and we often consider keeping the sun-blocking drapes shut during daylight hours.

But, it’s imperative to have sunlight in our eyes during the daylight hours to maintain our circadian rhythm to allow for a good night’s sleep. Thus, we keep the darkening drapes open until darkness falls.

A female lion on the prowl.

As I walk through the corridors once an hour, the warmth and humidity hit me the minute I exit the room. I’ve adjusted to this situation by walking once an hour instead of over long stretches. 

Besides, it’s beneficial to get out of a seated position once an hour, strongly impacting our health. Many years ago, I wrote a post about a book I’d read entitled Sitting Kills. Here’s the link to that story and information on the book, in case you’re interested in reading it. 

A parade of elephants kicking up a lot of dust in Chobe National Park in Botswana. Todays’ photos are from a year ago post. See here for details.

During this disastrous time of COVID-19, it may be of particular interest to those of you who are feeling a little guilty for sitting so many hours a day. Before I started walking, I felt angst each time I thought of walking but didn’t feel motivated.

Now that I am doing it, I can’t express how much better I feel and what a stress reliever it is during these challenging days of lockdown. Now that parks and walking paths are opening up worldwide as some restrictions are lessening, it may be the perfect time for many to start walking.

Unfortunately, due to ongoing lockdown restrictions in India, we can’t be seen walking outdoors, besides the fact that it’s too hot and humid. Also, we aren’t in an exceptionally safe neighborhood in the center of Mumbai.

These knobs on the head of giraffes are ossicones. Females have hair on theirs. Males have lost part of their hair from headbutting when vying for dominance.

I’ve promised to continue walking once we eventually leave here, whether it’s safe or allowed to do so outdoors. Walking is walking. Where one does, it is irrelevant, as long as it’s a secure location. Indoors is fine with me if that’s necessary. The steps are still tracked on my FitBit, and I continue to experience the benefits.

Yesterday’s post wasn’t my best effort. After days and days of writing with little to no new fodder, the content has been challenging. Thank you, dear readers, for staying with us during these boring times.

I’ve run out of sci-fi movies and Married at First Sight episodes, and I’m scrounging for some new content to watch during the quiet afternoon hours when Tom is busy on his laptop. He doesn’t care to watch shows during the day while I can easily get outside my head with a good series or movie. 

Mongooses were standing at attention while awaiting eggs. So cute! Note the little “arm” holding onto her friend.

I try not to watch any shows he may like to save those for in the evenings when we watch together. Yesterday, I signed up for Acorn TV on Amazon, a compilation of great British TV series, some of which we’ve already seen. 

We’re now watching a few suggestions from our friend Liz in Bristol, UK. She always makes great recommendations. Thanks, Liz! If any of our British readers have any suggestions for TV series they’ve liked, please let us know.

So here we are… another day without a huge amount of optimism. But, somehow, we’ll all get through this, regardless of how long it takes for some semblance of our former lives. It will never be the same. I believe we’ve all resigned ourselves to this reality.

Ken, Tom, and Don are having a good time, as usual.  We’d planned to all be together again soon before we left in May 2019.

The more we can do to use our time in lockdown for our benefit, both health-wise and emotionally, the better off we’ll be when it does come to an end, of one sort or another.

Hang tight, dear friends. We’re thinking of all of you, along with our family and friends.

Photo from one year ago today, April 23, 2019:

A mating pair of hornbills stayed around our garden each day, most likely a mating pair. When they wanted seeds, they sure let us know. For more photos, please click here.

No big COVID-19 talk today…Almost…

As we’d mentioned, we’d post some of our videos on most days. Unrelated to today’s post is Hubbard Glacier while on a cruise in Alaska in May 2017, which is found at this post.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Note the triangular shape of this praying mantis, a photo I’d taken when friends Lesley and Andrew stopped by for a visit, and I allowed myself to sit outdoors for a  while with the camera in hand.

All of today’s photos were posted one year ago from here while still in Marloth Park as we awaited the doctor’s OK for us to book a flight to Ireland leaving South Africa on May 11, 2019. 

A face only a mother could love.

Flying on an airplane was a scary prospect for me based on the fact by the time we’d leave, it had been a rough 90 days since the open-heart surgery and only a little over a month since the two surgeries on my infected legs.

We decided to book a business class ticket for me when that particular plane would have special seats that completely reclined. With pillows and blankets provided, this would be a much more comfortable option for me, mainly keeping my legs up throughout the flight.

A distant elephant from across the Crocodile River.

With the added expense of the upgrade, Tom insisted he’d stay in the “coach” section and be available for me if I needed him. At that point, I was far from recovered. We ordered a wheelchair at each of the airports. As it turned out, it all went well, much better than expected.

Many who’ve had known heart disease before their surgery claim to be so much better once they heal. I never had any signs of cardiovascular disease other than the pain in my jaw, which started about a month before my condition was discovered. Hence, I never observed feeling better than I had before the surgery.

View of the Crocodile River from Aamazing River View (spelled correctly).

I never had shortness of breath, nor did I ever have chest or arm pain, weakness, or a feeling that “something was wrong.” May this serve as a warning to those that may have familial cardiac disease and not be aware of it until it’s too late.

Please get checked if your family members had hypertension, heart attacks, strokes, required stents in clogged arteries, or ever had any cardiac/heart surgery, regardless of your age.

A zebra, contemplating his next move.

It’s not a bad idea to have some tests after reaching the age of 60 or 65 to see if you potentially require treatment even if you don’t have any risk factors. By doing so, many fatal heart attacks and disabling strokes may be prevented.

As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, by no means am I out of the woods. I have chronic, permanent coronary artery disease, and there is nothing I can do to reverse the damage done thus far.  

All I can do is eat a healthy diet, exercise daily, get plenty of sleep and keep stress to a minimum. Hopefully, my efforts may prevent it from getting any worse than it already is.

Baby zebra frightened by all the commotion from the dazzle of zebras nearby.

Fortunately, during the lockdown in India, I can eat fresh, healthy meals twice a day; a vegetable and cheese omelet with chicken sausages for breakfast with green tea; and grilled salmon or chicken breasts for dinner with a huge plate of steamed fresh vegetables. 

As for stress, neither of us is feeling stressed under these peculiar circumstances. The only time we’ve felt stressed, especially me, was a month ago, on March 24, when we didn’t know if we had a place to live for a few hours. 

Instructor Chris and Tom at snake school dealing with a black mamba, one of the most venomous snakes in the world. Yikes!

Today, we paid our hotel bill, including the meals for the last four weeks, and confirmed our reservation for the next four weeks. With the speed at which India is logging new virus cases every day, we could be doing this many more times. 

We accept this fate and continue with determination and confidence for the future for all of us.

Stay in, stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask and gloves, social distance, stay busy and, continue to have hope.

Photo from one year ago today, April 22, 2019:

This is one of my top five favorite photos of sightings in Kruger National Park…the prolific impalas. For more photos, please click here.

Prospects for airports allowing us to enter diminishes over time…

A group of five ambitious men met each day to ride the FlowRider on the ship. 
See this link here for that post two years ago.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Most weekdays, Josiah stopped by in the morning to wash and sweep the veranda, rake the garden and clean the pool. No more than an hour after he’d done, the veranda would dirty again with leaves from the trees, pellets residue, and soot from the burning sugar cane a few kilometers away. Tom was constantly sweeping to keep us from tracking the house’s dust, dirt, and debris. By the end of each day, the bottoms of our bare feet were so dirty we’d have to shower again before getting into bed. Today’s photos were from this post two years ago.

Today’s photos are from two years ago today at this link.

With the US closing its borders to all immigrants over the next several months to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are faced with the reality that many other countries will follow suit.

If we’d been in Kruger National Park, we wouldn’t have been able to gain access to this area.

Currently, almost every country worldwide has closed its borders to international travel and its airports, and travel is at a standstill. Today, I asked Tom, “How long can we hold out here?”

He answered with a wide grin on his face, “With the Mumbai airport closed, we won’t be going anywhere.” 

Duh, I get that. But at some point, the Mumbai International Airport will open, and the challenge for us at that time will be where we will be able to go? What country will allow us to enter after living in India for three to six months (or more)? 

Taking photos through the fence in Marloth Park was tricky, so we got what shots we could.  At times, we were pleasantly surprised at the finished product.

It may not be South Africa if they, too, impose a ban on all foreigners entering the country for an extended period. Right now, all we’ve heard so far is May 31st. But we don’t have a lot of faith that they’ll allow foreigners to enter even at that date.

Well, the world is a prominent place. And once the Mumbai airport opens, we’ll let it settle for a few days while we decide where we’d like to go that has an open airport. The possibilities may be few.

But, the magic of our lives is the fact that we can go anywhere we’d like that will be open to our arrival, which we’ll confirm in detail before we book a flight and accommodations. 
Male elephants are kicked out of the herd (parade) when teenagers.  When we saw large numbers, many were unlikely males except for those youngsters yet to reach maturity at 13, 14, or 15 years of age.

We can pack and be out the door in a few hours. We both believe that we’ll have some options within three months if South Africa isn’t one of those. We can always go there later when the airports open.

Oddly, we have an Azamara cruise (690 passengers) booked for November 10th from Lisbon to Capetown. If things improve and we aren’t yet in South Africa, we may make this cruise. The question will be, where will we wait for the cruise in the interim if we can leave Mumbai.

Tom’s dear sister Colleen kindly offered her place in Arizona if we returned to the US. However, as we’ve mentioned many times in past posts, we have no interest in returning to the US at this time. 

A mom was fussing over her offspring.

Even in months from now, the virus in the US will still be rampant, nor do we want to live in the high heat in Arizona during the summer and fall months, there again, stuck inside all day. 

As mentioned in several posts, I am very high risk with asthma, heart disease, and age, and our health insurance can only be used outside the US. We don’t want to take any risks being in the US at this time. Then again, how would we get there with no airport open here?

There are many other countries we’ll be able to travel to at some point. Fortunately, as much as we don’t like wasting valuable time as we age, we are prepared to stay in Mumbai as long as necessary to get us to a suitable location where, perhaps, it will feel more like a continuation of our world travels than trapped in the lockdown.

Neither the elephants nor the waterbucks seem to mind one another’s presence.

Oddly, we are OK, as we’ve mentioned. Nor do we expect our emotional state to change as time marches on. We are doing what many are doing now; reading, watching the news, streaming shows, listening to podcasts: and for me, exercising throughout the day while eating a healthy diet

Tom has been eating a high carbohydrate diet and, for now, isn’t gaining weight or suffering any ill effects at this time. (We don’t have access to any snacks or alcohol). Once we get somewhere when I can cook again, he’ll get back to eating a diet similar to mine. 

For us, accepting the realities of this dreadful virus and the consequences facing all of us has provided us with a sense of peace while reducing stress and worry. 

Each day these two females stop by several times with two piglets, most likely several months old.  The two females may be sisters, a mother, and a daughter from a prior litter or, who knows, another relative of one sort or another.  This particular morning the two of them played a nose-to-nose game while the two piglets busied themselves with pellets.

Now that DIL Camille is on the mend and sister Susan has been allowed to stay in her assisted living facility (for now due to COVID-19), I can breathe a sigh of relief and make every attempt to live in the moment.

Our hearts go out to all who have lost loved ones during this trying time, either through COVID-19 or other illnesses, and to all of the millions of citizens who have lost their jobs, businesses, and sources of income. 

What are you doing today to bring you comfort and reduce boredom? We’d love to hear from you!

Photo from one year ago today, April 21, 2019:

An elephant in the bush was watching us take photos. For more photos, please click here.

Photos from April 2017 while in Australia…Waiting for refunds…

Here’s a video of rough waters in Sydney Harbor on our way back to Fairlight.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

We met up with old friends Linda and Ken from South Africa in Sydney, Australia, on March 16, 2017.  It was a perfect day among friends! We had a great lunch and an early happy hour with them that day! Once we get to South Africa, we’ll hopefully see them again along with our mutual friends, Kathy and Don, and many others. Here’s the link for today’s photos.

The photos from Kauai, Hawaii, from five years ago today weren’t suitable for today’s post. Instead, we found a few favorite photos from the time we spent in Australia in 2017. That particular post may be found here.

Again, seeing these photos brought back many beautiful memories of the long period we spent in the South Pacific, which proved to be a total of two years, traveling in and out of Australia due to 90-day visa restrictions.

Our friend, Mr. Magpie, who’d visited us inside the house.

During those two years in the South Pacific, we embarked on eight cruises, which included one back-to-back cruise that circumvented the entire continent of Australia. What a stunning adventure!

Now, we wonder if we’ll ever cruise again. Will it be safe to cruise when already they have been referred to as a petri dish (I wouldn’t say I like that description, but it says it all)? It was no wonder, even then, that we became ill on many cruises, usually with a virus which often included an awful cough, lasting for weeks.

Hand-feeding Kookaburras in the garden. They are carnivores, so I fed them raw, grass-fed ground beef.

The thought of exposing oneself to such illnesses and the recurrence of COVID-19 makes sailing on a cruise very unappealing at this time. Wearing a face mask while cruising would eliminate all the fun for us and others when socializing and dining is often the most significant highlight and a huge source of pleasure.

Speaking of cruises, we’re still waiting for the refund from Viking Cruise Line for their cancellation of the cruise, on which we were supposed to sail on April 3rd from Mumbai. 

The scene is in Manly near the ferry.

Viking contacted us via email on March 12th that the cruise was being canceled due to COVID-19, and we’d have our full payment back within 21 business days. This would have resulted in our receiving the refund of almost INR 1529001, US $20,000, on our credit card on or about April 10, 2020.

When April 10th came and went, we contacted Vacations to Go about why Viking hadn’t returned our full payment for the canceled cruise. After some checking, our rep replied, “Refunds won’t be coming until 90 days,” changing their original commitment for 21 business days.
A Cockatoo visitor in the garden.

This is infuriating. It’s a huge amount of money we could undoubtedly use now, living in a hotel and dining in a restaurant. Our biggest fear is that in the next two months, Viking will go bankrupt, and we’ll lose the money. We’re on pins and needles over this.

Besides this, when Kenya Airways refused to allow us to board our flight to South Africa on March 20th, the day South Africa started refusing international travelers, we tried to get a refund for this flight which was INR 63424, US $830 (for two).  

Giant surf at Manly Beach on a gorgeous day.

In researching the Kenya Airways website, there was a statement explaining that no refunds would be provided for canceled flights or refusing to allow certain foreigners to travel.

Each day I’ve continued to watch their site, and yesterday a form appeared online, enabling us to apply for a credit that can only be used as a credit within 12 months of the original flight date. The 12 months could easily pass by the time we hear something. We’ll see how that goes. 

Luna Park in Sydney Harbour at night, taken from the Manly Ferry.

This is no doubt worrisome. We hadn’t written about it since we thought the refund would be coming by April 10th from Viking and that we’d lost the money from Kenya Airways.

COVID-19 has an impact on all of us, in one way or another. Certainly, we are incredibly grateful for a roof over our heads and meals and especially for having air conditioning as the temperature rises each day as summer approaches in India.

The Sydney Opera House at night, taken from the Manly Ferry.

Today, on the news, there was a story about South Africa Airways going out of business. This will result in more incredible difficulty and higher fares to fly to South Africa when other carriers pick up the slack. Also, they were the primary airline that flew into the tiny airport in Mpumalanga/Nelspruit/Kruger, which brought us closer to Marloth Park.

Subsequently, we may have to drive for five hours from Johannesburg to Marloth Park in the future. Here again, we’ll play it by ear.

Beautiful sky at sunset, taken from our veranda.

You may ask, “Why deal with all these hassles? Why not return to the US, rent or buy a condo and settle down for our remaining years?”

To us, it’s no different than us asking you to leave your home for good and do what we do. We each have our own chosen path, and ours, my dear readers, is to continue on our way for as long as we can. We aren’t bored. We are tired of it. But we are anxious to get back to it!

As some restrictions loosen, please continue to stay safe.

Photo from one year ago today, April 20, 2019:

Mongooses on the veranda looking for eggs. For more photos, please click here.

Five years ago photos…Moholoholo Rehabilitation Center…

A visit to a pig farm in Penguin Tasmania. See the original post here with some fun “pigs in the mud” photos.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

At the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre, Tom donned a huge leather hand and arm protector and was handed a massive chunk of fresh meat to feed this vulture at the rehabilitation center.  It was quite a thrill to get this photo.  I love the look on Tom’s face!  As their injuries healed, these vultures would soon be returned to the wild. Photos today are from this post on this date in 2015, which included some past-posted photos.

Today, while deciding on which past photos to post, I started with the post we wrote five years ago while still living in Princeville, in Kauai, Hawaii.

Then, we’d posted so many photos of Kauai. We were running low on new photos to post, so we reached back to these photos from 2014/2015 since we found them to be of particular interest to us and, hopefully, to our newer readers who may not have seen them in the past.

We apologize for the repeats if you have seen these photos in the past, perhaps even a few times. We aren’t taking any photos during the lockdown and, based on recovery from four surgeries a year ago. The pickings were also slim at that time.

It was exciting to touch the vultures.  We were told to keep moving while around the vultures.  They only eat what appears to be dead meat.

For us, seeing these photos again is comparable to watching a favorite movie a second time, especially one that makes us smile. It only reminds us how anxious we are to get back out into the world again, sometime in the future.

In actuality it was on January 19, 2014, we visited the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centrewhich may be found at our link here. We were so enthralled at the experience of making the tour of the well-known Panorama Route in South Africa. The photos have been fascinating.

If you ever can visit South Africa, this road trip is well worth the effort. The Panorama Route is a series of sites to see while driving along the highway, veering off periodically to stop at yet another stunning point of interest during the self-drive tour. For more on the Panorama Route, please click here.,

An eagle on the mend at the rehabilitation center.

Hmm… Do we ever get to visit South Africa? If we ever get to see South Africa again??? That’s the proverbial question for us. At this point, it’s hard to imagine when the airports and borders of both countries will open again. 

The number of cases in India is growing, not diminishing as expected from the lockdown, with 16,345 cases and 521 deaths. But, this was to be expected when many were not able or willing to honor the lockdown. Protests in the streets, in massive crowds, wanting businesses to open immediately, as is the case in parts of the US, significantly contributing to the added new cases each day.

Poverty is an enormous factor in the public’s response to lockdowns. On the other hand, South Africa, making it a crime to be out and about, has 3034 cases with 52 deaths. But, there, too, protesting workers are angry and anxious to get back to work to support their families.

We had an opportunity to interact with a cheetah at the wildlife rehabilitation center. The particular cheetah wouldn’t ever be able to return to the wild due to injuries sustained in the wild for which he was rescued.

All of these statistics can change dramatically in a day, in a week. We’ll continue to watch and see. In any case, we are continuing to feel safe here in India with virtually no need to go out.
In the interim, we’re accumulating supplies we need now and will be shipped here to us in Mumbai over the next year. Imagine you could never go to a Target, Walmart, or Walgreen store. Of course, over time, one’s list of needed items would grow. We don’t purchase anything unnecessary. 

Recently, I ordered such items as large bottles of Tylenol, Tums, contact lens solution, toothpaste, and many more. If we went out to a tiny roadside pharmacy here in Mumbai, we’d have no say in the products we’d like since the little lean-to shops have a minimal inventory of such items, if they have them at all.

A Vervet Monkey and her baby were peering at us one morning while we were sitting at the table on the veranda.  Check out that thin pink ear of the baby.

All of our purchases are sent to our mailing service in Nevada (free shipping on most), and then all will be packed into one box and shipped to us soon. Daily I cross-reference the items I’ve ordered with those that have been received by our mailing service. Once everything has arrived, we’ll order the shipment.

Cargo planes are flying into Mumbai, and we should receive our shipment within 10-days of ordering utilizing the fastest possible service. Our only fear is that the hotel will close while we’re awaiting the shipment. But, they continue to assure us they will be staying open through the lockdown and beyond.

The fifth animal in the Big 5 (Leopard, Cape Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, and Lion) this herd of elephants blocked the road as we drove through Kruger National Park.  Notice the babies are kept protected in the middle of the herd.  The most giant elephant, the Matriarch is often twice as large as the other adult females, holds up the rear with a keen sense ensuring their safety.  Seldom are elephants attacked in the wild based on their pack mentality of safety in numbers and their massive size.

So, today, after completing this post, we’re back to our usual routine; me walking once an hour while listening to podcasts, playing online Scrabble on my phone, and streaming shows while I play using my earbuds. Tom listens to Garage Logic and other podcasts while researching his favorite historical topics and, of course,

How we manage to stay busy enough to keep from going crazy baffles me, but we’re doing it. We hope you’re doing the same.

Stay healthy. Stay safe.

Photo from one year ago today, April 19, 2019:

Duikers are incredibly cautious around warthogs, especially when there’s food being offered.  Tom makes a special effort to ensure the smallest of the antelope in Marloth Park is given pellets when no pigs are in close proximity. For more photos, please click here.

Photos from past adventures…Prescription challenges while in lockdown…Improvising…

A lone female lion was stopping for a drink.  The edge of the open vehicle is shown in this photo, illustrating how close we were to her.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

This playful baby elephant we spotted in Kruger hangs on to her mom.

Since we were focused on today’s photos, we haven’t included a video today or any Kauai photos. Instead, here is a combination of images we posted five years ago on April 18, 2015, at this link and also last year on this date on April 18, 2019, at this link. We hope you enjoy some of these favorites that many of our readers may have seen in past posts.

Hippos along the Mara River while we were on safari in the Masai Mara.

Of course, being in lockdown right now prevent us from taking photos. We can’t go outdoors, and most wouldn’t be enlightened by seeing photos of a hotel, however appealing it may be. If, by chance, you are curious about where we’re holding out, please click here

As you can see, if you click the above link, it’s a charming hotel, but most areas are closed during this time. We only have access to the restaurant, the corridors on the fourth floor, and our standard room. Only one lift is in use which we never enter when occupied by others. 
Crocodiles sunning along the Mara River in Kenya.

Not only does being in lockdown in India present its challenges, but also there is the harsh reality that we may not have everything we need on hand.
For example, once every four weeks, I refill my pill case with three prescriptions I take each morning along with a handful of vitamins. 

Spread out through during the day, we each take 1000 mg of Vitamin C and an extra dose of Vitamin D3, both of which may improve the immune system’s ability to fight off colds and flu (so they say).

As shown here, the cheetah and leopard are distinguishable by the cheetah’s tear lines running down her face.

As I was refilling the pill case, I noticed I was running out of a proper dose of blood pressure medication which is Lisinopril 12.5/10. Amid the recent COVID-19 mayhem, I’d forgotten I needed to head to a pharmacy while in India, where prescriptions aren’t required for non-narcotic medications.

Many of us have heard that India produces a huge portion of the drugs used in the US and other countries with all the news lately. Thus, I wasn’t concerned about purchasing any medication while here from any popular pharmacy.

In the first 10 hours on safari, we saw the Big 5.  The black rhino is one of the Big 5.

Before lockdown, while on tour, we stopped at a pharmacy and explained exactly what I needed. The above described Lisinopril, which included 12.5 mg of HCTZ (hydrochlorothiazide) and 10 mg of Zestril in a combination pill. 

Unfortunately, they only gave me Lisinopril with 12.5 mg HCTZ)/5 mg Zestril. I need 10 mg Zestril. At the time, I requested additional tablets containing 5 mg Zestril to make up the shortfall. 

The pharmacist left for a while and returned with a handful of tinfoil-packed tablets with what I thought was the 5 mg Zestril. Foolish me, when I couldn’t read the tiny print on the tinfoil, I assumed it was the correct add-on. As I said, foolish me.

We couldn’t resist posting this contented lion who was, at the time, engaged in a mating ritual with the female about 15 feet from him, leaning on another tree.

I didn’t notice this error until yesterday when I started filling the pill case, running out of my old 12.5/10, and started including what I’d purchased here. I discovered using a magnifying glass that when the pharmacist took off for 10 minutes, all he collected was more of the same. I now have 100’s of 12.5/5.

They were a meager cost, so that I won’t complain too much. Besides, it was my error in not checking diligently enough for something so crucial in the long run. I don’t think the pharmacist did this on purpose. I believe he also thought this was the correct item when he, too, couldn’t read the small print on the tinfoil-wrapped tablets.

So now, the dilemma. It is legal to go out to a pharmacy here and straight back. But, with the escalating cases of the virus in Mumbai, the new India hotspot, there’s no way we’re going to stand in line at an outdoor pharmacy with sick people. I had to figure out a better solution.

Closeup of hippo face. Charming.

With the single pill at 12.5/5, there was no way to double up and then cut part of a pill. It would result in a really peculiar dose. I looked online to see dosing instructions for this drug at a few reliable US pharmaceutical sites but found no answer.

The question became, “Could I take two tablets resulting in a dose of 25mg HCTZ/10 mg Zestril? What would be the consequence of doubling the amount of HCTZ, which is a diuretic I need to control blood pressure, especially important in light of ongoing coronary arterial disease? 

A female lion looking for the next meal.  The lion is the second of the Big 5.

An idea popped into my head. I still had Dr. Theo’s email address I’d used when sending him updated photos on the healing of my legs before and after the two surgeries one year ago. I’d send him an email.

Within hours I had a response, and kindly Dr. Theo told me I could double up on the drug and take two for the total dose of 25/10, but it was imperative to check my blood pressure daily to ensure it didn’t go too low.

Fortunately, we have a sphygmomanometer, which we purchased as part of our medical supplies. I used it frequently after I had surgery, but seldom did it seem under control over the past few months, and I was feeling so much better.

Males lions are always on the lookout for a female making a kill.  Why?  So he can steal the kill from her.

I’ll start checking and charting my blood pressure before taking the higher dose (for a baseline). If my blood pressure gets too low, I can alternate between the higher and lower doses every other day to hopefully stabilize it enough until we get out of here and I can get the proper dose, hopefully in South Africa in a few months.

Oh dear, there are other items we need, but we’ll improvise to the best of our ability in the interim. We don’t want to risk going out in public. And, we hope you feel the same way too. Please avoid going out unless it’s absolutely imperative or life-saving. 
Stay safe. Improvise.

Photo from one year ago today, April 18, 2019:

Female lion showing off her tongue. For more photos, please click here.

Will we be able to travel the world again?…Personal responsibility…

Ox cart rode from the boat on the Mekong River in Viet Nam in July 2017. See that post here.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
Please click here for those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story

As much as we’ve treasured the opportunity to travel the world during the past 7½ years, there are times that it was difficult, exhausting, and frustrating. But, our joy has always superseded any negative aspects coupled with our continuing strong desire to stay free, homeless, and unencumbered for as long as we can.

Although Tom and I haven’t discussed this at length, hopeful that travel may go back to normal (or a new normal) at some time in the future, no doubt it enters our minds.

Macro photo of tiny wildflowers, as small as a bean, found while walking in the neighborhood in Princeville, Kauai. See our post from this date five years ago here.

We have acknowledged to one another that if travel requires social distancing, excess hand washing, and wearing face masks, we can handle that extra layer of precaution and remain determined to visit many more parts of the world in years to come. Good health and God willing, of course.

As I wrote this today, I posed the question to Tom, and his answer was as follows, “I don’t like wearing a mask since it fogs up my glasses, but I’ll do it in public places. We already social distance, most of the time, when living in countries where we don’t know people.”
This is a view easily found in many backyards of homes in Princeville.
The only times we are in crowded places are airports, restaurants, and some sightseeing venues, at which times, in the future, we can utilize masks, hand washing and, social distancing.
In South Africa, it might be a little tricky when lockdown ends when so much of our daily routine includes socializing with our select group of friends and when dining at Jabula. 
I guess in that scenario. It will be a case of “watch and see” how things roll out in Marloth Park, where currently there are no known cases. A month ago, there was one case, but the patient was moved from the area, and no other cases have been reported.
Spotting these yellow-tipped stamen on these Anthuriums was a first for us.

The biggest concern will be people coming in from other countries, occupying holiday homes, and visiting their own holiday homes, exposing our friends and local workers to the virus.

But this risk is no more or less than any of you will experience once the lockdown is unleashed in every country. It’s hard to imagine, at this point, what that will look like and how well we’ll all function in that scenario. 
Also, each country’s statistics on COVID-19 will surely be a factor in the population, determining what path to follow for their safety. 
Unusual buds were blooming on a shrub.

On today’s news, a group of doctors claimed, “Let everyone out of the lockdown to let the chips fall where they may. The masses will become infected and become immune. In the future, this will reduce the ongoing spread of the virus.” 

Well, if we think it’s terrible now, we can’t even imagine how many people would die under these conditions. But, there’s no easy answer with economies failing worldwide with billions of people needing to get back to work to feed their families.
Down the road from us, the St. Regis Hotel in Princeville doesn’t seem to mind when tourists stop by for photos as we’ve done here.

I don’t envy our leaders worldwide. Any of us can criticize what our own country’s leaders (and other countries’ leaders) are recommending and requiring, but they are also faced with this same dilemma.

It’s easy for us to criticize, but in reality, what would any of us do if we were in charge? We think we know the answer, but there is no easy answer, the complexity of managing millions of people in our own countries and almost eight billion people worldwide.

This may be a Fishtail Palm Tree.

All we can do as individuals is to take it upon ourselves to ask our conscience one question: “What can I best do to protect my family, my relatives, my friends, my community, and my country from the ravages of this dreadful virus?”

Therein lies the answer for each of us. Let us all use our hearts (compassion) and minds (logic) to do the right thing.

Photo from one year ago today, April 17, 2019:

Lazy day for this female lion in Kruger National Park. For more photos, please click here.

Hopeful for the future…Being an advocate for loved ones…

High tide in Sumbersari, Bali in 2016. See the link here.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

No words can express how grateful we feel that our daughter-in-law Camille is now on the other side of her long and difficult battle with cancer. Her eight-hour surgery was a success, and although she’ll have challenges to face in recovery, for now, she’s out of the woods.

As the wonderful mother of my three grandchildren and a loving daughter-in-law to both of us, we feel a profound sense of relief that her healing process can begin now. As we all know, a good outcome of cancer surgery is no guarantee of future good health. But, then again, none of us have any warranties when it comes to our health.

Even in these trying times of COVID-19, the fittest, the healthiest, and the strongest of individuals are not exempt from the ravages of this dreadful virus. We continually hear stories of athletes and fitness enthusiasts still becoming infected.

The setting sun between the palm trees. For more photos from this post five years ago today, please click here.

Our DNA appears to have more of an impact on who becomes infected, along with the strength of our immune system. As research continues, we’ll know more about this in the future.

But now, the speculations as to what works and what doesn’t are flying all over the not-so-trustworthy news and internet. Who and what can we believe when repeatedly, each new treatment, each new concept, and each new protocol gets shot down by yet another “study” in some country or another, confusing the heck out of everyone, including medical professionals.

This has been the case with the medical field for decades by doling out advice and then decades later, deaths and illnesses are discovered from the wrong advice being given. I have no reason to believe most of which I read and hear until a vaccine or more effective treatment is developed and ultimately proven to be effective.

The scary part is, what do family members do when attempting to advocate for their loved ones in insisting on specific protocols to try when all else has failed? 

The waning sun.

It’s imperative for each of us to take the responsibility to be aware of some available options in the horrifying event that a doctor tells us there is nothing more they can do for our loved ones. Can we insist on specific risky treatments that may or may not work? If we aren’t aware of other options, we won’t advocate for different treatment modalities.

Let’s face it, the exhausted, overworked, and stressed medical professionals could easily become ambivalent when they haven’t slept in 24 hours, haven’t seen their own families in weeks, and are all living in constant fear they too may become infected.

We must consider that medical errors account for 250,000 deaths a year in the US alone, the third leading cause of death. Can we idly sit by and not question the path chosen by medical staff, especially when its a life or death scenario such as this virus?

And then, it was gone.

Fourteen months ago, when I had open-heart surgery in a small town in South Africa, I hardly slept while in hospital, staying awake to ensure I was given proper medications and treatments to the best of my knowledge. 

I questioned every drug I was given either by pill, IV or injection after I’d first asked for a list of everything I’d be given and the dosages.

If a drug wasn’t on the list, I needed to know why I needed it and the correct prescription for that drug. I could barely lift my arms since my chest had been split open, but my fingers flew across the keyboard on my phone, while continually researching every aspect of my treatment. I was in ICU for nine days.

The colors of the sea appear to change before our eyes.

As soon as I was moved to the regular ward and I determined the level of care had dropped exponentially, I insisted on getting out of the hospital to be at our holiday home in the bush where I knew I’d receive better care from Tom.

Why did both of my legs become infected? Could that have been prevented? Twelve months ago this very month, I had to return to the hospital for two more surgeries on each of my legs when the infections had become septic. Had I failed in protecting myself?

If you aren’t a likely candidate as an advocate for someone you love, it’s advisable to find someone who cares deeply for the patient and will gladly take on the role, keeping in mind that in this world, all of this must be done by phone, not in person, making it all the more difficult. If no one is available, if we can, we must choose to stay alert enough to ask questions about our treatment and doses constantly.
The pool created at high tide is considerably larger than it appears in this photo.

This doesn’t require a medical degree. It involves compassion, assertiveness, diplomacy, the ability to ask lots of questions and the ability to conduct research from highly reliable resources, of which there are many online. Time is of the essence in each of these cases. My sister Julie played this role in our daughter-in-law Camille’s treatment and did a fine job.

We all need to fight for ourselves, our loved ones, and the world. Sometimes it’s as simple as refusing to enter an elevator with others and risk infection and, if required, taking the stairs. Social distancing, washing hands, and wearing face masks are not enough.

Let’s all use our heads and our hearts to put an end to this pandemic and save lives, not only our own and that of our loved ones but also that of people, all over the world.

Photo from one year ago today, April 16, 2019:

A hornbill was watching Frank take a dirt bath. For more photos, please click here.