Disputing charges due to Covid-19…Trouble with new booking in times of Covid-19…

Cape buffalo grazing on the Crocodile River as seen from the fence in Marloth Park
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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 May 16, 2015. Please click here for more details.


As mentioned in prior posts, on March 20, 2020, when we arrived at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 3:00 am, after waiting in line for over an hour to check our bags and check-in, we were refused an opportunity to board the scheduled flight.


South Africa, our destination, was in the process of closing its borders and began refusing all incoming international flights due to Covid-19. Had we left a few days earlier, we could have been allowed to fly and could have made our way to Marloth Park when the country-wide lockdown didn’t begin until March 27th. Here’s the link with the story about South Africa’s lockdown.

The chicks were born in early February and will fledge in the next month or so. It’s been amazing to watch their fluff fall away as their feathers suitable for flying grow in.

We could kick ourselves for not leaving a few days earlier when we’d already ended our tour of India due to the risks of large crowds at various sightseeing venues. But, who knew? We had no idea how the worldwide lockdown would escalate at that point.


We’d booked the flight with Kenya Air at a ticket price for each of us at INR 32627, US $430 for a total of INR 65254, US $860. We considered this a reasonable fare for the one-way flight that would require almost 16 hours of travel time including layovers for the three legs of the flight.

An un-banded Albatross out for a walk. Its impossible to determine the albatross’ gender without a DNA test. There are no obvious markings or physical definitions. Since both parents equally share in sitting on the nest and the care and feeding of the chick, perhaps nature has made them visibly indistinguishable. 


Once we returned to our hotel, after being turned away, the shock left us reeling for a few days. We figured with all the cancellations it made sense to wait a few days before applying for a refund.


As it turned out, we didn’t apply for a refund until several days later once we were situated in this current hotel knowing full well, it would be a time-consuming process.


We began the process by contacting Kenya Airways directly for the credit. This resulted in no less than 12 hours on hold over a period of several days. Finally, we reached a human who instructed us to apply online at their site. Immediately, we applied. 

All of the chicks now have both fluffy and new feathers, as shown in this napping chick.


Several weeks later, we received an email stating that they would not process a refund. We were required to seek a refund from Expedia.com where we’d originally booked the flight.


The lengthy process at Expedia commenced; hours on hold; chat modules with no results until finally, Expedia sent us a message stating we’d have to get our refund from Kenya Airways. How’s that for shuffling us back and forth.


Our only option, at that point, was to contact the credit card we’d used to dispute the charges. There was no “live” chat module or option to send an email for a dispute… only a phone call would be accepting.

This banded albatross appeared to be a parent when she or he was hovering near a chick.


Again, I spent hours online, only to discover they were closed during the daytime hours during which we could call with the huge time difference. Usually, the number on the back of the card is a 24-hour phone number. But, again, due to Covid-19, they too, were operating with a limited staff.


There hadn’t been a single evening that I felt like spending an hour on the phone working this out. Once, in the past, about a year ago, we disputed a charge with Ethiopia Airlines to get a refund when they, not us, canceled a flight. The credit card company took care of it for us but it still required considerable time on hold.


This morning, much to my delight, I was only on hold for 10-minutes and, they had staff working at night, their time. A pleasant woman came on the line who was more than happy to assist after I explained the circumstances.

This chick has been a favorite of ours with her/his nest fairly close to the road and her/him often checking out the scenery.


The end result? In a few days, we’ll see the full refund on that specific card while they continue to work on it over the next 90-days, during which they may contact us to forward the supporting email messages if they run into any problems. In a few clicks, I’ll send the relevant messages without thinking twice.


With this resolution, we’ll have finally received all the refunds for any future travel plans impacted by Covid-19. Subsequently, we have some credits on credit cards, as opposed to debits, which we can use to pay for this past 28-nights in this hotel, plus our meals, when we’re required to pay on May 20th.

Here are two chicks approximately six feet apart although they look closer in this photo. Here again, they are tucked away napping during the wind and rain.  The parents lay one egg and thus these two are not related or, perhaps, they are.


Hotels are often paid after the stay, although some may require full payment in advance during the booking process. That hasn’t been the case here at this Courtyard Mumbai International Airport. They let us pay-as-we-go every 28 days.

When there was a problem with the Hotels.com site, a phone rep was able to get our reservation booked for the first part of our hotel reservation extension from May 20 to June 1, 2020, but not the second portion due to issues on their site.


There is a promotion for double points that we’re trying to take advantage of for the second part of our stay from June 1 to June 17, 2020, which is only applicable for bookings made after June 1, 2020, resulting in our preference to break up the two bookings for a combined 28-night stay into two segments.

By the time we left the area, the sun was shining and we spotted this typical lawn mowing scenario…Cattle Egret hovering near the mower hoping for morsels the process may unsettle.  This always makes us laugh. For this story, please click here.

Now, the second part of our booking won’t process. Their tech department will contact us with a resolution in the next few days and hopefully, we’ll be able to get these other dates with the extra points booked.


There go another 90 minutes of my life while in lockdown spent on the phone in a state of utter frustration during these times of Covid-19. Everything is different now.

That’s it for today, folks. Stay safe.

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

John, the fish guy with Tom. John will stop by once a week.  The prior night I had fresh-caught haddock without a single bone topped with the freshest crabmeat. For more from this date, please click here.

The routine…The routine…The routine…Checking the time..Favorite time of the day…





Warthogs warfare in the garden.



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 May 14, 2015. Please click here for more details.

Finally, after waiting patiently we got a good shot of this pair of cows, most likely a mom and baby.
Never, in most of our lives, have any of us been so trapped into a routine as we are during the lockdown. I can’t recall ever checking the time as often as I do now.


For me:
Is it time for another walk? 
Is it time for another meal?
Is it time to prepare the post?
Is it time to stream a few shows?
Is it the day to hand wash my clothes in the shower?
Is it time for another cup of coffee/tea?
Is it time to do research online as to when borders and international flights will reopen?
Is it the day to pay the credit card bills?

For Tom: (After 42 ½ years of checking the time while working on the railroad, he doesn’t pay much attention to the time):
Is it time to take my vitamin B6, which has prevented me from getting more kidney stones?
Is it time to order dinner?
Is it time to wash my clothes?
The island we encountered during the drive to Clifden.
Obviously, Tom is less time concentric than I am. But, I’ve always been the type of person to become entrenched in what I should have, could have, would have done next. We all have our own specific routines, even prior to Covid-19. But, now it seems more obvious when the days drag on.

Fortunately, there is a favorite time of the day, usually around 7:00 pm or shortly thereafter when our dinner arrives. Although we eat the same foods each meal, by that time, I’m hungry and looking forward to the food, (less so for breakfast which I could take or leave).
From African wildlife to barnyard animals, we’ve found a degree of contentment especially when they are as cute as these two cows, huddled together to stay warm on a chilly morning.
Lately, the decaf coffee with the powdered cream (yeah, I know, it’s not so healthy, but it’s what’s available right now) has turned into a highly enjoyable few minutes; the preparation and the sipping on the hot cup of goodness bring me a few minutes of pure joy.
Sheep are marked with paint as described here: “Farmers “paint” their sheep for identification.  Frequently, you’ll notice large pastures blanketed in green grass and dotted with sheep.  Typically, these pastures are enclosed by stone walls or wire fences and are shared by multiple farmers. When it comes time to claim ownership of the animals roaming around hundreds of acres, a customized painted sheep is easy to identify. Also, during the mating season, the male ram will be fitted with a bag of dye around its neck and chest. When mating, the ram mounts the ewe and a bit of dye is deposited on the ewe’s upper back. This way, the farmer knows which ewes have been impregnated and moves them on to another field away from the ram.”
After dinner, we settled onto the bed to stream two episodes of the “show of the moment” all of which we binge-watch.” Variety under these circumstances isn’t necessary. We just finished season 8 Game of Thrones, and all episodes of Tiger King, and Succession. 
We’ve seen these three burros. “The only real difference between a donkey and a burro is their domestication status. A donkey is domesticated, a burro is wild. Other than that, there is no difference — burro is just the Spanish word for donkey. There is no physical or genetic difference between a burro or a donkey otherwise.”
Now we’re watching Australia’s Jack Irish in the late afternoon and then the last season of Poldark in the evening. During dinner, we just finished season 8 of Doc Martin and began working on season 2 of Australia’s The Heart Guy, both of which don’t require much concentration and are delightfully simple, ideal for watching while dining.
Cows are very curious. They often stopped grazing to check out who’s driving by.
Yep, this is our lives right now folks. Bland and boring and yet always alert as to what’s happening throughout the world during these difficult times of Covid-19. We’ve found a few good news channels on Indian TV that we have on in the early morning. After breakfast, Tom listens to his favorite radio show, Garage Logic from Minnesota. 
The Clifden town square.
Usually Garage Logic is on in the background for a few hours, while I do the post, listening at the same time. Right now, as I prepare today’s post, NatGeo Wild is on the TV with the sound turned down. It provides us both with a little wildlife fix while we’re in lockdown. 
St. Joseph Catholic Church located in downtown Clifden where we shopped for groceries.
It sounds like a lot of mental stimulation during these otherwise dull days and nights, but it works for us, keeping our minds engaged. Neither of us has been interested in reading fiction books right now. It seems difficult to get out of our heads enough to get wrapped up in a novel.
Plants for sale at a local garden store. The owner came out to greet us. The Irish are very friendly.
I almost feel as if I need to stay alert, paying attention as to what we’ll do next, in order to allay boredom or negative thoughts from setting in, doing exactly what, and when it appeals to us the most.
The strips of shops made it easy to get around the downtown area.
How are you coping to stay level-headed during times of Covid-19? We’d love to hear from you! Please comment at the bottom of our page and surely we will reply within 24 hours.

Stay safe.
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Photo from one year ago today, May 15, 2019:

A ram painted red for identification purposes with curved horns. For more on the year-ago post, please click here.

Reminiscing about this past year…Losing weight during the lockdown…

Hippos on the Sabie River in Kruger National Park.

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 May 14, 2015. Please click here for more details.


It was one year ago that we began a three-month stay in beautiful Connemara, Ireland. It many ways it seems so long ago as well as all the places we stayed in this past year since leaving Ireland which includes (see below):

A small lagoon between Anini Beach and Ke’e Beach while we were in Kauai Hawaii on this date 
in 2015. Please see our link here.

August 2019: Amsterdam for a 12-night Baltic cruise to St. Petersburg and other cities


August – September 2019: Cornwall, UK, where we stayed in two holiday homes over a period of one month, Falmouth and then on a farm in Witheridge


September – October 2019: Devon, UK for three weeks on a farm


October 2019: Wales in a holiday home for 11 days


October 2019: Southhampton in a hotel for two nights and then sailed on a 15-night cruise to Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA

The reflections in the water caught our eye as we walked along the beach.

November 2019 – January 2020: USA – Visited family in Minnesota, Nevada, and Arizona


January – February 2020: Flew from the USA to arrive in Mumbai on January 31, 2020, to begin a journey on the Maharajas Express, followed by a scheduled 55-night tour of India which we ended abruptly 


March 14, 2020: We began self-isolation in hotels in both Chennai and Madurai until March 18, 2020, when we flew from Madurai to Mumbai


March 18 – March 20, 2020: Stayed in a hotel until our scheduled flight to South Africa prevented us from boarding after arriving at the airport at 3:00 am. 


March 20 – March 24, 2020: Stayed in a hotel in Mumbai in self-isolation until they closed when we had to find a place to stay

There’s an expanse on Kuhio Highway a few miles outside of Princeville, where the scenery is breathtaking with many Acacia trees.  Unfortunately, there wan’t a single spot for a car to stop to take a photo. I’d tried taking the photo from the moving car, as in this case, unable to capture the expanse of the beauty below this bridge.

March 24 – May 14, 2020: Stayed in the Marriott Hotel in Mumbai until the present day where we may have to stay for months to come until international flights begin to depart Mumbai once again and an airport opens in one of the countries we’d like to visit. We’re keeping our options open.


The time we spent in Ireland is somewhat of a blur. I was still on a lot of heart medications which caused me to sleep half of each day and barely able to move my legs and walk. 


Feebly, I attempted to walk each hour, but it was painstaking and left me breathless. It was during that time in Ireland that I realized the drugs were causing me pain, weakness, and lethargy. 

Ke’e Beach in Kapaa.

Slowly I began weaning myself off of pain medication and the three heart drugs, following the guidelines I’d found at various reputable medical sites. By the time we reached Falmouth, UK, I noticed a marked improvement in my well-being.


Over the next few months, I began to be able to walk without so much pain, stay awake throughout the day, and starting feeling like myself again. But, it’s been the walking I’ve done here in this hotel that escalated me to the next level. 


Although I’m walking for only 5-minute stints once an hour (10 times a day), I now feel I can handle walks over longer periods. I prefer to do the hourly walk rather than walks for longer periods when it gets me up and out of my comfy chair. Each time I walk, I attempt to increase the pace.

It’s not unusual to find free-range cattle in Kauai.

In this one way, being in isolation has been good for me, forcing me to become motivated to get some exercise. It’s now a habit I hope to maintain going forward regardless of where we live in the future.


Also, not having access to food in a cupboard or refrigerator and while eating the limited portions served during breakfast and dinner, I’ve been able to lose 4.5 kg, 10 pounds in the past month since I quit eating the overly fattening Paneer Makhani.  


Oddly, many open-heart surgery patients gain 9 to 11 kg, 20 to 25 pounds while healing from the surgery, mainly due to the slowing of one’s metabolism, from the heart medications that slow down activity. With the continued walking and smaller meals (all the while maintaining my usual way of eating), I’ll surely continue to lose weight to get back to my old self once again. 

A relatively young calf is in the foreground.

Then, I can toss all the “Heidi” clothes (my sisters and I always called larger-sized clothing as “hide-y” clothes which mask one’s added weight, often loose and in dark colors). I am hoping by the time we leave here, I can lighten the weight of my suitcase by donating the clothes I can no longer wear. In this respect, the lockdown has been good for me.


Again, thanks to our many readers who continue to write the kindest and most supportive email messages. Each message means so much to us. 


Hang in there, everyone. This too shall pass in time.

______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, May 14, 2019:

I took this photo from inside the house in Connemara, Ireland due to the high winds outdoors.  Many more and better quality photos will follow. To the left is organic salmon fishing which is common in Ireland. For more details, please click here.

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

                                     

Ox cart rides 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.
For those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story, please click 
here.

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 on a walk 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 still 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, going forward, 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. There was one case a month ago, 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 there 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, on 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 own personal safety. 
Unusual buds 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. Going forward, this will reduce the ongoing spread of the virus.” 


Well, if we think it’s bad 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.

The St. Regis Hotel in Princeville, down the road from us, 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 country’s leaders) are recommending and requiring but they too, are 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 in reality the complexity of managing millions of people in our own countries and almost eight billion people in the world, there is no easy answer.

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.
For those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story, please click here.


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 now, her healing process can begin. 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 guarantees 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 over and over again, 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 certain protocols to attempt when all else has failed? 

The waning sun.

It’s imperative for each of us to take the responsibility to at least 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 one. Can we insist on certain risky treatments that may or may not work? If we aren’t aware of other options, we won’t be able to advocate for other 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? It was 12 months ago this very month that 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 constantly ask questions about our treatment and doses.

The pool created at high tide is considerably larger than it appears in this photo.


This doesn’t require a medical degree. It requires 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 is simply 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 watching Frank take a dirt bath. For more photos, please click here.

A long night…Family updates…Civil liberties…More from Hawaii, five years ago…

While out to dinner in Fiji we were entertained by dancers performing a Bollywood-type routine. For the post from that date in 2015, please click 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.

For those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story, please click here.

Yesterday, our daughter-in-law Camille, had highly complicated cancer surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  Worried about the outcome, I kept checking my phone for text updates for which my son Greg had created a text group of family and friends.


In order for me to stay updated, I kept the text notification vibration on, hoping I’d sleep a little here and there. Subsequently, I had little sleep, only about three hours when around 3:30 am, I finally drifted off.


The outcome was good but like most cancer surgeries, one must wait for the much-anticipated pathology reports to be at ease regarding her future well-being. She’s a lovely, strong and resilient person who’s handled this dreadful diagnosis with grace and dignity, a role model for many of us. 

Beach view in Kapaa, Kauai five years ago today at this link.

Between thoughts of our dear DIL, my mind did a number on me in the middle of the night, including worries about my sister into the mix. The most recent development, since we last mentioned it here, had been that she had to move from her much-loved, assisted living facility since they weren’t equipped to handle her dire needs.


Her caseworker made calls for days and was unable to find a place for her to go. No facility was willing to take a new patient during COVID-19 lockdown. We were all in a tizzy worrying about where she could live offering the degree of care she requires at this point.

Finally, yesterday, the management at her assisted living facility agreed to keep her in place, providing her with some added support until such time when the lockdown ends and other facilities that can manage her care, would consider accepting here as a patient.  Whew! What a relief, albeit temporary.

A mountain view with a fire burning at the right.

My tiredness from last night’s lack of sleep is irrelevant compared to the challenges facing our loved ones, alone, without family at their sides due to the dreaded coronavirus.


Today, as tired as I am, I will continue the hourly walking regime today, perhaps taking time out for a short nap in the afternoon. Not much of a napper, I rarely fall asleep during the day, but sometimes, just lying down and resting may be beneficial.

It’s heartbreaking to think about the patients throughout the world with COVID-19 and other medical conditions requiring hospitalization, leaving them without their loved ones at their side. 

Cloudy day at sea.

The toll taken on the emotional well-being of the world’s citizens is important for each of us to consider during this trying time. Staying active, engaged in pleasing activities, embracing a healthy diet and staying in touch with family and friends via phone, chat and face time.


Ultimately, making every effort to maintain an optimistic outlook for the future will surely aid all of us in getting through this unusual period of our lives. This could easily be a time when couples and family members could get frustrated and snappy with one another.

Fortunately, for us, we’re used to spending a tremendous amount of time alone together so staying pleasant and attentive to one another’s needs and interests is easy. We’re grateful to be healthy, safe and with a roof over our heads. No complaining here.

Café along the Kuhio Highway, the main highway in Kauai, past the Lihue Airport.

So many are worried about the stripping of their civil liberties when they are being told by the government to stay inside their homes and wear masks. It’s easy during this time to become distracted with such thoughts along with thoughts of myriad conspiracy theories. 


Instead, for now, if we all can focus on our personal responsibility to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and the rest of the world by staying indoors, social distancing, washing our hands, and wearing face masks, this plague will end a lot sooner than we might expect. At that point, we can access the balance of our civil liberties. Right now, is not a good time for protesting in the streets.

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Photo from one year ago today, April 15, 2019:

From this site:  The Katydid leaf bug: Katydids get their name from the sound they make. Their repetitive clicks and calls sounded like someone saying, “Ka-ty-did”, so that phrase became the common name. Both genders are capable of producing the sound. Katydids are related to crickets and grasshoppers, with large back legs for jumping. Unlike grasshoppers, Katydids have extremely long, thin antennae. Unlike crickets, their bodies are more rhomboidal, like a kite with four equal lengths. They have wings and will fly away from danger. Most sightings occur when they land on an object and linger. Some have even gone on car rides, clinging to the hood of the vehicle.”  Great photo, Tom! For more photos, please click here.

PM Modi explains new guidelines for lockdown as India’s cases escalate…

A cultural day in Bali during a ritual buffalo race, proved to be a fascinating experience.
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.

For those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story, please click here.


As I write here now, India’s Prime Minister Modi is speaking in Hindi to the people of his country explaining that the nationwide lockdown will continue until May 3, 2020, 19 days from today. 

A gorgeous sunset in Kauai, Hawaii from the veranda of our condo in Princeville. For more photos from that date five years ago please click here.

This decision is not surprising when, as of today, there are 10,453 cases with 358 deaths. With a country of 1.3 billion people, it makes so much sense to maintain the lockdown for as long as it takes to avoid it getting out of hand, as it has in the US with its 587,155 cases with 23,644 deaths.

Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) | Twitter
Prime Minister Modi appears to be a kind and caring leader, dedicated to the well-being and safety for his countrymen.

India will be instituting stricter guidelines for lockdown with more arrests and consequences for failure to comply. Some relaxing of restrictions may transpire on April 20th based on reviewing conditions at that time.


Prime Minister Modi is placing the responsibility on the “people” to become more diligent in following lockdown requirements to determine if relaxing of various business openings are possible. 

As the sunset progresses.

In addition, there will be a focus on hotspots such as the poorest, most densely populated area of Dharavi in Mumbai, represented in the movie, Slumdog Millionaire, described here as follows from this site:


“Dharavi is a locality in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, considered to be one of the Asia’s largest slums. Dharavi has an area of just over 2.1 square kilometres (0.81 sq mi; 520 acres) and a population of about 700,000. With a population density of over 277,136/km2 (717,780/sq mi), Dharavi is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

As the sun set, it dropped beyond the horizon.

The Dharavi slum was founded in 1884 during the British colonial era, and grew in part because of an expulsion of factories and residents from the peninsular city centre by the colonial government, and from the migration of poor rural Indians into urban Mumbai. For this reason, Dharavi is currently a highly multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and diverse settlement.

Dharavi has an active informal economy in which numerous household enterprises employ many of the slum residents—leather, textiles and pottery products are among the goods made inside Dharavi. The total annual turnover has been estimated at over US$1 billion.

From the overlook across the street from our condo in Princeville. We’ve loved the area!
Dharavi has suffered from many epidemics and other disasters, as including a widespread plague in 1896 which killed over half of the population of Mumbai. Though large sums of money have been borrowed by the Indian government in the guise of improving sanitation in Dharavi, none of these have materialized into any development on the ground.”

There was no mention of opening the airports for international travel. The reality that remains in our minds is, unless international flights can enter India, no outgoing international flights are going to be available. The airlines aren’t going to fly empty planes into the country in order to fly passengers out. Our wait is indefinite as we’d expected it would be for quite some time to come.
Cloudy day mountain view.

Tomorrow, more information will be posted with greater detail on the restrictions as mentioned above and again on April 20th. We don’t expect any of these changes to have any impact on us.


We remain in place, with prayers and loving concern for my sister’s ongoing dilemma and poor health and now our daughter-in-law’s cancer surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where no family can be with her at the hospital. 

Another cloudy day mountain view.

These are tough and heart-wrenching times, not only for those with COVID-19 but also for others facing hospitalization and isolation from loved ones during time of illness.


Today is an Indian holiday. “Ambedkar Jayanti or Bhim Jayanti is an annual festival observed on 14 April to commemorate the memory of B. R. Ambedkar. It marks Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s birthday who was born on 14 April 1891. Since 2015 it has been observed as an official public holiday throughout India.” No public celebrations will take place today.

The uniformity of this flower made it worthy of a photo.

May our Indian friends and hotel staff member experience the celebrations in their hearts and in their homes with only their household family members with hope, blessings and safety.

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Photo from one year ago today, April 14, 2019:

We love this kudu photo after she’d stuck her head in the fresh bales of Lucerne we’d had delivered from Daisy”s Den. We call this lovely female, “Cupid” based upon the heart shaped marking on her neck. Cute! For more photos, please click here.
IMG_2494

Beautiful flowers brighten our day from Kauai, Hawaii, five years ago…Building a comfortable routine…

The birth of an Alpaca “cria” while we had an amazing opportunity to oversee the births while the farm owners were away. Please click here for the story with many photos, including the main photo which is one of our favorites.
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.

For those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story, please click here.

As we look back at posts from five years ago, our current source of photos since we, like you, are stuck indoors, we can’t help but smile over the wonderful experiences we’ve had in our travels over the past 7½ years.


It’s those very photos that we’re enjoying now, while in lockdown, more than ever before. They are a reminder of not only what we’ve cherished in the past, but what we can anticipate for the future with enthusiasm and hope.

 I squealed when I spotted this gorgeous Rhododendron at the Princeville Botanical Gardens from this post, five years ago. 

Thanks to our readers and Facebook friends for the many loving and encouraging messages we received yesterday on Easter and also each day. Many have continued to suggest solutions to our situation, but we are quite fine, both physically and emotionally.


With the number of cases rapidly rising in India, at 9240 cases with 331 deaths, we anticipate we could be here a long time. Even if the airport reopens, with more cases here, we may be forced into quarantine anywhere we’ll go in the future unless we wait it out long enough.

In a shady area, we encountered these tiny mushrooms growing on the rocks.

No one knows for certain what the future holds and if, in fact, we’ll be able to continue traveling for some time to come. Our hope and plan will continue to focus on leaving India at some point in the near future, whether it be in a month or four months. 


In the interim, we have no option but to patiently wait it out while doing everything we can to stay engaged, educated and informed as to what is transpiring throughout the world, not only inside our own little world.

With many bees in this area, I chose not to move the green leaves for a better view of this exquisite bloom which was the size of a soccer ball. All of us on the tour were in awe of this exquisite flower.

One thing we know for sure, our lives and yours, will never be the same as it was before the virus hit. Not a single country has avoided the virus entirely, although a few have had under 10 cases. But, at this point, their peak may be on the horizon. Only time will tell.


For us, staying busy, while cooped up in a hotel room has been vital to maintaining a good state of mind and good health. We don’t overeat. We don’t drink alcohol (only because it’s not available!). We keep moving. We watch funny YouTube videos including our own.

Jackfruit is known for its health benefits.  See this link for nutritional details. This photo was posted at this link on April 13, 2015.

We’ve developed a routine we find comforting. In the afternoon when we may become hungry, we drink the instant coffee in the room, no more than two cups each (mine is decaf) as somewhat of a ritual. 


We go to breakfast each day whenever we feel like it, sometimes as early as 8:00 am and others as late as 10:00 am. Each evening at 7:00 pm sharp, we head to the dining room for dinner. We’re often the only guests since most eat lunch and don’t have dinner until as late as 10:00 pm.

The Noni Fruit, known as one of the world’s most nutrient-rich fruits.  See here for details.

But, one of the most entertaining and enjoyable times of the day is after dinner when we get comfy on the bed with six fluffy pillows and we set up my laptop on a tray to stream two episodes of our favorite shows. 


Usually, the two shows end by 10:15 pm after which we play with our phones and then drift off to sleep. Most days, my Fitbit displays that I’ve slept seven to eight hours, which is better sleep than I’ve had in years, if ever. Tom sleeps less than I do, but on occasion will nap for 20 minutes during the day.

An Anthurium, gone wild.

It’s this type of routine that has brought us a sense of comfort and security as day after day, we awaken and repeat it again. As of tomorrow, we’ll have been in this hotel room for three weeks. It feels like more. 

We’ll get through it. We’ll all get through it if we stay safe… If we social distance… If we avoid going out… If we wash our hands… If we wear face masks… If we take care of ourselves and our loved ones… If… If… If…

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Photo from one year ago today, April 13, 2019:

Four baby warthogs taking a rest together. For more photos, please click here.

Another action packed day…

Photo from today’s date in 2014 when we stopped along the highway in Maui for a breathtaking view. For more photos from this date, please click here.

With only six days remaining until we leave here the time is going quickly. We’re still trying to get in as much as we can with our family and friends.

Yesterday was a busy day when I visited my friend Chere at her home in Eden prairie after she’d had glaucoma surgery the prior day. It was good and I’m hoping to have an opportunity to see her again prior to leaving Minnesota next Thursday.


After meeting with Chere I returned to the house to work on the day’s post while Tom put together all the documents we’d need for applying for the second passport this morning.

In the late afternoon, we drove to a restaurant near daughter Tammy’s work to say goodbye. Today, she and her family left for Washington DC and Pennsylvania for their Thanksgiving holiday.

As always, it was hard to say goodbye but Tom is grateful for the quality time they spent together. Unfortunately, I only had an opportunity to see them a few times and enjoyed every moment.

We remained busy all afternoon with necessary piles of paperwork and later joined Karen and Rich for happy hour and leftovers from the previous night’s dinner at Gianni’s.


As always the evening passed quickly as we were all engaged in lively conversation and endless laughter, finally heading off to bed close to 11:00 pm.
This morning we returned the rental car to the airport. DIL Camille offered her minivan for the remainder of our time in Minnesota. We so appreciate this.


After dropping off the car, I picked up Tom in the rental car ramp. Using Whatsapp on our phones, we were easily able to locate each other in the complicated ramp. With plenty of time until our 11:40 am appointment we decided to stop at Perkins on the way back from the airport for breakfast.


We arrived at the passport application appointment at the government service center in Chanhassen earlier than expected. Although the place was packed we were called within 10 or 15 minutes based on the fact we had pre-booked an appointment.


Tom had done such a thorough job of putting all the paperwork in order we breezed through the appointment in no time at all, confident all should go well.


There was a showing on Karen’s house today between 12:00 and 1:00 pm. We tidied up and hid away all of our belongings before we’d left this morning leaving not a single bit of evidence of our stay.


When the passport appointment ended earlier than we’d expected we decided to head to visit Tom’s brother Jerome in Coon Rapids which is almost an hour’s drive away. It was still too early to return to the house due to the showing so we took advantage of the extra hour to visit Jerome.


It was wonderful visiting with him as we’d done over two years ago when we came to the US for a family visit. Jerry is totally blind and uses the narrator on his computer to read our daily posts which Tom sends to him each day after removing the photos. It’s been such a joy to share our lives with him and…he with us.


Tonight at 5:30 pm. we’re meeting long-time friends/readers, Marie and Bill, for dinner at Redstone restaurant in Eden Prairie. Coincidentally, Karen and Rich are also going to Redstone tonight for dinner with other friends. I’m sure we’ll all have a drink together and then go off to our respective tables to have our dinner with our other friends. Small world.


Tomorrow’s another busy day but we’ll report back on that in the next post with hopefully some new photos to share.

May each and everyone of you have a fantastic weekend.


We’ll be back with you soon!

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Photo from one year ago today, November 22, 2018:

Tusker’s left ear was severely injured a few months ago but it has continued to heal although he can no longer “perk it up.”  Here he is at night, lying down at the edge of the veranda relaxing after eating quite a few pellets.  He’s a gentle little soul for having such giant tusks. For more details, please click here.

Mount Kilauea….Remembering our Big Island experience in 2014-2015 when we saw lava for the first time…

 
This was my favorite shot of the evening we spent in Kilauea National Park with the backdrop of the glow from Mount Kilauea.   For more details from our post, please click here

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A baby kudu found comfort standing at the base of this tree when there was lots of action in our yard.
Throughout the world, the news is continually tracking the progression of the eruption and subsequent earthquakes of Mount Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii.  We are paying particular attention to the details as they continue to unfold.
These trees provided a backdrop perfect for taking photos.

It was Christmas, 2014 when we rented two houses next door to one another while our family came to visit for the holiday.  They began arriving in early December and the last didn’t depart until early January 2015.

Many months prior to our arrival in Pahoa on the Big Island we’d begun worrying that our planned family holiday would be challenging if we had to select a different location with space for the 14 of us, of there was an evacuation of Pahoa.

Smoke rising from the lava flowing in Pahoa, where we lived for six weeks in 2014/2015.  We were concerned we’d have to evacuate.  Click here for this post.

It was Christmas in Hawaii, one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.  There are too many posts we uploaded at that time to fully describe the story of our time in Pahoa and the interesting and unusual aspect of living in an area with the prospect of flowing lava reaching the holiday homes.

Numerous power poles located in the path of the lava flow had been covered in fire-retardant materials to prevent the flow from destroying the power to the area.  For this post, please click here.

 The first post in the succession began on December 2, 2014, when we’d arrived on December 1st and ended on January 14, 2015, as indicated here.  Here’s a photo below of the backyard facing the Pacific Ocean from the backyard of one of the two houses we rented, located next door to one another, each with an astounding view.

The next door neighbor’s chair gives a good perspective of the massive size of these waves in front of the two houses we rented on the Big Island from this post.

As concerned as we were about the situation we were bound and determined to have as good a time as we could with the family and, if we had to evacuate, we’d figure out a solution.

The swirls in the moving lava were interesting to see firsthand.  For more, please click here.

Shortly before Christmas, the nearby shopping center where we purchased groceries, supplies, and gas, was closed due to fears that the lava was headed that way.  It was an unusual experience to be shopping at the market with huge discounts the day before the store was closing supposedly for good, with the lava on its way.

Kilauea June 27 Lava Flow map updated 7 a.m., December 2, 2014. Courtesy of Hawaii County Civil Defense
This was the updated map of the lava flow as of December 2, 2014.  We were located next to the dark grey area on the coastline at Hawaiian Beaches and Hawaiian Shores.  It’s easy to see why we kept such a close watch.  The area evacuated recently is Leilani Estates south of Hawaiian Shores.  For this post, please click here.

During this period, we discovered that many homeowners in the area had already packed and left their homes, fearful of the arriving lava flow.  They moved out all of their belongings and waited, living in other areas as to what would transpire.  What a hardship for all of them!

To see the red-hot lava between these lava rocks only required a bit of zoom. We couldn’t believe we were with our family and all of us able to see lava flowing for the first time in our lives. For this post, please click here.

Now, as the residents of Leilani Estates struggle with this same reality they’re more certain their homes are at risk of being taken out by the massive lava flows and/or damaged severely by earthquakes.  The fate of the area is uncertain over the long haul. 

Signs such as this were posted everywhere. Click here for the post.

In any case, we enjoyed our time in Pahoa and now we pray for the safety and recovery for those who’ve lost so much in the wake of this violent mountain’s continuing eruptions and earthquakes.

This is a photo I took of a photo of when the lava crossed Apa’a Street on October 25th.
See this link for the news report.

If you’d like to read more on this, please click this link.  To watch any one of numerous live feeds of the volcano, please click here.

A barn or garage that survived the lava flow as it crawled down the road.  For this post, please click here.

 Tomorrow, we’ll share photos of our fabulous day at Frikkie’s Dam in Lionspruit wildlife area with Louise and Danie’s friends, meeting new people while sharing stories of wildlife and world travel.  Although each of the braai’s participants has diverse and interesting backgrounds, we all shared a common interest in our love of the beauty and magic of Marloth Park.

See you soon!  Have a great day!

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Photo from one year ago today, May 7, 2017:

Captain Rick Sullivan chatted with us in Dizzy’s Jazz Bar aboard Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas as we made our way toward North America. He invited us to a special function enabling us to do a story.  His warm demeanor and superb sense of humor have made sailing aboard this ship a sheer delight.  For more photos, please click here.