Day #177 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Two spaces or one at the end of sentence?…

 

Hans invited us up to his third level veranda in Kenya for “happy hour” and to watch the sunset. As we enjoyed the view from up high, we all noticed this animal’s butt sitting inside a window of a thatched roof. Definitely not a monkey with this type of tail, we anxiously waited for it to turn around. By the time it was totally dark, it hadn’t moved, leaving us all without a clue as to what type of animal it had been.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013, while we were living in Diani Beach, Kenya for three months. For more details from that post, please click here.

The sunset is beautiful everywhere. From the third floor of Hans’ house, we were thrilled to take photos of the progression of the sun’s setting on the horizon.

As I muddle my way through our almost 3,000 archived posts to make corrections I continue to stumble across a dilemma…Do I remove two spaces after each sentence/paragraph and change it to one space or leave it as is, at two spaces? For us old-timers who learned to type on an old-fashioned typewriter, two spaces were the correct procedure.

Today, with the advent of digital means of typing, this simple dilemma may have changed. Subsequently, as I labor through post after post, barely able to get through 20 posts a day, I realize that the bulk of the corrections I am making in tightening up the space between two sentences.

Hans made Tom one of his special local concoctions while I sipped on my usual ice tea while chatting with Hans’ lovely wife Jerie.

Of course, I searched online for the answer, hoping to find a definitive solution. But, like many topics, the variations in opinions are overwhelming, Some dictionary sites say “one space” and others say “two-spaces” makes the text easier to read. Oh, good grief. I’ve already spent hours correcting thousands of these.

As the sun set, the lush greenery appeared brighter than during the day’s sun.

Here’s some information I found on this topic:

“Why you should or shouldn’t put two spaces after a period?
Hence the adoption of the twospace rule—on a typewriter, an extra space after a sentence makes text easier to read. … Because we‘ve all switched to modern fonts, adding two spaces after a period no longer enhances readability, typographers say. It diminishes it.”
Or,

“There was a time when every period, question mark, or exclamation point was followed by two spaces. These days, depending on what you’re reading, you can find either one or two spaces between the end of one sentence and the beginning of another.”

Look at these lush ferns, abundant in Kenya’s humid weather.

After reading further I came to the conclusion that in today’s world, one space after a sentence should, in fact, be one, not two. So, how does this impact my corrections on almost 3,000 posts going forward? I’ve opted for one space, thus doubling the time it takes to correct errors on each page.

And, what types of other errors am I encountering?

  1. Spelling: (I am using Grammarly and Ginger for assistance)
  2. Font size: Which I’ve decided to leave as is since it takes so long to correct.
  3. Punctuation
  4. Grammar: Many comma placement errors and sentence structure (I am using Grammarly and Ginger, two apps, for assistance)
  5. Paragraph and line spacing
  6. Missing or inadequate links
  7. Verbiage errors, restructuring sentences, etc.
  8. Photo placement/positioning
  9. Caption errors on all of the above
  10. Issues with headings
  11. Repetitive words reduction
    The haze, a result of both humidity and fires burning, leaves an eerie view over the horizon.

Well, as you can see, making these corrections is a lot more complicated than one might expect. Why am I doing this when the majority of our readers don’t really care one way or another? (Thanks for that!). Many of our posts were completed under time constraints, or days when I wasn’t as attentive as I should have been. Many other posts were completed when the WiFi signal was poor and making corrections was nearly impossible, let alone typing the text.

From high up on the veranda, these coconuts caught my eye. They are everywhere!

Excuses aside. Human nature. We make errors, especially me when 365 days a year I write the equivalent of an essay from 700 to 1000 words, mostly with photos which is a breeding ground for human error.

Now, as I go back through each post, one by one, I am certainly missing some corrections or, in fact, making new errors in the process. Also, I am making new errors in the new posts I am doing now. It’s not perfect, nor am I, nor is Tom’s daily proofreading. But, we continue to strive, each and every day to get this message to our loyal readers/friends/family to let you know what we’re doing, feeling, and thinking.

Soon, the sun would set and darkness would fall as the sounds of the nocturnal wildlife rings through the air throughout the night.

Hopefully, in the near future, we’ll have more to discuss than mere “dots.”

Be well.

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

As we approached St, Michaels and All Angels, Church of England in Michaelstone, Cornwall, we were in awe of its beauty. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Day #160 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…The frightening reality…

Day #160 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…The frightening reality…

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Today’s photos are from this date in 2014 while wrapping up our final day in South Kensington, London, England. You’ll find our total expenses for the 15-nights in a hotel below:

Here are our expenses for the 15 nights in London:

Hotel:              US $3,312.26, 1,995.40 pounds
Transportation:          455.29,    274.28
Tours:                        451.81     272.18
Groceries:                 240.34     144.79
Restaurants:              850.46    512.34

Grand Total:     US $5,310.16, 3,198.99 pounds
Daily Rate:         US $354.01, 213.27 pounds

Yesterday, we walked down this road toward Bobo’s Bubbles to do our final two loads of laundry.

Each hour, while walking, I listen to podcasts on my phone. At this point in time, I am not interested in much other than those podcasts that are educational and informational, often a variety of videos from immunologists from all over the world. I do so in an attempt to determine which countries we may possibly visit when we’re able to leave India.

Of course, leaving India is entirely predicated on how India is doing with COVID-19, their infection and death rates which at this point are increasing like a raging fire. Yesterday, by happenstance, I stumbled across this India generated video with a immunologist from Harvard, born in India and interviewed by an Indian news/podcaster.

Occasionally, we spotted a brick building mixed among the white buildings.

This video, found here at this link, This is not a conspiracy theory-type podcasts but a well researched and highly informative report on the statistics for COVID-19 for India and the projections by this highly qualified medical professional. The prospects for us leaving are not looking good.

In essence he’s stating that the reported cases in India, with a population of 1.3 billion, is only reporting 15% of the actual cases when many get the virus, don’t test, and subsequently don’t report their case. In reality, based on statistics gleaned from countries and researchers throughout the world, this could mean there are currently 200,000,000 to 500,000,000 cases in India.

This was the shortest (height) car either of us has ever seen. I can only imagine that getting out of it would require rolling out the door onto the street and then standing up.

This threw me for a loop. I can see why our hotel doesn’t want us to go outside. There is a very high percentage of contagion in Delhi and Mumbai, the two largest metropolises in the country. Opening the airports for international flights is highly unlikely anytime in the near future.

One might think, “Why would they be so cautious for flights leaving India?” The answer is logical. The international airlines are not about to send empty planes to India. To warrant the resumption of international flights it must be a two-way process. India is not about to allow international travelers into the country. It certainly makes sense when worldwide, so much of the virus has been brought into countries via flights from highly infected countries.

South Kensington consists of one pretty street after another with parking always at a premium.

Citizens of the US, regardless of where they’ve been, are on “no fly” lists all over the world and will continue to be so for an indefinite period. The prospect of us leaving India anytime soon is grim.

We accept the fact that if at any point, we cannot stand being here another week or month, most likely we can find a way to get on one of the repatriation flights for US citizens to return from India back to the US. Finding an affordable holiday home in a nice area in the US at this time is impractical and costly, far more than we’re paying here. Also, we’d need a rental car which is outrageously priced in the US for extended periods.

In London, there are no large trash bins for residents in which to place their garbage.  Instead, they place the bags on the sidewalk or street where they’re picked up a few times a week from what we’ve seen.

The alternative would be to find a hotel comparable to this hotel in the US which most likely will be more costly than here. Plus, the travel required to get to a location we’d prefer could result in numerous flights at numerous airports with added risk of contracting the virus. We’d simply be trading one confined location for another. The US is still in the #1 position of most cases of the virus in the world. We don’t want to go to the US due to my high risk status.

At least, here and now, we are as safe as we can possibly be. There hasn’t been a single case of the virus in this hotel. We don’t go out to grocery stores, pharmacies and other shopping. We can get most of what we need from Amazon India which items are sprayed with disinfectant when they arrive and are delivered to our room. We wait a few days to open any package.

Wildwood had a comfortable ambiance, but the food and service was mediocre. See the post here for food photos and prices.

Breakfast is included in our room rate and our dinners are never more than US $20, INR 1463, per night. There is nowhere in the world we’d be able to eat for this low cost. Besides, during these lockdown conditions throughout the world, we can’t justify paying more than what we’re paying now.

Complaining? No. Observing. Reality. Safe. Healthy. We’d OK

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Photo from one year ago today, August 30, 2019:

Look at the numbers of sailboats moored in this bay! For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Holding our breath..One day at a time…

The scene we traveled on the Toy Train.

In the past several weeks, each time we’ve been required to venture out of the safe cocoon of a hotel room, we can’t help but wonder if we’ve been exposed. At this point, we only leave the sanctity of our room when it’s time for breakfast or dinner.


All of the employees at this wonderful hotel are living on-site and aren’t allowed to leave the premises. The staff is minimal and food supplies are dwindling. This morning, the restaurant manager explained meal options are rapidly dwindling when they can’t get deliveries.

Sunset in Bandhavgarh National Park.

As we mentioned, there is no laundry service and we’ve begun washing our clothes in the shower or the bathroom sink and then hanging them on the window ledge to dry. We decided to wear the same clothes over and over again for as long as we can to avoid having a big pile of laundry accumulate. 


We’re hand washing our underwear daily and will hand wash shirts and pants when we swap out those we’ve been wearing. Blue jeans are particularly hard to squeeze dry, but we’ll figure it out.

Memorial for fallen soldiers in Delhi.

Thank goodness we have air-con and WiFi. India is fast-moving into its hottest season and we notice temperatures rising each day. If the power goes out, we’re in big trouble. So far, nothing indicates that the infrastructure will fail.

Mahatma Gandhi’s burial site and memorial in New Delhi.

Today, the mandatory 21-day lockdown began in the entire country of India. People will be arrested if found outside if their activities aren’t covered by exemptions as found in this article. So far, the government is not requiring all hotels to close, only those who choose to close as stated in the above link:


” Exemptions: Hotels, Homestays, lodges, and motels which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew.”

A herd of sheep on the road.

This notice came out this morning and gives us a degree of comfort, but many hotels continue to close due to low occupancy and subsequent loss of revenue. If this hotel closes and as long as we have a hotel to move into, we will be fine. It’s the prospect of not having anywhere to stay that is terrifying as we had feared after yesterday morning’s incidents.


None of the dozen or so holiday homeowners I’ve contacted online has yet to respond to our inquiries except one, who stated they aren’t renting their property during this crucial period.

A sambar deer sighting.

Most likely, this will be the case for most holiday property owners and managers. They don’t want to be exposed to any travelers who may possibly be infected nor do they want their properties to be a “hotbed” of germs they’ll eventually have to clean.


This morning at breakfast, an Englishman approached our table (at a distance of several meters). He said he recognized us from Madurai where we stayed in isolation for four days, before our last flight to Mumbai a week ago today. His group of three are in the same spot we’re in. They are unable to leave Mumbai due to closed airports and India’s total lockdown.

Crossing a river in Kanha National Park.

They are hoping to return to their home in the UK with over 8000 cases as of today. Here again, Heathrow Airport would potentially be another dangerous airport. At this point, our plan continues to be to wait it out until we’re able to enter South Africa which currently has 554 cases. Tomorrow, they are also implementing a countrywide total lockdown.


The wait could be long, especially when South Africa has confirmed they won’t accept any foreign nationals entering the country until after May 31st. If we get lucky, and this hotel stays open, we’ll be fine here until then. Time will tell.

Restaurant at Tuli Tiger Resort in Kanha.

None of us knows what will transpire over these next weeks or months. We’re all in this together, regardless of our circumstances. We must stand together as a unit in our commitment to “social distancing,” ensuring we are continuing to avoid passing this dreadful virus onto others.


Stay safe. Order groceries online. Stop shopping at warehouse facilities. Stop getting together with relatives, friends and neighbors. Wash your hands. Cover your cough or sneeze. Stay home, world, please…

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Photo from one year ago today, March 25, 2019:

Such a handsome kudu bull. For more photos, please click here.

A morning from hell…OMG…OMG…

An elderly man walking his cow down the road.

Last night when we went to bed, we assumed we had a solid plan in place. By noon, we’d have our bags packed, have paid our hotel bill and be ready to head to the Espresa Hotel which had booked us a room for a month according to the Sun-N-Sand staff.


At 8:00 am, having slept later than we’d expected after awakening several times during the night, the phone rang. It was the front desk informing us that our checkout had been moved to 10:00 am, not noon.

We bolted out of bed to begin to take turns showering, dressing, and packing. By 8:45 we headed to the restaurant for our final breakfast at the Sun-n-Sand Hotel. It appeared we were the only remaining guests in the hotel.


At the reception desk, we asked why we were rushing for a 10:00 am checkout. They didn’t say much other than, “We’re closing earlier than we’d planned.”


A Marwari horse with curly ears at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 

Service was slow at the restaurant although we were the only patrons. By 9:30 Tom went back to our room to finalize the packing while I approached the front desk to pay our bill. He told me to go back and wait in the room until they were ready for us.


I refused to go back to the room. I insisted on waiting for Tom in the lobby after the bellman had been ordered to pick up our bags. The man at the desk seemed nervous and confused, telling me to “go wait in the room until they were ready for us.” Again, I refused.


This worried me. I insisted on paying the bill. Moments later Tom came off the elevator wheeling our bags. The bellman hadn’t arrived in time to help him. He joined me at the desk to assist in sorting out the bill.


As it turned out, we had a credit when we paid for an entire week last Friday and still had three nights remaining. The only charges we’d incurred were for dinners and one batch of laundry. They paid us several thousand rupees in cash rather than put it on our credit card. 

An Indian Roller.

After completing the transaction, the man handed us a piece of paper with the name of a different hotel, The Orchid, explaining that’s where we were going. A reservation for one month had been arranged for us and we were to leave right away. They’d managed to find a driver to move us to the new location as opposed to using a police vehicle as had been mentioned yesterday.


We checked out The Orchid, hotel online and it looked very nice. We were satisfied it would work for us. Tom was disgruntled about this last-minute change from one hotel to another without notifying us, but based on our situation, we had little choice but to move along. Hotels all over Mumbai were rapidly closing, one after another.

With the roads empty of vehicles, we arrived at the beautiful Orchid, feeling relieved as soon as we drove up. Although all bars, most restaurants, pools, and facilities in hotels had to be closed, we’d be content with a room with air-con, WiFi, a comfortable bed and a place to eat breakfast and dinner.


Our bags were unloaded from the van, we paid the driver, went through security, had our temperature checked and approached the desk to sign in for our one-month reservation.

Statues made from stone and granite offered for sale to locals and tourists.

They had no record, whatsoever, of any reservation in our name, not for one night, let alone one month. Nor were they able to book us a room when they are closing tomorrow. Sun-n-Sand had pulled the wool over our eyes to get us out the door so they could close.


There we were hotels closing like dominoes falling, all over Mumbai along with owners of holiday homes not responding to our inquiries and literally nowhere for us to go. My heart was pounding in my chest. Tom kept reminding me to stay calm while we figured something out.


As much as the staff at The Orchid wanted to help us there was little they could do. The amazing hotel manager/concierge, Mr. Wesley Fernandes, immediately got to work trying with the utmost effort to find a solution for us.


I had visions of us standing outside the US Embassy in Mumbai with all of our baggage, pounding on the door trying to get help. 

Gorgeous leis of flowers offered for sale for offerings.

Partway through Mr. Fernandes’ diligent calling, he approached us and said he’d located a hotel the government had required to stay open… For suspected cases of Covid-19 required quarantine. 


Tom and I had agreed that, no matter what, we would not stay in one of those toxic situations. Mr. Fernandes didn’t think we’d willingly stay in such a facility. Subsequently, he continued the search. After a highly stressful hour, he found us a hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott, located close to the airport.


He suggested we book it online right away, which we did after which he spoke to a reception staff member who confirmed the reservation had come through and we were good to go.


Not only did Mr. Fernandes make these arrangements for us, but he also arranged a complimentary ride using a vehicle owned by The Orchid. Finally, we breathed a sigh of relief. Moments later, we were on our way to the most beautiful Courtyard by Marriott, we’d ever seen.

Women weeding the peanut fields.

During this entire stressful period, we both wore face masks. With lobbies of most hotels in Mumbai not air-conditioned and the high heat and humidity, we were both sweating profusely.


The kindly reception staff member at The Orchid Deeptka, provided us both will bottled water and we were on our way. The staff at the Courtyard by Marriott were welcoming, but here again, they made no assurances as to how long they’d stay open. Also, they explained there is no laundry service now or in the near future.


Today, we’ll begin contacting more owners of holiday homes to see if they’ll take us last minute, next time we have to move, which we expect will happen within the next week or so.  


Whew! Now, we’re comfortably situated in a beautiful hotel with all services suspended indefinitely except for an open coffee shop that will serve us breakfast and lunch. Basically, we’ll stay in our room unless we’re dining.

A termite mound in Kanha National Park.

If this hotel stays open, we could be here a month or two or longer, depending upon when South Africa opens its borders and when international flights are available in Mumbai. None of us know our fate at this point and surely each and every one of us is feeling cooped up and uncertain about the future.


If and when you visit Mumbai, we’d highly recommend staying at The Orchid. Nowhere in the world have we seen this caliber of customer service at a hotel, let alone the fact we weren’t staying with them.


Temporarily, we dodged a bullet, for how long? We have no idea. Stay safe. Stay indoors. We continue on.  
                             _______________________________________

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

Fourth Baby, who’d been separated from his family, often sits in this goofy pose when eating pellets.  This was how we knew it was him.  The others kneel but don’t set their butt down while eating. He was never reunited with his family from what we could determine. For more photos, please click here.

Americans stranded overseas pleas for help to get back to the USA…

This morning, the pool was totally emptied.

Note: At this point, we’ve lost interest in taking new photos when we’re stuck in a hotel room. Tomorrow, we’ll continue to post photos from our tours in India, although some may be repeats since we didn’t keep track of what we’ve already posted with a lack of time while touring.

There are many news stories online about Americans stranded overseas desperate to return to their homes elicits compassion and empathy when they cannot afford to continue to pay for accommodations and are fast running out of medications.


As we’ve read, the US has been chartering flights to get some of these US travelers back to their homes. There are countless news stories about citizens trapped abroad when their vacations ended and airports closed preventing them from leaving.

Last night when we sat outside, we noticed the pool was being emptied, indicating the hotel may be closing soon.

That has been our case as well, but we aren’t running out of medications nor are we worried about getting back to the US. As long as we have a place to stay and source of food and basic supplies, we can “wait it out in Mumbai.”


Tonight India’s Prime Minister Modi will announce the next necessary measures to reduce the risks of the spread of Covid-19 which may or may not include closing hotels. 


As of this writing, all signs indicate our hotel will be closing soon. Last night, they emptied the pool and closed off the outdoor area where we’ve been watching the sunset every evening. Today and tonight, we’ll be stuck in our room. 

Another great sunset from the hotel pool area.

I’ve never been one to enjoy spending time in a hotel room, although Tom with his penchant for staying busy online, doesn’t mind quite as much. I guess I’ll just have to adapt, as I am, with no complaints, making the best of our situation.


As a matter of fact, our spirits are good and we aren’t complaining at all. Our only concern is that we have a place to stay, preferably a hotel, where we don’t have to find a way to get groceries delivered to us if we were in a holiday home.


There are several online grocers whose businesses are booming in light of the fears of being around other shoppers in local markets. How long they will continue to supply their customers remains to be seen.

What beautiful sunsets over the Arabian Sea.

In reviewing the online grocer’s inventory there appears to be plenty of foodstuffs we both eat such as chicken, vegetables, eggs, cheese, coffee/tea, and spices. We can easily subsist on these items alone if need be.


Tonight will provide us with a clearer picture of what will transpire going forward. A few minutes ago when speaking with one of the hotel managers, he seems to think they’ll stay open until March 31st. They still have five out of 120 rooms occupied, all of them have been unable to leave the country, like us. 

Apparently, a guest next door to us checked out thinking he’d get out of the country and is now checking back into his same room. We aren’t in our original room when the manager moved us to a room “with a view.”

The beach is barren, with no walkers, no joggers, and even no stray dogs.

But, with the air-con seeming to be running poorly (most likely to keep costs down), we have to keep the drapes closed to keep the room cooler. We sit on the bed all day, searching online for any useful information. For now, we are OK.


We pray you are all safe, “social-distancing” and taking all necessary precautions to avoid becoming infected. We’ve been streaming and binge-watching Season 40 of the TV series “Survivor” to keep us entertained. Once we wrap that up, surely will find something else.


Be well. Stay safe and stay tuned as to what transpires here in Mumbai.

_______________________________________

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

This is Basket, the Bully.  He lost his right ear in a confrontation a few months ago. For more photos, please click here.

Reminds me of a movie I once watched with guests trapped in a hotel…Hotels closing in Mumbai…Are we next?

Last night’s sunset over the Arabian Sea from the hotel pool area.

It was a bad sign this morning when we went to breakfast that there was no buffet. Only five rooms in this 120 room hotel are occupied and in made no sense for them to continue to offer a buffet. Beside, buffets are breeding grounds for germs. 


Is this the beginning stages of this hotel closing in the next several days?

The hotel is no longer allowed to accept new reservations. In a matter of days, we could be the only guests here. That’s kind of freaky. It won’t be the first time we were the only guests in a hotel. 


On Christmas Eve and Christmas day in 2017, we were the only guests in a boutique hotel in Palermo, Buenos Aires. We ended up having a great time after all. See this link here.


But, those circumstances were entirely different. It was a fluke there were no guests in the small hotel. In this case, as you all so well know, the circumstances are entirely different, the Covid-19 is the cause of many businesses, now including hotels worldwide, closing their doors.

Each night, to get out of our hotel room and enjoy the sunset.

Of course, I was searching for holiday homes that may be available in Mumbai, when this hotel closes. And, although we’d have been willing to wait here for as long as necessary, we are certain it will be closing in the next week.


The hotel manager assured us, if that is the case, they will assist us in relocating, hoping that at least one hotel will be allowed to stay open in Mumbai to facilitate others like us, who can’t leave the city with a population of 18,400,000.


But, we have to be realistic and prepare ourselves for the worst that no hotels will be open and we’ll have nowhere to go. It’s a frightening thought. Many of our readers still write to us asking us why we didn’t return to the US a week ago.

We sat comfortably at a table with an umbrella by the pool, sipping on a cold beer, attempting to make the best of the situation.

As we mentioned in an earlier post, for several reasons, one, we don’t have adequate health insurance in the US (but excellent coverage outside the US) and two, I am in the high-risk group: my age, cardiovascular disease, and asthma. 


Based on the number of fast-growing cases in the US. As of today’s news, there are 19,522 cases, most of which we a result of travel or being in contact with someone who has traveled internationally. Why would we want to go to any US airport?


As of today, there are a reported 271 cases in India. Sure, there may be many unreported cases, here and in the US. But even if India’s situation is 10 times, even 100 times worse, that’s still considerably less than in the US, relative to the US population of 331 million as compared to India’s 1.3 billion.

The hotel pools are inviting, but the government has forbidden swimming in any public pools.

Our goal for our time here, regardless of how long this period lasts, is to stay in self-isolation in a hotel with as little contact with people as possible. The only people we come in contact with are the restaurant servers and cleaning staff and we stay as distant as possible. 


We’ve chatted with a few other hotel guests, at a distance, and it seems most of them are getting out today, mainly on the last few flights out of Mumbai before the Mumbai airport closes tomorrow, to fly back to the UK which has almost 4,000 cases as of this morning. 


For this small of an area, that’s a lot of cases. A few weeks ago we’d canceled a holiday home in England for this very reason. 

The pretty view of the evening sky.

As residents of South Africa, our friends Linda and Ken managed to make their flight from Australia to South Africa. Linda and I communicated via text messages in the middle of the night (I was wide awake) when they were about to board their flight. I’m sure we’ll hear from them later today.


What will we do when this is over, whenever that might be possible? Our goal is to get into South Africa. Moments ago, Tom read a new article to me that states no foreign nationals will be allowed into South Africa until after May 31st. Hmm, it looks as if we’ll be here in Mumbai for quite a while, after all.


Well, folks, we hope all of you are staying safe. Thanks for hanging in there with us as we work our way through this difficult time, with the same hopefulness and spirit that we strive to possess as each day passes.

_______________________________________

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

Such an adorable face. For more photos, please click here.

Photos of Tuli Tiger Resort inside Kanha Tiger Reserve…


The spacious veranda outside the door to our lovely suite.

We’re having some technical issues. Maybe I should have bit the bullet and purchased another Windows laptop instead of a Chromebook. As it turned out in my haste to order, the HP Chromebook I ordered doesn’t have a slot for an SD camera card.

A small casual bar in the dining area.

Subsequently, I’ve had to use my phone to take photos and although many come out well, using zoom is a missing aspect of using a smartphone as a camera. Now that we’re in the midst of another nine safaris after nine at the last location in the Bandvargarh National Park, today I broke down and used the camera, getting many better shots than ever possible using the phone.

Now, I’m left with no way to load them. A few minutes ago I purchased an adapter from Amazon India with a proposed receipt date of Monday, March 1st, the date we arrive at our hotel in Udaipur. Hopefully, once again a shipment within India will work out as well as the last.

The spacious pool is near the dining and bar area.

As a result, in the interim, I will be uploaded only those photos we’d taken on our phone while continuing to use the camera. Once the adapter arrives on Monday when we’ll have more time, I’ll be able to share the many fine photos we took in Kanha Tiger Reserve.


After going out on four safaris as of today, with two more remaining tomorrow that encompass 10 hours of each day, we decided to split up today with me taking the 5:30 am session and Tom out right now on the afternoon session.

The grounds are filled with named indigenous vegetation befitting this type of resort.

Doing so left me with time to post today’s story and photos and to work on the Amazon order which is trickier than compared to ordering supplies from the US.

The bathroom is small but nicely appointed.

Since we don’t have a tremendous number of tours during our three nights in Udaipur, we’ll have time to upload the camera’s photos and get more caught up posting.


Plus, the WiFi in both safari resorts has been sketchy at best, in each case, off and on all day and only accessible from the reception office. Not being able to put up my feet and relax while preparing a post is a bit annoying, but soon we’ll be in a hotel with good service in our room (so says the online information).

There are several seating areas in our suite.

This resort is beautiful and well-appointed otherwise. Besides Tom’s disappointment with the food, we’re enjoying our time in this premium property.


So far, our 55-night tour of India is going quite well and we have a fabulous company, Tailormade Journeys continuing to work with us for any questions or concerns. We’ve been very pleased with their service working with rep Rajiv and his support staff in making this a seamless series of events, a highly complicated scenario for this extended period. They can be reached as follows:


Rajiv Wahie
Tailormade Journeys Limited
25 Grangewood , WEXHAM , SLOUGH , SL3 6LP , South Bucks. United Kingdom.
United Kingdom Tel : 01753 577330, 01753 201201 Mobile: 07739716978.
USA & Canada Toll Free : 1 – 855- 9 – 526526 , Canada :416-619-7795
Australia : 61-2-86078986Emailgreat-vacation@btconnect.com
The king-sized bed is very comfortable.
Well, that’s it for today folks. We’ve included photos of the lovely Tuli Tiger Resort. We’re looking forward to sharing more photos soon.

Be well.
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Photo from one year ago today, February 28, 2019:

Mom and Babies hanging out by the recently cleaned cement pond. For more photos, please click here.

Varanasi…Adaptation, once again…

Yesterday we met this lovely Indian couple at the airport.

In a perfect world, of which there is no such thing, every travel day, every tour and every hotel would be to our liking. But, as we so well know, the world is an imperfect place and our world travels are no different.


Last night we checked into a hotel, Ganges Grand Hotel, located midtown Varanasi that wasn’t of the caliber of the hotels in which we’ve stayed during the first 10 days following the Maharajas Express week long train excursion.

When we arrived at the hotel by our assigned driver Ojuh, the hotel staff met us a few blocks away to collect our bags. No parking or stopping was allowed in the direct vicinity of the hotel. 

Last night during dinner we noticed this cow entering a dress shop.


Fortunately, we only had a five-minute walk through the outrageous honking of horns from tuk-tuks, cars, trucks, and motorbikes, as we darted in and out of the traffic on uneven ground in an attempt to avoid getting hit or tripping and falling. This was the most traffic we’d seen in India thus far.


Finally, we reached the hotel to climb a steep set of uneven stairs to enter the lobby. The small reception area reminded me of “motels” from many decades past when as a child I traveled across the country with my parents. 


We were welcomed and handed the box from Amazon India, containing my new laptop which had arrived earlier in the day. I am preparing today’s post using it and so far, I’m quite impressed. 


We were escorted to our room on the second floor. As soon as the door was opened, our hearts sank. This couldn’t hold a candle to the other hotel rooms of days (or years) past.

Lanterns and fabrics were carried on the heads of locals in preparation for a wedding.


The bed is hard as a rock; the room shows considerable wear and tear; the bathroom and shower are all-in-one. In other words, the bathroom sink is in the same spot as the shower. 


Water covers the floor and doesn’t drain well, leaving the bathroom a slippery danger zone with the potential for falling on the marble floor. We asked for extra towels to cover the floor in order to prevent falls while in the bathroom and when stepping outside the bathroom. 


After getting settled as best as we could in the room, we headed to the dining room for dinner. We hadn’t eaten a thing in over 12 hours. We giggled when we commented that it felt as if we were in a movie centered around international intrigue and espionage in the 1930s.


In our situation, I must be able to get food befitting my way of eating. There was literally nothing on the menu I could order. I asked for the chef (cook) and he kindly prepared a roast chicken and vegetable dish that met my criteria and tasted fine. 

Bleary-eyed and tired from a long travel day, we shared a few beers (no wine available). Since alcohol isn’t allowed in many Indian cities, this restaurant covers its beers with tin foil. Go figure.


Once again Tom had chicken and egg fried rice. It looks like we’ll repeat these same items over the next two nights until we leave for our next location that online appears to be more suitable for our desires and expectations.


Yes, I know, this is India and yes, we’re adaptable and accepting of cultural differences, but we paid a lot of money for this tour and didn’t expect to stay in this particular type of hotel.

We looked up all the hotels booked over the next few weeks and it appears this particular hotel was out of character for our 55-night tour of India. We breathed a sigh of relief and settled back into the reality we so often pursue, “love the one you’re with.”  We’ll be fine.


I suppose our tour guide selected this hotel due to its convenient location to the Ganges River and other points of interest. This morning at 6:00 am we met with our Varanasi tour guide, Avi and proceeded on a tour of one of the most exciting and unusual tours we’ve done to date… a rowboat ride on the Ganges River at sunrise.


Need I say, we have some stunning photos to share tomorrow while today, in the short time we have left until our next outing, to continue to set up my new laptop with all the apps and files I typically use.


We’ll be back with more tomorrow. Have a peaceful day and evening.

No worse for the wear…Amsterdam keeps giving and giving…Boarding the cruise today…

Me in front of soldier statues. ” Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square) is a major square in central Amsterdam, Netherlands, … It was cast in one piece and it is Amsterdam’s oldest surviving statue in a public space.”  It was a very windy day!

 With many photos from Amsterdam yet to be posted we may save them to share at a future time, perhaps on the cruise on a sea day.  Today, we board the ship.  

Tom, arm-in-arm with the statues.

Checkout time is noon at the Eden Hotel (very nice, canal view) when we’ll arrange a taxi to take us to the passenger cruise terminal, a short distance from here.  We’ll be ready to go.

Diplomatic building with many flags.

Now, at 10:30 am, Tom is streaming a Minnesota Vikings pre-season game with one quarter remaining.  Since we never unpacked, only opening the bags to get out clean clothes and toiletries, it will only take 10 minutes to close the bags and be on our way.

There are 1000 bridges over the canals in Amsterdam.

Last night we had a great meal at Rain Americana Grill, walking distance from the hotel which added to our daily distance up to 3.5 km, 2.2 miles…a lot of walking for me.  But I’m thrilled I was able to do it, however, difficult it may have been and suffer no ill effects today.

Many of the huge estate homes have been converted to offices, apartments, and condos.

Tom needed some American food so we selected this spot. He had a burger and chips while I had a gluten-free, starch-free burrito using lettuce leaves as wraps and it was delicious.  I have been craving Mexican food for some time.   What a treat!

Menu of marijuana and other such products are available for sale to any adults who so desire to partake. We happened to walk down an alley to run into people smoking pot outside at the cafe.  From this site: “Cannabis has been available for recreational use in coffee shops since 1976. Cannabis products are only sold openly in certain local “coffeeshops” and possession of up to 5 grams for personal use is decriminalized, however, the police may still confiscate it, which often happens in car checks near the border.[citation needed] Other types of sales and transportation are not permitted, although the general approach toward cannabis was lenient even before official decriminalization.”

This morning we decided to wait until we board the ship to eat since they have such great options included in our fare.  Until I meet with the maitre’d to review my printed food list, we’ll wing it in the buffet.  There will be plenty of salad bar items that will work for me.  

The small park where this statue of Rembrandt is located is a popular gathering place.

During the day, I’ll drop off the food list and make a special order for tonight’s dinner until they coordinate my restrictions with the chef.  Most likely on this first night, it will be grilled salmon, veggies and Caesar salad (minus the croutons).  Fine with me.


Today’s photos continue from yesterday’s sightseeing along and in the canals of Amsterdam.  Unfortunately, as the boat moved along, I wasn’t able to recall the names of the structures in many of the photos.  

The Sea Palace Chinese Restaurant is located on one of the canals.

Also, I try to “live in the moment” and pay attention to the scenery before me rather than worry about identifying the buildings the next day when I prepare a post.  


And live in the moment we did.  The unique scenery continually enthralled us.  Everywhere one turns, there’s something magical to behold.  We both agreed we’d like to return to the Netherlands at some point and see more of this unusual country with design elements, unique to this country.  

There are approximately 2500 houseboats with permits to dock on the canals.  Utilities are made available for those houseboats.  Illegal boats can’t access city services.

We’d yet to see tulips (wrong time of year), windmills (not in the city) and stores selling wooden shoes, all very touristy but none the less, fun to see.  Yes, sometimes we behave just like tourists delighting in the all too familiar tourist traps and sightseeing expectations.

Various types of mallards paddle in the many canals.

So, off we go folks.  Our next post will be from the ship on a sea day.  We’ll share all the photos and excitement we’ll experience along the way.


Have a pleasing day filled with wonder.

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Photo from one year ago today, August 11, 2018:

What a lovely scene on the Crocodile River as seen from Marloth Park.  For more photos, please click here.

Amsterdam doesn’t disappoint…We accomplished more than expected…Challenging but rewarding…Food photos…

We were impressed by the stunning historic architecture on both sides of the canals in Amsterdam.

There’s no doubt I’m struggling to walk.  I am hoping this pain will dissipate as I continue to wean off the awful medications but a part of me is terrified it won’t go away.  It takes everything I have to walk a block, let alone navigate stairs and ramps.  

We wished we could post the identity of all of these amazing highlights but it wasn’t possible as the boat moved along.


My heart doesn’t struggle or so it seems.  It’s just the legs which could be entirely from the statins I stopped a few weeks ago.  Here’s the data on this situation from JAMA and here’s the link to the report:
“Results  The mean (SD) duration of statin therapy before symptom onset was 6.3 (9.8) months. Resolution of muscle pain occurred a mean (SD) of 2.3 (3.0) months after discontinuation of statin therapy. Six patients (13%) were hospitalized for the management of rhabdomyolysis; 2 had reversible renal dysfunction, and 1 with preexisting renal insufficiency subsequently began lifelong dialysis. Hospitalized patients developed myopathy more quickly after initiating statin therapy (1.3 vs 7.1 months; P = .048) and were more likely to be taking concomitant medications known to increase the risk of statin-associated myopathy (P = .03). Thirty-seven patients received another statin after an episode of statin-associated myopathy; 21 (57%) reported recurrent muscle pain, whereas 16 (43%) tolerated other statins without recurrent symptoms.
Conclusions  Patients with statin-associated myopathy experienced full resolution of muscle pain on cessation of statin therapy. Although no deaths occurred, 13% of the patients required hospitalization for rhabdomyolysis. Recurrent muscle pain was common on statin rechallenge.”

The covered canal boat.


The above-highlighted comment about full resolution in 2.3 months makes me very hopeful.  Now, as we begin this big journey in our world travels I do everything I can to stay engaged in our activities and avoid complaining to Tom.

The tour couldn’t have been more enjoyable.


He’s so helpful, guiding me across the uneven pavement, through crosswalks, up hills, and steps. Today was a real test of both of our resolve and determination as we walked almost 3.2 km, 2 miles, on the streets of Amsterdam, reveling in every moment which was a good distraction for me.


What did we see and do?  Firstly, all of my sandals and shoes to wear on the cruise had recently fallen apart.  Plus, the one pair of high wedge sandals I had were a thing of the past and I left them behind in Ireland.  My two pairs of long-wearing black and beige Clark sandals literally crumbled with pieces falling off in the suitcase.  I’d been wearing them for almost seven years!

There’s a large hook hanging from the gables remains in place.  Since most of the buildings in Amsterdam are so narrow, which resulted from a tax base determined by the width of a building, its impossible to get furnishings up the narrow staircases.  Subsequently, these large hooks on the exterior of buildings are used to hoist the items to the appropriate floor.


Knowing we had to find a shoe store within walking distance was a daunting task but I knew to try to walk would be better than taking a taxi forcing us to be out and about seeing a bit of this exquisite city.

Each building has its own unique design.


After a very long walk, of which we stopped for breakfast along the way, we found a few shoe stores and I was able to purchase two pairs of comfortable flat shoes, one a dressy flat black sandal and another, a very comfy pair of Sketchers slip-on shoes.  I was thrilled.  


Surprisingly, the shoes weren’t more expensive than they’d have been in the US.  Everyone talks about how expensive it is here.  Yes, the hotel was twice as much as we usually spend but we had accumulated points to use which softened the blow.

Many elaborate former homes from the 17th and 18th centuries have been converted to governmental and diplomatic structures.  Not this building’s construction year of 1843.

Dining out is comparable to the US from what we’ve seen so far.  Last night we dined in the upscale hotel restaurant, Brasserie Flo which turned out to be rated #720 our of 3736 restaurants in Amsterdam. I loved the food…Tom did not.  He’s not the gourmet kind of guy.  Here are a few photos of our meals.

Tom’s veal and mashed potato dinner.

This morning we had breakfast in a pub we encountered on our walk.  They didn’t make eggs with butter or healthy oils so I ordered a chicken Caesar salad which was excellent.  Tom had a ham and cheese omelet which he said was “just OK.”  

My rack of lamb on a bed of assorted mushrooms was delicious.
Please understand, I am traveling the world with a picky eater but then again, he has to live with all of my peculiar dining options.  We figure it out as we go.  It’s not perfect but we’ve learned to live with these limitations, and now…others.

This seafood platter for two looked appealing but Tom’s not a big fan of most seafood.  It didn’t pay for us to spend Euro $125, US $141 for this for me alone.


After we had breakfast and walked the distance to the shoe stores, on the way back, as we walked along one of the 100 canals in Amsterdam, we spotted a canal boat tour starting in 15 minutes. This was ideal for us.  

As we walked down the narrow street exploring and looking for a shoe store.


We’d hoped to tour the canals today anyway and this avoided us going back to the hotel for more walking, only to find our way back to another tour boat.  It had been raining off and on all morning.  It was sunny when we left the hotel.

The clock tower building.


This particular boat was fully enclosed with big glass windows we could open when the rain stopped.  We were grateful that a few minutes into our tour, the sun came out once again and we were able to take many photos, more than we can ever share here today.  

Ornamental pillars at one of the 1000 bridges in Amsterdam.


More photos will follow in tomorrow’s post which we hope to finish before we head to the ship at noon.  This is all happening so fast!  This time tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be situated in our cabin and hopefully unpacked, ready for the cruise fun to begin.


Have a fantastic Saturday night wherever you may be!

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Photo from one year ago today, August 10, 2018:
Tom’s excellent new haircut.  She cut his hair this time as opposed to using the electric clippers.  Cost with a tip?  ZAR 130, US $9.35 (includes tip).  Wow!  I love the beard!  For more photos, please click here.