The kindness of friends with the best intentions.. Can we stop writing about it?

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, each day we’ll include one of our videos along with the link when we originally posted the video. Here’s the link to the post in which we had the above video with the whole story, from December 29, 2013 with another video and more photos regarding the female’s making the tree frog’s nest, and the mating process. 

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

As mentioned in yesterday’s post here, in the future, during the lockdown, we will include one of our past videos as the “main photo” each day with a link to the date the video was initially posted. 

We’re adding videos from the furthest dates, eventually working toward the present day. We may not include every video, but instead, use those we’ve deemed may be of most interest to our worldwide audience.
It’s fun for us to add this feature during lockdown which once it’s over and we’re on the move again, we’ll return to posting one of our favorite photos of the day. As you can well imagine, we aren’t taking any photos right now. We’ve already posted hotel and staff photos leaving us no options from there since we cannot go outside.

On another note, many of our friends/readers have been sending us links and information regarding how the US State Department is assisting American citizens in getting out of India via chartered flights from Delhi, Goa, and Mumbai.Gosh, we appreciate everyone’s concern and also, we are well aware of the State Department’s efforts to repatriate US citizens who are in lockdown all over the world. We spend all day, every day, watching local and world news and reading copious amounts of news online. No new facts about the virus pass by us in our heightened state.
Beautiful orchid we spotted in our travels from this post.
This flower baffled me with nothing online similar, making it possible to identify.  How unusual. Any ideas out there?

For us, the fact remains consistent. We have no intention of returning to the US to live while waiting out the virus. There are many other countries we’d head to once the international travel bans are lifted, none of which include the US and its territories.

In many weeks or months away, our goal is to head back to South Africa, a military intervention to prevent its citizens and residents from movement beyond lockdown. Some harsh punishments have been enacted, including imprisonment, impounding vehicles, and being shot at with rubber bullets.

The people of India are also being arrested and jailed for disobeying the lockdown. Of course, this type of punishment is harsh, but the president is determined to keep the virus cases at bay. Only time will tell if these stringent tactics are effective.

We feel safe here. We would not feel safe flying to the US to face the 336,830 cases (as of today) with almost 10,000 deaths. As of today, India has 4314 cases and 118 deaths. India is one-third the size of the US in square miles but has four times the population.

Also, in this scenario, locked down in a hotel, we don’t have to go out to shop or make any purchases. We needed a few toiletries, and yesterday. I placed an order with Amazon India for a May 4th delivery date. We have no doubt we’ll still be here in May.

Suppose the airport opens in Mumbai for international flights and South Africa is not accepting incoming international flights. In that case, we have several other countries in mind that we’d fly to while we wait it out, again, with many fewer cases per capita. 

With the help of the internet, it’s easy to determine which countries continue to keep their borders closed. In the worst-case scenario, if none of the walls open, we’ll stay here in Mumbai until they do. 

Everything is predicated on the fact that we continue to have a place to stay in Mumbai while waiting it out. We’re feeling this hotel won’t “put us on the street” if they close and will find an alternative for all of us remaining here.

It appears that five guests from the UK will be getting out on a UK government-chartered flight sometime in the next few weeks. We appreciate their desire to return to their homes. 

But, with the national healthcare system on dangerous overload in the UK, along with the high number of cases, as eighth-highest in the world with 47,806 points and almost 5000 deaths, we’d undoubtedly stay put here rather than travel to the UK.

Plumeria, found in many tropical locations throughout the world. We took this photo in Hawaii.

For us, the bottom line… One, where are we the safest? And two, where are we the most mentally, physically, and financially most comfortable? For now, it’s Mumbai, India, staying at the Courtyard Mumbai International Airport for as long as we are allowed. 

Each new day I ask myself, “Can I stop writing about COVID-19?” I wish I could. But, like all of you and the rest of the world, it’s hard to get it off our minds and in our lives.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 6, 2019:

Mongooses pose in cute positions in hopes their adorableness will inspire us to feed them. It always worked. For more photos, please click here.

Overly cautious combined with a touch of paranoia?…More five year ago photos…

Not quite sunset, sunny views over the Kenomane Bay in Kauai across the street from our condo in Princeville. Photos today from this post on this date five years ago.

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

With more guests in the hotel with 35 rooms now occupied, I must admit I’ve become a little paranoid about walking in the halls while passing staff and guests on my ten walks a day. 

Most of the occupied rooms are on the fourth floor along with ours, and I’ll likely pass from one to four people while walking each time. The hallways aren’t wide enough to allow for ample “social distancing.”

As a result, I’ve started wearing a scarf covering my face, leaving only a slit for my eyes. I may look like a fool, but I don’t care. Breathing through the heavy layers of the cotton scarf (one of many we were given while on the Maharajas Express) is tricky while walking fast but, I manage to breathe just fine.

Once an hour, on the hour, until my last walk at 6:30 pm, I put my shoes back on, cover my face, grab the room key and my phone with earbuds, and head out the door for the five minutes it takes to do the circuit of the halls, swinging my arms in the process.

Undoubtedly, doing so is saving my health and sanity more than anything I could be doing while being cooped up in a hotel room. I’m the person who always said I didn’t like spending time in the cruise ship cabin or a hotel room unless it was to shower and dress or head to bed.

Not quite sunset, sunny views over the bay.

Although my total combined walking is less than an hour a day, doing so every hour to avoid sitting for long periods seems to be highly beneficial for me. No timer is needed to remind me, nor do I miss any sessions, having our two meals a day in between.

The biggest motivator is watching the progress I’m making on my FitBit, which recently popped up a message that read, “Your fitness level is excellent for a woman your age.” Whatever that means.

But more than anything, the psychological benefits are even more profound during this confinement in a small space. Dining twice a day is our highlight of the day.This morning, one of the kindly restaurant managers approached us, saying there will be an activity near the pool this afternoon at 4:00 pm for all the guests. I questioned the safety of a group activity. He dismissed it, saying “social distancing” would be in force. We won’t attend. 

Why take the risk when we have been so diligent to avoid contact with other guests other than speaking a few niceties across the room? But, this is the mentality of many… Get together, but stay at a distance. Our belief is “don’t get together!” Nada. Never. Not under any circumstances.

A pair of Nene birds, Hawaii’s state birds, wander around the golf course they seem to love.

Is it paranoia on our part? Perhaps it is. But, the concept of getting the virus and ending up alone in a city hospital in Mumbai is terrifying, even more than it might be if we were in the US, ending up in a set-up auditorium alone and terrified.

If this isn’t enough to inspire people to stay locked down, I don’t know what else we can say. We see over and over on Facebook various “friends” getting together with family and friends, claiming they are “social distancing.” Doing so is nearly impossible even with only two people in one house. Why don’t they get it?
Also, I don’t understand why people go out shopping every two to three days. Most people we know have the availability of food being delivered. Yes, there is planning required to order online and, in most cases, a delivery fee. Why take the risk of going out?
Yesterday Google posted a report of the whereabouts of everyone with a cell phone with their “location” turned on. This is an option a user can choose if they like. Here is the link to see how your area is doing in reducing its levels of activity. This is fascinating.

In reading this report, checking your country and your state, and then cross-referencing this with the number of cases in your state/country at this site, it’s easy to determine that lockdown is vital to control the spread of the virus. It will be more meaningful in the weeks to come since lockdown is relatively new in most areas.

This appears to be a papaya tree. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Many are complaining about their civil rights being spied upon by Google. If that’s how you feel, you can easily turn off this feature in the settings on your phone. I guess at this point. I am not so worried about my civil rights as I am at the end of the spread of this dreadful virus.

Please forgive my preaching, dear readers. If only one of our worldwide readers gets the message from this post and stays at home with only those who live in the house with them, imagine how many lives that one person can save. Remember, the virus started with one person…
On a lighter note, starting tomorrow, we will be posting one of our videos from our 7½ years of world travel each day in place of the “main photo.” Some are heartwarming, some are shocking, and many will give you a good chuckle. Most are only seconds long, so take a look and share them if you’d like. 

Please take care.

Photo from one year ago today, April 5, 2019:

We were visiting the hornbill. We hadn’t been able to put up the bird feeder for a few days due to the vervet monkeys monopolizing all the seeds. Finally, they took off, and this regular visitor was thrilled. For more photos, please click here.

COVID-19 stats…Watching the numbers can be good and bad…Nature photos from five years ago…

While in Kauai, Hawaii on this date, five years ago, we speculated, based on appearance, that there’s some sort of permanent pouch beneath this shedding skin of this Green Anole.  We had difficulty finding details on the shedding process of these lizards. For more on this post from five years ago on this date, 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.

Please click here for those who may have missed yesterday’s post with SW News Media’s article on our story.

We’re all functioning in our ways during these stressful times of this pandemic. Some prefer to be glued to their TVs and internet for updates, while others find they can maintain a lower stress level by avoiding news and stats.
Of course, news mediums can send any of us into a tailspin with doomsday scenarios which can play over and over in our minds, as they replay them over and over on TV, while we continually wonder when this will end and if we can ever return to life as we knew it. For us, as world travelers, we can imagine the possibility of our lifestyle changing forever if future international travel becomes dangerous and foolhardy amid the constant risk and fear of becoming ill with the virus or, in the worst-case scenario, other potential viruses.

We don’t dwell on that thought. Instead, we both believe that in time this awful virus will pass, and we’ll embrace a “new normal” of extra precautions, which may include those we’re embracing now: wearing face masks when out and about, frequent hand washing, and social distancing at public venues.
One possible change in the future may ultimately consist of avoiding cruises altogether for perhaps years to come. We’ve often cruised as a means of getting from one country to another. 
The loss of this means of transportation would significantly impact our travels when the only alternative is to fly from country to country, which in itself is highly risky at this juncture and possibly well into the future.

Regardless of how frequently we check the news or online stats, we can’t shelter ourselves from the harsh facts. COVID-19 is escalated in most countries right now, particularly in our own USA.

It’s been impossible for me to avoid checking the stats each day using this site which appears to stay up-to-date for each country, state, and worldwide. Please click here for this site, Worldometer. There is no cost to use this site, nor do you have to enter any personal information.

This is a Brown Anole,

If avoidance is your preference, without direct contact with others than those in your household (which should be the case for everyone worldwide at this point), keeping the TV off and sticking to streaming shows and entertainment could be a reasonable means of keeping it off of your mind to some degree.

Many are suffering emotionally and rightfully so from fears regarding loss of income, possible loss of jobs, paying bills, and in many cases, simply putting food on the table, along with the constant fear of acquiring the virus.

Of course, for most, the most significant concerns are for those who have contracted the virus and facing death in its wake or, in passing the virus on to others with whom they’ve come in contact, including family members in their own homes.

Many free online resources are available for those experiencing extreme stress they feel they cannot manage independently. For the rest of us, reaching out to family and friends via chat programs, free online call apps, and face time resources may be beneficial. We are all in the same boat, one way or another, and staying in touch with those we love can be an instant stress reliever.

For me, knowing the numbers is essential. After all, I am an information junkie to the extreme. On the other hand, Tom kindly asked me to stop quoting figures to him a few days ago. He knows what’s going on from being online but prefers not to be reminded. I complied and now keep the numbers to myself.

Do the numbers make me worry more or less? Neither. From all the reading and listening I’ve done thus far, I’ve accepted the reality that this virus may continue for months to come and that the lockdown scenario may continue well into the summer months.

This morning at breakfast, Tom asked me again, “Are you bored?” 

“Not yet,” I answered, but it’s still early days. 

Discovering this is Green Anole, not a gecko, was quite a thrill.  Perhaps, some of our readers may find us goofy for our enthusiasm when seeing such a creature.  We find all animals and vegetation fascinating in one way or another.

We’ve only been living in self-isolation in hotels (3) since March 12th (minus two trips to the airport) and in government lockdown since March 25th in this hotel, Mumbai Courtyard by Marriott, when we checked in on March 24th. 

Walking once an hour helps. Doing our posts helps. Texting with friends and family members helps. Streaming mindless drivel on my laptop allows while using an earpiece so Tom can listen to his shows simultaneously.
And above all, staying away from people, staying inside, washing hands, not sharing the lift, honoring lockdown rules, and staying optimistic all play a vital role in keeping us on track, especially in the event this could last for months to come.
There are few times in life we have the opportunity to be “heroes.” Now, at this time in history, we can all choose to be heroes by staying indoors and giving this dreadful virus a chance to dissipate. 
Correction from a prior post: I misquoted the number of rooms in this hotel. It’s 334 rooms which as of today, 35 rooms are occupied with guests. More guests have arrived since we checked in. The hotel staff explained that these new guests came from other hotels closed where they’d also been in lockdown.
It’s problematic to the original group and us that new guests have been allowed to check-in, which has required us to be diligent until their two to three-week lockdown period passes. However, as more and more hotels close, we expect more guests to check in here, thus increasing the risks.

Stay safe, stay indoors. Wash your hands. Wear a mask when grocery shopping. (Preferably order food and prescriptions online, planning well in advance for supplies to replenish). 

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

Kudus is in the garden awaiting our return.  Big Daddy is patiently waiting for his turn. For more photos, please click here.

Reflecting on one year ago today…Five years ago, photos from Kauai…

Today’s photos are from five years ago while we were in Kauai, Hawaii. This scene made us squeal with delight!  How magical! Click here for the link. See below for more.
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.

Each day, while preparing a new post, I read the year-ago post when adding the “year-ago photo” at the bottom of the page. When I read the post today, I couldn’t believe what we went through a year ago in South Africa.

I had just come out of the second surgery on both of my legs that had become infected after the triple coronary bypass surgery that transpired on February 12th. The elevator (lift) was stuck, and I couldn’t return to my room to be with Tom and finally eat and drink after no food or water all day.
It’s hard to imagine that the infections manifested for so long, but as we treated them with medication and sterile bandages, day after day, it only became worse, not better. 

It wasn’t until this late a date, many weeks later, that the doctors felt I had to be admitted to the hospital for more surgery by a plastic surgeon. It wasn’t for a “cosmetic effect,” as one may assume, hearing the new surgeon was indeed a plastic surgeon. It was to save my legs and possibly my life. 
We thought it would be gone in seconds.

Plastic surgeons are specialists in serious wound management, performing surgery, and then the ongoing treatment, which in my case, lasted for many months after the two surgeries.

For that post, one year ago, please click here.

And here I am now hunkered down in a hotel in Mumbai, India, due to a lockdown due to the virus, and I’m walking the halls to the tune of 6000-8000 steps per day (it’s hard to hit the supposed magic number of 10,000 steps walking the halls of a hotel) without pain, adding strength every day. 

Over this past year, I failed to walk this much daily through building strength and agility, which I should have. I have no excuses other than sheer laziness and, overall, being a person who doesn’t love walking alone due to the boredom factor. 

Now, with the help of my FitBit, my resting heart rate has gone from an average of 65 beats per minute to an average of 58 beats per minute. In this short period walking the halls with vigor, once an hour throughout the day, my heart health has improved to this degree.

We assumed this was its final descent, turning to walk back inside.

Of course, a low resting heart rate can be achieved through medication or exercise. Since I don’t take medication to lower my heart rate, exercise is the best option. An efficient, lower heart rate indicates better heart health. Now, this motivates me more than anything.

We could be sitting in this hotel for the next several months during the COVID-19 lockdown in India. Continuing this walking will only prove to be a benefit for me in the long run. I needed to do this.

Once an hour, I check my watch. I leave my comfortable shoes on all day to quickly head out the door with the room key card in my hand and walk. It takes only four minutes to complete the hallway “course.” 

In time, I may add a second round, ramping it up to eight minutes. But I don’t want to force it at this point when it’s going so well. I’ll continue to monitor my heart rate to stay within limits recommended for my age, a target maximum heart rate of 128 beats per minute. 

As I began to turn off the camera and cover the lens, Tom gently spun me around and said, “Wait, Sweetie! It’s peeking out from the clouds below.”

My goal at this point is to stay within that 128 beats per minute as I walk vigorously, swinging my arms. I’m now listening to podcasts on my phone to fend off boredom, and yes, most of them are news on COVID-19. It’s hard to focus on anything else right now. Today’s photos are from our blissful time spent in Kauai, Hawaii, five years ago. These sunset photos remind us of the beauty we’ve been blessed to experience throughout the world over the past 7½ years of world travel.

And, we’re hopeful that the time to continue our travels is on the horizon with the same blissful joy we experienced when we saw this sunset five years ago today.
Stay safe. Stay indoors—social distance.

Photo from one year ago today, April 2, 2019:

This frequent visitor, a male bushbuck, has the “Got some pellets” look in his eyes. For more photos, please click here.