Day #192 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Is Hawaii an option for us?….

This bleeding heart so well depicts Hawaii’s gorgeous colors.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2014, while we were in Honolulu, Hawaii. For more on this date, please click here.

Today, several flights have opened up that will be allowed to fly out of India. They include; Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, and Bahrain. None of these options are appealing to us for the following reasons:

  1. Singapore: We’ve been there twice, staying for a week the second time. Singapore is a clean and safe country but offers no countryside and is all cement with tall buildings, although with many added trees and flowers. We saw what we wanted to see there, and based on the population and crowded venues, we’d have no interest in returning.
  2. Malaysia: We’ve been there in the past. Very pretty in some areas. Very crowded. Low incidence of COVID-19. But, Malaysia doesn’t appeal to us at this time.
  3. Dubai: We spent two weeks in Dubai in 2013, living in a high-rise condo complex and visiting most tourist hot spots. Lots of cement, high-rise buildings, and no countryside. It was not appealing to us for a return.
  4. Bahrain: We’ve never been there but aren’t interested in visiting the Middle East at this time.
Wow! The greenery and flowers in Hawaii amazed us as we walked the streets of Honolulu taking these photos.

Also, yesterday, a newly published document from South Africa has banned travelers from India and the US, a double whammy for us. Also, there are no flights out of India to Africa at this time. Otherwise, we’d visit other African countries and wait to enter South Africa.

We continue to receive thoughtful email messages from our readers stating they’ve read about the countries we may be able to visit that have opened their borders. However, we’re out of luck if India, particularly Mumbai, doesn’t offer flights to those countries. The international airport is still officially closed in India. As of now, there’s no discussion as to when it will re-open.

Many exquisite flowers bloom year-round in Hawaii.

If, at some point, we get tired of waiting, we’ll always have the option to return to the US. But, until there’s a viable vaccine or the numbers of cases drop considerably, we feel safer staying in the safety bubble of this hotel. If something comes up, we’d be ready to leave in 24 hours, although most countries require a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival to enter.

In that case, the hotel driver will take us to a drive-up testing center, and we’ll receive our results by email the same day. Now, we await our package from FedEx before we can consider leaving, regardless of possible flights becoming available.

We seldom find orange flowers, but in Hawaii, flowers are prevalent.

We’ve considered the possibility of returning to the US to stay in Kauai, Hawaii, until the virus issues settle down. Overall, Hawaii has had a low incidence of COVID-19. As US citizens, we wouldn’t have to worry about visa restrictions. However, we’d need to get health insurance for me which would be very costly since I never signed up for Part B Medicare, and to do so now would be more expensive than if we’d signed up seven years ago. There’s a penalty for not signing up at 65 years of age. Go figure.

Also, groceries and dining out are expensive in Hawaii, as well as rental cars. At the moment, we’re living here for approximately 40% less than it would be in Hawaii. In Hawaii, vacation home rentals usually result in taxes and fees of an additional US $1000, INR 73417, per month over and above the rental rates.

Tom is thrilled to be in Hawaii.

If we wait to travel to Africa, we can live there for approximately 20% less than we’re paying in this hotel in India with meals. At this point, we’re living well below our budgeted amount. Hawaii would exceed our budget. So, as appealing as this idea is, we have to shelve it.

I can’t recall seeing yellow hibiscus.

In other states in the US, holiday home rentals are very high, especially in warmer climates. We’re not interested in staying in a tiny condo in a snowy, icy location at this point. Few US states have warm weather in the winter months, at least none of which appeals to us right now. Plus, the lockdown and amount of COVID-19 in many states are also off-putting. We don’t want to trade this weird situation for another, not much better.


Instead, we’ll continue to wait, dealing with our mountains of “paperwork,” website-related tasks, finalizing our taxes with our accountant in Nevada. And of course, dealing with FedEx on the still-undelivered-package from the USA. Nonetheless, we’re grateful for what we do have right now, as opposed to what we don’t. We’re safe, cool, partially entertained, fed with no housework. Plus, we have each other. That’s a huge benefit!

Stay well.

Photos from one year ago today, October 1, 2019:

One year ago, we posted photos from 2015 while we were In Fiji. While there, we stopped on the road to take photos of the sea, but my eyes caught something moving at a distance. Getting out of the car where there was no fence to keep these piglets contained, we squealed with delight, as did this little white piglet who seemed happy to see us. For more photos, please click here.

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

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, the shock left us reeling for a few days. After being turned away, we figured it made sense to wait a few days before applying for a refund with all the cancellations.

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 used. 

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 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 their nest reasonably 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 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.

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, we got a good shot of this pair of cows, most likely a mom and baby, after waiting patiently.
Never have any of us been so trapped into a routine as we are during the lockdown in most of our lives. 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.
Tom is less time-concentric than I am. We all have our specific routines, even before Covid-19. But, I’ve always been the type of person to become entrenched in what I should have, could have, would have done next. Benefit, now it seems more apparent when the days drag on.
Fortunately, there is a favorite time of the day, usually around 7:00 pm or shortly after that when our dinner arrives. Although we eat the same foods each meal, I’m hungry and looking forward to the food (less so for breakfast which I could take or leave) by that time.
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 delightful 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 eight of 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 donkey 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 mule 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 eight of Doc Martin and began working on season two 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 curious. They often stopped grazing to check out who was driving by.
Yep, this is our lives right now, folks. Bland is 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.
As I prepare today’s post, NatGeo Wild is on the TV with the sound turned down. Usually, Garage Logic is on in the background for a few hours while I do the post, listening simultaneously. AIt provides us both with a bit of wildlife fix while we’re in lockdown. 
St. Joseph Catholic Church is 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 doesn’t seem easy 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, pay attention to what we’ll do next, 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 with staying level-headed during times of Covid-19? We’d love to hear from you! Please comment at the bottom of our page, and indeed we will reply within 24 hours.
Stay safe.

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. In 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 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: We 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: We 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 wasn’t a single spot for a car to stop to take a photo. I’d tried taking the photo from the moving vehicle, 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. 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 many heart medications, which caused me to sleep half of each day and could barely move my legs and walk. 

Feebly, I attempted to walk each hour, but it was painstaking and left me breathlessDuringng that time in Ireland, 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 had noticed a marked improvement in my well-being.

Over the next few months, I began to walk without so much pain, stay awake throughout the day, and start 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 more extended periods. I prefer to do the hourly walk rather than walks for more extended 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.

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. 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). 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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This may be a Fishtail Palm Tree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The waning sun.

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

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

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

And then, it was gone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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 ease 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. Since we last mentioned it here, the most recent development had been that she had to move from her much-loved assisted living facility since they weren’t equipped to handle her dire needs.

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

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 essential for each of us to consider during this trying time. Staying active, engaged in pleasurable 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 to become distracted with such thoughts and thoughts of myriad conspiracy theories during this time. 

Instead, for now, if we all can focus on our 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.

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 sound. Katydids are related to crickets and grasshoppers, with large back legs for jumping. Unlike grasshoppers, Katydids have incredibly 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.

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

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 of his countrymen.

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

Prime Minister Modi is taking responsibility for the “people” to become more diligent in following lockdown requirements to determine if relaxing of various business openings is 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 one of Asia’s largest slums. Dharavi has an area of just over 2.1 square kilometers (0.81 sq mi; 520 acres) and 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.

Like the sunset, it dropped beyond the horizon.

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

Dharavi has a vibrant 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, 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 that unless international flights can enter India, no outgoing international flights will be available. The airlines aren’t going to fly empty planes into the country 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 aforementioned restrictions 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. Now, our daughter-in-law’s cancer surgery is 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 times 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 experience the celebrations in their hearts and homes with only their household family members with hope, blessings, and safety.

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.

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

The birth of an Alpaca “cria” while we had a fantastic opportunity to oversee the births while the farm owners were away. Please click here for the story with many photos, including the main image, 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.

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

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 beautiful 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 each day. Many have continued to suggest solutions to our situation, but we are pretty 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 points 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 sure what the future holds and if 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 soon, 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 about what transpires throughout the world, not only inside our tiny world.

With many bees in this area, I chose not to move the green leaves for a better view of this exquisite bloom, a soccer ball’s size. All of us on tour was 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. When we may become hungry in the afternoon, 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 fun 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.

This type of routine has brought us a sense of comfort and security as day after day, we awaken and repeat it. 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…

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

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

We lost a friend…Richard in Kauai…Little did we know…

Richard joined us for dinner on St. Patrick’s Day at a local restaurant.

Our hearts are heavy today. We lost a friend. Our dear friend Richard Turner, who stuck-like-glue from the moment we met him on January 24, 2015, the day we joined the Makai Country Club only days after our arrival in Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii. (Please click here for the link to the day we met Richard).

Little did we know…that meeting this special man would turn our four-month stay in Kauai into a whirlwind of an enriching and highly enjoyable social life with friendships we made for life including with him and his dear wife Elaine.

Little did we know…the friendship with Richard would be so short when yesterday, 13 months later, he passed away in his sleep, never to awaken to see the face of beloved wife Elaine and treasured cat, Daisy Mae. 

Elaine and Richard joined us for lunch at the local Westin Hotel where we languished in their company engaged in delightful conversation, as always.

He leaves in his wake a plethora of those who loved him;  family, friends and neighbors, and a world of clients with whom he diligently worked for decades as an attorney in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, all who admired his generosity of spirit and time as breathtaking in today’s hurried world. 

About eight years ago, he, Elaine, and Daisy Mae moved to Kauai to the home they’d owned for years and planned for eventual retirement. Overlooking the ocean, Richard was proud of his lovely home and shared its many treasures with us only days after we met. (Please click here for Part 1 of the tour of Elaine and Richard’s lovely home and here for Part 2 when he introduced us to the nesting Laysan Albatross in his neighborhood).

Little did we know…that meeting Richard would provide us with the pleasure we experienced from the many people we met at an endless array of parties and social events that we’d be gifted with the joy of regularly visiting the albatross and their eventual chicks, another of our favorite memories of Kauai.

Richard had finished off his garage to hold his magistrate’s desk he’d shipped from Missouri to Kauai. He was excited to share this favorite possession from his life as an attorney in Missouri.

Yesterday, I wrote the following in a Facebook comment with a photo we’d taken shortly after meeting Richard when he invited us to his home to meet Elaine: “We spent many hours together with Richard and his wife Elaine. He will be dearly missed by many who had the privilege of knowing this kind and caring ambassador of friendship and love.”

That was Richard, an ambassador of friendship and love. He had a magical way of bringing people together with a sense of pride in doing so as a parent who’d step back to watch the progression of friendships among the people he loved the most.

After we left Kauai on May 23, 2015, four months later, our hearts filled with appreciation for his love and friendship. He called us, “blue eyes and the Irishman” an endearing term that addressed every encounter and every precious email after we left. We often referred to him as “Ricky” and he never flinched. 

Tom and Richard had an instant bond, one he’ll always treasure.  They equally loved sharing their corny “guy” jokes and stories.

We never lost touch with Richard in this past year for more than a few days at a time, as he continually teased us to give up our world travels and move to Kauai to live in his neighborhood.

Little did we know…that had we ever decided to give up our continuing life of travel which began 40 months ago to live in Kauai, we’d have done so more to be close to him, Elaine, and the many people he introduced us to, than any other reason in the world.

However short our friendship, he’ll remain in our hearts forever. Rest in peace, dear friend. Little did we know…you’d leave us all so soon…

Photo from one year ago today, March 1, 2015:

With little wildlife in Kauai, other than chickens and roosters, we find ourselves more attracted to birds than we’ve been in the past.   These Zebra Doves are commonly seen in Kauai although not native to the Hawaiian Islands. Click here for more photos of Kauai.