Day #247 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Crucial COVID-19 treatment information…

 

Stunning homes along the channel as we sailed out to sea from Fort Lauderdale.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2017 as we were sailing out to sea on Celebrity Infinity from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on a partial circumnavigation of South America, ending in Buenos Aires, where we stayed for one month in a hotel, awaiting an upcoming cruise to Antarctica. For the story from that date, please click here.

A while back we conducted a vote as to whether we should include COVID-19 news and treatments which we may discover along the way. The results of that vote were 51% against, 49% for. Subsequently, we have diligently stayed away from controversies, and conspiracy theories revolving around the pandemic.

Cargo ship at the port.

Today’s comments do not consist of a controversy or a conspiracy. It is a simple medical fact…sugar is not an essential nutrient and is particularly harmful to seriously ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients. If only one of our readers or a loved one benefit from this information, this post would be well worth any backlash or negative comments we may receive from naysayers.

Unless one has been living under a rock for the past 10 years, the dangers of consuming sugar have been reiterated over and over again. Again, sugar is not an essential nutrient. If we never consumed any sugar in our lives, we’d never be missing a single nutrient vital for life.

Bridge in Fort Lauderdale.

As we all are aware sugar (and high carb foods that convert to sugar in our bodies upon consumption) is highly detrimental to diabetes or those with metabolic syndrome. Most recently, as I’ve strictly reduced my carb consumption and watched my blood sugar and blood pressure dramatically reduce to a point where I’ve been able to stop two 20-year medications, has been evident to me which I shared in this post a few days ago.

After spending no less than two hours a day researching ways in which I can improve my cardiovascular health, I discovered two things of the major causes of cardiovascular disease: Smoking (I was an occasional smoker in my youth) and sugar (in my case, the consumption of too many carbs/sugar in my diet from a lifetime of eating a low fat, high carb diet). It took 30 to 40 years for my cardiovascular disease to manifest.

People waving to ships as they make their way out to sea.

So, this morning a podcast popped up on my phone from Dr. Robert Cywes, a highly reputable surgeon who’s become involved in saving lives through diet who is known as the “Carb Addiction Doctor,” entitled, The Absolute Evidence, The Truth About Cardiovascular Disease, Sugar or Fat by Robert Cywes. The content of this podcast is found here:

Well, what does the above topic have to do with COVID-19? A lot actually. As Dr. Cywes explains, hospitalized COVID-19 patients who become unable to eat due to being intubated or too sick to eat, are given IVs containing GLUCOSE which is PURE SUGAR.

View of houses on the channel.

If you or a family member are pre-diabetic, diabetic, or suffering from a metabolic disease (and many other conditions), this massive dose of sugar can send the patient into a state of high blood sugar/diabetes requiring treatment with insulin which only exacerbates the virus to a point that may contribute to death. Why do we keep hearing about poor outcomes/death for diabetics and patients with other comorbidities? Many are being pumped full of sugar, only increasing their risk of death.

No, I am not a medical professional, nor do I profess to know more than the average person. But, it’s not rocket science to figure out that massive infusions of sugar is detrimental to many patients and the sugar is not needed. When I had open-heart surgery in 2019 in South Africa I made sure it was stated in bold type on my chart that no IV was to contain glucose. There are simple, non-glucose alternatives if fluids are needed, containing healthy fats and protein or if a short-term treatment, plain saline is generally safe.

So, there it is, folks. Listen to the above podcast. Do your own research. Talk to your doctor. Tell the hospital staff if you or a loved one are hospitalized. Save a life.

That’s all I have to say.

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

When we didn’t have any new photos to share here is a six-year ago photo we posted in 2019.  This view from the second-floor balcony at Whalers Village in Kaanapali Beach was breathtaking. For more photos from this post, please click here.

 

 

Day #246 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Ten reasons to avoid test cruises…

 

Tom’s hair was blowing with his back to the wind at Sails Restaurant in Diani Beach, Kenya. The cool ocean breeze was heavenly.

Today’s photos are from dining out at our favorite restaurant, during the final few days we spent in Diani Beach, Kenya in 2013. For more details, please here.

Each day when I walk the corridors, I listen to podcasts on various topics. Recently, on a mission to further improve my health I listened to podcasts from Dr, Ken Berry, Dr. Ali Nadir (cardiologist), Dr. Shawn Baker, Dr. Jason Fung, and Dr. Paul Saladino, and more, all of whom advocate a very low/zero carb way of eating, which with their advice, I’ve been able to lower my blood sugar and blood pressure dramatically as described in this post from a few days ago.

I equally enjoyed the cool ocean breeze at Sails. It was so hot that night, we were sweating. 

When I need a break from health podcasts, I often listen to travel-related podcasts relevant to today’s COVID-19 situation in hopes of learning something useful for our future travels. By accident, I came across Tony’s podcast site, La Lido Loca, and was fascinated to listen to his take on why it makes little sense to accept such an invitation. To listen to Tony’s excellent podcast on this topic, please click here.

Here are his 10 reasons why not to embark on a free test cruise:

  1. A cruise line is required to have the “free” passenger sign a document accepting the potential risks of participating. In other words, if you get the virus during or after the test cruise you will not have legal recourse against the cruise line.
  2. There is an expectation that test cruise passengers must have a doctor’s letter confirming they don’t have any pre-existing comorbidities that may result in severe cases of COVID-19 or even death.
  3. You will be virus tested at the port upon embarkation, upon disembarkation, and possibly many more times during the cruise.
  4. This is not normal cruising with all the fluff and activities cruisers may be used to. Passengers will be directed to activities during the cruise and subject to the guidelines and requirements that reduce the risks of becoming infected.
  5. Restrictive port experiences unlike those typically offered by the cruise line. You will not be able to wander on your own if any ports of call are visited, nor will you be able to choose a multitude of experiences.
    Tom’s crab au gratin was as delicious as usual.
  6. What happens if you or others get the virus, either in reality or in a simulation, which may require even those without the virus to lockdown in their cabin? Cabin selection is up to the cruise line. One may end up in an inside cabin when normally they book a balcony cabin. If there is a lockdown during a simulation, this could result in days in a windowless cabin when you aren’t even sick.
  7. Disruptive cruise – You may be in the middle of enjoying a meal or a drink or an activity, required to stop immediately for health checks and other protocols.
  8. A cruise may be cut short if too many passengers become infected with COVID-19. This could happen after paying round-trip airfares to reach the cruise embarkation point, at your own expense, only to have the cruise cut short after 24 to 48 hours when passengers are reported to have contracted the virus resulting in the cruise ending early.
  9. Waiting around – For test results, for new procedures, for activities, and a variety of protocols which are entirely unfamiliar, passengers may spend hours each day, waiting for the next activity or event.
  10. Very strict adherence to the CDC’s virus protocols; masking, social distancing, hand washing, and more. The usual socialization most cruisers enjoy will be obliterated.
    My dinner at Sails was too heavy on the oil, very different from the first time I’d ordered this entrée.

Are you still interested? Probably, not. If so, contact your favorite cruise line and see if options are available for you to participate. Most cruise lines contacted their authorized cruise resellers with invitations to participate. It will be interesting to see how these cruises roll out.

We’ll be watching for those results and will report back here for details.

As for us cruising in the future, hum, we’ll see what happens. Our next booked cruise is scheduled for November 30, 2021. We’ll see if that actually transpires and if we decide it’s safe to go if it does.

Happy day to all!

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

Drool-worthy! Tom’s Reuben sandwich with jumbo onion rings when out for bingo at a restaurant with friends Karen and Rich, one year ago. Click here for Tom’s win.

 

Day #245 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Golfing for travelers…

 

A manmade pond on the Kahili Golf Course in Maui, Hawaii, created a pretty scene.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2014 while living in Maui, Hawaii. Please see here for more details.

Neither of us ever took up the sport of golf mainly due to the fact neither of us is very good at it. After a few tries over the years, each separately, the frustration factor was simply too much to overcome, nor did either of us have enough interest in the sport to take lessons.

In a way, when we began traveling the world, we were glad we had no interest in playing golf. Hauling clubs all over the world made little sense considering how much we travel. The added costs for flying with two sets of golf clubs, plus fees and expenses would have far surpassed our budget, requiring we sacrifice something more important to us such as quality holiday homes, rental cars, and dining out.

The lush lawns at the Kahili Golf Club in Maui were similar to the gorgeous lawns at our condo in Maalaea Beach

Many avid golfer travelers rent clubs as they travel but then again, that may have been for a few trips a year, not non-stop world travel. Nonetheless, we’ve enjoyed the beauty of many golf courses throughout the world and have either driven through them to revel in their carpet-like lawns and at times, dine in the clubhouse.

In Princeville, Kauai in 2015, where we lived for four months, we acquired a social membership to the Makai Golf Course which allowed us access to the pool, fitness center, dining, and social activities. We certainly took advantage of that membership at US $250, INR 18,547, per month for the two of us. In reviewing their site, we weren’t able to determine the cost of that same social membership now, particularly in light of COVID-19, when everything has changed.

A gazebo and footbridge on the course with the ocean at a distance.

It’s difficult to determine costs for any travel-related expenses at this time when so much has changed due to COVID-19, but in reviewing costs to travel with golf clubs, the added cost will vary from airline to airline, depending upon their included and extra baggage fees. It could range from US $35, INR 2595, to US $150, INR 11122, per bag or more.

Adding the cost of greens fees, cart, taxes, tips, and beverages can easily be as much as US $1000, INR INR 74139 for two players at an upscale course, and 30% this amount at a modestly priced course. If we were golfers, hauling our bags with us, we’d feel committed to playing at each new location, spending thousands more each year.

We were tempted to try either of these buffets offered at the Kahili Golf Course. But, as usual, buffets in the US seem to offer less acceptable options for my way of eating.

No, doubt, for an avid golfer with ample funds allocated for the sport, golfing throughout the world would be quite an adventurous and fun experience, especially if done so as a couple, avoiding the necessity of finding others to play with at each location, who may not suit your level of play.

As mentioned in the above-posted link for today’s photos, we both were literally addicted to playing Wii Golf in our old lives, eventually resulting in what our family doctor referred to as “Wiinjuries,” injured incurred due to excessive play of the very fun video game, played on a flat-screen TV. Of course, this was nothing like playing “real” golf but certainly was fun until we both had to quit due to shoulder injuries acquired from playing this “small” version of golf.

Although there was a road sign warning of “crossing by the Nene birds (Hawaiian geese), only these Cattle Egrets ran back and forth across the road.

For those interested in traveling with their golf clubs, here are some tips from the PGA’s website here:

  • Try to get a non-stop flight, if possible. The fewer times baggage handlers need to move your clubs from plane to plane in a short amount of time, the better.
  • Get a durable, well-made travel bag. Hardshell bags are more expensive and the best will run around $250. But Schmidt said they’ll give you more protection if you want that peace of mind.
  • If you use a soft-sided bag, don’t forget to pack a golf club protection device. It looks like an adjustable aluminum crutch that’s taller than your driver and keeps your shafts from being damaged in case the bag is dropped upside down.
  • Don’t forget that golf bags are considered “oversized check-in”. If you don’t know where to find check-in or pick up at a particular airport, Schmidt said make sure you ask someone as soon as you get there. And if you’re unsure about the cost or weight allowance, check with the airline or your travel agent. Be aware that some airports will send your golf bag through the regular baggage belt (with all of the other luggage) but others (such as Atlanta Hartsfield) will leave at a different location for oversized bags.
  • Add some personal ID marking to your bag. Miller said adding some bright-colored string or a pom-pom will help you identify it quickly. Many bags have places for business cards as well. Don’t forget to include your cell phone number. If possible, include the name of the hotel where you’re staying.

 

This lush greenery outlined the entrance to the golf tunnel. What a beautiful way to mask an otherwise less appealing entrance and exit!

PGA.COM COURSE FINDER: Locate a course near you by distance, price, or type

  • Don’t wind up with more luggage than you need. “Never travel with more bags than you can manage alone,” Miller said.
  • Think about a cab or car service (or ride to the airport). Drops you off closer to the gate than parking, which means a long haul at times with a large bag to roll.
  • Pack your clubs so they won’t move around in the travel bag. “If you’re going to Scotland or Ireland, it’s easy because you’re going to be throwing extra sweaters or a windbreaker in there to give it extra protection,” Schmidt said.
  • Tip: Use your travel bag for additional storage. “You can put gifts and other things you’re bringing back home in that golf bag,” Schmidt said.
  • Don’t leave your expensive electronics in your golf bag. Rangefinder? GPS? Treat it just like your computer – carry it on with you.
  • If you’re still leery of putting your equipment on a plane, do use a shipping service. “It’s not necessarily the most affordable way to transport them,” Schmidt said. “But if you want the peace of mind, they do a good job with that.”
    As we ended our visit to the golf course, one more panoramic view was in order.

Well, at this point in lockdown, 245 days later, simply walking through or dining at a golf course would be delightful. Even, if we could play Wii now, that would also be a good way to spend time in this hotel room.

At the moment, Tom is watching yesterday’s Minnesota Viking football game on his laptop. I didn’t care to see it since I accidentally stumbled (no pun intended) across the outcome.

Otherwise, all is fine. Another day…

Be well.

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

One year ago on this date, I’d forgotten to take photos while visiting family in Minnesota. Instead, I posted this photo from this same date in Maui in 2014 which we’ve highlighted above. For the story from one year ago, please click here.

Day #243 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…New but vague information for India travelers!…How much are we spending to live in this hotel?…

We drove past friends Kathy and Don’s home yesterday and their front garden was filled with kudus and impalas. See more photos from this scene below.

Today’s photos are from our post on this date in 2018 while living in a bush home in Marloth Park, South Africa. For more details, please click here.

Tom stays up much later than I. Usually, by 11:00 pm, I settle into my comfy spot on my left side and am making ZZZZs while Tom is fast and furiously clicking away on his laptop, reading news, Facebook, and Ancestry.com. Often, in the morning, I’ll have an email message about a topic he knows I’d like to read the next day.

Waterbucks are much larger than they appear.  We rarely see them up close to grasp their actual size.  From this site: “This is a large, robust antelope. Bulls have a shoulder height of 1.4 meters and can weigh up to 260 Kg. (551 pounds)  Cows are smaller than bulls. Waterbucks have a brownish-gray shaggy coat. The eyes and nose are patched with white, and there is a white-collar under the throat. The rump has a characteristic white ring. The large rounded ears are a prominent feature. Only the bulls have long, forward-curved horns. Both sexes emit a, not unpleasant, musky smell which normally lingers at resting sites.”

This morning, from Tom, I opened this article from this site, figuring it would be of interest to me, to us. Upon seeing the topic in the headline, I see why he sent it.

Bougainvillea has begun blooming in the park.

The article states:

“India is predicting a return to pre-COVID passenger levels by the end of the year or early 2021. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri noted the impressive recovery of the domestic market and said he expects huge growth in the Indian aviation industry. India recently hit a post-COVID passenger record during Diwali.

Full recovery

At a press conference covered by Business Insider, India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that he expects air travel to make a full recovery by 31st December or early January 2021. This would mean reaching pre-pandemic levels across the board, a significant feat just months after flights resumed.

He added that domestic flights have now reached 70% capacity and there are talks about increasing the cap to 80% sometime soon. India currently has both capacity and fare caps for domestic flights. Passenger numbers have grown exponentially since May, rising from 30,000 daily travelers to over 225,000 during Diwali last week.

While domestic flights might be recovering, international flights remain considerably lower than pre-COVID levels. This is primarily due to border closures globally and India’s ban on scheduled international flights, limiting the total number of flights. Until a vaccine finds widespread use, India’s recovery will remain restricted to the domestic market.

Currently, only Air India operates flights to the US from India. However, more Indian airlines could be joining the route in the coming years.

For now, India can expect a significant domestic recovery in the coming months. International flights could take a while before recovering. However, news of a successful vaccine has many hopeful of a larger aviation recovery next year.”

Proud mom showing her youngster the ways of the bush.

There is nothing in this article that gives us any new hope or newly formed expectations as to when international flights will resume in India, other than those we mentioned in yesterday’s post here. Yes, there are flights to the US from India, which have been available for many months, but after 1,000,000 new cases of COVID-19 in less than a week, we see no benefit in heading to the US now or anytime soon.

If we have to be stuck inside, I’d rather stay put here for roughly 40% lower cost than staying in a holiday home or hotel in the US, where they are much more expensive than most other countries. If we were able to find an affordable holiday home, then we’d have to add a car, groceries, and US health insurance, upwards of several thousand dollars per month more than what we’re paying now.

Mom and young giraffe.

At this point, we’re spending approximately US $130, INR 9641 per night with meals, staying in a nice hotel close to the airport. Although we have encountered some annoying minor issues, overall, it’s been a very good experience and definitely, as safe as possible.

With more and more lockdowns resuming in the US based on these latest numbers, it makes no sense for us to trade this situation for another. None, whatsoever.

This mom or matriarch may be babysitting. These two young ones appear a few months apart in age.

And so, we remain, tentatively hopeful while currently in an even emotional holding pattern, knowing full-well, someday we’ll get out of here.

Have a good weekend, wherever you may be.

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

We stayed with dear friends, Karen and Rich when we visited Minnesota last year. The four of us were ready for dinner at the fabulous Gianni’s Steakhouse in Wayzata Minnesota. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Day #241 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…At this point, little things do matter…

We were thrilled to see the huge herd of cape buffaloes on the bank of the Crocodile River.

Today’s photos are from our post on this date in 2018 while living in a bush house in Marloth Park, South Africa. For more details, please click here.

In the realm of things, small incidences we encounter during this overly long stay in a hotel room may seem insignificant and even petty on our part. However, under these trying circumstances, it’s the small dependable things that keep us sane and centered as we strive to stay on an emotional even keel.

A female lion we spotted from Marloth Park’s fence.

Overall, both of us are in good spirits, able to laugh and to be playful. It’s even surprising to us that somehow we’re able to remain hopeful and relatively upbeat after all of this time. Our family, friends, and readers often write to us praising us for “holding it together” under these circumstances, which we appreciate.

But, we take no credit for their kind perception of us “being strong.” We merely are our usual selves always striving to stay positive in the worst of circumstances. The most difficult period during these 241 days has been the loss of my dear sister Susan on August 16, 2020.

Hippos basking in the sun at dusk on the Crocodile River in Kruger National Park.

Feeling such profound grief, while unable to seek the in-person love and support of family and friends made this a particularly difficult time. Tom, who also dearly loved Susan, held me together during the throes of the most imminent grief. I still think of her every day and expect to do so for the remainder of my life. Somehow, I got through the worst of it.

Over this period, I’ve suffered a few bouts of worrisome medical issues, all of which have since resolved, mainly due to my persistence and determination in refining my daily habits and way of eating, based on the fact that food options are extremely limited in our hotel which in itself has been a source of frustration for both of us.

This mom appears very lean after giving birth to this young calf.

If I hadn’t been trying to lose the weight I’d gained since recovering from heart surgery, I could have lost it anyway with the lack of food options and smaller portion sizes available. When I order salmon a few times each week, it can’t be more than four ounces, .11 kg, portions certainly not enough considering I don’t eat the usual side dishes. I need more protein than that in a meal.

Finally, I figured it out if I ordered two butter-fried eggs topped with a little Emmental cheese, four slices of bacon, and the small piece of salmon, I have an adequate amount of protein, which is also enough to fill me up but not too much to stop my weight loss which has gone nicely. (I only have a few more pounds to lose again fit into my jeans).

An elephant and hippos.

Yesterday, we both got our “hair in a bundle” when we noticed that after the cleaner was here, we had two partial toilet paper rolls on the two holders. Both were empty when the cleaner arrived. We’ve noticed that all the toilet paper on the cleaning carts are full-sized, individually paper-wrapped rolls.  Where did the two partial rolls come from?

We both freaked out. This was not the first time this happened. There was no way the two partial rolls came from any other source than leftovers from another hotel room, used in part by other guests. Yikes! Even without COVID-19, the thought of using other guest’s leftover/partially used toilet paper rolls totally sent us both into a frenzy.

Elephants and storks.

Immediately, we contacted the front desk (there’s no direct line to housekeeping) and requested a manager handle this promptly. A half-hour later a housekeeper manager arrived at our door apologizing profusely. When I asked if this was a normal procedure, giving guests other guest’s leftover toilet paper, he was horrified this happened, insisting it would never happen again. We’re tentatively assuming, it won’t.

It’s things like this, after all this time, along with inconsistencies in repeated meals served, that frustrate us the most. When we order the same meal over and over again, it’s different every time, in one way or another.

A waterbuck and Egyptian geese.

Here again, as Tom always says, “The only thing consistent is the inconsistency.”

So it goes. Small things.

Be well.

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

While visiting family in the US, one year ago, we ran short on photos and posted older photos such as the above which was posted on November 19, 2013, from our visit to the Swahili Beach Resort for dinner at Diani Beach, Kenya. For the year-ago story, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Day #240 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…2018 Thanksgiving menu and photos…

Thanksgiving dinner on the veranda with friends.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2018 while living in the bush in Marloth Park and celebrating Thanksgiving at our holiday home. See our menu below and photos of some of the dishes. For more, please click here.

When we decided to host the US holiday, Thanksgiving, on this date in 2018, we insisted that none of the guests bring food, instead only bringing their favorite wine or beverages which is typical in South Africa when visiting friends. Our big table was set for the 12 of us, on the veranda overlooking the garden with hopefully visiting wildlife, .

From left to right around the table: Kathy, Janet, Steve, Don, Louise, Danie, Leon, Dawn, Uschi, Evan while Tom and I shared the end of the table.  Total in attendance: 12.

Here is the menu from that day:

Menu

Thanksgiving Dinner in the Bush

Sundowners with Light Snacks

Roasted chickens

Stuffing with Sausage, Mushrooms, Onions

Mashed Potatoes with Creamy Gravy

Buttery Mashed Cauliflower

Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Pineapple and Cinnamon

Broccoli Salad with Crunchy Almonds and Sultanas

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onion Rings

Cranberry Sauce

Homemade dinner rolls

Pumpkin Pies

Whipped Cream Topping, if desired

It was outrageously hot as high as 40C, 104F on the previous day when I was attempting to make eight pumpkin pies. The heat and humidity were so high, I had the worst time ever in my life rolling the dough for the crusts, a task I usually accomplished with ease.

On the right, Evan, Uschi, Dawn, and Leon.

The end result was tasty pumpkin pies, but they weren’t as pretty as I would have liked. In our usual manner, we sent every couple home with their own pumpkin pie, serving the extra pie we’d made for that meal’s dessert. For the dinner, since turkeys of any size aren’t available in South Africa, we included one stuffed chicken per couple.

Dawn and Leon brought styrofoam, to-go containers from their wonderful restaurant, Jabula Lodge & Restaurant enabling us each couple to take home their leftover chicken and portions of the accompanying traditional side dishes, some of which are shown in the photos.

Each couple got their own roast stuffed chicken. We were having such fun, I left these three chickens in the oven a little too long, burning the bottom of the pan but the chickens were moist and delicious. We’d make three extra chickens, just in case, and kept these for us.

In our old lives, we’d always done this on Thanksgiving, sending family and friends home with a whole pie and leftovers, knowing part of the fun of this particular holiday includes savoring the traditional leftovers. Of course, that night we saved a container for ourselves, which we enjoyed over the next few dinners, as well.

Besides the food, the company was some of our closest friends in Marloth Park, all of whom we hope to see again when we return sometime in the future,  When that day will come is still a total mystery to us as we continue to read and watch news reports daily.

On the left, a pan of extra stuffing, in the center, sweet potatoes (they are light-colored in South Africa, not orange).

With Diwali winding down, the noisy group next door to our room, keeping us awake until 5:00 am with their loud voices and drawer banging, has finally checked out. Yesterday, while heading out on our walk, we were appalled to see their hotel room door open to one of the biggest messes we’ve ever seen in a hotel room. There was trash everywhere.

We felt bad for the housekeeper who had to clean up that mess, but as always, the kind worker went about her work with a smile on her face, as is common among the staff here. Well, I couldn’t exactly see the smile on her face with her mask on, but I could tell she was smiling from the crinkle around her eyes.

Low carb mashed cauliflower.

Isn’t that something? With those of us wearing face masks, it’s hard to tell who is smiling and who is frowning. But, it’s better to wear a mask than to be able to see the expression on a person’s face during these challenging times.

In any case, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on November 26th this year. The actual date of Thanksgiving may change from year to year, but it’s always on the last Thursday in November, resulting in a four-day weekend for many workers. It was during that weekend in our old lives, that I always decorated the house for Christmas, spending the full remaining three days getting it accomplished.

Traditional green bean casserole. Kathy brought the fried onions back from the US! Thanks, Kathy!

Those days are long gone. Oh well, this year, Thanksgiving, will be chicken, of course here in India. As always, but there will be no celebrations, no pie for Tom, no cooking, and no gathering of family and friends. From what we’re seeing on the news, this may be the case for many Americans this year, due to COVID-19 and its government-mandated limitations on numbers allowed to gather to celebrate.

Today? The usual. The usual. And, more of the usual!

Be well.

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

One year ago, this 5-year-old photo was posted on this date. Tom got a kick out of this old Ford “woody” that was on display at the Maui Tropical Plantation. For more of the story, one year ago, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Day #239 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Thanks for inquiring about our well-being…

The old Wailuku Courthouse, which was built in 1907, is located on the US National Register of Historic Buildings.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2014 during our time spent in Maui on a day trip to the town of Wailuku visiting a number of historic buildings and beaches. For more, please click here.

Over the past many months, we’ve had more inquiries and comments from readers than we’d had in the prior eight years. Many readers offer suggestions as to future travel, borders opening, and how we can allay boredom under these unusual circumstances. We appreciate your input and suggestions.

A small percentage has suggested we’re too cautious about protecting ourselves from COVID-19 and that we should get out sightseeing, return to the US to “settle down,” along with many informing us as to borders opening throughout the world. We appreciate all of those comments, whether we agree or not.

Wailuku Union Church, built in 1911.

We strive to be upfront and forthcoming with our responses, Yes, we fully understand there is a certain faction of people throughout the world that don’t “believe” COVID-19 is “real.” You certainly are entitled to those opinions. But, we choose to remain cautious, especially after my terrifying experience in having emergency open-heart surgery in South Africa in February 2019.

I am still dealing with the aftereffects of that surgery and will do so for years to come. I will never be the person I was before that. Subsequently, I may be more cautious than most, remembering what it was like to be intubated and spending nine days in ICU with a total of three weeks in the hospital with numerous complications. The experience is too fresh in my mind to take COVID-19 lightly, also in light of the fact I am high risk based on my age and commodities including advanced coronary arterial disease.

Bailey House Maui.jpg
The Bailey House Museum is also listed on the US National Register of Historic Buildings.

In any case, we both work hard each day in an attempt to be healthy and avoid close proximity to anyone who may possibly have or be carrying the virus and, we plan to remain so going forward, wherever we may be.

Recently, I’d posted an ongoing problem with walking due to severe leg pain which I’ve had since the surgery. Both of my legs were cut from ankle to thigh to harvest veins for heart surgery. Three of my heart’s arteries, including the Widow-Maker, were 100% blocked.

Weeks after returning from the hospital to recover at our holiday bush home in Marloth Park, both of my legs became seriously septic and I had to return to the hospital for two more surgeries on each leg resulting in what I thought was permanent pain in both legs.

Kaahumanu Church, another building on the US National Register of Historic Buildings

Months ago, when I began walking 10,000 steps a day in this hotel’s corridors, I struggled due to the pain, which after a few months only exacerbated from the inflammatory foods I was eating, with too many carbs. A stopped the spicy red sauces and opted for plain chicken and salmon and still, I struggled. It was weeks later I realized I was still eating too many carbs and further cut my carb count, knowing that for me, excess carbohydrates increase inflammation.

Now, weeks later, I am thrilled to report the pain while walking is gone, gone, gone. Many of our concerned readers have written inquiring how this was going. Today, after a full week of total relief, I feel confident to report I can walk without pain for the first time in 19 months. I’m over the moon with joy.

Also, as a surprising side benefit of reducing carbs further, my blood pressure has become so low, I had to cut my regular medication in half. Plus, my blood sugar is now normal for the first time in years. Wow! Who knew I’d reap these benefits in only three weeks. Based on our current circumstances in India, and refusal to go to a doctor’s office or hospital, I’ve had no choice but to figure out what to do on my own through extensive research.

On the return drive to Maalaea Beach, the rain stopped and the sky cleared to this bright blue. No more than 10 minutes after we returned, we were outside enjoying the sun, sea, and surf for another fabulous day in the Hawaiian islands.

Once we are situated in Marloth Park, we’ll both make appointments with Dr. Theo for checkups. Please seek your own medical professionals for any health issues you may be experiencing. None of our information is intended as medical advice in any manner.

Today? At the moment we’re listening to Garage Logic. When that ends, we’ll begin streaming yesterday’s Minnesota Vikings football game. Last night, we started streaming an excellent Netflix show, The Queen’s Gambit, a mini-series, an excellent show!

Have a healthy and safe day!

Photo from one year ago today, on November 17, 2019:

Seven years ago today, we booked the hotel with our cruise ending in Boston, with the intent of visiting my father’s grave site and seeing family. This is my parent’s wedding photo we posted one year ago on this date. For more, please click here.

 

Day #237 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Healthy Indian customs…

Mr. & Mrs. Ostrich were trotting down the road. Moments later they took off on a fast run into the bush. Ostriches can run up to 70 km (45 miles) per hour.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2018 from Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

As Diwali festivities continue, we can hear the celebrations, particularly at night, as fireworks are shot high into the air. Unfortunately, since we’re surrounded by tall buildings, some in various states of construction, we are unable to see them from here. It wouldn’t help to go outdoors based on the hotel’s location.

India has restrictions on the numbers and intensity of the fireworks used due to the already significant rate of pollution in the country with many of its cities the highest in the world. Nonetheless, we heard them firing off well into the night. We awoke several times during the night, hearing the sounds of doors opening and closing in the corridors, as surely guests and employees were celebrating somewhere in the hotel

Now that the restaurant is open and we assume the bar is as well, most likely many guests and staff members are partaking of the traditional celebrations and festivities. Of course, we stay hunkered down in our room, knowing full well exposure to crowds makes no sense for us under any circumstances.

A pair of giraffes, each munching on opposite sides of the road.

Today, as mentioned in yesterday’s Diwali celebration post found here, included photos of a beautifully handcrafted sand display in the hotel lobby which was quite impressive. The people of India certainly know how to honor their belief system and their centuries-old customs, some of which we’re sharing here today in regard to those with a particular interest in good health.

Here are a few Indian traditions which are actually good for your health from this site:

“If you look back in India’s history, you will find it is full of traditions and customs. These traditions might look ordinary, but have several health benefits attached to them. These traditions are still practiced and hold a similar relevance, as they did back in those days.

Ear piercing

With most parents getting their child’s ears pierced at a young age, ear piercing is being practiced in India since time immemorial. According to Ayurveda, the lobe of the ear has an important point right in the center. This point not only helps in maintaining a female’s reproductive health but also balances her menstrual cycle.

Drinking water from copper utensils

You might have noticed your grandparents storing and drinking water from copper utensils. This practice has ‘n’ number of health benefits associated with it. Drinking water from a copper vessel can boost your immune system, aid digestion, decrease wound healing time, strengthens joints and improves digestion as well.

Walking barefoot on grass

Freshly mowed grass bed and dew drops on top, just thinking about it blows a feeling of freshness all over. Several types of research have shown that walking barefoot on grass can help improve sleep, reduce pain, decrease muscle tension, and lower stress levels. So just take off those shoes and take out some time to walk barefoot on grass.

Jewelry

Wearing jewelry at functions, weddings, and even on a daily basis has been a part of Indian culture for centuries. While wearing silver jewelry helps boost blood circulation, aiding in cold and flu prevention and wound healing, gold jewelry has its own set of benefits. Wearing gold regulates body temperature, reduces stress, and attracts positive energy.

“In the wild, giraffes almost never lie down because of vulnerability to predators. They usually sleep standing, sometimes sitting, and they give birth standing up. When giraffes sleep, they curl their necks and sleep for about five minutes at a time, sleeping no more than 30 minutes a day.

Eating with hands

Eating with hands has not only been a part of our culture, but is still being practiced by many across the country. Using hands for eating is healthy for your gut, as the good bacteria on your hands get into your tummy and help to fight bad bacteria. Eating with hands also helps in forming a connection with food, which makes food seem tastier.

Fasting

Be it ‘karvachauth’ or ‘mangalvar vrat’, fasting has been punctually followed by many Indians for years together. But do you know that fasting reaps several benefits for your body as well? The abstinence from food aids in weight loss, speeds up metabolism, improves brain function, and also increases longevity.

Surya Namaskar

The origin of Surya Namaskar, which is composed of 12 yoga poses for healthy well-being, can be found in India. Practicing Surya Namaskar helps lose weight, improves digestion, get glowing skin, improves sleep cycle, and even brings blood sugar down.

Eating with silver cutlery

Eating on silver plates has been a part of Indian tradition. You will find several mentions of people eating with silver spoons and plates in historical scriptures as well. Eating with silver cutlery is actually good for your body as silver has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, which helps to fortify the food you eat.”

Of course, there are hundreds of other customs and traditions of Indian culture which we’ll continue to share in posts to come. Right now, we’re experiencing the kindly expressions of “Shubh Diwali and Happy Diwali” from all the employees we encounter in the corridors or at our door.

A  waterbuck’s body odor is so bad that it deters predators.” A male can weigh up to 260 kg (573 pounds).

Last night, when dinner arrived, there was a little plate with two chocolate coconut candies that Tom ate and I sniffed. It certainly smelled good to me.

Today? The usual. We are watching the local news for any updates on international flights resuming from India. And, although South Africa President Ramphosa stated borders would be opening it hasn’t happened yet. Thanks to hundreds of our readers who wrote to us with news reports on South Africa’s borders opening. As you can well assume, we keep close tabs on this, practically by the hour. But, we certainly appreciate all of your support and updates.

May your day be filled with pleasant activities!

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

When we hadn’t taken new photos while in the US one year ago, we posted a photo from the prior year as shown here. This young bushbuck always stayed very close to her mom while others we’d seen would wander off but not too far away. Please click here for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day #236 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Shubh Diwali…Happy Diwali…

Today’s photos are those I took yesterday in the hotel lobby when I went downstairs to pay our bill. The hotel manager showed me this gorgeous handcrafted sand display in the lobby that left me breathless. Such a beautiful colorful display! No captions were added. The beauty of this display speaks for itself.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned discussing Indian customs today when Diwali had slipped my mind. In tomorrow’s post, we’ll share many of India’s customs, some of which we’ve had personal experience during our first six weeks on tour in the country. 

Today is Diwali, the annual five-day Festival of Light holiday in the Hindu faith worldwide. It is described as follows from India Times here:

“The much-awaited festival of light is here. Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is celebrated across India with great enthusiasm as it symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dipavali’, which means a row of lights, Diwali has been celebrated since time immemorial.

Diwali is celebrated 20 days after Lord Ram killed Ravana (Dusshera) and rescued Sita from captivity in Lanka. The celebration marks the return of Lord Ram to Ayodha after 14 years of exile. To welcome Lord Rama, Sita, and Laxman, the entire city was decked up and the people decorated the city with diyas (earthen lamps) to welcome their king.

This five-day festival starts with Dhanteras, which celebrates and welcomes good luck, wealth, and prosperity. On Dhanteras people buy jewelry and utensils because any kind of metal is believed to ward off bad luck and usher in wealth and prosperity. Dhanteras is followed by Chhoti Diwali, Diwali, Govardhan Puja, and finally, Bhai Dooj marks the end of this festival.

How to celebrate the festival of light
‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ and none can explain this better than people who celebrate Diwali. The preparation for this grand festival starts much ahead with people cleaning their houses and offices. Then they decorate their places with flowers, lamps, lights, and rangolis.

The celebration starts with people buying jewelry and utensils on Dhanteras. This is an auspicious occasion to buy any kind of metal as it is believed to ward off evil and bring in prosperity.

The next two days—Chhoti Diwali and Diwali—are the most-awaited days of the festival when people enjoy the most. The evening starts after performing puja and offering prayers to the gods. People then light diyas and burst crackers. The entire atmosphere reverberates in a festive note. On the fourth day, Govardhan puja is performed and the festival of lights ends with Bhai Dooj, which is very similar to Raksha Bandhan as it is a celebration of love between a brother and sister.

Although it is a tradition to burst crackers on Diwali, we should now refrain from doing it because of the increase in air pollution. We should aim to celebrate Diwali in an eco-friendly way and respect nature. Instead of bursting crackers, we can light diyas, decorate our house and surroundings with fairy lights, and spend a magical evening with friends and family.

Happy Diwali 2020: Messages, Quotes, Status, and SMS

On this Diwali, I wish you wealth, prosperity, glory, and happiness not only for this special occasion but for today and forever! Wish you a very very happy Diwali!!

Happy Diwali 2020! May your day be filled with delightful laddoos, incandescent diyas, a whole lot of smiles and laughter!

May millions of lamps illuminate your life with endless happiness, wealth, prosperity & glory forever! Wish you and your family, a very very happy Diwali!

On this Auspicious Festival of Diwali, May Goddess Lakshmi blesses you with Joy, Prosperity, & Happiness. Happy and safe Deepawali!

May you achieve everything your heart desires with the blessing of Lakshmi-Ganesha. Happy and safe Diwali 2020!

Let’s celebrate the festival in the true sense by spreading joy and light up the world of others. Have a happy, safe, and blessed Diwali!!

May the beauty of the festival of lights fill your home with happiness and may the new year bring joy, peace, and prosperity in your life. Wish you and family a very Happy Diwali!!

Wishing you a gleam of diyas, echo of holy chants, contentment, and happiness today, tomorrow, and forever. Have a happy and prosperous Diwali!

Rejoice on this blessed occasion by spreading joy with your friends and loved ones. Happy Diwali 2020. May this Diwali be bright for you and your family. May God fulfill all your wishes this Diwali. Happy Diwali!.”

We wish all of our Hindu friends we’ve made throughout the world a safe, fulfilling, and blessed Diwali today, over the next several days in celebration, and in years to come. Thank you for sharing your country with us!

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

We took granddaughter Madighan to her weekly karate class. It was fun watching her and four boys in the same age group, learning the moves presented by Sensei Luiz. For more, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Day #235 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Friday the 13th on this awful year, 2020…Indian superstitions…

 

Tom, standing at the beach enjoying the early evening sky and the sea.

Today’s photos are from this date while staying in a condo overlooking Maalaea Beach, Maui, Hawaii in 2014. For the story and more photos from this date, please click here.

We’ve never been particularly superstitious. Friday the 13th has never been a date that caused us any concern, although many throughout the world have cultural superstitions and fears eliciting certain practices and customs. In the US, there are a number of common superstitions, such as walking under a ladder; crossing the path of a black cat; spilling salt; a hat on the bed; breaking a mirror; knocking on wood; finding a penny for good luck; and making a wish using a wishbone (from poultry) and of course, Friday the 13th.

Across the bay, it’s still Maui based on the island’s shape.

Superstitions may be different in other cultures, with many of significance and freely observed by many Indian people. They include, from this site:

“Hanging lemon and 7 green chilies
It is believed in India that ‘Alakshmi’, the goddess of misfortune can bring bad luck to the shop owners or business. Since, she likes sour, pungent and hot things, shop owners in India hang lemon and 7 green chilies on their door so that the goddess eat her favourite food, satisfy her hunger and leave without entering the shop.

If a black cat crosses your path, it’s a bad omen
Just because they are black cats? Not just in India, but this is a popular belief in the west too. The origin of this superstition has come from the Egyptians who believed that black cats were evil creatures and they bring bad luck. In India, black colour is generally associated with the Lord Shani. It is said that if a black cat crosses your path, then you should let somebody else pass before you do. This way, the first person will have all the bad luck and you won’t.

Breaking mirror brings bad luck
It is said that in earlier times, mirror used to be very expensive but brittle. To avoid the negligence, the ancient people from Rome started preaching that breaking mirrors will bring you 7 years of bad luck. Why 7 years? This is because Romans believe that it takes 7 years for a life to renew itself. So, the image of a person, who does not have a good health, will break the mirror and after 7 years, his life will renew itself and he’ll be in good health.

Hawaii is a treasure trove of exquisite vegetation.

Twitching of the eye is inauspicious
The superstition is different in different cultures. It is considered good luck in some cultures and bad in some other. It differs according to gender as well. Since it is related to eyes, there are many scientific reasons behind the twitching of the eyes. Eye twitching could be due to stress, alcohol, tiredness, allergies, strain or just dry eyes.

Removing evil eye (Nazar Utaarna)
Putting a little dot of kohl on the side of a child’s forehead is very common in India. The practice is called Nazar Utaarna. It is done to protect the little kid from any evil eyes and prevent anyone from putting a negative vibe over the kid. The evil eye can cause severe damage to whom it turns. It is said that putting a black spot on a child’s forehead will make the child look ugly to the evil powers and hence, the kid will stay protected.

Adding one rupee to a gift sum
At weddings and special occasions, we Indians generally like to gift money and it won’t be 100 or 1,000 but 101 or 1,001. We add one rupee coin to the entire sum. It is considered a blessing, love and luck. But, the main reason to add that extra coin is to make the entire sum an odd number and it will be indivisible, it is good for the married couple. If we don’t add one rupee coin, the sum will end in a zero, which means ‘the end’.

This almost looks like a scene from New England by the sea.

Do not sweep after sunset
Goddess Lakshmi will walk out of your house if you sweep you place after sunset. In a country, where we pray to goddess Lakshmi so that she bestows wealth on us, any idea that leads to her walking out is considered inauspicious. Why sunset? This is because, it is believed that the goddess generally pays a visit after sunset, so, if you sweep your place after sunset, she won’t come in.

Don’t go near a Peepal tree in the night
Peepal is one tree the ghosts like to hover around and if you sleep around a peepal tree at night, the ghosts will kill you. Do you know that plants and living beings keep a balance in nature. In the morning, when the photosynthesis is occurring in them, they absorb carbon dioxide, change it into energy and give out oxygen in the air which we breathe in but in the night, the opposite reaction occurs. At night, plants exhale carbon dioxide while there is a lack of sunlight. Animals sleep under trees all the time, why don’t we see all of them dead, next morning?”

A pretty tropical flower.

This list could go on and on with more obscure superstitions observed by those who tend to find strong belief in these age-old practices, some making logical sense and others, not so much.

While we toured India, many months ago, we observed and participated in many customs, that were not necessarily superstitions, as explained here:

“By superstition we generally mean a belief in supernatural causes, beliefs that link events together without proof or reason, especially when these ideas are outside conventional thought. A black cat walks in front of you – it means bad luck – that is a typical superstition. Walking down the aisle – that is a custom.”

At around 5:30 pm, Tom spotted this rainbow. It hadn’t rained.

Tomorrow, we’ll share “customs” we observed as tourists in India with suggestions for those with plans to visit India in the future.

Tom just mentioned that in 2020 there were two Friday the 13ths. The other was on March 13th, the day we stopped touring India when the cruise, we’d booked from Mumbai beginning on April 3, 2020, was canceled on March 12th.  Go figure.

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

On this date, it was snowing in Minneapolis and the suburbs, and the roads are slippery, For more, please click here.