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

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

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

Here are our expenses for the 15 nights in London:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Look at the numbers of sailboats moored in this bay! For more photos, please click here.
Day #158 in lockdown in Mumbai, India Hotel…Cleaning up old posts…

Day #158 in lockdown in Mumbai, India Hotel…Cleaning up old posts…

Note; We hope everyone can find our site. I have no way to get a message to our readers who may be having trouble getting our usual link to load due to the necessity of emptying the cache on your browser. Your computer remembers our old hosting site, Blogger, and not our new hosting site, Hostinger, making it impossible for you to log in. If you clear your cache, the problem will be resolved, and no harm is done to your other settings. I have contacted our web developer to see if there is a way we can handle this on our end, but I don’t think there will be. We only hope you’ve found a way to find us. We still are at

Enjoy our photos, yet again from South Kensington, London from this date in 2014, and found at this link. There are numerous food photos on this particular post from dining out in the area.

A prehistoric creature, at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London.

Since our new site went live, a few issues occurred that prompted me to make a tough decision to go back through every one of almost 3000 posts to correct any errors. There are 147 pages of 17-18 posts each. I will have to go through each post, one by one. I started yesterday from the first post on March 15, 2012, and have completed two of the 147 pages. I plan to do one page per day.

This is referred to as a Football Fish.

Another issue is that all old posts show a duplicate of the main photo at the top of each page. I’ve contacted our web developers today to see if they can correct this. Hopefully, soon this will be resolved. Please be patient with us as we work through this issue and a few other remaining issues.

More fish from rivers, lakes, and streams.

At this rate, if I do one page of 17 posts per day, I will complete the editing process in about five months. I finished this same process of correcting old posts about four years ago. However, with the recent transition to the new site, many lines and paragraph issues occurred. Also, in reviewing old posts, I’ve realized I’d missed many grammar and spelling errors in my past mission to correct the mistakes. Now, my goal is to correct everything. No doubt, it’s a daunting task which each day will take about an hour.

A lizard that puffs up the frill around the neck to scare off predators. This could not be very safe.

At first, I thought I’d do this each day before preparing each new post. But now, two days later, I realize I’d instead do it first thing in the morning. It’s not a pleasant task, like preparing a new post is for me. I’ve always been one to get the complex functions out of the way first thing in the morning, leaving me free to enjoy the remainder of the day’s tasks.


I was very disappointed to see how many errors there were in the old posts. I had no control over the line and paragraph spacing going wonky in the transition. But, the typos and grammar errors were all on me. It’s frustrating to face a 3,000 post string of errors when I think back over how hard I’d tried at the time to prepare each post correctly.

Komodo Dragons are found on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, and Flores. We’ll be spending four months in Bali, Indonesia, in 2016, where tourists have spotted Komodo Dragons on occasion. Komodo Dragons are of the species of Monitor Lizards, two of which lived in our yard in Marloth Park, South Africa. Please see this link to see our photos when they made a rare appearance by the pool.

I do not doubt this new process; I’ll still miss a few corrections; Fortunately, WordPress, as opposed to Blogger. Is more aggressive in reminding writers to type correctly and avoid making errors. This is a tremendous help. I’ve been using the apps Gingerly and Grammarly the past few years, but even they have missed several mistakes I’d made.

More marine life.

I give myself a break on this because I realize I am preparing the equivalent of an essay 365 days a year, at times during challenging and stressful periods, comparable to those most recently. These scenarios are a breeding ground for making errors.

We saw a smaller version of similar crabs at the beach in Kenya which is on the eastern coast in Africa.  They moved so quickly. We couldn’t get a photo.

I laugh when texting family and friends over spellcheck changing words to unintelligible words and phrases, often leaving me in stitches. Then again, I usually type incorrectly since I’m slow when texting on my phone. I bet many of you relate to this laugh-worthy scenario.

Many of us lobster enthusiasts would appreciate a lobster of this size on a platter.

We love technology. But, technology is only as good as our skills to use it. I am not adept at web development, although I played a significant role in designing our new site. I am slow at typing, even after all these years of banging away on a keyboard. I pick away at a keyboard in a meager attempt to avoid typing errors. Even that hasn’t worked so well.

After many visits by Zebras in our yard in South Africa, seeing this lifelike rendition made me miss them.  Click this link to see Zebras that visited us in South Africa.

I am hoping to get done early enough today to watch an episode of The 100 on Netflix before 3:00 pm when Tom and I try to have time to start streaming a few shows together. We’ll see how it goes. Of course, whatever I do is interrupted by the necessity of walking every hour for at least ½ mile, .8 km,  to reach my daily goal of 5 miles, 8 km.

We saw Rhinos in the wild in Kenya. Some of the displays of Rhino were taxidermy.  There was a sign stating that the horns had been removed and replaced with man-materials. Please click here for a few of our Rhino photos from Kenya.

Through all this recent sadness over the loss of my sister and the stress of getting this site up and running, I’ve never missed a day of walking. Knowing this may be beneficial for my heart is my sole motivator. Consistency is important.

Ah, my heart did a flip flop when Tom spotted this warthog.  The first time either of us had ever seen a warthog was in October 2013, in the Masai Mara, Kenya, while on safari.  Of course, later in South Africa, we joyfully saw them each day.  Click here for the first time we saw a live warthog (scroll down the page).

Have a healthy and peaceful day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2019:

While on a walk in the quaint town of Falmouth, Cornwall, England, we encountered these vegetables for sale in a front garden. We selected a zucchini and a small pumpkin. We left the money in a jar sitting on the table. For more photos, please click here.
Day #157 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A lovely meeting in London in 2014…Terror in our favorite place in the world…

Day #157 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A lovely meeting in London in 2014…Terror in our favorite place in the world…

Note:  If you are able to read the posts on our new site on your smartphone, but not on your computer, laptop, or tablet, please empty your cache and you’ll be able to see us on those devices. If you don’t know how to do this, please email me with the operating system you use (Windows, Chrome, Safari, etc) and I will send you easy step by step instructions. Voila! The problem will be solved!

Today’s photos are from August 27, 2014, while in South Kensington, London from this link.

My lunch salad in the hotel dining room on a very small plate was US $10.77, 6.50 pounds.

Hello, again! Wow! I’m learning more and more each day about using WordPress and I’m liking it. No doubt, I could spend months learning every aspect of it. But, for what we do each day, it’s proving to be a relatively easy and enjoyable process with less system-generated errors than we previously experienced with Blogger.

I’m noticing most of our old posts, moved over from Blogger, are seriously impacted by inadequate paragraph spacing. I am contemplating going back over each of our almost 3,000 posts and correcting them, one by one. If I do 10 a day, I could finish in less than a year.

Liz’s vegetarian lunch in the hotel dining room.

No offense intended to Blogger. Good grief, they served our needs for over eight years since our first post on Match 15, 2012. (See the link here). Overall, it handled the massive size of our site without an annual hosting fee, whereas we now have to pay for hosting. With confidence and optimism, we signed up with Hostinger, a web hosting company for 48 months, hoping good health and mobility will keep us on the move and able to continue posting.

We continue with our plan of posting photos from years past and right now we are working our way through the 16 nights we spent in South Kensington, London in August 2014, thoroughly embracing English culture, art, and dining. The old notion that English food wasn’t palatable has changed dramatically over the decades.

How thoughtful of Liz for this useful set of organic products to prevent and treat insect bites, always my nemesis.

We found English food to be delicious, interesting, and often gourmet with a wide array of international flavors. We particularly enjoyed the popular local “Sunday roast” which generally consisted of meat, beef, pork, or lamb, falling off the bone with au jus, along with a plethora of various roasted vegetables. I skipped the potatoes and other starchy root vegetables and savored every Sunday’s treat, as did Tom.Liz’s husband Dave sent this bottle of beer for Tom.  Tonight, we’ll chill it on ice and he’ll drink a toast to Liz and Dave for their thoughtfulness.

It was a year ago we spent over two months in England and we never hesitated to partake of Sunday roast at local pubs and restaurants. A few times, we prepared our own Sunday roast, using selected pot roast cuts of beef, a meal we’ve always enjoyed with carrots, onions, whole portobello mushrooms with big chunks of fresh garlic and spices. What a treat!

My mouth is watering as I write this. We haven’t had a morsel of beef since we arrived in India seven months ago, five of which we’ve spent in lockdown, dining on the exact same meals over and over again. Not only do we miss an occasional glass of red wine or a cocktail, but also such simple meals as a bun-less burger, topped with crispy bacon, sliced tomato, and onion, lettuce with homemade sugar-free ketchup. We haven’t had a salad in months.

Tom’s Calzone at Bella Italia in the neighborhood.

And this reminds me to get on with the story about today’s photos when six years ago, we met a devoted reader and new friend Liz, who took a two-hour train ride from Bristol to South Kensington to meet with us at our hotel. Again, here’s the link to that post with today’s photos.

Not only was it utterly delightful to meet Liz on that date and share both lunch and dinner with her, later walking her to the train station in the dark, but the continuation of that friendship over the years since that time. Last year, in October, while staying in Wales for 11 days we had an opportunity to see Liz once again, this time with her husband Dave when we all dined at a fabulous restaurant along the river. More on that in October.

My dinner at Bella Italia of two small chicken breasts in a pot of red sauce with a side of grilled vegetables.

Please excuse today’s main photo for being blurred. Guess who took the photo? Speaking of photos, I’m chomping at the bit to be able to take and share new photos. Who knows how long it will be before its possible? It could be many months from now.

As for the above mention of “terror in our favorite place in the world,” we’re referring to yesterday’s fire in Marloth Park that totally destroyed three bush houses and damaged a fourth, supposedly from the cigarette of an installer of a thatched roof. High winds caused the fire to rage so quickly, nothing could be done quickly enough to save the bush houses. Due to the dry terrain during this time of year, there’s always a high risk of fires. We were always mindful when cooking outdoors to ensure safety. A fire could destroy the entire conservatory with horrific consequences.

Liz’s dinner of vegetarian cannelloni and a side salad.

Not much happening today. After a good night’s sleep last night, today I feel refreshed and more energized than I’ve felt in many days. Hopefulness prevails.

Be well.


Photo from one year ago today, August 27, 2019:
                                     Sunrise over the bay in Falmouth, Cornwall, England. For more, please click here.

London doesn’t disappoint…Victoria and Albert…

Tom is really getting used to visiting museums. In this case, we were at the Victoria and Albert Museum on London, walking distance from our hotel. 
Gee, Tom took a photo of me without it being too blurry.

Many times, we’ve mentioned our lack of interest in visiting big cities, mainly due to the following; the noise, the crowds, the long lines, the traffic, and the lack of vegetation and wildlife. Then, there are the outrageous prices on literally everything that maybe half the cost in more rural areas.

The entrance to Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Several special exhibits were highlighted during this period, including “Disobedient Objects.”
More “Disobedient Objects.”

London, unlike Paris, provides us with the ability to freely communicate, the sense of safety in this beautiful area of Kensington (which feels more like a suburb than the city), and the overall friendliness of its people. Even the tourists seem more dignified, not pushing as they walk on the busy streets.

The theme seemed a little vague when most of the items were trendy from the 20th century.
This decorated car was from the 70’s.

We knew we’d like the UK. We’ve spent the last year watching the news on BBC (one of the few English speaking news channels that have been available). We’ve found several BBC TV series exceedingly entertaining such as Downton Abbey, Luther, What Remains, and Broadchurch, having downloaded and watched each episode during those quiet evenings after dinner.

These dresses brought back memories of the ’50s and ’60s.
Every era has had its “frumpy” period.
These were small, appearing to be clothes for children.
I’d wear that if I’d fit into it!

London, a city of art and culture, leaves nothing behind on the world stage of entertainment, as we peruse posters and billboards of upcoming events. With no charge to enter museums the appreciation of the UK’s and the world’s history and artifacts was evident when on Monday, we visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, a 20 minute walk from our hotel.

This appears to be a dress that may have been worn in a dance hall.
Late 1800’s.
The intricate detail on this handwoven fan drew quite an audience.

With three museums located next to one another in the same city block, our intention has been to visit each museum on a separate day. Today, we’d hoped to enter the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum

Women today can’t wait to get out of their bras after a long day. Can we imagine how women felt wearing these types of corsets all day?
A typical hoop from the 1800s.
The elegant wear of the wealthy was also displayed.

However, when we arrived at each of the museums there were no less than 2000 people in line at each location which would take from one to two hours of standing in potentially rainy weather.

Another exquisite fan.
Wigs and gloves were worn by men in the 1700’s.
These undergarments were necessary to wear such a dress.

We’ve decided to return other days, to try to get inside the two other museums, perhaps early before they open or later in the day hopefully finding shorter lines. Few venues are worthy of two hours in line, particularly if there’s a possibility of rain.

The more tailored 20th century.
After leaving the fashion area we wandered to sculptures from around the world during many eras.  This work was Caesar attacking the British.
Neptune and Triton by Gianlorenzo Bernini, 1622-1623.

Instead, we walked further down the road to the Victoria and Albert Museum which we had not waited to enter was not disappointing by any means with a diverse array of interesting artifacts we found fascinating. 

The large garden area of the museum was packed with visitors.
Children were playing in the wading pool.
Late in the summer for many flowers, we spotted a few in the museum’s garden.

Thus, we share a series of diverse photos today. Many areas of the museum were entirely unrelated to one another, a scenario that some may find unsettling.

Back inside the museum, we encountered another permanent exhibit.
Beautiful wall sculpture in pleasing colors.
A sculpted alter.

With both of us possessing short attention spans, this was ideal, as we flitted from one arena to another happily snapping away while conversing over the various items. 

Priest’s garments.
Colorful sculpture.
For a moment I touched the top of this slab of marble and a guard warned me to take my hand off of it. Embarrassed, I quickly removed my hand. In reading the description I read this was made in the 16th century. Yes, I suppose one shouldn’t touch!

It would be disappointing if we are unable to eventually see the other two nearby museums. But, we understand with no entrance fees, they provide a huge attraction to tourists and locals alike.

We sat for a few minutes taking in our surroundings in an area where a church had been replicated using centuries-old artifacts.
This intricate pagoda was on display in the Asian art area. 
This handmade boat was also in the Asian art area.

Today, as we mentioned above, we off on a 10-hour tour to Downton Abbey and Oxford University. We’ll be back tomorrow with hopefully lots of interesting new photos. 

Have a happy day!

                                              Photo from one year ago today, August 20, 2013:
The internet was down all day on this date one year ago and we weren’t ever able to post. Please check back tomorrow.

Engaging in traditions in a local pub…Memorable!…London?…We like it!…

When we arrived at Andover Arms, the second night in a row, this sign was placed on the same table where we’d sat the previous night. This was special to us, making us feel welcomed when we were warmly greeted at the door.

After exceeding our budget for sightseeing in Paris, we’ve decided to curtail the expenses in London if possible.  Within walking distance of several museums in our area of Kensington which surprisingly are free to enter, we can easily stay busy for days.

The Andover Arms is staffed by friendiest people on the planet both at the bar and when dining. We were welcomed as if we were old friends.
Tom tried a local beer at Andover Arms the first night.  We returned the second night for the popular “roast” dinner.

With the upcoming 10 hours Downton Abbey and Oxford tour this Wednesday, we’d allocated for one more pre-planned tour. After reviewing many options, we decided on a big bus tour which includes the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Later in the day, the tours will be concluding with a two-hour cruise on the Thames River. What a perfect day that will be on the 25th as well as this Wednesday.

Sightseeing is one thing. Interacting in a local establishment in an entirely different experience. These types of places are where memories are made for us, not in a museum or old building.

Hopefully, it won’t rain as much as it did yesterday when we didn’t go out until midday and we walked around the fabulous South Kensington area, a mere few blocks from the hotel.

Tom’s Guinness Pie on the first night, a delicious meat stew filled pastry, atop mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables.

With dozens of casual restaurants one after another, we read one outdoor menu after menu fascinated with the options available, most of which would work for both of us one way or another. Prices? High. 

My delicious roast chicken with avocados and veggies, on the first visit.

Most main courses are no less than US $30, 18 pounds, with many much higher. There are no American fast-food restaurants or chains other than one Starbucks. 

Tom hadn’t been drinking but, he looks as if he’d had a few.

We decided if we tried a new restaurant each of the next 13 nights, we’d never be concerned about repeats.  Since arriving in London two days ago, we’ve had dinner at the same restaurant twice, Andover Arms, rated #2 on TripAdvsor of 17,136 dining options. 

Last night, our waitress took this goofy shot of us. 

After a phenomenal dinner on Saturday night, we booked it again the next night before leaving when our new friends from Vancouver recommended we return for the amazing Sunday night “roast,” cooking various meats to juice dripping tenderness. I was served this huge leg of lamb as shown in the photo below. 

As we waited for our return taxi after dinner the first night, a patron offered to take our photo. Blurry.

For the first time in our travels, I couldn’t finish my plate of food last night when I’ve never felt full having the usual small portion of protein and veggies. Last night was the exception.

As much as we’d love to return to Andover Arms one more time, the taxi fare is outrageous at US $50, 30 pounds, round trip. With all the nearby options, we’ll have no trouble deciding where to dine.

Flowers at Andover Arms.

The first night at Andover Arms we were thrown for a loop when we saw a meal being served. They were so impressive, I asked a couple and their daughter at another table if I could take photos of their food. Little did I know that Tom had ordered the Guinness Pie (beef) and soon his would arrive. 

Andover Arms is a genuine English pub in a cozy neighborhood filled with tourists and locals engaged in loud cheerful chatter with the smells of fabulous home-cooked food wafting through the air.
Tom’s roast beef dinner last night. His meat portion was one quarter as much as my lamb. Otherwise, he loved it.

The family of three is from Vancouver where we’ll be arriving for a six days stay before we board the ship to Hawaii. We all hit it off so well, we may get together in Vancouver for dinner if all works out. 

This was my all day roasted leg of lamb, popular of Sunday night’s “roast.” I tried but I couldn’t eat the entire thing.
I never touched my included extra plate of veggies when the lamb was so filling and delicious.

Sitting at their table sharing travel stories couldn’t have been more enjoyable. It was thrilling to finally be chatting with English-speaking people after months in Morocco and Portugal and most recently Paris.

After dinner, we walked to South Kensington, walking along the interesting streets to this ice cream parlor where Tom bought a double scoop cone.

London is a friendly place. That fact alone is making our time here memorable. From the people at the desk in the hotel to the shop clerks where we purchased nuts, to the people walking in the streets, saying, “Excuse me,” when bumping on the sidewalk, it’s a whole new world that we appreciate more than we can say. 

Tom had a hard time deciding on his two flavors.  Would that I could have chosen, I’d have had no trouble.

How we so easily take pleasantries for granted when suddenly all that is taken away. In part, the friendliness adds to our wonderful memories of Marloth Park, South Africa.

For an additional cost, one could purchase one of these specialty cones to be filled with scoops of their choice.

With enough activities planned to keep us entertained providing enough fodder for our stories and photos of London, we feel relaxed as we sit in the lobby early this morning writing now. 

Tom, last night, with his two-scoop cone.

Oops, it’s my turn to run to the hotel bar to get another tiny tub of ice for our iced tea, hopefully enough to last as we finish today’s post and then take off on foot for a day in London.

We’ll be back!

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 18, 2013:

Not only did we unload tons of clothes but also disposed of our remaining supply of vitamins other than B6 for preventing kidney stones for Tom, B complex for me, and probiotics for both of us. We had to lighten the load. A year later, we’re no worse for the wear without the others.  For details from that date when we made piles of clothing to donate, please click here.

Upcoming changes in our lives for over 66 days…Hotels and ships…

Yesterday, we noticed this flower growing in our yard, as it breaks free of its pod.

Once again, we begin the process of winding down. The last flight we took from Marrakesh to Madeira after paying for overweight luggage, aloud I promised Tom that I’d ditch the second computer bag and lighten the weight of my luggage.

These colorful steps are located at the elementary school in Campanario.

Yesterday, I unloaded everything in my laptop bag tossing several unneeded items and placing the few essentials in his laptop bag. Luckily, his bag can hold both of our laptops which we’ve done all along. Now we’re free of one heavy carry on bag.

Weeks ago, I unloaded no less than 10 pounds, 4.5 kilograms, of clothing as I’d also promised that day. I’d said it aloud, more to myself than to him. He never asked me to do this nor expected it. His luggage weighs almost as much as mine. 

This house appears to be unfinished.  This has been a common case everywhere we’ve traveled.

Today, we’ll head to the supermarket for what I’d hoped to be our last trip, butTom reminded me that we’ll need more water and another visit to the ATM before leaving Madeira. With 17 days remaining until departure and the tiny fridge and freezer, we probably couldn’t have lasted that long.

Finally, we booked our flight from Boston to Vancouver for September 17th. We were pleasantly surprised when the one-way flight was only US $173 each, EU $127.22. 

A stairway to a cave.

All bookings required to make our way to Hawaii on October 5th are in order. Arriving by cruise ship we’ll stay in Waikiki for 11 nights and then head to Maui for another six weeks staying in a vacation home. We’ve yet to book several island-to-island flights in Hawaii, not necessary at this early date. 

Once we arrive in Honolulu and are settled in our vacation home we’ll book the next few flights. We’ve learned when we need to book early and when it doesn’t require a sense of urgency. Thank goodness for our spreadsheet (which is saved in several locations each time it’s updated), or it could be tricky keeping track of all of our comings and goings.

We didn’t see any reason to enter this cave.

Tomorrow, we have to return the blue rental car to the Funchal airport when Europcar’s lower prices weren’t available on any online site. We had to switch to Hertz for an equally good deal for our remaining 16 days. 

We’ve learned to book cars through discount sites for as much as 50% less than the going rate. But, they don’t allow a booking at those lower prices for more than 30 days. 

Two caves side by side.  Surely, kids in the area have enjoyed these over the years.

We have no choice but to continually rebook online for more time in order to get the discounted pricing. The annoying part of this plan is the necessity of returning to the rental car facility each time to sign new paperwork. Its time consuming but, well worth it when saving over US $1000, EU $735.35 during the 75 days we’ll have spent in Madeira.

Most travelers don’t experience this dilemma when on a vacation/holiday for one or two weeks. For us, the car rental issue is an ongoing challenge. At times, in certain locations, a driver is simply more convenient. We continue to play it by ear as we go.

These are the pods that have been growing in the yard that finally bloomed as shown in today’s first photo.

This morning as I put two more loads of laundry into the small front loading washer, I thought about how we won’t be living in a vacation home with access to a washer from July 31 to October 5, 2014. Here’s where we’ll spend the total 66 days that we’ll be on the move:

  • July 31 to August 16 – Paris hotel
  • August 16 to August 31 – London hotel
  • August 31 to September 14 – Cruise from London to Boston
  • September 14 – September 17 – Boston hotel
  • September 17 – September 23 – Vancouver Hotel
  • September 23 – October 5 – Cruise Vancouver to Honolulu

Usually, we do six to eight loads of laundry each week. Leaving out the usual towels and sheets, we’ll be paying high fees for our laundry during these almost seven weeks. Long ago aware of this reality, we budgeted for this expense.

Also, we won’t be cooking a meal for 66 days.Also, we’ll be dining out during the 11 nights in Honolulu when it won’t be worth purchasing the necessary cooking supplies over this short period. 

Yesterday, Gina explained that the number of cloudy days we’ve experienced lately is unusual. 

Those of our readers that had followed us through 75 days in Morocco know the angst we had over the never-ending spicy food. Within the first week, we couldn’t take another bite. At least going forward, we’ll have plenty of variety during the above venues, consisting of ships and restaurants. 

We’ve begun to adjust our thought process to the changes we’ll experience over the upcoming months, differences we’ve experienced for the short term but, never for this long. We’ve never moved this often in a short period of time.

One of our neighborhood goats taken from the highway. It’s hard to tell if it’s a female or male when both have horns and beards.

We continue on, full of hope for continuing good health and relative ease of safe travel. On the flip side, there’s always Paris!

Photo from one year ago today, July 14, 2013:

Not our photo posted on our story about insects in Tuscany.  For details of that day’s post, please click here.

August is booked!…Paris and London, here we come!…Solar eclipse not visible from here…

Eiffel Seine Hotel Paris, where we’ll spend 15 nights from August 1, 2014 to August 16, 2014.

Going against everything that we’ve said that which we love; nature, wildlife, and vegetation, we decided, once again, to “step outside the box” using our “free” month before our cruise from London to Boston on August 31, 2014, to finally see London and Paris.

After considerable research over the last few weeks we decided yesterday that we’d be foolish not to visit Paris and London, neither of us having seen either. While checking various hotel booking sites, it was obvious that many of the choice opportunities were filling up fast and it was time to book which is exactly what we’ve done for both locations.

The Regency Hotel London, where we’ll stay for 15 nights before boarding our ship at the port in Harwich, a three hour drive from London.

To simplify the process, we’ll fly directly to Paris after our two and a half months in Madeira, Portugal, stay at a hotel for 15 nights, a short distance from the Eiffel Tower, with easy access to transportation and many of the sights within walking distance. So far, the airfare appears to be in the range of KES $19080, US $225 per person, one way.

At the end of the 14 days, we’ll head to London, either by way of the “tunnel/chunnel,” ferry or flight (yet to be determined) to spend 15 more nights in an old historic hotel, walking distance to Kensington Palace and many popular tourist attractions. We’ll share details of the hotels after we arrive at each.

Why did we chose hotels over vacation rentals? To stay in a vacation rental, the planning and booking is more time consuming, the cost in these cases was compared to the hotels and grocery shopping, with the necessity of transportation to and from, and purchasing so many basic household goods, it made no sense to stay in for these short stays.  Also, both of these hotels had excellent reviews, which is vital to us each time we book any property.

We may not be able to see the Eiffel Tower from our hotel room, but if we walk outside we will be able to see it.

Did we pay more for these conveniences, especially when we factor in the cost of eating out at least once a day?  Yes, we did. But, the necessity of being close to London for our cruise leaving out of Harwich on 8/31, Tom suggested Paris knowing I have always wanted to see it. Speaking and understanding a bit of French and totally able to read signs, menus, instructions, etc., this trip will be all the more meaningful.

What prompted Tom’s desire to offer up Paris to me was the fact he booked us for a shore excursion with a group from Cruise Critic, while we’re on the cruise from London to Boston that has a port of call in Le Havre, France on September 1, 2014. The excursion, for a maximum of eight people, tours the historical World War II sites. 

Knowing this excursion is of little interest to me (he’s the history buff in the family), if he’d suggested a night or two in Paris, I’d have been thrilled. With 15 nights in Paris, in the heart of the city, I’m delirious with joy! 

London Tower Bridge, a good spot to visit in an evening.

I guess I’ll live vicariously through his dining on French epicurean delights.  But, none of that matters to me. It has been this special diet that has given me the health necessary to allow me to travel the world. 

Who’s to complain about not having a mouth-watering, custard oozing French pastry? Not I! Instead, I’ll enjoy Bearnaise sauce over my Filet Mignon with Cabernet steamed garlic buttery mushrooms and a classic Caesar salad, minus the croutons! Or, Eggs Benedict’s minus the muffin, a treasure I’ve devoured on several occasions.

(We’ll purchase snacks to keep in the mini-fridge, to eat only when hungry; cheese, hard-boiled eggs, cooked meats and nuts, we’ll be content. Based on our way of eating, we seldom are hungry in the morning, preferring the above items to tide us over until dinner).

Then, as mentioned above, on August 16th we’ll make our way to London to spend the second half of August, heading out on foot each day utilizing the readily available modes of transportation to the same places of interest appealing to most tourists.

This will be different for us. But then again, it’s all a part of our new life of wonder and adventure, perhaps befitting for the contrast after spending almost a year in Africa and two and a half months on the remote island of Madeira, Portugal, 1200 miles off of the northwest corner of Africa. 

From a tropical island paradise to the bush on safari, to rough water seas crossing the ocean, to dangerous nights in the seas of the Middle East, to the tall buildings of Dubai, to the hills of Tuscany, to the narrow passageways of the Panama/Suez Canals and to the rugged life in Kenya and more, we’re fulfilling dreams we never knew we had.

So, for a month of our travels, we’ll behave like typical tourists; MiFi in my pocket, “Maps” on-screen on my smartphone, pre-purchased tickets on the smartphone rather than the typical piece of paper, camera charged and ready to go with an extra battery, local currency (Euros) on hand, comfortable shoes and the usual smile on our faces, grateful for yet another amazing opportunity.

Above all, we’re stretching ourselves to enrich our life experiences both individually and as a couple. Thanks, Tom Lyman, for giving me Paris. I imagine I’ll end up going nuts taking photos in Normandy and you’ll be intrigued at the Louvre. There’s no one in the world, I’d rather share this life with than you.