A step in the right direction…Domestic flights in India beginning on May 25…

Playful elephants on the Sabie River in Kruger National Park.

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Today’s photos are from May 21, 2019, from Connemara, Ireland. Please click here for more details.

This morning’s news announced the reopening of some airports in India for domestic flights. This is a step in the direction for the same for international flights sometime down the road.

We love the reflection of clouds in the water as we drive through the countryside.

However, it’s impossible to predict when this may occur based on the original transmission of Covid-19 traced to passengers entering the country from other countries.

The US has allowed some domestic flights from the onset of the lockdown, but here again, it could be many months before international flights will begin. As for South Africa, our preferred next destination, there is no indication of its borders opening anytime soon.

As for Madagascar, it appears they may reopen their borders in the next 60 days. Tanzania will be opening its borders for international travelers within a week. This leaves us with a good option for staying in one of these countries, enjoying its vast array of wildlife while we await the reopening of borders in South Africa.

Yellow irises were growing wild in the countryside.  Please click here for information on the wild yellow irises in Ireland that often grow along the road. 

Madagascar and Tanzania allow a 90-day visa on arrival. Suppose South Africa’s borders aren’t open after 90-days or 180-days in these two countries (and others). In that case, we can visit other islands near Africa’s eastern border or other countries within Africa such as Namibia, Botswana, and Uganda, depending upon the degree of outbreaks in those countries.

In the interim, liquor shops have reopened in some areas in India for “home delivery” only. No pubs will be open, nor will bars available in hotels. Since we’ve gone so long without a drink, at this point, we won’t bother. 

Besides, having beer and wine delivered to the hotel in lockdown with a guard at a distant gate would be cumbersome. We’ve decided we’ll wait until we get to our following location, which could be many months from now. 

A little sheep family was resting near the road.

It’s interesting to read the comments our readers have sent. As we’ve mentioned in past posts, the most common word we receive is, “Why don’t you seek repatriation to the US and get out of this odd situation?”
We appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Another question we received yesterday was, “Can you fly to another city in India” while you wait?”

There would be no point in us considering either of these scenarios. No city in India would offer a safer, more comfortable environment than where we are staying now in this quality hotel. It would make no sense to fly any more than necessary to leave India when it’s allowed ultimately.

We anticipate the flight out of here with a certain sense of dread, as grateful as we’ll be to be on the move. The required five or six-hour early arrival at the airport, wearing a mask and gloves for such an extended period, the medical checks, the luggage fees, and of course, the long and laborious flight.

As we approached the town of Clifden, we noticed several apartments and townhouses on the inlet.  Clifden, our area to shop, only has a population of 1,597. “Clifden is a coastal town in County Galway, Ireland, in the region of Connemara, located on the Owenglin River where it flows into Clifden Bay. As the largest town in the region, it is often referred to as “the Capital of Connemara.” Frequented by tourists, Clifden is linked to Galway city by the N59.”

But, there doesn’t appear there will be any other options. We’ve got into the possibility of an upcoming cruise on a small ship sailing out of Mumbai at some point, but only if it brings us closer to a destination we prefer. This is highly unlikely.

It’s not as if we are overly picky about where we choose to go from here. The country has to have open borders, adequate incoming international flights, and not be a hotbed of Covid-19 at the time. 

We accept the reality that we may be required to be quarantined for 14-days (or more) once we arrive in any country significantly since India’s number of cases is rising rapidly and…we are US citizens, the biggest hotbed in the world.

Ah, by no means is this situation manageable, nor will it be when we have some serious decisions to make. But, the one thing we know for sure, it would have made no sense for us to return to the US when flights were offered for stranded citizens.

This precious photo was my favorite of the day.

Where would we have gone? We have no home. Many holiday homeowners are refusing to rent their properties during the times of Covid-19. Hotels and meals are twice as expensive as we’re paying here or will pay in other parts of the world.

I’m high risk. We have no insurance in the US except Part A Medicare, which isn’t nearly enough to cover costs if either of us were to become infected. Our international insurance covers everything with only a $250 deductible.

The reasons are apparent. But, we thank everyone who has taken the time to write and offer suggestions and will continue to respond to your requests.

Yesterday, we crossed this single-lane bridge on the way to Clifden. We can take a few different routes from here to Clifden and will change it up each week.

The weeks seem to fly by quickly, especially from weekend to weekend. Often, when we comment on what day of the week it is, we’re both surprised it’s Friday or Saturday once again.

Regardless of all of this, we continue to have hope for the world, India, our own country, fur readers/family/friends, and for ourselves that eventually this too shall pass and a new world will begin to emerge.

Stay safe. Stay hopeful.

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

Donkeys are highly regarded in Ireland to the point there are special programs available to adopt and a specialized Donkey Sanctuary in Cork, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.

Worrisome news about Madagascar and the possibility in South Africa…”Fake news” or reality?…

More than 1,300 cases have now been reported in Madagascar, health chiefs have revealed, as nearby nations have been placed on high alert
This map of Africa illustrates where the high-risk areas for bubonic plague are located. We intend to be in South Africa beginning in February and in Mozambique and other countries to renew our visa status.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Tom’s early morning view of the moon setting on the horizon, taken from the veranda.

When I stumbled across the headline below, we immediately began to research the accuracy and validity of such claims that the eastern coast of Africa would likely fall prey to the ravages of the bubonic plague over the following months. 

With our plan to arrive in South Africa on or about February 10, 2018, that’s only 98 days from today. With the outbreak affecting over 1800 lives on the island of Madagascar, as shown on the above map, of course, this is a concern to us.

Our concerns aren’t necessarily revolving around the time we’ll spend in Kruger National Park or in living in Marloth Park, which is remote and relatively isolated but more so in traveling through busy airports such as in Johannesburg, which is a required stopping point to fly to Mpumalanga/Nelspruit our destination.

Here is the article we first spotted setting the research in motion from this site:

A deadly plague epidemic in Madagascar is now at a ‘crisis point and could reach mainland Africa where it will be ‘difficult to control,’ warns expert as World Bank releases $5M of aid.

  • Cases of the plague have spiraled by 37 percent in less than a week, data shows.
  • The World Health Organization now states that there are 1,801 suspected cases. 
  • At least 127 deaths have been recorded, but experts warn this could also rocket. 
  • The ‘unprecedented’ outbreak has prompted warnings in nine nearby countries
  • World Bank released an extra $5 million (£3.8m) to control the deadly outbreak

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5046017/World-Bank-responds-calls-help-battle-plague.html#ixzz4xTb2JSg9
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

While we’re spending about a year in Africa, we plan to visit various countries to fulfill our goals of many yet-to-be-seen aspects of this vast and fascinating continent. Most likely, this will be the last time we’ll see the continent in our world travels. We still have more “fish to fry.”

A boy covers his mouth as a council worker sprays disinfectant during the clean-up of the market in the Anosibe district, one of the most unsalubrious districts of Antananarivo.
Street scene in Madagascar during the plague.  (Not our photo).

Visiting Africa is not for the faint of heart and maybe more challenging as we age. We’re saving all the less demanding locations in other parts of the world for the distant future, including several cruises we’ll easily enjoy well into our 80’s health providing. 

The research took us in many directions. Finally, we landed at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in the US, which we’ve used on many occasions regarding health conditions in countries throughout the world.

Although we don’t necessarily believe what every governmental agency espouses, we’ve found the CDC less prone to exaggeration, fluff, and fake news. We found this recent article as to what’s transpiring in Madagascar and how it may affect travelers to Africa.

Based on this article by the CDC, at this point, we don’t see a reason to change our plans, although we have decided to purchase face masks to wear while at airports or public areas as we travel through the continent should the plague spread to countries we’re visiting. We’ll buy them today to arrive at our mailing service to be shipped to the hotel in Florida, where we’ll come on November 22nd.

People queue at a pharmacy in downtown Antananarivo, Madagascar to buy protection masks against infections and medicines against plague on Monday, October 2.
Locals outside a pharmacy in Madagascar. (Not our photo).

As we’ve often mentioned in past posts, no country, city, village our countryside in the world is exempt from the risk of one type or another. Whether it’s an infectious disease, crime-related threats, or heinous acts of terrorism, we always proceed with the utmost sensibility and caution, which in itself is no guaranty of safety.

May your day find you safe from harm.

Photo from one year ago today, November 4, 2016:

One year ago today, we stood on our cabin’s veranda awaiting the arrival of this medevac helicopter to transport a heart attack patient from the ship to an appropriate hospital. For more photos, please click here.