Day #257 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Plan B is in place if South Africa won’t let us enter…

This pelican was trained to entertain tourists as the man passed around a cup.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2017 while visiting Pisco, Peru, as a port of call on our cruise along the coasts of South America. For more on that day’s post, please click here.

Previously, we discussed the possibility of a Plan B, in the event we can’t board the flight to South Africa for any reason on January 12, 2021, and what we’ll do from there.

Locally harvested seashells for sale along with a few pairs of flip-flops.

A few days ago in this post, in case you missed it, we’ve booked flights from Mumbai to Dubai to Johannesburg to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger on January 12, 2021, arriving in Marloth Park on January 13, 2021. But, as mentioned in prior posts, we had booked such a flight on March 20, 2020, arriving at the Mumbai Airport at 2:00 am, only to be turned away when South Africa refused to let us enter the country due to their imminent plan to close the borders due to COVID-19.

In no way are we totally confident that this won’t happen again, especially as cases continue to rise in South Africa at a very high rate. We’ve carefully reviewed and will continue to review all the conditions under which we will be allowed to enter and of course, we’ll be diligent in every aspect.

Ship sculpture made from bones.

However, typical for us, preferring to leave no loose ends in our travel plans, we knew we had to come up with an alternate plan, thus Plan B, in the event for any reason, we aren’t allowed to fly on that or a similar flight in its place. With bated breath, we hope we don’t hear from Emirates Airline informing us that the flight has been canceled.

This could easily happen, especially when we see the number of flights that are canceled worldwide on a daily basis, including many in India. The worst-case scenario in this travel plan, other than contracting COVID-19 or other health issues, is that we are turned away once again and have to return to this or another hotel in Mumbai and continue to wait.

Activity on the boardwalk in Pisco.

At this point, we’re in no state of mind to allow that to happen. The thought of returning to such a hotel room, makes us cringe. Instead, after considerable research online over the past few days, we’ve decided we’ll book a flight to Seychelles, a popular island resort country which certainly isn’t as far away as South Africa.

With a 90-day visa available at the Seychelles Airport upon arrival, we can easily find a place to stay. We’re considering, just in case, to book a room under the pay-at-the-hotel option, canceling it once we know we’ll be able to fly to South Africa. If need be, we can book a week in a hotel and then go to work to find a holiday home to see us through the next almost three months.

Various feathered friends resting on a moored fishing boat.

Of course, we can’t book a holiday home now since doing so requires a partial or full payment upfront and we would lose our money. It’s easier to book a hotel, allowing us to pay upon arrival. This is a common practice available at Hotels.com on our site with no penalty for canceling.

Plan B gives us peace of mind. Seychelles is a beautiful country with the sea as the main focal point is described as follows at this site: is an archipelago island country consisting of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean at the eastern edge of the Somali Sea.

A boat tied up on the beach near the pier.

“Today, Seychelles boasts the highest nominal per capita GDP of any African nation. It is the first African country with an HDI score exceeding 0.800, and therefore the only country in the continent with a very high Human Development Index. It is one of only two countries in Africa classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank, the other being Mauritius. Despite its relative prosperity, poverty remains widespread as the country has one of the highest levels of economic inequality in the world and markedly unequal wealth distribution, with the upper and ruling class commanding a vast proportion of the country’s wealth.”

A pelican proudly posing for a photo.

Of course, our intent is always to maintain a positive attitude and now, with this plan, we feel we can do so. Otherwise, we’d face a sense of panic at the airport in the middle of the night as happened on March 20, 2020. We don’t want to repeat that situation, under any circumstances.

So there it is folks, a back-up plan, a Plan B, a peace-of-mind maker, and a solution to a problem that may never transpire. We’ll see how it all rolls out in 39 days. Please stay tuned.

Stay healthy!

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

While visiting family in the US, last year at this time, we didn’t often take photos. Subsequently, we posted photos from older posts as has been the case in our year-ago photos. While in Penguin, Tasmania in 2017 we took this photo on our way to the town of Ulverston. Tasmania never disappoints! For more, please click here.

Day 14… Cruise to South America… Part 3… Visit to Pisco, Peru… A colorful, interesting culture, shown in our photos

A liquor store.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

We had no idea what was going on at this building in Arica, Chile. Any comments?

Today’s post will be of minimal interest to most of our readers since we are preoccupied while sitting in Cafe al Bacio with friends Lisa and Barry, who are getting off the ship in two days. We’ve all had such a great time together. 

Bikers stopping in the desert to fix their bikes.

It’s hard for me to pay attention to what I’m writing here as we chat and laugh incessantly. I’m a little sluggish today after little sleep last night when once again, we had an early start to our day at a mandatory meeting for the 266 passengers staying for the next leg of the cruise on the back-to-back.

Buildings along the main road.

We’re curious about the 1800 plus passengers who’ll board the ship in San Antonio, Chile assuming most will be foreign language speaking. Our social activities may be severely limited with so few English-speaking passengers aboard the ship.

Dog sitting outside the data store.

Today, we’re hoping to get done here before too long to learn a card game that Lisa and Barry enjoy playing called Five Crowns. Here’s a link to the rules of this game which requires a unique deck of cards. 

Shops along the boardwalk in Pisco, Peru.

The past 24-hours have been a whirlwind of activity. After we finished yesterday’s post, we took a shuttle bus to Arica, Chile. We were dropped off at the port entrance, where we went through security and were off for a walk through the festive little town. 

Beachgoers sunning and funning.

In the next few days, we’ll be posting many photos we took in Arica, Chile, as we wandered through the fascinating town with an approximate population of 155,400.

It appeared many locals frequent this area as well as tourists.

Upon returning from Arica in the afternoon, we grabbed our computers to load the photos from our outing, only to find ourselves nodding off at the table. Shortly after that, we returned to our cabin for a nap. Tom was successful. I was not. It’s hard for me to “shut off my brain” when we’re having such a great time.

A band was playing on the beach.

By 5:00 pm, we were showered and dressed for the evening’s happy hour, where once again, we met up with Lisa and Barry. Since they dine in a specialty restaurant each night, we go our separate way for dinner, meeting up at the Martini Bar a few hours later.

Several fishing boats out to sea.

Again, we didn’t get to bed by midnight and bolted out of bed early this morning to get to the first two meetings. The second event was a private tour of the ship’s engine room, with the first officers conducting a presentation for a select group of passengers. We were thrilled to be asked to attend and will soon post photos of that event.

The boardwalk in Pisco, Peru.

That’s it for today, folks. Lisa and I are taking off for the seafood buffet offered today for lunch in the Oceanview Cafe on deck 10. In this particular case, I’ll be eating twice today. 

Hanging clothing, scarves, handbags, and more.
The interior of a small shop on the boardwalk.

May all of our loyal readers have a fabulous day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 6, 2016:

Penguin statue at the beach in Penguin, Tasmania dressed in Christmas clothing and various locally inspired pins and decorations. For more details, please click here.

Day 13… Cruise to South America… Part 2… Visit to Pisco, Peru… A colorful, interesting culture, shown in our photos

This pelican is trained to entertain tourists as the man passed around a cup.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Activity in the port in Pisco, Peru.

Today, we began checking flights for February 10th, when we plan to fly from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Mpumalanga/Nelspruit, South Africa. Prices are high for the shortest flights of 16 hours with two layovers.

Locally harvested seashells for sale, along with a few pairs of flip-flops.

It’s always tricky deciding if we should book now or wait for a price drop which may appear closer to the time we plan to fly. We’ve tried both ways, and on occasion, we get lucky finding a price drop during the last 60 days.

Ship sculpture made from bones.

It’s too risky to wait until the last 30 days when we’ve often found prices rising with few remaining seats available. There’s never an easy way or set plan on how to book expensive flights. We’re expecting to pay US $3,500 for the one-way tickets for two.

Activity on the boardwalk in Pisco.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to get to South Africa from Argentina that avoids an overnight flight with a layover in the middle of the night. After all these years, we’ve finally gotten over the fact that a “red-eye” may be the only way we can get from Point A to Point B.

Locals and tourists are enjoying the beach on a perfectly sunny day.

The simple reality is that we won’t sleep for about a 24-hour period. Neither of us can sleep for more than a few minutes on a flight, and taking a nap after arriving at our location also alludes us. But, we’ve found, if we can manage a mere 20-minute doze, it can do wonders when we’re exhausted.

Various feathered friends were resting on a moored fishing boat.

Yesterday morning, after we’d uploaded the post on a sea day, I found myself nodding off while seated in Cafe al Bacio. We both decided to head to the cabin to see if we could sleep for a bit. Magically, we both slept, albeit lightly, for about 30 minutes, feeling refreshed upon awakening.

A boat tied up at the beach near the pier.

“They,” say (whoever “they” are who often provide incorrect information), a short nap (under 30 minutes) is more beneficial than a long daytime doze. For once, we agree with “them.”

Local trinkets.

Last night, we had lots of fun with friends Lisa and Barry. The usual two-hour Captain’s Club event in the Constellation Lounge was canceled for a Senior Officer’s party at 7:45 pm. Usually, at this time, we’re in the dining room having dinner.

A small fishing boat was lying on the beach.

Instead, we decided on an early dinner at 6:30 to head to the party after dining. It all worked out great when we sat at a table for four in the Constellation Lounge with Lisa and Barry, after which we all embarked on a “bar hopping fest” where live music and dancing were on the menu.

Bronze sculpture welcoming guests to a restaurant on the boardwalk.

Tom and I both love dancing together. It’s good exercise, reminds us of our youth, and is a fun shared activity.  Last night, hanging out with our new friends only added to the experience as we used the ship’s program to decide where the best spot for dancing was coming up next on the agenda.

A pelican was proudly posing for a photo.

It resulted in another late night. We arrived at our cabin around 12:15 to another one-hour time change. We’re a little bit sluggish this morning, but once we’ve uploaded the post, we plan to leave the ship to visit the town of Arica, Chile, where our ship docked early this morning.

Local band playing Peruvian music hoping to earn tips.

This first leg of the back-to-back cruise ends in three days. There are only about 250 passengers out of 2,170 staying behind for the second leg. Last night, there was a notice on the bed stating a meeting at 9:00 am on December 6th (tomorrow) for us back-to-back passengers.

A tightly packed RV park in Pisco.

We’ll be provided with instructions for the process of staying on board when the remainder of the passengers will be disembarking at San Antonia, Chile. This final stop was supposed to have been in Valparaiso, Chili, a much more exciting town than San Antonio. 

Ocean inlet along the dunes.

Due to strife at the port in Valparaiso, the cruise line decided to change this final port of call to the less complicated San Antonia. Many passengers were disgruntled. For us, it made little difference when we’ll be back in South America down the road.

So, folks, have a wonderful day! We’ll be thinking of YOU!

Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2016:

Historical Furners Hotel in downtown Ulverstone, Tasmania. There were many small towns we explored while in Penguin. For more photos, please click here.

Day 12… Cruise to South America… Part 1… Visit to Pisco, Peru… A colorful, interesting culture, shown in our photos

We had no idea Pisco, Peru, had this type of desert terrain.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Various vendors set up shop outside the ship, hoping to attract shoppers leaving and arriving on shuttle buses.

Pisco, a town in Peru

Pisco is a port city on Peru’s southern coast, known for the grape brandy of the same name. It’s a gateway to the uninhabited Ballestas Islands, home to scores of sea lions, pelicans, Peruvian boobies, and Humboldt penguins. Nearby is the Paracas National Reserve, which encompasses desert, ocean, and the Paracas Peninsula. Also, here is the Paracas Candelabra geoglyph, a huge hillside etching of mysterious origins.
Area1,536 mi²
Weather66°F (19°C), Wind SW at 6 mph (10 km/h), 84% Humidity
Population99,550 (2007) UNdata
Local timeMonday 7:45 AM

 

The dunes reminded us of Morocco.

We had no idea the shuttle bus ride to Pisco would take us through a desert of rolling dunes, not unlike those we’ve seen in many countries in the Middle East. Here’s a bit of information about this subtropical desert climate:

Geography of Peru – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Peru

The Peruvian coast is a microclimatic region. The region is affected by the cold Humboldt Current, the El Niño Southern Oscillation, tropical latitude, and the Andes mountain range. The central and southern coast consists mainly of a subtropical desert climate composed of sandy or rocky shores and inland cutting valleys.

Area‎: ‎Ranked 20th
Lowest point‎: ‎Bayóvar Depression‎−34 meters…
Coastline‎: ‎2,414 km (1,500 mi)
Highest point‎: ‎Huascarán Sur‎, 6,768 metres …
A metal dolphin sculpture In Pisco, Peru.

After a 25-minute ride through the uninhabited and barren desert, we arrived in Pisco, a town dominated by its seaside industry, which included tourism and fishing, evidenced by the many colorful fishing boats in the harbor.

Our ship appeared to be the only one in San Martin Port in Pisco, Peru.

A pleasant boardwalk, wide enough to accommodate the thousands of passengers that walk along with its tourist-themed shops on the inland side, was easy to navigate in the crowds, most of which were from our ship.

Vendors line the boardwalk hoping for a sale.

The flavors of Peru permeated the air with over a dozen restaurants, with staff pleading with passersby to partake of their many offerings. There was no doubt in our minds that this small town was thriving with its frequent status as a port of call by over a hundred ships throughout the year.

Some shops and restaurants are decorated for the Christmas season.

And yet, the town’s persona was one of low income with old worn buildings and the most minimal infrastructure when many former utility poles were void of any wiring of any type.

This dog may not have been a stray when he appeared well-fed.

However, it’s these less affluent tourist towns that intrigue us the most; the stray dogs lounging in walkways; the young children running willy-nilly through the streets; the vendor’s hopeful expressions as we walked by bespeaking a lifestyle few of us can fathom as we sit at our computers.

There are dozens of restaurants along the boardwalk, all offering local delicacies.

For us, the town of Pisco offered an exciting array of fascinating scenes, as will be illustrated by our photos today and over the next few days. Whether it was the faces of the locals, marine wildlife, or friendly strays dogs lying in the road, its genuine culture remained consistent.

A variety of handmade and imported goods are peddled on the boardwalk. Vendors are relatively aggressive in promoting sales but not particularly offensive.

This type of seaside town may not appeal to some travelers for a long-term stay, but it was definitely worth seeing as a port of call. We spoke to several passengers who participated in various tours offered by the ship, and on private tours, they or others had arranged.

A restaurant with a bougainvillea-covered lattice roof.

In each case, we heard nothing but rave reviews about each tour. As mentioned earlier, we’ll be returning to Peru in the next few years when we return to South America for an extended stay. 

This is possibly a memorial for a local lost at sea.

At that point, we plan to visit many exciting locations in Peru, including Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands, and more. For now, we continue to tighten our belts as we carefully watch our budget based on the pricey upcoming Antarctica cruise.

Children were playing at the beach with views of colorful fishing vessels.  These boats remind us of the colorful fishing boats in Negara, Bali. (See that link here).

Last night, we had a blast; Captain’s Club from 5:00 to 7:00 pm with friends Lisa and Barry; dinner in the Trellis Restaurant; then off to the Ice Bar for the 10:30 pm Silent Disco bouncing around with many other passengers we’ve come to know. It was too much fun!

Shopkeepers were enthusiastically attempting to attract shoppers from the cruise.  A cruise in port is crucial for this existence.

By the time we got to bed, it was after 1:00 am. Then, the clocks moved forward one hour, and it was 2:00 am.  We were up and dressed and out of our cabin by 8:30 am, a new time. Pooped? Yep! Ready to go again tonight? Yep!

Many fishing boats are anchored in the harbor.

We’re going to need a “vacation” after this cruise!  Ha!

Photo from one year ago, December 4, 2016:

Our first morning’s view from the living room window in Penguin, Tasmania. It was a cool sunny day. Tom always says when asked that Penguin was his favorite place to stay in our world travels. For more details, please click here.

Day 11… Cruise to South America… Life aboard the ship with new friends…

It was an evening “chic” night, and we entered the elevator with other passengers. We all howled when this occurred, and here’s the funny photo! One of the passengers grabbed my camera off my shoulder and shot these “feet photos.”

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Another of Tom’s excellent sunset photos taken from the veranda.

I’m a new person. My gastrointestinal issues have all but resolved, and I’m able to eat in moderation without distress. I’ve returned to my intermittent fasting regime and can even go as far as having a glass of dry red or white wine each evening.

An artist’s display in a glass case near Cafe al Bacio on Deck 5.

We’re having a fabulous time, to say the least, often in the company of other passengers. As usually occurs on cruises, we have found a couple with whom we especially connect Lisa and Barry. They are 5 to 10 years younger than us and lost most of their home and all its content a few months ago in flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. 

Their recovery and hopeful outlook for the future after this horrible loss is inspirational to both of us. Yesterday, the four of us spent the entire afternoon together in Cafe al Bacio and again during the complimentary two-hour happy hour in the Constellation Lounge on Deck 11 for Captain’s Club members.

Trinkets for sale at an open market in Manta, Ecuador.

And yet, from venue to venue, meal to meal, we meet more and more passengers, some who know us from our site and many who don’t. We’ve passed out hundreds of business cards in these first 10 days of this 30-night back-to-back cruise. 

Jewelry is a commonly offered tourist item at shopping areas in most countries.

The time has flown quickly, and we’re now one-third of the way through the cruise. Each day brings a plethora of unique and extraordinary experiences with the fascinating people we meet, the excellent service quality, good food, and pleasing amenities. We don’t have a complaint in the world.

Jade trinkets.

Long ago, we made a conscientious decision not to nit-pick inadequacies on cruises. Over time, we’ve become oblivious to any less-than-ideal scenarios, including old/worn areas of the ship, occasionally slow service, and the reality that the cruise lines are in the business of making money with extra cost many events and items.  That’s how it is, and we accept it.

It’s our choice to avoid spending much on extras, only adding to our upcoming bill that will automatically include US $27 per day for tips.  We already paid for WiFi fee in advance for a 30% discount). There may be an occasional bar tab when we may have a drink outside the Captain’s Club hours of operation. There may be other incidentals here and there.

A barge pulls up alongside the ship for refueling.

I usually purchase a few Lancome mascaras (duty-free) on most cruises, which I can rarely find in most countries, a luxury purchase I provide myself when available. After all, I want to be able to bat my lashes at my attentive husband, and this brand, more than the drugstore variety, seems to make doing so possible.

Today, with shuttle bus tickets in hand, we plan to exit the ship to check out the town of Pisco, Peru, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Although there’s not a lot to do there and we’ll be back in the future, we wanted to get off the ship today to take some photos to share with our readers.

Crowds of passengers returning to the ship after going ashore.

Once we return later in the day, Tom will watch the Minnesota Vikings football game on his laptop using NFL GamePass while I work out and sort through the day’s photos and respond to emails from our dear readers.  Each day brings many beautiful messages, all of which we react to no later than 24 hours after they’re received.

May you have a lovely day, perhaps some football, maybe some sunshine, and maybe some “light” in your life.

Photo from one year ago today, December 3, 2016:

View from the veranda at the Pelican Point Sanctuary in St. Helens, Tasmania, where we stayed one night on our road trip to Penguin. For more details, please click here.

Day 10…Cruise to South America…Part 3, Manta, Ecuador… Busy fishing port… See below for “Year ago photo” and link to our final expenses for last year’s the 33-night cruise ending on this date…

It was interesting to see these enormous nets of fish, mainly tuna, pulled from massive fishing vessels In Manta, Ecuador, arriving at the pier after a night at sea. Manta is one of the biggest producers of wild-caught tuna in the world.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Tom is getting to be quite the photographer. But, when I compliment him, he says, “Even a stopped watch is correct twice a day!” He’s too modest! Soon, we’ll purchase a second camera, so we both take photos simultaneously while in Antarctica and Africa.

Today, we’re still at the port in Callao, Peru, yet to leave the ship. After speaking with many passengers, those who’d done what we’d hoped to do, take the shuttle to town, were sorely disappointed in the experience. 

Many reported that the 45-minute shuttle bus ride turned into a 90-minute to two-hour ride (one way) due to outrageous traffic. With Tom’s impatience in traffic, it would not have been a pleasant experience for us. 

Also reported, once they arrived near the town, they had to take a taxi to get to the shopping district. We had no interest in such an outing. We’re glad we stayed behind, ending up having a wonderful day on the quiet ship.

The nets of fish kept cold on dry ice were moved from the ships to trucks heading to the local processing plants and canneries.

The group tours had better reviews, but here again, we had no interest in spending money on pricey group tours when photos from moving vehicles are difficult to take. 

When we return to South America in the next few years, we’ll be able to travel about Peru at our own pace rather than be subject to less-than-desirable circumstances. Crowds aren’t “our thing.”

As our long-time readers are aware, we mostly opt for the more laid-back and leisurely pace in seeing the sights that appeal to us. No doubt Machu Picchu and Galapagos are on our “to-do” list for the future.

Each time the nets were lowered into the ship’s hold, they brought up hundreds of fish. These workers look on to ensure everything goes smoothly from the ship to the awaiting trucks.

Busying ourselves on the ship yesterday was easy for us. We were never bored for a moment. By the time we finished the post around 12:30 pm, we had headed to the Celebrity Theatre for the 1:00 pm movie, 2016’s, The Promise. 

For those who haven’t seen this movie, a beautiful love story at the end of the Ottoman Empire, we’d highly recommend seeing it. We both thoroughly enjoyed it.

After the movie, we hung out in Cafe al Bacio, chatting with other guests who’d also remained behind, having chosen not to be standing in the one or two hour-long queues to get onto a shuttle bus, plus the hours-long rides through traffic. We felt at ease we’d done the right thing for us.

Net being lowered into a truck.

By 4:30 pm, we headed to our cabin to get ready for the evening happy hour in the Constellation Lounge for Captain’s Club members only. We sat with a lovely couple from Florida (originally from Massachusetts), engaging in exciting conversation until it was time to leave for dinner in the Trellis Restaurant.

There again, we had another fun dinner with other passengers at a shared table. After dinner, at 9:00 pm, we wandered to the Celebrity Theatre for the evening’s comedy show. We both dozed off during the not-so-comical show. 

I slept during the entire performance, waking myself periodically with a startling jolt. Tom said he’d done the same. We don’t get enough sleep many nights, inspiring us to return to our cabin by 10:00 or 10:30 pm.  Other nights, we can stay up much later to partake in dancing and lively activities.

The vapors from the dry ice are seen at the bottom of this net.

In any case, it’s all quite enjoyable, tired or not. As soon as I upload today’s post, I’m off to the fitness center on Deck 10 to work out. Since we embarked on the ship, I’ve been working out, doing my usual HIIT (high-intensity interval training). 

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked out.  It felt great to get back to it, especially when it felt as if I’d never missed a beat when I began my former routine. If only I could work out wherever we may live, it’s not possible in many locations. 

A worker guides the net to the proper position for unloading into the trucks.

The hotel in Buenos Aires has a fitness center, but nothing is available in South Africa. Walking may not be as prevalent for us in Marloth Park as it was four years ago when we could easily walk the dirt roads in the bush, always on the alert for wild animals. 

Now, our friends are reporting that lions and leopards have been sighted in Marloth Park, and a leisurely walk may be out of the question. We shall see how it goes.

That’s it for today, folks. Enjoy the fishing photos from Manta, Ecuador. And, may you have an enjoyable day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 2, 2016:

The miniature representation of schooner located in the Schooner Bar in Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas. We disembarked the ship that day after a 33-night cruise. For the final expenses for this long cruise, please click here.