|We took a detour to see this temple in Tanjore known as the “Big Temple” since the name is long and difficult for people to remember. ”Kapaleeshwarar Temple: Dedicated to one of the forms of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati that is Arulmigu Kapleeswar and Karpagambal respectively.”|
Today’s photos are a continuation of those we posted during our first few months in India on tour, in today’s case on March 17, 2020, when we included some favorite photos. We’ll continue on this path, sharing more tour photos until it’s time for us to leave on January 11, 2021. From there, God willing, it will be an entirely new world! See the post here.
It’s ironic that in the post as mentioned above from which we’re sharing photos once again, the heading on March 17, 2020, read:
The waiting game continues…Tomorrow, we fly out of Madurai to Mumbai…Three days and counting…
It was almost ten months ago that we were on pins and needles as we are now, in this case, hoping to leave for South Africa in one week as opposed to three days. When we arrived in Mumbai with only three days remaining until March 20, 2020, for our then-upcoming scheduled flight on which we weren’t allowed to board, we had to return to the SunNSand Hotel, a stunning hotel on the beach.
|This temple is over 1000 years old.|
As posted several times, they literally “kicked us out” of the hotel on March 24, assuring us they’d booked a room for us at the Orchid Hotel in Mumbai. We were sorely disappointed they’d lied to us. Our bags were loaded into a taxi, and we headed to the Orchid Hotel, only to discover they’d never heard of us and that they, too, were closed immediately due to the lockdown. (Thus, we wouldn’t return there if we were forced to stay in Mumbai if this upcoming flight falls through).
We had nowhere to go. Almost every hotel in Mumbai was required to close, and for the next few hours, we were in a panic. There we were in the Orchid Hotel lobby with all of our bags, unable to find a still-open hotel. Fortunately, the excellent manager at the Orchid got on the phone and started calling every quality hotel in Mumbai looking for a room for us.
|This view reminded us a little about entering the Lost City of Petra in 2013.|
It was a stressful few hours, as we researched other options online, such as holiday/vacation homes as an alternative. None of those we researched were available due to the lockdown or responded to our inquiries. After several hours passed, the hotel manager had found that this hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport, was staying open for the time being anyway.
During the first two or three months of our almost ten-month stay, it was impossible not to be concerned that we’d continue to have a place to stay. As the months wore on and more and more guests arrived, we could finally relax knowing, if they had a great business, they’d stay open.
|The beautiful beach scene at the Ideal Beach Resort in Mahabalipuram. We particularly enjoyed this resort.|
Early on, at one point, only six rooms were booked, including ours. It was during this period. It was most worrisome. How could they afford to stay open with so few guests? Thank goodness Marriott is a hugely successful international company. This fact allowed them to continue operations whereby other privately owned hotels most likely couldn’t afford to stay open during the lockdown.
The first few weeks, we ate both breakfast and dinner in the dining room. But as cases of Covid-19 continued to rise, all restaurants in India were forced to close, except for those offering takeaway. It was at that point. We began dining in our hotel room.
A few months ago, the restaurant reopened, and it was at that time, we discovered more and more guests not wearing masks in the corridors when they headed downstairs to dine, as often as three times a day. They figured they wouldn’t be wearing a mask while eating, so why wear a face mask on their way to the restaurant?
This laissez-faire attitude convinced us it was too risky to dine in the now-opened restaurant beside those careless individuals. We opted to eat breakfast and dinner in our room, only having exposure to the masked room service staff member, whom we never allowed to enter our room. Tom has always grabbed the trays, placed them on the bed, closed the door, and immediately washed his hands.
|The newly added pool area at Ravla Khempur is known as the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, where the famous movie was filmed. This was a favorite tour during our travels in India.|
Each meal, before and after we dine, we thoroughly wash our hands in hot soapy water. We have trays we keep in the room, which Tom frequently flows in the shower. We have kept it as safe as it can be. Now, from now on, hopefully, in one week from today, we’ll continue to be safe during our time at four airports (Mumbai, Dubai, Johannesburg, Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger), on three flights, and staying in two hotels in our efforts to make our way to Marloth Park.
So far, so good. There’s been no canceled flight email message for the January 11 flight. We wait, we hope, and we pray we can fly away!
Photo from one year ago today, January 4, 2020:
|This repeated photo was the only one we posted one year ago today. On this date in 2014, similar to the main photo in this post of December 14, once again, we looked toward the driveway to discover giraffes coming our way. What a glorious sight! Click here for the one-year-ago post.|