Whew!…Lots of paperwork to go on a boat…

Once again, the male bushbuck in the background might be this baby’s dad since he is often with the mom, as shown at the forefront of this photo.

When we started booking the houseboat tour on the Chobe/Zambezi River, we expected there would be a certain amount of paperwork. But, little did we realize how time-consuming it would be for both Louise and ultimately for us. With Covid-19 issues addressing entering into three countries on this one trip, it’s a paperwork nightmare, and bless her heart, Louise has done everything she can to make it as seamless as possible for us. We appreciate her hard work.

Then, we ran into the issue of payment. Not only is there a comprehensive contract for the three-night houseboat tour, but it was accompanied by a lengthy questionnaire we had to complete and submit. On the forms, they requested payment by bank transfer.

If you’ve been reading our posts over the past several years, you know we are adamantly opposed to bank transfers. But, as it turns out, our bank refuses to allow bank transfers to certain countries, including most of those on the African continent, due to excessive amounts of fraud. Thus, we always pay with credit cards. Plus, we get lots of points when we use certain cards.

Louise worked it out, and the company agreed to accept a credit card, although they are charging us a 4% fee of the total price, which resulted in a total cost for the boat of ZAR 31585, US $2114. However, transportation from our hotel in Zambia to the various borders and then returning to the hotel four days later is included. We paid a premium for that service, but undoubtedly, there less risk of timing errors and confusion.

A one-month-old baby bushbuck is behind her mom in this photo. We tried for a better photo, but she was timid and wouldn’t stay still for a moment.

Also, the cost of the four Covid tests is included. We’ll need the only additional Covid test from the hotel on October 25th, when we return from the boat, to be used for our return entry into South Africa. Whew! What a lot of monkey business Covid has created for travel.

We run the risk that the entire thing could be called off at the last-minute if new Covid restrictions are implemented or changed between now and then.

Our round-trip flight from Nelspruit to Livingstone, Zambia, is ZAR 19274, US $1289. In total, with tips, two nights’ meals when at the hotel;  the small amounts we paid for the two nights in the hotel, using our points; transportation to and from the airport, should be, at most ZAR 58809, US $4000.

Although this is expensive for a total of five nights away, it’s a whole lot less than it would have cost us to return to the US for three months, instead of living here in South Africa, where it cost so much less. At least we’ll get our visas stamped and can relax over the remaining three months we’ll spend here.

This morning, nine bushbucks stopped by. We gave them carrots, cabbage, and pellets.

Travel planning is always time-consuming in one way or another, as you travelers out there so well know. Planning one trip can take days, let alone planning for an entire life of world travel, such as we do. But, if we had a house and lived in one location, we’d be mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, painting and making repairs around the house, getting cars serviced, sending Christmas cards, decorating for Christmas, and other holidays, baking, cooking, house cleaning and more.

Life is filled with trade-offs. For us, the simplicity of those times allows us to kick back and relax without a care in the world, while at the same time, we’re embracing other cultures, other scenery, wildlife, oceans, mountains, plains, and savannahs, we couldn’t be more content. And…grateful.

May your bliss and ours continue.

Photo from one year ago today, October 7, 2020:

Oxpeckers can dig into the flesh of animals to extract parasites
This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #198. Oxpeckers can dig into the flesh of animals to extract parasites, ticks, and other insects that may burrow under their skin, as is the case of this kudu. Sadly once the insect is extracted, the oxpecker may continue to peck at the injured site, making matters worse. The photo was taken in Marloth Park, South Africa, in 2018. For more photos, please click here.
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

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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.