Day #240 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…2018 Thanksgiving menu and photos…

Thanksgiving dinner on the veranda with friends.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2018 while living in the bush in Marloth Park and celebrating Thanksgiving at our holiday home. See our menu below and photos of some of the dishes. For more, please click here.

When we decided to host the US holiday, Thanksgiving, on this date in 2018, we insisted that none of the guests bring food, instead only bringing their favorite wine or beverages which is typical in South Africa when visiting friends. Our big table was set for the 12 of us, on the veranda overlooking the garden with hopefully visiting wildlife, .

From left to right around the table: Kathy, Janet, Steve, Don, Louise, Danie, Leon, Dawn, Uschi, Evan while Tom and I shared the end of the table.  Total in attendance: 12.

Here is the menu from that day:


Thanksgiving Dinner in the Bush

Sundowners with Light Snacks

Roasted chickens

Stuffing with Sausage, Mushrooms, Onions

Mashed Potatoes with Creamy Gravy

Buttery Mashed Cauliflower

Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Pineapple and Cinnamon

Broccoli Salad with Crunchy Almonds and Sultanas

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onion Rings

Cranberry Sauce

Homemade dinner rolls

Pumpkin Pies

Whipped Cream Topping, if desired

It was outrageously hot as high as 40C, 104F on the previous day when I was attempting to make eight pumpkin pies. The heat and humidity were so high, I had the worst time ever in my life rolling the dough for the crusts, a task I usually accomplished with ease.

On the right, Evan, Uschi, Dawn, and Leon.

The end result was tasty pumpkin pies, but they weren’t as pretty as I would have liked. In our usual manner, we sent every couple home with their own pumpkin pie, serving the extra pie we’d made for that meal’s dessert. For the dinner, since turkeys of any size aren’t available in South Africa, we included one stuffed chicken per couple.

Dawn and Leon brought styrofoam, to-go containers from their wonderful restaurant, Jabula Lodge & Restaurant enabling us each couple to take home their leftover chicken and portions of the accompanying traditional side dishes, some of which are shown in the photos.

Each couple got their own roast stuffed chicken. We were having such fun, I left these three chickens in the oven a little too long, burning the bottom of the pan but the chickens were moist and delicious. We’d make three extra chickens, just in case, and kept these for us.

In our old lives, we’d always done this on Thanksgiving, sending family and friends home with a whole pie and leftovers, knowing part of the fun of this particular holiday includes savoring the traditional leftovers. Of course, that night we saved a container for ourselves, which we enjoyed over the next few dinners, as well.

Besides the food, the company was some of our closest friends in Marloth Park, all of whom we hope to see again when we return sometime in the future,  When that day will come is still a total mystery to us as we continue to read and watch news reports daily.

On the left, a pan of extra stuffing, in the center, sweet potatoes (they are light-colored in South Africa, not orange).

With Diwali winding down, the noisy group next door to our room, keeping us awake until 5:00 am with their loud voices and drawer banging, has finally checked out. Yesterday, while heading out on our walk, we were appalled to see their hotel room door open to one of the biggest messes we’ve ever seen in a hotel room. There was trash everywhere.

We felt bad for the housekeeper who had to clean up that mess, but as always, the kind worker went about her work with a smile on her face, as is common among the staff here. Well, I couldn’t exactly see the smile on her face with her mask on, but I could tell she was smiling from the crinkle around her eyes.

Low carb mashed cauliflower.

Isn’t that something? With those of us wearing face masks, it’s hard to tell who is smiling and who is frowning. But, it’s better to wear a mask than to be able to see the expression on a person’s face during these challenging times.

In any case, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on November 26th this year. The actual date of Thanksgiving may change from year to year, but it’s always on the last Thursday in November, resulting in a four-day weekend for many workers. It was during that weekend in our old lives, that I always decorated the house for Christmas, spending the full remaining three days getting it accomplished.

Traditional green bean casserole. Kathy brought the fried onions back from the US! Thanks, Kathy!

Those days are long gone. Oh well, this year, Thanksgiving, will be chicken, of course here in India. As always, but there will be no celebrations, no pie for Tom, no cooking, and no gathering of family and friends. From what we’re seeing on the news, this may be the case for many Americans this year, due to COVID-19 and its government-mandated limitations on numbers allowed to gather to celebrate.

Today? The usual. The usual. And, more of the usual!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 18, 2019:

One year ago, this 5-year-old photo was posted on this date. Tom got a kick out of this old Ford “woody” that was on display at the Maui Tropical Plantation. For more of the story, one year ago, 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:
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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.