Day #104 in lockdown Mumbai, India Hotel...More walking???...No, we're not in Australia...

Cows in the side yard as we drove down the driveway to the main road while in Connemara, Ireland one year ago today.
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Today's photos are from July 5, 2019, while in Connemara, Ireland. See the link here for more details.

Starting today, in our heading, we will be listing the number of days we've been in lockdown in this hotel in Mumbai, India. As noted above, today is day #104, although we'd spent another 12 days in lockdown in other hotels in India before we found this Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport.

Luckily, we are close to the airport. It's less than a 10-minute drive to the international terminal. By the time we're able to leave here after the airport opens to international flights and being able to travel to a country that will accept us, the roads will again be busy again with traffic.
Cattle are so busy grazing, they hesitate to look up for a photo op.
We don't see that happening anytime soon. Instead, we continue to make every effort to be at ease in the current situation for however long it may last. Cases of COVID-19 in India are continuing to escalate at astounding rates. Right now, India is in the #4 spot in the world for the number of cases and deaths, only surpassed by the USA #1, Brazil #2, Russia #3.

It's likely in the next 24 to 48 hours, India could easily surpass Russia to move into the #3 position. India already has over twice as many deaths as in Russia. For more details on the statistics on world cases, please click here.

And still, when I peer out the window at the end of one of the corridors when I walk once an hour, I typically see a dozen or more men at a nearby location where motorbikes are parked without wearing masks or social distancing.

It is the careless attitude of some individuals throughout the world that will prevent the lessening of cases in months, perhaps years to come. Some may consider that extended family gatherings are safe since, after all, they are family. But, if they haven't been living in the same household, they too can spread the virus.
A Connemara Pony in the pasture down the road.
Obviously, there is nothing we can do to change these facts unless one or two of our worldwide readers sees today's post and decides to further protect themselves and their loved ones. Please excuse our "nagging" on this topic. 

As time passes, we all hear of more and more people we know have contracted the virus, some who have passed away, others who have struggled to survive, and others who are relatively symptom-free, able to pass it on while out and about and in group settings.

The majority of our family members and friends have remained safe, continuing to observe lockdown restrictions while taking this pandemic seriously. In reality, it's all about personal responsibility. 

This is no time for defiance or expressing any political or social view by refusing to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Regardless of what our leaders may say or do, we must take it upon ourselves as kind and caring individuals to take the maximum precautions.
Since we arrived almost two months ago this brown colt seems to be growing up quickly.
Speaking of walking the corridors, a few days ago, I upped my walking to two full treks per hour, exponentially doubling my number of steps and walking times.

It hasn't been easy since I have leg pain as a result of bad arteries in my legs classified as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), all a part of my poor heredity condition of cardiovascular disease. The best treatment for this condition is walking at regular intervals.

I am pushing on hour after hour. Having this lofty goal gives me hope for future travel expeditions where I have often struggled to walk fast or for long distances. One of my dreams for the future is to travel to Rwanda to see the gorillas. Doing so, may require a long and arduous incline walk into the mountains. The only way this is remotely possible for me, is if I continue with this mission.
At low tide, many inner waterways appear boggy and muddy.
A dear old friend wrote and asked why we were in Australia when she glanced at our most recent post where we'd included several repeated photos from our time in Australia from 2015  to 2017. I explained in a reply that we've been posting old photos from our past travels since we have no new photos to post.

If you aren't a "regular" reader, please keep this in mind so that our posts with past photos make sense if you happen to "drop by" for a moment or two to see where we are at the moment. This prompted us to start listing the numbers of days we've spent in lockdown in Mumbai, India in our heading each day to clarify where we are at any given time.

Tom is now doing 380 steps on the stairs and walking several routes in the corridors. This is a first for him, to exercise on his own, although he and I have walked together on a regular basis in most locations we've visited over the years. 

Hopefully, when and if we get to South Africa, it will be safe to walk the roads when recently many lions have been spotted both day and night. If not, we'll need a big enough house to walk indoors. 

Have a pleasant and safe day, dear readers. We'll all get through this!
Photo from one year ago today, July 5, 2018:

This morning's view in Connemara, Ireland, across the bay to the Twelve Bens mountains. For more photos, please click here.

Happy 4th of July for all of our USA readers!...Happy Saturday to our readers from all over the world!..Australia photos...

The Cattana Wetlands in Cairns, Australia offered exceptional expansive views.
Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the "View web version" tab under the word, "Home" at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We'll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 
Today's photos are from July 4, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.
Vegetation growing in the lake at the Cattana Wetlands created this view.
Happy Independence Day (4th of July) to all of our family and friends in the US! Unfortunately, based on the continued rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, few of the usual festivities will be transpiring.
There were numerous signs warning of the possibility of crocodiles as we entered the Cattana Wetlands, none of which we'd seen as yet.
For our readers outside the US, this holiday is typically centered around cooking outdoors, bonfires, firework displays, flag-waving, and gatherings of family and friends.
Who knew what creatures may lurk beyond the vegetation?
Sadly, for most, this year's activity will be tempered based on fears of spreading the virus while outdoors in large groups. We can only hope everyone will proceed with caution by wearing masks, social distancing and frequently washing their hands during any festivities they may be attending or hosting.
The sun reflected in the wetlands creating this orange glow in the water.
As for us, it's just another mention to one another upon awakening, a less-than-usual-exuberant, "Happy 4th of July." Since we left the US in January 2013, we've rarely celebrated any US holidays other than Thanksgiving on a few occasions with family in the US while visiting, friends in South Africa and friends in Australia.
The Cattana Wetlands are well arranged with paved walking paths and clearly marked areas.
Speaking of Australia, today's photos are from a sightseeing visit to the Cattana Wetlands in Queensland, Australia, five years ago today. As we've mentioned in many past posts we spent two years in Oceania /South Pacific/Southeast Asia visiting such locations as Sydney, Tasmania, Trinity Beach, Cairns, Australia including a cruise circumventing the entire Australian continent; New Zealand; Indonesia; Thailand; Vietnam; Cambodia; Malaysia; and many more.
The various ponds and lakes were clearly marked.
A significant part of our perspective of Australia developed during the long periods we spend in and around Cairns, Sydney, and Tasmania, each unique in its own way. If you'd like to peruse some of our experiences, check out our archives for 2015/2016/2017 where every post is listed.
Peeking through the trees to the main lake in the Cattana Wetlands.
The visit we're sharing in photos today of the Cattana Wetland is a good representation of the types of scenery we find most appealing, consisting of gorgeous and unique vegetation, nature, and bodies of water against the backdrop of a blue sky on a sunny day, the perfect combination of pure paradise.
Areas were clearly marked with maps and descriptions.
The tour through the wetlands consisted of a long and leisurely walk on the well-planned and easy paths that wove through the property allowing the utmost of photo-taking and scenic views. We enjoyed every moment.

We expected a beaver to pop up at any moment. 
And now, what a treat such a walk would be, to be in the sunshine, in the warmth and surrounded by nature. How easily, we could have taken that simple mobility and scenery for granted in times past. 
This small island was located in the middle of the lake.
However, as we review past posts as in the case of today's photos (click here), we come to realize how much we appreciated it then, as we would appreciate it now. Nothing in our vast world, under any circumstances, has left us taking anything for granted.
 A close up of a lily pad on which some creature enjoyed lunch.
We will always remain humble and in awe of the world around us, never assuming what we've seen in the past and that which we experience now or in the future as being expected or taken for granted.
The lakes were covered in parts in lily pads.
When, in the unknown future, we are gifted with the opportunity to "be out there" once again to relish in the sight of exquisite nature, wildlife, and people, we will embrace it with the same passion we've carried with us along the way.
One of the many more paths to explore.
For now, we have so much to appreciate; having air-con and WiFi; a clean and safe environment; healthy meals prepared for us; and above all, the companionship of one another as we work our way through this most unusual time in our lives.
From a distance, we thought these were flowers when in fact, they were colorful leaves.
May all of us, regardless of these challenging circumstances, find comfort in taking a few minutes each day to appreciate what we do have, as opposed to what we don't. With that in mind, we'll all make it through this trying time with grace and dignity. Stay safe.
Photo from one year ago today, July 4, 2019:
Bay view on a sunny morning in Connemara. For more details. please click here.

Four years ago in Singapore...Escaping each other in a small space?...

The Chinatown Point mall in Singapore contained more restaurants than apparel shops.
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Today's photos are from July 3, 2016, while in Singapore. See the link here for more details.

We'd traveled to Singapore for one week at the end of June 2016 with a plan to apply for visas for upcoming trips which, for us, required in-person applications at the two embassies including Thailand and Vietnam.
Most food items contain starches, sugar, and grains.
We'd hoped to apply for an Indonesian visa while in Singapore, but since the Thailand and Vietnam embassies required that we leave our documents with them for a few days, we ran out of time, ultimately figuring out the Indonesia extension once we arrived in Bali, which later worked out fine.

Our upcoming Mekong River cruise was fast approaching making the Vietnam visa most important, followed by Thailand, where we planned to stay for 40 nights following the river cruise. 

As it turned out, everything went as planned. By the time we left Singapore, one week later, we had the two most urgent visas in hand. We could have applied for the visas online, but we'd have had to send our passports to the embassies via snail mail. 
Of course, we stopped to eyeball the sweets. Tom didn't buy a thing. He's always looking for donuts which few countries outside the US offer.
When we first began traveling, we made a commitment to never mail our passports to any visa service or embassy while outside of the US. If they were lost in the mail, we'd be in big trouble in a foreign country without our passports.

Subsequently, we had no choice but to go to Singapore, the country closest to Vietnam where we were headed next, knowing we'd enjoy the ultra-clean and safe country while we handled the visa applications. 

We stayed in a lovely boutique hotel in the center of downtown, close to restaurants and Chinatown, and each day we were able to get out and walk to check out the local flavor and restaurants. Taxis were reasonably priced and reliable, making getting around easy and pleasant.
The displays with menu options are meant to whet the appetite.
We'd been to Singapore once before, earlier in 2016 when we disembarked a cruise to catch our flight to Bali. At that time, we were rushing and couldn't explore. The one week we spent in June/July was ideal for sightseeing in the unique country.

Although we enjoyed our week there, we weren't interested in ever returning for a longer stay. Most of the country's holiday homes consisted of high-rise buildings and apartments which weren't then, and aren't now our ideal holiday/vacation home environment.

On another occasion, in May 2013, in Dubai, UAE we experienced condo/ apartment-living in a high-rise building on the 47th floor (of 87 floors), here again, not an ideal scenario for our tastes. See our photos here.
There were a number of appealing sit down restaurants in Chinatown Point.
Over the years, at times, we've had no choice but to stay in condos when our options were limited based on availability and pricing. Preferably, as has been the case in the majority of situations in the past, we've stayed in houses.

I assure you, once we are able to leave Mumbai in many months to come, regardless of where we may go, we'd prefer a private house over other possible options. We're longing for space!

Yesterday, when we disagreed about a very small thing, I said, "I'll go into the other room until you cool off." Since I don't like to argue and prefer to avoid confrontations, I'd always used this tactic in the past as a simple means of avoiding a heated altercation. 
Food, food, food, everywhere in Chinatown Point. Neither of us was hungry, so we decided to wait until dinner.
We both laughed out loud when we both realized there was no other room for my usual escape. This returned us both to a positive state of mind when we could laugh over our peculiar situation, living in one room, 323 square feet, 30 square meters (including bathroom, closet, and hallway) for over 100 days, so far.

It's no wonder we both make an effort to get along so well! Over the years we've stayed in small cabins on cruise ships and most recently a train with a considerably smaller space. Fortunately, during those periods, we spent little time in the cabin, other than to sleep, shower, and dress.
Many dishes are prepared with noodles which I don't eat.
Again, the hotel is full. We noticed the rates for this hotel have increased by almost IND 747, US $10 a night, since we'd booked for July a week ago. Going forward, we'll check prices daily to see if we can again get the lowest possible prices for August. We're accumulating lots of "free nights" through our rewards program (using the link on our site) and will use them soon.

Have a safe and fruitful day!
Photo from one year ago today, July 3, 2019:
While in Connemara, Ireland one year ago, we learned how to recognize authentic scallops with the orange roe connection piece which in itself is delicious! Many times in markets and restaurants "fake" scallops are served that are "plugs" from other types of fish. For more, please click here.

A year ago post..."Knowing and the not knowing."...Our views then and our views now...

What a pose! What was she thinking? Female feathers are brown while males are black.
Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the "View web version" tab under the word, "Home" at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We'll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 
Today's photos are from July 2, 2018, while in Marloth Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa. See the link here for more details.
It was a treat to see multiple wildebeest visiting the garden at night.
Ironically, one year ago, we wrote the following, taken directly from the post here on July 2, 2019:

"After all the excitement over the past week by finalizing several bookings for the upcoming year, we've now settled back into our day to day lives. The itinerary is almost completely filled in with only a few gaps for hotel stays.  

Not only has it been exciting for us, but it's also been a huge relief. Not knowing where we'll be in six months is daunting, especially as I continue to recover from open-heart surgery.

That is one of the important aspects of world travel after all these years, knowing where we'll be a year from now and perhaps the following year. This fact has been instrumental in our booking so far out over the past almost seven years.

Without a home, apartment, condo, or place we can go to repack and regroup, this process must be completed while amid our travels. This could be unsettling for many.

Now, with experience, we've found if we know where we'll be in a year is all we need to feel comfortable. However, we both acknowledge that most likely we'll never be in a position to land in a new country without reservations. If we'd did, we'd figure it out and not panic."
Elephant viewing from the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.
Funny, isn't it? And now, not knowing where we'll be in a week, a month, let alone a year. Next time, down the road, when we broach this topic we'll certainly look at it in a different light.

While on cruises or socializing in any country, we're often asked, "How far out do you book your travel?"

We always answered, "As far out as it takes for us to feel comfortable, usually about two years." 
There may be one elephant or 40. However many there may be, we're always thrilled to see them.
At the beginning of our world travels, we only felt at ease with bookings out as far as those two years. But, as each year passed, we became less stringent about this, generally dropping it down to about a year as time moved on, while always having some cruises booked into the distant future.

Here we are now, with nary an idea of where we'll be at any point in the future and oddly, we're still ok. We aren't afraid. We aren't stressed. We aren't uncomfortable. 

This flock of ostriches is often found in a particular area near the river we often visit when on daily drives. Note the chick on the far left.
Our goal is to stay free of the virus and to be able to stay in a country where we can resume somewhat of a normal life, in a house with a view, with a kitchen, cooking our meals, doing laundry, going out sightseeing and, sitting outdoors on a veranda. 

We may not be able to visit crowded venues, but we'd always avoided typically crowded tourist hotspots. However, we've loved the opportunity to take a drive to find interesting scenery, wildlife, and nature, all the while taking photos to share with all of you here. 
Tom feeding kudu girls and boys from the veranda. 
I can't wait to be taking photos again, even imagining that first trip to a grocery store to stock up, with a camera in hand. Most likely, our first photos will be of a new holiday home, its view and immediate surroundings, and a trip to the market to revel over the food options...humm...even some beef will be a treat.

At this point, we haven't been inside a grocery store in six months! We haven't cooked a meal in six months! We haven't had a chunk of quality cheddar cheese or a handful of nuts when we've been hankering for a midday or evening snack! 
Wildebeest Willie ate a few pellets, looked at us, and was on his way, the other following close behind.
And, at this point, we haven't had a glass of wine or a cocktail in 100 days! Wow! I'll certainly take a photo of that first glass of wine, that first homemade meal, and that little plate of imported cheese to savor as a treat. 

We'd love a side salad, an olive, a pickle, real cream in French press coffee. Yesterday, while we watched an Irish cop series, Red Rock, Tom had to wipe the drool off his chin when he saw a plate of donuts.
A group of kudus is a "forkl" with females and males are together in a family unit, also referred to as a "harem."
It's all different now, one year later, the knowing and the not knowing, and most of all, the profound uncertainty of the future. May we all stay safe.
Photo from one year ago today, July 2, 2019:
Whenever the sky is mostly clear we look forward to the sunsets. For more details, please click here.

Itinerary one year ago...Itinerary today...

We stumbled upon the Preston Fresh Seafood Wholesaler on our drive to Yorkeys Knob which is a quick five-minute drive from our then home in Trinity Beach. We returned many times during our months in Queensland.
Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the "View web version" tab under the word, "Home" at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We'll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 
Today's photos are from July 1, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.

While searching for the "Photo from one year ago today," it was interesting to see the upcoming itinerary we'd posted on July 1, 2019. Doing so, prompted me to post this prior itinerary revealing how much has changed at the tail end to the present, in light of COVID-19. (See below).
Their colorful signs in the somewhat remote location made it easier to spot from the highway.
This is the first time in our almost eight years of world travel that we don't have a specific itinerary, nor do we have holiday/vacation home bookings anywhere in the world, at any time in the future.

We have some cruises booked going forward but, based on how COVID-19 is progressing, we expect they'll be canceled or changed at some point, leaving little reason to post an itinerary including such cruises.
When we arrived at the wholesale fish market we were intrigued by what could possibly be "cooked bugs."  Could this possibly be some type of sea "insect?" Check out the photo below of "cooked bugs."
It's a weird perception after all these years of world travel to literally be in "limbo" with virtually no definitive plan for the future, other than to leave India when it becomes possible, which could be months from now.

Our itinerary has been a vital aspect of the joys of traveling the world. Having the opportunity to review and revise it as needed has been a vital part in our planning. Now, everything has changed.
Gee...we've never seen scallops in the shell. We can imagine a plate of six of these covered in an almond flour and Parmesan-crusted buttery topping. Tom likes scallops so this will be a no brainer.
There are several couples with whom we've stayed in touch, mostly from North America who have been traveling the world as well, mainly from one to three years. 

On Facebook or via email and text messages we stay in touch with those couples and are up to date on their travels during the lengthy lockdown. Some have been able to travel within their own country, US or Canada, and have been able to fly in and out of several locations in order to maintain a degree of the continuation of their world travels.
These are "large cooked bugs" which are similar to crab but according to the salesperson, they taste similar to prawns. Next time we visited, we tried a few and loved them.
Had we been able to fly to islands in the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean, no doubt, we would have chosen another path during this long haul rather than staying stuck in Mumbai. 

As more time passes, more and more countries are refusing to allow travelers with US or Indian passports/visas to enter their borders. It seems this fact is escalating by the day when this morning on the news, a growing list of countries now forbidding entry into their borders where COVID-19 is on the rise, as is the case in the US and India.

If and when India's international flights resume, we may have to continue to stay in Mumbai when few countries will welcome us with this double whammy (US and India) in our passports.

We selected a barramundi filet from this batch, caught that morning. Keep in mind, for those of you reading from countries not using the metric system...AUD $32.50 per kilo translates to 2.2 pounds which would be USD $14.77 per pound, not too bad for fresh (never frozen) wild-caught fish. We purchased about one pound of which Tom had 9 ounces and I had approximately 7 ounces.
The few countries, such as Tanzania, which we previously considered, is accepting anyone from anywhere which may be indicative of their lack of interest and caution in providing safe entry into their country. But, according to this news story (and others), it may be foolhardy to travel to Tanzania based on their lack of statistics and precautions.

The reality isn't as simple as, "When and where international airports will open to US citizens having spent many months in equally high-risk India." It's much more complex.

Again, some of our US readers write, "Come back home!" But, as we continue to reiterate, ad nauseam, there's no point in us doing that when cases of the virus continue to escalate, we have no insurance in the US (only outside the US) and we have no home, no stuff to fill it.
At AUD $64, USD $49.26, all of these items which includes a huge Barramundi filet, two pieces of made-without-sugar smoked fish and two containers of crab meat which we'll use to make low carb crab cakes this weekend (lasting for two meals) will result in four meals for the two of us.  As a result, the cost per entre results in a cost per day of AUD $16, USD $12.31, not bad for such delicious fish and seafood. We struggle to be motivated to go out to dine when we do so well at home and have just as good a time.
This fact doesn't make us sad or despondent. Still, we consider ourselves world travelers and we have no intention of changing that scenario one day sooner than is absolutely necessary, which most likely would be due to health considerations.

Sure, on numerous occasions, we've discussed the reality that travel will be different going forward to include; vaccination requirements; long queues at airports and cruise terminals; required quarantine in some countries; face masks being worn in public areas; social distancing and more restrictions we've yet to discover.

We had to get about 18 vaccinations when we began traveling in 2012, which we updated in 2018 while in South Africa. Although we'd both prefer not to be vaccinated if a proven-to-be-safe COVID-19 vaccination becomes available, we will accept this requirement, when most likely, having such a certification may be required to enter most countries. 
There were a few types of fish that had been frozen but it was clearly marked. We prefer not to purchase defrosted fish preferring to buy only fresh when available.
We didn't flinch when we had to be inoculated for Yellow Fever and other diseases in order to visit certain parts of Africa and other countries. And, we won't flinch again when this becomes a requirement to travel. We have no doubt this will become necessary in the future. Want to travel? Be vaccinated or stay home, which will be the standard travel motto in the future.

We appreciate and accept the risks of vaccination that have created a movement of sorts, who are opposed to vaccinations. We understand and accept there are certain risks. 

But, traveling the world may require a degree of putting aside some of our personal beliefs, preferences, customs, and familiar modes of living to accept that of the country we're about to visit.
There were a few types of fish that had been frozen but it was clearly marked. We don't purchase defrosted fish preferring to buy only fresh when available.
Here is our link from which we've taken this year-ago itinerary as shown below.
Itinerary 2019 - 2020
Ireland - Connemara - house rented895/12/2019 - 8/8/2019 
Hotel Dublin, Ireland18/8/2019 - 8/9/2019
Hotel Amsterdam, The Netherlands2 8/9/2019 - 8/11/2019 
Cruise - Baltic - Amsterdam to Amsterdam 12 8/11/2019 - 8/23/2019 
England - Falmouth, Cornwall, UK14 8/23/2019 -9/6/2019 
England - St. Teath, Bodwin, Cornwall, UK149/6/2019 - 9/20/2019
England - Witheridge, Devon, UK219/20/2019 - 10/11/2019
Wales - Chepstow, Monmouthshire, UK1110/11/2019 - 10/22/2019
Hotel - Southampton, England210/22/2019 - 10/24/2019
Cruise - Southampton to Fort Lauderdale 15 10/24/2019-11/8/2019 
Hotel - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA1411/8/2019 - 11/22/2019 
Henderson, Nevada, USA911/22/2019 - 12/1/2019
Holiday Rental - Apache Junction, Arizona USA6112/1/2019 - 1/30/2020
Flight Phoenix, Arizona to Mumbai, India*21/30/2020 - 2/1/2020
Hotel - Mumbai, India12/1/2020 - 2/2/2020
Train - Maharajas Express -Mumbai to Dehli62/2/2020 - 2/8/2020
Safari - India (inc. in Private Tour)52/8/2020 - 2/13/2020
India - Private Tour512/13/2020 -4/3/2020*
Cruise - Mumbai to London29    4/3/2020 - 5/2/2020

Total days planned3595/12/2020 - 5/2/2020
*The private tour ended on March 15, 2020, due to COVID-19
Life is filled with trade-offs. Only each of us as an individual, a couple, or a family can decide what works best for their desires and choices. We pray that each of our readers is able to choose what is best for their needs as opposed to being driven by the choices and opinions of others.
Photo from one year ago today, July 1, 2019:
A year ago, we posted more information on the then-upcoming tour on the Maharajas Express. One of the many excursions on the Maharajas Express train includes a visit to the Taj Mahal. (not our photo). For details, please click here.