Living in the moment, avoiding whinging, gratefulness, and hope..

This was our holiday home in Campanario, Madeira, Portugal, high on a hill, as are most homes here.  We took this photo as we walked down the steep road in front of the house.  
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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
Today's photos are from June 5, 2014, while living in Madeira, Portugal. See the link here for the story and more photos.

This is not easy. We are not brave during this difficult experience. We are not adventurous during this difficult experience. We are not much different than any of you would be during this difficult experience. We are doing the best we can.

What keeps us from falling into a pit of depression or anxiety? Only one thing... The fears of falling into a pit of depression or anxiety. We choose an alternative as the easiest means of getting through this trying time... Living in the moment... Avoiding complaints, possessing a strong sense of gratefulness... Having hope for the future.
This rose was growing in front of the house on a narrow stone planter box.
How could we possibly enjoy living in the moment when that moment consists of being stuck in an average-sized hotel room 24 hours a day, each and every day with no respite?

Oddly, we do. The "moment" is the reality that we are safe. The "moment" is finding ways to occupy ourselves to avoid boring periods of "over-thinking" and worrying. 
A neighborhood walk resulted in seeing many gorgeous flowers including this pink rose in full bloom.
The "moment" is maintaining a positive attitude coupled with the utmost tolerance with one another, avoiding disharmony at all costs. Being "right" during these times is pointless. We are never going to look back at this period of time and say, "Oh, I am so glad I was "right" about this or that. 

We'll look back with an added sense of confidence in ourselves and as a couple for the grace and dignity, we've shared during such trying times. We also learned this when Tom was my caregiver after open-heart surgery, doing everything for me for many months, with neither of us complaining, not me for my discomfort, not him for the constant requirements facing him. 
There were four goats living on the hill next door appearing to be a mom, dad, and two babies.  Every morning we'd step outside and do a loud "baa" to which she responded in a louder "baa" as she looked our way. 
We knew my return to health was most certainly influenced by my state of mind and our state of mind as a couple. Now, we make every effort to maintain a positive and supportive foundation with one another. 

Some may say, "If you feel it, express it!" But for us, we've found that avoiding spewing negative thoughts and feelings to one another (and, in our own minds) on a regular basis only leads to emotional upheaval in the best of times, let alone now during times of Covid-19. 
Even imperfection has a certain beauty.
If one thinks about it, complaining/whinging doesn't provide any genuine benefit. We've found keeping our negative feelings and thoughts in check actually helps us avoid dwelling in a negative mental state. 

Gratefulness has been a major factor in helping us move through this period of time and will aid us well into the future. We continually discuss how fortunate we are to be safe; have air-con; good WiFi; have good, although repetitive food prepared for us twice a day; can stream shows we like to divert our attention; can afford to live here long term, and we have each other. What more could we ask for besides the eventual freedom from this small space?
I practically had to get on my knees and shoot upward when this flower was drooping toward the ground.
And, this is where hope comes in. We accept and do not dismiss that having hopes for the future may be impossible and unrealistic for those suffering from a terminal illness with no possibility of a remission or cure. We exclude those horrific situations from this conversation. Short of that, there's always hope for the rest of us.

But, is hope something that magically befalls upon us? I don't believe it is. Hope is a choice we make to bring us relief while we struggle through any situation. Hope is described as, "a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen." We can choose that, can't we?
Although we were quite a distance from the ocean, it was fun to watch the boats from afar.
It is from this foundation, one that we didn't necessarily discuss or plan, that is magically helping us get through this and other harrowing experiences. We are not brave. We are not adventurous. We are not unique in our efforts to maintain balance during this unusual time in history. We are practical, logical, and determined. That's it.

We've found a way to find comfort by living in the moment while avoiding complaining, having excess negative thoughts, feeling grateful, and, above all, having hope.

May all of you feel hopeful for the future. 
Photo from one year ago today, June 5, 2019:
One year ago today, we booked this holiday home in Wales. The simple design was pleasing to the eye, along with its affordability. For more, please click here.

Are killer bees next?...We survived Cyclone Nisarga unscathed...Photos of damage in Mumbai...

Mumbai cyclone
This is the first such storm to hit Mumbai in over 100 years. Dark clouds hang over the city ahead of cyclone Nisarga making landfall in Mumbai.
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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
Today's photos are a result of damage caused by Cyclone Nisarga are from this site.

Neither of us had experienced a cyclone/hurricane in our lives. Living in Minnesota we had plenty of experience with serious storms and on occasion tornadoes. But, a cyclone was a new experience and we had no idea what to expect. 
Mumbai cyclone
The FedEx MD-11 plane skids off the runway while landing during heavy rain, as severe cyclonic storm Nisarga made landfall, at Mumbai Airport.
Fortunately, (and sadly) there was only one fatality when it could have been many more. As it turned out Mumbai planned well and many lives were saved by evacuating thousands of residents and getting fishing boats docked at the shore rather than out to sea.

The damage from high winds and flooding was substantial, but overall the city survived well. Our hotel didn't incur any obvious damage from what we could determine.
Mumbai cyclone
Sea waves strike at a slum area near the Arabian sea as cyclone Nisarga makes its landfall on the outskirts of the city, in Mumbai.
During the worst of the storm, we stayed hunkered down in our room, never having the necessity of waiting it out in the corridors. I was able to continue my hourly walks, which gave me an opportunity to look out a few windows at the ends of the corridors to see the roofs and parts of buildings flying in the wind.

We are grateful and also sad for those who suffered and were disrupted during the storm, especially Covid-19 patients who had to be moved from makeshift tents and outdoor facilities. One can't imagine their terror when having to be moved while they were suffering with the devastating effects of the virus.
Mumbai cyclone
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) shows NDRF personnel clearing fallen trees from a road in Alibag town of Raigad district following cyclone Nisarga landfall in India's western coast. Cyclone Nisarga ripped roofs off homes in a coastal town near Mumbai after officials ordered offices and factories to shut and told people to stay home, reversing a move to ease a coronavirus lockdown in the Indian megacity.
This morning, my son Richard texted, (tongue in cheek), "Will it be killer bees next?"  I wrote back, "Maybe it will be a meteor rushing toward Earth, or Godzilla roaming the streets, or even Sharknado with sharks flying all over the city of Mumbai?"

We say this in an effort to inject a little lightness into this otherwise challenging situation. I guess I've spent too much time watching "disaster" movies and now real life is even more frightening than such movies as "Contagion."
Mumbai cyclonesA family looking for shelter during rainfall ahead of Cyclone Nisarga’s expected landfall, in Navi Mumbai. Heartbreaking.
It's still raining very hard and we still can hear thunder as we're sitting safely ensconced in our comfy chairs with the darkening drapes closed with lamps on in the room. Most days, we've kept the drapes closed to keep the room cooler, but in the past few days, we've done so to provide some protection from the wall of glass if high winds caused any issues.

We watched the movie "Rocketman," entertaining us for a few hours during the day and at night, we've been binge-watching two TV series; the Scottish show, "Dr. Finlay" and the 60-episode Australian show, "A Place to Call Home" on Acorn TV on Amazon Prime, a truly addictive show we've found exceptionally entertaining.
Mumbai cyclone
A corporation worker works to clear an uprooted tree that fell on a road during Cyclone Nisarga at Juinagar in Navi Mumbai.
Right now, anything we can do to "get out of our heads" for a few hours each day is worthwhile. As mentioned, at 3:00 pm we start streaming our favorite shows.

We pause the shows once an hour for my corridor walks, donning a face mask, putting my shoes back on, and carrying my phone with a headset to listen to podcasts to make the walking time pass more quickly. The latest time of the day I embark on the walk is 6:00 pm. Some days, I'm able to finish earlier, once I log 10 walks for a total of 2 miles, 3.2 km. 
Mumbai cyclone
Vehicles get damaged by uprooted trees due to strong winds after the landfall of cyclone Nisarga at Sanpada in Navi Mumbai.
Each time I head out the door, I attempt to walk faster than the last time, rather than attempt to increase the distance. Keeping track of my stats on the Fitbit I'd purchased in the US has also been a good diversion.

Much to my surprise, Tom has also been exercising by climbing the stairs in the stairwell near our room. He does this each day while our room is being cleaned. It's good to see him up and moving around as opposed to sitting in one spot day and night.
Mumbai 15
Damaged billboards due to strong winds triggered by Cyclone Nisarga, at Bandra Reclamation in Mumbai.
Today, we're back to our usual routine, now that the worst of the cyclonic storm is moving through with less damage. 

Yesterday, we read a news story that South Africa won't be opening its borders to international travel until February 2021. Oh.
Mumbai cyclone
People scramble to enter a truck during an evacuation of a slum on the coast of the Arabian sea in Mumbai on Wednesday, as Cyclone Nisarga makes landfall.
Have as pleasant a day as you can as we all continue to make our way through this pandemic.
Photo from one year ago today, June 4, 2019:
Front door view from this property we'd booked one year ago, from August 23, 2019, to September 6, 2019.  The cost for 14 nights is Euro 2125, US $2395.96 which averages to Euro 151.75, US $171.14. This amount is higher than we'd usually pay but we've balanced the budget by choosing varying prices on all four properties.  For the listing on this cottage, please click here.
For more details from this post, please click here.

Battening down the hatches...Cyclone Nisarga is on her way to Mumbai within the hour...

Nisarga Cyclone Live Tracking: Know The Current Location of Cyclone, Get Movement Alerts
This morning's weather map of the anticipated course of Cyclone Nisagra. As you can see Mumbai is located on the map in the dark green area indicated as the path of the cyclone.
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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

It's morning in Mumbai, June 3, 2020. Cyclone (hurricane) Nisarga is expected to make landfall in Mumbai in the next few hours. There's literally nothing we can do other than to stay put in our hotel room, away from the full wall of glass windows, heading out to the corridor if it becomes dangerous to our safety.

At this point, with varying news reports online, each stating different information, we have no idea as to the specifics other than what we feel is accurate on IndiaToday TV news.

There hasn't been a cyclone of this magnitude in Mumbai in 129 years. As a result, disaster control may not have the necessary experience in handling this type of disaster. However, it appears they've evacuated almost 100,000 people living in high-risk areas where their homes consist of tents, huts, and lean-to type properties. 

This leaves millions of citizens in danger who reside in less sturdy buildings whose roofs and entire properties may be subject to the ravages of this untimely disaster.

Covid-19 patients in tents and less secure properties have been relocated to areas with generators to ensure ventilators and other mechanical life-support systems are protected by the use of generators.

Last night, we called the reception staff to inquire if the hotel is protected with generators. As most major hotels, they assured us we will have a continuous power source if the local infrastructure fails during the storm and thereafter.

However, there is no guarantee that WiFi will continue if local towers are felled during high winds, expected as high as 125 km, 78 miles per hour, or more, with definitive speculations unknown at this time.

Last night, after we'd gone to bed while watching the news, we got up at midnight and packed, in the event we'd have to evacuate in a hurry. We doubt this is a possibility. 

On the fourth floor of this large 334 room hotel, we're anticipating we'll be safe, although we're fairly close to the Arabian Sea from where Cyclone Nisarga is rapidly gaining speed and intensity.

On the news at the moment is a video of the thousands of fishing boat owners getting into the sea to further secure their boats, covering them with makeshift tarps and coverings. This is their livelihood. Losing their boats to this storm will only be yet another disaster after Covid-19 has left so many poor families suffering.

We're not adding any online news reports to today's post when each publication is vastly different from others, except for the following, seeming factual information from this site which doesn't allow me to copy and paste their story.

Instead, as we watch the TV news we feel well informed as to the progression of the storm. The area most at risk where the "eye" of the cyclone will hit, is Alihab, a mere 90 km, 56 miles from the center of Mumbai. The cyclone itself is over 125 km, 78 miles wide. 

Thus, if the cyclone eye hits its exact anticipated target of Alibab, a suburb of Mumbai, this area will be greatly impacted  As we know of hurricanes, cyclones, and storms, their path can change at any point.

As I upload today's post shortly after 12:00 pm., we've begun to feel the beginnings of the storm. In an hour or more from now, the full brunt of the storm will reveal itself. It's raining heavily at the moment but the winds are yet to come.

If, over the next several days, you don't see a post from us, please know, as soon as we are able, we'll be back online.

Prayers for all the people of India and the world, on this frightening day, during these frightening times in our lives.
Photo from one year ago today, June 3, 2019:
What an adorable Poll Dorset lamb on the property on the farm we rented in Devon, England, one year ago. Please click here for more details.

Update: Cyclone (hurricane) hitting Mumbai within 24 hours...Just in case..

Dear Readers,
In the event you do not see a post from us tomorrow or days beyond, it will be due to WiFi and/or power outage. A powerful cyclone (same as a hurricane) is expected to make landfall in Mumbai in the next 24 hours. 

A cyclone hasn't hit Mumbai in a decade. Go figure.

We will return with a post immediately upon the restoration of services. To all our Mumbai and Indian readers, may you stay safe along with us. Please write to us with updates from your area once the WiFi service is restored.

Please see yesterday's full post below or here.

God speed.

Jess & Tom

State of mind during the lockdown...Can we last for the long haul?...

Ascension Day performers visited us in our holiday home in Madeira, Portugal in 2014 as represented further in today's photos.
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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
No more old videos will be posted at this time, although past photos will continue until such time as we have new photos to post.
Today's photos are from June 2, 2014, while living in Madeira, Portugal. See the link here for more photos.

I don't know how we're holding it together. This is not easy. If we knew when we could leave, that would greatly ease our minds with a plan for the future. But now, we don't know when we'll be able to leave Mumbai and where we'll be able to go.

Many countries, considering opening their borders soon, are forbidding US citizens from entering, due to the high number of cases of Covid-19 in the US, although we've been in India since January 31st. 
The procession began at this local Catholic church in Campanario, Madeira.
This could result in our staying here until such time as the virus dissipates sufficiently in the US that Americans are welcome to cross the borders of other countries. This could mean that India could open its borders and commence international flights, but we'd still have nowhere to go.

The only option will be those few countries that seem less concerned as to who enters their country, which is far and few between. Such particular countries maybe those that hold no interest to us due to large numbers of Covid-19 cases and lack of adequate security and screening.
Without hesitation, the celebrants barged their way into our house. We couldn't wipe the smiles off of our faces.
As mentioned in yesterday's post here, it's conceivable we could be in this hotel in Mumbai until well into 2021. How will we emotionally handle this possibility? Sure, we always espouse, "thinking positive" and staying "hopeful."

But, these words can be meaningless for many of us while under this unusual type of stress as a result of Covid-19. It's easy to spew words to ourselves and others in these times of great stress and worry, to "hang in there" or consider that "this too, shall pass."
It was obvious they'd practiced their songs as they harmonized in unison.
Yes, this will pass in time. When I had open-heart surgery in 2019 with resulting life and limb-threatening leg infections from the grafts, requiring two additional surgeries and another hospital stay, somehow I prevented myself from feeling hopeless. In time, I recovered. But then, I didn't know a timeline, nor did I know if we could continue to travel, not unlike our situation now.

Now, we ask ourselves such questions as:
1. Will be we able to continue traveling the world?
2. Will flying become so cumbersome and risky that we'll have to limit ourselves to where we'll able to go?
3. Will we ever feel comfortable enough to sail on a cruise ship?
4. Will we still be able to acquire adequate travel insurance comparable to our current policy? 
5. Will travel continue to be affordable as it has been during the past years?
6. Will holiday homes become less and less available when owners decide to sell in light of Covid-19?
7. Will we be able to wait this out?
The young accordion player was quite skilled.
You may think we could put a quick end to our dilemma if we embarked on one of the rare flights offered from Mumbai to the US through the US State Department to return to the US. 

We're not ready to give up, not out of stubbornness, but more out of precaution in an attempt to avoid contracting the virus when and if we'd enter the US without adequate health insurance. This could bury us, financially and literally. Why take the risk when we're so safe here?
In one fell swoop, they were out the door and on the way to their next house.
So the question remains... How do we maintain a positive state of mind if this isolation, this quarantine, continues for six or eight months or more? Financially, we are able to continue indefinitely. Emotionally, we're fine now. But what about in three, six or eight months?

We've been in lockdown for almost three months, including time spent in the same circumstances in prior hotels with our self imposed quarantine even prior to the official lockdown in India. We arrived at the Marriott on March 24th.
They left rose petals and wrapped candies on the floor. We left them with a well-earned donation. Of course, Tom ate the candy as  I swept the floor.
So, the question remains, can we do this for months to come? I believe we can if we continue to focus on these factors: we're safe; we're together: we have food; we have air-con; we have WiFi; we can afford to stay here, along with a huge factor that contributes to our state of well-being... We have all of you!

The love, support, thoughtful suggestions, and encouragement from our readers is highly instrumental in helping us maintain a positive state of mind while longing for the day when once again we can share stories and photos of our ongoing travels.
A procession made its way down the steep road near our house to the next house around the sharp turn.
We appreciate our circumstances for the above reasons and we're grateful to be safe, day after day, month after month. May all of you, along with us, embrace the concept of gratefulness for what we do have during times of Covid-19, as opposed to what we don't have.
Photo from one year ago today, June 2, 2019:
Our favorite holiday home in the UK was the most expensive but we couldn't resist it. It was located in Cornwall, near Port Isaac, where Doc Martin, one of our favorite BBC TV shows was filmed! On May 2, 2019, we selected this property for a two-week stay in September 2019 at a cost of Euro 2498.51, US $2707.94, an average daily rate of Euro 172.72, US $193.42 which was much higher than we typically pay. To compensate for this higher rent, we selected other properties at lower prices in order to balance the budget. To see details on the listing, please click here. For the remainder of our post, please click here.

Another month in lockdown...Fine tuning the routine to shorten the day...

A pretty walkway into a municipal building area in Ribeira Brava in Madeira, Portugal in 2014. See the link here.
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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
No more old videos will be posted at this time, although past photos will continue until such time as we have new photos to post.
Today's photos are from June 1, 2014, while living in Madeira, Portugal. See the link here for more photos.
The start of a new month surprises us during the lockdown in India. The months are flying by more quickly than we expected. This morning I took the lift down to the lobby to pay our bill for the last 11 days in May including meals for a total of INR 116947.49, US $1552.98.

Our daily living expenses based on this most recent bill are INR 10631.59, US $141.18 per day, just about the same daily cost for us to live in South Africa in a beautiful bush home, buying groceries, pellets, and supplies, dining out, and having a rental car in our possession.

These tall muffins are popular on the island.
The big difference here is we don't have access to anything other than what this standard-sized hotel room offers; a small bathroom, two comfy chairs, a bed, an again-working TV, and coffee/tea supplies all of which we greatly appreciate. It could be a lot worse.

As of this morning, when I went to the reception desk to pay the bill, I asked how many rooms of this 334 room hotel, are actually occupied by hotel guests. The answer shocked me... A total of 5 rooms.   

Doughy things.
All the staff members we see in the corridor, cleaning the rooms (where the staff is also living) are here for 5 occupied guest rooms with a maximum of 10 guests. How they continue to stay open baffles us, but, we are very grateful they have done so for this small group.

All other guests, beside us, are Indian citizens for which the government pays their hotel bills during the lockdown, thus making the hotel required to stay open, which ultimately has served us well.

Locally made merchandise is for sale in the shops along the boulevard.
We don't see the other guests since we're confined to our room, other than to visit the front desk for handling the bill and for my walking the corridors each hour. We no longer go downstairs to order meals. Instead, we make a phone call to the front desk who transfers us to the restaurant to place our order each morning and each evening.

Although most meals, we order the same food, it is imperative to be specific for each item since there has been a regular turnover in the kitchen staff. Ordering the same items each time often results in differences arriving by room service such as; not enough vegetables for me; no flatware, no butter, or varying portions of any of our items.
Then, of course, there are popular and familiar items offered everywhere.
Sometimes, my two half chicken breasts, are tiny and other times normal-sized. Sometimes my vegetables include corn when I don't eat corn and have explained this several times. Sometimes our food is room temperature. Other times it's hot. Tom's portion size of chicken pasta each night can vary from 20-25% less some nights. Oh well. So it goes. 

None the less, we're safe and we're grateful. One of our kind readers sent me information on a free TV app we can use. This morning I downloaded it on my phone and Chromebook, allowing us to watch more shows at no cost. Thank you, Reader Lisa! 

Many little shops were to be found on the side streets as well.
She and her husband are also world travels and they happened to be living in a holiday home in Portugal when the lockdown began. They were able to extend their rental until next April to ensure it would be safe to travel again.

This morning, I asked Tom, "Could this be us? Staying here until next March or April?"

"Yes," he said, "it could be us." We looked at each other in resignation, trying to brace ourselves for this potential reality.

There's no word about international flights starting up in India any time soon. Countries all over the world can open their borders, but it does us no good if we can't fly out of Mumbai. 

Embroidery is a centuries-old tradition in Portugal.
Many have written and suggested we fly to other states in India to try to get out of the country. But, even if other states open their borders to international flights before "hotspot" Mumbai, it makes no sense to fly any more than is absolutely necessary and be exposed to more people at busy airports.

We've been able to shorten our days a little by trying to sleep until 8:00 am, have breakfast at 9:00 am and six hours later, after I've finished the daily post and miscellaneous business projects, we begin streaming shows at 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm when we call and order dinner. 

Some of the narrow streets weren't populated with shops and tourists.
The time from 3:00 pm passes quickly as we become engrossed in excellent BBC shows we're streaming at this time both during the afternoon and evenings. 

By 11:00 pm, we try to fall asleep both often awakening several times during the night. But, this routine seems to help the day pass more quickly. I still take time, once an hour, up until 6:00 pm to walk the corridors.
Beautiful flowers grow freely everywhere.
Stay practical everyone, stay safe, strive to stay healthy, and make it through until this ends or changes, one day at a time.
Photo from one year ago today, June 1, 2019:
Cows...they are cute. For more photos, please click here

Sad and frightening news from the US...Cable TV is down in the hotel...

Wow! Wow! Wow! Tom took this photo from the 124th-floor observation deck of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa with a total of 163 stories in Dubai on this date in 2013. 
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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
No more old videos will be posted at this time although past photos will continue until such time as we have new photos to post.
Today's photos are from May 31, 2013, from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Many more photos are available at this post. Please click here for more details.

As we sit here in lockdown in Mumbai, India since March 24, 2020, for a total of 69 days and nights, we're dependent upon both online and TV news broadcasts to keep us informed of world affairs. There are a few English speaking newscasts here in Mumbai that we supplement with news we read and videos we watch online.

Yes, we know about the unreliability of news as being precise and accurate in its representation with sensationalism being the primary objective to attract more readers and viewers. But, this is all we have to go by at this point like many of you in lockdown scenarios throughout the world.
The most intentionally crooked skyscraper in the world in Abu Dhabi, Capital Gate, built at a full 18-degree angle. Oh.
Although, we must admit, at times we may post a somewhat sensationalized headline to our stories to attract more readers, the content of our stories is definitively truthful and concise. (Oh, yes, the media claim to do the same thing!).

That's one of the reasons we feel our readers have stayed with us for so long. We tell it like it is, although being upfront and vulnerable at times, may prove to be a little revealing and embarrassing.

One of the entrances to the Emirates Palace Hotel.
We wish the media felt the same way. But, they don't. And as we remain in lockdown in Mumbai for these 69 days and nights, we try to decipher from the available media, what is truth and what is an exaggeration or possibly untrue in its entirety.

There's no doubt in our minds what happening in many cities in the US right now; the rioting, the violence, the ravaging of businesses, the thievery, and the resulting risk to life and limb.

Looking up, as we stood in the main foyer of the Emirates Palace Hotel.
We won't get into a political stance here, as we've promised in the past. For us, the reality remains: we're worried about our family members and friends and the state of our country.

Many cities in our former home state of Minnesota and Tom's birthplace of Minneapolis is in ruins right now and becoming worse each day. And for many of our readers in the US, their own cities are being ravaged by this seeming uncontrollable situation.

Happy to sit in the air-conditioned comfort of the Emirates Palace Hotel.
Adding to our concern is the fact that cable TV in the hotel is down today since early this morning. With skeleton staff during the lockdown, it could be days until we can watch the news on the TV which we do each morning upon awakening.

Instead, this morning we listened to US news videos on my phone before and during breakfast, horrified by what we were hearing and seeing. Gee...isn't Covid-19 enough?
This looks similar to an ATM but its actually a gold dispensing machine, not an ATM.
Of course, there are many exaggerations and untruths flying around Facebook, Twitter, and other media right now, many of which are scare tactics only inspiring more disharmony and hysteria. 

In a time when harmony and collective caring for neighborhoods and fellow human beings can be highly instrumental in reducing the risks for Covid-19, the nation is its knees in disharmony with elements of civil war.
Our final stop that day on Palm island, in Dubia the renowned Atlantis, The Palm Hotel & Resort that doesn't allow tourists to visit except when dining or as a booked guest.
May we all pray for our health, our safety, and our freedom, as a nation, as a world, and as an individual. God speed.
Photo from one year ago today, May 31, 2019:
A portion of the Twelve Bens mountains. For more photos from Connemara, Ireland please click here.

Redesigning our site...Tooth abscess update...

Wild night in the bush with more wildlife than we could imagine.
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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
Today's photos are from May 30, 2013, from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  Please click here for more details.
Umer, our driver and guide, insisted we stop for a photo op, in front of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE on this date in 2013.
As of yesterday, we began the laborious process of redesigning this site after finding a quality web developer online. Our prior design company ceased operations about three years ago making any changes cumbersome and difficult for me.

By no means, am I qualified as a web designer. I've never taken any interest in spending even more hours online learning all the skills required to be able to make the type of changes we need at this time.
Definitely not my most flattering photo. We're standing in front of the architectural scale model. After we posed for this picture, a security guard rushed over telling us we are not allowed to touch one another in the mosque.  Of course, we complied.
When we were informed that Blogger, our current hosting company is changing its policies at the end of June, it became necessary to find a company to work with us. After considerable online research including reading many reviews, we found a company that will be re-doing our site beginning today.

Of course, I was hesitant about doing this. We didn't want to lose any of the almost 2900 posts we've uploaded to date. As it turns out, we'll have an opportunity to work online closely with the new company to ensure everything in order for our ongoing daily posts and for your ease of reading.
The White Mosque in Abu Dhabi, also known as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which we visited on this date in 2013.
Nothing will change for our readers. You'll be able to click on our page and easily see each new post, photos and find our archives easily on your smartphone. 

As seen above in a "Note," I've been posting a recommendation for a means by which readers can find our archives on your phone as easily as you can on a computer, laptop, Kindle, or tablet of any brand.
As we neared the mosque.
It's been frustrating to post the instructions to see our archives at the beginning of each post along with the fact that our advertisers links are older and need a new look.

Making this big change will require some work on my part, but what better a time than to do this now, during the continuing lockdown in Mumbai, India? Hopefully, in the next month or so we'll have it done. You'll only need to find us as you've always done or receive email messages as you've requested. We'll keep you updated as to the transition which will occur spontaneously once we're done.
As we approached Sheikh Zayed Mosque.  It was difficult, based on its size and location to get a full shot of the mosque's enormous expanse.
Many of our dear friends/readers/family members have inquired as to how I'm doing with my tooth abscess. After another full week on antibiotics, while cutting back a little on my vigorous walks, always a good idea when trying to heal from most conditions, I am experiencing some relief.
As we entered Abu Dhabi, our mouths were agape at the world's first-round skyscraper, AIDer HQ.
The wonderful dentist I found online, Dr. Kavita Kumar with Designer Smiles in Mumbai is readily available by phone or Whatsapp: 098212 43274. Her support and assistance have been very helpful but based on my heart condition and risk of the virus she suggested no invasive treatment is recommended at this time. I never took the risk of going out to see her at this point.

The continuation of the antibiotics for a few more days and saline rinses were the recommended treatment at this time. If the painful symptoms return, which most likely they will since abscesses rarely go away on their own, she wants me to contact her immediately to come up with a new treatment plan.
This chandelier, one of three, was made entirely with gold and jewels.
She has continued to stay in touch with me each day, to see how I am doing. The comfort in knowing she is there if I need her has provided a huge amount of peace of mind and a reduction in the amount of worrying. 

In the interim, we're holding up OK. I am back to walking once an hour and Tom and I are enjoying some new BBC series in the late afternoons and evenings to keep us distracted, thus reducing the risks of stress during these trying and unusual times. 
Standing among the gilded elegance left us in awe.
Mealtime continues to be the highlight of the day. I've been switching my dinner entrees between; grilled chicken, paneer Mahkni and grilled salmon always along with a large portion of vegetables. 

Tom is still ordering the same chicken penne with white sauce, roasted potatoes (from my entree), and toast. For breakfast, I have a vegetable omelet and two chicken sausages; while Tom has the same fried eggs, bacon, and toast each morning. Boring? Yes. But delicious each time.
Only steps from the door to exit the mosque, Umer again grabbed the camera insisting we take one more shot of us, pressing me to smile. The dry heat was suffocating that day, well over 40C, 104F. 
Have a good weekend, as we see many parts of the world opening up their shops and services. But, please everyone, stay safe in the process.

Photo from one year ago today, May 30, 2019:
A pair of look-alike cows may be a mom and a calf in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.