Sorry folks, no pig photo, no safari luck...Favorite photos continue...


Often, cows and bulls are depicted in Hindu temples.
I really don't know where to begin. After all these years of travel and our share of trials and tribulations, these past days have presented a series of events, unusual from anything we've ever experienced in the past.

First of all, we are safe. Frustrated, but safe. Currently, at noon on Friday, March 20, 2020, we are back from the Mumbai Airport at the hotel with a view of the Arabian Sea, from our modern and nicely appointed hotel room with great air-con, reasonable WiFi (off and on at the moment) and excellent customer service.
"Kapaleeshwarar Temple: Dedicated to one of the forms of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati that is Arulmigu Kapleeswar and Karpagambal respectively, the temple should be on the top position of your list of temples to visit.
We're safe, basically quarantined by choice. With few guests in the hotel along with us, our risks of infection are relatively low, especially now that India is banning all international flights, incoming and outgoing beginning in the next 24 hours.

This morning South Africa refused to let us in when we were at check-in at the airport in Mumbai. The reps called South Africa's immigration to verify if we could, in fact, enter the country before we were allowed to board the flight. No one, not just us, that is traveling from any country with a single case of Covid-19 is allowed to enter South Africa as of today.
This hall at the temple site is used for weddings, arranged marriage meetings, relaxation, and prayer.
With most countries banning foreign nationals to cross their borders, there was no country that we could escape to. They suggested we return "home." That doesn't work for us based on our circumstances... We don't have a home. 

Nor did we want to travel to any airports in the US when as of five hours ago, there were over 13,900 cases in the US, many of them as a result of travel. Based on my high-risk status, entering at one of those airports made no sense to us.
A moonlit evening on the beach.
Within moments of hearing this final result, we stopped for a few minutes to discuss our options. They were few. Staying in Mumbai, for now, made the most sense when no countries would accept us, except for the US where we didn't want to go. We began to make our way, with the loaded trolley, a long distance to a taxi stand, and then, the worst part of the morning ensued. 

We had to prepay at a kiosk for a taxi, asking for a van. A small car doesn't work for us. We took our prepaid ticket to door #1, to find a miniature van, and I mean miniature, that was somehow supposed to be able to fit our luggage.
A variety of trinkets for sale.
Miraculously, the determined driver loaded the heavy bags atop the vehicle onto a luggage rack. Now, we'd hope and pray nothing would fall off onto the roadway. The seat belts and air-con didn't work and mosquitos were flying around our heads. I was bitten several times.

Then, in our exhausted state as a result of little sleep from getting up at 2:00 am, the driver got lost and couldn't find our hotel. He spoke no English and when he stopped several times to ask his taxi cronies where the hotel was located, they shook their heads. They didn't have a clue either.
St. Thomas Church in Chennai.
With the mosquito bites, our clothes sticking to us, being jerked around in the rickety vehicle, we had to focus on staying calm. I brought up "Maps" on my phone and attempted to teach the driver two words, "right" and "left." After a highly stressful hour, we finally made it back to the hotel, hot, sweaty, bitten and tired.

It was close to 6:00. When the hotel manager arrived, we made a "deal" with him on the price of the room (we moved to a pool/ocean view room), a discount on dinners and of course, with breakfast included.
It was a cloudy day but we still enjoyed seeing the colorful sculptures.
But now, situated in this lovely hotel on the ocean in Mumbai, we've resigned ourselves to a self-imposed quarantine and have decided to make the best of it. Pools and bars aren't allowed to be open in India right now, nor can one swim in the dangerous waters of the Arabian Sea.

Instead, we'll make ourselves comfortable, doing what everyone else is doing; reading books on our phones, watching movies and tv series, and in our case, and on the cooler days, walking on the beach. It's hot here now.
Although it wasn't very crowded, there are always many visitors to the famous Chennai temples.
I called Louise and sadly explained we won't be arriving tomorrow. But, when things change and restrictions are removed, we hope to head to South Africa. Hopefully, at that time, we'll have a pig photo to post and the dreaded virus will long have run its course.

No "final expenses" for India will be posted at this time. Expenses are not final yet and based on current circumstances will continue to accrue.

Take care, my friends.
_______________________________________
Photo from one year ago today, March 20, 2019:
The helmeted guinea-fowls have been gone a few months.  Yesterday, they returned with many chicks in tow, teaching them how to "steal" pellets from warthogs.  As annoying as they can be, it was delightful to see their offspring. For more photos, please click here.

2 comments:

Ezmarelda said...

Sorry to hear of your plight. I know you will make the best of it. All good things come to he who waits.....we can all hope and pray. Be safe n be well.

Jessica said...

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, patience and perseverance seem to be practical, particularly during this difficult that has had an impact on all of us throughout the world. Stay safe and healthy!

Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom

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