Cumbersome dining...Like everything else, we'll adapt...

It was delightful to see all of these elephants in Kruger from the fence in Marloth Park.
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Today's photos are from our post one year ago today. Please click here for more details.

Ah, it would be nice to go into a kitchen, do some chopping and dicing to prepare a lovely meal with a salad, a protein, and a few side dishes, mainly vegetable-based.

Even the cleanup wouldn't feel like a task at this point. Instead, as discussed in yesterday's post here, we have a new routine in order to ramp up our level of safety... dining twice a day in our hotel room. 

Dad (far left), mom, and ostrich chicks.
After last night's and this morning's experience, we discovered it wasn't as easy as we'd expected/ As planned with the chef, we'd appear each evening at 7:00 pm and pick up our food. Last evening at 7:00 sharp we arrived in the restaurant standing close to the chef's counter.  

Our food hadn't been prepared yet due to a lack of communication between the daytime and nighttime chefs. Don't get me wrong. This hotel and its staff have been wonderful.

But, the staff is under enormous stress. They are away from their families, living in the hotel to avoid infecting each other and the few guests here. No doubt, they are grateful to still have their jobs but this certainly must be a strain on them. 
Tom often sees figures of one type or another in cloud formations.  In this case, he saw an angel.
We never hear a whimper of dissatisfaction due to this situation when serving us and they are always gracious and kind. It's up to us to respond in like behavior in appreciation for how well they are treating us and what they've sacrificed to be here. We often praise them for the great food and service for which we tip staff accordingly.

Luckily, we were able to get plenty of cash from an ATM before we arrived at this hotel on March 24th. Hopefully, it will last for a few more months. At this point, with the huge number of cases in Mumbai (over 10,000), going to an ATM would not be wise. (Although we can't walk in the streets here, the hotel's driver could take us to an ATM or pharmacy if necessary).
The sugar cane burning season has started once again during which we get soot on the veranda and even into the house when the wind is blowing.
Anyway, back to last night's dinner. We sat in the lobby for 15 minutes with our masks on, waiting for our food. No one was sitting near us. Finally, our dinner was ready and each was placed on a very heavy tray. 

With my arms still not as strong as they used to be before surgery, I could barely carry my heavy tray loaded with a ceramic bowl of Paneer Makhani, and another full-sized ceramic plate of sauteed cabbage and spinach. 
A mom and her calf cooling off in the river.
All the while, carrying the tray from the restaurant, up the lift, and down the long haul to our room, I felt as if I'd drop it. Tom had his own tray to carry and there was no way he could have carried mine.

Going forward, I won't order the Paneer Makhani. It's comparable to a big bowl of soup and too hard to carry on the tray. I'll stick with the grilled chicken or salmon with two vegetable sides which will enable me to just carry one plate with the metal serving lid. This way, I won't need to use the heavy tray.
Possibly, a mom and her two offspring, most likely born five years apart or more which is typical for elephants.
Going forward, after mentioning last night's delay to the restaurant manager, we're anticipating our food will be ready at 7:00 pm sharp. This reduces are exposure waiting in the lobby.

This morning, I called to request our usual breakfast 15 minutes before we headed down, again wearing the masks. We didn't want to be locked into a specific time for breakfast which would require us getting up and ready by a certain time, which varies day by day. This morning it was ready when we arrived.
A young bull, most likely ostracized from the herd as he matured, wanders down the hill in Kruger to the Crocodile River.
We're keeping flatware in the room and washing and drying it in the bathroom. This way, fewer staff members will be handling it. Tom insists on returning the dirty dishes to the restaurant (wearing a mask) when he didn't want to leave the dirty dishes in our room or outside our door.

Now, when I do my hourly walk, I put on a mask before heading out the door. When I encounter people in the corridor I face the wall to avoid any head-on encounters. This is odd for me since I've always been so friendly. I'm sure many of you are facing this same situation.
Each day, a mating pair of hornbills stop by and ask for birdseed which we place on the table along with the container.  If we don't quickly respond to their noisy request, they bang on the window glass until we do.
Comparable to the other routines we've established during this time of COVID-19, this dining routine will become second-nature to us in the next several days. Life during this dreadful period isn't easy for any of us.

Thanks to our readers/friends for all the positive and supportive email messages. All of you mean the world to us!
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Photo from one year ago today, May 2, 2019:
We often see mongooses in the garden resting their chins on branches, rocks, or each other. For more from this post, please click here.

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