A work in progress on our revised site...Soon...

After leaving the beach we drove to a high point in the area with this expansive view.
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 June 30, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.

When we first decided to update our site a few years ago, I was dreading it. As no expert in web development, this daunting task, requiring a tremendous amount of work by me, kept me from moving forward.
We walked past a grove of palm trees and evergreens as we made our way to the beach.
As it's turned out, the company we're using now, located in many cities in India, works with many US and worldwide companies and is familiar with US-based needs as well as worldwide site features.

It wasn't as big of a commitment as I originally anticipated when I've only had to spend four or five hours each week working on my part of the process. Although, during these quiet times in lockdown, it's on my mind all the time.
We walked toward this crest after crossing the dip down to the beach, wondering if any crocs may be lying in wait. 
What's slowing down the process of "going live" with the new site is the necessary addition of our 2882 past posts (as of today), being moved over to ensure we have an easy transition. The web developers can only add so many per day as each old post must be added manually, one at a time.

The archives are of utmost importance to us as the number one most important feature we have. Many of our long term and particularly new readers, reference them on a regular basis. Also, we use them many times each day to reference past information.
Yorkeys Beach in Yorkeys Knob was serene and pristine.
During my walk this morning, I recalled a fabulous resort where we'd stay in August 2018 in Chobe National Park in Botswana, thinking that we could stay there again when we'll have to leave South Africa again after 90-days, for a new visa stamp. 

Immediately, I asked Tom the dates (he's the expert in recalling dates while I'm better at recalling expenses, names of people, and names of locations) making it simple for me to look up the appropriate post for details about this resort in Chobe National Park. Not only is it handy to review old posts, but, it's crucial as we continue on, day after day.
At certain points, it felt more like the desert than the beach with various vegetation shooting up through the sand.
Based on the time it's taking to upload each day's archive since March 15, 2012, it may not be until early August when you'll see our new site. At this point, we're excited about that day, not only to be done with this big process but also to be able to share the new site with all of you.

In addition, this morning I was selecting some additional travel advertisers for our site and eliminating the frustrating duplicates, that I was unable to remove without professional help. Our former web developer closed their business about three years ago leaving us without any professional help until now.
This view was to our left as we faced the ocean.
As we move forward with the site, we're striving to increase our meager revenue from our advertisers which doesn't cover the cost of maintaining our site annually. 

If our readers will use some of our links, including Amazon, none of which cost you, the purchaser any additional costs for products and services will eventually increase the revenue. Using our links provides our readers with all the same data and products found by visiting the site directly, resulting in our ability to generate enough revenue to cover yearly management expenses. 
To our right, this was the view we stumbled upon.
Thanks to those who have been using our links! We receive a small commission when our links are used. We do not receive compensation for the majority of links we may mention in the body of most posts. If we do, we will always mention that fact.

One item, important to mention now, is that HomeAway, the holiday/vacation site we use almost exclusively, which is one of our advertisers, is changing their name to VRBO when in the past few years they've purchased the majority of these types of companies under one umbrella. Our new site will reflect this change.
We spoke with this woman who is from Sydney and travels throughout the continent with her husband in their "caravan." She, like us, was enthralled with the number of shells on the beach, not often found on many beaches that we've walked throughout the world.
As it turns out, this period in lockdown was probably the best time to work on the site changes with few distractions such as preparing meals, shopping, sightseeing, doing laundry, and socializing are out of the picture.

By the time the lockdown ends, we'll have fine-tuned any necessary changes to the new site and I'll have learned how to manage the day-to-day operations. Few websites/blogs prepare a new post daily which makes the process all the more time consuming and intensive.
Tiny wildflower growing on the beach.
Otherwise? Not much is new here. We see more and more new guests checking in and out when walking the corridors, all of whom are wearing masks. We hold back to let them pass. We remain upbeat and hopeful for times to come!

Stay safe.
Photo from one year ago today, June 30, 2019:
One year ago today, we posted photos of the Viking Sun, from our cruise that was canceled for April 2, 2020, due to COVID-19. Buffet dining rooms such as shown here will be a thing of the past on cruise ships in the future. Hopefully, we sail on Viking sometime in the future. For more details, please click here.

Tom's journey in lockdown..Weight gain and...His haircut...

Prior to his haircut.
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 June 29, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.
Being in lockdown has been a challenging scenario for both of us. It was about time to share some of Tom's challenges during these many months stuck in a hotel room in Mumbai, India.
Side view after his haircut. 
Emotionally, it's been relatively easy for him. He busies himself with endless research and reading with history and ancestry, two of his favorite sources of information. He spends a little time reading and posting on Facebook which is much less so than in years past.
Full frontal view after his haircut.
Of course, he continues to research possible future travel, but with the uncertainty due to COVID-19, this has considerably diminished over the past many months. He has no interest in researching facts about the virus. He leaves that to me which I report to him from time to time. 

Perhaps, like the proverbial ostrich with its supposed head in the sand (which isn't true after all), he has little interest in pandemic news other than that which may ultimately impact our future travels. Essentially, his interest in COVID-19 revolves around this simple aspect, "When will we be able to get out of here and where can we go?"
The sidewalk (often referred to as the esplanade) along the beach in Palm Cove, Queensland, Australia in 2015.
Otherwise, he is surprisingly cheerful and optimistic. No doubt, he's resigned himself to the situation and has maintained an even keel, day after day, night after night, making this isolation all the easier for me. It would be unbearable if one of us became despondent and/or grumpy.

Tom loves food, although extremely picky over what he eats. With relatively few menu options that appeal to his tastes, as mentioned, he was eating the same dinner each night; chicken penne pasta with white sauce, a side of roasted potatoes, and four slices of white toast. 
Many of the restaurants offer Italian cuisine.
I kept my mouth shut about this unhealthy repeated meal. There was no point in commenting about what he ate. In addition, he had four pieces of white toast with butter and strawberry jam with four eggs and bacon each morning. This was an outrageous eight pieces of bread a day. 

Add in the seven pats of butter and two little jars of strawberry jam each day, the calorie and carbohydrate consumption were over the top. He gained 20 pounds since we arrived in this hotel on March 24th, in a mere three months ago!
There were diners enjoying an early lunch as we explored the area.
When I noticed him struggling to button his pants, I still kept my mouth shut. On May 24th, of his own volition, he started walking and doing the stairs. But, as we know, exercise alone won't necessarily result in weight loss.

On June 27th, again of his own volition, he cut out all the bread, the butter, and the jam. Now, he's losing weight like crazy while still being able to eat the cheese omelet, bacon, pasta, and potatoes. 
Casual, affordable dining establishments line the boulevard.
You won't catch me complaining about the carbs, especially when he consumes them only during dinner, which for some people, may work for weight loss. I expect he'll lose the balance of the weight by the middle of August at the latest since weight loss slows after the first week or two.

He's doing fine without the bread and says he's not any hungrier than he was while eating the bread. Once we get out of here and into a holiday home where we can cook our meals, he'll easily be able to maintain his weight with the meals we cook.
Pizza restaurants are never at a shortage in most countries we visit. 
We've both read many stories about people gaining weight while in lockdown. Fortunately, I've lost 12 pounds since we arrived at this hotel after having gained 25 pounds after taking all those heart medications for six months after heart surgery and changing my thyroid medication. I thought I'd be able to easily lose but it was not happening, although I was eating my usual healthy diet. 

Finally, albeit slowly, I am losing the added weight with the restrictions due to our confinement; no wine, no daytime cheese snacking, and no after-dinner nuts or low carb snacks. Hopefully, by the time we leave here in a few months, we'll both have lost all the extra weight and be back to our "old" selves, fitting comfortably in our clothes.
There's never a shortage of pharmacies wherever we may travel.  They are often referred to as "chemists" in many countries.
As for Tom's next issue, it boiled down to his hair. His last haircut was in January 2020. I suggested he do a ponytail, but he wouldn't consider it. I offered to cut his hair. He wouldn't consider that either.

Yesterday, while I was wrapped up in preparing the post and oblivious to what he was doing, he took a pair of sharp scissors to his hair. He came out of the bathroom after his "haircut" and I couldn't stop laughing all day, which continued today when I saw it again. 
A small grocer and "take away" shop in this strip of shops.
He dug out a hat from his suitcase and now insists on wearing it when leaving the room to walk the corridors. He really doesn't need to wear the hat since we doubt the few staff members he may see in the corridors will give a hoot about his botched haircut.

He surprised me today when he didn't mind that I posted these photos of him. It reminds me of when my kids took scissors to their hair when they were four or five years old, especially the side view. I trimmed the back of his neck. Like most haircuts, good or bad, it will resolve in weeks to come.
Palm Cove Holiday Caravan (RV) Park is across the street from the beach.
Much to my delight, Tom is doing well. As we discuss our potential plans to leave Mumbai when airports re-open to international travel, we do so with a sense of calm coupled with sensible caution, to determine which will be our best course of action. 

In days, weeks, or months, however long it may be, we'll share more as the opportunity to move on as it presents itself. In the interim, individually and as a couple, we're holding our own.

Stay well.
Photo from one year ago today, June 29, 2019:
A year ago today, we'd booked this itinerary on the Viking Sun cruise departing Mumbai on April 3, 2010, that was ultimately canceled on March 15, 2020. In 2013, we sailed on a similar itinerary but this 29-night Viking cruise offers additional ports of call which appeal to us. Also, other than Antarctica this was my favorite itinerary, sailing through the Middle East and the Gulf of Aden. For more details, please click here.

Loading up on protective gear...Celebrating our special day in lockdown...

Protective gears; face masks, N99 masks, goggles, face shields, and hand sanitizers. Gloves have yet to arrive. (Sorry, this is a video. I hit the wrong button, but I'd already repacked everything so a retake was too much trouble).
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 June 28, 2013, while in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy. See the link here for more details.
I suggested we use the rain gutter to dry the sheets. Tom ran to get the hangers to avoid getting the sheets dirty.  Then, he moved the table and chairs to ensure the sheets didn't touch the tabletop.
We're confident we have sufficient protective gear for the eventuality of flying out of Mumbai, hopefully to South Africa in the months to come. This morning, I received a news blurb further stating that South Africa intends to open its borders to all international travelers sometime in September.
I'd expected to see more hanging laundry on a Monday morning while on a walk in 2013 in Boveglio, Italy.
In other news, it appears India may be opening flights to international travelers in the next two to three months. This provides us with the hope that both of these countries will make these changes in the next few months, allowing us to move on.
This was our tiny clothes "dryer." We'd sure appreciate one of these right now in lockdown.
In the interim, we've been gathering a variety of protective equipment we'll be using when we fly out of Mumbai, which will require multiple layovers along the way. The above photo includes everything we'll need with the exception of gloves that are yet to arrive from Amazon India. Of all the items we've ordered gloves have been the slowest to arrive.
Early morning walk to the garden.
As shown in the photo, are the N99 masks we ordered to protect us from air pollution while touring in India. We never used them, but going forward we'll certainly use them while traveling. The popular N95 mask has a 95% virus protection rate while the N99 has a 99% protection rate.
What a morning! What a view!
As mentioned in a prior post, at the time we ordered the N99 masks while we were in the US many months ago, there was no mention of COVID-19, making them readily available at Amazon USA. Surely, by now, they may be more difficult to acquire.
When we walked to the garden we noticed these live vines over a doorway to another "attached house.  Tom grumbled, "You'd never catch me walking through those vines each time I went outside!" I thought they were cute.
Hopefully, our diligent use of these products will keep us safe on what may prove to be 24 hours of total travel time, plus extra time at the airports, due to COVID-19. Wearing a face mask can be difficult for extended periods, but with the above-shown face shields, we may be able to remove the masks for short periods when not in the close proximity of other travelers.
I took this unfamiliar walkway wondering what was on the other end.
Before face shields became available on Amazon India, we purchased goggles to use with face masks with many reports stating the virus can enter through one's eyes. We won't need to wear them with the face shields, but if we take off the shields for some reason, we can supplement our level of protection with the goggles worn along with face masks.
This entrance to another 300-year-old house appeared well maintained.
Well, enough about that! Today is a special day for us which under normal circumstances we'd celebrate with a night out or a special homemade dinner whenever we may be at the time. It's the anniversary of the day we met in 1991, 29 years ago. 
Moments later, I was walking on another narrow passageway. It was like a maze. Of course, I was concerned I'd get lost which seemed possible with my lack of a sense of direction. Tom makes up for that!
Tonight, there will be no special meal and no celebratory happy hour due to our current circumstances. There are no different or special meals we can order. Instead, we'll both stick to our usual meals. But, this doesn't prevent us from reminiscing over the past 29 years, which we can easily do, especially over the past eight years since we began posting.
The entrances to many homes were appealing.
Through all of the challenges of being in lockdown, we easily entertain ourselves through playful banter and appreciation of one another. The fact that we both maintain a fairly positive attitude makes this long period of isolation tolerable. When one of us becomes low or worried, it's easy for the other to lift the mood with a bit of humor or comfort.
This was the view over the railing; tile rooftops, green valleys, clouds rolling in over the hills.
We are grateful for one another and for all the love and support we continue to receive from our family, friends, and readers each and every day.

Stay safe.
Photo from one year ago today, June 28, 2019:
This was the only photo we posted one year ago today, as we continued with the details of the then-upcoming journey on the Maharajas Express Train. India is a huge landmass that provided us with endless opportunities to explore, eventually cut short due to COVID-19. For more, please click here.

Music can brighten our mood during the lockdown and COVID-19 stress...Why did we choose to come to India?...

This is where we dined each night with views of the pool and the sea while in Sumbersari, Bali, Indonesia in June 2016. We wouldn't mind returning there someday.
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 (final favorites) are from June 27, 2016, while wrapping up our time in Sumbersari, Bali, Indonesia. See the link here for more details.

Each day, as I begin the day's post, I first add the "Year Ago Photo" which often prompts me with ideas for the new post. I assure you, in the majority of cases, I have no idea what I'm going to write about when I begin adding features of the post.
It was business as usual with Tom wearing a sarong as the required dress to enter the temple. He had a hard time managing the steps. He just didn't have the same experience as women who've worn long dresses, knowing when to hold up the hem for ease in walking.
In some cases, I find a topic that easily prompts me to begin writing and at other times I am at a total loss. Being stuck in a hotel room in Mumbai, India since March, the ideas for topics are far and few between. 

Subsequently, on numerous occasions, I've had no choice but to be repetitious rattling on about the same topics over and over again. On behalf of our regular readers, we apologize for this redundancy. 
Me, at the monkey temple wearing the required sarong.
The two topics we're covering today is: 
1. How can music brighten an otherwise less optimistic mood on a particular day?
2. Why did we decide to come to India one year ago today?

Hopefully, in time, we'll move on to more diverse experiences to share other than those from being stuck in a hotel room, eating the same meals over and over, and walking the same corridors 10 times a day.
The flow of the river at low tide. 
And yet, yesterday's walking presented me with a new perspective when I was feeling blue about my dear sister Susan's status of moving into a state of hospice/palliative care as her life's breath dwindles away.

First, I will address my music revelation while walking, while in that low mood, which is unusual for me. I listen to informational/educational type podcasts while I walk, figuring I may as well learn something while embarking on the otherwise boring walks. 
These two chaise lounges provided us with shade for part of the day.  Later, we'd move to the shade of the cabana. That's me at the edge of the infinity pool overlooking the sea.
Over time, I've come to appreciate what I'm learning, not only about current topics, but also many other areas of interest to me. If you can so much as conceive of a topic, invariably, you'll be able to find podcasts and videos wrapped around these topics presented by reliable sources. (Only each of us can determine what is a "reliable" source of education and information).

Yesterday's educational podcasts just weren't doing it for me. I wasn't able to listen intently as usual, instead, allowing my mind to wander back to my state of sorrow and concern.
The villa from the beachside.
As I stopped in the corridor to find any podcast that could help, I stumbled upon a couple of music videos I'd enjoyed in years past and decided to give them a try. In no time at all, back in the room, I found myself watching the clock for my next walk longing to listen to the music once again. 

By accident, I'd found a sorrow/stress reliever I hadn't considered in these past many weeks with Susan on my mind. The songs I chose to listen to are irrelevant to others since everyone has their own personal preferences. I found those that promoted a pleasant memory seemed to be the most helpful.
The infinity pool and Jacuzzi view from the second level.
In a matter of seconds, my walking pace picked up, and for the first time in days, I had a spring in my step, although my music choices may be considered to have a melancholy tone.

Now, I know, when a particularly sad mood strikes me, I have a "place to go" in my head that reduces the worry and stress, at least for a period of time.
I've never been one to listen to music on my phone. I always felt I needed to be learning something, but this simple experience reminded me that my mental state deserved some fluff in order to get out of my head and relax more.
Kingfisher sitting atop a palm frond.
We've been diligent about watching some binge-worthy shows in the late afternoon and evening, which surely has been a huge source of entertainment and relaxation for both of us. But, the remainder of our days need not be filled with "responsible tasks" while in lockdown. 

As for point #2 above, "Why did we decide to come to India one year ago today?" (for our new readers over the past year) the answer is uncomplicated. In Ireland in 2019, we watched a TV series with Trevor McDonald about The Maharajas Express Luxury Train. We were hooked on the idea. 
Almost every evening while we dined, these four buffaloes walked on the beach. It was amazing these young kids could handle the huge animals which obviously knew them and cooperated.
Within days of watching the episode, we had booked our journey beginning February 2, 2020, and ended on February 8, 2020, almost five months ago. From there we booked a 55-day private tour which abruptly ended early on or about March 15, 2020, when we began our self-imposed lockdown before we ever arrived back in Mumbai. Cases of the virus were rapidly increasing worldwide and also in India.

Once we arrived in Mumbai, after staying in four hotels in self-imposed lockdown, India's national lockdown began on March 24, 2020, the day we checked in to this hotel. As of today, we've been in a state of lockdown for 104 days. Originally, our plan was to stay in India for a total of 64 days. Humm...
Dragon fruit, a popular local item. 
Never at any point in our lives, have we stopped learning, continually striving to enhance our knowledge, personal growth, and endurance. Now, is no exception. Anything we can do to inch one step closer to our personal potential is a step in the right direction. Fortunately, regardless of our age, that goal can never be achieved. We're all a "work in progress," present company included.

Be well.
Photo from one year ago today, June 27, 2019:
It was one year ago today we booked The Maharajas Express Luxury Train in India that prompted us to come to India. For more photos, please click here.

Our hotel is full!...Realities of the current worldwide situation impacts our lives...

This was the first bridge we drove across to arrive in the center of the town of Bagni di Lucca in Tuscany.
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 June 25, 2013, (Yesterday, in error, I posted June 26, 2013 photos so today, I am posting the 25th) while in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy. See the link here for more details.

When I headed downstairs to reception to pick up a package from Amazon India, (a new battery-operated toothbrush after mine died, even after trying several new sets of batteries), I asked the staff how many rooms were occupied in the hotel.
The view as we approached Bagni di Lucca, not the same town as Lucca, itself, which we also visited a short time later.
Much to our shock, they stated their rooms were filled with workers soon departing to resume work on the oil platforms out at sea. With 334 rooms this was astounding. Once they leave in a few days, I'll ask again, as to how many of us remain. 

Will it still be a small group of 10 or 20 guests since the onset of the lockdown began in March? We'll report here soon.
Notice the "no honking" sign. 
It's no wonder it's taken almost an hour for us to receive our room service dinners in the past few days, although breakfasts have been arriving in the typical 30 minutes from the time we've placed the call.

We don't see any of these other guests. They, too, are locked away on other floors as we have been on the fourth floor for the past three-plus months. It's a rarity to see any of the guests on this floor when they, too, are staying in place in their respective rooms.
The vegetation was so thick as we drove along the Lima River while entering Bagni di Lucca, this was the best shot we could get until we arrived closer to the town.
Today, we made our online booking for the hotel from July 1 to August 2, 2020. But, we have no delusions of getting out of here by that date. Based on information coming down the pike from countries all over the world, no US passport holders will be allowed into the majority of countries.

Today, a notice came to my phone that Europe won't be allowing any US citizens to enter any time in the future, which may prove to be well into 2021. 
The last portion of the road as we began the descent into Bagni di Lucca.
As we review options for other parts of the world and potential upcoming flights out of India, we won't be allowed to enter the majority of the countries on the borders-opening list. How long we've been in India is irrelevant since Indians are also on the refusal lists.
Tom, at the park by the river. One of our readers commented that his white tennis shoes are a dead ringer for a tourist. Apparently, Europeans wear darker colored shoes. Although, we're not ashamed to be tourists, spending money and savoring every moment in the current country in our journey.
At this point, we have no interest or are we welcomed to travel anywhere in such locations as Asia, South America, Australia, New Zealand and, as we've mentioned many times in the past, in returning to the US.
The street was so narrow it only allowed for one way traffic at a time at the upcoming "T". As a result, we sat at this light for no less than 7 minutes.
At this point, we've begun to know people in the US with the virus when for so long we didn't personally know of a single case. We pray for their recovery and future well being. 
The footbridge leads to historical points of interest behind me, where we wandered around.
With over 2.5 million cases in the US, it's pointless for us to return any time in the near future. We still await information for a variety of island nations that may eventually accept us and of course, various countries in Africa, hoping eventually to be allowed to enter South Africa.
Many of these buildings appear newer, although less interesting from the exterior. But many of them are hundreds of years old, built to last with the simple exterior design, common at different times.
National news consists of conflicting information on which countries will allow US citizens to enter. Each day, we conduct new research to see what our options may be down the road. 
Building a park around a historical structure is common from what we've seen of the world thus far. Hard to read signs prevented us from determining the origin of this structure.
The reality remains, however disappointing for us, is that even when India's borders open for incoming and outgoing international flights, where we will be allowed to enter, may still be in question. There are dozens of possibilities we watch daily to see when US citizens will be allowed to enter.
Historic ruins along the banks of the river remain a part of the properties (circa the 1900s) built over the centuries.
Also, we have to consider the risk of spending hours in airports and on airplanes. Perhaps, ultimately, we may have to stay here for many months to come, in order to reduce those risks.
Danita Delimont Bridge was built in the 1700s. Walking across we were impressed by its strength and stability. 
In the interim, we are fine. Tom is now walking the corridors and doing the stairs and I continue to walk the corridors, 10 times a day. We're eating fresh, healthy food, although repetitious and boring, sleeping well and our spirits are as good as can be expected, obviously impacted by family member's health and well-being.
Outdoor cafes never cease to delight us, a novelty from whence we came in bitter cold Minnesota.
We hope all of our readers continue to exercise safety procedures to remain healthy as the world begins to open up many shops, restaurants, and businesses.
Take nothing for granted.
Photo from one year ago today, June 26, 2019:
This is a stream in Oughterard Shrubbery near Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.