Day #130 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel...Final photos in Madeira in 2014...


We were thrilled to see a full moon over the hills of Madeira or a clear night, six years ago today.
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 the post from July 31, 2014, while in Madeira, Portugal. See the link here for more photos.
Tom recalls our months in Madeira as a memorable experience.
It was July 31, 2014. It was our last day in Madeira, Portugal, after a colorful and fascinating 2½ months living in a beautiful, well-equipped contemporary home overlooking the ocean and lush green terraces, prolific on the hilly island.
Always windy, but I loved every day in Madeira.
Although little English was spoken in the tiny village of Campanario, somehow we managed to meet many locals, engaging in choppy conversations, and dining in fabulous restaurants where seafood was always the most popular item on the menu.
We always enjoyed it when the low lying clouds and fog rolled in.
The charm of the locals and the manner in which we were welcomed will remain at the forefront of our memories of this stunning island. The weather wasn't always ideal with fog, rain, clouds, and high winds common during the spring and summer months.
Early on, we purchased this tuna from the musical fish truck, caught that morning.
The sunny days were appreciated and comfortable, rarely requiring air-con at night and we left the doors and windows wide open during daylight hours. High on a hill overlooking the sea, on occasion, we sat outdoors on the huge veranda in the comfy chaise lounges.
We arrived in Madeira mid-May when the flowers were in full bloom. They were the most beautiful flowers we've seen anywhere.
Every few days either both of us or me alone, climbed the breathlessness inducing steep hills. Talk about getting exercise on a short walk! At the time, I had no idea I had cardiovascular disease, severe enough that I could have had a fatal heart attack when I was huffing and puffing to climb the steep hills.
The goats and two kids next door were a constant source of enjoyment. Although too far to get good photos, they were close enough to always respond with a hearty "baa" whenever we sent a "baa" their way. 
It was only 4½ years later I was diagnosed with 100% blockage in three of four coronary arteries, including the most dangerous LAD, described as follows:
"When the main artery down the front of the heart (LAD) is totally blocked or has a critical blockage, right at the beginning of the vessel, it is known as the Widow Maker. (The medical term for this is a proximal LAD lesion.)"
We purchased fresh organic produce from the musical truck every week during our time in Madeira.
Of course, I am grateful every day that my life has been extended after triple coronary bypass surgery in South Africa 17 months ago. However, right now, I can't help but feel that precious time is being wasted locked in a hotel room as the months fly by. Oh, I can't think about that!
Beautiful non-traditional colors of vegetation.
Back to the final day in Madeira in 2014, when the next day we were flying to Paris for a blissful 15-night stay, followed by another 15-night stay in London in the lovely South Kensington area. 
We never ceased to enjoy the terraced gardens so typical on the island.
Over this next month, we'll re-share many photos from that wonderful and memorable month, including a wide array of experiences and photos we'll always treasure.
A surprising close up of what appeared to be a blue stalk from afar.
And today? What's happening now? We ordered a package via FedEx from our mailing service in the US with items we've purchased since we left the US in January. Our new second passports are in that box and a number of much-needed supplies including my contact lenses and toiletries we can't get in India along with other odds and ends. 
We were amazed by the green fuzzy buds on this colorful flower.
Tom always follows the package via the tracking number on FedEx's site. Right now, the package is at a standstill in New Delhi, awaiting customs inspection and subsequent fees. 
We were delighted when these orchids were growing on our patio.
The cost to ship the box from Nevada to Mumbai was INR 29909, US $400 when shipped 2nd-day air. Most likely we won't receive the package for two to three more weeks.
We squealed when we drove under a waterfall in order to continue on the road.
Otherwise, all is status quo. The past three days I've reached my walking goal of 10,000 steps a day. I may alternate between 8000 and 10000 steps, day by day. I am unwilling to try to do this in one fell swoop since I feel it is more beneficial walking once an hour. Tom is doing great exercising as well, although he does multiple flights of stairs and corridors walks once in the morning.

Have a good day! Stay safe. Stay hopeful.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2019:
Belted Galloway cattle all possess this unique pattern of a white belt around their midsection. For more photos, please click here.

Day #129 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel...Grocery shopping in Phuket, Thailand in July 2016...

In Phuket, Thailand, we'd purchased enough food here to last a week. Check out the amazing total cost below!
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Today's photos are from the post from July 30, 2016, while in Phuket, Thailand. See the link here for more photos.
Check out the size of the fish and steak portions. Tom was craving peanuts and we added a few packages to the stash. The brats in the bottom right of the photo are gluten, grain, and sugar-free.
Again, today's photos are from four years ago, but this time from Phuket, Thailand, where we stayed from July 23, 2016, until August 31, 2016. For the starting photos in Phuket in our archives, please click here which will lead you to the events of the next 40 days and nights.
 Using this app to convert the Thai baht (THB) $3,803.25, we discovered we'd only spent US $109.38. We were shocked, to say the least. (See the photos of everything we purchased).
Before I was with Tom starting in 1991, I'd visited Phuket, Thailand for my 40th birthday in 1988 with my former husband. This was before the devastation from the tsunami that changed the entire look of the island. 
We purchased so many items, it took several photos to include all of it.
When returning to Phuket with Tom in 2016, 28 years later, I didn't recognize a thing except for the white sand beaches, the aquamarine seas, and the friendly faces of many of the locals.
Free-range eggs, beef, and celery rounded out our purchases. 
We'd rented a beautiful house with rooms surrounding a large pool, air-con, WiFi, and cleaning staff we paid separately twice a week. We cheaply rented an older car from the property owner and managed to get around the city, amid the crazy traffic to shop and see the various sites.
The fresh produce department is packed with locally caught treasures at reasonable prices.
Unfortunately, we were anxious to leave not long after we'd arrived. Nearby, there was violence in the streets with an eventual bombing, the frequent sounds of sirens, armed military police outside the shops and markets, and a feeling of being more unsafe than we had in most other countries.
Looks like Sam's or Costco, doesn't it?
It rained almost every day and we seldom used the pool or lounged outdoors. The mosquitoes were worse than we'd seen in Africa (or even Minnesota for that matter). Instead, we often stayed indoors in air-conditioned comfort, and for the first time in our world travels, we began counting the days until we were scheduled to leave.
Row after row of frozen foods.  We don't buy much in the way of frozen foods when most contain additives.
Our highlight of the week was grocery shopping in the huge warehouse-type grocery store, comparable to Sam's Club or Costco. The huge amount of selections and ingredients contributed to making some of our favorite meals.

Although we ventured out sightseeing a few times each week, we never dined out when Thai food doesn't appeal to Tom due to the spices and often odd ingredients for his tastes. This didn't bother me when we thoroughly enjoyed cooking our meals in the roomy, well-equipped kitchen.
Littleneck clams. 
In essence, it wasn't safe to eat out in the evenings when the streets were jammed with motorbikes, tuk-tuks, and fast-moving cars and trucks and an endless stream of troublemakers. Foreigners were frequent targets of crime.

We've been to many rough cities throughout the world, but we'd never felt so unsafe as we had in Thailand. Staying inside with several locks on the doors, felt the safest, although we were located in somewhat of a regular residential neighborhood.
We weren't able to determine which type of seafood this might be.
While living in a country, we write with caution, preferring not to draw attention to ourselves by possible "haters" living nearby. It wouldn't be hard for local troublemakers to find where we're living when reading our posts and seeing photos of our location. Americans, especially seniors, are often victims of horrific crimes in some parts of the world.

We were thrilled to leave after the 40 nights to return to Sumbersari, Bali, where we once again stayed in the fantastic beachfront villa, again having a wonderful experience, feeling safe and comfortable in the exquisite location and property.
Squid, yet to be cleaned.
Thailand has many charms, cultures, stunning temples, beaches, and history. It simply worked out that we happened to be in "the wrong place at the wrong time," which ultimately tainted our view at the time.

Now, in India, we recall the amazing times we spent touring many popular sites in big cities and also remote locations. Never once, did we feel unsafe or in danger, even when we were out walking on our own.

Regardless of this challenging time in lockdown, we'll always have good memories of our time spent touring in India, a very special country with its kind and gentle people.

Rest easy. Stay safe. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands. Have hope.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 30, 2019:
The Glinsk Pier is located near our holiday home in Connemara, Ireland. Fishing has always been big business in this village. For more photos, please click here.

Day #128 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel...Memorable photos from Cambodia...Only time will tell...


Us at the Kampong Cham Temple in Cambodia on this date in 2016.
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 the post from July 29, 2016, while in Cambodia. See the link here for more photos.
Tom, in front of the steps leading to the temple.
When we realized it was only four years ago that the above main photo was taken and posted on our site, it seemed as if it was so much longer ago. Even the time we spent touring India, beginning on February 2, 2020, also seems so long ago.
We were both sweating profusely in the heat of the day.
No doubt, being in confinement for this extended period, now well over four months, we have little comprehension or a definitive sense of time that has passed. The recent experiences of the past year, prior to the lockdown, seem to have occurred years, not months ago. 
The ornate designs of temples were fascinating.
It was only six months ago that we left Arizona after spending time with Tom's sisters in Apache Junction, that we left the US to come to India. It was only eight months ago that we were with other family members in Minnesota and Nevada.
Scary faces to ward off evil spirits.
Today, as we review these photos in a past post from Cambodia on July 29, 2016, it feels as if it was 10 years ago or more. This state of lockdown does a trick on our brains when each day and night blends into the other. 
We entered the temple for more detailed views.
When it's the weekend, suddenly it's Wednesday, like today. We ask, "What happened to Monday and Tuesday?" We have certain rituals we conduct on specific days of the week, for example, laundry, and those days re-occur so quickly, we can barely take a breath.
The details often illustrate the joy of the Cambodian people.
Even the one-hour gaps between my walks in the corridors come up so quickly. I often shrug my shoulders in sheer wonder that the time has cropped up again so quickly when I've barely rested from the last vigorous walk. And yet, the walking itself, with my aching legs, seems to take forever.
More views of shrines.
A good night's sleep is a blessing. This morning, my Fitbit recorded that I'd slept for 8 hours 38 minutes last night (and Tom slept long as well). It's a welcome respite from the mundane days to nights and nights to days, providing me with the energy needed to walk the corridors hour after hour.
The detail of the craftsmanship is astounding.
Now, I'm up to 9000 steps a day, 4.5 miles, 7.6 km, maneuvering my way around cleaning carts, cleaning staff, and staff members leaving and entering their hotel rooms. It's no wonder I sleep better and sleep longer, most likely due to the exercise. I never miss a day.
We weren't certain if these flags were temporary or permanent to celebrate a particular holiday.
And then today, these photos from Cambodia, put a smile on our faces, recalling what we've left behind and hopefully, can look forward to in the future... The world. Is the world still awaiting us? Will we be able to resume our world travels, even if in a new way, in times to come?

Only time will tell. We wait. We watch. We search. We read. Only time will tell.
Young monks in training, working at the temple.

Someone on a tour which later visited the orphanage must have handed off a lollipop to this monkey. We giggled when taking these photos.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 29, 2019:

The Wild Atlantic Way in 14 Steps

Here is the map from this site indicating the counties in which the Wild Atlantic Way passes through:


In the year-ago post, we included this map of the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland along the western coast. For more details, please click here.

Day #127 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel...Messages meaning the world to us!...Answer to an important question...


Our photo of the Blood Moon on July 27, 2018, taken from our garden in Marloth Park, South Africa.
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 the post from July 28, 2018, while in Marloth Park, South Africa. See the link here for more photos.

Yesterday, we received the following email message from a lovely couple we met in November 2017 on a back-to-back South American cruise, visiting many ports of call.
That night, there was a total eclipse of the moon.
We recall meeting this couple and were excited to post their message, leaving out their names and location for their privacy, as always.

Each day, we receive messages similar to this, from couples we've met on cruises or on our site, who may be newer or long-term readers. Each message means so much to us when I know, as a lurker myself, writing to other bloggers isn't necessarily on the top of my priority list, when I already spend so much time writing and responding to our own valued readers.
It was exciting to watch the progression of the eclipse of the moon.
 the rare appearance of the 'blood moon" and a total eclipse of the moon clearly (weather providing) visible in South Africa.

Here is the message:

"Hi, Jess & Tom,

Your 126th day of lockdown, whew! 

We enjoyed our visits with y'all on Celebrity  'around the horn'  South America cruise. That cruise, beginning in Fort Lauderdale and through the Panama Canal was a really great cruise.

Is the India hotel providing any financial incentive/discount considering you were mandatorily imprisoned?

Since March 2020 we have had to terminate/transfer 5 cruises scheduled in 2020. Have 1 cruise out of Galveston first week of Oct 2020 still on the books that will probably be canceled....we are waiting for word from Royal Caribbean.

COVID certainly presents us with a strange new world to live in.  At least we get out of the house for grocery shopping and essentials compared to your lockdown. This sheltering-in-place is terrible......hoping for a vaccine soon.

Regards,"

Almost complete.
Obviously, this couple is from the South in the USA when even their adorable writing reflects commonly used terms and expressions spoken by Southerners.
Friendly and lighthearted messages such as this mean the world to us, especially now in this long period of lockdown in Mumbai, India.

They posed an interesting question we've yet to address in prior posts, "Is the India hotel providing any financial incentive/discount considering you were mandatorily imprisoned?"

As members of Marriott's Bonvoy Club, we receive a 30% discount on our meals which has saved us a considerable sum over these many months. If we booked our room directly through them each month, we'd receive additional credits toward future rooms
It was a beautiful clear night.
However, booking through Hotels.com on our site has proven to be more cost-effective when for every 10 nights we pay, we receive a credit for one free night at a comparable amount. 

When comparing the prices directly through Marriott's site and Hotels.com, we're ahead of the game in room rates and savings. However, we still receive the food discount of 30%.

At this point, we've accumulated 15 free nights, which we'll use in September, in the event we're allowed to fly away by the end of that month. Our nightly rates are approximately INR 7252, US $97 plus considerable taxes, plus the cost of our dinners each evening. Breakfast is included.
We were grateful for the experience.
The only other costs we incur while here are miscellaneous supplies we may order from Amazon India such as toiletries, my three prescriptions requiring refills from local pharmacies, and cash tips. 

Fortunately, we've had enough rupees on hand to pay for tips when we'd stopped at an ATM between our last hotel stay and this hotel stay. We have enough cash to last for several more months. With the virus on the rise here, it wouldn't be wise to go to an ATM at this point.

Thanks again to our thoughtful "cruise friends" for taking the time to say hello and for all of our readers who continue to stay with us during this mundane and uneventful period.

Stay healthy!
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Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2019:
Late-blooming Bird of Paradise, aptly named. For more photos from one year ago today, please click here.

Day #126 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel...Our new website...Streaming issues...Our worst nightmare...

A Great White Heron standing in the water at Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park.
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 27, 2018, while in Marloth Park, South Africa. See the link here for more photos.

The process of re-doing our website and moving over almost 3000 historical posts from the archives is taking longer than we'd expected. But, we aren't concerned at all when the developer stays in close touch with us, sending the links as it progresses day by day. We've been happy with their service, a company, coincidentally here in India.
This was our friend Tusker. He is the sweetest guy who comes to visit several times each day, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm). He was so comfortable he often stayed for a short nap.
As many of us are aware, India, in general, has some of the most skilled tech people in the world, and we were thrilled to use the services of a well-known company with rave reviews. We'll post more information on this company once we go "live" with our new site sometime in the next 45 days. 

I'd anticipated this process would be stressful, but our skilled and calm developer has made it as painless as possible for me, quickly responding to changes and inquiries.
We never tired of seeing these wondrous animals, both in Kruger and in Marloth Parks.
We'll give you, our readers, a heads-up, when we know it will go live. The link will be the same and thus, there will be nothing for you to do but to continue reading and commenting as you have over the past eight-plus years.

On another note, we've been grateful for the excellent WiFi connection we've had during the past 126 days in this hotel. But, as more and more businesses re-open in India, although cases of COVID-19 continue to rise rapidly, we've noticed a slowing of the connection from time to time.
Zebras crossing the road in Kruger.
Don't get me wrong. We appreciate being in this wonderful hotel with great food and service, especially with the conscientious efforts to protect all of us from the virus, requiring their staff to live on the premises, unable to leave for months at a time until they are given a two-week break.

(When a staff member returns from their time off, we are only served by those that have been in residence for at least two full weeks, continuing to ensure our safety).
A bloat of hippos at Sunset Dam in Kruger.
Our worst nightmares here would be (beyond exposure to COVID-19 or other health issues) is that WiFi service would go down in Mumbai, or in the hotel. At that point, we'd lose our ability to continue to post, and equally important is our ability to stream shows from the internet to our HDMI cable to the flat-screen TV.

Last night, we had a taste of what that would be like when, for some odd reason, we were unable to stream on Netflix for the first time since we arrived on March 24, 2020.
OK, folks here's a new one for you...This is a "bask" of crocodiles!
We were watching season four of the wonderful historical series, Reign when the signal dropped over and over again. I started and re-started my laptop to no avail. For a period of two hours, we continued to attempt to get the show to resume. 

Finally, the later it got, the signal improved. A factor we have to consider is the reality that as more time passes, the hotel has more and more guests, mostly business travelers, since primarily this hotel is geared toward business travelers.
As winter continues there's less and less green vegetation for the wildlife both in Kruger and Marloth Park.
Some domestic flights have resumed in India, although as we've mentioned international travel remains at a standstill. The added domestic travelers have certainly had an impact on the quality of the WiFi in the evening hours when most will be online. 

Hopefully, we won't experience this issue going forward.

Stay safe and healthy!
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Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2019:
A six-year-old photo posted last year when our photo inventory for Ireland was lacking. Busy preparations surrounding the church in Campanario as workers rushed to get the decorations in place for Saturday's religious festivities. For the post one year ago, please click here.