Day #124 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel...What is it really like?...Vultures?...


Classic scene of three vultures on a limb in Kruger National Park. We were thrilled to get this shot from quite a distance. From this site:  Vultures are, however, great ecologists, having a high sense of personal hygiene and are a manifestation of the adage of patience as a virtue. They clean the veld of carrion, thereby minimizing the impact of animal disease, and they bathe regularly in rivers after gorging themselves at a kill."
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Today's photos are from July 25, 2018, while in Marloth Park, South Africa. See the link here for more photos.

Now that I'm walking four miles a day (6.5 km) in the corridors, I'm left with plenty of time to think. Playing podcasts on my phone while walking helps create a diversion from over-thinking our current situation.
This appeared to be the most common vulture we spotted, the white-backed vulture. From
 this site: "To watch the interaction of vultures at a kill is like witnessing the unbridled nature of food politics. The Shangaan proverb that translates as 'where the vultures assemble, there is a kill' refers to the fact that when people gather together there is always a purpose in mind. The White-backed Vulture is the most common vulture in Kruger. There are approximately 2000 pairs in the Park, concentrated mostly in the dry, lightly wooded grasslands of the east and mopane veld of the north. They are the most gregarious of vultures, often roosting in large communes where they sleep with their heads tucked under their wings. They often soar at great heights during the day and depend on either the Bateleur or other vultures to lead them to a kill."
Invariably, my over-active brain takes over to find myself in a loop of thoughts blurring any sounds emanating from my phone while my aching legs (due to cardiovascular disease) struggle to keep the pace and accomplish the goals I've set for myself. 

I've accepted the fact that the best remedy for my condition is walking as often and as much as I can throughout the day. During the opposite times, I'm firmly ensconced in my comfy chair in the hotel room with my laptop on a pillow on my lap.
This vulture appeared to be a different species from the others shown.
Upon arising each hour to walk, my legs feel stiff and almost immobile, but by the time I get my shoes, mask, and earbuds back on, I'm ready to go again and head out the door.

I check the Fitbit stats on my phone to ensure I manage sufficient steps each hour in order to reach my goal by the end of the day. I start at 8:00 and usually end by 3:00 or 4:00 pm.

Walking has been an enormous benefit to both of us, not only for the obvious health reasons, but also as a distraction during these long days and nights. It feels as if this intermittent walking has a greater benefit than if I struggled to accomplish this lofty goal in one fell swoop.
There was little information online to help us identify these vultures. From this site: Vultures fight unashamedly over whatever scraps they can get, and when they descend on the proverbial trough, their grim determination is evident - these birds can consume a kilogram of meat in a minute and strip a carcass within hours."
Frequently, it's necessary to maneuver around the cleaning carts, cleaners going in and out of rooms and vacuuming the corridors, and staff walking the halls to and from their various workstations. 

Currently, we are the only guests on this floor and undoubtedly, the longest staying guests in the hotel since the onset of the lockdown on March 24th, the day we arrived. 

By the time we leave here in the months to come, we may be the longest staying guests this hotel has ever hosted. As of July 28th, we'll begin overstaying our visa, but we've attempted to do an extension several times without luck due to issues on their website.
This vulture appeared to be out of a scary movie or nightmare. From friend Ken (thanks, Ken!): This is the Hooded Vulture. They usually turn up on the feast after the Lappet-faced or white backed have torn into the carcass and had their fill. Details: 65 to 75cms high considered small in Vulture terms. The wingspan of 1.7 - 1.8m. From this site: Physically, all vultures appear built for scavenging. They have strong, hooked beaks that can tear a carcass open but unlike other birds of prey, their feet are not suited to catching live animals. The main exception appears to be the Hooded Vulture - as the smallest and most prone to being bullied off a carcass, it has diversified its diet to include termites and small animals such as lizards."
We're hoping the statement on their website will be adhered to, which we saved to our phones, stating there will be no issue if we leave within 30 days of the full re-opening of international flights at the Mumbai airport. That may not happen for many more months based on the increasing rates of the virus and resulting deaths.

I'd be going out of my mind with boredom by now if it weren't for the walking. Since I don't care to spend all day online, which works for Tom, I'd be climbing the walls as opposed to walking the halls during this extended period.
Obviously, there had been a kill in the area where we spotted these various vultures.
That's what it's really like. There's an abundance of repetition; photos, words, walking, meals, conversations, news, questioning, searching, analyzing, speculating, and escaping into movies and TV series allowing us to stop our thoughts from "doing a number on us." So far? So good.

Sorry for the redundancy. It's not easy writing a story each day when there is no news!

Be well.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 26, 2019:
One year ago, while still recovering in Ireland, we hadn't gone out for several days. Subsequently, we posted five-year-old photos from Madeira. For more details, please click here.

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