The National Park Service’s Senior Pass is one benefit of getting older. If you are over age 62, the pass allows holders to enter parks free of charge. If you drive a car, the whole carload gets in without paying. So youngsters, make friends with the elderly! Currently the pass costs $10 and is good for your lifetime. Effective at the end of this month, August, the price is scheduled to go up to $80.
Cows, pigs, monkeys and goats forage through mounds of trash strewn in the streets. Shantytown dwellings dot the sides of the roads amid scattered mansions and a small number of very fancy monuments. You are in rural India, and the description also applies to large parts of urban India. To top it off, the air quality is poor. My plane landed after dark in Dehli, a city with one of the world’s worst pollution problems. The air was laden with a thick smoke that mixed incongruously with the aroma of pungent spices from nearby street food stalls. I could not breathe. Some locals wore breathing masks. I resorted to breathing through my handkerchief until I could get a mask the next day.
I was deathly afraid I’d get stung by a disease carrying mosquito before I left for the Amazon. Given the much-publicized threat of the Zika virus, I didn’t want to get bitten, come home and get bitten in Dallas causing whatever disease I had unintentionally carried home to be spread locally. Of course, make sure where you go has window screens to keep away mosquitos; or if you pitch a tent, keep it closed to the elements. Wearing loose, light-colored clothing is best — and I did that — but I learned repellent is the key.