You're cancelling on us? How can that be?


We never tire of this amazing view of Hideaways Beach and Hanalei Bay.
We knew the possibility existed that a vacation rental, a flight or a cruise could be cancelled over which we'd have no control.  If it were a flight, in most cases that would be remedied within 24 hours.  If it were a vacation rental, especially if we'd booked it for weeks or months, it would be a difficult scenario to resolve of the above three possibilities. 

If it was a cruise, leaving two weeks or more of our lives with a hole in our schedule, this could be costly in trying to fill the period of time. Besides, we often use cruises as a means of getting us to one location or another resulting in added airfare expenses. 
The combination of colors from the sea and the vegetation is always breathtaking.
The worst case scenario would be the necessity of paying for a hotel, airfare and meals for two weeks which if planned carefully we could accomplish for a cost similar to the cost of the cruise.  Inconvenient?  Yes.  Costly? To a degree (see below).

Yesterday, we discovered that our booked cruise was cancelled, scheduled from Sydney to Perth on April 12, 2016 to April 28, 2016, for a total of 16 nights. 

Tom had been reading comments online at cruisecritic.com about this possibility.  We were never notified directly nor were our online friends, Staci and Glenn who were also scheduled on this cruise, whom we were looking forward to meeting in person. 


Beautiful orchids.
Yesterday, Tom called our rep at Vacationstogo.com to inquire as to the status of the cruise.  They weren't notified either.  Or perhaps with the thousands of cruises in their system, it could easily have been missed.

In any case, it was cancelled, as we've discovered due to it being booked in its entirety for a private charter.  If a wealthy individual or company chose to book an entire ship for an event, someone would be inconvenienced. They often begin to book as soon as their posted at time two years out.  In this case, the inconvenience lies with us.  Good thing we didn't wait any longer to find out. 

Remote Hideaways Beach, accessible only by a steep partially paved path.
Yesterday, after speaking with our rep about alternatives, Tom went ahead instructing her to book us on a similar cruise that Royal Caribbean was offering as one of three options for replacement, all different dates, all different itineraries. Should we choose one of these three options, we'd been given a $200 onboard credit.

In reviewing the three options, only one offered dates similar to the cancelled cruise, the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas, sailing on April 16, 2016 to April 30, 2016, for a total of 14 nights, the price slightly less for the shorter by two night cruise. 

Another portion of Hideaways Beach.
Originally, we paid $4714.20 for a balcony cabin with taxes and gratuities included.  The new cruise at $4510.36 for the same type of cabin, is not an appreciable difference although shorter by two days. The $200 credit will be sucked up in the first 30 minutes on a cruise when we order the $800 Internet package.

Sure, we could call RC and make some noise.  Then again, what's the point?  Plus, that's just not our style.  In reality, we're being compensated and for most of us, kinking a cruise a few days, a year in advance for $200 may not seem to be such a big deal. Although, we wonder how long they'd have waited before telling the passengers?

Zooming in, we spotted these sunbathers on the beach.  Looks like the guy standing is adjusting his snorkel.
For us, its presents a few issues, none of which we can't manage with relative ease.  One, we need to stay in New Zealand at the alpaca farm for four more nights or, if not available, a hotel in Sydney.  On the other end, we'll be two days late in arriving for our booked rental in Bali.  They will either accept our change of dates or we'll have to pay for two nights that we won't be there. 

In all, this could cost us for six nights somewhere at an average cost of $200 per night, including housing and meals.  Its the nature of the beast.  We budgeted for scenarios such as this and have seldom had to tap into that.  Who's to complain?   Instead it becomes a matter of figuring it out on both ends and biting the bullet for the added costs.

Future lily pods.  They almost look like apples and are almost as large.
So far, we're waiting to hear back from the property owners to see what transpires.  We'll post updates as to how it is resolved.  In the meanwhile, here is the itinerary for the cancelled cruise and then, the new cruise:

Cancelled cruise itinerary:
Royal Caribbean - Explorer of the Seas, departs 4/12/16, 16 nights
Tue Apr 12 Sydney, Australia  9:00pm

Wed Apr 13 At Sea 
Thu Apr 14 At Sea 
Fri Apr 15 Wellington, New Zealand 3:00pm 10:00pm
Sat Apr 16 Picton, New Zealand 8:00am 6:00pm
Sun Apr 17 At Sea 
Mon Apr 18 Dunedin (Port Chalmers), New Zealand 7:00am 5:00pm
Tue Apr 19 Dusky Sound, New Zealand (Cruising) 9:00am 10:00am
Tue Apr 19 Doubtful Sound, New Zealand (Cruising) Noon 1:00pm
Tue Apr 19 Milford Sound, New Zealand (Cruising) 4:30pm 5:30pm
Wed Apr 20 At Sea 

Thu Apr 21 At Sea 
Fri Apr 22 Melbourne, Australia 8:00am 7:00pm
Sat Apr 23 At Sea 
Sun Apr 24 Adelaide, Australia 8:00am 7:00pm
Mon Apr 25 At Sea 
Tue Apr 26 At Sea 
Wed Apr 27 At Sea 
Thu Apr 28 Perth (Fremantle), Australia 6:00am 

New cruise itinerary:
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, departs 4/16/16, 14 nights
Sat Apr 16 Sydney, Australia  5:00pm

Sun Apr 17 At Sea 
Mon Apr 18 Brisbane, Australia 7:00am 4:00pm
Tue Apr 19 At Sea 
Wed Apr 20 At Sea 
Thu Apr 21 At Sea 
Fri Apr 22 At Sea 
Sat Apr 23 Darwin, Australia 9:00am 5:00pm
Sun Apr 24 At Sea 
Mon Apr 25 At Sea 
Tue Apr 26 At Sea
Wed Apr 27 At Sea 
Thu Apr 28 Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Malaysia 8:00am 5:00pm
Fri Apr 29 Singapore 10:00am Sat Apr 30 Singapore Disembark


As shown, this second cruise is by no means as exciting as the first with considerably less ports of call and yet the price is comparable.  Based on visa restrictions we must proceed with this new cruise or we'll end up staying too long in either location. 


Pools refilled each day from the surf at high tide.
We booked it.  Our previously paid $900 deposit transferred over, the $200 cabin credit is listed in our new cruise documents and the balance is due on the same date, January 16, 2016.  Yesterday, I entered all the changes in our spreadsheet in several locations:  itinerary, Deposits Paid and Balances Due, Cruises.

There it is, folks, the realities of the possible inconveniences of living a life in motion.  We both took this in our stride.  I suppose if this was our only vacation for a year or more, we may have felt differently.  But, in this life, it goes with the territory.  Literally.

Happy day!
______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 30, 2014:


In between the enclosed area of the souks was outdoor areas where more products are offered for sale.  For details from that date, please click here.

Trip to a doctor? What about a dentist? How does this work in foreign lands?


The path we've walked these few rainy days where we've found many beautiful plants and flowers.
This morning I was returning an email to our dear friend and 26 year neighbor Sue in Minnesota.  She has homes in both Florida and Minnesota and will soon return to Minnesota now that the horrific winter has finally ended.

As I reported that we're feeling well and healthy, I was reminded by the fact that neither of us have been to a doctor in a long time, me in September, 2012 and Tom in December, 2012 (he had tests while we were in Scottsdale) when we both received a clean bill of health.

It wasn't as if we never intend see a doctor.  We simply decided that we won't do so unless we can't manage an injury or illness on our own.  With plenty of antibiotics in our possession, we feel relatively secure, never taking them unless absolutely necessary.



These pretty pink flowers, Double Hibiscus, has begun to bloom right outside our door.

We've only used the antibiotics on a few occasions since we left when I couldn't kick a three week old sinus infection and again in Morocco a year ago when I had tried to recover for two weeks from an horrible intestinal infection I'd picked up from a salad on our first day there.  I never ate a salad or uncooked item in a restaurant again while in Morocco.

There have been a few occasions that seeing a doctor came to mind especially when we were injured on the collapsing stairs in Belize on our anniversary in 2013.  Please click here to read about and see photos of what transpired.  

I had hurt my back and neck so badly, I thought I broke something.  It took over a month to recover with self care.  To see a doctor in Belize required a four hour drive each way.  We didn't go based on my insistence.

Chi'a Flower blooms in many colors.
In our old lives, especially when I was suffering from chronic pain and abnormal blood tests, it wasn't uncommon for me to visit the doctor once every month or so.  Once I began my way of eating in August 2011, within three months I no longer had the abnormal blood tests nor any pain, resulting in only visiting the doctor before we left Minnesota for a general physical and multiple immunizations in preparation for traveling to Africa.

Tom, who'd followed along on the diet with me and is doing so now, had lost 40 pounds, dropped seven medications a day and no longer had IBS, GERD (heartburn) or Barrett's Disease (an inflamed esophagus).  To this day, he has no symptoms and in December, 2012 when he had his final tests everything was normal.


Sure, a physical check up, mainly for blood tests, would be good to do at some point.  For now, we feel no need to do so other than to get a new prescription for our two Epipens which have both expired.  Both allergic to bees (hornets and wasps) and with the huge bee population in Australia, we may need to make a doctor appointment in Cairns, shortly after we arrive.

This is the ever blooming Ixora a widely used plant in landscaping in Hawaii.



My insurance doesn't pay for office visits since Medicare doesn't work outside the US.  Plus, I waived Part B when discovering it won't pay.  Instead we purchased international major medical for me and a policy for Tom as well, although he still has insurance that may or may not pay outside the US. Once he turns 65, his insurance drops and he'll continue on with our international policy which offer emergency evacuation as well.

The fact that we don't have insurance to pay for doctor visits has had little effect on our decision to avoid doctor visits other than consideration of the cost in Hawaii.  We'd have gone here for the Epipens but, from what we've read online, the required office visit will cost considerably less in Australia than it would in the US, let alone Hawaii.

The bark on this live tree was peeling making us wonder if it was a seasonal thing.
We aren't concerned that we haven't been to a doctor all this time.  We both feel wonderful healthy.  Why would we?  When we were kids we hardly ever saw the doctor unless we had a high fever or couldn't shake an infection after many days, often weeks of waiting for it to subside.  Those of you in our age group can relate to this.

As for the dentist, we tried once in Maui.  But, Tom didn't feel right when we arrived at the peculiar office arrangement to be told we'd have to wait an hour for our appointment.  Somehow, red flags popped up for him.  We cancelled and left, especially after we were told to wait for our appointment at the senior center across the street. 

More stunning anthurium flowers.
I would have been OK going ahead with it.  Long ago, we agreed that if one of us doesn't feel comfortable with an activity, we won't do it, avoiding any argument, feelings of being pressured or in shaming one another.
 
In the interim, we continue to spend tremendous effort in caring for our teeth.  Currently, neither of us has any issues with our teeth or gums.  At some point, we'll try for a cleaning in another country.

A Brown Gecko is commonly seen in the Hawaiian Islands.
This philosophy continues to work out well for us. Its also works the other way around as well; if one of us longs to see a certain part of the world, then we'll go.  Its always about safety and passion, safety first, passion second.

Again today, its raining off and on as it had for over a week.  Although I've continued to work out at the Makai Golf Course's fitness center and pool, we've only lounged by the pool on one occasion in the past week. 

A pair of Myna Birds on the hunt for food.  Not too much available in this parking lot.
When the sun peeks out for a bit and it often does, we head out for a stroll in hopes of getting a dose of Vitamin D, considerably important for the senior population. Here's an excellent article on a study on the benefits of Vitamin D for both seniors and younger population.

With a busy social weekend ahead on both Friday and Saturday night, we're looking forward to seeing many of our friends once again.  We'll report back on these two events.

Be well and enjoy a wonderful Wednesday!
_______________________________________

Photos from one year ago today, April 29, 2014:

These clumps of yarn were hanging outside to dry on this railing outside the souk creating this scene.  For details from this post, one year ago, please click here.



1000th post today! How did we ever come to this? A fabulous video to share! Please check it out!



It took considerable time to get this video.  Finally, Tom suggested I kept the camera opened and ready when we realized if I stood up to take the video, he'd stop singing.  As a result, part of this video is through the screen door to the lanai, my view from where I was sitting at the time.  Enjoy this simple video with us for the magnificence of Mother Nature and for the world around us, whether its a little bird or a goliath rhino.  It all matters.
 
Today we're posting for the 1000th time.  How did this happen so fast? Where did the time go?  When we look back at prior posts we realize that so much has transpired, that we've had so many diverse experiences.
Often we noticed digitally enhanced photos of roses with raindrops.  This photo is exactly as we took it when we walked after a rain shower a few days ago.
Its hard to believe  that on March 14, 2012, I sat down in my comfy chair in my old life and wrote the very first post found here?  In the early days, I wrote sporadically as is the case for most bloggers. 

There are numerous varieties of anthurium these included.
At that time, I seldom included photos for which I used my less-than-ideal smart phone camera, with little knowledge on how to adequately use the digital camera we had. 

It was only after we left the US on our first cruise that we purchased the first of three digital cameras we've since owned, each a little more sophisticated than the other.  Finally, I began to learn to take photos and include photos in the posts which has proven to be an ongoing learning experience but a pure labor of love.

Apparently, this is a Giant Sunflower, the first we've seen in our neighborhood.
There was a gap in time from leaving Minnesota until we first left the US, from October 31 to January 3, 2013, slightly over two months.  Originally, when we were completing our paperwork to leave the US, we decided to rent a vacation rental in Scottsdale, Arizona for a few months.

This way, we'd be close to eldest son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, my sister in Los Angeles and Tom's sisters who spent the Minnesota winters in Apache Junction, Arizona each year. 

Often ambitious gardeners plant these parasitic type pods to palm tree in order to grow more orchids. 
With plans to get together for the holidays of 2012 with all of the above family members, and more we also rented a vacation home in Henderson, Nevada for a week, leaving behind the rented condo in Scottsdale which had no room for overnight guests.  We had a blast to say the least.

During the remainder of our time in Scottsdale, we kept busy taking care of "paperwork" and other tasks associated with leaving the US; taxes, banking investments, lowest ATM fees and exchange rate credit cards, new computers, phones and digital equipment and on and on.

Close up of the orchids growing on the above parasitic pod is eye catching.
We were busy almost everyday of those two months in Scottsdale working on all of the above, talking walks in the neighborhood, going out to breakfast at a favorite local restaurant, US Egg, and fine tuning our scheduled bookings for the upcoming two years. 

Packing in those days was a nightmare.  We had 17 pieces of luggage. Now we're down to two large, one medium, one computer bag and purse, for a total of five items.  Big difference.  Now, we can pack in 30 minutes.  Then, it took days.

A new little palm tree had sprouted at the base of this tree.
After the holidays and saying goodbye, we left Henderson to return to the Scottsdale condo on December 27, 2012 for the few remaining days until we were ready to leave for San Diego, California for our first ever upcoming cruise which was scheduled to sail on January 3, 2013. 

We loaded everything into Tom's car and on January 1, 2013, we drove to San Diego to stay with my niece and her husband for two nights.  On January 3rd, we drove to the pier in San Diego, spotted our ship, the Celebrity Century and for the first time the excitement kicked in. 

It looks like these are impatiens a popular shady area flower we often planted in Minnesota.
My sister Julie, her partner and Richard met us in San Diego at the pier.  Julie wanted to say goodbye and Richard came to say goodbye and to take the car off of our hands, later to sell it.  Wow!  How this all worked out so well still baffles us.

The excitement, the trepidation, the uncertainty and a bit of fear washed over both of us.  As the ship sailed away from the pier we looked at one another as we stood on the deck of the ship and Tom said, "Can you believe we did this?"

We were baffled when we spotted these buds unsure of what they'd become.
I shook my head as I looked deep into his blue eyes, "No, I can't believe we did this."

In time, the fear wafted away to be replaced by an innate sense of adventure and excitement which remains firmly in place today, 1000 posts later.  In 26 days the adventure will continue as we board yet another ship on cruise #11 since that date in January, 2013. 

And then, we walked a little further to spot these and we had our answer, more exquisite orchids.
In eighteen days at sea we'll be in Australia, living close to the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback, the ocean, the jungle and wildlife galore, Funnel Web Spiders, Tiger Snakes, and crocs.  Now, we're talking adventure!

Thanks to all of our readers all over the world who have followed us, written to us, challenged us.  Thanks to all the contributors to our site.  Thanks to all the wonderful people we've met in our travels, on cruises, on beaches, at vacation homes, who invited us to social events and to all of the people who assisted us in one way or another. 

A different arrangement of orchid buds.  We're looking forward to when these all bloom, hopefully in the next 25 days while we're still in Kauai.
We are humbled.  We are grateful and most of all, we're in awe of the world around us.  Let's see what happens over the next 1000 posts!  Whatever it is, you'll find it here, each day when you turn on your laptop, desktop, iPad, iPhone or other smart phone to see what's happening...in the life...

Have a terrific Tuesday!
______________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, April 28, 2014:

Houseman Samir warned us about purchasing spices from open containers such as these which were often stale or contaminated.  Since Madame Zahra did all of our cooking, we had no use for spices during our period in Morocco.  For more details, please click here.


Rainy days and Mondays always get me down...Not really...How much time do we have left?...Reading list...Tom adds a story!




This Marigold was the most beautiful we've seen. 
Here's the song from 1971 by the Carpenters that popped into my head first thing this morning when I noticed the cloudy day and the Monday morning.  Sorry about the ad which you can push past.  Sure brings us back to reality that this song was popular 44 years ago.  Gee...didn't I just turn 44?  Ha! Where did the time go?

The days, the weeks, the months are flying by so quickly now, there's hardly time to stop and reflect upon days passed.  The weekend wafted by in a flurried mix of long walks, good movies, good food and speaking to friends on Skype. 


Pink Orchids, common to the Hawaiian Islands.
"They" (whomever "they" are) say as we age and eventually retire, time flies more quickly.  Perhaps, as we age its not about time flying faster and more about the fact that we are more resilient and less stressed with the daily activities around working, raising a family (or not) and trying to "make it."

Once we retire, we let the dreams go of fame, wealth and prosperity (for those of us who haven't achieved those levels) and we comfortably settle into a life of reality.  Here's who I am.  Here's those who love me.  Here's how much I can spend to live.  Here's what I can realistically accomplish in the years I have left to live.

The vibrant hot pink in these orchids was breathtaking.
Have you ever counted the years you may have left on this earth using your expected longevity based on your health and heritage?  I do every so often, realizing that at 67, my life may end in 20 years.  Then I recall back to 20 years ago, trying to get a frame of reference as to how much time I may actually have left.  

Twenty years ago, I married Tom.  I was as happy as I could be.  Now, these 20 years later, most of which were happy, some of which were wrought with worry and strife, as life often is, I realize that I do have enough time to complete my mission, health and safety providing.



The color of these tiny flowers is almost florescent.  We've yet to find the name.  With the help of reader, Annie, these are Pentas.  Thanks, Annie!
And aren't we kind of like a company needing our own mission statement to decide what we want to accomplish and how we'll go about achieving it?  Many of us go through life waiting for the "next best thing" to happen to determine our path.

For many years I did this along with a thought that quality of life was based on how hard you worked, how hard you loved and how kind you were, all of which were thrown into a bucket waiting for "luck" to be thrown into the mix.  I've learned it doesn't work that way.  It took a long time.

When I turned 50 years old, one day I woke up and got it.  I wasn't going to make the billions I dreamed of and life the life commensurate with those billions. 


Golden tipped Anthurium.
I wasn't going to be standing at a podium in front of an applauding audience extoling the virtues of hard work and dedication, along with a magic potion of all the insightful morsels of every motivational speaker I'd ever heard.

Nope, this is it.  This is the life I chose and the person I chose to live it with.  Now 17 years after my revelation, I'm happy.  (We've been together for 24 years, married for 20).  Oh, its not jumping up and down happy, although at times we both feel that way.  Instead, as I awake each day I hear these words in my head, "Yeah, another day I can have a whack at it!"  I'm grateful, to say the least.  He is too.


This is Poinsettia in its off season.  Still lovely.
This life has nothing to do with luck.  Happiness has nothing to do with luck. For both of us it has everything to do with sacrifice, letting go, stepping outside the box, being fearless, strict adherence to health and well being and above all, a determined choice to get along with one another and allow ourselves the privilege of being happy.

So many couples (bear with me, single people) waste years of their lives together in disharmony. How many times have we heard from the one left behind how they wished they'd have been more tolerant, more patient, more loving?  Not us, we decided to do that now.  If I want to curse him or vise versa, we can save it for when the other is gone in 20 years, 30 years or who knows?

What a peculiar growing thing!
Ah, enough pontificating.  On with the reading list which will not be belabored by any means.

Here's Tom most recent reading material:
1.  Railroad War by Leon Speroff
2.  Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin
3.  Dial M, The Murder of Carol Thompson by William Swanson
4.  Stolen from the Garden by William Swanson
5.  Vince Flynn, Minnesota author who's since passed away, having written about a dozen books, all of which Tom's read since we left.
6.  Why Coolidge Matters by Charles C. Johnson
7.  Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robisson
8.  Preposterous Papa by Lewis Meyer (This book was written by friend Richard's uncle about the life of his grandfather). 

Tiny puffs, miniature Bottle Brush flowers.
 Here's what I'm reading:
1.  Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric Westman
2.  Wheat Belly Total Health by Dr. William Davis
3.  Altered Genes, Twisted Truth by Steven M. Druker
4.  The Big Fat Surprise by Nin Teicholz
5.  The Paleo Manifesto by John Durant

You can copy and paste any of these titles into the amazon link on the right side of the page for more details or email us for assistance or with questions.

________________________________________

Today's post reminded Tom of a story he wanted to share.  Here it is:

"A successful man was giving a speech about how he achieved his success.
 
He told the story of losing all his money gambling in Las Vegas and he didn't have the 10 cents required in those days to use the toilet.

He explained his predicament to the first guy he sees outside the restroom  door asking if he'd give him a dime for the toilet.  The guy pulled a dime out of his pocket and handed it to him.
 
As he entered the restroom he notices the last person had left the toilet door open.  So he used the toilet.

After exiting the restroom he put the dime into a slot machine and hit $100.00 jackpot.  He took the $100 to play blackjack winning $1000.
 
He then played craps and won $10,000.

He used this money to invest in stocks on Wall St. and made tens of millions.

In closing his speech he said if he could find the man who helped him he would give him half of his worldly goods.

A man stood up in the audience and said, "I'm the guy who gave you the dime in Vegas!"
 
The speaker replied, "Not you, sir. It was the guy who left the toilet door open."

 Thanks for sharing, Honey!

Have a magnificent Monday, rainy day or not.
________________________________________


This wasn't our photo that we posted it one year ago.  The shop keepers wouldn't allow photos of their clothing on display. On this date, we discussed gender roles as we perceived them in Marrakech.  For more details, please click here.

When all the sightseeing is said and done...What do we do for entertainment?... All new photos...


Every Friday night, we see Norwegian's Pride of America ship after leaving the port in Nawiliwili, Kauai.  It sails along the Napali Coast and then turns back toward Honolulu where the seven day cruises end on Saturday morning at 7 am to depart again on a new cruise that evening at 7:00 pm.
We've fairly well exhausted most of the possible sightseeing adventures in Kauai that appeals to our senses, level of fitness and interests.

With no house to maintain, no garden to tend, no grass to cut, no weeds to pull, no barbecue parties to host in the yard and no family functions to attend, what could we possibly do to entertain ourselves during our 27 remaining days on the island of Kauai?

New photo of one of our favorite views in Kauai, the mountains and sea at Hanalei Bay.
Our average day consists of doing the requisite loads of laundry, cleaning the small condo, washing windows, preparing meals and grocery shopping every five days or so and on occasion making a trip to the Healthy Hut in Kilauea. 

At night we dine and watch a few favorite downloaded TV shows or even a few shows that are on the TV, such as tonight's AD The Bible and tomorrow evening's Dancing with the Stars.  In some ways our lives are not unlike that of many other retirees worldwide who live in condos or apartments.

Colorful orchid bloom.
But, in many ways we have more free time based on the above mentioned items and more.  With a rental car, we don't even have the occasional obligation of having the oil changed or performing general maintenance.  We never have a doctor, dentist or eye doctor appointment.

Tom's says he doesn't have to chase the geese off the lawn.  Instead, he spends the better portion of each day chasing the pigeons off the lanai railing to make way for the feeding nuts to our favorite birds who visit several times each day.  In a funny way our preoccupation with the same familiar birds stopping by occupies a portion of our time, calling them, watching them and laughing at their antics.

Beautiful overlook.
I no longer spend endless hours in the kitchen chopping, cooking and baking for us, for family and friends, foods that no longer suits our way of eating, for those who are no longer a short distance away, spending the better part of the day stopping by with a delivery of some delectable plate or pan of something that I'd made to share.  Those days are long gone.

Instead, I spend each morning from the time I'm up showered and dressed for the day, hair fixed with makeup on, ready to tackle the world, sitting at my computer writing, editing and posting.  Usually, I begin by 7:00 or 7:30 and end anywhere from 10:30 to noon. 

Sunset last night. 
During this period, Tom assists me by researching past posts for links and other information I may be posting that particular day.  When done assisting me, he perused his favorite websites such as Facebook, news, financial markets and of course, his passion, Ancestry.com.

As soon as the post is uploaded we often head to the Makai Golf Course which is listed as one of the world's five most scenic golf courses.  We head to the pool and fitness center where we'll usually find Richard and Larry. 

The overlook at the Hanalei Wildlife Refuse where one can see the world's largest taro fields.
As mentioned in past posts, we never spend more than 45 minutes in the sun  all the while chatting with our friends as we acquire a good dose of Vitamin D.  Doing so for 20 minutes a day without the use of sunscreen may prevent the necessity of taking Vitamin D supplements, a necessity for bone health for seniors.  This avoids the necessity of hauling several more bottles of vitamins in our already heavy luggage. (Its important to gradually work up to the 20 minutes by tanning 10 minutes on each side to avoid a sunburn).

Several times each week after the pool we stop to visit the albatross, the grocery store or visit a local farmer's market.  At other times, we drive for awhile looking for new photo ops, later to return home to change back into our clothes and head out for a walk.  By the time we return from the walk,  its often 2:30 pm as the day quickly moves along. 

One of Kauai's most popular overlooks.
Had we been retired and living our old lives, on occasion we'd have made a trip to Home Depot, a local nursery or Costco.  Returning home, we'd have had "stuff" to put away, projects to start, a garden to tend or a meal to prepare for arriving family or friends. The day would have easily become filled with activities.

We're never disappointed when we stop for photos at this amazing spot.
A few evenings a week, we have social plans.  We stay home the remainder of the, watching for a brilliant sunset and enjoying our evenings as if every night is a playful Saturday night.  Add in a good meal and at times, a movie and what more could we want?  Never bored, we relish each moment as new and interesting.

Red Lipstick Tree branches.
Often on a daily basis there's tons of email to reply to, banking and finances to handle and plans for the future to investigate  We've found ourselves tackling what may have felt like as a task in the past, as now being a pleasant experience.  Perhaps, the lack of hustle and bustle in our lives makes paying bills online kind of fun.

On top of our simple daily lives, we both enjoy reading; me, an occasional novel but, mostly scientific studies, health, nutrition and medicine and Tom, international intrigue and espionage novels and biographies of people he's admired and respected over the years.


Cattle Egret are commonly found near excavation areas, golf course, lawn moving and gardening areas.  They hang around this specific areas in hopes of worms and bugs being brought to the surface.  We always laugh over seeing dozens of these birds at excavation sites.
Tomorrow, we'll share our current reading list.  We'd love to hear from any of our readers who may have suggestions for reading material they've found interesting that may appeal to us.  How fun would that be!

May your Sunday be relaxing and fulfilling whatever you decide to do!
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Photo from one year ago today, April 26, 2014:


It wasn't uncommon to find orange trees growing in restaurants in Marrakech when most restaurants were built, similar to our riad, with an open air center courtyard. For details from that date as our time in Morocco was winding down, please click here.

An email that sent us over the moon...A special person we met in our lives of travel...


Anderson, standing at the marker for the border between Kenya and Tanzania.
Yesterday morning, I discovered an email in my inbox from Anderson, our guide while on safari in the Masai Mara.  The email in his words:

"Jambo from masai-mara,Kenya.
Hi jessica and tom,how are you doing my friends?.long time since we meet at masai-mara at sanctuary olonana camp,where are you now?..since you told me that,you were travelling all over the world!..am sorry that i did not  have time to visit you at mombasa-ukunda.
Concerning my employment,i resigned from olonana few months ago,and i bought a new safari land-cruiser to start my own safari business within kenya,tanzania and uganda.so please if happen that you want to do a safari, am always there for you,..and please recomment me to your friends for me. Thanks my friends, Best regards from Anderson ole Pemba."



In October 2013, over 18 months ago, we went on safari in the Masai Mara (aka Maasai Mara), situated in southwest Kenya as one of Africa's most magnificent wildlife reserve.  Connected to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania it is the world's most popular safari game viewing environment.

We stress the fact that our expedition was game viewing, not hunting.  We would never engage in the self serving slaughter of exquisite animals in the wild as their numbers dwindle based on the intervention of humans. 


How we got so lucky to have Anderson as our guide falls into the same "safari luck" category that seeing the Big 5 in our first 10 hours on safari seemed to fall into, all accomplished only due to Anderson's expert skills and keen eye.  No one on the planet can drive across rough terrain with his expertise nor can spot a lion sleeping in a tree all the way across the plains.



Tom and Anderson really hit it off.  This was within moments of arrival at the dirt runway airport in the Masai Mara.
Not only was his warm, thoughtful and engaging personal a factor but his sense of adventure, willingness to literally "go the extra mile (kilometer) and his vast knowledge left us with a memory that will truly last a lifetime. 

An amateur photographer such as I with a less than ideal camera was able to take photos that will always stay in our hearts and minds and into infinity, located here on the Internet for generations to come.

Anderson's efforts made this lifelong dream of mine become a reality.  As a child I dreamed of Africa, the Africa we experienced in the Masai Mara, and Anderson helped make it a reality we'll both always treasure.

When the short three day period as guests at Camp Olonana by Sanctuary Retreats came to a close my heart ached over having to say goodbye.  Would we ever return to the Masai Mara in Kenya with so much political unrest in the country and when there's still so much world to see? 

I knew we were in good hands the moment we met Anderson. 
Yes, someday we'll return to Africa to see Victoria Falls in both Zambia and Zimbabwe and to see the gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, although there are other locations where they are to be found.  Plus, my heart longs to return to Marloth Park for a period of time as well.  Someday.

Although we spent only three days with Anderson, for as much as eight hours each day, the time was never enough.  Realistically, three days in the Masai Mara is enough time during which with a great guide, one can see and take photos of many of the treasures in this extraordinary location.

Not only did he ensure we could see all that we longed to see, he left an indelible mark on our hearts not only with his skills but, with his delightful demeanor, sense of humor and passion to please regardless of the size of the group in his vehicle, at most six tourists. 

When we arrived at the dirt runway airport in the Masai Mara, Anderson was waiting for us immediately taking me into the circle of his strong arms for a bear hug.  At that moment, I knew we were in good hands.  He'd take good care of us, ensure our safety and equally ensure we had the time of our lives.


Anderson had arranged a breakfast in the bush with the chefs preparing foods I could eat along with standards for the others. 
At the airport we had to wait for another couple's plane arriving in an hour and a half.  Instead of standing around waiting in the hot sun, Anderson suggested he take us out to see what we could find in that short period of time. 

And find, we did, as shown in the many photos in this post which we uploaded that first evening when we were exhausted after a quick meal having arrived too late from an sunset safari to shower and change for dinner. 

With dust all over our clothes and with no Internet access in our tent, after dinner we sat on the sofa in the lodge with a wifi poor connection attempting to upload multiple photos and story, knowing our readers were waiting to hear from us. 


With wild animals all around us, we dined on a perfect breakfast without a moment of fear.  We always felt safe with him even if we were only 15 feet from a hungry lion.
The posts were a mess with poor formatting and typos but, we knew once we returned to Diani Beach, Kenya, we'd have plenty of time to go back and make any necessary edits. 

At 7 am the next morning we were ready to go again although the gurgling sound of the hippos in the Mara River outside of our tent awoke us at 4 am.  I feel back to sleep with a smile on my face relishing every aspect of this amazing experience.

Our first day out, Anderson explained that if we needed to pee to simple say, "I need to check the tire pressure."  Within a matter of minutes, he'd find a rock or a bush appropriate for providing a modicum of privacy. 

That's not to say that the trek to the rock or bush wasn't fraught with a bit of trepidation for what may be lurking in the tall grass.  Those breaks were vital to our experience as the daytime heat kept us sipping on bottles of beverages he kept on ice in a cooler in the front seat.

I took this photo of our group on safari that morning.  Its cool in the Masai Mara in the mornings, heating up considerably as the day worn on.  That large rock to the right was the spot where we'd "check the tire pressure."
I could go on and on.  Instead, I'll let our interested readers click back to the posts to read the remainder that continued over a period of over two weeks.  The stories and photos seemed never ending, as did the memories with Anderson.

Yesterday, when we received the above email we were thrilled to hear from him.  At the time, we'd given him our card knowing it was unlikely we'd hear back with lack of Internet access in the area.  We'd invited him to stay with us in Ukunda (Diani Beach) when he'd hoped to make a trip to Mombasa although he was unable to come. 

If any of our readers knows of anyone interested in a safari in Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda, feel free to contact Anderson here at this link.  We noticed that he's working in Uganda.  We only hope by the time we're ready to see the gorillas, that we can be with him once again.


Notice my BugsAway hat wrapped around my lower face while we were in Tanzania in an effort to keep the flies out of my mouth.
Speaking of Tanzania, when Anderson was concerned that I was greatly disappointed that we'd missed the Great Migration by one week, on the last day, he drove us over some mighty rough terrain to the border of Tanzania.

There, we were able to see the tail end of the migration while batting off zillions of flies as a result of the dung from 2,000,000 wildebeest and other animals crossing the Mara River numerous times as it winds through the Serengeti, on this annual trek.  Only he would try to please to that degree for which we're eternally grateful.

Thank you, Anderson, for an experience of a lifetime, that in many ways changed our lives and in many ways enhanced our desire to experience more of the wild and its treasures that we've yet to behold.
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Photo from one year ago today, April 25, 2014:

A huge pile of yarn was lying on the ground in the souk, ready to be woven into an article to be sold.  Notice the black cat cuddled up on the yard.  At this point one year ago, we were three weeks from departing Marrakech, Morocco and we were ready to go.  For details please click here.