Will our means of protecting ourselves soon be changing?…Assessing the scenario…Bad news about South Africa…

Elephants on the Crocodile River as seen from the fence in Marloth Park. See the post here.


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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Today’s photos are from our post one year ago today. Please click here for more details.


We knew this day would come. More guests have check-in the hotel. We’re only days or weeks away from Prime Minister Modi allows some businesses to reopen, although airports and public gatherings will still be in lockdown. We aren’t certain about hotels re-opening as yet.

A tree bark gecko in our garden.

Currently, some hotels are only housing people like us along with a low number of Indian citizens who have no place else to stay, like us. Other hotels are housing potential carriers of COVID-19 and those still in quarantine with confirmed cases that don’t require hospitalization. We’re grateful we didn’t have to stay in such a quarantine hotel.


Now, as we’ve noticed some staff members wearing masks, that weren’t doing so a week ago and in seeing a new group of four young Indians, we’re wondering if now is the time to ramp up our safety.

A massive bull elephant in Kruger.

Only yesterday, we noticed tape on the floor of the lift, designating where guests should stand when riding together. We refuse to enter the lift with any others, even staff we know.


This morning, we had a new server at breakfast. When we inquired, he stated he arrived at the hotel last night to take over for other servers who were allowed to return to their homes after a six-week stint during which they stayed overnight each night.

A rhino in Kruger.

The question we ask ourselves: Have new staff members been exposed to the outside world and may they be the invisible carriers we hear so much about from the media? No symptoms. Highly contagious.


No, we’re not being overly paranoid, but we are considering what changes we may need to make especially when servers may potentially be carriers, touching our flatware, plates, glasses, and other food-serving apparatus.

Vultures on the lookout for their next meal.

The government now requires any facilities that serve food to keep tables un-set until guests actually sit down to eat. No more linen napkins. No more salt and pepper shakers left on tables. This way, they can sanitize each table after guests have completed their meals.


But still, this is no guarantee of safety. Someone is handling all of these items. And isn’t that one of the many reasons so many passengers and crew became sick on all the cruises we hear so much about?

A parade of elephants crossing a dirt road in Kruger.

Last night, we discussed our next precaution. If we see more new staff and guests entering the hotel, we may have to begin eating our two meals a day in our room.


Today, another comfortable chair was delivered to our room, enabling Tom to stop sitting in bed. We made room for the extra padded chair without sacrificing any valuable space in the room. We turned the TV so we can both watch the news and occasional episodes of Nat Geo, as we often have on in the background during the day..
Cautiously, they make their way across the road.

If and when we begin dining in our hotel room, we’ll have to pick up our meals from the kitchen, thus avoiding any servers handling our food. Besides, no room service is allowed during times of COVID-19. At that point, I think we’ll wash our own forks and knives to avoid further handling.


As for the bad news about South Africa, several of our friends have informed us, that incoming international travel won’t be allowed until at least December, six months or more from now. We expect India’s international flights will commence much sooner.
Intimidating mouthful of razor-sharp teeth.

We now accept the reality that we’ll need to fly somewhere else before we can plan on flying to South Africa. Our next booked cruise sails out of Lisbon, Portugal on November 10, ending up in Cape Town, South Africa on December 2, which may or may not be canceled. We have no clue at this point.  


The final payment is due in July. We’ll have to wait and see what transpires with the Azamara cruise line in the interim and if that cruise will cancel down the road. 

Crocs don’t have sweat glands. They open their mouths at rest to cool off.

PS: After completing this post and preparing to upload it, I stopped to do my hourly walk. While in the corridor, I noticed a new couple with luggage entering a room. The above-mentioned plan of eating in our room is now in effect as of this evening’s upcoming meal. I spoke to Dash, a manager and also the main chef. Our dinner will be awaiting us at the service area, an open kitchen as seen from the restaurant, at 7:00 pm each evening. To avoid feeling rushed in the mornings, we’ll call 20 minutes ahead for our usual breakfast order. On each occasion, we’ll wear face masks including the period during which we wait in the lobby while our room is being cleaned, where to date, we’ve never observed any other guests.


All of us must be proactive in securing our safety and designing a plan that works for us, regardless of what others may think of our decisions. At this point, it appears social distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands frequently is a step in the right direction. For us, these added measures are a must.

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Photo from one year ago today, May 1, 2019:

The Crocodile Bridge, one of many entrance points that leads to Kruger National Park. For more from this post, please click here.

Making decisions while in lockdown…Photos from a tropical garden, five years ago in Kauai, Hawaii…

This video of Laysan Albatross antic in Kauai, Hawaii always makes us laugh. They are such delightful and charming birds. See the link here for the date we posted this video.
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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

For those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story, please click here.

A few days ago, I inquired at the reception desk if there was a possibility of an upgrade to a larger room in the hotel. I did so on a whim, hoping like some hotels in the past, they’ve given us a complimentary upgrade.


Last night, shortly before we headed the dinner the friendly staff person called our room, suggesting a price for an upgrade to the suite next door to us. It was more than we wanted to pay, but we decided to take a look at it anyway.

Five years ago today, the drive on the way to the Princeville Botanical Gardens is in itself a breathtaking experience.


It was comparable to an apartment with a living room, two flat-screen TVs, a formal dining room, a large bedroom with a huge en suite bath and a second bath near the living area. It was pleasantly and simply decorated. 


When we did the math, converting from rupees to US dollars, it was too much considering how long we may be here. After a bit of negotiation back and forth, the best they could do was charge us an extra IDR 76,177, US $1,000 more per month over and above the IDR 226,626, US $2,975 per month, we’re currently paying.

Everywhere we walked, the scenery was outstanding. Unlike many botanical gardens, the owners chose to leave some areas open with expansive green lawns, adding to its beauty.


My first reaction was that for that amount for such a substantial upgrade, this was a reasonable amount, especially since I was feeling a bit of “cabin fever.” But Tom, in his usual sensible and frugal way, convinced me it wasn’t worth it, even under these trying circumstances.


I rationalized it in my mind that along with food and tips, our total monthly expenses would still be less than we usually pay while living in a nice holiday home with a rental car, groceries, and dining out. 

Although Hawaii may not be the perfect climate for cactus to proliferate, many varieties of cactus seem to thrive as this has that I spotted on the tour.

As the family “numbers cruncher” I tend to think in terms of totals rather than individual expenses as long as we stay within budget. But Tom, the more practical of the two of us reminded me that based on our current circumstances, under so many unknowns, such a “frivolous expense” wasn’t necessary.


Sure, I grumbled a little under my breath, but overnight realized he was right. After watching the news this morning and reading yesterday’s speech by President Ramaphosa of South Africa, it’s conceivable we won’t get into South Africa for four months or more.
This red fruit caught my eye, although I was uncertain as to its identity.

As we mentioned, if the airport here in Mumbai reopens to outgoing international flights, we have some ideas as to where we can go to stay, perhaps an island in the Indian Ocean, not too far from Africa while we wait for South Africa to open its borders.


It would be a lot easier to live in a beach house overlooking the sea while we wait, as opposed to sitting in a hotel room for many more months to come. Then, of course, we’ll have the added expenses of flying to one of these islands, paying for a rental car and housing and all the ancillary costs associated with such a location.

Lipstick bamboo.  Look at these colors!

We’re better off to save our funds for that trip than moving from one hotel room to another right now. I got over it. I’m fine. I can get sidetracked at times. Tom always steers me in the right direction.


This restaurant continues to add a few items from their regular menu and tonight, I’m having salmon for the first time since we arrived here. This is quite a treat after eating two small chicken breasts every night for the past almost three weeks. 


Tonight, I’ll also pass on the paneer mahkni and just have a huge plate of steamed veggies. The chef came by and offered Tom Pasta Carbonara, which will be a nice change for him.
Shrimp plant also known as Yellow Candles.

It’s funny how during this lockdown meals have become more important to us than ever in the past. By 4:00 pm each day, I start chomping at the bit, getting hungry and anxious to go to dinner at 7:00 pm. 


Boredom? Perhaps. I’ve read online that many are eating more during the lockdown. We aren’t eating more since we have no access to food other than the two meals a day, breakfast and dinner. But, we surely enjoy mealtimes which many of you may be experiencing now as well.


When we’re safe and have basic conveniences, it’s our thoughts that do a number on us. Keeping those in check, when possible, will help all of us get through these trying times.

Be safe. Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, April 11, 2019:

Little and a mongoose getting along.  Mongooses don’t eat pellets so no competition for food. For more photos, please click here.

Newspaper story about our adventure…

We’ve got press!  The story below was published in the Chanhassen Villager and other western suburbs publications. Some of the facts aren’t accurate, such as Tom ha two sons and my having a son and daughter, when in fact, it is the opposite. Guess that’s how media works. We won’t fuss about the details. 

The story hits the major points.  Our readership has catapulted in the past few days since the story was published on January 3, 2013, the day we sailed on the Celebrity Century out of San Diego.  Thanks to all of our current readers and our new readers for following us!  Thanks to our wonderful friend Chere Bork who was highly instrumental in getting the story in the right hands and son Greg for finding the article and posting it.

 Here’s the link to see the article in the paper.  Please give it time to load. 
 
 
Former Chanhassen couple begins worldwide adventure

Tom and Jess Lyman

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 5:06 pm | Updated: 8:15 am, Sat Dec 29, 2012.

 Bon voyage. Today, Jan. 3, Tom and Jess Lyman, former Lake Minnewashta homeowners in Chanhassen, begin their worldwide wandering. They sail from San Diego today, go through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale, then sail to Belize, then Africa, and Europe and beyond. They may be gone for five years or 10 years, depending on their health and other circumstances. They don’t plan to stop until they find the destination of their dreams or until one of them is tired of living out of a suitcase or just plain wants to stop.

The Lymans won’t be on the road constantly. Instead, they’ll use a series of cruises (already booked through 2015) to transport them to and from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, to South America, to Europe, to Africa, and then to Hawaii. In between they’ve booked rental homes where they’ll stay no less than one month and no longer than five months at a time. Their rentals include a condo in Dubai, a home in Tuscany, a beachside cottage in Kenya, a home in the Kruger National Park Reserve in South Africa, and a 16th-century stone house in Cajarc, France. They’ll plan on meeting their families on the Big Island in Hawaii for Christmas 2014 where they have a rental and plan to stay through March 31, 2015.
Looking toward retirement.
Nearly a year ago, as Tom Lyman looked forward to his retirement from Burlington Northern, Minneapolis, at the end of October 2012, he and Jess, his wife of 21 years, discussed what they might do once Tom retired. Jess had retired in 2010 after a career in real estate and professional management.
Tom is 60, Jess is 65. Each had been married before and divorced. When they met more than 20 years ago, they recognized kindred spirits and eventually married, blending their families. Tom has two adult sons. Jess has an adult son and daughter. Between the two, they have six grandchildren.
Like scores of other baby boomers, the Lymans considered renting a condo, townhome, or small home in Florida or Arizona in winter, spending their days golfing, socializing with similar snowbirds, relaxing, and enjoying a slower pace.
After 43 years working 14-hour days and enduring a daily two-hour commute, being able to spend more time at home with Jess and his genealogy hobby would be welcomed.
But as they talked, they realized that doing the same old, same old didn’t have much appeal. As a couple they’d spent most of their free time at their Lake Minnewashta home, working on home improvements and entertaining their circle of friends.
“It was time to step outside the box,” Jess said. “Tom and I had both married young and had children in our 20s. We always had to be responsible and our lives revolved around our families.”
Life change
As they looked at approaching retirement, they realized it would be more enjoyable if they were healthy. Although Jess was always slim and fit, she had chronic pain and had high blood sugar. Tom was 40 pounds overweight.
About a year and a half ago, the couple changed their diets to low carb, gluten-free, sugar-free, wheat-free, and starch-free. Tom lost 40 pounds and Jess’s chronic pain went away.
“We’re in good health now,” Jess said. “That was our goal, to be in good health in our retirement. I could not have done this three years ago. The food thing is such a big thing. We don’t eat any grains, not oatmeal, quinoa, any beans, corn, or rice. It literally changed our lives.”
Can we afford it?
While their bodies became healthier, they had to do a similar checkup on their finances.
Jess and Tom ran the numbers. How much would it cost to do the typical retiree thing? They created spreadsheets of their cost of living if they did the typical retirement community life. They estimated their costs for housing, food, clothing, entertainment, and utilities, dental, medical and prescriptions, household goods, car upkeep and maintenance, and everything else they could think of.
And then they compiled spreadsheets of the costs of traveling. The cost of staying in rental homes, not only in the States but in Europe and Africa, food, transportation, special insurance, passports, visas, technology to keep them wired and in touch with family and friends.
“Our baseline was, ‘How much would it cost to rent a condo in a warm climate? How much would we spend a month in retirement?’ That was our magic number,” Jess explained in a phone interview two weeks before their January departure. “Could we make our travel number match that number and not tap into Tom’s pension? We didn’t want to do this and get into financial jeopardy.”
After a lot of research, number-crunching, and Internet research, the numbers worked.
But it would mean a drastic change to their lifestyle. Instead of settling into a warm climate condo to call home base, the Lymans decided they’d travel, trying out different locations and seeing the world until one of them didn’t want to travel anymore. No home, no car, few possessions except what they could pack in six pieces of luggage.
World Wide Waftage
Jess describes herself as a detail person. How detailed? Visit the Lyman’s website called World Wide Waftage at http://worldwidewaftage.blogspot.com/
It’s the culmination of online research “eight hours a day, seven days a week,” Jess explained. Their website is organized into categories: Tom and Jess’s blog posts, itinerary, travel documents, medical issues, health insurance, travel costs, smart decisions, planning mistakes, Internet access, products they like, vacation houses, cruises, retirees, baby boomers, and senior concerns.
It’s so complete it prompted the question, “Are you going to write a book about how to plan for a trip around the world?”
“I’ve always wanted to write,” Jess said. “I always thought that when I retired that I would write. But I needed to find a vehicle to inspire me. So I decided to do a blog for our family and friends to avoid constantly emailing.”
In addition to the emotional preparations the couple is experiencing — saying goodbye to children and grandchildren, selling their home, having an estate sale and the reality of living out of six suitcases, Jess writes about all the small details necessary to make such a trip as worry-free and efficient as possible; details like getting wills and living wills written and into the hands of a trusted family member, doing taxes while out of the country, explaining why a second passport is necessary for the type of traveling they’re doing, questions to ask when buying a mobile phone for international use, arranging for a year’s worth of prescription meds, what to know about health insurance, getting Wi-Fi in remote parts of the world.
“When we planned our retirement and our plans to travel, we asked ourselves, ‘How well can we do this?’” Jess said. “It’s predicated by our health. If we get tired, we’ll stop.”

Our final doctor appointments…

With a degree of angst we headed out yesterday afternoon with empty stomachs in preparation for blood tests to our last doctor appointments, Tom’s and mine scheduled together for a full hour.  I imagine that most people don’t enjoy going to the doctor, but for me it is a dreaded experience.

Doctor, dentist, Ob-Gyn and optometrist all fall into the same category. I don’t like it, don’t want it, don’t want to take my clothes off, don’t want anyone looking in my mouth or other such places and don’t want to stand on that disgusting scale. No, no, no!

We had to go. Yes, I know, it would be our last appointment for a long while (hopefully). Obviously, I have some type of “issues” around this, a mixed bag of good and bad.  That which makes me diligent, impatient, goal orientated and downright persistent adds to my ability to spend endless hours planning our year’s long world adventure. 

On the flip side, it makes me feel “out of control” to have a stranger poking and prodding at me, obviously looking for something wrong as opposed to something right.  Perhaps everyone feels the same way.  Perhaps the only difference is that I am more vocal about it.

So, off we went to our long time physician Dr. Dennis Showalter of Park Nicollet, a youngish (40″), kind, physically fit and smart man, for our final appointments (except for one more travel clinic appointment for each of us, Tom’s later this week, mine in early October).

Greeted with, “Do you have your insurance card and ID?” as opposed to  a cheerful “hello” never ceases to amaze me. I suppose the job of doctor office assistant is demanding, wrought with frustration.  Answering the endless array of the same questions over and over, accompanied by grumpy comments from ill patients (who also don’t want to be there), pushes them over the edge. 

When calling for an appointment they grumble their name immediately asking, “What’s your name and date of birth?”  I cringe while giving them my age, something I am otherwise not ashamed of, having posted it many times in this blog.  I literally cringe.  Knowing their job is thankless, I go overboard with kindness and thoughtfulness, complying with their every wish.

I refused to go on the scale.  Tom was standing right there, edging me on.  I have weighed myself in front of him at home.  I’m skinny, but still, as a woman, I have the same insecurity about “the number.” 

Tom jumps on the scale with an enthusiastic bounce.  I remind him to take off his “three pound tennis shoes.”  He laughs and says he doesn’t care. Oh, yeah, he’s a guy. His weight was five pounds more than at home naked on the digital scale; heavy jeans, tee shirt, keys in pockets, wallet and those shoes.  “OK, maybe the home scale is accurate after all,” I think.

We’re escorted to a room, blood pressures checked by another rushed assistant and left alone.  Tom squeezes my hand aware of my discomfort. He tells me a joke.  I didn’t get it, a guy joke but I laughed anyway. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.

Moments later, a light knock on the door and in walks the tall, slender doctor, an example of robust health, warmth in his eyes, hand extended. 

An hour later, a year’s worth of prescriptions on hand to be mailed to CanadaDrugs.com (please see my post as to how we’ll handle prescriptions from afar) for the best pricing. (Tom went from four prescriptions down to one from our low carb, gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free, starch-free diet over the past year). Doc was impressed at his weight loss.  He didn’t ask me why I didn’t get on the scale.  He knows. 

We meandered off to the  lab down the hall to have “every blood test known to man” for one final check before we go on our year’s long worldwide adventure. One test that we determined to be crucial, in the event of an emergency, was blood typing. This information wasn’t in either of our charts.  Good information to know, just in case.Holding hands, Tom and I left the clinic, smiling from ear to ear, me relieved it was over, Tom was anxious to get home to enjoy the remainder of the day he had taken off work for this appointment.  

Thank you, Dr. S.  Hopefully, in a year, we’ll have our online Skype appointment with him to review of our health and refills. Perhaps, we’ll use our portable travel scale and maybe, just maybe, I’ll weigh myself on it!

Day #107 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Birds over mammals?…

This adorable kookaburra posed for me in the yard in Trinity Beach, Australia, while sitting on the fence next to the rain gauge. These birds are much larger than they appear in this photo.

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 8, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.



Yesterday’s post included a remembrance of our time spent in Kauai, Hawaii in 2015 and a little about the story of our exciting experiences with the Laysan Albatross on the Garden Island, as shown here

After a while she/he relocated to the roof, looking down for a possible morsel of food.  They are known to snatch food off of plates when cooking on the “barbie.” More on kookaburras will be coming in a few days with our wildlife posts.

Today, as I pursued past posts for today’s photos, I stumbled across photos of the ever-so-fascinating bird, the kookaburra, while spending time in Trinity Beach, Australia in 2015. 


Contrary to our usual distaste for zoos, although we appreciate their existence as an opportunity for humans to learn about animals, while in Trinity Beach we visited a local zoo when we weren’t seeing many animals in the wild, except for kangaroos and wombats.

These common Yellow Allamanda were growing like crazy in the garden of our holiday home.

When we were welcomed to “do a story” on the Cairns Tropical Zoo, avoiding an entry fee and providing us with a personal tour with one of the zoo biologists, it was hard to resist.


Having an opportunity to learn about the indigenous animals which the zoo housed exclusively, certainly opened our eyes for future possible sightings of the birds and mammals we learned about on that special day.

Bottlebrush blooming in the yard.

There were three birds that particularly caught our attention; cockatoos, pelicans, and kookaburras, of which we’ve included a few shots today. As we continue sharing photos from past posts, in a few days, we’ll include photos of more of the stunning creatures we were fortunate to see on that tour.


In 2017, we stayed in Fairlight, Australia, close to Sydney, and were thrilled to have the opportunity to interact with these special birds by hand-feeding visitors to the garden of our holiday home when they stopped by each day. Those photos will follow soon.

We drove up the mountain behind the market to Kuranda. When we began the steep and winding trek it was sunny. By the time we arrived at the first overlook, it was cloudy and rain began to fall. We turned back with a plan to return to see the village at the top on a sunny day.

When we began our travels, we didn’t realize how significant birds would become in our constant search for wildlife. Not only in Africa and Australia, but we also had many memorable experiences with birds in many other locations as many of our long-term readers have seen.


No, we aren’t expert bird watchers like our friends, Lynne and Mick from the UK with a home in Marloth Park, our friend Louise in Kauai, Hawaii, and our friends Linda and Ken from the UK and South Africa. But we certainly are bird enthusiasts, spending time learning about those we particularly enjoy. 

We could imagine how beautiful this expansive view would be on a sunny day.

Oftentimes, I’ll post a photo of a bird we don’t recognize and our friends will jump in and help us identify the specimen. Bird watching and savoring the beauty of birds can be quite a hobby and at times a lofty obsession, coupled with excellent camera skills. 


For us, we love seeing everything that walks, runs, flies, swims, and slithers. If it’s moving, we are curious about it, including a wide array of insects we’ve spotted in our years of world travels. Some of our favorite experiences and photos include closeups of insects and spiders.

The mountain and ocean view reminds us of Kauai, Hawaii.

Nothing new is on the horizon here at the moment. The hotel continues to be fully occupied. The monsoon season is in full force with raging rain and floods almost daily. Covid-19 continues to infect more and more each day and the prospects for leaving anytime soon diminish as the contamination escalates.


We’ve come to the conclusion that this is our lives now and spend less time searching for travel options than we did in the past few months. We’ll know when we can leave and make decisions from there. All the speculation, expectation, and anticipation won’t change a thing. 

The sections of land always create such an interesting view both from the air and scenic overlooks at higher elevations.

The more we accept this as our fate, for now, the less stressful this scenario may be. It is entirely possible we could be here for a total of a year or even more. Laughter is our best panacea. Hope is our salvation.


Stay safe.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 8, 2019:

A repeated photo of me and a few Gentoo penguins on Saunders Island, Antarctica on January 26, 2018.  What an experience! For more photos from the year-ago post, please click here.

A step in the right direction…Domestic flights in India beginning on May 25…

Playful elephants on the Sabie River 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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Today’s photos are from May 21, 2019, from Connemara, Ireland. Please click here for more details.
This morning’s news announced the reopening of some airports in India for domestic flights. This is a step in the direction for the same for international flights sometime down the road.

We love the reflection of clouds in the water as we drive through the countryside.

However, based on the original transmission of Covid-19 traced to passengers entering the country from other countries, its impossible to predict when this may occur.


The US has allowed some domestic flights from the onset of the lockdown, but here again, it could be many months before international flights will begin. As for South Africa, our preferred next destination, there is no indication of its borders opening anytime soon.


As for Madagascar, it appears they may reopen their borders in the next 60 days. Tanzania will be opening its borders for international travelers within a week. This leaves us with a good option for staying in one of these countries enjoying its vast array of wildlife while we await the reopening of borders in South Africa.

Yellow irises growing wild in the countryside.  Please click here for information on the wild yellow irises in Ireland that often grow along the road. 

Madagascar and Tanzania allow a 90-day visa on arrival. If after 90-days or 180-days in these two countries (and other) if South Africa’s borders aren’t open, we can visit other islands near Africa’s eastern border or other countries within Africa such as Namibia, Botswana, Uganda, depending upon the degree of outbreaks in those countries.


In the interim, liquor shops have reopened in some areas in India for “home delivery” only. No pubs will be open nor will bars in open in hotels. Since we’ve gone so long without a drink, at this point, we won’t bother. 


Besides, having beer and wine delivered to the hotel in lockdown with a guard at a distant gate would be cumbersome. We’ve decided we’ll wait until we get to our next location which could be many months from now. 

A little sheep family resting near the road.

It’s interesting to read the comments our readers have sent. We appreciate your comments and suggestions. As we’ve mentioned in past posts, the most common comment we receive is “Why don’t you seek repatriation to the US and get out of this odd situation?”


Another question we received yesterday, “Can you fly to another city in India” while you wait?”


There would be no point in us considering either of these scenarios. There is no city in India that would offer a safer, more comfortable environment than where we are staying now in this quality hotel and it would make no sense to fly any more than absolutely necessary to ultimately leave India when it’s allowed.


We anticipate the flight out of here with a certain sense of dread, as grateful as we’ll be to be on the move. The required five or six-hour early arrival at the airport, wearing a mask and gloves for such an extended period, the medical checks, the luggage fees, and of course, the long and laborious flight.

As we approached the town of Clifden we noticed a number of apartments and townhouses on the inlet.  Clifden, our area to shop, only has a population of 1,597. “Clifden is a coastal town in County Galway, Ireland, in the region of Connemara, located on the Owenglin River where it flows into Clifden Bay. As the largest town in the region, it is often referred to as “the Capital of Connemara”. Frequented by tourists, Clifden is linked to Galway city by the N59.”

But, there doesn’t appear there will be any other options. We’ve into the possibility of an upcoming cruise on a small ship sailing out of Mumbai at some point, but only if it gets us closer to a destination we prefer. This is highly unlikely.


It’s not as if we are being overly picky as to where we choose to go from here. The country has to have open borders, adequate incoming international flights, and not be a hotbed of Covid-19 at the time. 


We accept the reality that we may be required to be quarantined for 14-days (or more) once we arrive in any country especially since India’s number of cases is rising rapidly and…we are US citizens, the biggest hotbed in the world.


Ah, by no means is this situation easy nor will it be when we have some serious decisions to make. But, the one thing we know for sure, it will have made no sense for us to return to the US when flights were offered for stranded citizens.

This precious photo was my favorite of the day.

Where would we have gone? We have no home. Many holiday homeowners are refusing to rent their properties during times of Covid-19. Hotels and meals are twice as expensive as we’re paying here or will pay in other parts of the world.


I’m high risk. We have no insurance in the US except Part A Medicare, which isn’t nearly enough to cover costs if either of us were to become infected. Our international insurance covers everything with only a $250 deductible.


The reasons are obvious. But, we thank everyone who has taken the time to write and offer suggestions and will continue to respond to your suggestions.

Yesterday, we crossed this single-lane bridge on the way to Clifden.  There are a few different routes we can take from here to Clifden and will change it up each week.

The weeks seem to fly by quickly, especially from weekend to weekend. Often, when we comment on what day of the week it is, we’re both surprised it’s Friday or Saturday once again.


Regardless of all of this, we continue to have hope, for the world, for India, for our own country, for our readers/family/friends and for ourselves that eventually this too, shall pass and a new world will begin to emerge.


Stay safe. Stay hopeful.

______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, May 21, 2019:

Donkeys are highly regarded in Ireland to the point there are special programs available to adopt and a specialized Donkey Sanctuary in Cork, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.


Part 3…Musings over the peculiarity of life in a lockdown in a hotel room in Mumbai, India…

Dozens of mongooses in our garden in Marloth Park. See the post here.

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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Today’s photos are from our post one year ago today. Please click here for more details.



At the end of yesterday’s post, we mentioned, we’ll be sharing what we’re missing the most during this time of COVID-19 besides the obvious aspects of missing family and friends. 


In speaking with our loved one, we found that each person and each family have their own list of how lockdown has impacted their lives and what they are missing the most.

Two barn owls in the rafters at the Mugg & Bean Restaurant in Lower Sabie. For more on this year-ago post, please click here.


It has varied from socializing with family and friends, to walks in the park, shopping in malls and local shops and dining in restaurants, to such basic needs as being unable to find favorite necessary foods and beverages.

For many business owners, they are sorely missing the much-needed revenue stream they typically see in their businesses coupled with the fears as to how long they’ll survive financially if lockdown continues any longer.


For many, they miss the peace of mind they’ve experienced in the past and perhaps didn’t appreciate enough, in the freedom of not worrying about life-threatening illness befalling them and their family members and friends.

Female lions lounging in the shade


Regardless, of what others have missed, our hearts go out to everyone during this difficult time. This is the first time in history that non-infected citizens have been quarantined. Sadly, this insidious virus cannot be detected in the healthy without a test. Taking temperatures is simply not enough. 


As more and more guests check-in to our hotel, (we’re now back up to about 20 guests) we wonder if they are carrying the virus, although their temperature was taken at the door when they entered. They could easily be carrying the virus without any symptoms at all.


What do we miss while living in this hotel in lockdown in Mumbai, India? Here’s our list, not necessarily in any particular order since it can change each day:

Dinner in Kruger National Park when friends Lois and Tom visited when we’d gone on a nighttime game drive.


1. The freedom to order products we need online, knowing a shipment may be on its way soon:
At this point, no international packages are being delivered in India, not through FEDEX, DHL, or any other service. Our mailing service rep, Eric at Maillinkplus in Las Vegas, Nevada replied to our inquiry stating that at this time, there isn’t a single shipping company in the world shipping parcels to India, although big shipments from some companies are arriving. We have a package waiting to be shipped to us with important supplies that we may not be able to receive for months to come.


2. Purchasing groceries and cooking our own meals:
No doubt, I miss having a kitchen with the ability to create a week’s menu and to shop and cook accordingly. As we mentioned many times, having the same meals over and over again is boring and unsatisfying. Thank goodness the hotel chefs are good cooks and the repetitious meals are flavorful. We both miss the variety.

Ms. Bushbuck resting in the garden.


3. Beef, snacks, hard cheeses:
Neither of us has had any beef in over three months. This is a first for Tom, not so much for me. I’d love a grass-fed beef burger, minus the bun, with cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo. Tom mentions roast beef, beef taco salad, meatloaf, steak, and hamburger. Snacks would be nice.


4.  Wine for me, beer or cocktails for Tom:
This speaks for itself.


5.  Paper towels, Windex, and disinfectant cleaner:
I’ve always been a paper towel person. Although I was always careful in not using them excessively. Now, I’d love to be able to wipe things down although our room is very clean.

A cute bunny on the road in Kruger National Park.


6. Freedom:
To be unable to continue on our travels as we have over these past 7½ years is frustrating along with the uncertainty of the future. Here, we are unable to go outside for a walk or sit in the garden (yard) for some fresh air and sunshine. We’re taking big doses of Vitamin D3 to compensate for lack of sunshine.  Being unable to jump into a car and drive somewhere will be greatly appreciated in the sometime in the future.


7. Socializing:
It’s true, in some countries we don’t have an opportunity to make friends and socialize. But, in others and on cruises its been such a joy to engage in lively conversations. Now, we only speak casually to the kindly staff, but it’s not necessarily considered socializing.

A pair of hippos and a pair of cape buffaloes.


8. Cruising:
A big part of the joy in traveling the world has been the pure pleasure of cruising to many exotic locations and frequently conversing with travelers from all over the world. The entire ambiance of the cruise experience has been a vital part of our lives, also in getting us from location to location enabling us to avoid flying as much as possible. Will this ever be possible again?


9. Living in a more spacious environment:
Living in one room, except for a few hours a day, isn’t easy. We keep our room tidy and relatively clutter-free, but even so, it’s a small space.

.
A Nyala, the first we’d spotted in Kruger National Park.

10. Doing laundry:
We’re sure you’ve heard about our laundry situation ad nauseam, but I do miss doing laundry providing more options on what we wear.


11. Sightseeing and taking new photos for our posts:
It’s been about six weeks since we were sightseeing in India, taking and sharing many photos along the way. We look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead. 

More Nyala in Kruger.

Sure, we miss all of the above-listed items and maybe a few more we aren’t recalling at the moment. However, we’re both holding up quite well. Our biggest goal through this entire process has been to maintain a good attitude with hope for times to come, regardless of the inconveniences we may be experiencing now.

We hope and pray for all of you as we each work our way through these difficult times. 


Stay safe.

______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 30, 2019:

The only squirrel we’d ever seen in South Africa. For more photos, please click here.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Heartbreaking news for my sister…

Our favorite bird, Birdie, who sang for us each day to give him nuts.
Please listen to this song all the way through!
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 in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

For those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story, please click here.

Charles Dickens wrote in The Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

This adorable pair of Northern Cardinals visited us several times each day while in Kauai, Hawaii five years ago.  He’s sharing the nuts we gave him with his mate, that we leave on the railing each day.  How sweet is this! For that post on April 10, 2015, please click here.
And here we are, dear readers, in the worst of times as most of us are striving to survive with grace and dignity through this frightening pandemic. No one is exempt. No one is free from the fear, from the risk, and from the consequences of a world in lockdown for an indefinite period of time.

My sister Susan’s situation is indicative of these stressful and unusual times. She’s back at the assisted living facility in much worse shape than she was before she fell. 
He’s so cute.  And he sings like nobody knows! See the above video of him belting out a tune for our attention for more nuts.
Not one nursing home, palliative or hospice care facility or rehab center in Nevada would accept her as a patient due to COVID-19. Not one. Subsequently, she was sent back to her assisted living facility which does not provide the type of palliative/hospice care she requires at this time. 

She literally cannot get into her wheelchair to get to the bathroom or attend to any of her personal needs. She can barely feed herself. She’s trapped. The assisted living facility has agreed to do what they can to help her, but they have many patients that also require attention, especially when no family members can visit.

But, these types of facilities don’t offer the degree of help she requires now and most likely will require for the remainder of her life, which may shorter than we anticipated under these dire circumstances. It breaks our hearts to know how she is struggling to get through each day.
Birdie, contemplating his day.
I call her every morning, which is nighttime in Nevada, USA but I’m having trouble keeping the call from cutting off. Thank God, my sister Julie, niece Kely, and Susan’s ex-husband Tom are all also calling her frequently providing considerable emotional support and encouragement.

Based on what is called lacunar infarctions of which she’s had many, her memory is fading by the day. Lacunar infarction is described as follows: “Lacunar stroke or lacunar infarct (LACI) is the most common type of ischemic stroke, resulting from the occlusion of small penetrating arteries that provide blood to the brain’s deep structures.”


No doubt, many of you have experienced a similar diagnosis in your aging parents and family members. On top of this frequently occurring situation in her brain, as mentioned earlier, she has COPD, congestive heart failure and a chronic pain condition. Also, she was injured in the recent fall. Oh, good grief, this is unbearable for her.
This is the male Red Crested Cardinal which also came to visit each day, but he and Birdie didn’t get along well.
Susan was a highly intelligent and successful businesswoman for most of her life with an illustrious career. She, too, traveled the world and we often share stories of places we’ve been and the experiences we’ve had, especially while on safari in Africa and India. 

To lie in bed for 12 years withering away is unthinkable for any individual, as the quality of life fades away, day after day, as do the memories of a life well-lived. 

She asked me is she should “let go” and do what our mother had done at 81 years old in 2003, stopped eating and drinking, refusing all treatment until 17 days later she drifted away with all of us at her side. What could I say? Fight to live under these dreadful circumstances?
A showdown between Birdie and his competition.

I could only offer my love and support for whatever path she so chooses. Only she can make that decision. Many of us can make such a decision, when and if the time comes and if we hopefully still possess a modicum of mental resources to make such a dire decision.

The sorrow this virus has bestowed upon all of us worldwide has placed so many in the horrifying position of making life and death decisions for ourselves and for those we love.

Thank you to our readers for the love and support you send our way in thoughts, messages, and prayers. We extend the very same to each and every one of you.
______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 10, 2019:

Mr. Nyala likes it there. It was a delight for Tom to see him again that morning and to be able to take these photos. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…What to bring for an African safari….Lions…yep…we’ve got more today…

When looking closely at this photo, we noticed a fourth lion behind the male, appearing to be another male.

 “Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This morning’s eight zebra visitors.  Pellets were on the menu!

Prior to continuing with “What to bring for an African safari” we wanted to mention that today’s lion photos were taken yesterday when we ventured out around noon when Josiah was here to wash the veranda and tend to clean up in the garden.

A male lion walking on the bank of the Crocodile River.

He usually arrives around noon requiring we either move indoors or head out for the now daily drive.  Rather than stay inside when often Martha is cleaning at the same time, leaving for awhile makes more sense than sitting indoors which we seldom do.


From inside the house, we can’t see what’s transpiring in the garden and since we try to avoid missing the arrival of any visitors, staying outdoors makes no sense at all.  

This could be two females with this male lion or a female and a young male who’s mane has yet to develop. There’s a male behind the male in front.  

Even on the hottest of days, we stay outside from the time we’re up and dressed until we go inside to get ready for bed.  People often ask why we get as many visitors as we do and the answer is simple.  The wildlife sees us here all day and it’s irresistible to avoid passing out pellets and veg each time they stop by.

These elephants came down the steep embankment to the river while we were watching the lions, a sight we often encounter but always appreciate.

Unfortunately, the helmeted guineafowls are also here most of the day and they’ve become expert at snatching pellets for their own diet.  When we’re trying to feed three little pigs or a dozen kudus, 60 guineafowls can certainly impede their feast.  


We provide some birdseed for the guineafowls but not enough to keep them from pecking for their usual food sources which include worms, grubs, and insects.  

Alternate view of the lions.

As is the case with all the wildlife, the food we provide is more of a snack than a meal.  They cannot become totally dependent on us providing food to the point where they don’t continue to forage and graze for their usual food sources.

Here again, we spotted these not too far from “Two Trees” overlook.

After the morning’s activities and staff arrived to clean, we had considerable success at the river as shown in today’s photos.  Again, for our new readers, we must mention these lion sightings are often very far from our vantage point on the Marloth Park side of the river.  


The fence between Marloth and Kruger Parks often interferes in the quality and clarity of the photos.  When we get closer to the fence we can get better shots by shooting between the wires in the fence but this is very tricky and trying to hold the camera steady for the distant shots and, avoiding the metal barbed-wired fence makes it all the more difficult.  We do the best we can.

A lion family near the Crocodile River, where mealtime isn’t a difficult challenge with many animals near the water.

Continuing with our suggestions for items to bring for safari here are the balance of those items we’ve found to be imperative.  For yesterday’s post with clothing suggestions, please click here:


1.  Digital:  
a. Cameras: (many tourists use their smartphone and tablets for taking photos.  We see them hanging out the windows of their vehicle while self-driving through Kruger.  Is taking photos is not your thing, this is fine.  But if you want to get great shots, a camera is a must); including multiple camera batteries, chargers, tripod and plenty of storage (SD) cards if you don’t plan to download your photos daily (as we do).
b. Universal travel adapters and converters: suitable for Africa’s outlets which can vary from country to country.
c.  Cellphone:  It less expensive to purchase a SIM card in the country your visiting than buying a global SIM online.  In each country, they are available everywhere such as supermarkets, petrol stations and more.  You can purchase airtime for calling and data for maps, etc.  (data is expensive, calling is not).  However, if you plan on making calls back to your home country we suggest you use Skype or another free service.  You’ll pay a small fortune to call using the SIM card on the phone.
d.  Laptops, iPads and other tablets:  If you’re an avid user, feel free to bring them along in your carry-on luggage and don’t forget plugs-in!
e.  Binoculars:  If you prefer to use your camera’s viewfinder to spot your subjects that’s fine if you don’t already own a good pair of binoculars and don’t want to invest at this time.  Otherwise, we’ve found using a camera and binoculars is an ideal match when for example in spotting today’s posted lions.  I use the camera while Tom hunts via his binoculars.
e.  Wi-Fi:  Most hotels and some bush camps provide free Wi-Fi for its guest but service can be sketchy in remote areas.  If staying in a holiday/vacation home, verify with the manager/owner that free Wi-Fi is included and any usage limitations.  We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the service here in Marloth Park and at this home.  For us, Wi-Fi is imperative.  For you, it may not be as important during your safari adventure.

Something caught the eye of two of them.

2.  Medication:  
a.  Prescriptions:  Regardless of where you’ll be staying its a must to bring copies of your prescriptions and ample medication to last at least a week beyond your expected stay in the event of some unforeseen delays.  Many common prescriptions can be purchased at local pharmacies in small numbers to get you through a crisis with a copy of your current prescription, although narcotic medications cannot be purchased in this manner.  A local doctor must be seen.  If you take a narcotic drug for medical purposes, only bring enough, along with a recent prescription, to last during your stay.  A large supply can cause serious issues at the airport.
b.  Over the counter medications:  If you’ll be in a remote area, it’s a good idea to bring the following:  aspirin, Tylenol (call Paracetamol in Africa); allergy meds; insect bite creams (antihistamine and cortisone creams); sunscreen; band-aids; Visine or similar eye irritant solution (dusty conditions can cause eye irritation; contact lens solution/cleaner if applicable (include replacement lens since dusty conditions may require a new pair of lenses); your usual favorite toiletries in small sizes suitable for your stay.  If you won’t be in a remote area, feel comfortable bringing only those must-use items since all of the above are readily available at local pharmacies. 
c.  Insect repellent:  Bring only a small amount of 35% or less DEET.  Insect repellents are made for specific areas based on insects indigenous to the area you’ll be visiting.  If you will be in a remote area, bring an ample supply of a DEET based product.  Repellent must be worn day and night due to the possibility of malaria, and other diseases carried by insects.  Reapply based on suggestions on the label.

Male lion resting near the other three lions.

See your local doctor as to any vaccinations you may need or the use of malaria prophylactics.  We cannot make any recommendations in this regard.  Only you and your doctor can make these decisions.


3.  Sunglasses:  Its wise to bring more than one pair if you’re prone to losing them.  The bright sun of the savanna is often blinding and good sunglasses are a must.  (Oddly, we rarely see South African wearing sunglasses but they must have adapted accordingly).


4.  Miscellaneous:  In our own unique ways, we each have items we like to have with us when traveling.  For you, this may be a favorite book, a Kindle, an item of clothing, a packaged food item, a special pillow or headrest.  It’s important to carefully access what makes you feel comfortable and yet is easily packable (check with your airline for weight restrictions).  Africa is hot, dusty, and often windy and can be uncomfortable at times especially when bouncing around in a safari vehicle or car on dirt roads while on safari for extended periods.  (If you have a serious medical condition, a safari may not be a wise choice but a place like Marloth Park can be ideal when the wildlife come to you while you lounge on a veranda at a holiday home or resort).

We’re posting various shots of the same scene for nuances.

Please feel free to contact us by email or comment here with questions regarding this topic (or others).  We’re happy to be of assistance.  We continue to grow in our knowledge of life in Africa but we’re neophytes in comparison to many others.  If you have any added suggestions we may have missed here, please let us know and we’ll update these posts.


Have a pleasing and fulfilling day!

___________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, September 13, 2017:

It’s fun to watch the hummingbirds stab their fine pointed beaks into the tiny holes of the feeder.  To see the link for our easy recipe for the syrup, please click here.

A day we’ll remember…Contact with the outside world…

We can only imagine how frustrating it must be for sailors and tourists hesitating to partake in boating activities during this rainy period.

Yesterday was unlike any other day we’ve experienced in our travels. No, it wasn’t a typhoon or a hurricane, but it could have been. The winds whipped around this house shaking it on its stilts that hold up the ocean side of the house, the balance wedged into the steep hill. 

The rain came down as hard as we’ve ever seen, steadily, hour after hour. At one point Tom said, “Gee, I hope there’s not a landslide!” I hadn’t thought of that. Then, after he said it, I did think of how possible it could be living on the side of this mountain, after rain falling day after day with only a few exceptions since we arrived 39 days ago. 

(After today, we’ll stop writing about rain for a while unless, of course, if there’s a typhoon or we do in fact, float away. We’re tired of it too, as most of you are into reading about it. You’ll see it’s ended when we post sunny day photos).

On the last partially sunny day, we drove through Yaroi, a small village further down the road from Savusavu.

It was a good thing we shopped a day earlier, avoiding the worst of it. This morning, still cloudy and outrageously humid, the rain is stopped at the moment, for however long we don’t know. For the first time in days, we can see across the bay through a shroud of haze and humidity.

If the sun appeared today, we’d still have to stay put for a few days to let the roads dry, never expecting Rasnesh to make it up the steep incline on the dirt road which by now, is all mud. 

Houses of the local villagers lined the highway.

The house is still intact with only a little water seeping in through the jalousie windows which we kept closed during the worst of it, wiping it up throughout the day. This morning, we were able to open the windows again for fresh air and yet the windows remain covered in raindrops unable to evaporate in the humid air.

Four days ago, I did some hand washing, and today it’s still damp. This morning, when I grabbed my pill case to swallow a few prescriptions and vitamins, most of them had disintegrated into powdery dust. I salvaged what I could and replaced the rest. Now our pill cases will remain in the refrigerator which is already packed to its limits as shown in yesterday’s post.

School for special education.

Two years ago, we thought the humidity in Kenya was the worst we’d ever seen. The zippers on our luggage turned green from the humidity. Since that period, we’ve become smarter and regularly zip and unzip the bags at least every few weeks whenever we’ve lived in humid climates.

Yesterday, Junior, soaked through and through, stopped by to see if we were OK. That’s the kind of service we get here. And later than usual, Shalote came with fresh towels and sheets to change the bed. She, too, was soaking wet. I wondered how her slim, lithe body would manage walking in the strong winds.

Entrance to the school which didn’t appear to be in session.

Sure, we’re looking forward to getting out to see more of this island’s beauty and to take many more photos.  But, we’re easily maintaining an upbeat attitude keeping ourselves busy. 

This rainy period of time has given us the opportunity to investigate future travel options and slowly, we’re coming to a place where we’ll be able to pin down some decisions. Once we do, we’ll certainly share them here.

We weren’t able to determine if this old structure is occupied.

During food prep yesterday, I couldn’t seem to get my hands or the wood countertops dry no matter how many paper or cloth towels I used. By the end of the day, my fingertips were wrinkly comparable to spending a long period in water. 

Even the cloth furniture and our clothing felt damp. Thank goodness the temperatures remained cool enough to make the humidity a little more tolerable.

Most houses are on some type of raised structure in the event of inclement weather.

As for today, we continue to be housebound. With a 70% chance of rain hopefully dwindling over the next week, we’re content with the current situation knowing eventually, we’ll be able to get out and about. 

Tom’s been busy with his favorite pastimes; Ancentry.com, managing investments; connecting with his railroad cronies, family, and friends on Facebook; watching and reading US news; and listening to his favorite radio podcasts from Minnesota, KSTP 1500, “Garage Logic.” He used to wear earbuds when listening until recently when I’ve also enjoyed listening to the show.

Beaches are still eye-catching on cloudy days.

Yesterday, I downloaded 10 books in “Kindle Unlimited” at Amazon.com (USD $10, FJD $21 a month for all the books one can read, never having more than 10 “checked out” in any given time). In 24 hours, I’ll breeze through two books especially when my computer was busy downloading movies and TV shows on Graboid.com preventing me from doing anything else at the same time. In one day, I used five gigs of data, more than the average person may use in a month.

These online resources provide us with entertainment, information, and contact with the outside world. With our newly purchased Vodafone Internet dongles, we have a great connection, easily able to enjoy our pastime activities.

Have a peaceful or action-packed weekend, whichever suits your desires!

Photo from one year ago today, October 17, 2014:

A year ago today, we were settled into our new home in Maui, a beautiful condo overlooking the ocean with a pool and everything we could possibly need.  With the prospect of Hurricane Ana still looming, Tom decided he’d better check out the beach outside our condo before the deluge. For details, please click here.