Four days and counting…Disappointing error on my part…

We went to dinner in a town square at The Villages, Florida, every Friday and Saturday night. This was in June, 2023.

Today, I had almost finished the post, and somehow, most likely due to my hitting a delete key in error, the entire post was gone, and I had to rewrite the whole thing. I’m frustrated with myself. Here I am, starting again, trying to remember everything I wrote. I can’t recall the last time I did this, but this was not the first time.

Since writing posts is so spontaneous, which I often start without a topic in mind, it’s not easy to piece it together once again. I tried everything to find my trash in WordPress. It is nowhere to be found.

This morning, I continued packing, taking everything out of the cupboards in two of the three bedrooms. There are no drawers in the bedrooms of this house, and cupboards are often the only option in many holiday homes for storing clothes and other items. Using cupboards makes it challenging to find specific items and often makes a mess when digging through everything.

Few holiday homes have a chest or drawers or a dresser. That was something we loved about the well-equipped house in The Villages, in Florida, where we stayed last summer. That was the most well-equipped holiday home we’d rented in the past 11 years, and I think of it often for its ease of living.

We don’t expect owners of other holiday homes to go to the lengths that the Florida owner did to ensure we had every possible accouterment we could imagine. The only item I had to buy was a large stainless steel bowl, as mentioned in a prior post a few days ago. I left that bowl behind since it was too large to fit into a suitcase and carry on our travels.

I’m curious about what amenities we’ll find at the new location. Each time we enter a new holiday home, it’s of great interest to both of us to see what they have on hand. Most often, there’s almost everything we need. Since we stay for more extended periods than most travelers, there may be a few items we need to purchase.

Here in Mirador San Jose, we managed with everything on hand. However, there were no mixing bowls (other than one medium serving bowl), no grater, no can opener, no large stainer for washing vegetables, or an electric mixer, which comes in handy occasionally. Nonetheless, we managed quite well.

The bed pillows have black mold spots on their covers and were misshapen and uncomfortable. Luckily, I have my Tempur-Pedic memory foam pillow with two satin pillowcases. Tom slept well on the lumpy pillows. Enough about this place! We’re moving on in only four days.

Five days from now, I will sit in the living room in our new place, working on that day’s post for December 15 and getting ready to head to Costco to buy my new laptop and groceries. We’ll most likely be a little tired from the prior day’s long road trip and nine-hour flight, but we’ll be elated to be in our new home for the next 107 days.

Tom is cutting up the last watermelon in big chunks that he eats daily at lunch with ham and cheese rollups. We’ll finish most of the food and leave any extra unopened items for Maria when she cleans the house again after we leave on Thursday. Now, I’ll head to the kitchen to cut the large watermelon chunks into bite-sized pieces and be done prepping food for today.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 10, 2013:

We wrote a story about Vic’s Royal Kruger Lodge, and he invited us to dinner in his boma. The place settings for dinner were pleasing to the eye, and the food was excellent. For more, please click here.

Yeah!…We’ve had power for the past 36 hours!…Ten days and counting…

Our dear friends, seated, Danie and Louise, and standing, Rita and Gerhard. We are looking forward to when we can all get together again.

It’s incredible how a good night’s sleep, feeling well, and electricity can make us so happy. Today is a new day, and we will make the best of our remaining ten days in Ecuador. No doubt, the power will be out again, hopefully not for 12 hours. We have enough food to get through these next nine days (we leave on the 10th day) by adding a few packs of meat from the little store. Raphael fills in the rest with fresh, organic vegetables, watermelon for Tom, and freshly picked strawberries for me.

Last night, I slept through the night, and Tom also had a refreshing sleep. Now, he’s watching football on his laptop with the NFL Game Pass, now called DZN, and is quite content. I have a busy day with laundry, meal prep, travel record keeping, and perhaps a little organizing upstairs to prepare for packing in one week.

Feeling well and energetic, I am putting all my negativism in the past and forging ahead. I am looking forward to moving into the upcoming main floor condo in Lake Las Vegas, where we feel confident we’ll be comfortable and at ease.

I have always enjoyed being in Nevada, our home state. With the opportunity to see family and a few friends who live there, we’ll enjoy dining out each week and having easy access to everything we could possibly need or want. Our expenses are always higher in the US than when traveling in other countries, but we’re prepared for that. We’ve done this before.

We’re not expecting $40 dinners with drinks and tips, as we experience in South Africa. Nor are we anticipating $150 weekly grocery bills, buying quality groceries as we have there as well. Easily, we’ll spend $250 or more weekly for a trip to Smith’s or Albertsons. There’s a Whole Foods store nearby, but the prices are outrageous, as we’ve found to be the case in other parts of the US.

Plus, dinners out will easily be $100 for two. Since I am not drinking wine right now, the bill will be a little less when a glass of wine can cost upwards of $15, and I am only drinking plain water. Tap water is safe to drink in Las Vegas and Henderson. In most countries we’ve visited, we’ve had to buy bottled water, except in South Africa, where it’s included in our rent.

Gosh, the more I write, the more reasons I see why we love Marloth Park so much. Not only are prices so much more reasonable, even with inflation, but humans and animals provide a constant source of entertainment. As our regular readers know, I can’t wait to return.

I heard from Rita and Gerhard as they were about to leave Marloth Park after a few months’ stay, living in the same house called the Ratel House (most houses in Africa have a name). Last night, they sent me a photo of their last dinner out with Louise and Danie on WhatsApp, as shown above in the main photo. We are always so happy to see friends enjoying time together who have all come into our lives due to our blog.

It reminds us of how important it is to have good friends throughout the world. Research has been done (not that I believe all research) that having a social life contributes to a longer life and better health. If that’s the case, we should live to be 100. Each day, we connect with our friends worldwide, either on social media or by phone on WhatsApp. Each time we have an opportunity to hear their voices, we are reeling with delight, even after the call.

Today, we are cooking bunless burgers topped with purple onion, fresh tomatoes, sliced cheddar cheese, sauteed mushrooms, homemade ketchup, homemade coleslaw, and sides of green beans and broccoli, a healthy meal for both of us. I use large cabbage leaves to wrap my burger so it can be hand-held. Delicious!

Have a wonderful Monday, and be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 4, 2013:

This morning as we sat on the veranda by the pool, this group of 9 warthogs, seven babies and two moms, walked up the driveway toward us, happy to visit and looking for pellets. For more photos, please click here.

Change in plan for US visit…Questions from readers…To our new readers, please read the last few paragraphs…

Billy’s Bar & Grill, where a group of Tom’s family members meet every Friday at 3:30 for happy hour drinks and dinner.

I forgot to take photos last evening when we went to Billy’s Bar & Grill in Anoka with Tom’s family members. Included were four of Tom’s six sisters, Patty, Margie, Colleen, Mary, and her husband Eugene, and nieces Kathy and Jean, for nine of us, all of whom fit at a big round table.

I apologize for not taking the time to take photos. Once everyone arrived, I was distracted by the lively conversations, interspersed with the family’s usual good humor and laughter. They are quite a fun and chatty group of people I’ve always enjoyed since Tom and I met in 1991, 32 years ago.

I first met many of his family members at Colleen’s now-deceased husband Gene’s (also Eigene) 50th birthday party at a bowling alley in August 1991, only two months after Tom and I met. It was a little overwhelming to meet so many family members at one time, but I did my best to mingle and fit in, as I’ve done so since. They are lovely people who have lots of history together as a group, continually building new memories to add to their repertoire of fun stories.

We drank our happy hour adult beverages and, around 5:00 pm, ordered dinner off of the extensive menu. There were numerous options suitable for my way of eating, but as I often do, I ordered a salad with grilled chicken (no oil) and avocado slices. Tom had a taco salad with the shell, which he often orders when we’re in the US. These aren’t available in most countries.

As for questions from readers, we had several readers comment about why we didn’t appear on TV on the morning news on September 21. As it turned out, the producer who’d asked us to be on the show had interviewed us online and was familiar with our story was out on maternity leave earlier than she’d anticipated. Thus, she asked if we could postpone the show until the next time we visit the US. We have no idea when that will be, but we will keep her updated.

Secondly, reader Diane wrote yesterday in a comment: “I enjoy reading about your travels. Do you plan to do any more in-person events in Minnesota?”

In the past, we’ve done a few get-togethers with readers at specific locations worldwide, but we haven’t planned anything lately. Sometime in the future, we may do this again, but there are no plans now. With the rising costs of restaurant food in the US, we have to hold off on such an event when now it could easily cost over $1000 to host such an event. Thanks for your kind inquiry, Diane!

By 8:30 pm, we were back at the hotel, where we got settled in our room and streamed a few more episodes of our current binge-watching series, Formula 1, quite a good show. Having a living room in our room makes time spent here less confining than in a standard room with just a bed and desk. We have much more space here, so we don’t mind hanging out here in our free time.

To our new readers: We realize that while we’re in the US right now, our stories aren’t exciting and filled with interesting photos. Once we leave here in 18 days to head to South America, the excitement will undoubtedly ramp up as we head to Quito, Ecuador, and then to The Galapagos Islands for more exciting adventures. Please stay tuned for more.

If you’re interested in viewing photos from Africa, please check out our archives (on the right side of our home page) in October 2013 in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, the bush in Marloth Park, South Africa, beginning in December 2013 to February 2014, and again in the bush in Marloth Park in February 2018 to May 2019 and again most recently, starting in January 2021 to April until April 2023. During most of these periods, we left several times for other travels and trips to the US to visit family and on several “visa runs.” We can only stay in South Africa for 90 days at a time due to visa restrictions.

We’re heading out to dinner tonight with dear friends from our old neighborhood. I will make a point of taking photos to post here tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 23, 2013.

No photos were posted on this date ten years ago, but there was information about a cruise we booked, including costs. For details, please click here.

Tom’s trip to urgent care…Visit to Costco with information overload…Another Minnesota Vikings disappointment…

The Vikings lost last night for the second time in the regular season. Our sons are big fans of the Vikings and were sorely disappointed, as was Tom.

Yesterday, we took Tom to urgent care for an unrelenting cough he’d had since he got the flu on the last cruise. We’d tested him for COVID-19 at the time, which was negative. But, his cough, mostly awful at night, was worrying. Finally, he agreed to get an appointment at the same urgent care facility he’d visited when he got COVID-19 pneumonia in 2022 when we were in Minnesota to see family. As it turned out, he was so sick and potentially contagious that we never saw family during that visit.

The doctor spent a lot of time with us and prescribed several prescriptions for Tom, which hopefully we can pick up today. The Walgreens pharmacy had to special order one of the meds, a popular drug we were surprised they didn’t have on hand. That was frustrating since the major medication would help him the most. Now, we’ve lost a day or two in his recovery.

It was wonderful to see our old next-door neighbor and good friend, Nelleke, again, who works at that urgent care facility. She’s the X-ray tech and did Tom’s intake. She, too, is a regular reader of our site and knew everything we’d done and everywhere we’ve been. We’re working on planning a get-together with her, her partner, friend Sue Sue’s daughter Sherry, and her husband Michael. Hopefully, this will all work out. We’d love that!

Fortunately, nothing horrible was found on his X-ray besides the same appearance of his “honeycomb lungs,” the same thing they’d seen on his last X-ray when he had COVID-19. The doctor explained this can happen for long periods after being infected with COVID-19. The end result, he, too, has long-haul COVID-19, just like me. Hopefully, this new round of drugs will help him.

Also, after finishing the post yesterday afternoon, we headed to Costco, only a few minutes from our hotel. We had about $500 in shop cards we’d accumulated since the last time we were here, including credits for using the Costco credit card worldwide for fuel and annual perks.

Most of the credit came from booking one of our recent cruises through Costco Travel. Each time a customer does so, they receive a “shop card” once the cruise has ended. We had booked many cruises through Costco, but seven were canceled due to COVID-19; thus, we never received those shop cards.

Walking into the store reminded me of past visits during our travel years and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” in the massive warehouse store. We were in a state of “information overload.” I had a list of items we wanted to buy, but as it turned out, they didn’t carry most of my list.

We left with only purchasing dinner to bring to Greg’s house while we watched the Minnesota Vikings’ second game of the season. What a disappointment! Our favorite team has had little success over the years, and yet Tom and our kids and some of our grandkids continue to watch with the hope that someday they will do well enough to go to the Super Bowl, let alone win the big event.

After the game, we headed back to the hotel, leaving leftovers for Greg and enough leftovers for us for tonight’s dinner. To keep costs down, we’re trying not to dine in a restaurant more than once a day, and when we’re alone, to have meals we’ve selected from the grocery store that we can reheat in the hotel’s microwave oven.

With plenty of good shows to stream, we don’t mind the quiet nights when we don’t see anyone end up hanging out in the living room in our suite hotel room. We have a refrigerator and use of the big kitchen here for dishes and flatware. It’s easy for us to entertain ourselves.

Today, at 1:00, as mentioned, we’re meeting old friends Pat and Charlie in Albertville for lunch, about 40 minutes from here. Thus, if we’re hungry tonight, we can eat our leftovers from last night. If not, we can eat them tomorrow night since we have no plans for Saturday night at this point.

Many members of Tom’s family are out of town this weekend, but once they return, we’ll make plenty of plans with them, and our schedule will fill up in no time. In the interim, we can spend lots of time with my son Greg, his girlfriend Heather, and the two remaining grandkids, Madiighan and Miles, who spend every other week at their mom’s house. They’ll return to Greg’s home this Sunday for a week, and we’ll plan something with them during that time.

That’s it for today, folks.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 15, 2013:

We had dinner in a cave restaurant in Kenya. Diners began to filter in around 8:00 pm, filling all tables by the time we were ready to leave around 9:45 pm. We’d be warned not to rush the servers worldwide when customs and expectations differ from the US. Many countries’ servers are accustomed to taking their time in delivering the food and the bill. Most often, as is the case here in Kenya, tips are only allowed to be paid in cash, not added to the credit card slip. Of course, this requires us to keep adequate foreign money currency on hand. For more, please click here.

Did you see our new booking in yesterday’s post?…Few more new cruise photos…

It was interesting to see the glaciers in Greenland.

If you didn’t have a chance to view our upcoming booking beginning on October 24, 2023, through January 8, 2024, please click the link here:

We’re excited about this booking. Once we arrive, we’ll take photos and share the cost and the details of what we’re anticipating is a lovely oceanfront property. We aren’t sure yet about where we’re going after our time in Ecuador and may not decide until we arrive in the country.

Bartenders on the ships worked hard to keep up with the passenger’s drink requests.

At this point, we are basing our plans on how I am feeling. I had only one short episode of Afib in the past two weeks, hoping to figure out what causes it. So far, it appears to be caused by a lack of sleep and stressful situations. The Afib started the day I got Covid-19 in April 2022. From what I am reading, it can be a symptom of long-haul Covid.

Drugs used to prevent Afib, which I’ve tried, cause extreme tiredness and other awful side effects. With our lifestyle and our striving for joy and fulfillment in our world travels, there is no way I’m willing to feel sedated day and night. Quality of life is a choice I had to make about taking drugs and feeling disabled from side effects to which I am susceptible.

Fortunately, the long-haul COVID-19 headache and facial pain have been nonexistent since we arrived in Minnesota. No words can express how thankful I am for this. If I can eliminate the Afib, I will feel confident about traveling to more remote locations. This, by no means, is going to prevent us from continuing with our travels. I refuse to let this slow me down.

On both cruises, there was live entertainment, day and night.

Also, I have peace of mind when we’re in South Africa with Doc Theo to look after me and the excellent heart health care available there. We’ll be back in South Africa in nine months, which we’re looking forward to for this and many other reasons our regular readers know.

Of course, doctors feel they must prescribe drugs, but I am more committed to figuring out more natural means of caring for my health. These kinds of choices may not be appropriate for everyone. Please check with your medical professionals for your own situation and subsequent care.

Thank goodness, Tom is so healthy, and yet he is still coughing from his recent bout of the flu, contracted on the second cruise. Whenever he gets a cough, it seems to linger for a while.

In Greenland, an unusual iceberg was floating by the ship.

As we age, we realize, more than ever, how important good health is to make the best of our retirement years. I recall my mother, a heart and diabetes patient, spending most of her later years going to doctors and constantly taking new drugs and new treatments. The highlight of her week was her upcoming doctor’s appointment. I never could see this fate in my later years.

Today, we’re out and about on a few errands. For dinner tonight, I am having a “girls only” dinner with my granddaughter Maisie before she goes off to school in Wisconsin. Most likely, I won’t see her again while we’re here. We’re busy trying to book get-togethers with family members and friends, trying to coordinate it working out for everyone’s schedule.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 13, 2013:

Hesborn, at the holiday home in Diani Beach, Kenya, offered to open a coconut that had just fallen from a tree. They seem to fall throughout the day. We have to be careful when we walk under the coconut trees; they cover the entire yard, leaving only a few safe spots for sunning without the risk of being clobbered on the head. For more photos, please click here.

Part 3…Photos and info about our temporary home in The Villages, Florida….Easy living in the US compared to life in many other countries…

The comfortable leather furniture in the lounge area. The house isn’t huge but has everything we could possibly need.

Finally, I am starting to feel better. Only out of the hospital for eight days, during which I didn’t sleep more than a few hours each day with all the noise and interruptions in ICU, and then the 35 hours journey, only four days later, I was exhausted. Last night, I slept through the night and feel much better today.

My Fitbit showed I slept straight through the night for eight hours and nine minutes, and I feel like a new person today. Then, of course, the Afib bout on the plane set me back after the six-hour ordeal. Since we arrived here four days ago, and after unpacking, organizing, grocery shopping, cooking meals, and doing the daily posts, I was wiped out by yesterday afternoon. I fell asleep several times during the day and evening.

The computer station is located in the third bedroom. The thoughtful owner has ordered a new computer which will be delivered and installed next Tuesday. That works for us! The computer wasn’t working for us to print documents.

Waking up today, I felt like a new person. As soon as I was showered and dressed, I asked Tom if he was up to going for a walk, and he was happy to do so. We were out the door in minutes for easy walking on the smooth pavement to the end of the road and then turning around. It wasn’t very far, but the round trip was a start as we’ll continue to walk each day.

When we returned, we made coffee and sat at the table on the lanai while planning the food for the arrival of friends Karen and Rich, who’ll be here next Friday. We plan to make a few Chinese stir-fry dishes which is an easy meal to make once all the chopping and dicing is done.

The third bedroom is set up as a den with a pull-out sofa and is where we store our empty luggage.

We must purchase groceries online in the future, as is the case for many residents. The golf carts don’t hold much, as mentioned, plus it’s a lot easier to have groceries delivered to the house than the time-consuming grocery shopping process.

We’d used Instacart a few days ago, but the shipping and delivery fees were high and didn’t make sense to us. Instead, we found Kroger with a monthly cost of $7.95 instead of over $30 in fees for Instacart plus a required $95 a-year membership. Plus, the first 30 days at Kroger are free.

The second bedroom is where our guests will stay. The full bathroom is only a few steps outside the bedroom door.

Result? We’ll pay Kroger a total of $15.90 in delivery fees for the remaining almost two months we’ll be here. This made sense to us. Plus, the prices at Kroger seemed lower than those we paid for Publix grocery delivery when many prices were marked up for delivery purposes.

We’ll plan to socialize and get out for dinner tomorrow and Saturday. Once our friends Karen and Rich leave, we’ll begin contacting the many people who contacted us that would like to meet us. Then, our even more active social life will begin. Surely, we’ll enjoy it.

Also, we’re especially enjoying all the conveniences we’re experiencing now. Not only is this house more well-equipped than any holiday home we’ve rented, but the simple convenience of temperature control during the day and night, throughout the house, the tap water we can drink, the massive inventory of household products available for our use and being able to watch local news are delightful.

The view from the entry to the kitchen and lounge. It’s all the room we need.

In holiday homes throughout the world, we never turn on the TV. But here, it’s fun to flick through channels and see what we’d like to watch while we’re busy working on our laptops. The WiFi is steady, the power stays on, and the weather is perfect. We spend several hours a day on the lanai, enjoying the nesting birds who’ve found a home in the perfectly trimmed bushes and shrubs.

No, there are no animals around. Today is trash pickup day, when all the residents leave their large, sturdy garbage bags at the end of their driveway. When we walked this morning, seeing all the garbage bags in driveways, we couldn’t believe that no animals would get into the bags. But, not a single bag had been ransacked for its contents. How unusual this is to us!

None of these differences encourage us to rethink our plans to visit remote locations and countries with fewer conveniences than we’re experiencing here. We didn’t plan our world travels under the premise that life would be easy. We planned to explore new horizons, which we hope to continue in times to come.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 4, 2013:

Palais de Longchamp in Marseilles, France, is not a palace but a tribute to the importance of the water supply in Marseilles. Please click here for historical significance. For more photos, please click here.

Change in a feature on our site starts today…Fun photos from the garden…Busy Sunday…

Zoom in to see this bushbuck, closest to the tree, jump in the air when she was startled by the new baby duiker, an offspring of Delilah and Derek, whom we’ve named Damian.

After years of posting “Photo from one year ago today….” beginning on March 24, 2014 (see the original post here), shown at the bottom of each post, we’ve decided to change that feature. We are changing that feature to the following: “Photo from ten years ago today…

Making this change may add a new perspective for new readers and also long-term readers who do not readily recall so long ago, just like us, when we may have to look up past posts to remember where we’ve been and what we’ve done during a specific period. Our neatly arranged archives at the right side of the page make this possible with a particular date or period in mind.

There’s our boy Norman back from a week’s hiatus to enjoy the holidaymaker’s food. Good to see you, Norman!

Tom has an extraordinary recall of long-ago events, almost to the day, whereby I recall names of people, places, and expenses back to the beginning. Between us, we can remember nearly all of our 10½ years of world travel. For our readers who may or may not have been following along for extended periods, this may help you reference places we’ve been that may appeal to your objectives for future travel.

Also, we must admit, it’s fun for us to look back day after day, ten years ago, as to what we were doing at the time. Have we changed our goals and objectives? How much have we adapted? Do we handle hurdles and challenges with more aplomb than we did in the past? It will be interesting for us to see as well.

Nina and Natalie continued to visit while Norman was away, but it was nice to see the family reunited.

This morning, we didn’t go for our usual walk. My legs felt heavy after a poor night’s sleep, and navigating all those rocks on the roads just didn’t motivate me today. I felt a little guilty not going but decided to do the walking in the house, ensuring I get in enough steps with so many tasks on hand today, such as three loads of laundry, dinner to make for two nights, some organizing in cupboards with packing in mind and so forth.

Today, it’s a pleasant enough day with lower humidity and tolerable heat. We had a rash of visitors this morning, but now, close to noon, it’s quiet again, as it often is mid-day when the animals find shady spots to hide from the scorching sun. Then, later in the day, as it cools down, they start coming by again, and we cherish every moment when they do.

We do not doubt our minds that Natalie is a girl. As she matures, she looks more and more like her mom Nina.

Last night, we had another fantastic evening at Jabula. We met a lovely new couple on my side, and Tom spoke to a friendly new local on his side as we sat at our usual center spots at the bar where Dawn and David always put up a “reserved” sign for us. We always appreciate this special attention, but customers occasionally come to drink earlier in the day and are still there when we arrive. In those cases, we take whatever other barstools are available and move over when the others leave.

Our dinners were delicious, as usual. Tom had the filet with mashed potatoes and gravy, and creamed spinach. I had the grilled chicken salad, which I have enjoyed each time over the past few months. The salad is so packed with fresh veggies and chicken that I don’t need salad dressing.

Is Norman considering mating with Nina again now that Natalie is growing up quickly?

On the side, l have an order of steamed vegetables, including cabbage, green beans, and spinach. It’s all such a treat. I could easily make such a meal for myself, but somehow it tastes best when someone else does the cooking. We enjoy eating out twice a week and will continue to do so at The Villages.

We worked on our budget for our upcoming time at The Villages in Florida. With the high costs of food at restaurants in the US, with expected 20% tips and taxes, we are budgeting US $200, ZAR 3604, per week for meals out. With over 100 restaurants in the complex, trying new establishments each time will be fun. But we all know how that goes. We’ll find a social place we love with good food and go there most often. For us, socialization is more important than food. How we eat fresh, properly cooked, and seasoned food easily pleases our palates.

Bossy and some family members visit daily. Danie says kudus are like big pigs; they eat constantly and will eat anything. We’ve seen them take a few nibbles of the mongoose’s paloney when we set it out for them.

There are numerous options in each category. However, I am looking forward to visiting a few Mexican restaurants, while Tom particularly enjoys Chinese restaurants. Also, Tom, who doesn’t care for fish, will be happy for us to go to several seafood establishments, many of which are in the area. He eats some shellfish, and, after all, we’ll be in Florida, where fish and seafood are plentiful, if not pricey.

I’m off to get the last load of laundry out of the washer to hang on the outdoor rack. The sun has popped out in the past 20 minutes, so I’m hoping everything will dry before the end of the day. Often, with the high humidity, Tom has to haul the rack indoors when little is dry after a full day outdoors. It will be weird that soon I’ll have an indoor clothes dryer, although I’ll continue to dry some delicate items outdoors to ensure they last longer.

That’s it for today, folks. You all mean the world to us!!! Thanks for following along with us.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 16, 2013:

This platter of fresh meats and lobster tail was presented to us on the Carnival Liberty before we made our menu selections. The entire dinner was a fixed price enabling us to choose any items on the menu. For more photos, please click here.

A huge savings after a phone call…Well worth the hour-long phone call…

Many mongooses stopped by for the new roll of paloney we purchased yesterday.

When Tom saw a mention on that our upcoming Azamara cruise on August 1, 2023, had a price reduction, he was determined to see if we could make use of the promotion. On September 3, 2021, we booked the cruise and wrote about it in detail in this post.

We were excited about this cruise since we’ve longed to go to Norway for the longest time, but all the cruises were so expensive we hesitated to book this 600-passenger Azamara cruise. At the time, while we were here in Marloth Park, we hoped this smaller ship would be less likely to have as many cases of Covid-19 by the time it sailed.

At the time of the booking, neither of us had tested positive for Covid-19, and we’d hoped we’d never would. As it turned out, as most of our readers know, we were infected on the Celebrity Silhouette, with 2886 passengers, hundreds of which became infected with Omicron during the cruise.

It was a tough time for both of us when we became ill for many months. Tom got Covid pneumonia, and I got long-haul Covid sinus issues that still linger today, ten months later, although it has improved considerably in the past two months. You’d think we’d be gun-shy about sailing again, but we are still traveling the world, and for us, part of that experience is sailing on cruise ships and other vessels.

Zebras come to call.

We, like many others, have decided to move on with our lives, whether we’re traveling or not. We can’t remain entrapped in fear and apprehension over getting infected, now three years after the onset of the pandemic. Gosh, it was about this time, three years ago, that our private tour of India was fast coming to a close due to sightseeing venues rapidly shutting down, and only days later, our ten-month stint in lockdown in a Mumbai hotel room began.

Well, at least the cruise to Norway didn’t get canceled, as with many previously booked cruises. We’ve been excited to embark on this itinerary which we’ll share again when we set sail on August 1, 2023, less than six months from now. Or, if interested, you can click on the above link, here again to see the full itinerary.

As mentioned in that post, the total cost for the cruise for the two of us was listed as follows:

“The total cost of this cruise for the two of us is US $16,275, ZAR 234,559 (based on today’s value of the rand). The cruise includes an upgraded balcony cabin on the Azamara Journey, tips, drinks, and WiFi for one device. Once we board, we’ll pay for WiFi for a second device. Shore excursions are extra.”

Over the past year or so since we booked this cruise, there have been several price drops. In each case, Tom has called Costco Travel, which always requires over an hour on hold, but he was able to get the price dropped each time. Through his determination and patience, the price has decreased considerably.

Stopping for a drink from the pool.

On Saturday, Tom discovered another price drop, but based on the time difference and Costco’s hours of operation, he didn’t call to request the new lower price until Monday afternoon, when he knew Costco and Azamara’s offices would both be open. In each case, the rep from Costco has to call the cruise line to provide us with a lower price.

I should mention, as I have previously, that these price reductions are not automatic. It is up to the passengers to keep checking prices and promotions and inform their cruise booking service that they’d like to take advantage of a lowered price, added perks, or upgrades. Tom is diligent in keeping track of possible changes, saving us thousands of dollars over the years.

Then, of course, we had multiple credits from cruises Azamara canceled due to the pandemic, which we rolled forward to future cruises. But, for today’s sake, I am only getting into the difference from the original price to the new reductions that occurred in the past 18 months.

So here are the totals for two passengers in a balcony cabin

Original Price: US $16,275, ZAR 234,559

New Price:      US $7,522.62, ZAR 137025.36

As it turns out, the accumulated credits leave us with a credit balance, which the cruise line is applying back to our credit card on file. We owe nothing when the final payment is due on March 20, 2023. This gives us peace of mind after losing quite a bit over the Seychelles fiasco.

Here are some of the perks we’ll receive on this cruise:

  $450 Costco Shop Card Costco Shop Card
  Azamara’s Sale $250 per person Shipboard Credit
  Azamara’s Early Booking $150 per person Shipboard Credit
 ***The amenities included above (including shipboard credit or Costco Shop Card) are assigned to this booking as of (02/13/2023). Any changes to price, cabin, category, sailing date, promo, etc., may result in a change of amenities.***
We’ll use US $800, ZAR 14382.10, and shipboard credits toward WiFI fees. A basic drink package and tips are included in the cruise fare. We’ll pay extra for any shore excursions, but often we choose to go on private, small-group tours arranged with other passengers to travel on vans, instead of the 40-passenger bus experience, which we don’t care to do.
That’s it for today, folks.
Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 15, 2022:

This is a Thick Neck. He hasn’t been coming around as much as he did before Gordy claimed his territory. We can distinguish Gordy and Thick Neck from TN’s thicker neck and Adam’s Apple on his throat. Zoom in to see this anomaly. For more photos, please click here.

Raining in buckets for over 48 hours…Crocodile Bridge flooded over…Roads closed…Hazardous driving…

Note: None of today’s photos of flooding are ours.

With over 229 mm, 9 inches, of rain in Marloth Park in the past 48 hours, it’s safer if we don’t go out. Many roads are impassable and closed, including the roads to Komatipoort and the road into Kruger National Park at the Crocodile Bridge, which according to reports, is entirely underwater.

The Crocodile River is flooding its banks, leaving many animals in distress. There were warnings this morning for those in Marloth Park to stay away from river roads and the fence between Marloth and Kruger, where many animals are trapped. Humans are warned to stay away to avoid stressing wildlife even more than they already are in dire situations.

Following is this article about the flooding, including photos of the Crocodile Bridge as shown below:

Hundreds of tourists in various camps in Kruger National Park won’t be able to leave, regardless of their travel plans. They won’t be able to go on game drives, use WiFi with numerous outages, and basically will be stuck in their tents or sitting around, only entertained by the companionship of others in the same situation. Unfortunately, wildlife sightings are limited in inclement weather such as this.

Most guests will start sundowners earlier in the day while commiserating over their plight. We feel lucky to be at our lovely bush house, undercover on the veranda’s roof, or safe indoors from any potential leaking. Many homes have thatched roofs, which are known to leak during storms such as this. We had a little water on the floor in the bathroom, but that’s it so far. Vusi mopped it up this morning, and it doesn’t seem to be leaking now.

Our WiFi is working, and of course, we have power, although load shedding continues today. It could be days before we can head to Komatipoort to shop. Instead, we’ve decided to get whatever we need from the little local shops for the next few days, but we won’t be venturing out today with the flooded potholes on the dirt roads.

According to the weather report, the rain may continue for days. Hopefully, by tomorrow evening, we’ll be able to make our way to Jabula for dinner. This is entirely predicated on how much more rain we have in the next 24 hours and how the roads are in Marloth Park.

We’ll be back tomorrow with updates on the floods and how we’re all holding up in Marloth Park and other nearby areas.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 9, 2022:

On average, dung beetles can handle a dung ball 50 times their weight. For more photos, please click here.

Aren’t we “The Traveling Lymans?”…Yes! We still are!!!…Photos from five years ago today…

At lunch today, one of the chefs was preparing a beef and vegetable stir-fry outdoors. We all partook in the delicious offerings! It was a fantastic lunch! See the post here.

Every weekday Tom sends an article to the podcast Garage Logic, and they always mention Tom’s name. Joy Soucheray, the show’s main host, always refers to us as “The Traveling Lymans” with the link to our site. Tom has been sending in an article entitled, On This Date in Minnesota History,” which they share with their audience daily. Note; We were guests on the podcast on May 7, 2022. Please click here for the show.

One of their listeners recently wrote to the show and said, “The Lymans aren’t traveling. They’ve been in that one place (in Africa) for a long time.”

Joe chuckled and suggested they look at our site. We may have been staying in Africa for some time, but we have traveled worldwide. Thanks, Joe, for clarifying this with your listener.

It’s heartwarming to see how close they hang to one another. See the post here.


Yes, we have “stayed put” quite a bit over the past two years since we arrived here in January 2021, after ten months in lockdown in a hotel room in Mumbai, India, due to the pandemic, when Tom first began sending Joe the article five days a week.

If we look back over the past two years, we have traveled, just not as much as usual, mainly due to conditions worldwide which impacted our travel plans on several occasions. Here’s what we’d planned, many of which were changed or canceled beyond our control due to Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, and other reasons:

2020: Canceled cruise by the cruise line due to Covid-19, for 28 nights from Mumbai to London via the Suez Canal and the Meditteranean.

2020: Canceled by cruise line; 22-night cruise from Lisbon to Capetown along the west coast of Africa. We rebooked the cruise for 2021, but the cruise line changed the number of days and the itinerary and eventually canceled that cruise.

2021: Ten days before our departure for an extensive tour of Kenya, their borders were closed, and we had to cancel all of our plans, struggling to get our money back, which we eventually recovered.

Macaroni Penguins in Stromness, South Georgia, are known for the pasta-like plumage atop their heads. See the post here.


2021: Left for the US since we couldn’t get a Covid-19 vaccination in South Africa, which was only offered to citizens at the time.

2021: Traveled to Zambia and Botswana for a visa stamp and more safaris

2022: Canceled booked plans to attend friends Karen and Rich’s wedding in Florida but canceled due to an increase of Omicron in South Africa with concerns over us infecting them and wedding guests

2022: Traveled to Florida to embark on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton but got Covid-19; during the last two days of the cruise, required we quarantine on the ship and then again while we stayed in Southampton.

2022: Canceled cruise from Southampton to New York due to still testing positive for Covid-19.

2022: Once we tested negative, we booked a driver for a two-hour road trip from Southampton to Gatwick to board a new flight to Reykjavik, then on to Minnesota.

2022: Two cruise itineraries were significantly changed, which were scheduled to sail to the Black Sea, Russia, and Ukraine when the war broke out. We canceled the cruises when the cruise line didn’t lower their prices for the new, less costly itineraries to locations we’d already traveled to on past cruises.

2022: Traveled to Zambia and Botswana for a visa stamp and more safaris

2022: We had to cancel three back-to-back cruises booked for 42 nights, which due to new Covid restrictions, required applying for visas for some of the countries on the itinerary. These visa applications would require us to send our passports to the appropriate embassies, leaving us in South Africa for over a month without our passports in hand. This was too risky in light of unforeseen events that may require us to leave South Africa in a hurry. Also, many venues in South Africa require us to show our passports. What if a war broke out here, and we couldn’t leave?

2022: Three cruises scheduled for 2022 were canceled by the cruise lines due to Covid-19, sailing for 14 nights from Singapore with multiple Asia ports of call, ending up in Tokyo. We were scheduled to stay in Japan for two weeks to tour the country, followed by two more cruises; a 14-night cruise circumnavigating Japan (canceled by the cruise line due to Covid-19), scheduled for a stop on the east coast of Russia) and a 12-night cruise from Japan to Vancouver.

2022: We missed our booked cruise to Seychelles due to the failure of the Seychelles government to approve our entry applications in time to board the plane, in part our fault for not applying earlier and, in part theirs. We had 24 hours to leave South Africa due to our visas expiring. We missed the expensive cruise and lost our money.

2022: We flew to the US, our luggage was lost in Joburg, and we arrived in Minneapolis in snowy weather with no clothes, shoes, jackets, and only the clothes on our backs. Had to go shopping after no sleep during the 53-hour travel period.

2022: In December, we flew back to South Africa to our holiday home, knowing our newly stamped 90-day visas would run out on March 9. We had no interest in traveling back to the US or another distant country to acquire a new stamp. Currently working with a law firm in Cape Town, applying for a new 90-day extension which will end in June.

2023: In June, 4½ months from now, we are leaving South Africa for over a year to travel to the US to apply for new driver’s licenses in Nevada and visit family in Nevada and Minnesota. From there, we are traveling to South America for several exciting adventures.

The landscape is littered with remnants of the whaling history in the area. See the post here.

Commenters may say, “You aren’t “The Traveling Lymans” anymore. But we beg to differ. We still are…in our hearts…in our minds…and in reality and practical application.

On top of all of that, we lost thousands of dollars that were beyond our control. Is it any wonder we haven’t booked much lately? Nor have we been willing to book trips and cruises far in advance. It’s been a relief to spend time in the bush while we frequently try to figure out our next move.

This is one of the disinfecting solutions we must use to clean our ship-provided rubber boots to clean off any debris that may contaminate other areas. We also use rectangular buckets with long handles and scrub brushes to scrub the boots before walking through this solution. Tom continually cleans my boots for me. See the post here.

No, we have no regrets. Sure, as one reader wrote, we could buy an RV and travel the US without these hassles or settle somewhere and learn to be content with that lifestyle. But that’s not us. As we sit here this morning, surrounded by wildlife on a slightly cooler day after a fantastic breakfast on the veranda, we are grateful with our hearts full of memorable experiences that we’ve documented and shared with all of you.

After dropping us off back at the ship, a Zodiac boat heads out to collect more passengers after the expedition ends. See the post here.


Please enjoy today’s photos from five years ago to the day while we were in Antarctica. Life is full. Life is rich, and life continues to be an adventure.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 29, 2022:

Hal has been stopping by each day. Now, we see less of Broken Horn. Could Hal have scared him off and claimed his territory? Only time will tell. For more photos, please click here.