Today is the fourth of my past nine travel birthdays to be spent in Marloth Park…It’s truly a gift to be here…

We wrote in the caption of this photo, on my 70th birthday in 2018, at my party at Jabula with friends: “We’ll always remember this birthday as a special event for both of us; celebrating life, health, our experiences, and the fine friends we’ve made along the way.” For more from that date, please click here.

Today’s photos are from this post on February 21, 2018, the day after my birthday.

This morning, it dawned on us that today is the fourth of nine birthdays since we began traveling that we’ve spent in Marloth Park. We were here on this date in 2014, 2018, 2019, and now 2021. Of course, 2019 wasn’t so pleasant when I spent it in ICU in Nelspruit after open-heart surgery. But I leave that memory behind and think of the joy of the other three birthdays, among friends, my dear husband Tom, and the beautiful wildlife surrounding us.

Dawn had decorated the table beautifully for the party. Thanks, Dawn! By the time we were all seated, it was dark, cozy, and romantic.

In 2018, Tom decided we’d return to Marloth Park for my 70th birthday as a surprise to me. I couldn’t have been more excited! Tonight will be no different than the fun we had on three of those birthdays, spending this evening with Louise and Danie at Jabula Restaurant at a socially distanced outdoor table.

Our friends filled a big table on that date at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant. At the same time, we drank wine and cocktails, dined on fabulous food, and enjoyed the companionship of everyone at the table, along with many others who stopped by. Dawn and Leon, dear friends and owners of Jabula, made it very special as well.

Linda, Mick, and Louise, with Ken and Don standing. Linda and Ken will be here in Marloth Park next Friday, and others will follow in the months to come!

But, with Covid-19, every celebration must be different. There will be no large groups, no hugging, and no proximity to others. We’ll especially load up on repellent when, after weeks of rain, the mozzies are on a rampage with risks of malaria higher than ever.

At the moment, we’re outdoors on the veranda waiting for visitors to come to say hello. So far, only Ms. Dove and Helmeted Guinea-fowls and the Chicks have stopped by. But the day is young, and a lot more could happen between now and 4:45 pm when we head to Louise and Danie‘s for sundowners before we all head out to dinner. No doubt, it will be a good day.

Wow! We were thrilled with the “cake of the world!”  Local baker Janine even made the two representations of Tom and me totally by hand.

I’d thought about sharing past birthday posts but chose only to highlight the “big one,” my 70th, in 2018, although the others were special and memorable. In the realm of things, especially during these difficult times of Covid-19, and considering our current ages, birthdays aren’t as important as they once may have been.

However, few of us mind the love and attention we receive on our special day, once a year. That’s not to say that other days aren’t unique. At this stage in life, every day is truly a gift.

After the dinner plates were cleared, the cake was delivered to the table. Thanks, Kathy, for bringing the candles!

It’s hard for me to grasp how old I am. For some reason can’t wrap my brain around it. Gosh, it was only yesterday that Tom and I met when I was 43 years old, and he was 38. This June we’ll celebrate 30 years together. The time has flown.

Although, like everyone’s life, at times there were challenges, Together, we have stuck like glue, appreciating and embracing our loving and close union, which certainly was tested in those 1tenmonths in the hotel room in Mumbai, India. We stayed strong and determined together, and surprisingly, we came out on the other side unscathed. If anything, we are closer than ever. That, dear readers, is the best gift of all.

Kathy, me, Tom, Lynne and Danie at the end of the table.

No, there won’t be a cake or candles to blow out (a gross thought in times of Covid, anyway), no gifts to open (i don’t need or want a thing, no cards in the mail (although I’ve received some very thoughtful online cards), Before the day’s end, I’ll have more birthday wishes from family and friends, greetings from many Facebook friends and all the love and attention a person can imagine.

I am truly blessed and grateful. Thank you for all the warm wishes. Thank you for sharing this journey with us!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 20, 2020:

The celebration on the Ganges River at night in Khajuraho. The nine umbrellas represent the nine planets. Hindus value every aspect of the planet and the universe. For more, please click here.
Day #158 in lockdown in Mumbai, India Hotel…Cleaning up old posts…

Day #158 in lockdown in Mumbai, India Hotel…Cleaning up old posts…

Note; We hope everyone can find our site. I have no way to get a message to our readers who may be having trouble getting our usual link to load due to the necessity of emptying the cache on your browser. Your computer remembers our old hosting site, Blogger, and not our new hosting site, Hostinger, making it impossible for you to log in. If you clear your cache, the problem will be resolved, and no harm is done to your other settings. I have contacted our web developer to see if there is a way we can handle this on our end, but I don’t think there will be. We only hope you’ve found a way to find us. We still are at www.worldwidewaftage.com.

Enjoy our photos, yet again from South Kensington, London from this date in 2014, and found at this link. There are numerous food photos on this particular post from dining out in the area.

A prehistoric creature, at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, London.

Since our new site went live, a few issues occurred that prompted me to make a tough decision to go back through every one of almost 3000 posts to correct any errors. There are 147 pages of 17-18 posts each. I will have to go through each post, one by one. I started yesterday from the first post on March 15, 2012, and have completed two of the 147 pages. I plan to do one page per day.

This is referred to as a Football Fish.

Another issue is that all old posts show a duplicate of the main photo at the top of each page. I’ve contacted our web developers today to see if they can correct this. Hopefully, soon this will be resolved. Please be patient with us as we work through this issue and a few other remaining issues.

More fish from rivers, lakes, and streams.

At this rate, if I do one page of 17 posts per day, I will complete the editing process in about five months. I finished this same process of correcting old posts about four years ago. However, with the recent transition to the new site, many lines and paragraph issues occurred. Also, in reviewing old posts, I’ve realized I’d missed many grammar and spelling errors in my past mission to correct the mistakes. Now, my goal is to correct everything. No doubt, it’s a daunting task which each day will take about an hour.

A lizard that puffs up the frill around the neck to scare off predators. This could not be very safe.

At first, I thought I’d do this each day before preparing each new post. But now, two days later, I realize I’d instead do it first thing in the morning. It’s not a pleasant task, like preparing a new post is for me. I’ve always been one to get the complex functions out of the way first thing in the morning, leaving me free to enjoy the remainder of the day’s tasks.

“Jaws!”

I was very disappointed to see how many errors there were in the old posts. I had no control over the line and paragraph spacing going wonky in the transition. But, the typos and grammar errors were all on me. It’s frustrating to face a 3,000 post string of errors when I think back over how hard I’d tried at the time to prepare each post correctly.

Komodo Dragons are found on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, and Flores. We’ll be spending four months in Bali, Indonesia, in 2016, where tourists have spotted Komodo Dragons on occasion. Komodo Dragons are of the species of Monitor Lizards, two of which lived in our yard in Marloth Park, South Africa. Please see this link to see our photos when they made a rare appearance by the pool.

I do not doubt this new process; I’ll still miss a few corrections; Fortunately, WordPress, as opposed to Blogger. Is more aggressive in reminding writers to type correctly and avoid making errors. This is a tremendous help. I’ve been using the apps Gingerly and Grammarly the past few years, but even they have missed several mistakes I’d made.

More marine life.

I give myself a break on this because I realize I am preparing the equivalent of an essay 365 days a year, at times during challenging and stressful periods, comparable to those most recently. These scenarios are a breeding ground for making errors.

We saw a smaller version of similar crabs at the beach in Kenya which is on the eastern coast in Africa.  They moved so quickly. We couldn’t get a photo.

I laugh when texting family and friends over spellcheck changing words to unintelligible words and phrases, often leaving me in stitches. Then again, I usually type incorrectly since I’m slow when texting on my phone. I bet many of you relate to this laugh-worthy scenario.

Many of us lobster enthusiasts would appreciate a lobster of this size on a platter.

We love technology. But, technology is only as good as our skills to use it. I am not adept at web development, although I played a significant role in designing our new site. I am slow at typing, even after all these years of banging away on a keyboard. I pick away at a keyboard in a meager attempt to avoid typing errors. Even that hasn’t worked so well.

After many visits by Zebras in our yard in South Africa, seeing this lifelike rendition made me miss them.  Click this link to see Zebras that visited us in South Africa.

I am hoping to get done early enough today to watch an episode of The 100 on Netflix before 3:00 pm when Tom and I try to have time to start streaming a few shows together. We’ll see how it goes. Of course, whatever I do is interrupted by the necessity of walking every hour for at least ½ mile, .8 km,  to reach my daily goal of 5 miles, 8 km.

We saw Rhinos in the wild in Kenya. Some of the displays of Rhino were taxidermy.  There was a sign stating that the horns had been removed and replaced with man-materials. Please click here for a few of our Rhino photos from Kenya.

Through all this recent sadness over the loss of my sister and the stress of getting this site up and running, I’ve never missed a day of walking. Knowing this may be beneficial for my heart is my sole motivator. Consistency is important.

Ah, my heart did a flip flop when Tom spotted this warthog.  The first time either of us had ever seen a warthog was in October 2013, in the Masai Mara, Kenya, while on safari.  Of course, later in South Africa, we joyfully saw them each day.  Click here for the first time we saw a live warthog (scroll down the page).

Have a healthy and peaceful day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2019:

While on a walk in the quaint town of Falmouth, Cornwall, England, we encountered these vegetables for sale in a front garden. We selected a zucchini and a small pumpkin. We left the money in a jar sitting on the table. For more photos, please click here.

Sure, we’re living in the moment, but reveling in the past for entertainment during the lockdown…

While on a walk in the neighborhood, while in Sumbersari, Bali, in 2016, we spotted this friendly neighbor (she spoke no English) making bowls as shown that are used for offerings at the Hindu temples.

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 June 8, 2016, while living in Sumbersari, Bali. See the link here for more photos.

It’s terrific for us, now more than ever, to review our past posts to easily be reminded of the fantastic experiences we’ve had in the past seven years, eight months.

Perhaps at some point in the distant future, we’ll look back at this period in lockdown, recalling how we managed to get through it, still laughing, while still having some good times amid the madness.

Each time we walked by her home, we’d find her working a few blocks from the villa.

As we review our old posts, we easily laugh over the peculiar situations, feel a new sense of awe over the incredible experiences and smile from ear to ear over the wildlife and scenery we’ve been blessed to see in the process.

If we had to stop traveling by no fault of our own, we’d still feel we’ve had an expansive view of the world during this extended period of travel. And yet, both of us long to continue to those wished-for experiences we’ve envisioned on the horizon.

This is a temple in the neighborhood where locals congregate for prayer and meditation. 

We realize that some of the experiences we’ve imagined may be curtailed due to changes in travel due to Covid-19 and my ongoing cardiovascular situation. These facts will always be a consideration when we doubt if either situation will ever change in its entirety.

However, we feel confident to be able to adapt future travels to consider these scenarios. For now, our goals are simple… Get out of India to a place where we can cook our meals, live in a more spacious environment, be able to look out a window or door to pleasing scenery, and have the opportunity to be outdoors to enjoy our surroundings.

Low tide from the second story of the villa.

With all this walking I’ve been doing since the lockdown, the thought of being able to walk in the fresh air, breathing in the scents of nature, and seeing plants, trees, and hopefully, wildlife, is utterly exciting.

Of course, if we were in Marloth Park right now, with lions on the loose in the park, caution would be imperative when walking. But, the excitement of the possibility of spotting the female lion and her cubs along with a wandering male would make the sacrifice well worth it.

Abandoned old barns and buildings were tucked away behind vegetation.

The concept of visiting with friends in South Africa brings a massive smile to our faces. A glass of wine or cocktail, the great companionship of our friends, a tasty dinner cooked on the braai along the sights and sounds of the bush makes my heart flutter.

It’s not as if we didn’t appreciate it while we were there (or anywhere for that matter). We cherished every moment, every interaction with friends and nature, along with the innate magic of this remarkable place.

Most Hindu homes have an elaborate family temple on site.

There’s news floating around the internet that South Africa may open its borders as early as September instead of February 2021. This would be fantastic. Knowing this, if confirmed, would make the next three months easier to bear, especially once we also know Mumbai will open its borders to outgoing international flights.

All of this is still up in the air. For now, we’re holding our own, checking numerous sites with updates on borders opening in countries throughout the world along with the status on Covid-19 and which locations would be safe for us to visit down the road. Right now, we have plenty of that! Time will tell.

We enjoyed walks in the neighborhood, although early mornings were best before it became too hot.

Stay safe and hopeful!

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

Rainbow view from our window in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.

Photos from past adventures…Prescription challenges while in lockdown…Improvising…

A lone female lion was stopping for a drink.  The edge of the open vehicle is shown in this photo, illustrating how close we were to her.

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.

This playful baby elephant we spotted in Kruger hangs on to her mom.

Since we were focused on today’s photos, we haven’t included a video today or any Kauai photos. Instead, here is a combination of images we posted five years ago on April 18, 2015, at this link and also last year on this date on April 18, 2019, at this link. We hope you enjoy some of these favorites that many of our readers may have seen in past posts.

Hippos along the Mara River while we were on safari in the Masai Mara.

Of course, being in lockdown right now prevent us from taking photos. We can’t go outdoors, and most wouldn’t be enlightened by seeing photos of a hotel, however appealing it may be. If, by chance, you are curious about where we’re holding out, please click here

As you can see, if you click the above link, it’s a charming hotel, but most areas are closed during this time. We only have access to the restaurant, the corridors on the fourth floor, and our standard room. Only one lift is in use which we never enter when occupied by others. 
Crocodiles sunning along the Mara River in Kenya.

Not only does being in lockdown in India present its challenges, but also there is the harsh reality that we may not have everything we need on hand.
For example, once every four weeks, I refill my pill case with three prescriptions I take each morning along with a handful of vitamins. 

Spread out through during the day, we each take 1000 mg of Vitamin C and an extra dose of Vitamin D3, both of which may improve the immune system’s ability to fight off colds and flu (so they say).

As shown here, the cheetah and leopard are distinguishable by the cheetah’s tear lines running down her face.

As I was refilling the pill case, I noticed I was running out of a proper dose of blood pressure medication which is Lisinopril 12.5/10. Amid the recent COVID-19 mayhem, I’d forgotten I needed to head to a pharmacy while in India, where prescriptions aren’t required for non-narcotic medications.

Many of us have heard that India produces a huge portion of the drugs used in the US and other countries with all the news lately. Thus, I wasn’t concerned about purchasing any medication while here from any popular pharmacy.

In the first 10 hours on safari, we saw the Big 5.  The black rhino is one of the Big 5.

Before lockdown, while on tour, we stopped at a pharmacy and explained exactly what I needed. The above described Lisinopril, which included 12.5 mg of HCTZ (hydrochlorothiazide) and 10 mg of Zestril in a combination pill. 

Unfortunately, they only gave me Lisinopril with 12.5 mg HCTZ)/5 mg Zestril. I need 10 mg Zestril. At the time, I requested additional tablets containing 5 mg Zestril to make up the shortfall. 

The pharmacist left for a while and returned with a handful of tinfoil-packed tablets with what I thought was the 5 mg Zestril. Foolish me, when I couldn’t read the tiny print on the tinfoil, I assumed it was the correct add-on. As I said, foolish me.

We couldn’t resist posting this contented lion who was, at the time, engaged in a mating ritual with the female about 15 feet from him, leaning on another tree.

I didn’t notice this error until yesterday when I started filling the pill case, running out of my old 12.5/10, and started including what I’d purchased here. I discovered using a magnifying glass that when the pharmacist took off for 10 minutes, all he collected was more of the same. I now have 100’s of 12.5/5.

They were a meager cost, so that I won’t complain too much. Besides, it was my error in not checking diligently enough for something so crucial in the long run. I don’t think the pharmacist did this on purpose. I believe he also thought this was the correct item when he, too, couldn’t read the small print on the tinfoil-wrapped tablets.

So now, the dilemma. It is legal to go out to a pharmacy here and straight back. But, with the escalating cases of the virus in Mumbai, the new India hotspot, there’s no way we’re going to stand in line at an outdoor pharmacy with sick people. I had to figure out a better solution.

Closeup of hippo face. Charming.

With the single pill at 12.5/5, there was no way to double up and then cut part of a pill. It would result in a really peculiar dose. I looked online to see dosing instructions for this drug at a few reliable US pharmaceutical sites but found no answer.

The question became, “Could I take two tablets resulting in a dose of 25mg HCTZ/10 mg Zestril? What would be the consequence of doubling the amount of HCTZ, which is a diuretic I need to control blood pressure, especially important in light of ongoing coronary arterial disease? 

A female lion looking for the next meal.  The lion is the second of the Big 5.

An idea popped into my head. I still had Dr. Theo’s email address I’d used when sending him updated photos on the healing of my legs before and after the two surgeries one year ago. I’d send him an email.

Within hours I had a response, and kindly Dr. Theo told me I could double up on the drug and take two for the total dose of 25/10, but it was imperative to check my blood pressure daily to ensure it didn’t go too low.

Fortunately, we have a sphygmomanometer, which we purchased as part of our medical supplies. I used it frequently after I had surgery, but seldom did it seem under control over the past few months, and I was feeling so much better.

Males lions are always on the lookout for a female making a kill.  Why?  So he can steal the kill from her.

I’ll start checking and charting my blood pressure before taking the higher dose (for a baseline). If my blood pressure gets too low, I can alternate between the higher and lower doses every other day to hopefully stabilize it enough until we get out of here and I can get the proper dose, hopefully in South Africa in a few months.

Oh dear, there are other items we need, but we’ll improvise to the best of our ability in the interim. We don’t want to risk going out in public. And, we hope you feel the same way too. Please avoid going out unless it’s absolutely imperative or life-saving. 
Stay safe. Improvise.

Photo from one year ago today, April 18, 2019:

Female lion showing off her tongue. For more photos, please click here.

Trying to avoid mundane posts…Exterior photos of our little temporary home…

We’ve already sat out outside several times and used the gas grill. The weather is warm and sunny most days.

It’s not easy to write fascinating posts right now, and until the end of January, our lives are uncomplicated and straightforward, mostly settled around socializing and daily living.

Are we having a good time? Absolutely! Time spent with the sisters, their spouses, and many neighbors are purely delightful. Last night, 16 of us gathered in and around Margie’s patio, hauling folding chairs from their own homes. There was room for all of us.

As usual, the conversation was lively and animated. Yes, they are all seniors of varying ages ranging from their 60s to their late 80s. We fit right in as we do on cruise ships when most passengers are seniors.
The exterior of our mobile home. It’s a single-wide without the often added “Arizona room.”

No, our lifestyle may be vastly different from theirs, but this is often the case, and we’re used to it. Regardless, we all possess a commonality of past experiences coupled with current events, often humorous and entertaining.

These get-togethers aren’t about food. Often the party-goers return to their homes around 7:00 pm to make their dinner after an early 4:00 pm starts to the festivities. 

With most seniors here having little interest in cooking, fewer people would show if food were involved. Instead, if one of the participants has a bag of chips, nuts, or some other crunchy, salty item, they may bring it along to share.
Down the road from us.

This morning at 11:00 am, as mentioned, we’ll be attending the “omelet in a bag event” at the home of a lovely couple who joined all of us yesterday afternoon and whom we met at the firepit a few nights ago.

There was a list of “items to bring” from which participants could choose. We’re bringing a bottle of peach schnapps. Others are bringing different breakfast sides, including cinnamon rolls, bacon, sausage, etc.

This time we’ll take photos to share in tomorrow’s post. We apologize for the lack of excitement in our posts over the past 36 days and regarding the remaining 46 days until we’re on the move again, this time to India for two months, where we’ll be sightseeing almost every day.

The “backyard” is where another mobile home is located.

We’ll have plenty to share at that time. But now, the “simple life” continues with casual gatherings, endless chatter, and quiet time spent in our tiny temporary home. We’re enjoying every moment.

As for our lingering coughs…mine is almost completely gone, and Tom still has a way to go to get to where I am now. He still has outrageous fits of coughing, often during the night. But, overall, he’s improving a little each day.

May you find the prep and planning for the holiday season (if you celebrate) enjoyable. Happy Saturday!

Photo from one year ago today, December 14, 2018:

Little told his friend that the “pickins” were good at this house, so they both climbed the six steps up to the veranda to the front door. For more photos, please click here.

Whoa!…2500 posts as of today…Food photo…Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Tom’s breakfast plate included scrambled eggs with red onion and cheese with thin slices of smoked salmon and tuna pate on the side. I had the same meal but a smaller portion, all befitting my way of eating.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”

“The Titanic was built in Belfast, Northern Island.”

 When recently I happened to notice the number of posts we’d uploaded since our first post on March 14, 2012 (click here to read the first post), I was stunned. It’s hard for us to believe we’ve actually done 2500 posts, including today, and how hard we’ve been striving to be consistent during this past almost seven years. We’ve made every effort to post each day, other than a few times due to travel days, illness, and power and WiFi outages.

In 2013, we began posting almost daily as indicated in our archives, showing how many posts we uploaded each month, including a total for each year. We’ve often mentioned how quickly time has flown, but it becomes all the more relevant when we see this 2500 number.

Is this comparable to 2500 chapters in a book? Not entirely, since our posts are shorter than one would find in a book. However, as posted, it’s a continuing story progressing similarly to a book.

Beautiful scenery on the way to the SmokeHouse located in The Pier, Ballyconneely, Co. Galway.

We’ve contemplated writing a book, particularly when we’ve been offered a few opportunities to do so over the years. However, as we’ve always stated, we didn’t do this blog to make money and become commercialized, going to book signings and even appearing on TV shows, none of which appeals to either of us.

We write this ongoing series for love, and we continue to do so for love; love of the world, its people, its wildlife, its places, and the many who so kindly visit us time and time again to see what’s transpiring in our daily lives.

At times our stories and photos are exciting and filled with world adventures. At other times, of which we are well aware, our posts are mundane and of little consequence.  

The SmokeHouse‘s interior was somewhat surprising when we expected glass counters contain rows of fish.  Everything is frozen for safety and lasting quality. More on this in yesterday’s post.

And yet, our readers continue to return for more, pass our web address on to others for their viewing and stand along with us in support of this highly vulnerable and revealing expose of our daily lives.  

At times, I equate it to the content of the TV show Seinfeld, when for us, it can feel like a “story about nothing.” Perhaps readers find some sense of comparison and comfort from the mundane aspects of our lives during those times when “nothing” is going on.

But, “nothing” may frequently be. Isn’t that what life is like for most of us, especially those who are retired? Some days, we’re busy and engaged in our daily activities. At other times, we find a certain level of contentment from doing very little; a load of laundry, making a meal, and watching a favorite TV show in the evening.

Visitor’s vehicles were parked around the SmokeHouse’s building on the pier.

Do those quiet days make us feel any less alive? For us, those days connect us to reality, provide us time to reflect, plan for the future and look inside ourselves for ways in which we can grow.

When I think back to our 15 months in Marloth Park, South Africa, it was the quiet times we recall the most, the wildlife coming to call, a day’s drive into Kruger National Park, an evening at Jabula with friends, not necessarily indicative of a busy, fast-paced life.

And here in quiet, remote Connemara, unable to drive on long road trips due to my legs, we’re perfectly content. As I write this now, Tom is taking a nap. I am sitting alone in the lounge, munching on a raw carrot. How much more simple can that be?
This horse was fed by passersby when she got as close as she could when we stopped for a photo.

And yet, in a mere 54 days, we’ll be in Amsterdam for two nights awaiting a cruise in the Baltic Sea, which will take us to Copenhagen and Skagen, Denmark; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden. 

Certainly, this type of trip isn’t mundane and laidback. Once the cruise ends, we’ll live in the countryside in England in four different locations, here again, hardly an everyday experience.

At this point, we’re contemplating staying shorter periods in most countries to expand our horizons vastly, but we’ll never tire of the quiet days, like today; a delicious dinner already prepped and ready; a glass of wine savored, along with a favorite cocktail for Tom, as we lounge in two stuffed comfy chairs overlooking Bertraghboy Bay in Connemara, Ireland.
For us, this is hardly mundane, but at times, in this unusual life we live, it may be routine and predictable.

Friends…thank you for sharing 2500 posts with us…thank you for staying with us during mundane and quiet times, and thank you for either writing, commenting, or quietly lurking in the background.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out! May this be a pleasing day for you, even if it’s quiet and relatively uneventful.

Photo from one year ago today, June 16, 2018:

And, here are the girls!  Not much is “girlish” about female rhinos! For more rhino photos, please click here.

Apprehensive about flying after four surgeries in past few months?…Favorite photos have begun….

We love this kudu photo after she’d stuck her head in the fresh bales of lucerne we’d had delivered from Daisy”s Den. Cute! We call this kudu “Cupid” based on the heart-shaped marking on her neck.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

There was nothing we’d done to encourage her to come up the steps. She figured this out on her own.

Many of our readers, family, and friends have contacted me asking if I feel confident about flying such a long distance and traveling for almost 24 hours on our way to Ireland in a mere 27 days.

Of course, after four surgeries in the three months before our travel date of May 11th from South Africa to fly to Dublin, Ireland is a bit of a concern but not as risky as one may think.

Based on the fact that three months will have passed by the time we leave South Africa since the most major of the surgical procedures, the triple coronary bypass surgery occurred on February 12, 2019.

Lots of zebras in the garden.

After doing considerable research from highly reputable online medical resources and speaking with my three doctors, cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and general practitioners, my risks aren’t considerably higher for blood clots, DVT (deep vein thrombosis), or other such occurrences than the general population on long flights.

We’ve yet to book our flight but will do so in the next few days. As a safety precaution, we’re considering booking “business class” to ensure I will be able to lay down during the overnight portion of the flight and give my still recovering legs a chance to be up for better blood flow.

Plus, I will be wearing the strongest of my three pairs of compression stockings, drinking plenty of water, and setting the timer on my phone to remind me to get up and walk around the plane at least once an hour when I’m not sleeping. These simple measures should significantly reduce the risk of an incidence on the aircraft or after that.

The most kudus we had in the garden was 26.  What a busy morning that was!

It’s not unusual for open-heart surgery patients to be apprehensive about flying long distances after their surgery.  But, the fact that I am feeling well after the bypass surgery is a definite plus. However, the still painful condition in my legs is another concern.

Most of the higher risk scenarios are those which include some surgery to the lower limbs. After two leg surgeries, less than six weeks before the flights concerns us more than the bypass surgery.

But, the reality remains, we must leave South Africa. The fact we are going to Ireland instead of the US holds little significance. After reading online at several sites, it appears riding long distances in a car is equally risky after surgery when one is cramped, with legs down and little, if any, movement.

The drive from the Dublin airport to the holiday rental in Connemara is approximately four hours.  \We’ll make a point of stopping several times along the way so I can walk around and stretch my legs, especially after the long flights.

Little is not the only wild animal that’s climbed the steps to the veranda. This zebra had some lofty ideas about finding food.

For more on flying after major surgery, please click here or click here for further information.

I’m not going to get myself into a frenzy regarding traveling long distances after the recent surgeries. Instead, with the recommendations by my doctors, who are confident it is safe for me to fly, we’re hoping for a seamless and positive experience.

As an aside, we’ve begun adding favorite photos to our posts from our over 14 months in South Africa, visiting Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  With literally thousands of photos to go through, we’ll make every effort to pick those our readers may enjoy seeing one last time.

Thank you, dear readers, for following along with us not only for the extended period in one location (which we don’t plan to repeat anytime shortly) and for staying with us during this recent medical crisis.  Your loyalty and continued support mean the world to both of us.

Have a pleasing Sunday!

Photo from one year ago today, April 14, 2018:

Seeing a crocodile in the wild is quite exciting. This croc sat there for a very long time with its mouth open.  For more photos, please click here.

Reviewing “the numbers”…How many posts?…How can that be?…

An impala male who lost a horn, most likely in a fight for dominance.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

An elephant’s feet must carry a lot of weight:  “Elephants are the largest living terrestrial animals. The average male African bush elephant is 3.20 m (10.5 ft) tall at the shoulder and has a body mass of 6,000 kg (13,228 lb), whereas the average female is 2.60 m (8.53 ft) tall at the shoulder and have a mass of 3,000 kg (6,614 lb).”

Today’s post is #2254. Yes, that’s right. Wow! That’s even hard for us to believe! We’ve uploaded two thousand two hundred fifty-four posts since post #1 was uploaded on March 14, 2012 (click here for our first post).

Cape buffalos and elephants seem to get along well in the wild.

When we recall every location we’ve visited over this past almost six years since we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012, we can easily picture ourselves sitting somewhere in a vacation/holiday home, hotel, or cruise ship, preparing each day’s story.

Cape buffalos on the Marloth Park side of the river.

In the beginning, we didn’t include many photos. Still, once we left the US on January 3, 2013 (after a two-month stay in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Henderson, Nevada, while making the final preparations for our departure), we knew photos would become an integral aspect continuing our world journey and subsequent story.

With technology aligned to make this all possible, we knew we’d selected the right time in our lives to go on this adventure. Little did we know then how long we’d continue, and still today, we can’t predict the future…good health is the highest priority.

This crocodile hide looks different than others.  Any comments?

We started the first post, as mentioned above, in March 2012 and today, September 29, 2018. It’s 2390 days later. How is that possible? Where did the extra 136 posts come from? That adds up to an average of an additional 21 posts per year.

Big elephant cooling off in Sunset Dam in Kruger.

In reviewing the list of the archives its easy to see that some months, some years, we uploaded extra posts when the Wi-Fi signal was weak (a common occurrence in many countries) or the power was going off and on, often long enough for us to post a notice we were having difficulties and would prepare the post once services were restored.

At other times, we posted a short blurb on travel days, unsure if we’d later be able to prepare a full post at an airport while waiting to board a flight. Often, we were able to connect. 

Each giraffe’s face appears to have a unique expression.

Less often, we had situations where we had something to share that required periodic updates, such as inclement weather, earthquakes, hurricanes, and rough days at sea.

Cape buffalos were lounging by the water on a scorching day.

In the first year, we wrote less often. For example, in 2012, we only posted 160 stories, but in 2014, we posted 377 times. One can see the totals for each year at the archives listed on the right side of the homepage, which changes daily with each new post.

Cape buffalo grazing close to the fence in Marloth Park.

Now you may ask, “Haven’t we run out of topics yet?” Not quite. As long as we continue to enhance our days with new sightings, new activities, new cultures, meeting new people, embarking on tours and other adventures, we can’t imagine running out of topics.

After this long dry season, this is all that’s left of the water in Vurhami Dam in Kruger.

I’ll admit at times. Our posts are mundane and less enjoyable. Sorry about that.  But, I ask myself this…if someone told us we’d have to write the equivalent of an essay every single day of our lives, sick days included, I’d say it was impossible. 

Elephant family enjoying the cooling water on a hot day.

Then, we’d have to add new photos to each post every day, always on the search for new photo ops. I’d say it was not something I could discipline myself to do. Yet, here we are today on post #2254 with nary a moment’s consideration of stopping.

Impalas in the background.

What keeps us motivated is all of YOU, our worldwide readers who share their stories with us, who send email regularly, who inquire as to how this life may work for them, or, as in many cases, to say “thank you” for providing this ongoing story. 

An impala and a giraffe under the shade of a large tree.

But, we thank every one of you for following along with us. We never take your readership for granted and are eternally grateful for the opportunity to continue on this journey with you at our side. 

May your day be as unique as you.

___________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, September 29, 2017:

One year ago, we posted photos of various churches we’d seen to date in our travels, including the busy preparations surrounded the Igreja De Campanario church in Campanario, Madeira, in July 2014 as workers rushed to get the decorations in place for Saturday’s religious festivities.  See our link here.

Twelve animals hit and killed the roads in Marloth Park in past two weeks…

This hippo was very far away from us when we took this photo. It was only after we uploaded it that we noticed how many oxpeckers were on his hide.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Yesterday, we spotted this ostrich family near this vehicle. It was over four years ago we saw our first ostrich in the wild in Marloth Park. It was on December 7, 2013, that we’d spotted an ostrich standing next to this exact vehicle at this same property, looking at himself in the window of the car. See the photo below from that date! Click here for that post.
From the December 7, 2013 post: “While on a walk in our neighborhood, Tom spotted this ostrich that had wandered into a homeowner’s yard, appearing to be fascinated by looking at himself in the window.”

It’s heartbreaking to see in a post for Marloth Park on Facebook that 12 wild animals have been killed on the roads in the park. Indeed, some of these horrible incidents have been unavoidable. But, the remainder may be attributed to visitors driving too fast on the tar road that runs from one end of the park to the other.

There are two 24-hour a day guarded gates to enter into Marloth Park, the only access points. Entering via Gate #1 requires a very long and bumpy ride on a dirt road from the N4 highway but is technically shorter (distance-wise, not time-wise) than driving the extra distance on the road to Gate #2. Rarely do any locals attempt to move to Gate #1? 

Each time we’re near the Crocodile River, we see waterbucks. They live in herds of 6 to 30 animals, with one male who defends his territory.

It’s hard to say who these careless drivers may be and how they’ve entered the park. They could be renters living in a holiday house or others entering the park to explore and see wildlife or…others with dinner reservations at any of the local restaurants or…could be troublemakers up to “no good.”

With all the traffic and noise we heard last night, loud voices, loud music, and engines revving, we can’t help but wonder if they have somehow made their way into the park with little to no regard for the quality of life here.

We’ve been lucky to see elephants along the river road. Most days, we go out for a drive. Yesterday was no exception.

In yesterday’s post, we addressed some of these issues that crop up during the busy school-holiday season and other holidays. Please see this link here.  The commotion may continue until well into August. 

Lately, we’ve heard about major criminal incidents in and around the area. We stay on constant alert to protect ourselves and our belongings. Luckily, most homes have alarm systems like ours, but we all know they can be compromised.

Whether we spot one or 30 elephants, it’s always awe-inspiring.

We can only hope and pray that those who’ve rented holiday homes will offer the utmost kindness and concern for the peaceful and pleasing way of life only found in Marloth Park.

While driving along the river yesterday afternoon, we spotted a five or 6-year-old kid steering an SUV while sitting on his dad’s lap. What was this guy thinking?  This scenario could be one of many careless cases and causes of wildlife being killed on the roads. Careless driving.

“The elephant’s trunk can sense the size, shape, and temperature of an object. An elephant uses its trunk to lift food and suck up water, then pour it into its mouth. Elephants cry, play, have incredible memories, and laugh. Elephants can swim – they use their trunk for breathing like a snorkel in deep water.”

We apologize for continually bringing up these topics for our worldwide readers, not in this area. We’re hoping that if only one person staying or visiting Marloth Park sees our posts, maybe one animal will be saved.

On a lighter note, we’re doing quite well. With a 90% improvement in my health since eliminating dairy from my diet several weeks ago, I am literally on Cloud 9. To finally not have an awful stomach ache after over two years, I’m enjoying everything we do 10-fold. 

“There are three distinct species of elephant left in the world: The Asian elephant and African elephant, which are the forest and savanna elephant species.”

As we drove through Marloth Park yesterday, I described to Tom how wonderful it feels to be free of the constant pain and discomfort while riding on the very bumpy dirt roads in the park. Also, the freedom of not constantly worrying over what the problem could be has been equally liberating. 

“The elephant’s gestation period is 22 months, longer than any other land animal in the world. A newborn human baby weighs an average of 3 kg (7 pounds), while a new born elephant baby can weigh up to 118 kg (260 pounds)! The baby can stand up shortly after being born.”

In addition, as of today, after one month, I’ve lost 3.6 kg (8 pounds) from eliminating dairy while watching portions, and my clothes have begun to fit better.  

Cape Buffaloes may be referred to as the mafia, not only because of their strong character but because they never forgive and almost always seek revenge. They have been recorded seeking revenge on someone years after being threatened by them.

I plan to continue on this path of a slow weight loss so that by the time summer begins on December 21st, with temperatures in the 40C’s (104Fs), I’ll finally fit back into all my shorts. It’s too hot in the summers here to wear Capri-length or long jeans all day while sitting outdoors on the veranda.

This appears to be a blooming aloe vera plant.  Please correct me if I’m wrong.

As for today, soon, we’ll head to the post office with our tracking number to see if they can track our missing package. It was sent on May 23, 2018, and has yet to arrive. This is not unusual as we often find ourselves waiting for a shipment for upwards of two months.

After the post office, once again, we’ll drive through the park, continuing our search for the lion (to no avail, thus far) and, of course, any other wildlife that graces us with their presence.

Have a peaceful and meaningful day!

Photo from one year ago today, June 26, 2017:

One year ago today, I joined Maisie, Madighan, and daughter-in-law, Camille, at The Stages Theater in Hopkins, Minnesota, where the four of us saw a local production of Shrek. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…Time to come clean…A medical issue over the past almost three months…

There are patches of green grass in the Huon Valley which aren’t quite as green as they were in Penguin which may be due to weather and soil conditions.

Its not always easy living one’s life on display for literally the world to see.  Our mistakes, our foibles and our vulnerabilities come into play on a daily basis. At times, to avoid appearing redundant or as a complainer/whinger we may not mention every single ailment that filters our way. 

After all, this is a “travel blog” isn’t it?  Or, as we often say, “Its a real life story of two senior citizens traveling the world with the nuances of living a life on the move, without a home, without storage or stuff to call their own other than that which is contained in three suitcases and a few carry on bags.

At times, we struggle with the definition. However, based on the fact we’ve had so many worldwide readers, perhaps the definition has been irrelevant to our readers who’ve followed along with us all this time, now fast approaching 52 months since we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012.

Pool and river view from our veranda on the second level.

Based on our intent to tell it like it is, today, I’m sharing something I’ve contemplated sharing over these past months shortly after we arrived in Tasmania on December 3rd after a 33 night cruise.

Several things transpired to result in this illness, most of which was entirely my own fault. In part I became ill as a result of a lack of caution when I knew caution should have been forefront in my mind and also, a series of events that transpired contributing to this condition.

I supposed when we think about it many of our ailments can be prevented with knowledge and self-care. But, I like so many of us, throw caution to the wind when somehow we think “that won’t happen to me” or in many cases, we aren’t even aware of the potential risks.

Pretty farm in the country.

I have to go back a way to fill in some of the blanks here. Please bear with me. It’s not a pretty story. Somewhere around June 1, 2016, while living at the fabulous villa in Sumbersari, Bali, I injured my back while in the pool. 

I’d backed up with walking and exercising and hit my spine, from neck to tailbone of a sharp stone corner at the bottom of the steps. At first, it felt like the same pain one would experience banging one’s elbow.  Ouch, ouch, ouch. 

Thinking the cool water would do good, I languished in the pool for a while, moving gingerly, when eventually the pain subsided. During the remainder of the day and evening after which I iced it off and on, the pain was somewhat under control. But, at bedtime, I couldn’t find a comfortable position to sleep.

Huge daisies!

Having previously had a diagnosis with a horrible spinal condition due to a heredity condition eventually in 2011 I found tremendous pain relief from a change of diet due to a massive reduction in inflammation. However, no way of eating could reduce the pain of an injury to this degree.

I didn’t see any reason to go to a doctor in the remote area of Bali, a four-hour harrowing drive to get to a good hospital. At that point, I couldn’t conceive of that drive bumpy long ride. It was hard enough when we went back and forth from the airport to the villa, a total of four times.

I’d have to treat it myself. Besides, what would “they” do? Pain killers?  A back brace? (Not good to use over the long haul). Surgery? Not possible or desired in Indonesia (or any other country for that matter).  I hoped in time it would heal.

Flowers blooming mid-summer in Tasmania in Tasmania.

During the following five months, I used ice and heat packs, walked daily to maintain strength, didn’t lay in bed during the day, and took over-the-counter NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Aleve with breaks every few weeks. That was my mistake #1…long term use of NSAIDS.

From there, a few short days later, I asked the two cooks to make us a seafood dish with prawns and for me, added grilled calamari. Let’s face it, sometimes favorite foods are comforting. My back was hurting but not my appetite. 

Twelve hours after eating the calamari, I had the worse case of diarrhea, known as “diare” in Balinese, a common traveler’s illness in many parts of the world. Here again, I should have known better than to eat this type of seafood in this part of the world. That was my mistake #2…consuming high-risk seafood from an unknown source.

We’ve so enjoyed the fresh-picked organic vegetables from Anne and Rob’s garden.

After suffering for a few days, Gede, our wonderful houseman took us to the Apotek (pharmacy) where we purchased an over-the-counter drug that got it under control within a few days. 

At that point between the diare and the back pain, I was a mess although, not a complainer, I didn’t burden Tom with hearing about it all the time.  He even berated me at times to encourage me to tell him how I was feeling throughout the difficult days and again most recently.

By the time we left Bali on June 27th, my back was so bad, I didn’t know how I’d get through the necessary week in Singapore while we applied for necessary visas plus spending several days in Hanoi awaiting the upcoming Viking Mekong River Cruise beginning July 8th. 

Yellow and white orchids.

How in the world was I going to get through the activities and walking on uneven ground on many tours and several flights through Vietnam and Cambodia? Somehow I managed to participate in many of the tours as shown in our photos beginning here at this link and continuing for many days.

In our posts, I made every effort to avoid complaining which I knew would bore our readers with frequent mention of my painful condition.  We did absolutely everything I could manage to ultimately have an excellent experience albeit the few tours we had to forego. Our many photos and stories at the following link clearly illustrate how much we were actually able to participate. 

From there, we went to Phuket, Thailand from July 22nd to September 1st.  Looking back, that six-week period was almost a blur. I was in terrible pain resulting in our doing very little while there. Other than a little exploring, photo-taking, grocery shopping, and visit to several beaches we stayed in while I attempted to recuperate.

From there, we returned to Bali for two more months to fill a gap in our schedule while awaiting the 33-night cruise circumventing the continent of Australia. Once we boarded the ship the back pain was finally gone after a full five months of pain.

It was during that 33-night cruise I decided to start drinking a few glasses of white wine when our drinks were “free” due to our recent inclusion into Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Diamond Club which provides complimentary cocktails from 4:30 to 8 pm each night. Why not? I had no specific reason when I could easily enjoy a few glasses of dry white wine and still maintain my diet. However, I’d had no more than a few glasses of wine each year over the past 20 years. That was my mistake #3…

Today’s story is simply too long to continue today. Tomorrow, we’ll present the balance of this story including my current medical issue, medical diagnosis, and subsequent treatment by a highly competent and recommended local doctor.

Be well

Photo from one year ago today, February 16, 2016:

Our favorite photo of the day. Zoom in to see this bee’s facial features.  Amazing! For more photos, please click here.