Tricky transportation from Seattle, Washington to Vancouver, British Columbia…Photos from a walk in the park…

Bob donated this park bench to Ron, who passed away in 2010 after their 50 years together.

It had been nagging that it was time to book a means of transportation for May 15th when our ship arrives in Seattle.  After arriving in North America, the next cruise sails two days later to Alaska from Vancouver, British Columbia.

MSW means Manly Scenic Walk to the Spit, a local bridge.

Our choices were clear; either spend the two days in Seattle and figure out how to quickly make the 230 km, 143-mile drive to Vancouver to board the ship or figure a way to get to Vancouver as soon as the ship arrives in Seattle.

Rocky shoreline.

It made no sense to spend one night in each location, so we decided to head directly to Vancouver. This was our second sailing from this port when we sailed to Hawaii in September 2014. Last time we flew into Vancouver, and didn’t have these transportation concerns.

While walking on the Manly Scenic Walk, we enjoyed an excellent view of North Harbour Reef Bay boats.

We easily recall the long waiting period to board the ship in 2014 and hope we don’t encounter the same delays. We’re hoping this time, with the priority boarding we receive as Diamond Club members, the boarding process will be less time-consuming and cumbersome.  We shall see.

An exceptional home on North Harbour Reef Bay owned by a successful business owner.

In searching online, we found many suggestions from travelers on how to make the four-hour drive. Firstly, rental cars aren’t allowed to enter Canada from the US to be dropped off at a facility. So, that idea was out.

Historical plaque.

Our only remaining options were as follows:
1. Fly –  A flight from Seattle to Vancouver would have required the usual international flight commotion, getting to the airport two hours early, paying taxi fares on both ends, paying baggage fees, and considerable waiting time for the short flight. (Continued below).

Many homes were originally one story but later renovated to include a second level.

2. Bus – It seemed like an easy option, but it wasn’t for us when we’d read about having to get to the bus, which may or may not arrive at the port when the ship arrived, handling our luggage, and paying for taxi fares upon arriving in Vancouver. Plus, at the US and Canada border, we’d have had to remove all of our luggage from the bus’s luggage compartment and reload the luggage after inspected by customs, and unload the luggage on our own when we arrived in Vancouver. In addition, some buses charge check baggage fees—too much commotion.
3. Train – Taxi fares to and from the train station. Trains only traveled this route twice a day, with multiple stops, too early in the morning for disembarking the ship or too late in the evening.  (Continued below).

Interesting older home with character located on the bay.  Lots are small in most city and suburban areas.

4.  Group shuttle – We didn’t like the idea of having to find other people with whom we could split the fare and wait for the shuttle to pick up and drop off others at various locations on either end.
5.  Private shuttle – These options were few. A regular-sized taxi doesn’t work with our three checked bags and two carry-on bags.  Instead, we could pay a little more, have a private luxury SUV pick us up at the port on May 15th to drive us the 230 km, 143-mile ride from Seattle to Vancouver, dropping us directly to our pre-booked hotel in Vancouver.  It was a no-brainer.

Can you determine what this is?  If you carefully check the above photo, it will reveal a close-up of the tile roof.

Surprisingly, we didn’t flinch over the AU $732.92, US $550 cost knowing how stress-reducing #5 above would be. After all, we strive always to maintain our goal as stated at the top of our webpage: “Wafting Through Our Worldwide Travels with Ease, Joy, and Simplicity.”

More boats moored in the bay.

It’s this philosophy we’ve diligently maintained that has kept us treasuring the quality of our lives, inspiring us to continue for years to come. However, if one only chose the least costly option every time, it could become easy to lose interest and find the moving about tiresome and monotonous.

Buds growing on Moreton Fig Tree.

As we’ve mentioned over these past several weeks in the Sydney area, we’ve happily used low-cost and at times “free” public transportation. However, we’ve enjoyed the process of finding it easy and convenient.

Historical marker at the park.
In our travels, we’re constantly making decisions, often with a cost at the top of the list for consideration. We throw caution to the wind from time to time, sacrificing something else to accommodate the added cost of making alternate decisions. It’s all a part of the ebb and flow of this peculiar life we live.
Tom and Bob began the walkway to North Harbor Reserve park.

Having paid the deposit for the cost of the trip (after reading many positive reviews), our minds are at ease. Today, we paid the balance of the special hotel rate we negotiated for our upcoming six-week stay in Minnesota.  

For the moment, we have no large expenditures on the immediate horizon until mid-summer.  

I hope you find your mind at ease today and always!

Photo from one year ago today, April 11, 2016:

Most afternoons, many of the alpacas rested in the shade at the side of our house. So it was delightful when they’d watch me through the window while I prepared meals, pressing their noses on the glass. For more photos, please click here.

A visit to Circular Quay and ride on The Manly Ferry…A Sydney Harbour tradition and popular means of local transportation…

The esplanade, a walkway along the shore in Circular Quay.

Traveling from Manly Beach to Sydney couldn’t be easier. The Manly Fast Ferry offers five location stops; Circular Quay; Darling Harbour; North Sydney; Pyrmont Bay: and weekend sightseeing ferry between Manly, Watsons Bay, and Rose Bay. For details for the Manly Fast Ferry, please click here.

While in Sydney a few days ago, Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas was in port. We’d sailed on this ship April 16, 2016, from Sydney to Singapore.

The slower ferry route taking about 30 minutes is the Manly Ferry, in operation since 1855, from the wharf in Manly to Circular Quay, the popular wharf. There are shops, a newsstand, and electronic machines from which to purchase more money for the Opal card used for Sydney transportation. 

Video during the ferry ride to Circular Quay in Sydney.

In addition, there’s an array of restaurants and fast food shops at the Wharf. Bob showed us a “drool-worthy” candy kiosk where candy lovers can find many of their favorites if they so chose.

Entertainment at the Wharf in Circular Quay in Sydney.

Circular Quay is a harbor in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on the northern edge of the Sydney central business district on Sydney Cove, between Bennelong Point and The Rocks. It is part of the local government area of the City of Sydney. For information on this ferry, please click here.

Ferries ready to be boarded.

For our purposes, the slower Manly Ferry will serve our needs. Tomorrow night, when we’ll attend the opera at the Sydney Opera House, we’ll use the slower ferry for the round trip as we did when meeting friends Linda and Ken in the Rocks area of Sydney a few days ago.

The ride is easy and pleasant with breathtaking scenery with many popular points of interest greeting us along the way. Getting on and off the ferry is seamless especially with its frequent departures every 30 minutes.  There are multiple decks, both outdoor and indoor seating, and restrooms on board. 

Between the launch area to a view of the cruise ship.

Considered one of the top ten sights to see in Sydney at many tourist sites, the ferries themselves are a popular attraction. Plus, it makes no sense to pay the high taxi fares when it’s much more economical and faster to use the ferry. 

Sales area for Captain Cook Cruises, a tourist company.

We paid AU 100, US $77 for the round trip taxi fare from Manly to Sydney whereby it’s only AU 28, US $21.50 for the round trip ferry for both of us. It’s a no-brainer when we can easily visit the beautiful city as often as we’d like during our remaining time (yet unknown due to immigration) in Fairlight/Manly.

Tom on the Manly Ferry which was clean and well organized.

Taking the ferry requires a ride on a bus to return to the holiday rental but the Hop, Skip, Jump bus is free and arrives at the stop outside the Manly Wharf every half hour or less, stopping within a few blocks of where we’re living.

The cruise ship, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a small ferry boat.

Typically in our world travels, we haven’t used a lot of public transportation when we’ve lived in more remote areas of the world where public transport schedules were erratic and stop too distant from our location at the time. Instead, we’ve either had a rental car or used a taxi. Neither of these options was necessary for this area.

From almost any point in the area, it’s easy to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Ken asked if we were going to do the bridge walk. Maybe not.

The weather has been rainy, windy, and cloudy since our arrival on Monday. We’ve only been able to wash clothes once with the high humidity. It took three days for the clothing to dry indoors on the rack. As a result of inclement weather, we haven’t had much of an opportunity to walk the neighborhood, although we’ve been out and about on several occasions.

Soon, we’ll visit The Museum of Contemporary Art located near the wharf.

Yesterday late afternoon, our kindly landlord Bob took us to a local mall with dozens of shops and restaurants, Stockland Balgowlah, where we rounded out our grocery shopping at Cole’s Market, visited a pharmacy, and stopped at the local health food store. 

We had to walk to find the pub where we were meeting Linda and Ken.

We’re hoping the weather will improve by tomorrow’s ferry ride to Circular Quay especially considering the long walk to the Opera House from the Wharf but it doesn’t look hopeful. Rain or shine, we’ll be on our way for what surely will be a fabulous performance at the world-famous venue.

Have a fabulous day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 17, 2016:

Two bottles of New Zealand wine we’d purchased and savored in New Zealand. We seldom purchase wine for “home” use but have done so twice in the past year. No wine for me recently with this medical issue, yet to be fully resolved. For more details, please click here.

Off we go to the ship…Long drive through the Cambodian countryside…Mode of transportation

Local danger and musicians greeted us with a ceremonial dance as we entered the hotel.
In Cambodia, US dollars are tendered for most purchases, receiving Cambodian money, the reil for change which can be confusing especially when one US dollar is KHR 40,973.50. The cost for the drive back to our hotel was US $3. The driver was so grateful when we gave him a US $5 bill. Tipping isn’t expected in Cambodia but greatly appreciated based on low wages.
Fountain in the lake at the hotel, taken last night in the dark.

As much as long drives in cars, vans and buses are not our favorite mode of transportation, I’m looking forward to the almost five hour drive through the Cambodian countryside as we make our way to the awaiting boat on the Mekong River.

As we approached the entrance to the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra in Siem Reap, Cambodia, another five star hotel.

These past tour portions of this cruise/tour have been rich in history and highly entertaining including the extra three days we spent on our own in advance of the cruise in Hanoi when we arrived from Singapore over a week ago. I did my best to keep up, only missing a few days of touring, having participated in the remainder.

The first night in the hotel in Cambodia we were entertained by local dancers performing in the dining room.

Last night, the final night at the Hotel Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia it dawned on me that we’d yet share any photos of this five star hotel and its surroundings. It’s been a glorious hotel stay once again, with the past two Sofitel Hotels providing the utmost in both ambiance, amenities and service.

Upon entering our beautifully decorated hotel room with a full veranda overlooking the river, the table was set with fresh flowers, complimentary linen napkins as a gift to keep, baby bananas and cookies (all of which Tom consumed).

I’d never paid much attention to Sofitel Hotels other than occasionally dining (in my old life) at the hotel’s restaurant in Bloomington, Minnesota for business type lunches. 

It was a long walk from the lobby to our hotel room down several long bridges such as this over the lake on the hotel property.
Each walkway to the various buildings provided a lovely view of the hotel’s massive grounds.

Now that we’re signed up as members, we’ll certainly pay the Accor hotel chains a little more attention when we’re wondering where to stay for a night or two on occasion.

A portion of the hotel’s lake.

We had the opportunity to chat with one of the hotel’s managers, Sam Sorn who, along with the remaining staff have provided exemplary service and attention to detail. 

This sign is posted along one of the walkways in the hotel.

From the complimentary handmade linen napkins left in our room as a gift from the hotel, to the baby bananas, fresh flowers and chef’s perfection in seeing my menu, the hotel nor the other two restaurants where we dined in Siem Reap, left a stone unturned. 

Its unfortunate the mosquitos are so bad and the heat and humidity uncomfortable or many guests would have spent more time outdoors.  Instead, everyone stayed inside the air conditioned comfort. 

From the gentle-hands-clasped-bow elicited by each Cambodian we encounter, whether it was the pool man or the tuk tuk driver, each individual made us feel supremely invited as guests into their country. I could easily return here for an extended stay, although, practically speaking, it may not be possible with so much world left to see.

A bicycle rickshaw on display.

Last night’s dinner for 54 guests at Malis Restaurant, ranked #4 of 622 in TripAdvisor, excelled beyond most restaurants when they prepared entirely different meals for me than those offered on the menu. They went as far as making a totally sugar free mousse/flan dessert than surprisingly was quite delicious without any form of sweetener.

These gorgeous flowers are commonly seen on display in hotels and restaurants in Cambodia.

Of course, the conversation was indescribably delightful as we’ve continued to get to know one couple after another, never disappointed, always enlightened by the stories of others as they freely ask question after question about our peculiar lifestyle. I suppose if it was the other way around, we’d be curious as well.

One of several seating areas in the hotel’s lobby.

We try to temper our enthusiasm and ask about their lives. Most of the participants on this type of cruise are well traveled with equally fascinating stories to tell. Most of the passengers are within our age range with a few much younger and equal number, a bit older. 

A shrine in the hotel lobby.  Most Cambodians are Buddhists.

Age seems to be no barrier in keeping these adventurous folks from continuing to travel well into their 70’s and 80’s. Some have obvious disabilities and yet forge ahead with the excitement of 20 year old, seeking to fill their lives with new experiences. 

This talented young man played peaceful music in the lobby.

A few stayed behind like us on the more difficult excursions over the past few days while others returned exhausted and hobbling with aching joints, hips and knees commensurate with older age. 

Fresh flowers are frequently replenished.  This humid climate in Cambodia is a perfect environment for growing flowers.

As for my continuing recovery, its still a work in progress. In reviewing the calendar we tried to recall the exact date of the injury and we believe it was around June 1st. Most likely it’s been almost six weeks. If I blew out a disc (or two)  or whatever, it could be several more weeks until I’m pain free once again. 

A humidor with a variety of cigars for sale including Cuban.

My only fear is that the pain won’t go away and this will be my lot in life, not unlike my life before I started this way of eating. I will no longer be pain free as I’d been two months ago. Could I continue on at this level of discomfort? I think so. 

Elaborate desserts such as these are offered in the buffet as well as at “high tea” in the bar where we worked on the posts. Tom was only interested in the doughnuts on the bottom right.

As we mentioned in the post on July 11th, “In the past two weeks we moved into four different hotels in four different countries, flown on three international flights, taken over 1000 photos and posted each and every day.

We sat at the left corner of this banquette in the bar each day while posting.

As you’ve seen, we’ve been able to continue on. If we were living a “fixed” lifestyle and this injury occurred, I’d still have the discomfort and life would go on. It’s not a whole lot different now other than the hours of moving from one location to another which generally isn’t quite as often as its been lately.

Sam Sorn, the hotel’s second in command, worked his “way up” after 16 years of employment at the hotel, originally working in maintenance. His kindly demeanor and interest in each guest is delightful.

However, we both remain hopeful that soon I’ll be back to my “old” self once again, able to walk longer distances and manage more steps and rough terrain. I remind myself how grateful we are that it wasn’t totally debilitating where I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get out at all. Sheer will and determination have kept me moving. 

With rain each day, we never took advantage of the hotel’s enormous pool.  We have plenty of pool time upcoming over the net several months.

As soon as we upload this post, we’ll head back to our hotel room to leave the already-packed and ready-to-go three checked bags outside our hotel room door to be picked up by staff and delivered to the two buses for both Group A and B (we’re A) and off we’ll go at 11:30 am for the long journey to the ship awaiting us in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. 

Last night on our way to dinner on the bus, we tried to take a few photos through the glass.

Once we’re all onboard and checked in, we’ll be offered complimentary welcome aboard cocktails (along with cocktails included  at no charge at both lunch and dinner) and be introduced to the ship’s captain, other officers and support staff. Then, we’ll set sail.

Siem Reap is filled with a multitude of shopping options from expensive galleria type malls to strips centers such as this.
Many building copy the design of the Angkor Wat temple.

We’re as excited as always to be back on the water, this time on our first river cruise which so far the land portion, has proven to excel our expectations. Back at you tomorrow with photos and updates! Stay tuned!

The entrance to last night’s restaurant, Malis. It was absolutely exquisite for me although Tom found some of the unfamiliar spices less appealing to his taste buds.

Have a glorious day!

Bob and Tom having a great time, sitting across from Tina and I We arrived at the restaurant at 5:45 while it was still light.  At 8 pm, some of the group were headed to a local circus with bleacher-type seating.  , there was no way I could sit on bleachers for any length of time. Instead, we had a fabulous time returning to the hotel in a local tuk-tuk.

Photo from one year ago today, July 13, 2015:

Holloways Beach, near Cairns Australia. For more details and photos, please click here.

Transportation…Another long day without power…VPN tip…Five days until departure…

There are many sailboats in the islands, a choice location for avid sailors.

Three months is a long time in one location without a car. Oh, I’m not complaining. We’re thrilled with the savings. Not paying upwards of USD $1500, FJD $3239 per month (as an example in Fiji), USD $4500, FJD $9719 for three months of a rental car plus fuel as opposed to the under USD $300, FJD $648 total we’ll have spent for a driver for the full three months in Fiji provides a huge savings on an annualized basis.

This amount of savings by not renting a car in Fiji was enough to pay for our upcoming cruise in January for both of us, selecting a balcony cabin (as always). Each time we opt for a driver as opposed to a rental car the savings are generally in this range ultimately paying for most upcoming cruises. 

In 2016, we’ve scheduled five cruises; four ocean going, one river cruise. With our love of cruising and the ability to see so much at one time, choosing a driver over a rental car is a small sacrifice for us.

In other countries such as upcoming New Zealand in January, a rental car is a must with our intentions to tour the two islands. We’ve found the cost in NZ is much more affordable than in Fiji as is the case in more populated countries.

A sandy beach along the quiet road we traveled.

As we move to the next island of Fiji for 28 days again we’ll use a driver. The company that we’ve arranged to pick us up at the Suva Airport will also serve as our drivers once we arrive in Pacific Harbour, an hour’s drive from the airport. 

In the new location, we’ll have the freedom (and luxury) of walking to nearby shops and restaurants according to the owner. I can hardly wait to be able to walk when there. Although lovely overall in Savusavu, it’s been impossible to go for a walk on the steep dirt road up the mountain. 

We can barely maneuver getting into Rasnesh’s vehicle, the incline is so steep. Invariably, the car door is so heavy on the incline, that in itself, it’s a challenge to close once inside, the incline creating a darned weird obstacle, dangerous and unwieldy. Level ground at this point is rather appealing.

Living in Savusavu hasn’t been easy in some ways, certainly not anyone’s fault. Mario has been the perfect host in a relatively perfect little house overlooking the sea. The support staff has been ideal; Junior, Usi and Vika, all of whom we adore. 

We highly recommend this resort if the ability to prepare one’s food and the desire to be away from the hotel environment in a more private location is on one’s radar.  In many ways, it’s been ideal for us.

As for the ants, that’s only been a result of our constant need to cook. Had we only been preparing light meals as most, shorter-term travelers do, we may not have had so many ants. It was certainly a result of the constant preparation of food that attracted them no matter how well we cleaned up after we were done. 

A canopy of trees crossed over the road creates a pretty scene.

The refrigerator handle fell prey to the ants if a smidgeon of food was on my hand when I opened the door. The next day we’d have ants on the handle and the door. In time, I learned my lesson, washing my hands every time I opened a cupboard or appliance including the microwave, portable oven, the coffee or tea pots or even the kitchen sponge which I sterilized with a minute in the microwave each day. And still, they came…just less of them for a day or two. 

I have no doubt we’ve eaten some ants regardless of how hard we’ve tried not to. Then again, there are populations throughout the world that eat ants and other insects so I guess we fit in. Not necessarily by design.

As for yesterday’s unannounced power outage, I suppose not knowing saved us a bit of anticipation, although we weren’t prepared with lots of ice on hand as we had the week earlier with advance notice. Two of out the past eight days, we’ve had no power, and a third day the refrigerator didn’t work for 24 hours. 

My biggest concern is always the food in the refrigerator. The freezer seems to stay cold for eight or nine hours without defrosting providing we don’t open the door. Yesterday’s power outage beginning at 9:17 am was a total surprise. 

Waiting 30 minutes after the power went off, I called the power company when this time the Internet still worked enabling me to look up their number online. I was told it was a result of another day’s tree trimming near the power lines as hurricane season approaches. They estimated we’d have power by 4:30 pm.

Aside from many rocky beaches, there are many sandy beaches in Fiji.

We had a decision to make; do we open the freezer, empty all four of our ice cubes trays into a container to place in the refrigerator or do we avoid opening either door?  We opted to quickly open both doors, remove the ice, fill the plastic container and our mugs with ice placing the plastic container on top of the pan of the uncooked Italian meatballs I planned to cook for dinner. 

We were concerned about meatballs made with beef and pork mince going bad in the refrigerator in seven or more hours. But our plan worked. When the power came back on at 5:30 pm, the ice was hardly melted in the fridge, the contents were cold and the meatballs were as cold as they would have been with power. 

We had a lovely dinner with the meatballs slathered in homemade red pasta sauce topped with hand-grated mozzarella cheese, a side of mushroom casserole (which stayed frozen in the freezer during the outage) and fresh steamed veggies.

The next challenge of the day was Tom’s ability to watch the Minnesota Vikings football game on his laptop.  He’s a member of NFL Game Pass, an app only available to viewers outside the US for an annual fee of USD $130, FJD $281 when Tom only watches the Vikings games. The fees are higher for full access to all games, playoff and Super Bowl games which he can add on later, if the Vikings are in the playoffs and Super Bowl. 

The games are available live with commercials or a few hours later without commercials reducing the view time to less than two hours. For some odd reason, last night, when the Internet signal was appeared strong enough to watch, Tom wasn’t able to download the game no matter how hard he tried. He’d been able to watch prior games while in Fiji. We had no idea as to the problem.

We can easily envision a life at sea, definitely not a lifestyle that would appeal to us for years.

Frustrated for him, I made what sounded like a hair-brained suggestion that he use the VPN on my computer, Hotspot Shield, to show our entry to the Internet wasn’t Fiji but another country we could select in the app. We couldn’t use the US as the selection with the Game Pass app unavailable for use while in the US.

I started the app, selected the UK as our entry point and he opened to the program for success. Immediately, the game popped up on the screen of my laptop. 

Not much of a football fan, plus with his preference of keeping the laptop on his lap during the game, I decided to head to bed at 9 pm to continue reading a good mystery novel instead of attempting to watch along with him.

By 10:30, I nodded off, loud game and all, managing eight hours of sleep, a first in many moons, only awakening a few times to the sound of pounding rain on the roof, a nightly occurrence of late.

The sun is shining at the moment. The ants are under control. I’m feeling especially good after a full night’s rest.  Tom’s still grinning from ear to ear over the Vikings win. Life is good.


Photo from one year ago today, December 1, 2014:

On our final day in Maui before heading to the Big Island for the upcoming family visit, we boarded a whale watching boat in Maalaea Bay, the harbor with some of the roughest seas in the world. (Yes, it was! rough)! We never saw a whale and once again, we were disappointed on yet another unfulfilling whale watching outing. Safari luck only seems to prevail on land.  For more details and photos of the scenery, please click here.

At long last, we have sunshine…Transportation…Safety…All new photos…

This morning’s sunny day.

Yesterday, we called Ratnesh to pick us up tomorrow at 11 am for a dual purpose; sightseeing earlier in the day, shopping after sightseeing. We’re excited to be getting out.

We’d hoped to get out on Tuesday, but on Monday, he called and canceled when he had a long-distance fare to Labasa, where another airport is located, a two hour drive each way from Savusavu.

When we first arrived, we offered to request his services for specific dates, and at times when it was most convenient for him with our schedule wide open. If he has a fare where he’ll make more than with us to various sites and the villages, we’ve encouraged him to take it.

View from our veranda to the three-unit vacation home as a part of this four-unit resort. The lawn guy is here today, mowing and trimming.

We hadn’t negotiated special rates with him when we arrived when the amounts he charges for trips to the village or for an hourly rate for sightseeing is so reasonable. As we’ve mentioned in the past, here are the costs of his services:

  • FJD $20, USD $9.39: Round trip to the village for shopping, dropping us off and picking us up when we call.  We add an additional FJD $10, USD $4.70 when he helps us carry our purchases to the house.
  • FJD $30, USD $14.09: Cost per hour for sightseeing. 

We’ve noticed when we do both, sightseeing and shopping on the same day, we’re charging for the trip to the village, plus the hourly travel rate. Ah, who’s to complain at these reasonable prices? If we’re gone for four hours at FJD $120, USD $56.35, it’s a very fair fare (no pun intended)!

When we recall paying for taxi fare in London in August 2014, when we visited the highly rated pub (Andover Arms) on two occasions, the round trip taxi fare was USD $50, GBP $32, FJD $106. In Fiji, that amount would give us almost four hours on the road!  

Colorful ocean view from our area.

Although four hours on the roads in Vanua Levu may sound exciting, on this remote island, it would be four hours of bumpy roads, dense greenery, and occasional ocean views, all of which we love and easily experience on shorter trips to specific destinations. We prefer aimlessly driving when we have a rental car, stopping as often as we’d like for photos and restroom breaks.

With the sun shining, we’re excited to get out more often, subject to the availability of the only driver in this village willing to tackle the steep road in this resort area. It would be impossible for us to walk down the long mountainous road. For mountain climbers and seriously fit hikers, it may not be a problem.

How easily we could feel trapped. But, long ago we decided, after realizing we’d need drivers in various countries, we accepted that there would be days we’d want to get out and weren’t able to do so, based on our driver’s availability. Sticking to the same driver or their designated co-driver has been important to us, particularly when safety has been an issue in several countries.

The bright blue of the bay is breathtaking from this elevation.

Upcoming in 46 days, when we fly to the next Fijian Island of Viti Levi, the larger main island, where we’ll stay for one more month, we’ll be renting a car at the Nadi Airport and driving two hours to our new location, again a private house. 

With high crime rates in the downtown Nadi area, when we booked Fiji long ago, we’d decided to stay in another more, remote location where the likelihood of crime is greatly reduced.

Many tourists stay in the Nadi area in resorts and hotels, generally insulated from criminal activities when on site. The risks for tourists escalates when out on the streets in the busy city, as we’ve been warned by the locals here who often travel to Nadi to visit family. Muggings, pickpocketing, and carjacking are not unusual.

Another ocean view from our area.

With our preferred choice of vacation homes as opposed to staying in hotels, we usually don’t have the safety net of on-site security as is often available in most hotels. Generally, one can feel relatively safe from crime in a hotel, although there are isolated exceptions.

Currently, we’re living in a resort but, in the only stand, alone vacation rental house on the property. Further up the hill behind us is a separate building with three apartments, including one penthouse type upscale unit on the top floor. Mario and Tayana’s private residence is off to the side as shown.

When Ratnesh picks us up, he pulls into the driveway of the three-unit building in this resort. The driveway near the steps down to our house below is too steep for stopping the vehicle, making getting in and out nearly impossible.

Junior is around during the day and Mario is on-site in his separate house to our left as we face the ocean. We feel totally safe and protected in this ideal location.

Criminal activity on this island of Vanua Levu is almost non-existent. When we’ve driven by the courthouse on several occasions, located on the edge of town, there are no cars in the parking lot. Most likely, they only open when they have a case. From what we hear, it’s a rare occasion.

Oceanfront view of Mario and Tatyana’s house, much larger than it appears in the photos.  We took this photo from the steep road.

The fact that we prefer living in smaller towns and villages in our travels has more to do with our lack of interest in crowds and the fact that we don’t shop other than for food and supplies as needed. We love the quaint charm and nature of small villages and the friendly, less harried lifestyle of their people. 

For the average tourist, staying in a more populous area in most countries provides endless opportunities to find that special item to bring back home, for oneself, and for gifts for family and friends. Also, easy access to restaurants is an important factor for tourists whereas, for us, it’s irrelevant.

Side view of Mario and Tatyana’s recently built house.

We don’t send our grandchildren trinkets from all over the world. Instead, we send gift cards or gifts that they’d like, not what we think they’d like from a foreign country. If we did, at this point, their bedrooms would be filled with useless touristy type items, eventually to be tossed away. 

Maybe we’re too practical in the minds of others. Then again, how practical is having no home, no stuff other than what fits into three suitcases, a duffel bag and a laptop bag and, changing countries and homes every few months or less?

Have a beautiful and meaningful day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 21, 2014:

We were entranced by this colorful Gold Dust Day Gecko, commonly seen in the Hawaiian Islands, particularly in Maui where we were living one year ago.  This gecko was located on the wall by the pool but, from time to time, we spotted them inside the condo, certainly no big deal. Generally, geckos are harmless if not annoying, leaving droplets of white poop and making peculiar noises. In Fiji, we see new gecko poop in the house every few days. For more details, please click here.

Transportation issues..Llttle pink car is no more…A driving video…Scroll down for the first posting of an elephant video we took in Kruer National Park…

A segment of our return drive from Blyde River Canyon on our way back to Marloth Park.

Renting a car for a one, two-week, or even a 30 day holiday is no big deal. Trying to rent a car for over 30 days is difficult unless one is willing to pay considerably more disproportionately. We’re not.

Wildflowers growing at the overlook on the Crocodile River.

Using online booking sites, including the major rental car company’s sites, while searching for the best rates we’ve found that any requested rental over 30 days, dramatically changes everything. 

Creek on the Panorama Route.

The rental car companies posted rates for under 30 days are fair. However, they have no interest in renting cars for those same great rates for longer than 30 days which presents an issue for us. The rate jumps exponentially once the 30 day period is over, often doubling.

We rented the little pink car for 30 days for US $519, ZAR $5526. To extend that rate was unappealing.  Extending the rental period resulted in daily rates in excess of US $30, ZAR $319. Many days, we don’t go out.

This Hyena peeked out of his den to check us out at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Hyenas chew on the bones of animals distributing small shreds to their offspring for the nutrients. When he went back inside we could easily hear the unnerving sounds of bone-crunching.

Our plan was to return the pink car last Saturday to Budget at the Mpumalanga/Nelspruit Airport on our return trip from Blyde River Canyon. We intended to pick up another car that we’d booked at another company also located at the airport, paying roughly US $1100, ZAR $11,713 for our remaining 41 days  (at that time) in Marloth Park. 

While heading out to dinner around 7:00 pm on Saturday after returning from Blyde River Canyon, Okee Dokee spotted this baby giraffe and mother.Notice the size differential in the mom on the right and the baby. The photo was taken in the dark resulting in the lack of clarity.

The original daily rate for the pink car was US $17.50, ZAR $186.34. The remaining 41-day contract for which we paid online was US $26.83, ZAR $285.68 per day. By paying this 65% increase we could avoid having to make another long trip back and forth to the airport when 30 additional days had passed. We’d decided to bite the bullet and pay it.

On Friday evening after dinner, our last night at the Blyde River Canyon Lodge, we received an email informing us that, although we’d already paid the entire balance in full, they were canceling our contract and refunding our money. They didn’t want the car “out that long.” Actually, they didn’t want the car “out that long at that price.” 

This close up is of a baby Warthog, less than two months old, illustrating how the warts have already grown on the face. Males have four warts on the face, females have two.  Notice the extra set of warts near his eyes indicating that this is a male.

There we were leaving in the morning for the long drive to the airport returning the pink car and receiving a message that we had no car for the return trip to Marloth Park from the airport, an hour and a half drive.

This young male, less than two months old, has already grown his tucks.

With our intention to stay calm, while figuring out solutions for any problems that arise, we tossed around a few options:

1. Re-rent the pink car at almost double the rate we’d originally paid keeping it until we returned to the airport to depart on February 28th.
2. Re-rent another car for another 30 days and pay the fees to extend it at the higher rates for the remaining 11 days.
3.  Re-rent another car for 30 days, returning it to the airport, get our past driver, Okee Dokee, to pick us up at the airport and drive us back to Marloth Park with no rental car for the remaining 11 days
4.  Don’t re-rent any car and have Okee Dokee pick us up at the airport, driving us several times a week for all of our outings over our remaining time in this area.

This young female has grown these feelers bristles to aid in burrowing into holes that warthogs use for protection by stealing holes from other animals.  The baby warthogs enter the holes head first.  A mature warthog, including moms with babies, enter the hole butt first allowing them to be prepared to attack if any potential predators try to enter.

The answer was readily available in the “math.” We calculated the cost of the driver three to four times a week, based on mileage rates and it proved to be 50% of what we’d pay for the rental car. For us, it was a no-brainer.

Do we feel trapped without a car?  Not at all. We can go anywhere we’d like easily contacting Okee Dokee by text. As a lifelong resident of this area, she too loves wildlife, readily stopping for photos. Plus, we thoroughly enjoy her companionship.

Tree frog hanging on the edge of the pool checking us out.  Look at those functional toes! Could this be a baby from the nests hanging over the pool?

She suggested we keep track of our outings and pay her in one fell swoop, at the end. I created a nifty page in Excel with her rates, dates, and locations that we choose to visit keeping track of the accumulating balance.  We’ll generously tip her excellent service at the end.

This car rental challenge would not be an issue if the rental facilities were nearby. We’d simply rent three cars for three 30-day periods at the best possible rates, dropping off the car and picking up another. That would have been easy.

The “Three Little Pigs” are getting big. Mom is standing off to the side while they all wait for us to throw out a few pellets. Of course, we complied. 

There was no way that we were interested in going back and forth to the airport many times when its a three-hour round trip, including the time it takes to process the rental. That’s three half days wasted. With the pleasure we experience daily, surrounded by wildlife while sitting on the veranda at our vacation home, every single day is precious.

With only 36 days remaining of our time in Marloth Park, we’re content with our decision. On February 28th, Okee Dokee will drive us to the Mpumalanga airport to begin the lengthy flight to Morocco. Last night, she dropped us off for dinner at the Serene Oasis restaurant located on the Crocodile River, picking us up a few hours later. With her, there’s no pressure to hurry, and no sense of feeling rushed.

The “Three Little Pigs” chased off this shy male warthog.  He decided to hide by the pool until they left to see if there would be any pellets left for him. He looked very worried.  Yes, we tossed him a batch once the “family” had departed.

Shortly, she’ll pick us up at noon to take us to Komatipoort for grocery shopping and Tom’s 12:30 haircut appointment while she patiently waits for us. Tom hasn’t had a haircut in three months which was halfway through our 89-day stay in Diani Beach, Kenya. 

This won’t be the first time we’ve been without “wheels” and surely won’t be the last. With special arrangements we’ve made with excellent drivers in Belize, Dubai, Kenya, South Africa, and more, we’ve managed to function well paying reasonable rates.

With the money we’ll have saved on car rentals in South Africa, factoring in our costs for a driver, it more than paid the entire cost of the three days we spent in Blyde River Canyon last week. 

  To see the detailed past story of this lone elephant that we encountered in Kruger Park last Wednesday, please click here.

It’s all in the planning, the adaptation, and the acceptance that our lives aren’t always as convenient as in our old lives. But, the adventure, the joy, and the fulfillment make it all worthwhile.

We’ve got transportation plus booked two more cruises!

Yesterday morning, we returned the golf cart to Captain Jak’s Resort in Placencia Village. At a cost of $1200 a month after doling out $5000 US for the next two months to live in the fabulous Laru Beya Resort, there is no way we’d consider paying $1200 a month for a golf cart rental. Cars are much more. 

We choked to pay the $350 for the week we had it. However, in essence, we never would’ve found this place without it. It proved to serve us well.

The golf cart rentals at our resort are $35 US for 12 hours and of course, $70 for 24 hours (no deal here).  This morning I asked if they’d give us a special rate for four hours once a week enabling us to go to the grocery store and out to eat.  The lack of enthusiasm indicated it was an unlikely option. 

Compared to our past experiences traveling to Mexico, it appears that “negotiating” is less likely in Belize. As we continue our travels we’ll surely discover that each country has its own demeanor as to dealing with “tourists” in their continued efforts to “make a deal.”

Dropping off the golf cart left us five miles south of our resort.  We could walk around the little town for two hours to catch the next bus at 2:30 for $1 US each or grab a cab for a total of $10 US (for both of us). 

Finding our way to the famed long sidewalk along the beach, we walked its entire length.  See quote below:

“Aside from the beach, the main attraction in Placencia is the world-renowned main-street sidewalk, cited in the Guinness Book of World Records as “the world’s most narrow street.” It’s 24 inches wide in spots and runs north–south through the sand for over a mile. Homes, hotels, Guatemalan goods shops, craft makers, and tour guide offices line both sides.”

An hour later, after the long enjoyable walk along the sidewalk in almost 90 degrees and a massive amount of humidity, we decided it made sense to grab a cab back to Laru Beya, rather than ride the bus.  It was time to build a relationship with a cab driver.  We lucked out (so we think thus far) when Estevan responded to our taxi hail.  

Along the ride, it took no time for me to chime in and ask him how much he’d charge for a once-a-week trip to the grocery store in Seine Bight, which would include: picking us up at the resort, driving to the store, waiting for us while we shopped (we promised not more than 20-30 minutes), then driving us back to the resort. 

Estevan hesitated to give us a price.  He asked us to suggest what we’d pay.  No problem.  We offered him $10 US for the round trip, including the wait.  He agreed without hesitation.  Beginning this Wednesday at 9:00 am, continuing every Wednesday for the next two months, Estevan will arrive to take us grocery shopping, out to breakfast or lunch, or any other outings we may desire during his daytime shift!  We’re relieved.

There are four restaurants within walking distance.  We’ll alternate these from time to time preferring to cook our own meals in our upcoming (as of Sunday) well-appointed granite kitchen, dining at our own table, and chairs on our outdoor veranda about 20-30 feet from the ocean.  

We can’t wait to cook our own meals  The restaurants, all loaded with ambiance, offering well-prepared local flavors, serve tiny portions.  Neither Tom nor I snack between meals and enjoy hearty portions when we do dine.  Each night after dinner, we find ourselves still hungry, wishing we had access to something we can eat.  It’s not easy here in Belize with limited foodstuffs in the minuscule grocery stores, most of which are more like a 7-11 than an actual grocery store.

Today, we spent the entire afternoon by the pool. The sky was clear, the humidity down and the temperature was a paltry 82. Perfect! We met a lively Canadian couple by the pool, yakked up a storm, and are meeting up with them to go to Robert’s Grove buffet tonight.  

On the cruise ships, we enjoyed meeting couple after couple.  With our past tumultuous week, we hardly felt like socializing. Now, as we get ready to move to our villa tomorrow morning, we’re feeling all the more relaxed and at ease. 

We officially booked the two cruises for October and November 2014.  The details on the first of the two is on yesterday’s post. 

Here are the details on the second cruise:


FastDeal
25425
7 nights departing November 9, 2014 on
Norwegian’s Norwegian Epic
Brochure Inside $1,799
Our Inside $599
You Save 67%
Brochure Oceanview $2,399
Our Oceanview $829
You Save 65%
Brochure Balcony $2,399
Our Balcony $829
You Save 65%
Brochure Suite $2,699
Our Suite $979
You Save 64%
The prices shown are US dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. They include port charges but do not include airfare or (where applicable) airport or government taxes or fees.
ITINERARY
 
DAY DATE PORT ARRIVE   DEPART
Sun Nov 9 Miami, FL 4:00pm
Mon Nov 10 At Sea
Tue Nov 11 At Sea
Wed Nov 12 Ocho Rios, Jamaica 8:00am 5:00pm
Thu Nov 13 Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands 8:00am 4:00pm
Fri Nov 14 Cozumel, Mexico 10:00am 6:00pm
Sat Nov 15 At Sea
Sun Nov 16 Miami, FL 8:00am

We upgraded to the Mini-Suite for both of these cruises, giving us a sofa, a desk in about 20 more square feet.  In a cabin, 20 square feet makes a substantial difference.  The additional cost to upgrade was $75 per person per cruise, well worth it for the total 21 days at sea.  We’ll stay on the same ship, in the same cabin enjoying extra amenities which we will share with you as they occur.

(We love cruising. The little cabins don’t bother us at all, easily maneuvering around each other. I’m not afraid t of rolling seas and noises anymore. Tom never was. We love the food, meeting new people every night, the entertainment, the classes, the movie theatres, and the pools. I love the health clubs and health orientated classes. We love it that neither of us had a moment of seasickness, even in rough waters. We love cruising together.)

It’s possible that the prices on these two cruises along with our remaining six cruises could drop over the next 21 months. If that occurs up to 90 days before we sail, we’ll receive the reduced prices. 

However, it’s our responsibility to check to see if the prices have gone down informing our cruise guy, Joaquin, who will immediately give us a credit emailing us a new “cruise confirmation” indicating the new pricing.  We’ve saved $1400 so far by watching the prices! 

Time to get ready for our “double date” tonight.  This couple is one floor above our new (as of tomorrow morning) villa.  We’ll be neighbors for the remaining five days of their trip.  They’ve rented a fishing boat for a day and invited us to join them. Our luck, we’ll catch a sailfish and have no wall on which to hang it.

Ah, the joys of being homeless.

The trip ended…Final expenses…Back in Marloth Park…

My dinner at Chobe Safari Lodge in the fine dining restaurant was grilled prawns and chicken. Delicious.
Our expenses were done a little differently this time. When we first arrived, we understood that we’d need about 20000 kwacha (Zambia currency) to pay for transportation and tours. When one ATM was out of cash and another only dispensed 18000 kwacha, we decided we could figure out the rest later.
When we arrived in Botswana, the rep there required either pula (Botswana currency) or the use of a credit card. We used a credit card to pay for the tours we’d booked in Botswana. Well, it got confusing, so that I won’t go into it. But, we managed to use most of our kwacha before we left Zambia and have a remaining 2900 kwacha (ZAR, US $178), which we’ll exchange for rand at the bank when we go to Komatipoort tomorrow. There’s no point in carrying 2900 kwacha with us around the world.
After some confusing figuring, we came up with the following for our expenses for these seven nights away. They are as close to accurate as possible.
                                     USD                                    Kwacha

Hotel Botswana          $1736.92                              28292.37

Hotel Zambia              $236.18                                  3833.49

Meals/Tours Zambia    $1109                                   14800.00

Tours in Botswana       $280                                      4544.75

Airfare                         $1302.78                              21145.74

Includes all tips

Total                           $4664.88                               72616.35

Total daily expense  $   666.41                               10373.76

Breakfast of two fried eggs, grilled mackerel, and sauteed mushrooms at Chobe Safari Lodge.

Our primary reason for this trip was to acquire a new 90-day visa. As it turned out, we encountered some difficulties at immigration which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post.

If we had filed for an extension, using the law firm in Johannesburg, which we can only do once per year in South Africa, we would have paid approximately US $2500, kwacha 40578.50. Thus, we ask ourselves, was this trip worth the difference? We thoroughly enjoyed this trip and felt the experiences were worth it.

Now, as we returned to South Africa to our bush house in Marloth Park with a new 90-day visa in hand (providing nothing went wrong at immigration), we won’t have to leave again until our upcoming cruise in Seychelles in November. This means we can relax during the next three months with only the flights and transportation to book and a two-night stay in a hotel in Mahe, Seychelles.

Mixed salad with artichoke hearts and green beans.If we were feeling up to it, we decided we would go to dinner tonight at Jabula, which we did shortly after we arrived back in Marloth Park around 5:30 pm, 1730 hrs. Even though the flight was only a few hours long, the trip began at 11:30 am when Chris picked us up to take us to the Livingstone Airport and ended when we arrived at our bush house, as mentioned above. It still is a long day.

I’m still not feeling 100% with this headache and face pain, and I have an appointment with Doc Theo on Monday at 10:00 am. We will grocery shop after the appointment. Monday night, we are headed to Marylin and Gary’s holiday home for a braai and final get-together (seven of us) before they leave a few days later. It’s been wonderful spending time with readers/friends who have now become great friends we’ve met due to our site. We feel so fortunate.

Soup with a slice of grilled bread.

Today, we’re sharing food photos from our one-week trip, but we still have many photos to share from game drives and boat tours. It will be fun to share those with all of you here and to see our animal friends (and taking photos) again in Marloth Park in our garden. It will be wonderful to see Norman and his family again. I can’t wait to see him, Lollie, and the others.

Note: This morning, Norman, Noah, Nina, Gordy, Tulip, and Lilac were waiting for us in the garden. No sign of Lollie yet. More tomorrow. Norman and Nina are here for the second time in two hours.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2021:

Bossy is always thrilled to see us, hoping for morsels of pellets. For more photos, please click here.

Starting to think packing…Four days and counting…Mishap in Komatipoort!…The water is back on…

Bossy and another mom and three young kudus. Usually, kudus give birth to one calf. But, on occasion, one mom will babysit for another.

The wet laundry sat in the washer overnight when we didn’t have water for almost 24 hours. Finally, this morning, it was back on, and I could shower and tend to the laundry in the washer. I’m rushing a bit this morning since Rita is picking me up in less than an hour to go to Stoep Cafe for our weekly breakfast and girl talk.

I considered canceling today since I have not improved from the antibiotic I’ve been on for three days. But with all of us leaving South Africa this weekend, I wanted to spend this special time with Rita. Perhaps, it’s due to the long time I’ve had this after testing positive for Covid-19 in April.

Plus, I have hardly slept more than four or five hours a night since taking them, a common side effect of my medications. There are enough antibiotics left to get through the next four days. We are flying to Zambia in four days, and I look forward to feeling better by then. It’s frustrating.

We call this wildebeest Torn Ear, unlike a bushbuck with the same name at our old house. Zoom in to see his bad right ear.

Luckily, we still have enough leftovers for tonight, so I won’t need to cook anything for Tom, just something for me. I am happy to have something easy to prepare, like salmon salad and leftover fresh vegetables.

It’s almost 3:00 pm, 1500 hr., and we just returned from Komati after Rita, and I had brunch at Stoep Cafe. We walked out to the loaner car she was driving while their vehicle was being serviced in Malalane, and there was a flat tire on the small car. Immediately, she called Gerhard to help since neither of us was up to changing a tire.

But then, she realized Gerhard was at their bush house with friend Lee without transportation. There was Midas shop which wasn’t far from Stoep Cafe. I told Tom to sit tight until after we figured it out. Gerhard called Midas when they said they’d help in 30 minutes. . In Africa, 30 minutes easily could mean 60 minutes.

Big Daddy with a kudu male in the background who could be his son.

Much to our surprise, the tire guy showed up in about 20 minutes and got to work on the tire. Instead of using the spare tire, the guy was determined to remove the bad tire, take it back to the shop and bring it back repaired and ready to go. Rita and I went back inside Stoep to sit at the table we’d just left.

When the repair took a while, Rita suggested I call Tom on Whatsapp to ask him to come to get me. Tom was more than willing to do anything he could to help. In minutes, he was on the road to Komati. When he arrived, he sat at the table with Rita and me while we all waited for the tire guy to return. We didn’t want Rita to be sitting there by herself.

When the guy returned with the tire, we waited until it was done, and Rita went to the shop to pay the bill. In no time at all, we were back at the house. Rita made it home safely, and all was well.

Lollie was photo bombing a zebra photo, as usual.

Once back at our house, Tom peeled the boiled eggs while I chopped celery and onions for my salmon salad and cut up more vegetables for tonight’s salad.  All is prepped for tonight’s dinner.

Zef and Vusi arrived while I was gone, cleaned the house, loaded the soaking wet laundry from the defunct washer, and took it with them. They’d take care of the laundry at Louise’s home until we get a new washer which Louise and Danie are working on now. Knowing them, our laundry will be washed, dried, and returned to us by tomorrow, and a new washer will be in the outdoor laundry area.

If they cannot get a new washing machine before we leave on Saturday for our trip to Zambia and Botswana, Zef and Vusi  will do a few more loads for us since we have to go through the closet to choose the items we’re taking with us. Everything, including clean clothes, gets dusty in the bush.

As soon as we arrived at the house, Norman and Nina were waiting for us to return. It’s always such a joy to see the nyalas family, particularly Norman, who makes intense eye contact with me whenever he sees me. I do the same with him.

All we have to do for the rest of the day is reheat Tom’s meat for dinner at 4:55 pm, 1655 hrs. since load shedding starts five minutes later and lasts 2½ hours. There will probably be a lot of load shedding over the next week, so it’s not bad that we are leaving for a week.

That’s it for today, friends! Have a lovely day and evening!

Photo from one year ago today, August 16, 2021:

Lots of mongooses this morning! For more photos, please click here.

It was a lovely Father’s Day in the bush…The animals are already back!!!…Check out today’s new video, taken moments ago!…

This morning, they returned from the busy holiday weekend.  The animals, I mean. As I type this, there is a forkl of kudus, two Medium Daddies whose horns are halfway to full-grown, three moms, and three babies, one of which can’t be more than a few weeks old.

Also, a herd of impalas joined in on the excitement, and in moments, we had 20 or more animals in the garden, inspiring me to make the above video. It’s such fun for us to see so many wildlife in the garden. We never tire of greeting the latest to arrive.

Lollie is munching on pellets with them. The animals have become used to her being a permanent fixture in our garden, allowing her to “dine” with them. She’s a little bossy also, never failing to let the other visitors know, “this is my house!” It’s hilarious that she is here almost all day and night.

Last evening, during sundowner time, the mongooses arrived, cackling, running like crazy, ensuring we knew they were here. The band of about 50 crazy little critters piled atop one another in the side garden, waiting patiently while I cut the paloney (a large baloney type roll we buy at Spar) into bite-sized pieces, ensuring enough for all of them.

We had a pleasant Father’s Day!. No, we didn’t do much since the park was packed with tourists, and we didn’t want to deal with the Crocodile River crowds. or the groups on the bumpy dirt roads, but today, it’s quiet again since most of them had left. The school holidays will begin in a few weeks, and it will be busy, maybe for the entire three weeks.

Something has been on my mind about our posts the past few days. We’ve mentioned this in the past and will repeat it here today. Sometimes, nothing is going on to write about. After almost ten years of living in other people’s houses, visiting all seven continents, countless countries, cities, towns and villages, and hotels, we sometimes like doing nothing.

That’s not to say we don’t have many exciting plans. But, without a doubt, the pandemic has significantly impacted us. Thousands of flights were canceled worldwide last week. Cruises are being canceled right and left. Prices for transportation, including airfare, rental cars, taxis, and Uber, have skyrocketed. Even the cost of living in Africa has

Some world travelers are on the move right now, certainly more frequently than we have been in the past few months. But considering how much we did in the two months we were away from Marloth Park, we feel a break is in order.  Also, we consider  the time spent in booking the following, which also contributes to our desire to stay put for a while:

  • Flights: 4 trips, 9 flights
  • Cruise: 1 (plus canceled 1 cruise due to contracting Covid-19 on the first cruise)
  • Transatlantic crossings: 4
  • Hotels (plus one period staying with friends): 6
  • Long distance driver, taxi, Ube, limo: 5
  • Rental cars: 4

In two months from today, we’ll be on the move again as we make our way to Zambia and then on to Botswana where we’ll stay for a week with many bookings required for that trip.

But, in between times, especially considering all the problems still encountered due to the pandemic, and the difficulty we encountered in those two months, we don’t hesitate to take advantage of this quieter time. As a result, sometimes, we have little to share.

We think about how dull it would be if we lived in a country without the constant stream of wildlife at our door, after we’d done a fair share of sightseeing and taking photos, as we’ve done in many countries worldwide. Right now, we are happiest here.

Also, we don’t forget that in five months, we’ll be off on another six-plus week adventure while we cruise for 42 nights from Athens to Cape Town. We won’t be short of any photos to share and stories to tell. So, in the interim, please bear with us with our mundane stories and lack of exciting new photos. Yesterday, we posted a recipe. Who knows what we’ll post tomorrow other than photos of wildlife and the nuances of our daily lives?

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, June 20, 2021:

We had set Frank’s seeds on the table to keep the warthogs and bushbucks from coming onto the veranda to eat them. Suddenly four hornbills decided to dig in. For more photos, please click here.