Part 2, the villa’s menu options…Food around the world…

Tom’s plate with Blue Fin tuna made with a tomato, lemongrass sauce, spicy vegetables with a side of coleslaw.

“Bali Sightings on the Beach”

Each day when the tide comes in before noon, the sea is as close as 10 meters to the edge of our pool. When it recedes, it leaves behind ocean refuse and trash. Each day but Sunday our pool and landscape guy, Ribud, cleans the beach in front of the house. Yesterday, (Sunday), we captured these three dogs playing after the tide had gone back out, leaving a muddy play area for dogs.
Yesterday, we enjoyed the quiet Sunday at home with the staff off for the day. I made the bed. Tom made coffee (as always) and did the dinner dishes. The only food prep necessary was to make the salad, heat the veggies and fish and we were good to go. Swimming in the pool and doing research while lounging  in the cabana, out of the scorching sun, has totally entertained us.
My plate with fish and veggies.
Of course, food made fresh that day is always the most desirable. The precooked tuna was a little dry after we reheated it in the microwave, but, we ate it anyway, happy to have a good meal without much effort. I think I’ll become spoiled with the thought of not cooking until July, only reheating a meal for Sundays when the staff is off.
The daily stir fried veggie platter laden with Balinese spices, is a dish we both love.

In a way, the heat, humidity and ants have made cooking less interesting for me over these past years of living on several tropical islands where these three factors are always to be expected. Add the difficulty of finding some ingredients we use in cooking “our way,” it makes the process even less appealing. 

Each day, the Ketuts present us with this itemized list of the cost of the ingredients to make  the meal(s).  The “petrol” at the bottom of the list is the daily cost of fuel for their motorbikes, IDR 10,000, US $.75.  For two meals for both Saturday and Sunday the total cost was IRD 185,000, US $13.87  Unreal, eh?
Over these past many moons of travel, we’ve talked to more and more people who prefer not to cook.  Either they’re busy while still working, often with young mouths to feed or, like me, simply have lost interest in spending long periods in the kitchen. 
Dinner menu, Page 1.
It’s no wonder prepared meals are readily available in the markets, along roadside stands (in many countries) and a wide variety of fast food and other dining establishments to suit the needs of most diners. Unfortunately, such meals aren’t an option for us, other than occasional pre-cooked organic chickens made without wheat, sugar or starch.
Dinner menu, Page 2.
My lack of interest provides me with little excuse not to cook. Our way of eating requires homemade meals while we’re living in most countries. I have no excuses. Always on a mission to spend as little time cooking as possible, when we’re preparing our meals, we have a few dozen options we tend to repeat over and over again.
Dinner menu, Page 3.
Here in the villa in Bali, it’s not a lot different for the cooks. In perusing Part 2 of the menu, posted today with choices of dinners and desserts, it’s easy to determine the options suitable for us are few. As a result, we’ve all been creative in designing the perfect meals. None of the desserts are adaptable.
Dinner menu, Page 4.
Thank goodness we purchased the mince (ground beef) that Gede picked up in Denpasar this past week or we’d be alternating chicken and fish, night after night. That could get boring for these two months. So far, it appears the only fresh fish available is Blue Fin tuna and small prawns.  Perhaps, there will be more variation in time.
Dinner menu, Page 5.
Today, Monday, we devised the menu for the week, although the two Ketuts don’t require that we do so. Monday and Tuesday, it will be chicken, veggies, salad; Wednesday and Thursday it will be hamburger patties with bacon, cheese, onion, salad and veggies; Friday and Saturday it will be prawns with veggies and salad; Sunday we’ll have our pre-made leftover ground beef dish which is in the freezer along with sides of veggies and salad. 
Dinner menu, Page 6.
In actuality, we’d be happy to repeat this weekly menu over and over. As long as the meals are befitting my way of eating, more variety is hardly necessary. The cooks seem fine with our repeats understanding the degree of limitations.
Dinner menu, Page 7.
There are no restaurants or resorts nearby and if there were, we doubt we’d be able to dine out when most Balinese meals contain lots of carbs, starches and sugar.
Dessert menu, Page 1.
Tom’s sunburned feet are healing and soon we’ll get out to take more varied photos and get more cash. In the interim, we’re having so much fun watching the activity on the beach in front of us and swimming in the pristine pool, we’re supremely content. 
Dessert menu, Page 2.
During these past few days, we’ve been busy applying for visas for our upcoming Mekong River cruise and booking many flights necessary over the next several months.
With the slow signal, this is a time consuming process.
Dessert menu, Page 3.
Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there. May your day be filled with love and wonderful surprises.
Photo from one year ago today, May 9, 2015:
View of the drive to the Kilauea Lighthouse in Kauai when it was closed on a Sunday. For more photos of this popular historic location, please click here.

Part 1, the villa’s menu options…Food around the world…

The two Kataks and Ribud (the pool and landscape guy) holding up the three kilo Blue Fin tuna for last night’s and tonight’s meal. After it was cleaned and filleted there were two huge portions which we’re sharing each night.  Such wonderful people!  Such fabulous fish!

“Bali Sightings of the Beach”

Crab trail and buffalo footprints in the sand.

Today is the first day we’ve been entirely alone in the villa. The staff hung around last Sunday to make sure we had everything we needed to settle in including a nice Sunday dinner. The fact they gave up their regular day off meant a lot to us. 

We could have easily figured out everything on our own as we often do when the owner, the manager, or other staff isn’t handy to show us “the ropes.” Somehow we always manage.

The two cleaned fillets.  Hard to imagine we could eat one of these between us, each of two nights, but after picking out bones, and the less than desirable darker flesh commonly found in fresh tuna, it was the perfect amount. Adding the fabulous vegetables and coleslaw, it makes a perfect meal. The cost of this fish was only IDR $145,000, US $10.85. There’s no cost for the cooks preparing our meals other than IDR $10,000, US $.75 daily for fuel for their motorbikes. We’ll provide tips at the end of our stay.

In a previous post, we mentioned, we wouldn’t be cooking until July 23rd when we settle into the house in Phuket, Thailand for almost six weeks. We were wrong. We’re on our own on Sundays going forward for the remaining seven weeks in Bali, this time around.

Breakfast menu, Page 1.

Actually, I don’t feel like cooking. As mentioned, the kitchen is the domain of the two Ketuts, not mine, and with the number of ants roaming around the counters, the less I prepare the better. Oh, I’m used to ants, even those crawling on me but they’re annoying when preparing food when all they want to do is crawl inside the dish I’m preparing.

As a result, yesterday I asked the two Ketuts to make the second portion of the fish and another plate of vegetables for us for tonight’s meal. Today, I’ll make a fresh batch of coleslaw which I can complete in less than 10 minutes, most of which time is spent fine slicing the cabbage. 

Breakfast menu, Page 2.

Last night, before the Ketuts left for the evening we gave them money for Monday and Tuesday’s roasted chicken and vegetable dinner. Each day before they arrive at the villa they visit the early morning markets where they purchase locally grown vegetables, meat, and fish. They bring us change or ask for more cash if they were short. Daily, they provide us with an itemized price list of items they’ve purchased.

If necessary, they stop at the tiny market for grocery items such as soaps and paper products. From what we’ve seen so far, these little markets also carry a wide array of “junk” snack foods that are purchased by tourists and locals alike. Obesity and type two diabetes are as prevalent in Bali and the mainland of Indonesia as in many other parts of the world.

The lunch menu, Page 1.

Yesterday, they visited the fish market and again picked up a huge Blue Fin tuna as shown in today’s main photo. After thoroughly cleaning and deboning it (mostly) we were left with two huge filets, enough for last night and tonight’s meal.

They’ve explained that most guests chose from the menu requesting three meals a day, each with two or three-course, all of which they prepare six days a week. With our one meal a day, they’re able to spend less time here in the villa with us, mostly cleaning in the mornings, leaving midday, and returning per our request at 4:00 pm to prepare dinner.

The lunch menu, Page 2.

We requested our dinner be ready at 5 pm each night, a little early for us.  In doing so, they can be out the door earlier to return home to their families. They clear the table after we’ve eaten, wash the dishes, bring in the chaise lounge cushions and beach towels and close the huge accordion glass doors for the evening before the rampage of mozzies begins. 

By 6:30 pm, we have the evening to ourselves. We avoid opening the exterior doors or stepping outside until after dark when the mozzies are less frenzied. There’s a nighttime security guard that sits on a chair all night a few doors from our villa, guarding the few villas along this narrow road. 

The lunch menu, Page 3.

Today, we’ve included a portion of the villa’s menu options from which we’d choose if we could eat the items listed. Tomorrow, we’ll show the dinner and dessert menus.  

Instead of choosing items on the menu, we pick and choose adaptations of the items offered, ensuring they don’t include any sugar, starches, or grains, all with minimal carbs. So far, it’s working when I’ve had no ill effects. 

The lunch menu, Page 4.

We thought it might be interesting to share Part 1 of 2 of the menu today and tomorrow for our “foodie” readers. For those of you with less interest in food, soon we’ll be back with more of “your type” of stories and photos.

The lunch menu, Page 5.

We want to thank all of our new readers we met on the most recent cruise (and past cruises, of course) for stopping by and checking us out. Our stats have indicated a huge increase in hits over the past several days. 

We’d love your input via comments at the end of each day’s post or, by email (see links to both of our email addresses on the top right side of any day’s post).

The lunch menu, Page 6.

As for our regular readers, wow! You continue to hang with us, many of who’s been with us since the beginning of 2012. Thank you for making us feel as if you’re right beside us, day after day, more friends than one could ever expect in a lifetime. The journey continues.

Happy Mother’s Day today for all the moms in this part of the world where it’s Sunday and again tomorrow for all the moms on the other side of the world where you’ll celebrate tomorrow.  May your day be as special as YOU!

Photo from one year ago today, May 8, 2015:

Beautiful purple flowers we encountered on a walk in Kauai. For more photos, please click here.  (Error correction from yesterday when I mistakenly posted this photo which was meant for today. A new photo for the appropriate date has been replaced on yesterday’s post. Click here to see the correction..

The maze like environmant of the souk…So confusing…Food around the world…

Yesterday, this was my meal at Le Jardin;  fillet of Dover sole with a spinach sauce made with a flour-less cream reduction sauce. In the center, is an array of cooked vegetables, including carrots, zucchini and eggplant. The chef prepared this meal for me after the server showed the him the restriction list on my phone. It was fabulous. Now, I can’t wait to have this again! See how tempting it is to return to favorite restaurant when I can order a dish as amazing as this?

Firstly, again thanks for the many well wishers, for my improving health.  Now with only one more day on Cipro, I am feeling completely well, having decided to continue and do the full five day regime.  All symptoms have subsided and I’m back to my energized self, chomping at the bit to get out and explore.

Tom ordered the same dish he’d had at Le Jardin the last time we visited, fearful he wouldn’t like other options. Next time, he’ll try a different dish.

Yesterday, we did exactly that!  Explore. On Friday, the holy day for those of the Muslim faith, many of the shops are closed in the souk. As a result, the narrow roads and passageways of the souk are relatively free of foot traffic. Since we aren’t interested in shopping, this is an ideal time for us to get around and explore the area and search for new restaurants to try.

During the long walk, as we searched for Le Jardin we discovered this interesting door in the Jemaa el Fna in the souk..

Here’s the dilemma. We’ve decided we can no longer dine at most Moroccan food restaurants. Having decided I will no longer eat raw vegetables after this dreadful illness there are few foods that I can eat in a Moroccan restaurants with any assurance that there will be none of the ingredients that I can’t have. Many dishes have flour, sugar, grains, fruit and starches, all which I must avoid.

Continuing on through the narrow roads, we looked for any familiar landmarks that would assist us in our search for Le Jardin.

A few days ago, Tom suggested I write about food too much. I agree that it is a frequent topic of conversation.  But, let’s face it, people usually travel for a few reasons other than to “get away from it all.” They travel for the shopping, the sights and for the food and wine. 

We thought we were close when a few weeks ago, we’d spotted these same two kittens playing at perhaps the same spot.
Many of the homeless cats hang out in pairs.

When travelers board a long flight, one of their first questions asked is, “Do we get a meal?” One of the major reasons travelers enjoy cruising is for the food, the “all you can eat” aspect, with many courses with an endless array of desserts. When travelers arrive at a new location, they immediately get to work to find out where to eat using the Internet, the concierge or by inquiring to other travelers.

From time to time we’ll see what appears to be a traditional home furnishings shop. 

We live in a “food” orientated society. Our holidays and celebrations consist of big meals with many desserts.  Sporting events appeal to many for the food and drinks that seem to go along the frenzy. A trip to a movie theatre results in a desire for popcorn, candy and drinks. 

Ever go to Las Vegas and not discuss a plan as to where to have the biggest and best buffets, maybe “comped” if one is a serious gambler, or to immediately return to a favorite haunt for a special dish?  Its our nature.

If we go back to the caveman/cavewomen, most likely the first thing they thought about upon wakening, is where and how they’ll get their next meal. In the animal world, we observed both on safari and in living in Marloth Park, that animals lives revolve around the constant hunt or forage for food.

What an interesting door!

Its in our DNA whether its out of the need to feed our bodies or for sheer pleasure. We can’t help but think and talk of our desires for food in various the forms in which we’ve become familiar. A huge part of traveling is the excitement of seeking the new food experiences, the new flavors.

Here we are in Morocco, dealing with my major food restrictions (which I don’t resent at all) and Tom’s picky taste buds, in one  of the “foodie” capitals in the world! Food is a major point of discussion in our lives perhaps in a slightly different manner than for most travelers.

A few decisions have been determined by my recent illness coupled with Tom’s taste buds:
1.  No more dining in Moroccan restaurants
2.  All dining is to be in French, Italian or other suitable international restaurants
3.  When dining in, Madame Zahra will make all meals without the traditional Moroccan spices which at this point, neither of us cares to eat.

Finally, we spotted the green sign at the top of this photo, assuring us at long last, that we were heading in the right direction.

Our lifelong taste preferences can be changed for a few days or even a few weeks. But, none of us, prefer to eat the strong flavors of another culture’s food for months. For example, I love Szechuan Chinese food. Could I eat it everyday for over two months? No. Could one eat foods with Italian spices everyday unless  you were Italian, used to eating those flavors at each meal? No.

Ingrained in all of us, are the tastes most familiar in our lives and from our upbringing. Deviating for a period of time is acceptable but, not so much for the long term.  When Madame Zahra made our meal on Thursday without spices other than salt and pepper, we both moaned in appreciation not only for her fine cooking but for the familiarity of the simple flavors.

With French spoken in Morocco by many of its citizens and the fair number of French restaurants, we’ll have no difficulty finding French restaurants. The bigger problem is, “finding” those in the souk, many of which appear to be tucked away.

The fresh organic produce offered for sale at Le Jardin.

Yesterday, we decided to do a “repeat” and go back to Le Jardin, a French restaurant offering a combination of Moroccan and French influenced options. Having dined there recently, greatly enjoying the food and the ambiance, we decided to return. 

The first time we’d dined at Le Jardin, we stumbled across it during one of our many walks through the maze-like souks. We thought searching and finding it on one of the many online map programs would make returning a breeze. We encountered a few problems. 

They didn’t appear in any of the map programs. The map on their website was confusing and when I tried to call them to email directions, there was no answer. When I tried sending an email to their posted address, it was returned. We were on our own.

Today, we’ll return to the same general area to dine at this French restaurant we stumbled across when looking for Le Jardin.

Tom has the best sense of direction of anyone I’ve ever known. When we left there weeks ago, he had no trouble finding our way back to our home. Time having passed with many outings in the souks, he wasn’t 100% certain as to the course to take.

Needless to say, we wandered around the souks for 45 minutes until we found Le Jardin. We’ve discovered it makes no sense to ask shop workers for directions.  Invariably, the salesperson drags us inside their shop or to another shop, hoping we’ll make purchases.  We’ve learned that we must figure it out on our own. I suppose the shop workers have grown tired of giving directions to confused tourists.

Yesterday, we had another excellent meal while enjoying the birds and turtles roaming freely in the courtyard.  Hence, a few of today’s photos.

Here is one of the two resident turtles at Le Jardin. The staff carefully maneuvers past them when serving guests. It was hard to believe how fast these turtles move. They moved so quickly that I had a hard time taking the photo.  he turtles are on a constant “crumb patrol” mission.

Today, we’ll venture out again to a French restaurant we found along the way yesterday. Again, the souk will be packed with tourists especially as Spring Break becomes relevant in many parts of the world. However, we’ve yet had to wait for a table at any dining establishment.

At Le Jardin we were given two larger maps that hopefully will assist us in the future. The hostess, speaking excellent English, explained that tourists have trouble finding their restaurant which is tucked away at an unexpected location.

Madame Zahra made us this Moroccan spice-free meal which wasn’t bland at all with her use of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. From left to right, starting at the bread for Tom; sautéed carrots,  chips (fries) for Tom, egg battered sautéed cauliflower (my favorite), sautéed fresh green beans and fried mashed potato puffs for Tom. In the center is the rooftop grilled chicken with both white and dark meat which works well for us; Tom likes the white meat while I prefer the dark. As always, there is more food than we can eat. But, homemade Moroccan cooking consists of many items. 

In two days, on Monday, we’ll go out on a day of sightseeing which we both anticipate with enthusiasm, ending the day at a new-to-us, upscale French restaurant. See… even sightseeing is laced with concerns about FOOD.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?…

Mongoose eating shrimp shells. They loved them, perhaps reminding them of eating crunchy scorpions.

Last night, as I stepped out of the car when arriving back at our house, from a delightful dinner at Jabula with Kathy and Don, I stepped in an anthill, or better yet, a termite hill, several of which surround the area of the carport and the garden. Over these past nine months, since we arrived in Marloth Park, Vusi and Zef have knocked them down, only to have them “grow” back within days.

Removing termite mounds is a pointless task, nor does it cause any issues in the house when there is no wood on the premises, only cement. We don’t get termites in the house. But, last night, when I accidentally stepped on the home of thousands of termites, I found myself feeling disappointed in myself for destroying a part of their home that now they must rebuild.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

This morning, when I sat with Tom at the table on the veranda, sipping my coffee, one of our usual bands of mongooses arrived, chirping their funny little sounds, wondering what’s for breakfast. I ran into the house and grabbed two bags from last night’s dinner, one with bones from Tom’s rib dinner and the other with prawn shells left from Kathy and Don’s meals.

Kathy didn’t keep the shells, but now I will encourage her to do so since she and Don always have the prawns at Jabula and get several mongoose bands in their back garden None of us knew mongoose would love shrimp shells and the attached stringy legs. It was fun to watch them squeal and squeak over them when we placed them on the ground, grabbing one at a time and running off into the bush to eat in privacy. It’s funny.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

This morning I went through the house, looking for any items sitting out over the winter months that may attract insects. It could be a flavored tube of lipstick, a moist rag left on the counter to dry, or a tiny bit of spilled sugar left when I made Tom’s blueberry muffins yesterday morning. It could be a morsel of food that missed the garbage can when I’ve been busy preparing food.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

I’ve begun to think about packing and going through the clothing I may decide to toss before we leave here in 39 days. We’ll leave several items behind with Louise to store for our return, 14 months later. But the question becomes, which clothes require washing again when they’ll sit for several months unattended in a large plastic tote? Will they be a breeding ground for spiders, snakes, or other creepy crawlers while we’re away?

Broken Horn stops by at least two times a day, checking out what’s on the menu.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

We never leave a dirty dish in the sink overnight. If we did, we’d awaken to find some nasty-looking critters in the sink or on the countertops. Any spills on the floor must be cleaned up immediately, or within an hour, the crumbs or fragments of food may be covered in ants. Where do they get inside? It’s hard to say.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

I just heard a fly buzzing around my head while I was inside the house. How did it get inside? My task for today will be to find that fly and escort it outside by quickly opening a window. They most likely enter from the veranda door that doesn’t close appropriately unless we lock it, which is annoying considering how much we go in and out all day and evening. We try to avoid using insect spray any more than necessary.

We keep most windows closed, day and night, in winter and summer, to avoid insects entering the house. It’s not that we’re afraid of them. They can keep us awake at night, buzzing about our heads and the bedroom. Who needs insect bites? I’ve had my share.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

Such thoughts as these only enter my mind while we’re in Africa. When we arrive in the US once again, none of the above will be a consideration. There will be no termite mounds to navigate, no mongoose to feed, no insects to keep at bay, and no repellent to apply to all exposed skin three times a day, including bedtime.  We’ll be able to throw open the windows and screen doors without giving it a thought.

“It’s not easy taking a nap with my tusks in the way!” says The Imposter.

This is Africa. Those who choose to come to the continent are fully aware of the risks, the challenges, and the unusual occurrences perhaps not found in their home country. Amid all of these minor inconveniences, we’re returning in December 2022, during the busy Christmas season, in the heat of summer, when temperatures may rise to 45C, 113F, when snakes are prolific, and insects and creepy crawlers are a normal part of each day. Are we nuts? No, we love the bush.

Yes, we love the bush.

Be well, everyone!

Photo from one year ago today, September 12, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #173. Hesborn, our houseman in Kenya in 2013, stopped by Wednesday morning after a whole night of rain, showed us this carnivorous, stinging, dangerous creature with less than 100 legs yet is still referred to as a centipede. He warned us not to walk in the grass after rain. These not only walk but also are known to climb up bedposts. A sting from this ugly creature will require a trip to an emergency room. For more photos, please click here.

Las Vegas is unlike anywhere else in the world…What a city!…What a nightlife!…

It’s such fun to be staying at the beautiful Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa in Henderson, Nevada, located across a highway from son Richard’s gated community. The lights, the luxury, the glamour, and the food are always over-the-top in this sparkling city of lights and addictive pleasures. Thank goodness, we don’t gamble. We both gave up giving money to casinos many moons ago.

We are thrilled with our lovely, well-appointed hotel room.

But, getting here yesterday was quite a challenge. We didn’t get to our hotel room until 1:00 am this morning, which was 3:00 am, based on Minnesota time. We were both anxious to get a good night’s sleep but awoke at our usual early time, close to 6:00 am. After less than  5 hours of sleep, we are surprised how energized we feel today.

There was ample space to open our bags and avoid unpacking which we preferred. We’ve become quite good at living out of a suitcase.

Not only will it be wonderful to see son Richard and his GF, but we’ll be able to pick up our mail with many items we’d purchased from Amazon, to refill our supplies, including two pairs of shoes and a few clothing items for me. Tomorrow, after uploading the day’s post, we’ll head to North Las Vegas to our mailing service to collect the many valuable items, including our new camera.

Unusual-looking cakes on display in the casino.

Of course, we’ll have to repack our bags to make everything fit, but Tom included one of our newer empty duffel bags in his suitcase that we’d purchased to go on the later canceled trip to Kenya months ago (due to Covid-19 lockdown) that required cloth duffel bags for the small airplane.

Taste-tempting treats for sale at the Lucky Penny Restaurant.

Yesterday’s trip from Milwaukee back to Minneapolis was a traffic nightmare. Our flight, scheduled for 9:20 pm (Minnesota time), seemed like a shoo-in when we left Sister Beth in the morning after our second visit, headed back to our hotel to pack, and we were on the road by 1:00 pm after requesting a late check-out.

Tom’s colossal ham steak, eggs, and hash browns breakfast. I gave him my fruit.

Traffic from Wisconsin to Minnesota on I-94 was at a standstill on several occasions.  We barely made it to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport within the required two hours. Once at the airport, check-in queues and baggage processing were long and slow, when curbside SkyCap check-in was no longer available due to Covid.

My breakfast of flourless egg-white wraps containing chicken, avocado, and cheese, topped with pickled onions. Delicious!

Going through security took another 25 minutes. Since I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, we’d hoped to eat at the airport. Many of the usual restaurants were closed due to Covid with lack of support staff. Buffalo Wild Wings was the only restaurant suitable for my eating, which had a long queue and was completed 40 minutes later.

As we entered the casino…

It was rush, rush, rush. We made it to our gate on time to find the Delta flight overbooked with offers of $500 gift cards for passengers willing to forfeit their seats. That wasn’t for us. We weren’t in the mood to wait for almost four hours for the next flight.

Due to touchless gambling, machines such as this don’t accept cash instead of using only pre-purchased cards.

But, the absolute chaos began in Las Vegas when we waited in a line of hundreds of people to take the shuttle to the car rental facility a few miles from the airport. It took another hour to be processed at Budget Car Rental, pushing our bags around when there were no luggage trolleys nearby. We never liked Las Vegas McCarran Airport for these and more reasons. From the time we landed until we reached our nearby hotel (10 minutes from the airport),  2½ had passed. Ridiculous.

Casinos are a playground for adults with every imaginable game of chance.

This morning, we bolted out of bed with a new attitude, showered and dressed in our lovely upscale hotel room, and headed to breakfast at the hotel’s casual restaurant, the Lucky Penny. Photos shown here today are delicious breakfast meals that convinced us that we don’t need to go any further for breakfast over the next few mornings until we leave for South Africa on Saturday.

Waterfalls are built into the walls of a restaurant.

This morning, “I got a text!” (as they say on Love Island, a goofy matchmaking series we’ve watched on a few occasions) from Richard to meet them for dinner at the Claim Jumper restaurant only two miles from here. We’re both looking forward to seeing them, after 20 months since the last time we were here, arriving on Thanksgiving afternoon when we later had Thanksgiving dinner with Richard at the same restaurant where we dined this morning, formerly called the Grand Cafe. Quite nice.

Enjoy our fun Las Vegas-type photos, and we’ll be back with more as the week progresses.

Have a fantastic Monday, everyone!

Photo from one year ago today, July 18, 2020:

One year ago today, I’d posted this photo on this date, which was day #117 in lockdown in Mumbai, India. Here’s what I’d purchased from a local vegetable truck in Boveglio, Italy, in  2013, for a total of Euro $4.09, US $5.33. Prices were better at the grocery store, but the freshness and convenience made it worth paying more. For more, please click here.

A 44-year ago memory…Great food and ambiance…

Our waiter took the family photo.

We had a fantastic time at Maynard’s in Excelsior on Lake Minnetonka last night with our son Greg’s family as we celebrated Camille’s birthday. The three grandchildren were there, and we all sat at a big round table for seven which allowed for easy conversation and laughter.

As was always typical for Maynard’s, the food was great, and the conversations all around were delightful. A few days earlier, Greg and I recalled July 4, 1977, when he and my other son Richard and I took out our first boat on Lake Minnetonka for the holiday experience.

It was fun to be here to celebrate Camille’s birthday with her complimentary ice cream sundae.

It was the first time I’d driven a boat, and the three of us took off from our boat slip in St. Alban’s Bay early in the morning with a plan to make our way across the vast lake, in and out of many bays, to end up at my friend Lynda’s lake house for a 4th of July party.

Our first foray with the boat on the lake that day was to make it the short distance from our slip at the marina to Maynard’s, then called T. Butcherblock’s, so the kids could feed the ducks. It was no later than 9:00 am. Once we arrived at T. Butcherblock’s docks, I somehow managed to dock the boat without banging into the wooden posts and then securely tied it down.

Tom, Miles, and Madighan are at the table.

We went inside the restaurant to ask for some stale bread for the ducks that typically swam around the dock, hoping that boaters and diners would toss some food their way. The restaurant staff gave us a bag of old bread, and we meandered back out to the dock to feed the ducks.

My boys, Richard and Greg, then ten and almost eight years old, were thrilled to feed the ducks but not too confident about going back out on the huge lake with their mother, an inexperienced boat driver at the time. I was 29 years old.

Maisie’s Asian salad.

Although I dinged the prop in shallow water, shortly after leaving T. Butcherblock’s, we somehow made it to Lynda’s house hours later, albeit slowly with the damaged support. Once at her house, I arranged to have the prop repaired, and we were soon able to get back out on the lake a few days later. It all worked out, and in those first few days, I learned a lot about boating.

Over the years, I became an experienced boater, upgrading to larger boats as the years passed. My kids spent many summers on the lake with me driving and gained confidence with my skills in time. It was an enjoyable time in our lives.

Tom’s walleye fish and chips. The walleye is a popular fish in the midwest.

Yesterday, being at Maynard’s brought back many memories, especially when Greg recalled that date, 44 years ago, and brought along a bag of stale bread for his kids and us to feed the ducks. After our enjoyable dinner indoors, we headed outside on the pier, packed with partygoers, boaters, and diners to make our way to the water, where numerous ducks and giant carp were awaiting our offerings.

At this point in my life, I wouldn’t normally condone feeding bread to fish and fowl. But, the family tradition was being relived not only for our grandchildren but also for Greg and me. Later, I sent Richard a text to tell him what we’d done, but “tongue in cheek,” he commented, “That wasn’t me.” I reminded him that, indeed, it was him as well. My sons are now 54 and almost 52 years old.

My Cobb salad.

Oh, my gosh…44 years ago. It seems like yesterday. I found myself saying this over and again, “I can’t believe it was 44 years ago!” After we were all done at the dock, we headed back through the restaurant and out the door to the parking lot, where we all hugged goodbye until we saw them again on Thursday evening, our last time together before we departed for Milwaukee and then on to Las Vegas.

Greg, Camille, the kids, and I will all go to the movies together on Thursday evening to see Black Widow. We will have to split up again to say our goodbyes. Tom will return to his sister’s Mary’s home for the usual Thursday night barbecue and catch up with me later in the evening.

Maisie sat next to me as we chatted endlessly.

Today, we made arrangements to see Sister Beth at the nursing home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Saturday and Sunday, after which we’ll head back to Minneapolis, directly to the airport for our flight to Las Vegas, Nevada, to see Richard. We’ll spend five days in Henderson, Nevada, and then on July 24th, we’ll begin the long trek back to South Africa.

As we fed the ducks, huge carp joined in on the action.

May your day be filled with pleasant experiences.

Photo from one year ago today, July 14, 2020:

Gina, our property manager in Madeira, Portugal, explained that the number of cloudy days we’d experienced while there in 2014 was unusual. For more photos, please click here.

Food and shopping in the USA…

Photo from the Big Island in Hawaii in December 2014 as the sun came up.

We don’t have food photos to share. When we’ve been dining out, the last thought on our minds is to take photos since most of which we’ve ordered is not considered “fine dining” as we’ve opted for standard American fare, not necessarily photo-inspiring meals.

I must admit that being here in the US sets my mind away from the search for good photos and no doubt has had an impact on my creativity when posting each day. Right now, I don’t feel like a world traveler. I feel like a mom, a grandmother, a mother-in-law, a sister-in-law, a stepmom, and a friend.

With no interest in cooking, although we have a fully equipped kitchen in our resident-type hotel room, we’ve eaten most meals sitting in a restaurant, eating takeaway in our room, or on a few occasions, in the homes of family members. I am confident this will continue for the remainder of our time in Minnesota, now only over the next five days when we head to Wisconsin.

From there, we’ll be dining out for all meals or perhaps ordering a few carry-out meals. In Milwaukee and Nevada, we won’t have a kitchen as we do here, which ultimately proved to be less important to us other than for chilling our iced tea, making ice, and keeping cheese for snacks.

Later that morning from the lanai.

While in the US, I’ve lightened up a little on my eating less protein and consuming lots of salads. It doesn’t seem to have impacted me one way or another. But, once we return to South Africa, we’ll both resume our usual way of eating.

Tom has been enjoying many of his old favorites, and I’ve kept my mouth shut. He eats doughnuts, candy, fried foods, and bread. He’s gone through bags of jelly candies (not gummy) and many plastic containers of old-fashioned cake donuts, his favorites which are never available in Africa or in many locations we’ve traveled.

Yes, he’ll gain a few pounds (kg) but will undoubtedly lose it once we return to Marloth Park. I have gained a few pounds just from eating out every day, not certain about the ingredients in the meals I’m consuming. I’m none the worse for the wear and will also lose it once we get back to our lives in the bush.

We’re certainly not as active as we’d been in the bush, jumping up and down every few minutes to feed the wildlife and doing a variety of tasks around the house each day. Here, we sit on the bed or small sofa in our hotel room, our only task being laundry every few days and walking here and there.

We are located in a bustling area with lots of traffic. Walking is not appealing to us in this location. With the post to do each day, planning and scheduling get-togethers with family and friends, neither of us feel motivated to do much else. I can’t believe how lazy I feel here.

The much-anticipated whale fluke, as seen from the lanai.

We’ve done quite a bit of shopping, more online than in stores. Although, it’s been fun to go to Target, Walgreens, and the Eden Prairie Mall across the street from our hotel. We even went to Best Buy to purchase a much-needed new cord for Tom’s laptop. It’s been just like old times, going out shopping and dining.

Today, at 5:15, I will meet up with Camille, Maisie, and Madighan at the pier on Lake Minnetonka. We are going out on Al & Alma’s dinner cruise, which I haven’t done since the 1970s. That will certainly bring back many memories of a life long ago when my two boys were young and I was in my 20s.

Tom is meeting up with daughter Tammy for dinner, which I would have attended. But, tickets were purchased and set for the dinner cruise on the lake at the same time. We had no choice but to split up and spend the evening with our respective family members. I hope to finally see Tammy at some point over the next week before we depart for Wisconsin on Friday.

Tonight, President Cyril Ramphosa will conduct another “family meeting” about Covid-19 and its impact on South Africa. We are concerned about our ability to re-enter South Africa on our flights as planned, departing two weeks from yesterday on July 24th.

May your Sunday be restful and fulfilling.

Photo from one year ago today, July 11, 2020:

The natural bond between mom koala bears and their offspring is always precious to observe, as we did in Australia in 2015. We were allowed inside the pen for an up-close and personal experience. For more photos posted one year ago, please click here.

Tom’s vaccine registration went through…Mine did not…Good food, striving for good health…

Such cute little creatures who manage to kill venomous snakes.

After using Louise‘s phone number yesterday to re-register Tom and me for the Covid-19 vaccine in South Africa, Louise received a confirmation for Tom’s registration. However, she did not receive one for me. When 24 hours soon pass, once again, I will re-register.

We won’t be getting the vaccine on the same date and time, or even the exact locations, which I expect has been the case for couples worldwide. We anticipate the jabs will transpire in Komatipoort or Malalane, the closest two cities to Marloth Park. We’ll see how and when this rolls out.

Mongoose clamoring for the raw scrambled eggs in the pan.

I’ve communicated with friends Linda and Ken in Johannesburg, who also signed up the day after we did. They have already re-registered once and may have to do so again when neither has received the confirmation text to their South Africa phone numbers. Go figure.

Today is another glorious day, comfortable without clouds or humidity. When I was up and dressed, I began cooking a few things: a large egg and cheese sausage casserole, an excellent staple for us when hunger hits, and the other part of my dinner tonight, liver.

Mongoose lined up eating from the pan of eggs.

Tom will have pork chops on the braai, which I am not a big fan of, but he enjoys. Of course, he would never consider trying liver when the smell alone makes him cringe. It’s not unusual for us to eat different protein sources at any given meal. He loves having white rice with each dinner, but rice doesn’t work for me due to the high carb count. Most likely, I’ll have a slice of the egg casserole with the liver, an excellent combination.

I don’t miss eating vegetables at all when my blood pressure and blood sugar numbers are normal  (without medication) for the first time in 30 years, and my years-long stomach ache is gone. Who knew this would happen? I never expected vegetables to be an issue for me. But, everyone is different, and what has worked for me may not work for others.

After they finish the eggs, they stare at us, wanting more.

It’s odd, but I don’t enjoy cooking as much as I did in years past. The sooner I can get out of the kitchen, the better. In the past, I could spend several hours a day chopping and dicing and preparing entrees and side dishes, Now, with our new way of eating since we arrived in South Africa over three months ago, the most time I have ever spent in the kitchen is no more than 30 minutes, and yet, we’re thoroughly our meals.

At most, we eat two meals a day, but more often only one. Lately, Tom’s been having a slice of the egg casserole in the morning, but I’m rarely hungry until at least 18 to 20 hours since my last meal when I may have something to hold me until dinner.

Warthog males often groom one another, even when they aren’t specifically “friends.”

A few days ago, when Louise headed to Nelspruit to shop, she picked up eight packages of delicious trout salmon for me. They are 200 grams, 7 ounces, and I’ve been capping off my dinner with a 100 gram, 3½ ounce serving with a dollop of cream cheese. It’s almost as good as a dessert.

While in India all those months, we lost our taste for sweets, and no longer do I bake low-carb desserts, bread, or muffins. In each of these cases, the carb count was too high to maintain normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels. If either of us craves something after dinner, a few slices of quality cheese will do the trick.

We call him “Medium Daddy,” not quite a Big Daddy yet.

We both feel better, our weight is easily controlled without effort, and we’re still able to enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail at our leisure. Of course, I only drink small amounts of low sugar/low alcohol red wine, and Tom has his brandy with Sprite Zero.

I am still working out on the rented treadmill but have now changed my routine to HIIT (high-intensity interval training) every three days instead of just fast walking on the treadmill. I hesitated to do my old familiar HIIT workout since I had heart surgery over two years ago.

This hornbill stopped by for some seeds but didn’t stay long.

I don’t experience feeling light-headed, out of breath, or any pain or discomfort during or after the workout. But my fitness level is such that I feel comfortable working out this way again. I continue to monitor my heart rate in the process, using the following as a guide for my maximum heart rate. My resting heart rate is 58, blood pressure is usually around 110/68, without medication.

As for today, we’re engaged with all of our visitors. We just gave a pan of raw scrambled eggs to about 40 mongooses, endless pellets to visiting warthogs, kudus, bushbucks, and of course, fresh water in a bit of container and seeds for Frank and The Misses who stop by several times a day. Life in the bush is excellent!

Photo from one year ago today, April 18, 2020:

Closeup of a hippo’s face. Charming. Be well. For more photos from the year-ago post, please click here.

Travel Tips for Wildlife Photographers around the World….

Maasai Mara in Kenya
How did we get so close, so lucky to get this shot?  We ended up calling it “safari luck” when we saw the Big Five in the first 10 hours on safari. The photo was taken in the Maasai Mara in Kenya.

Note: Today’s lengthy post is #4 of 5 required for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Today’s post is not intended to be a photographic instruction piece. Your equipment isn’t a point of discussion for our purposes here. Also, I will preface that I am not a photographic expert by any means. Preparing 3000 posts over these past years has been our primary focus. As much as we’ve loved sharing our photos, becoming experts in photo-taking wasn’t a goal of ours. Others may say it should have been.

Sure, excellent photography skills would have been an asset. Somehow, my interest in acquiring those skills has not been at the forefront of my mind. But, our worldwide journey has been wrapped around our goal of doing and being whoever we chose to be, at any given time, as we’ve scoured the world, not necessarily doing and being what is expected of us. We are merely typical travelers, who happen to hold a camera in our hands, excited to share what we see through our eyes, not a perfect, perhaps edited version of what treasures we behold.

More so, our somewhat simple goal has been to share with our family/readers/friends inspirations that which we’ve gleaned from our eight years of non-stop world travel (barring the over six months we’ve been stuck in a hotel room in Mumbai, India, while in lockdown, due to COVID-19). Thus, our topic of travel tips for wildlife photographers around the world is more about the “where,” the “what,” and the “when” to take photos of wildlife, as opposed to the instructive mode of “how.”

older elephant resting his trunk on his tusk
In most cases, we were within 25 feet of any of the animals in our photos. Notice this older elephant resting his trunk on his tusk. Our guide assumed this old male to be around 60 years old, close to his life expectancy. The photo was taken in the Maasai Mara in Kenya.

Undoubtedly, some of today’s travel tips for wildlife photographers worldwide will include a portion of the “how” when positioning yourself and your subject for the ideal shot, not necessarily the perfect image. It may be a shot that bespeaks your passion, as it has with us, for animals in the wild and then those that may not be in the wild, which are equally fascinating and photo-worthy.

Why write travel tips for wildlife photographers around the world?…

Unable to take photos these past many months, we’d decided early on in this confinement to take advantage of the thousands of photos we’ve posted throughout the past eight years and share them once again. This provided us with fodder for our daily uploads while fulfilling the expectation of our years-long readers throughout the world. Only early in our journey in 2012, we failed to post photos when we had virtually no experience in using a camera and little interest in learning to do so.

Over the years, we bought a few upgrades from the first purchase we made while at a port of call on our first cruise at a Walmart store in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. . No more than a few days into our journey, we realized, a few shots here and there, taken using our phones, weren’t going to be sufficient. We purchased a small-sized Samsung point and shoot when I thought it was kind of “cute” since the exterior was pink. Oh, good grief! We had no clue how to use it!

Oxpeckers can dig into the flesh of animals to extract parasites
Oxpeckers can dig into the flesh of animals to extract parasites, ticks, and other insects that may burrow under their skin, as is the case of this kudu. Sadly once the insect is extracted, the oxpecker may continue to peck at the injured site, making matters worse. The photo was taken in Marloth Park, South Africa.

Had other world travelers written such a post describing travel tips for wildlife photographers worldwide, we may have checked it out. But, in 2012, there were few people online doing what we have been doing; traveling the world for years to come, without a home, without storage, with only the items in our then overweight luggage (we’ve since improved that scenario), intent on finding appropriate wildlife subjects in most countries in their itinerary.

Had we discovered such a site that emphatically stated we had to learn all the camera features and how to use them, I may have looked the other way, Tom included. Comparable to our lack of interest in bungee jumping, learning the nuances of a camera wasn’t in our wheelhouse. We just weren’t interested.

So, today, for the first time in almost 3000 posts, which we’ll achieve in less than 30 days (within two days of our eighth travel anniversary), we’ll be delighted to share what we’ve learned for the where the what. The when of taking photos that may not be perfect, but will hopefully fill your hearts with blissful memories of places you’ve been and wildlife you’ve been blessed to see and experience, both in the wild and elsewhere.

wildlife photographers around the world
Finding the rarely seen Colobus Monkey put me on a photo-taking frenzy. The photo was taken in Diani Beach, Kenya.

The “where” of travel tips for wildlife photographers around the world?

It’s been these very photos that prompted us to write travel tips for wildlife photographers around the world, that may include the more experienced photographer and also those who, like us at one point, could barely figure out how to use the flash or the zoom, let alone more complicated settings.

When we decided to travel the world early in 2012, we were ready to go ten months later, having sold every worldly possession while booking two years into the future to provide us with peace of mind in knowing we had a place to live wherever we traveled. In the process, we kept in mind our preferences regarding the type of life we wanted to live, the type of property we wanted to live in, and the surroundings we craved.

wildlife photographer in Kruger National Park, South Africa
We waited patiently, and mom stood while the baby sat up on their hind end, nose touching mom. The photo was taken in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

What appealed most to our tastes and desires were a few vital factors:

  1. Beautiful surroundings and scenery, when possible
  2. An abundance of nature within easy reach
  3. Access to experiencing wildlife and other animals daily, if possible
    wildlife photographer in Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii
    This Laysan Albatross parent and chick sit close to one another until the chick becomes more confident and the parents feel more at ease. In time, the chick will be left behind on its own to fledge, most likely five to six months later. At five years of age, they will return with a mate and begin the life cycle all over again. The photo was taken in Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii.

Utmost in our travels, access to wildlife became more and more important to us as time continued. We’d seen all the historic buildings, churches, and structures, to satisfy a lifetime. We’d dined in excellent restaurants befitting my way of eating. We shopped in unique local markets, adapting to available foods and resources. We experienced the nuances of cultural differences from what we’d known in our old lives and met countless people everywhere we traveled.

But, as far as travel tips for wildlife photographers worldwide, where one chooses to go is of the utmost importance. In Dubai, we were disappointed with little wildlife, other than camels, available for photo-taking, as well as in Morocco. We went wild with delight over the vast array of birds in Costa Rica. We loved shepherding sheep on a farm in England. And, we giggled at a pig farm in Tasmania, Australia.

wildlife photographer in New Plymouth New Zealand
Alpacas are excellent photo subjects. The photo was taken on an alpaca farm in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

In Madeira, Portugal, we saw dolphins and whales while on a catamaran tour out to sea. In Hawaii, the birds, whales, and other sea creatures were in abundance. In Antarctica, we were in heaven with the sheer numbers of penguins, killer whales, elephant seals, and birds, let alone the scenery beyond our wildest dreams.

It all boils down to what you’d like to accomplish in your travels. If wildlife is your top priority, it’s essential to research to determine if the location you’re hoping to visit has an abundance of wildlife. Many countries we’d assumed would be rife with wild animals were not necessarily the case when the only means of taking photos of very elusive animals was while on a planned safari.

No doubt, we’ve been on safari no less than 100 times over the past years; some guided tours, some with a private guide, and many of our own as “self-drives” through national parks. In each of these cases, one must be prepared to be patient and accept the reality that, at times, you may not be able to take a single photo of the more elusive animals and only see the usual plentiful antelopes and birds.

wildlife photographer in the Maasai Mara in Kenya
The photo was taken in the Maasai Mara in Kenya. We were in a Toyota Land Cruiser with open sides, 25 feet from the lion. Much to our surprise, we never felt frightened or at risk at close range to any of these giant animals, including this massive male lion who gave us a great show. In the background, in the carcass of a zebra, this lion savored for lunch.

For birdwatching enthusiasts, almost every country has a plethora of birds presenting countless photo ops. Taking photos of birds in flight requires superior camera skills, which not every amateur photographer possesses, as has been the case in most scenarios. However, some of our favorite photos are of the Laysan Albatross in Kauai, Hawaii, and of course, in the millions of penguins in Antarctica, a photographer’s dream come true.

In researching possible destinations, essential travel tips for wildlife photographers worldwide determine how critical multitudes in photos are to you or if a select number will satisfy your needs and curiosity. With our daily posts taking tens of thousands of images each year, the numbers of decent shots are essential. For the average traveler, returning home with 100 good photos may be fulfilling. It’s essential to decide where you are on the spectrum.

The “what” of travel tips for wildlife photographers around the world?

Amid all the decisions in deciding on locations, one must define what is most vital for you to see and photograph. If lions are at the top of your list, Africa is, by far, the most suitable continent to visit, especially if you choose to stay for a while. But, not every country in Africa is safe to see, nor is there an abundance of lions easily accessed in some countries in Africa.

wildlife photographer in Atenas, Costa Rica
Tom’s photo. What a shot of the classic “Froot Loops” cereal (per Tom) Toucan, technically known as the Rainbow-billed Toucan, aka the Keel-billed Toucan. The photo was taken in Atenas, Costa Rica.

We chose Kenya and South Africa as one of our many goals in seeing lions. We were never disappointed in each of these countries. When it came to tigers, we knew India was our best option. There are 13 countries where tigers may be spotted, but for us, India proved to have the best opportunities to encounter them in the wild.

We should mention that animals in zoos and wildlife facilities do not fulfill our objectives. If that were the case, one could visit a zoo in their hometown or home country. The wild aspect has been a top priority for us when we have distinct opinions we won’t share here today about wild animals locked in cages or small enclosures.

That’s not to say, many rehabilitation centers throughout the world may have excellent open spaces for wildlife with the intent of eventually releasing them back into the wild when possible. We have visited many of these, some of which we’ve found rewarding, providing excellent photo ops as shown in our past posts.

wildlife photographer in Kruger National Park
Impalas have exquisite markings on their faces and bodies. The photo was taken in Kruger National Park.

We’d never have seen a Tasmanian Devil in Tasmania if we hadn’t visited a rehab center, other than the sad roadkill we observed in the mornings. We’ve yet to see one of the more elusive nocturnal animals in the wild, the endangered pangolin. Hopefully, someday we’ll have that opportunity.

Each traveler(s) must decide for themselves, “the what” is most befitting their goals and objectives when returning home, or in continuing on a year’s long journey such as ours with a litany of photos exciting and memorable to savor over the years to come.

The “when” of travel tips for wildlife photographers around the world…

There are three important questions one may ask themselves regarding the “when” of taking photos of wildlife. For most, they include:

  1. When is the best time in life to embark on such a journey? Only each individual, couple, or family can make that determination based on specific lifestyle, travel budget, work constraints, and worthy of mention, general health. It’s important to note that embarking on a safari for hours at a time on bumpy dirt roads with potholes with surprising fast turns could be difficult for some. Also, climbing in and out of the jeep-type vehicles may be highly challenging for those with certain physical conditions, advanced age, or lack of mobility. This is not an experience for those who could become distressed during a “rough and tumble” experience. Also, individuals with severe back or neck problems could find a safari unbearable. If time is limited, the experience may equally be little. Many choose a one or two-day safari as part of a more extensive trip and find themselves disappointed, unable to see and take photos of some of their personal favorites.
  2. When is the best time of the year to see and photograph wildlife? This varies by the area of each country you choose to visit. Research is imperative to determine the best seasons for viewing wildlife. Most often, the best seasons are during the heat of the hottest time of the year. Often rainy seasons are less desirable. This is important to know if you are sensitive to the thought of sitting in an open-air vehicle while on safari. However, many safari companies have enclosed air-conditioned cars that may be more suitable for those individuals, although taking photos will be restricted in such vehicles. Suppose you’re interested in the Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania. In that case, that eventful experience only occurs in the fall months. It must be timed perfectly to witness the five million animals traversing the Serengeti and the Mara River over and over again. Here again, research is imperative.
  3. When is the best time to snap the shot to acquire the best possible photo? When it comes to taking pictures of wildlife, timing is everything. This has been an area we both feel we have found most rewarding, as our skills increased over the years. Patience and perseverance are the keys to this aspect. At times, we’ve sat still quietly for 20 or 30 minutes to acquire the best photo. Also, knowing when to click the shutter is vital for the best possible photo of your chosen subject.
    the pellet crumbs on the nose of this adorable bushbuck
    Notice the pellet crumbs on the nose of this adorable bushbuck. The photo was taken in Marloth Park, South Africa.

In conclusion…

Many of our photos posted here today will illustrate, in part, our use of travel tips for wildlife photographers around the world. They aren’t perfect, but for us, they have fulfilled our desire to create a memory that will easily endure through our lifetime and for those that follow us, for theirs.

If, as a photographer, you’ve been able to learn and develop comprehensive photographic skills, it will only add to your pleasure and fulfillment. Perhaps, in time we may choose to fine-tune our skills. Still, for now, the spontaneous and heartfelt representations of those animals we’ve discovered in the wild, on farms, and in rescue facilities have provided us both with precisely that which we hoped to achieve as we traveled the world over the past eight years.

________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, October 7, 2019:

ocean in Torquay, Devon
It was wonderful to see the ocean once again in Torquay, Devon. For more photos, please click here.
Day #167 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Lots of commotion around here today…

Day #167 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Lots of commotion around here today…

The first day we met Nancy, one of the daytime support staff at our guarded gate. She was so sweet, holding my hand the entire time we chatted with her. She kindly took the photo of Tom and me. We love being able to talk to the locals.

Today’s photos are from our first stay in Africa in Diani Beach, Kenya, in 2013. For more photos, please click here.

When I commenced my first walk of the day, I found that a huge section of the corridor was roped off by one of the three elevators (lifts). I walked up to that point, curious as to why it was roped off. It took me seven times up and back from that point to our door to walk ½ the distance I usually walk each hour.

There we were at last,  in Kenya, Africa, hot and sweaty as we embarked on our first walk outside the gated complex, onto the main road, definitely a daytime event only.

Respecting the ropes, I continued back and forth until I completed my first mile (1.6 km) for the day, knowing I had four more such rounds to go to do my usual five miles (8 km). It was more boring than ever. The usual full walk in the corridors is boring enough, returning to our room to await the next hour’s walk.

Thus today, instead of walking non-stop for the entire mile each hour, I’d walk twice an hour for the entire mile, every 30-minutes, setting the timer on my phone as a reminder. This way, I am getting up and moving around more frequently rather than sitting in one position for the hour. Who knows? I might go back to the old way soon enough. But, boredom is dictating that I mix it up as well as increase my hourly mobility.

The dirt road we walked in our gated community.

But, today, the shorter distance made the walk all the more tedious. While walking, a manager dressed in a crisp white shirt, tie, and black suit approached, telling me he’d called our room, but we hadn’t answered. I explained Tom was in the shower while I was out walking.

As we began our walk within the gated complex, we saw and heard many local workers working on the house destroyed by a fire in 2009. Hans, our landlord, told us that insurance companies didn’t pay fair claims for the losses, so many homeowners endured, ultimately paying out of their own pockets for repairs that often took years to complete.

He’d come looking for us to let us know that the area beyond the theater-type red ropes with the brass stands is intended as a marker to prevent us from going further into the corridor. He explained that 20 guests from the outside world, all from various locations in India, would be staying on our floor in the rooms beyond the ropes. All of the hotel’s other floors are booked with guests.

This wall was on our right as we walked along the dirt road within the gated community. Most houses were tucked away behind large stone walls, making it difficult to see the homes in the neighborhood.

As it turns out, these 20 guests will be staying on our floor for five or six nights. I just returned from one of my ten daily walks to see some of those guests arriving, wheeling their bags, all wearing masks. From what I could see from my vantage point, several cleaning staff members were down the corridor, along with several well-masked uniformed sanitization workers carrying stainless steel tanks with sprayers to sanitize the rooms.

A protected entrance to a neighboring home.

Of course, we’ll proceed with caution, but this scenario raises a few concerns, such as how safe will our cleaner be when he arrives to clean our room around 10:40 each morning? And, how safe will our food and room service server be when our food arrives twice a day?

Perhaps, I’m overly cautious, but I keep hearing stories of people we know and family members who’ve exercised the utmost caution and still contracted the virus. We could stay in our room for the next six days and nights, no longer walking the halls, but we haven’t worked this hard to lose some of our stamina from not working out for almost a week.

This statue was in the entryway of the neighboring home.

Also, as of late, I’ve been getting so tired of the dinners, I am considering going to one meal a day, just having breakfast. But, I can’t imagine missing those 30 minutes of dining around 6:00 pm each day. The routine is more important to me than the food. I know I’m eating way too many carbs with the red sauce with my chicken each night. But, without the sauce, the chicken is rubbery and dry.

This massive home was burned out, sold, and yet to be repaired, now almost four years later.

Whew! We sure could go for a big juicy steak on the grill, cooked rare for me and medium rare for Tom. I can’t wait for that first meal, along with a huge salad of fresh greens and other diced vegetables, let alone a glass of dry red wine to savor along with it!  We haven’t had anything but chicken (and occasionally salmon for me) in almost nine months! I haven’t cooked a meal in nearly nine months!

The dense thatched rooftops, typical in Africa, can easily be seen as a fire hazard.
These would never be allowed in the US or many other countries.

I need a salad! (Not safe to eat here!) tonight, I’ll order the salmon, which I do about once a week, but it’s only a tiny portion with cooked vegetables on the side, which doesn’t fill me up.

I wonder what those 20 guests will be eating? The last time they had a group here, a few months ago, they all dined in one of the conference rooms. They were all Indian people, so most likely, they consisted of items we didn’t eat. Tom is still ordering his penne pasta with chicken with a side of roasted potatoes, not a very healthy meal. We’ll worry about that later when once again, we can cook our meals.

Oh, this looks refreshing on the shared property between our holiday rental and the owner’s home. We never used it. We’ll have our private pool in the next house in South Africa, where we’ll be in 3 months.

This article popped up online last night, implying that South Africa may open their borders sooner than we’d thought. Still, that won’t do us any good unless India resumes international flights.

Stay safe and healthy. Please wear a mask and social distance so we all can get out of this predicament!

Photo from one year ago today, September 6, 2019:

This had been our view for the past two weeks in Falmouth, Cornwall, England. This has been an excellent place to stay! For more photos, please click here. (Please excuse incorrect paragraph spacing, which is being resolved).