Final cruise expenses including cruise bill…A few favorite photos…We’re off to Minnesota!…

The colorful video presentation of Le Petit Chef dinner in Qsine was delightful and truly memorable.

Here are the expenses for our 15-night cruise from Southampton, England to Fort Lauderdale, Florida:

Expense US Dollar
Cruise Fare  $ 3,814.30
Airfare – none – drove to
Southampton
 $    –  
Hotel 2 ngts-
Southampton-with discount
 $   187.06
Taxi   $     22.00
Cabin Credit  $ (400.00)
Wi-Fi on ship (inc in fare)  $    –  
Gratuities (inc in fare)  $    –  
Cruise bill for
purchases 
 $   664.59
Total  $ 4,287.95
Avg Daily
Cost – 15 nights
 $    285.86
_______________________________________________________
We’re currently situated in comfy chairs at Fort Lauderdale Airport awaiting our flight to Minneapolis via Detroit with includes a long layover. It appears our outbound flight is delayed on Delta Airlines (not unusual) but luckily our long layover in Detroit won’t cause any time constraints for the next leg of the flight.

Yesterday, we’d prepaid the baggage fee of $140 to avoid delays at the airport. With curbside check-in available getting boarding passes and checking our bags was seamless and we were whisked through immigration and security without incident.

When going through security I asked if I could be frisked as opposed to going through that invasive x-ray machine, explaining I have trouble (which I do) raising my arms over my head since the surgery. No problem. They complied with my request and tested my fingers for explosive materials..
The display left us totally in awe over not only the visuals but also the fine food.
We found electric plug-ins at the chairs at our gate and with the flight delayed we’ll be waiting here for over two hours to board the flight. It will be easy to entertain ourselves while we’re able to be online and plugged in. 

It will be a good time for me to enter the cruise expenses on our spreadsheet so by the time we reach Minnesota, I’ll be free to start accumulating USA related expenses as they occur.

Disembarkation from the ship was slick with no delays whatsoever. The level of organization was spot-on and the lines of over 2200 passengers flowed with ease. 


It was less than 25 minutes from the time we left the ship until we reached the taxi stand and with a wait for a taxi no more than five minutes. With our three 50 pound bags and three carry-on bags, we engaged the services of a porter from the baggage pickup area to the taxi stand. 
Tom never wiped the smile off his face, nor did I. We had a fantastic cruise.
It’s simply too much for us to haul entirely on our own especially since I’m of little help in carrying anything at this point. Then again, Tom always was the “pack mule” as he calls himself and has handled the bags since the onset of our travels.

Sure, we wish we had less stuff but we’ve whittled it down as far as we can considering the varying seasonal clothing we need from location to location throughout the world.  

Many have suggested we buy what we need as we go, leaving it behind when we leave.  Ultimately, that would require too much time shopping and looking to find what we need which is seldom avail considering many of the countries we prefer to visit.  

I couldn’t find a single pair of comfy pajamas in South Africa without driving for five hours. After I had the surgery I borrowed pj’s from our friend Lynne who so kindly provided me with exactly what I needed. 
We had a fabulous night in Murano Specialty Restaurant celebrating our seventh anniversary of world travel aboard the ship.
Thus, we have what we have and although we’ll replace a number of items in the US during this visit, we don’t need much. Moreso, we need new laptops and phones are our top priority.

Speaking of phones, this morning we accidentally left behind Tom’s old phone on the desk in the cabin. He thought I grabbed it and I thought he did. This was unusual for us. We rarely forget anything. 

His new google phone is awaiting him at friend Karen’s home now and my new phone will arrive in about three days. We’ll be fine in the interim. In the next few days, we’ll contact Celebrity and have them mail the phone to our mailing service in Nevada so we can dispose of it properly.

Once we arrive in Minneapolis, we’ll stop at a market for a few items to bring to Karen’s house, mainly food for breakfasts and beverages. It will be wonderful to see her and her significant other and stay at their lovely home.

We’ll back tomorrow with photos and more!

May your day be pleasant!
___________________________________________
Photo from one year ago today, November 8, 2018:
We encountered this stunning scene of zebras and wildebeest from the fence at Marloth Park. One reason zebras and wildebeest hang out together is that zebras love to eat the taller grass and wildebeest the shorter grass – it’s a type of symbiosis. There is no competition regarding food. Also, wildebeests have a better sense of hearing, while zebras can see very well. It’s always great to have an ally to warn of any impending danger. Another reason is zebras and wildebeest prefer to be in the open savannahs…the concept of safety in numbers comes into play. For more, please click here.

Crime in Marloth Park…Sad to hear there’s “trouble in Paradise”…

This morning, we were greeted by four zebras.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

An adorable male bushbuck, a regular visitor, stopped by this morning.

Last night was my first social outing since the coronary bypass surgery four weeks ago.  We had a lovely dinner and evening at Lynne and Mick’s bush home with Kathy, Don, Linda, and Ken. It felt good to get out and we managed to stay until the others decided to call it a night. 

The only discomfort I experienced was my legs which I propped up on our chill box near me at the table. The ride on the bumpy dirt road wasn’t too bad especially since I had a soft pillow to hold close to my chest as we encountered one pothole after another.

They anxiously await pellets but then fight with one another over them.

I’d hoped to take photos but when we arrived it was dark and everyone was already engaged in lively conversation.  Kathy, Don, Linda, and Ken had arrived earlier in the day from a five-day raptor course in Kruger National Park and we all listened intently to their story and adventure.  I didn’t feel like interrupting the flow of the conversation to take photos.  That’s how it goes sometimes.

Lynne and Mick are the most avid “birders” we’ve met and it was fun to hear all of them gushing over the wide array of raptors there are in South Africa.  This truly is a wildlife haven, one of the best in the world. 

A handsome male bushbuck by the cement pond.

Our love of wildlife is a commonality we all share and there’s never a moment’s silence when we all get together and share our stories of various sightings among many other topics of conversation. Each day brings new surprises and sightings for each of us.

For many of us, living in Marloth Park, we often mistake the serene beauty of the park for being a remote and safe location.  But beauty and reverence for wildlife have nothing to do with the unpredictability of humans who perpetrate crimes with little to no regard for human life.

With ample vegetation after many days and nights of soaking rain, the zebras still love pellets.

Each week stats are posted on the Facebook page, entitled “Marloth Park…Friends of Marloth Park” by Nadine, the head of CPF (Community Police Forum).  It was startling to read the post making become more diligent than ever.  Please read the post below:


“Good evening everyone. Apologies for not posting stats last week as I did not attend Polsec meeting as I was in Nelspruit.

Stats from 25 February to 10 March 2019
Raasblaar – Malicious damage by tenants, they were evicted.
Klipspringer – Burglary – TV, Alarm not set.

Swartwitpens – Burglary – TV,


Sekelbos – Murder due to a domestic dispute. Cannot give any more info. Current Serious case 1. Arrest made. Thank you to Field and Securicon Paramedics as well as Saps for all your assistance. To Securicon for your quick response to your client. Much appreciated. The witness and family thank you for all you did to assist.

We also had a fire on the 3rd of March. As there were no injuries or death. Saps do not open the case due to it being Natural Causes. (Lighting)
Burglary on Kudu shed broken into. Goods recovered by Field Security. (Well done)
We would like to warn owners to please lock your possessions away. Join a security company and set your alarm when you are not home. Set your alarm at night when you go to bed.
More cases have been reported to Saps on Sunday but no case numbers as yet.
We sadly had a person pass away from a possible heart attack in Spinnekop on Wednesday. Again we thank Field and Securicon Paramedics for responding so quickly and to Graeme Altenkirk for applying CPR until Paramedics arrived.
To the families that tragically lost loved ones, on behalf of the whole community of Marloth, we are so sorry for your loss and our Sincere Condolences to you.
Many other call outs came over the past week for CPF and Law Enforcement. We were kept very busy with fights, domestic violence, theft by staff. Thank you, team, for the hours you spent running around all times of day and night.
Have a good week all. Be vigilant and report suspicious activity immediately to your security.”

Soon, we’ll be facing yet another holiday period in South Africa beginning on March 18th and ending on April 1st.  It is during these periods that we must be extra diligent in securing our belongings, turning on the alarm system (which we always do) and reporting any suspicious behavior of any tourists or local residents.  


During holiday periods we see fewer animals which have been plentiful these past weeks.  Some, not all, tourists feed the animals, toxic human foods which can be fatal.  Animals digestive systems are unlike humans and foods such as corn, sweets, and chips may cause serious illness or death.  
It’s fun to watch them interact.

Plus, speeding on the paved road, Oliphant, is often responsible for killing a dozen or more animals during any holiday season.  Animals are constantly walking or running across the dirt roads as well.  Safe driving in a must.

We often see (as we’ve mentioned in the past), young children driving cars, trucks and SUV’s while sitting on the parent’s lap in the driver’s seat.  Children’s reflexes aren’t as quick as an adult and they are not qualified or experienced to be driving which is dangerous to both wildlife and humans alike.

We can only hope and pray this upcoming holiday period will be safe.  As we see from the above report, even non-holiday periods pose risks to residents in many ways.


We thank the volunteers such as Nadine, Patty and other of CPF members who donate their time, gas and efforts to ensure safety in the park, along with the security companies who are fastidious in their response to any incidents.

Have a safe day!

_______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 13, 2018:

From Part 2, snake school: When “capturing” the Black Mamba it is imperative to immobilize the head close to the ground and raise the tail.  Tom managed to do this while it was desperately attempting to escape.  The Black Mamba is the fastest snake on the planet.  For more photos, please click here.

The holiday season has begun in Marloth Park….Warnings for holidaymakers with children…

Island life for this cape buffalo with a friend on the river’s edge.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Our resident frog which we mistakenly assumed was a male, in fact, is a female.  In frogs, the male is much smaller than the female.  The male took up residence with her overnight last night. We’ll continue to observe to see what transpires for this mating pair.  She’s been sitting there for months although she took off during the rain last week, returning three nights later.  When we turn on this light fixture at night, the insects are prolific and she sits there darting out her tongue for tasty treats.  We’ll see how it goes tonight with two of them sharing the nighttime opportunities.

We were both up at the crack of dawn, hoping to reach grandson Vincent to wish him a happy birthday. The time difference is 12 hours.  He and his family are in Maui, Hawaii for the holiday season snorkeling, boogie boarding, and scuba diving.


As holidaymakers and activities have ramped up this weekend in Marloth Park, we are seeing a distinct reduction in the number of wildlife visitors and more and more vehicles on the roads.  
The only elephant we spotted on the river this morning with a cattle egret in flight near its trunk.

So far today, we’ve fed a few bushbuck moms and babies.  Perhaps by early evening when the garden is usually filled with a wide array of wildlife, we’ll have more visitors.  But, for now, we’re on our own.


We took off in the red car around 8:00 am to drive around the park.  We encountered many vehicles but few animals other than those we’ve shown here today with fewer sightings on the Crocodile River than usual.

A pair of male ostriches wandering through the bush this morning.

On Facebook, this morning and we noticed this warning about children in the park written by a conscientious and dedicated ranger:


Good morning everyone.
Please warn all your guests to not leave small children to explore the bush without an adult. We do have a lot of snakes out and about at the moment. 


There was also an incident this morning with 2 small children going right up to Kudu bulls to feed them without an adult nearby, we luckily had an owner stop them. (Kudu bulls have massive horns and although not necessarily aggressive animals could easily and unintentionally impale a child or adult).

All animals are wild, before we have serious injuries, please let us educate those who think we are a petting zoo. Thank you.
CPF/SECTORS/RANGERS AND SECURITY.” 

For the first time, we noticed ostrich’s ears which may usually be hidden under layers of plumage. Unlike humans, birds’ ears are holes on either side of their head, with no cartilage. Contrary to what most humans believe, ostriches do not stick their heads in the sand.

We see this type of behavior all the time, especially during holidays when the park is filled with tourists.  Once again, we’re driving past cars with children, young children, sitting on the parent’s lap driving the vehicle, often a large SUV or truck.


Recently, we encounter two girls alone in the front seat of an SUV, with one driving, neither of whom could have been over 12 years old.  Who are these parents that allow this dangerous activity?  

During the mating season (June- November) the male ostrich’s beak and legs turn red/pink to attract the female for mating.

Sure, there are many periods of time where there are no police in Marloth Park for long stretches although, in the past few days, we have seen a few police vehicles. We hope they stay through the holiday season.


Does this fact give people the right to ignore laws, endangering not only their own children’s lives but the lives of others including the wildlife?  Last holiday season, spring break, 12 animals were killed from speeding and careless driving in the park.  This was devastating news to all of us who love this place and it’s wildlife occupants.

A peculiar looking bird isn’t it?  Ostriches are remnants of the prehistoric era.

Besides the risk to humans, wildlife and property there is also a lack of consideration by some holidaymakers over noise (and trash) restrictions as part of the regulations in Marloth Park.  


This is supposed to be a peaceful and quiet place where wildlife and humans alike can co-exist in a stressfree environment.  Sadly, that’s not always the case during holiday periods and, at other times as well.

From this angle, it’s difficult to determine the species, other than due to the long neck.

We’re hoping after posting this on several Marloth Park pages in Facebook some holidaymakers may have an opportunity to realize the value of an opportunity to experience this magical place.


The rules and regulations for Marloth Park may be found here at this link.  Although many of these rules are applicable to construction and building, in reading through the list, toward the end, each regulation has a deep and genuine purpose of maintaining the integrity and value of this special community and safety for all blessed to be here.

A saddle-billed stork on the Crocodile River this morning.

Sure, we are only visitors ourselves here (for almost one year, leaving in February ) and who are we to tell others how to behave?  But, our motives are not entirely altruistic.  



We plan to return to Marloth Park 21 months after we leave and we can only hope we’ll find it to be as meaningful and magical as it’s been for us for this full year we’ve spent living here.  



Perhaps this is selfish but if everyone shared a similar selfishness to keep Marloth Park as wonderful as it is, we’d each commit to a personal role in appreciating our time here and dedicating our efforts for the benefits of the wildlife and the surroundings.  



Ultimately in doing so, the humans will continue to relish in the beauty and wonder of one of the most special places on earth.



Be well.  Be happy, during this holiday season and always.
                    ___________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, December 16, 2017:

Views of Cape Horn, known as the bottom of the world, from the ship’s bow.  For more photos please click here.

Part 1…Chobe National Park safari and Chobe River cruise…Short breathtaking videos… Please watch for the magic!

None of the six of us or our guide Alfred could believe our eyes as we watched this male elephant build his mud pool in Chobe National Park.  We’ve seen a lot of elephants in Africa but this was a rare sighting for us.

 “Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

While on safari in Chobe National Park we spotted this male impala with only one antler, most likely lost in a fight for dominance during the mating season.

Yesterday will be emblazoned into our hearts and minds as one of the most special days in our five years and seven months of world travel.  Only a few prior experiences are held in such high esteem.

This is when he started digging his mud hole for the mud bath.
After he dug a decent sized mud hole, he decided to try to lay on his side.  Digging the hole must have been exhausting for this big fellow in the heat of the sun.
For me, my top five events include; Petra, Jordan; Masai Mara, Kenya; Marloth Park, South Africa, Antarctica cruise and now Chobe safari and Chobe River cruise in a small boat.
Finally, he was lying sideways in his mud hole.  We couldn’t stop laughing and smiling.  It was if he was putting on a show for us.  But, the best part was yet to begin.


For Tom, his top five events include Panama Canal cruise; Animals of Africa (including Chobe); lava flow on Big Island, Hawaii; Antarctica cruise and like Tom always says, “Everything upcoming in the future.


Video #1
Video #2

Video #3
Video #4

Sure, its easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm of a most recent experience.  You know, kind of comparable to “love the one you’re with” mentality.  However, yesterday was truly one of those special times, we couldn’t wipe the smiles off of our faces.

Upon arising from his mud bath, he decided to clean up in the river, so we thought.


As we’ve often mentioned, the endorphin rush from seeing and engaging in wildlife is indescribable, especially to those who have little interest in nature and wildlife.  They just may not get it.  And we understand.  We may not become excited about certain adventures others find life-changing.  Its all a matter of personal preferences and interests. 

He turned and headed out into the river. Alfred maneuvered the boat to ensure we were in a good position for taking photos.


I could go into lengthy descriptions of the three hours we spent in the morning in Chobe National Park, the borders we crossed, the immigration processes that incurred, the lovely four others travelers with whom we spent the day in the safari vehicle, at lunch at the resort, and in the small boat on the Chobe River in the afternoon.

At one point, he appeared to want to head back to the shore.


For now, our intent is to share our photos and videos and later, we’ll go into more detail about the experiences.  Most of the sighting that transpired is forefront in our minds which will be clearly illustrated in our photos, videos, and captions below them.

But then, he marched full on into the river in a determined stride.


We’re grateful we have this time off today, to begin working on the hundreds of photos, and multiple videos uploaded on YouTube.  The Wi-Fi is slow at the hotel today so we apologize for it taking so long to upload today’s post.

Nothing was stopping him now.

Last night, when we returned to the hotel, after a very long and fruitful day, we changed out of our typical “safari clothing tan and khaki “Bugs Away” shirts, pants and hats and showered and dressed for the evening.

We were so close we barely used any zoom to get these shots.  However, Albert was mindful of ensuring we didn’t get too close and disturb his swim.
If you “gotta go, you gotta go.”  Tom took this photo not aware of what was transpiring.  Notice him using his trunk like a snorkel.

As we relaxed at the hotel’s inviting lounge, we toasted one another (as always) making intense eye contact while giggling over Tom’s repeated phrase on today’s included videos he’d made on the Chobe River, “Who would have thunk it?”

After his potty break, he was back on the move, getting into deeper and deeper water.

How did this happen to us?  How did we ever end up having traveled to eight African countries (a paltry amount compared to the 54 countries on the continent) which now include:  Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.  We’ve visited some of these countries on multiple occasions. 

Soon, his huge feet were no longer touching the river bottom and he was buoyant.
At this point, the playful swimming commenced which can be seen in more detail in the above short videos.
We wonder how many more African countries we’ll have the opportunity to visit during our continuing travels.  In reviewing a map of Africa we realize there are many countries we’ll never visit due to a high safety and security risks for tourists.  We’re not foolhardy.
We couldn’t believe our eyes when he was totally submerged, then rising for a breath.
After 10 to 15 minutes, he decided he’d had enough and headed for shore.
Then again, we’re definitely not on a particular mission to see a certain number of countries in the world.  We’re simply in awe of how many we’ve visited and how many more we’d love to see in the future.
As he approached his mud hole, he checked it out wondering if he should play a little more.
He dug around in the mud hole a little.
There’s so much more to share then that which we’ve posted here today.  Over the next week or so, we’ll continue with more details and an endless stream of stunning photos of our week in Zambia.
And, he couldn’t resist a little more play.  Thank you, Mr. Elephant, for a wonderful show!
Thanks to all of our readers for your patience in our oft-odd upload times.  Once we return to South Africa we’ll be back to our usual more consistent posting times.
Tom’s getting great at taking photos.  Luckily, we now have two cameras.  This ensures we don’t miss a shot.  Wait until you see what’s coming up tomorrow!
Tom took this candid shot of me in my funny BugsAway safari hat.
Today, we’re dealing with our photos, deciding where we’ll dine tonight and looking forward to tomorrow’s Zambezi River sunset cruise.  Since we came to Africa in 2013, I’ve longed to cruise on the Zambezi River for reasons I cannot explain.  By Thursday, we’ll be able to share “the why.”  Please stay tuned.
Happy day to all!
                         ______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, May 15, 2017:
Tom and I in Vancouver, British Columbia with our friend /reader Sheila, a Vancouver resident.  For more on this story, please click here.

Part 2…Yikes…We attended a full-day venomous snake handling course…Scary, but highly educational…

 Black Mambas are only black inside their mouths, not on their sleek skin.  They are considered one of the most venomous and dangerous fast-moving snakes in the world. Chris, our instructor held the Black Mamba as we took this photo. Tom handled one of these as shown below.  No, thanks, for me!


“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

During yesterday’s drive through Marloth Park searching for photo ops, we spotted this Hornbill, one of our favorite birds in the area. 

There are a known 184 species of snakes in South Africa.  In years past 151 species had been identified but now with the use of DNA, additional species have been discovered.

Obviously, not all snakes are venomous.  As for this area, referred to as the “lowveld,” 60% of those species are found.  The lowveld is described as follows from this site: The Lowveld is the name given to two areas that lie at an elevation of between 500 and 2,000 feet (150 and 600 meters) above sea level. One area is in the South African provinces of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Swaziland, and the other is in southeastern Zimbabwe. Both are underlain largely by the soft sediments and basaltic lavas of the Karoo System and by loose gravels. They have been extensively intruded by granites. Other resistant metamorphic rocks also occur; these commonly appear as low ridges or what seem to be archipelagoes of island mountains. The higher western margins of both areas testify to the degree of erosion resulting from the flow of rivers running east or southeast.”

Tom was using the grabbers to grasp the highly venonmous Snouted Cobra.

In South Africa, you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than being bitten by a snake.  Nearly all bites are on the extremities.  Annually, between 24 and 37, out of 100,000 population are bitten by snakes.  The mortality rate is between 1% and 2%, resulting in an approximate 98% survival rate.

With these statistics, its evident the likelihood of dying from a snake bite is rare.  However, in most cases, bites occur by accident (stepping on a snake), a surprise encounter while hiking and, when walking on one’s property and, by other chance encounters. 

 Tom bending over to grasp the tail of the Snouted Cobra, keeping the head down in the grass, in order to place the snake in the container.

Many snake bites could be prevented by the proper response when they are discovered.  First off, snakes have no ears resulting in total deafness.  Instead, they respond keenly to vibrations.  That fact is why we’ve always heard when one has a close encounter with a snake, DON’T MOVE…STAND COMPLETELY STILL!  That still holds true today.

What would determine a close encounter? It may be different for many snakes, depending on their striking distance.  To be safe, if a snake is found within your immediate space, don’t try to guess their striking distance.  Instead, STAND PERFECTLY STILL and wait for it to slither away. 

When “capturing” the Black Mamba it is imperative to immobilize the head close to the ground and raise the tail.  Tom managed to do this while it was desperately attempting to escape.  The Black Mamba is the fastest snake on the planet.

If a snake doesn’t sense ANY vibration,  generally it will move away.  Obviously, if a snake is in another room or a distant area, get away as quickly as possible securing your space in a closed area where it can’t enter.  Chris explained, “Don’t bother to stand still if the snake is in the living room and you are in the kitchen!  Just get away as quickly as possible away from the direction the snake is moving.

If a person resides in an area where there are many snakes, it’s wise to have an emergency number available in order to have the snake removed from inside your property.  If it’s in your yard or another outdoor area it will move on…steer clear in the interim.


In Marloth Park, we can call Snake Removal at the following numbers: John Webb, 079 778 5359 or 071 480 6453 or Daniel Louw, 082 574 0186 or Field Security at 082 828 1043.

After over 16 years of snake handling experience, Chris didn’t hesitate to handle the deadly Black Mamba.

In the event of a snake bite there are several vital steps to consider:

1. Immediately call Field Security at 082 828 1043 to arrange for the quickest means of transportation to a medical facility with anti-venom which may be by ambulance or helicopter.  Also, if no response call, Securicon Lowveld at 082 567 2350 or 086 111 1728.
2.  Don’t attempt to “catch” or take a photo of the snake.  This could result in being bit additionally.  Immediate medical care is more important than the type of snake. 
3.  Don’t drive yourself or have others drive you to a medical facility. Typically, trained emergency response staff has means of treating your symptoms en route to an appropriate hospital which ultimately can keep you alive until you arrive. (continued below photo)

Its only through years of training and experience that Chris can handle this dangerous snake with such skill

4.  Do not “cut and suck” the bite wound.  This has been proven to be totally ineffective.
5.  Don’t panic – Although it is impossible to stay emotionally calm, one must attempt to stay physically calm.  The more the bite victim moves about, the faster the venom moves throughout their bloodstream.
6.  There’s no benefit to using heat or ice.
7.  Do not use a tourniquet unless you are three or four hours from medical care and then, it’s done so as a last resort.

A Black Mamba doesn’t have black skin as most assume.  Only the interior of its mouth is pitch black.

There are two types of anti-venom used in South Africa today:

  • Polyvalent which contains antibodies of several types of snakes and is effective for most venomous snake bites.
  • Monovalent which contains antibodies for only one type of snake in South Africa – the Boomslang.
Chris and Tom were all smiles with the Black Mamba.  I’m glad my job was to take photos not handle the snakes, although I did take the classroom course and the test. 

Oftentimes, once the patient is in the hospital, the medical staff will immediately start a variety of life-extending procedures while they wait to determine if anti-venom is necessary. A small percentage of patients are allergic to the anti-venom which may result in severe anaphylaxis, which can be more deadly than the snake venom itself and may lead to death.

A the end of the course around 4:00 om, the Black Mamba was elongated while Chris held its mouth in place.

 It’s easy to become terrified when reading this information but, for all of us in areas where snake bites are a possibility, it’s imperative to know.  As laypersons, we cannot guaranty all of the information provided here today and yesterday would ensure safety from venomous snake bites. 



Please seek further information or attempt to educate yourself to the best of your ability by attending a course such as we’ve presented over these past few days or, other resources that may be available in your area.  For the lowveld, contact, Lowveld Venom Suppliers at 082 372 3350, by email at reptile@mweb.co.za or at their website: http://www.lowveldvs.co.za.
Marloth Park Honorary Ranger Sandra took a Facebook “live” video during the “hands-on” portion of the course.

Our special thanks to Chris and his staff and Marloth Park Honorary Ranger Sandra, who facilitated an extraordinary experience we’ll never forget and have been excited to share with our worldwide readers.

In October, 2013 in Kenya,  Tom handled several non-venomous snakes  which may found here.


In the event you missed yesterday’s Part 1 of this story, please click here.

Have a safe and bountiful day!

____________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 13, 2018:

Bob, our amazing landlord and new friend came running to tell us the Kookarburros were on his veranda.  We couldn’t believe our eyes for this up close view of these huge beautiful birds.  Within a week they were coming to visit us, eating ground beef out of my hand. For more photos as we settled in to Fairlight, Australia, please click here.

Cyclone Debbie now upgraded to Category 4…Safari luck prevails…Sightseeing photos…

Bob, our kindly landlord, and new friend, have insisted on driving us to see some of the sights in the area, including the beautiful historic St. Patrick’s Estate as shown in today’s photos.

For our readers who may be unsure about our current location, we are very far from the effects of Cyclone (hurricane) Debbie, which is expected to make landfall later today in Queensland (in the north of Australia). Here’s a link to a local newscast regarding Cyclone Debbie.

Had we been in Queensland, as we were in June 2015 when we first arrived in Australia, we’d have been close to the area and most likely feel the full effects of this dangerous storm.

It appears the location wasn’t open to the public due to an upcoming wedding, but Bob managed to get us onto the grounds for photos.

Instead, we’re a several-hour flight south of Queensland, living in New South Wales, a 30-minute ferry ride from Sydney. So again, we send prayers for the safety and well-being of the citizens of Queensland as they work their way through this difficult next number of days. 

Yesterday’s visa extension brought us a significant round of “safari luck,” over which we continue to reel with enthusiasm, allowing us to stay in Australia for our final 25 days with a renewed sense of lightness and peace of mind. Whew!

Then, last night, shortly after, I headed to bed to read news on Tom’s phone (while he used my laptop). Now that we’re down to one phone and one laptop, he called out to me. I jumped out of bed, wondering what required my immediate attention.

“St Patrick’s Estate is a site of exceptional historical and cultural significance – a Manly landmark located south-east of Manly, a beachside suburb of northern Sydney. Established as the first National Catholic Seminary in Australia in 1889, St Patrick’s College and Archbishop’s Residence (located on the Southern part of the precinct) are legacies of a unique time in the growth and development of the Catholic Church in Australia.” (From the website).

Alas, he had great news. He’d checked the tile I’d made on my desktop for the United States Postal Service package tracking, and something had changed for the first time since February 11th when it stopped showing any progress. See here for details:

Date & Time Status of Item Location
March 26, 2017, 1:50 pm             Arrived              LOS ANGELES, 
               
Your item arrived at an origin transfer airport in INTERNATIONAL, LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES, on March 26, 2017, at 1:50 pm. The item is currently in transit to the destination. 
   
March 25, 2017, 11:21 pm Processed Through Facility ISC LOS ANGELES CA (USPS),
March 25, 2017, 11:21 pm Arrived at Facility ISC LOS ANGELES CA (USPS),
February 11, 2017, 9:30 pm Customs Clearance ISC LOS ANGELES CA (USPS),

Our rep, Eric at our mail service in Las Vegas, Nevada, Maillinkplus, stated that perhaps his 12-day tracking process located the package, which apparently had been sitting in a warehouse in Los Angeles, California, and was finally on the move again. Eric also wrote that it’s rare for an express priority package to become lost. 

What a magnificent building!

We’ve worried that our package may have been the exception and that the most important package we were ever about to receive had been lost in transit. Here’s a list of some of the items in this package that caused us to worry to this extent:

1.  All of our tax documents (with social security numbers on them) for 2016, resulting in the fact that we’ll have to file an extension with our accountant in Nevada.
2.  Our two new driver’s licenses for Nevada, for which we’d applied online. Without these, we wouldn’t rent a car when we arrive in Minnesota in 60 days.  If we reapplied, the process would never be completed and shipped in time if, in fact, Nevada DMV would allow us to request replacements from outside the US. (They only allow one online renewal every four years).
3.  My new unlocked smartphone. 
4.  A one-year supply of my contact lenses.  

The lawn was prepared for an upcoming wedding at St. Patrick’s Estate.

With items #1 and #2, our identity could easily be stolen for any illegal purposes, putting us in a dire state. So we’d decided if the package weren’t found soon, we’d have no choice but to sign up for one of those ID credit protection companies.

Plus, we hadn’t insured the package (due to the high added expense) since the cost to Tasmania, where we had it shipped, was planning to reach us in three weeks before we left the Huon Valley. 

View from the site of the upcoming wedding, hampered somewhat by a hazy, cloudy day.

It wasn’t that the value/cost of the contents of the package was that high. Instead, it was the significance of the first two items listed above. Everything else could easily be replaced. 

The shipping rate automatically includes AU $131, US $100 insurance, and money-wise, we’d only have been out a few hundred dollars more, not worth paying the high rates for added insurance.

Alternate view of the bay.

In any case, there’s nothing we can do but wait to see if the package arrives in Tasmania in time to be shipped to us here in the Sydney area. Anne, our former landlord, has agreed to forward it to us when and if it arrives. If it makes it to Tasmania in time, we’ll pay extra to have it shipped to us overnight.

If it doesn’t arrive on time before we sail away on April 22nd, we’ll have Anne send it to Minnesota, and it will be waiting for us when we arrive. We won’t rent a car until we have that package in hand with our driver’s licenses.

The church is located at St. Patrick’s Estate.

We’re hopeful, based on yesterday’s tracking update. Maybe safari luck will kick in one more time for the arrival of the package. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and post the result of this situation here.

One of several entrances to the main building.

Thanks to our thoughtful readers for the many emails and Facebook messages we received wishing us well on the immigration issue. Your kindness means the world to us.

Today, another cloudy and rainy day, we’ll grocery shop since we are totally out of food.  Anticipating we may be asked to leave the country, we used every last bit of food over this past week. Thanks to our thoughtful and kindly landlord Bob for driving us to shop and sightsee. 

Have a lovely day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 28, 2016:

Our favorite cow, a neighbor, regularly visits our “neighborhood” walks while living on the alpaca farm in New Plymouth, New Zealand.  It was Easter on this date last year, and we posted this as our Easter photo. For more photos, please click here.

Worst storm in our travels, yesterday in Bali…Flooding in the streets…Photos…


We haven’t seen a flood like this since we lived in Minnesota, USA, a lot of moons ago. We took this shot from the front of the villa.

“Sighting on the Beach in Bali”

A rainbow at the end of the storm.

During our four years of world travel, we’ve experienced a tremendous number of storms, winds and hurricane scares, all of which we survived unharmed and without serious consequences, unlike millions who are suffering in the eastern seaboard in the US, Haiti and many other islands in the Caribbean Sea.

We extend our deepest sympathies for the loss of loved ones, their homes and all their belongings. Most are uninsured and can only pray for ways to sustain their lives as their shelters, towns and villages are rebuilt. 

The road facing our villa was flooded during the storm but had retreated this morning.

With the toxic water supply after such catastrophes, the lack of food and medicine, the suffering lived by these lost souls can only be imagined in our worst nightmares. May the souls of the world’s genres come together to help bring some semblance of stability and security to their lives as soon as possible. We pray for the safety and well-being of these people.

Based on the latest online news report 13 died in the United States as a result of Hurricane Matthew with 900 deaths reported so far in Haiti.    The numbers keep increasing as more and more news comes in. Millions of people have no electricity with a lot of houses under water. Many view their personal belongings and the debris of their homes floating away.

View to the lawn from the kitchen window.

Nothing we have experienced over the past few years of traveling the world can be compared to the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew and other natural and human-inspired disasters. Our hearts break for the suffering of other people around the world.

But, as we continue to share the details of our lives in our daily posts, which under the above circumstances seem trivial and unimportant, nonetheless, with the utmost of respect, our lives and yours continue on. 

The details of our experiences seem to be the driving force to bring back our faithful readers day in and day out for both the exciting and surprising, the mundane. 

Another view of flooding on the road into the next door neighbor’s gate.

In fact, I often feel like we all enjoy the mundane. Everyday life, as such, for most of us is relatively mundane. We humans, more or less like animals, find great comfort in the familiarity of our routines. 

Judge us, you may, you constant-adventure-seekers… You are the exception to the rule. We admire you for your bravery and sense of wonder that takes you on one exciting trek after another, one life endangering adventure after another as you explore your surroundings with a passion that few of us know or fully understand. Go for it! Be as safe as you’re able! Share your stories and photos with us!

For the rest of us, we’re able to find excitement and adventure in other ways, based on our level of desire for challenge, our age, our limitations (at times, self imposed) and above all our fear.    We all have the right to choose where we fit into this realm.

Last night, the two Ketuts walked in bare feet in this rain flooded road to the villa to make our dinner, leaving their motorbikes elsewhere on higher ground.

Overall for us as world travelers, we’ve opted on the safer side. After all, we decided long ago that this adventure would be on our own terms, not what others may do or expect. We don’t feel we have to prove anything to anyone as to how brave and fearless we are, we have been and we may be in the future.

One needs only to be investing our archives to find endless risky experiences we’ve consistently embarked upon along the way with many more such adventures yet to come. It’s only been during these past four months we’ve been hindered by my recent spinal injury (on June 1st) which continues to improve each day.

As we share yesterday’s storm experience, it is in no way intended to imply we were in any danger or could possibly grasp the magnitude of the devastation to the lives of those having experienced Hurricane Matthew and other such heart wrenching disasters.

We’re here to report the mundane, the exciting and the adventures of our lives, of world travel whether its an interesting insect on the veranda, a beautiful flower blooming on the grounds or an angry buffalo in the river anxious to chase my husband at his earliest convenience. 

This monstrous beetle was hunkered down on the veranda during the storm.

We report it all here for our readers to decide (if in fact, deciding is relevant) which aspects of our lives appeals to them and which do not. We easily can decipher from our stats which topics seem to attract more readers as we strive to appeal to many readers at any given time. 

We appreciate each one of you whether you like certain topics or not.

For those of our regular readers, you well know, we’re only one day away from a new topic which may prove to be more appealing to your interests than the current day’s post.

At any time, please write to us if you like us to cover topics appealing to your senses. Although, we tend to shy away from highly controversial and politically charged topics on this site, we aren’t exempt from sharing some thoughts and opinions. Otherwise, our posts would read like a dictionary.

This morning we found this leach type creature in the house, after yesterday’s storm.

This site in not intended for us to spew our perhaps one-sided opinions on certain delicate topics. That’s not to say we’ve never espoused opinions on the healthful growing of produce and meat along with the efforts we make in hoping to maintain good health through what we perceive as good nutrition and quality of life. We have… And most likely will continue to do so as our travels carry on.

May your day bring about a lively conversation or a quip you’ve read or heard that holds your interest! Be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, October 9, 2015:

In Savusavu, Fiji, tourist information was available at the local police station. For more photos, please click here.

Hurricane Matthew…Natural disasters wreak havoc throughout the world…Inconveniences as opposed to danger…

Notice the buffalo in the back of this photo when we carefully strolled along the road where Tom had his buffalo experience.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Misty morning with river and sea views.

First, we would like to send our love and prayers for people experiencing the wrath of Hurricane Matthew.  We’ve heard from several friends in Florida and hope that they along with millions of others in many locations in Matthew’s path, stay safe along with their families, friends and homes.

A new home in the neighborhood.

Yesterday, we spotted numerous online stories of the inconvenience experienced by cruise passengers when their cruise was diverted to New York (instead of the Caribbean) as a result of the hurricane.

Many passengers tweeted about their frustrations when they ended up in New York without warm clothes and shoes. Certainly, we appreciate the inconvenience and disappointment in discovering their cruise has changed or been canceled, as has been the case, for many US eastern seaboard, Caribbean sailings scheduled over many days.

When we encounter gates such as this, our curiosity tempts us to explore what lies beyond. Respect for the owner’s privacy prevents us from further exploration.

The cruise lines have been working hard to find ways in which to compensate their passengers and many have offered reasonable compensatory packages. But, human nature prevails and many are irate.

Another property protected with a gate to discourage the curious.

Instead, we think of all the citizens of the many countries, islands, cities and states who’ve lost and will continue to lose much more than a cruise vacation. They run the risk of losing their lives when millions are unable to evacuate while making every effort to protect themselves and their loves ones.

I suppose it’s all relative. It’s easy to feel frustrated when plans change beyond our control and we’re left to the decisions of others to determine our next step. We have no doubt those passengers would have chosen their personal safety over so many days of sunbathing or shopping on a tropical island. 

This path was particularly tempting, but we didn’t go beyond the opened gate.

Not intending to be facetious in regard to the irate passengers, long ago we decided that regardless of any inconveniences, we’d always choose safety and well being over possible annoyances. 

We’ve been left waiting in less-than-safe airports for hours at a time when flights had been delayed or  canceled. We’ve experienced outrageous inconveniences going through security at various airports. We’ve encountered the endless power (and subsequent Wi-Fi) outages (including an outage only a few days ago). 

Many of these types of gates are kept locked.

We’ve had countless everyday items confiscated at security checkpoints, items difficult to replace in the upcoming location. Oh, we could go on and on. As frustrating as such situations may be at the time, we’ve always tried to remind ourselves that safety comes first. In doing so, we find ourselves diffusing some of the frustrations able to continue on with an alternate plan.

A food cart on the highway attracted several children after school.

Inconveniences?  Ah, they go with the territory. Traveling the world is wrought with frequent surprises we could never anticipate regardless of how prepared we may think we may be. We’re prone to check and recheck before each travel period and arriving at each new property.

Were we provided with a map and/or directions to find the property when many aren’t available in online maps? We spent hours in the middle of the night trying to find the property in Madeira  when our map wasn’t as specific as it could have been. Lesson learned.

Bridge over a river.

Is there a way for us to enter the property once we arrive? Is bottled water available upon entry if tap water is considered unsafe to drink? Is the Wi-Fi user name and password readily available?  Is the power turned on?  Who do we contact in an emergency?  It goes on and on.

We have no doubt any of the residents in the path of Hurricane Matthew would gladly trade places with the cruise passengers as they board up their homes and determine where, when, how and if they’ll escape the wrath of this massive storm.

Many markets such as this are found in every village.

Inconvenience, we can handle.  Loss of safety and well being is an entirely different matter. We pray for their safety.

May your day be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, October 7, 2015:

Badal, the neighbor Sewak’s dog, stopped by each night while we were having dinner in Fiji. We give him something good to eat, usually whatever meat we’d prepared for dinner.  For more details, please click here.

Tom corrected me over yesterday’s post…”We do gamble,” he says!…An element of our lives we seldom mention here…

A little hut in the neighborhood managed by a woman and her daughter where they sell SIM cards for data and phones and a few other products.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

This large rock formation has formed on the beach visible only at low tide. 

After Tom read yesterday’s post, he said, “You’re wrong, Sweetie. We do gamble, big time.”

I thought for a moment trying to jog my memory over the past many years when we were in a casino and played a few games.  I couldn’t recall a single occasion.

He laughed and said, “We gamble every day playing the stock market! Isn’t that gambling when all is said and done?”

“You’re absolutely right, Honey,” I replied nodding my head in agreement.

Sunset view and reflection in the infinity pool.
Once Tom retired and rolled over his 401K to an online brokerage company we could easily access in our travels, this type of “gambling” has served us well. Armed with a plethora of knowledge he’s gleaned from a few extraordinary experts, he’s become quite good at it.  (We’re not talking about that guy that screams on TV or on any other TV celebrity or supposed finance guru).
With my daily photo taking, posting, management of spreadsheets, financial records, banking, and accounting for our travels, overall I paid little attention to what he was doing other than to listen when he wanted to share interesting details.

I didn’t want to hear when it wasn’t going well so he stayed mum to keep me from worrying.  But, as his expertise and desires for diversity have grown and we’ve made our way to the plus side at the moment, my interest has peaked. Over this past year, I’ve taken a greater interest while Tom makes all the moves.

Some mornings humidity, fog, and smoke from local fires create a fuzzy scene on the beach.

Sure, with stocks, options, longs/shorts, and a wide array of other financial products, one is taking an enormous risk.  We see this each week when, for example, we go online after 9:30 pm (Indonesia time) five nights a week when the stock market opens in the US. 

Based on this huge time difference the US market closes at 4 am when we’re sleeping. But, it’s not entirely unusual for either of us to be awake during the night or very early in the morning unable to avoid firing up Tom’s laptop to see what’s going on. 

The ups and downs are not for the faint of heart. We’ve both had to learn to avoid letting the downs become upsetting. I suppose it is gambling, after all, except in a  much bigger way than putting a few dollars on a blackjack table, poker table, or in a slot machine. One may be “gambling” with their life savings.

Another larger shop in the neighborhood carrying many tourist-type needs, beverages, and snacks.

Also, we had no desire to turn this process over to a “financial advisor” paying fees and commissions while allowing someone else to make decisions on our behalf. For many, this is their only option when they have investible funds but little education, time, or interest in handling it on their own.

Over these past 44 months of world travel, Tom has had all of the time and interest necessary to further educate himself to a point of feeling confident in making important decisions. 

Flowers blooming from a small tree.

Tom’s favorite source of education has been with Bob Rinear on this website. Bob’s information and education have provided valuable information. Tom followed Bob’s website and free newsletter long before we retired. 

About one year before Tom retired in 2012, he paid for Bob’s annual yearly subscription, “The Insiders Club” which has ultimately served us well. Tom also participated in the comprehensive training course, again proving to be a valuable tool.  (In no manner are we involved in any revenue or proceeds from Bob’s website. We’re simply subscribers as are many others throughout the world).

Since I’m way more frugal than he is, it’s best I continue to stay out of the day-to-day decisions, although he shares details of every transaction with me prior to making any changes. In the process, I too, am getting an education through my savvy partner.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

We won’t draw any money out from these funds until after Tom turns 70.5 years old (7 years) at which point US tax laws require annual minimum withdrawals be made along with the payment of required federal tax (and state taxes, if applicable). If we lost it all, we could still survive and continue to travel the world.

It’s only under these circumstances that we feel comfortable taking the risks. If one wouldn’t be able to cover living expenses if they lost it all in a stock market crash, which may be likely at some point, they shouldn’t be investing. (We’ve also decided it’s wise to secure some of one’s investments into less vulnerable assets).

The stress of potentially losing everything could be unbearable making the later years of one’s life, less than enjoyable. We’re not offering any investment advice here.  We’re explaining how we perceive “gambling” in our lives.

A modest well cared for Hindu home in the neighborhood.

The excitement of it all is certainly comparable to winning at a casino and the disappointment perhaps even more devastating than when losing at a poker table. 

With a tough hide, diligent attention to market fluctuations, world affairs and a degree of knowledge and expertise and, an enormous amount of interest and desire to make it work, its an exciting area of our lives we seldom, if ever, mention here.

No, we don’t sit around all day playing games on our phones. Even on those sunny outdoors-all-day days, the wheels are always in motion as we continually reach for safety, security, and peace of mind achievable in many ways in our lives of travel.

In Bali, it’s common to see trash fires burning along the road or in yards.

One more point, we use a VPN, a virtual private network, to further secure our access to financial websites (which are supposedly secure) but this added measure of security provides us with further peace of mind.

Without a doubt, life is a gamble in many ways for every one of us; our health, our well-being, our sense of security, our financial health, basically all aspects. The degree to which we proactively pursue enhancing each of these areas is entirely up to us.

May your day provide you with an opportunity for peace of mind.

Photo from one year ago today, June 20, 2015:

This is the noisy night bird, the bush stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius) that kept us awake the first week in Trinity Beach, Australia after which we became used to it, sleeping through the noise. It’s a nocturnal, ground-dwelling bird that makes its home in Australia’s open forests, grasslands, mangroves, and salt marshes. (Not our photo). We never saw one during the day.  For more details please click here.

Living off the grid…More photos from a road trip…

We were behind this dangerous situation in the rain on our return drive from Negara. If the truck in front of this motorbike driver stopped suddenly. Yikes!
“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”
Yesterday, this passenger ship sailed on the Bali Sea/Indian Ocean located in front of us.


The dream that many possess of escaping the stresses of everyday life in the big city or a metropolis to hide away on a tropical island may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

In the short term, it may seem romantic with visions of lazy days and nights filled with hand-made arts and crafts, cooking fish on an open fire, and picking fruits from nearby trees. Find a huge bag of rice and organic vegetables from a local stand and a life of ease and leisure may be found.

For some lofty adventurers, this may work for a while and for others for a lifetime. But, for most of us, however, we might think we’d like to “live off the grid” the reality of such a life isn’t always pretty.

This motorbike loaded with products for sale is typical, in this case, coconuts. (Photo was taken through the windshield while moving fast).

There’s a TV show we’d watched a few times while in Australia called “Off the Grid Living,” amongst other such series produced throughout the world. Often, after participants spent a weekend trial period at their preferred off-the-grid property, particularly those with children, they’ve changed their minds deciding perhaps a few acres of land and a flock of chickens and goats would be more realistic.

When we fantasize about remote “roughing it” island living, we often don’t consider the basic elements of daily life most of us have taken for granted. Even here in Bali, the workers earning around IDR $1,997,714, US $150, a month have cell phones and access to the Internet as we’ve seen from our staff here at the villa.

They drive motorbikes they can purchase for around IDR $19,977,144, US $1500, on credit. They subsist on the most minimal of foods, mostly low cost locally grown white rice, and vegetables and they live in houses filled with multiple family members of many generations. (Seventy-five percent of Balinese people live in houses, not apartments).

Gede explained this outdoor stand is for church donations, comparable to a bake sale. Passersby purchase products to be donated to the church for poor families.

Gede also explained that family members care for the elderly since there is no such thing as retirement pensions or Social Security for the elderly. He and his siblings support his ill and aging parents who are old for their 60 years, having spent a hard life supporting their growing families, now fully dependent upon their children for survival.

There’s nothing romantic and enticing about such a lifestyle. It’s a life of hard work and never-ending hardship and responsibility. And if a person(s) coming from a traditional city or suburban life believes they’ll find ultimate happiness living off-the-grid, off the land, we admire their courage while wondering how long they’ll last. We’re all products of our environment.

We often wonder if the smiles on those beautiful faces of the locals are kindness and appreciation to those who visit their land providing jobs with minimal pay or if in fact, the simplicity of their lives truly brings them joy. If that’s the case, it doesn’t mean that those of us used to “more” of everything would find such a life easy and rewarding, peaceful and stress free.

Once we parked on the distant street we walked down this road to the biggest supermarket in Negara, Beli Lebih, which supposedly carries many “western” foods.  As hard as we looked we were unable to find many items on our shortlist.

Whenever we’ve lived on islands with less available amenities, we’ve met and come to know property owners who have transplanted from other countries to an island with a dream of a different life, stress-free and uncomplicated. Little did they realize what was ahead.

Once their vacation homes were built and occasionally occupied, they had a whole new set of concerns;  finances, power outages, poor Internet connections, storm damage, difficulty finding needed supplies and services, constant wear and tear on their property from humidity and salt air, inconsistent workers and problematic renters. The list could go on and on.

For those who dream of a tent on the beach under a palm tree with minimal amenities, we need only watch a few episodes of  the TV series “Survivor” to see how difficult that life could be for most people. And even on that series, the producers ensure there an adequate water supply and nearby medical care.

This colorful sign was posted regarding an event that occurred over the weekend.

Our words are not intended to squash anyone’s dream of living off the grid. If hard work and constant challenge are befitting one’s demeanor, by all means, go for it. 

If nothing else, it could prove to be a phenomenal life-changing experience for children and adults alike as they grow and mature while roughing it. And yes, there would be endless periods of great joy with a sense of adventure and accomplishment. 

Now, as we live in this exquisite upscale property with a household staff of four, even life here isn’t as easy as one might expect. The bugs, the flies, the poor WiFi connection, the constant heat and humidity and our inability to watch world news is by all means, an adjustment. 

This is the exterior of the photo shop where we each had visa photos taken for a nominal price. The wait was less than 10 minutes overall.

The unavailability of food products we usually use: beef, bacon, unprocessed cheese, sour cream, celery, baking soda, sea salt, Himalayan salt, familiar spices or coconut flour reminds us of how fortunate we’ve been in many locations. 

Soon, we’ll run out of the full-fat sour cream we purchased in Denpasar on the first day of our arrival which we use to make our daily coleslaw salad (lettuce is hard to find but cabbage is readily available). It’s not worth the eight-hour round trip harrowing drive to go get it. At that point, we’ll stop eating salad each day when neither of us cares for coleslaw without dressing.

This fire station in Negara could have been a fire station anywhere in the world.
Unable to watch world news (the WiFi signal too poor to watch online news although we do read highlights each day) or an occasional bit of mindless drivel also presents a reminder of how spoiled we’ve been in many locations with English speaking TV when approximately 35% of our vacation homes haven’t had TV at allPerhaps, living off the grid, one wouldn’t want to know what’s going on in the world. Maybe that’s the idea, after all.

For us, for our continuing safety and world travels, for our future financial security, and for our health, we choose not to “live off the grid” instead preferring more remote locations which ultimately require we make some sacrifices.

The pharmacy where we stopped for a few refills.  No prescription required for non-scheduled items.  Good service and prices.

So what? No more coleslaw? No health food store? No Himalayan salt (we’re almost out of our supply)? No homemade toothpaste (requires baking soda and salt)? We’re managing just fine, occasionally noting what we don’t have but overall noticing what we do.

Could it be that essentially, that’s the answer to fulfillment and happiness? Accepting what we do have as opposed to what we don’t? Sure, I’ll go with that premise. It’s working for us. May it work for you as well.


Photo from one year ago today, May 17, 2015:

Our favorite bird in Kauai, aptly names Birdie, who lived in our yard with his significant other, waiting for us each day as we opened the blinds in the morning, visiting us and singing for nuts many times each day and looking at us as we dined each night. For more photos as we neared the end of our glorious time in Kauai, please click here. For the video we made of him singing to us, please click here.