A visit to Kruger National Park with many special sightings!…

Today, Ken took this playful elephant baby photo.  What a fantastic shot!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Ken’s photo:  A Southern Carmine Bee-Eater they spotted today in Kruger National Park, the first sighting for him and Linda.

Today, my plan had been an entirely different topic than our visit to Kruger this morning.  Not only did we take off for the park now that the holidaymakers have mostly left the area, but Linda and Ken and Rita and Gerhard had also done the same.

The baby elephant at play with family members.

We prefer to go into the park on our own since its never easy taking photos from the back seat of a standard car.  Besides, experienced self-drive enthusiasts each has their own particular way of searching for wildlife and routes they prefer to take.


As it turned out we met Rita and Gerhard for lunch at the Mugg & Bean for a delightful lunch and conversation, as always.  By the time we returned to the house, Linda and Ken were already sitting on the veranda working on their photos from the day’s self-drive and offered to include several of their photos for today’s post.

There were six giraffes in this particular tower.

With company coming for dinner (friends of Linda and Ken’s) at 1700 hours, (5:00 pm), the two of them are preparing and cooking the meal, I was left with 90 minutes in which to complete today’s post, about one-third of the time I usually spend.


I’d taken over 100 photos today and the time required to go through all of them would occupy the entire 90 minutes I had allowed to get this uploaded.  Thus, in my haste, I’m doing the best I can and apologize for any brevity and errors.

Elephant family crossing the road with a few babies protected by the parade.

With only 27 days remaining until we leave Marloth Park, we may only visit Kruger National Park a few more times.  Today, proved to be a special day with several good sightings and also, the lack of tourists in the park.  

Unfortunately, obstructed by vegetation, it was challenging to get good photos of the five lions we spotted near the entrance to Crocodile Bridge.  This may have been five of the notorious Verhami Pride.

Although there would be three or four vehicles jockeying for position at special sightings, overall traveling through the park was easy.  After stopping and staying so long at the lion sighting toward the end of the day, we realized we needed to get the show on the road and get back.


The dinner guests will arrive in less than 30 minutes and I need to shower again (another hot, sweaty day) and make myself presentable for the evening on the veranda.

In a hurry to get back to the house to do today’s post, these were the best we could get of this pride of lions.

Over the past 48 hours, we’ve been bombarded by biting flies.  I can’t type more than a few words and I have to stop to swat flies, hornets, and wasps away from my sweaty face.  But, as they say, TIA, aka “This is Africa” and that’s the price we pay to enjoy such wonders as we’re showing here today in our photos.


In the next several days, we’ll include more photos from today’s trip to Kruger and an especially interesting story for tomorrow when I’ll have more time to be more detail oriented.


Have a spectacular day and evening, wherever you may be.

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Photo from one year ago today, January 18, 2018:

Tom is quite a history buff and is particularly fascinated with older structures. For more photos of Recoleta, please click here.

Hippo Day!…First time sighting since our arrival…Exceptional dinner party…

At first with the naked eye, from way across the river, we thought this was a rhino.  Tom looked through the binoculars while I zoomed in for a photo to delightfully discover it was a hippo, the first we’d seen since our arrival.  That’s a cattle egret near her/his head.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Gecko on the orange wall at night.  Check out the “red eye.” Where’s the tail?

With company coming for dinner and with most of the food prepped, we decided to take a drive to the Crocodile River, since after the rains, we’d hoped to see more wildlife.

In my old life, I’d never have taken the time on a day company was coming for dinner when I’d be too busy to take a few hours for frivolities.  This life is different allowing me time and motivation to do exactly whatever strikes me at the moment.

We took off in the little blue car after stopping at the petrol station to add air to a low tire (which seems to be holding up OK) and off we went on the outrageously bumpy dirt roads that take us to the river.

Since hippos stay close to the water and with the river so low recently, we hadn’t expected to see any hippos, not from Marloth Park or in Kruger National Park.

It was hot, humid and the air felt thick.  Bugs congregated around us each time we stopped and got out of the car to scan the riverbanks for possible sightings.  We stopped at the usual brick overlook structure but didn’t see a thing. 

A group of tourists relaxed on the tiered seating having lunch and drinks.  It’s always busier on these roads and overlooks on the weekends when many South Africans from other areas flock to Marloth Park for a few days of “holiday fun” among the precious wildlife, often retreating from the “extra” humans in the park.

We’ve noticed that generally, we have fewer visitors to our house on weekends.  The only thing we can attribute this to is the added cars and people visiting.  Could the wildlife prefer to stay “undercover” when there are so many humans milling about?

The hippo is considered the most dangerous mammal in Africa.  From this site: The hippo is responsible for more human fatalities in Africa than any other large animal. Male hippos actively defend their territories which run along the banks of rivers and lakes. Females have also been known to get extremely aggressive if they sense anyone coming in between their babies, who stay in the water while she feeds on the shore. Hippos can run at speeds of over 20 miles an hour and they have enormous jaws which host up to 20-inch canines.”
I suppose the longer we’re here we’ve become protective of this unique location, preferring it stay natural and unencumbered with the likes of too many tourists coming and going, often staying for only two or three days. Then again, the revenue generated by tourists is vital for many of the shops, lodges, and homeowners renting their properties to incoming tourists.

Sadly, some of the tourists ruin it for everyone, disturbing the quiet and easy flow of life in this veritable paradise for animal lovers and those seeking the serenity of this magical world, so far removed from everyday life.

We watched for some time, attempting to get a better photo of this hippo with a few oxpeckers on her/him, clearing off the insects.

As we drove along the river, eyes searching to the distant shore, we spotted something dark and mysterious across the river.  Keeping in mind, we could be talking about a distance of up to one kilometer (.62 miles) from our vantage point, making photo taking with our less fancy camera, a bit tricky to get a clear shot.

Tom maneuvered the car into a perfect place to park while we got out and walked through brush and grass to get as close as possible.  Getting closer by 15 meters (50 feet) is nothing compared to the distance we were from the sighting but we forged along anyway.

At such a distance, it was difficult to get a clearer photo but we were none the less thrilled to get these photos.

The perception that moving even such a short distance closer would enhance the quality of our photos, spurred us on. Batting off flies and other insects, we steadied ourselves as much as possible to take today’s hippo photos.

We’d love to have seen more hippos like we had while in the Masai Mara, Kenya in 2013.  But, with the inaccessibility of the Crocodile River, we happily take what we can get, always thrilled in the process.   Here’s a photo of hippos we’d taken while on safari in Kenya:

We captured this “bloat” of hippos along the Mara River during our first hour on safari in Kenya in 2013.  Here’s the link from that date.

The above photo doesn’t in any manner make us feel, “Oh, that was then.  This is now.”  Instead, we think in terms of our collective worldwide experiences. Africa presented these experiences to us. When?…is irrelevant.  So, it’s easy for us to revel in one hippo knowing we had the above opportunity long ago and perhaps will have more in the future.

Here’s another photo we posted on Tom’s birthday, December 23, 2013, of this glorious hippo at sunset as we crossed the Crocodile River:

As the sun went down, the reflection on this hippo in the Crocodile River, on Tom’s birthday in 2013 was special.  For the link from that date, please click here.
Yesterday, as we continued on, we were breathless over other encounters on the road back to our property, photos which we’ll share in the next few days.  Each time we embark on a drive, we have few expectations and, in one way or another, we’re always pleasantly surprised. This upcoming week, we’ll head back to Kruger, this time staying on the paved roads.

As for last night’s dinner party of six, it was delightful.  Our friends Lynne and Mick, and Janet and Steve were here for a what proved to be a near perfect evening.  As always, the conversation flowed with ease and the pace was low key and stress-free. 
Each time we go to the river, the first animal we long to see is an elephant.  We’re seldom disappointed.

We were pleased they enjoyed our meal of mozzarella stuffed meatballs, topped with homemade marinara, and two kinds of cheese along with a side of bacony green beans and salad.  For dessert, we served ice cream bars and coffee with cream.  After they left, at almost at 11:00 pm, Tom had a lot of dishes to wash but together we cleaned up and awoke to only a few things left to do this morning.

In yesterday’s post, I mistakenly mentioned Janet and Steve will be away for some time.  As it turns out, they’ll be back in Marloth in no time at all and we look forward to seeing them again soon. 

This big guy was taking water into his trunk and spraying it on his back to cool off on the very hot day.

In a few days, Lynne and Mick return to their home in Jersey (UK) for many months.  We won’t see them again until November other than to run over to their home this afternoon to say goodbye and see their newly thatched roof (almost done).  Later we’ll return “home” to some mighty fine leftovers.

Last night’s sunset, after our guests arrived, hard to see through the trees.

That’s it for today folks. Of course, we’ll always be on the lookout for more to share with each of you every single day! Have a great day!

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Photo from one year ago today, March 25, 2017:

Volleyball competitors warming up for tournaments in Manly, Australia.  For more photos, please click here.

Halfway through our Marloth Park rental….Another dinner party for six…Back to my old ways?…

From this site“Flapping the ears can express excitement and joy. In turn, the beating of the ears on the skin can be heard. This sound causes other elephants to prick up their ears and to get in contact with the first elephant.  In hot weather, elephants use their ears primarily to cool down.”  We suspect it was cooling down with temps well into 40C (90F) on the day we took this photo.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This female kudu was comfortable eating carrots out of my hand.

This evening we’re having dinner guests only a few days prior to the two couples, Janet and Steve and Lynne and Mick, each takes off for their respective homes in the UK, staying for several months.  We’ll look forward to their return!

In the interim, Kathy and Don are returning to Marloth Park in a week and we’ll certainly enjoy spending time with them while they’re staying at their lovely home in Marloth Park.  Linda and Ken will return in June or thereabouts and we look forward to seeing them soon.

This is how it goes for many homeowners in Marloth Park, primarily based in other parts of the world, returning for one, two or three-month stints a few times a year.

The first thing we look for when driving along the river is elephants.

Many South Africans have homes in other parts of the country, also returning to Marloth as their part-time holiday home.  Few rent homes, like us.  Most own two or more homes, traveling back and forth between their various properties.

That life never appealed to us.  We’ve wanted to be free to travel to wherever we may choose, at any given time.  Did we contemplate having a home here, considering how much we love it?  Perhaps for one second. 

But then, the thought wafted away when we realize we’re most fulfilled continuing on this path of life-on-the-move,  one that works magically for who we are and who’ve we’ve become over these past years.  Why change what’s working so well and for which we’re ultimately fulfilled and happy?

We spotted this elephant from the overlook shelter along the river a few days ago

In the interim, Louise informed us, if we’d like we can stay in this same house, named “Orange…More than Just a Colour” for our entire remaining year until we board a ship one year from today, March 24, 2019, leaving for the US for another family visit. 

We had a choice to stay in this house or move to another house.  But, we like the house enough to stay another year, if Louise and the owners will have us.  We’ve offered to move out for certain periods, if they find other renters willing to pay more.  We can move on a dime!  Louise assures us that’s unlikely.

How do we feel about staying in one property for such an extended period?  Surprisingly, quite good.  Many of the animals have already come to know us and will continue to do so as time marches on.  The house is comfortable (we only use the main floor) and has literally everything we can possibly need.

Could this be a courting male and female?

Then, as we plan visits to other countries in Africa over this upcoming year, we’ll have a place to leave our stuff, packing only what we’ll need for the specific trip.  This gives us peace of mind and makes these side trips considerably easier.

This morning, up and at ’em early I started chopping and dicing for tonight’s dinner party.  Yesterday afternoon, I also did a little prep, making the remainder of today low key and easy. 

Entertaining in this lifestyle is very different from our former lives.  I used to put so much pressure on myself, planning elaborate meals and setting an elaborate table, often for many guests.

We often wonder about a lone elephant.  Is it a male that has been ejected from the family who now has to make his own way in life, finding a mate, to later be off on his own once again.

In this life, I plan easy homemade meals that don’t require endless hours of standing in the kitchen.  There’s no need to make vast numbers of appetizers, side dishes, and desserts.  No one here seems interested in desserts so I don’t bake as I would have years ago.

The best part is I don’t feel bad about cooking less elaborate meals.  I’ve changed so much over these past years, no longer striving to be the consummate hostess, finding simple delicious meals is ideal in the bush, whether made in a pot or on the braai (barbecue).

The only thing I miss is linen napkins.  The paper napkins sold in the area are small and flimsy.  Nothing is nicer than a cloth napkin for guests.  I guess I have to let that go. 

Waterbucks at the Crocodile River. 

Soon, we’ll jump in the new little blue car and head to the local market to buy more paper napkins, bringing the camera with us as always, perhaps seeing “someone” special along the way.

It’s a good life here.  There’s absolutely nothing that has disappointed us during these past six weeks since our arrival.  Often, when people “return” they’re expectations are so high they cannot be fulfilled.  For us, Marloth Park is more exciting than it was four years ago.

Maybe we’re wiser, more tolerant, and with fewer expectations after what we’ve learned during these past years.  We don’t fuss over the heat, the bugs and the days when few visitors stop by.  Its all a part of living in the bush in this very special place, unlike any other, anywhere in the world.  We’re grateful.

May your day find you feeling grateful and fulfilled.

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Photo from one year ago today, March 24, 2017:

A rare moment of a blue sky with rainy cloudy skies day after day since we’d arrived in Fairlight almost two weeks earlier.  For more Australia photos, please click here. It was four year ago today, on March 2, 2014, that we began posting this feature, “Photo from one year ago today.” 

The falling leaves make us sad…Today is the first day of fall in South Africa…Socializing galore!!!…

I was indoors preparing dinner while Tom noticed this mongoose digging a hole in the yard.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A grasshopper we found on new friends Janet and Steve’s veranda.  Four years ago, we’d written a story with photos of hundreds, if not thousands, of grasshoppers in our yard.  For videos and details, please click here.
Today, south of the equator its the first day of fall.  This morning, out on the veranda as always, we both noticed leaves falling from the trees and low lying brush. 

Perhaps we noticed the leaves falling to the ground in the gentle warm breeze simply due to our awareness that fall has arrived.  As we mentioned in earlier posts, fall and winter may not be good times for the wildlife in Marloth Park, most of whom are dependent upon the green vegetation on the trees, plants, and bushes.
It appeared she/he may have found something.

We’ve never been here in the fall. Four years ago we left on February 28th while summer was in full bloom. February is comparable to August in those countries located north of the equator.

Of course, for our family and friends in Minnesota, today is the much revered first day of spring when those living in cold climates jump for joy at the prospect of warmer weather.
More digging.

There’s no shortage of warm weather here.  Today is expected to reach 95F, (35C), dropping to a high of 79F (26C) tomorrow for a huge weather change.  That’s South Africa for you.  But, it’s these big weather variations that have an effect on foliage.

In our old lives, we’d never stay outdoors all day and evening with temperatures in the 90’s.  But, here it’s the course of life in the African bush.  The locals have adapted and we have as well.  The only air con we use is in the car (a must) and while sleeping.
Francolins are commonly found in the bush.  They don’t fly much but are fast walkers and, very noisy.
We’ll watch and see how winter in the bush will be for the wildlife, hoping only for the best for them while praying for rain.  Winter is the dry season in this part of the world.
This week has been and will continue to be a busy social time for us.  Sunday we visited Gail and Mark (their story will be posted on Friday).  Last night, Wednesday, new friends and neighbors Sandra and Paul (two doors down on the right) came for 5:00 pm happy hour and stayed until almost 10:00 pm…we had a blast!
Helmeted Guinea Fowl often hang around the yard.

Today, Wednesday, our dear friends  Louise, and Danie, who happen to be our property managers, are coming for dinner.  On Saturday,  Janet and Steve (whose home we visited for dinner a few weeks ago) and Lynn and Mick are coming for dinner, with both couples leaving Marloth Park at the end of March, who’ll be gone for a few months, later in the year.  We’ll see them all again since we’ll be here (in and out for visa purposes) until March 24, 2019.

On April 2nd, we’re attending an Easter party at Kathy and Don’s MP home on the Crocodile River, after they’ll have been staying at one of their other homes located in Pretoria, South Africa, returning to Marloth Park for a while.  Surely, we’ll socialize regularly with that wonderful couple as well.
It appears there are more ostriches in Marloth Park than four years ago when we were here.  We’re enjoying every one we encounter.

Friendly, fun and welcoming people have taken us into the fold of their social lives as many come and go between other homes in other locales, often other countries.  We’re looking forward to Linda and Ken returning in a few months for plenty of good times with the two of them.

When we look back at all the countries we visited where it wasn’t easy to make friends, we’re so grateful to be here among our human and animal friends.  Last night, during our fun evening. Big Boy (warthog) stopped by to check out the pellet situation. 
 At “our house” the pellet situation is good and will remain so regardless of our social activities, the time of the day and of course, the season of the year.
We spotted these two zebras on the side of the road on our way to the market.

Today’s heading reminded me of Nat King Cole’s song, “The Autumn Leaves,” a favorite song of many of his fans.  Here’s the link to the song on YouTube with the beautiful lyrics below:

“The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold


Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall”
Whether today is the beginning of spring or fall for you, may you have a very special season.
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Photo from one year ago today, March 21, 2017:

The sun peeked out for a few hours while we were in Manly, Australia making our way to the ferry to head to the immigration office regarding our “illegal” status.  For more details, please click here.

Change in plans…Social calendar filling up!…Power outage on 100F, 38C day!…Hot, hot, hot!

Vervet monkeys aren’t as destructive as baboons who we’ll send on their way
while Tom stands tall while holding up a big stick. 

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This handsome male bushbuck rested in the yard for quite a while as the sun was setting.  He was still there after dark, as far as we could tell.

Last night, we changed our plans for our anniversary night.  Our intent was to go to Ngwenya overlooking the Crocodile River for Kruger Park and sunset views. 

As it turned out, a few times during the day Danie stopped by, once bringing us a bottle of wine I couldn’t wait to try last night and loved it and another time, he suggested we go to Ngwenya tonight instead of last night. 

Thursdays at Ngwenya are weighed-by-the-plate buffet which is not only a great deal but also offers a wide variety of options suitable for my way of eating.  Both Louise and Danie eat like we do and have done so for many years

In the yard, there’s a fenced-in garden intended to protect the vegetation.  Ha!  the monkeys have no trouble crawling inside and making a mess.  These vervet monkeys are fun to watch with their playful antics.

Since it was so hot at 100F (38C) it made sense not to have to put on nicer clothes than my braless tank top and baggy Capri jeans so we decided to dine at “home” rather than head out on the outrageously hot evening.

Even the little rental car’s AC can’t keep up with its miniature engine and low AC output.  Staying in, cooking on the grill and eating outdoors made a lot of sense to us.  Plus, I could sample that bottle of wine Tom chilled in the freezer long before “happy hour.” 

We cooked the two pork chops for Tom with a lamb chop for me, along with a side of mushroom casserole, fresh green beans and a crispy chilled salad, perfect for the hot and humid evening.

Little did we expect the power would go out just before we sat down to eat at 6:30.  Of course, it would. With power limitations in Marloth Park and with many tourists here for spring break (started in some parts of the world), everyone is running their AC on the ultra hot day.

There was a troop of about 20 vervet monkeys in our yard.

We only use AC when we go to bed.  With no screens on the windows, it gets extremely hot indoors.  We don’t use the AC in the main part of the house when it can’t cool enough with the two-story high ceilings.  Plus, we’re in Africa.  What did we expect?  Cool comfort and ease of living?  Hardly.

After a rash of visitors early in the day, we were content to sit back and relax during for dinner.  I needed to get an early start on today’s post since we’re having company this morning, initiated by Danie, which is bringing us a heart-stopping story we can’t wait to share tomorrow.

Wow!  Will the action-packed adventures and stories ever settle down?  We don’t think so…not in Marloth Park.  Our Cozi calendar is smoking with scary and exciting daytime plans on Saturday (you won’t believe what we’re doing!!!) and many upcoming social events.

They move so quickly, it’s tricky getting good photos.

Also, we have fun social plans for Sunday night with lovely couple Janet and Steve whom we met at Kathy and Don’s party a few weeks ago and enjoyed great conversation.  It is thoughtful of them to invite us!

Also invited to dinner on Sunday are friends Lynne and Mick who came for dinner last Saturday night at our “house.”  (Kathy and Don are at their other house near Pretoria right now returning around April 1st with more social events on the horizon). 

This valuable time in Marloth Park is an easy reminder why we longed to return to this magical place.  Sure, it’s hot, sticky and uncomfortable at times.  The mozzies and insects can be downright annoying at times. 

Seldom do they stop playing long enough for a photo.

The dusty unpaved roads bring up all kinds of allergy symptoms from watery eyes, itching, and runny noses.  After all, this is Africa, not Scottsdale, Arizona or Boca Raton, Florida. 

We can’t jump in the car and head to a modern mall to replace all the swimsuits we accidentally left on one of our last cruises.  At the moment, I don’t own a single swimsuit.  Tom has one.

There’s a plunge pool here but we don’t use it.  With no swimsuit and too many support staff stopping by each day, it’s too risky to go without.  After the magnificent pool in Atenas, Costa Rica we’re kind of spoiled anyway.  How could anything compare to that pool? 

These two vervet monkeys were playing in the side yard.

Living in the dense bush doesn’t allow for most pools to be in the sunlight.  Neither of us cares to swim or lounge in an under-cover or indoor pool.  So no swimming here, but swimming isn’t why we’re here. 


It’s the wildlife, the ambiance of this tucked-away place and it’s the people who add so much to the charm and magic of this unusual wildlife-rich location.


During the power outage, we dined outdoors by candlelight and when the bugs got too pesky we wandered into the bedroom with a candle and watched a few shows on my laptop to keep us entertained.  By around 11:00 pm, the power came back on and we were able to get a good night’s sleep.  Today’s temps will be comparable to yesterday.

Please watch today’s video to see their playfulness and how easily they fly from tree to tree. 

What can I say?  We couldn’t be happier and more fulfilled. Regardless of any minor inconveniences, we couldn’t be enjoying ourselves more.  Our daily lives are rich with each day manifesting into another special day, entrenched in exquisite memories we’ll carry with us forever.

Thank you, dear readers, for sharing it all with us.

___________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, March 8, 2017:

Each night on most cruises,  my meals consist of salmon or chicken breast with prawns and a side of spinach and mashed cauliflower.  For more cruise food photos, please click here.

Antarctica- Saturday, January 27, 2018…Tom’s photos…

Tom certainly got it right when he captured this Black Browed Albatross chick with what appears to be a smile. 

Today, we’re heading to South Georgia Island, a popular stopping point on the route toward the Antarctic Circle.  We’ve yet to see snow-covered islands and glaciers.  Soon enough, that will come.  But, it’s a long way from Ushuaia and today is only day five of the 17-day cruise.

The beautiful scenery in the Falkland Islands.  Notice the birds flying above.

Many of our readers have written asking the status of my injured knee  Thank you all for your thoughtful concern. As it turned out, yesterday at 5:00 pm, I visited the ship’s doctor, fearful that the infection wasn’t improving after four full days of antibiotics. 

Penguins fill the hills.

Bound and determined, I wasn’t about to be missing out on any of the many upcoming Zodiac boat excursions, and with another sea day to recoup, I felt I had no choice to see what was going on.

It’s fascinating to see how penguins love to stay close to their family members and friends.

My leg was turning red further up my thigh, several inches from the original site of the infection.  It wasn’t in a specific line creeping up my leg as one might expect from “blood poisoning.”  Instead, it was in bright red blotches, each of which was tender to the touch.  This was worrisome.  I had no idea what was going on or how to treat it.

They’re never far from easy access to the sea.

This is cruise number 22 for us in the past over five years during which neither of us has ever visited a ship doctor, not even when we contracted awful coughs, colds, and cases of flu.  Fortunately, we’ve never had norovirus or seasickness requiring medication from the doctor.

A lone Caracara.

After a very thorough exam of my knee, my leg, my groin, and mid-section he determined I have the equivalent of phlebitis, inflammation in the vein in my leg and lymphatic system, which if left untreated could be a disaster.  He determined it hadn’t spread to any other parts of my body and was localized in my leg. 

Black Browed Albatross in a massive colony.

He prescribed a strong prescription anti-inflammatory drug which must be taken with food three times a day along with continuing the antibiotic for at least four more days.  Although concerned with the diagnosis, I was especially relieved when he said I can keep walking as long as I can tolerate it. 

A lone little bird.

Even with the pain these past many days, I’ve been able to participate in the long walks on the excursions although I continue to walk gingerly due to the pain.  Tom has been patient and helpful as always, hanging on to me as we’ve navigated our way over the rough, rocky and uneven terrain. 

This is unreal…the Black Browed Albatross on Steeple Jason Island, remove tall grass from these massive “pod-like” structures, adding mud and vegetation to make it a free-standing pod on which they can nest. Here’s a young chick making a little noise while atop her/his elevated nest.  That’s amazing! 

I’m scheduled to return to the doctor tomorrow at 5:00 pm to decide the next course of treatment if there has been a sufficient improvement.  We’re hopeful when this morning I noticed the redness and tenderness has improved about 20%, not a significant amount but enough to make us feel optimistic.

More chicks and parents sitting atop their raised pods.

During this last outing on Steeple Jason Island in the Falkland Islands, he took all of the photos while I watched my footing using the walking sticks that the ship recommended we all bring with us.  Tom, as sure-footed, as one can be, hasn’t needed to use them, hence we only brought along one pair.

It was stunning to see all these Albatross atop these pods in their massive nesting grounds.

In our enthusiasm to present our photos and with the sketchy Wi-Fi signal, we failed to mention any information about the Falkland Islands.  Here’s a bit of information from the ship’s newsletter, to fill in the blanks:

The varying species can easily hang out together as shown in this photos of Penguins and Albatross.

“The Falkland Islands have a rich history embracing maritime trade, sealing, whaling, as well as cattle and sheep farming.  The English navigator, John Davis, aboard the “Desire” made the first confirmed sighting of the islands in 1592. 

The first landing is attributed to the British Captain, John Strong in 1690 at Bold Cove, Port Howard on West Falkland.  Early visitors were sealers, whalers and penguin hunters from different corners of the world.  Many imported domestic animals were left at various locations as a food source for future voyages.

A preening chick on the nest.

Cattle spread rapidly throughout the islands.  Travel was on horseback and South American gauchos made their mark.  Stone and turf corrals were constructed and remains of these can be seen scattered across the islands. particularly on East Falkland.

It is “wildly” congested in spots!

The year 1833 saw the re-assertion by British for its sovereignty.  By 1845 the capital had been moved to its present site and was named Stanley, after the Colonel Secretary, Geoffrey Smith Stanley. 

A bird of prey, the Caracara awaits the next opportunity for a meal.

Stanley became an important port for vessels involved in whaling and rounding Cape Horn.  Settlements and farms were built across the islands and sheep farming took over from cattle ranching as a mainstay of the economy.

The ship’s naturalists set up a perimeter of flags for us to walk.  This curious Caracara had to investigte the flagpole.

Falkland Islanders participated in both World Wars. The World War I Battle of the Falklands is commemorated the monument on Ross Road whilst the Cross of Sacrifice commemorates World War II.  For 74 days in 1982, Argentine troops occupied the Falkland Islands. 

There are over one half million Albatross on this island.

A British Task Force was sent to recover the islands. Fierce fighting took place on land, at sea, and in the air with a number of Islanders aiding the British military.  Ultimately, Argentine Forces surrendered to the British Forces.”

As mentioned above, today’s photos were taken by Tom while we were at Steeple Jason Island in the Falkland Islands.  He’s becoming quite the photographer!  For more information on this island, please click here.

They seem to go on forever.  What a sight!

Tomorrow’s post will be arriving later in the day since we’re heading out again, in the early morning, on the Zodiac boats to South Georgia where we’ll certainly be in for quite a surprise which we can’t wait to share with all of you.

Have a fabulous day filled with many wonders!

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Photo from one year ago today, January 27, 2017:

This fish mascot wandered about the Australia Day celebration for photo ops.   For more photos, please click here.

Today’s our 5 year anniversary of traveling the world…Anniversary photos and memories….


Today, October 31, 2017, on our five year anniversary of traveling the world, taken on the veranda at the villa in Atenas Costa Rica.

It felt great to be back in Atenas to the lovely villa, especially today as we celebrate our five year anniversary of traveling the world.  With a blissfully sunny day upon us and most assuredly pool time after we’re done posting, it will be yet another day to celebrate life.

When we arrived at The Sands at Nomad Resort in October 2013 to celebrate our one year anniversary of traveling the world.  Here’s the link.  We didn’t take a photo of us on our two year anniversary.  We’ll do better going forward.  But, here’s the link for the day of our second anniversary.
A special homemade dinner is planned for this evening with plenty of chatter over memories we’ve made during these past five years.   Since we weren’t planning on going out today, we’ve added the above photo taken this morning from the veranda overlooking the Alajuela Valley.  It took a few tries using the tripod and timer to get the photo right but we finally got it done.

As for our weekend to Managua Nicaragua, we were reminded that there’s so much commotion associated with short trips.  Whether it’s taxi rides to and from airports,  waiting in long lines to check in, (no curbside in most countries), waiting to check in with immigration, filling out entry and exit forms, or standing in the slow queue on the plane to get to our seats to store our carry on,  it all is time consuming.
We celebrated our three year anniversary in Fiji at Namale Resort & Spa with a tour and lunch at the world-renowned resort. See this link for details.

For these reasons and more, long ago, we decided to enhance our experiences by staying for longer periods in most countries when our schedule allows it.  Had we been the types of travelers to constantly be on the move,  we’d never have lasted five years.



So,  today on our five year anniversary of traveling the world we celebrate our early decisions along with the criteria we established (Please click here for our criteria, Part 1 and Part 2 here) well before we had the experience to know what we were doing.
This photo was actually taken on October 31, 2016, when it was October 30th in the US when we were about to board Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Sea for the back-to-back 33-night cruise.  See this link for details.
We celebrate the places we’ve been, the people we’ve met and the commitment and passion we’ve easily maintained for wildlife and nature.   We’ve appreciated the sights and sounds of the big cities we’ve visited along the way.   But, our hearts remain entrenched in the country, in the valley, in the mountains, on the rugged savannahs and of course, by the sea.

These choices have kept us closer to that which we love…the gifts bestowed upon us humans by our creator, not as much as those created by humans.  No doubt, we applaud the skill and expertise of our forebearers in creating the magnificent structures, art, and historical treasures.

In 28 days we’ll do a full transit of the Panama Canal, an amazing feat of human labor and ingenuity.  How can we not appreciate this, even though it’s our second transit in these past five years when on our first cruise in January 2013?  We’re certain we’ll be as in awe this second time as we were the first, now that the new larger canal has been completed.
As we made our way through the long walk to Petra to finally see the Treasury, which was a life-changing experience.
Throughout the world, we’ve reveled in historic buildings, churches, and museums.   But, for those of you have followed along with us all these years, nothing in our hearts and minds can compare to nature and wildlife.


The heart-pounding thrill of witnessing a rhino in the wild with oxpeckers on his head pecking at insects or as of late, a single bird in flight alighting in a nearby tree to sing a song like none other we’ve heard in the past, is magical to us.
Oxpeckers on the head of a rhino in the Masai Mara Kenya.  This shot made us squeal with delight.
And yes, I cried big tears of pure joy when we arrived at the Treasury in Petra Jordan but even bigger tears when we spotted our first lion drinking water in the Masai Mara (as shown in the photo below) or our first visitor when we arrived in Marloth Park.


We’ve had our ups and downs; illness, injury, visa issues, booking errors, power outages and dangerous drives on scary roads.  We’ve lived close to terroristic attacks, experienced earthquakes, hurricanes and storms like none other in our past lives.


Through it all, we continued to strive to maintain an upbeat attitude while growing our abilities to adapt and conform to a life on the move, living in countries with beliefs and morays so different from our own, making every effort to blend in and never appear to be the “ugly American.”
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.  We both felt as if we were dreaming!
It hasn’t always been easy.  It hasn’t always been exciting and adventuresome.  But, each day in its own way has been special when we stopped what we’re doing at the moment, look into each other’s eyes and say, “Is this really our lives?  How did we get so lucky?”


We continue to be grateful and humbled by the world around us; by the opportunity presented to us as a result of years of hard work in order to make this possible; for experiencing this adventure together; and ultimately, sharing it with all of YOU.
Happy day to all!
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Photo from one year ago today, October 31, 2016:
View of the Sydney Opera House as the ship sailed away.  For more details, please click here.

Forgetfulness and aging…A story from long ago changing our lives…

Photo of the railroad guys at the train station.  Year unknown.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

This is a Clay Colored Robin, the national bird of Costa Rica.

Two weeks from today, we leave for Nicaragua for two nights, returning to the villa on the 30th.  The next day, October 31st is our five-year anniversary of traveling the world.

When we first began traveling in 2012, we hadn’t imagined we’d last five years.  At that time, we “qualified” our long-term plans by saying we’d find somewhere along the way where we’d eventually settle down or we’d return to live in the US, location to be determined.

Settling down at some point is no longer a topic of interest or discussion.  We’ve accepted the reality when health fails for either of us (which eventually will), we’ll have to make a decision.  Do we worry that such a sudden decision will overwhelm us especially under the duress of a medical problem? 

Locomotives, back in the day in Atenas.

Not really.  Why worry about a situation over which we have little control other than to take good care of our health and well-being each and every day?  When it happens, it happens.  We’ll figure it out from there.

An important aspect of managing such a situation is predicated on the ability of one of us to be able to make decisions in the event of a medical issue for the other.

In our old lives, at one point, I was concerned about developing memory loss issues as I’ve aged.  Dementia was a common condition on my mother’s side of the family. 

Horn off a locomotive.

Once I hit the age of 50, I found myself becoming forgetful…walking into a room and not remembering why, starting a project and getting sidetracked on another project, forgetting where I’d left off.  These were subtle changes I was embarrassed to mention,  not even to Tom.

In 2011, when I dramatically changed my way of eating from a ‘low fat, low protein, high carb, healthy whole grains” diet to a “high fat, moderate protein, very low carb diet,” not only was I pain-free three months later but over the next several years, my memory improved to an astounding rate, comparable to when I was in my early 20’s.

No longer did I find myself losing things, wondering where I’d left something, or forgetting what I’d done the prior evening.  Was it due to the diet as explained in Dr. David Perlmutter’s book “Grain Brain” or was it due to the fact that in early 2012 I began the 12-hour-a-day process of planning our world travels keeping my brain whirring in a plethora of new knowledge?

Model trains on a shelf.

Dr. Perlmutter included the story of my success with this way of eating on his website as shown in this link here.  We also shared the story in one of our previous posts as indicated here in this link

The smidgeon of notoriety I gleaned from this article only mattered to me in that it might inspire one more individual to embark on this way of eating to improve their health as well.  When readers wrote asking questions, it was so rewarding.

No, this way of eating doesn’t make me exempt from injuries (obviously) such as in Bali when I hurt my spine (fully recovered now) or in developing Helicobacter Pylori from tainted food in Fiji from which I’m still recovering. (It may take a few more months).

Toy truck and more trains on a shelf.

However, being pain-free and regaining my memory has truly been an awe-inspiring result which ultimately allowed us to travel the world and recall the most finite details of our lives of travel.

Plus, it’s allowed me to post our daily stories which require a tremendous amount of recall.  Tom, on the other hand, inherited great “memory genes” and does equally well.  Tom’s mother, at 98 years old could recall names, birthdates, and events of her huge family and her life over the prior 11 decades.  Tom’s eldest brother Jerome, at almost 89, has an equally finely tuned memory. 

Ironically, Tom with the greatest of ease, remembers dates of past and upcoming events, places we’ve visited and our numerous cruises while I recall names of places, people, expenses, and miscellaneous oddball items. 

Coin collection at the museum.

Long ago, when we began our travels, we each gravitated toward that which we’d prefer to recall most readily.  Thus, we can always depend on one another to fill in the blanks.  As we all can recall from our schooldays, we tend to recall topics of the most interest to us.

Each day as it comes and goes, with a bit of serendipity thrown in, we’re left with memories we’ll always cherish as part of this wondrous life we’re blessed to live.

May your day be filled with wondrous memories.

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Photo from one year ago today, October 13, 2016:

Workers in the rice fields in Bali.  For more photos, please click here.

A magical cloud experience in the mountains of Atenas Costa Rica…

Moment by moment, the clouds grew thicker and thicker.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Tom standing on the veranda as the clouds began to roll in.

Last evening around 5:30 pm, just about the time we were thinking about having dinner, we looked outside, (unavoidable with all the glass walls in this fine villa) and we thrilled to see fast moving clouds that we could almost touch from the veranda.

We’d experienced a similar phenomenon when were lived in Madeira Portugal in spring of 2014 for which we’ve included the photo of Tom on the veranda with the link to that post and video.  Yesterday, we were as excited to see this event as we were over three years ago….our heads in the clouds!

Tom on the veranda in Madeira Portugal during a similar cloud “white out.”  For more photos and a video, please click here.

Since we’re part way up the mountains here in Costa Rica, (698 meters, 2261 feet, above sea level) in much cooler weather than by the sea (an hour and a half drive), such interesting weather conditions seem to be more prevalent.

Standing on the veranda as the clouds quickly moved across our view, we felt as if we could reach out and touch them.  At one point they actually rolled across the veranda and we were able to walk through them.

We gasped when we felt the cool moist air, unlike anything we’ve ever felt before.  It was breathtaking.  Oh, some might say, “No big deal.  It’s just a bunch of clouds.”

For us, it’s these very experiences that make our travels rich and filled with wonder, so much so that we quickly and easily found our link from our similar experience over three years ago.

It was stunning to watch the views dissipate and the clouds thickened.

It’s not easy taking photos of clouds right in one’s face but we did our best.  Had there been more warning I’d have taken a video but it came up and dissipated so quickly, I barely had time to load the camera to take these few shots. 

Within 15 minutes, the views across the valley cleared and once again we could see our surroundings.  As a result, today’s “Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica” and other photos are as a result of this event. 

When it cleared, we moseyed off to the kitchen to reheat our leftover pizza, cook the green beans and toss the salad.  The pizza wasn’t quite as good as it was in Nevada weeks ago since we weren’t able to find the right type of Italian sausage here in Atenas. 

It didn’t take more than a few minutes to cover the entire Alajuela Valley.

The only Italian-seasoned sausage we found here had no casing.  That was weird.  Since it required cooking prior to placing it on the pizza, it ended up tasting somewhat like hot dogs which we don’t usually eat.  Maybe next time we’ll try it using the local Spanish type sausages with casings. 

Also, we couldn’t find parchment paper at either of the two markets and had no choice but to use tinfoil (they don’t have non-stick foil here) which we coated with olive oil to no avail.  It still stuck to the tinfoil. 

Once the pizza was done, we had to peel the foil off the bottom crust, often in little pieces.  Maybe we shouldn’t have pizza again while we’re here.  Or, maybe we should start packing parchment paper, an item we often use in cooking low carb items but have difficulty finding it in many countries. 

None the less, we enjoyed our dinner and a quiet evening of watching a few favorite shows on the big screen TV in the comfy screening room.  We’d signed up for Netflix last week and have been watching a few choice shows. 

It wasn’t quite as thick as it had been in Madeira Portugal but it was definitely similar.  We could still see a light at a distance on the far right.

Whenever we sign up for Netflix, we do so for short periods, watching everything that appeals to us over a period of one or two months after which we cancel it and sign for HBO or Showtime while we binge watch other favorites. 

Right now, we’re waiting for season 7 of Game of Thrones to complete its season at which point we’ll sign up for HBO and be able to binge watch the entire final season of this amazing series.  We rarely watch any shows during the day to avoid starting a bad habit that could prevent us from paying attention to our surroundings.  Once its dark, we’re content to “settle in” for the evening.

Today is another quiet day.  Isabel, one of the sweetest and most competent cleaners on the planet, is here today, recovered from her case of “gripa,” a bad cold she had last week when she was only able to work for part of the day.  Thank goodness neither of us caught it from her.  She’s busy cleaning now in her cheerful good natured manner.  What a treasure she is!

In only four days, we’ll have the first of the two rental cars, one for five days and the second for the remainder of our stay.  We’re looking forward to being mobile again but not so much for the dentist appointment scheduled for Monday. 

May your day be filled with natural wonders, whether it’s a bird alighting on your window sill, big droplets of rain on a cloudy day or a pretty cloud formation wafting through the skies.  Be well.

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

While we were in Phuket, Thailand one year ago it was only six weeks after I’d seriously injured my spine which took five months to heal.  We didn’t do much while there so I continued to post photos from the Phuket Seashell Museum.  I’m sure all of our readers have seen enough seashells, then and now with only one more day of these appearing tomorrow.  But, if you’d like to see more, click here.

We’re packing in the good times…Minnesota and Nevada law changes…Five days and counting…

Tom and I dined here in our old lives.  Dining here now doesn’t fit into the budget in this life.
It was over this past week that time began flying by at a pace we’ve only experienced in the final weeks of our favorite places in the world.  Now with only five days remaining with the busy Fourth of July holiday in between, we continue to pack each day spending time with family and friends.
Many buildings had changed or been added along Lake St. in Wayzata.

Shortly TJ and family are coming for breakfast after which they’ll be dropping me at my dear friend Karen’s home in Eden Prairie where I’ll spend part of the day on my final visit with her. 

This was formerly Sunset’s Restaurant and is now Cov.  Maybe we’ll try this for dinner one evening this final week.

Tom will drive to Wisconsin (a one-hour trip) with TJ and family where they’ll purchase fireworks for the Fourth of July festivities.  In the US, (for our friends in other lands), the annual celebration of Independence Day is often commemorated with massive fireworks displays at both public venues and private backyards.

Outdoor dining at Cov Restaurant.

Minnesota is strict in many regulations including prohibiting the sale of fireworks (beyond sparklers and ground snakes) for anything that makes noise or shoots into the air.  Neighboring Wisconsin has no such laws and many Minnesotans make the annual trip to shop at a variety of stores close to the border.

Speaking of Minnesota laws, as of today, it will be legal to sell alcohol on Sundays, but only from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, at the discretion of liquor and wine shop owners. 

Another new building on Lake St.

Old laws on the books prevail in Minnesota including the fact that car dealerships must be closed on Sundays.  Oh, I won’t get into this topic any further.  However, if your curiosity is peaked on “dumb laws” click here for a few shockers.

Few boats were yet at the public docks in the cool early morning.

Now that we’re residents of the state of Nevada, we pay attention as to what’s transpiring there.  As of yesterday news, we discovered the following as quoted from this article:

“Sales of recreational marijuana kick off in Nevada on Saturday, July 1, and the state is expecting on onslaught of tourists coming to sample the local merchandise.”

The Lafayette Club private golf and country club situated in Wayzata.  As a popular and desirable wedding venue, I was married here many moons ago (not to Tom).

Gee…there are many changes occurring throughout the US and surprisingly here in Minnesota while we’re here and then in Nevada where we’ll soon arrive in a mere five days. 

Yesterday, was another busy day with the morning’s sightseeing and photo taking in Wayzata which we’re wrapping up in today’s photos and midday shopping to round out our required purchases.

The owner of this newer 34-foot boat was busily washing the bow.  The upkeep of a boat is a constant and costly responsibility which we’re happy is no longer a part of our lives.  We both had boats before we met and for many years thereafter.

Last night was memorable, spending the evening with dear old friends and neighbors with whom we’ve stayed in close touch over this past almost five years.  It was as if no time had passed at all when we all so easily fell into step with warm hugs and animated conversations. 


A footbridge at the Wayzata Boatworks.

Tomorrow, we’ll post photos of our old neighborhood and Lake including photos from our “happy hour” boat ride Jamie and Doug who so generously hosted on their boat with fabulous food and drinks. 

After the boat ride, we all headed to a popular local restaurant where all of us had dined in years past.  It was an evening we’ll always remember and look forward to repeating next time we return to Minnesota.

This was new…planter boxes with flowers at the boat docks. 

Tonight, we’re meeting more close friends, Lisa and Brian at another restaurant we frequented in our old neighborhood.  Photos will follow for all of these meaningful events over the next few days.

Thanks to all our readers who’ve written to us expressing how they’ve enjoyed reading about our family orientated visit to Minnesota.  We’d expected our readership to decline during this period but it has not.  It inspires us to know that wherever we may be, whatever we may do, we always have YOU at our side.

Here is a small portion of the many expensive slips in Wayzata for Lake Minnetonka boat owners. There is an annual lottery for 100 residents only.  The remainder of boat owners must pay exorbitant fees at a variety of locations often priced well into the thousands of dollars.

In 30 days the pace will definitely kick up as we make our way to Costa Rica.  I can’t wait to take photos of those colorful frogs, birds and other wildlife indigenous to the wildlife rich country.  Back at you soon!

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Photo from one year ago today, July 2, 2016:

This chart from the Singapore government website shows some of the estimated costs of owning a car.  For more details, please click here.