Dreams of Africa…Now a reality…22 hours later…

This is the view I’m facing as I’m sitting on the veranda writing now.  More house  photos will follow tomorrow after we get all of our un packing done and out of the way.
 It’s hard for us to believe we’re finally in Diani Beach, Kenya for the next three months, the longest of any of our stays thus far in our worldwide travels. Planning this leg of our journey over 18 months ago, it’s surprising we’re finally here.
Sorry this is blurry but there was a sign posted saying “no photos from the ramp” of the ferry boat necessary to get from Mombasa to Diana Beach.  The number of people on this ferry was astounding. Quickly, I took a shot with no time to focus. The government doesn’t charge people for using the ferry boats, only for cars.

After only a few hours of uncomfortable sleep on the plane, I should be napping with Tom right now, who never dozed off once during the many hours in the air. Soon, I’ll awaken him to take his shower so we can go grocery shopping in our new village.  Hans, the next door neighbor and owner of our house, kindly offered to take us grocery shopping in a few hours. 

With no decent food (or within my guidelines) during our 3 flights, we’re looking forward to a homemade dinner tonight. Turkish Air, although a very safe feeling airline with newer aircraft, free food and drinks with exemplary customer service was lacking in the food department.  I’d carefully requested my special meals only the have them bring me all the wrong items.  Hopefully tonight, I can drag myself into the small galley kitchen to tackle some chopping and dicing.

Animals are seen walking along the busy roads, much to our delight. Taking photos while moving fast through crazy traffic this morning, made photo taking a challenge.  I did the best I could as our shuttle driver, Peter, who’d waited for us at the airport for almost 3 hours in the middle of the night, made his way through morning rush hour traffic.

Although from Germany, Hans speaks fluent English. How odd that we can finally speak to someone other than each other who knows what we’re saying!

Tomorrow, I’ll write more about the house itself and our immediate surroundings adding a number of photos. For now, all I will say is that I’ve never heard so many sounds of different varieties of birds singing at once. Will that be a treat to wake up to tomorrow morning after a good night’s sleep! 

Locals walking along the unpaved roads to get to work.  This photo was between 6:00 and 7:00 am this morning, as were the other street photos.

Flying long distances simply isn’t fun, although we tried to make it fun. With a four hour layover in the packed Istanbul airport that eventually turned into seven hours with delays occurring on the upcoming 6 1/2 hour flight, our 3:15 am arrival, turned into 6:00 am. I must say, we never were grumpy and we never complained. That, in itself makes the experience tolerable.

Many locals rode motorcycles and bike, weaving between the fast moving cars and trucks on the two lane narrow road.  Animals are everywhere.

Going through security three times was seamless this time around. A security officer in Istanbul questioned my carry on bag of our one year of prescriptions but let us go through when I pulled out the prescriptions. She never looked further into the bag. 

This type of little shacks, some homes, some shops, lined the highway before we reached the Diani Beach area where suddenly the landscaped changed into row after row of oceanfront resorts, high end homes and condos.

Not surprisingly, even after all we gave away, one again we had to pay a hefty sum for our overweight luggage, not a result of too many bags but due to the weight of the bags. 

Goats, a common source of food among the locals, littered the highway as we zoomed by.

In Venice, before boarding the plane, Istanbul Airlines charged us Euros $1000, US $1324 (after negotiating) after they required that I dump 3 kg (over 6 pounds) of stuff from my bag. I had packed all of those vitamin bottles we’d hauled in a separate duffel bag many months ago into my solitary clothing bag. Of course, I’d be overweight.  We’re contemplating a future course of action, which will be easier to think about after we’re rested.

Hesborn, our delightful houseman, has been running around the house, ensuring everything is in order to our liking. Each day, he’ll go back and forth between ours and the owner’s house tending to all household tasks. He’ll do all of our laundry, make the bed and do all the housecleaning.  Wow! That sure will spoil me!

So, folks, off we go to buy groceries and to create a semblance of order in our new home. Its a totally different life from that which we’ve known so far in our travels and we look forward to embracing it’s differences, its culture and it people.

Back tomorrow with more photos.

Goodbye party on the point…Thank you…

Saturday, at 4:45 pm, after a laughter and tear-filled day spent with son Greg and daughter-in-law Camille, and going through a lifetime of photos, handing off precious bits of memorabilia, enjoying a homemade low carb gluten free pizza, we realized it was time to get ready and head down the street to our party.  

Scheduled to begin at 5 PM, it was a short walk of only four doors down the road to attend a going away peninsula party, hosted for us by our friend Sue.

Twenty six years of blissful dinner parties, cocktail parties, cocktail cruises on the lake, lawn parties, neighborhood parties, 4th of July celebrations, graduations, holidays and birthday parties.  Ironically, each of the three husbands in every other of five houses in a row on the point were born on December 23rd, which included my Tom, Doug and Chip. Coincidence?

(And most recently, hundreds of friends and family members came to celebrate his life and to grieve the loss of our dear friend Chip, Sue’s loving husband’s memorial service at the nearby University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. He would have wanted a party, but it was hard to celebrate without him there. Then again, he was there in all of our hearts).

The thoughtfulness, the love and the generosity of a friend, amid the throes of such loss, such grief, so zealously decided to throw a party for us. Mind boggling. Beautifully executed. Gluten-free foods for us. Our neighbors, our friends, in attendance, happy for us, wishing us a great adventure, interminable safety and relentless freedom.

We couldn’t have had more fun. Thank you, dear Sue. Thank you dear friends. How lucky and grateful we are.

Sunday morning, we faced yet another day of seemingly endless list of “to do’s.” Starting our day with a big breakfast of free range organic eggs fried in a dab of coconut oil, topped with guacamole, nitrate free bacon, a thick slab of nitrate free ham and organic chicken sausage with spinach and feta cheese, we were fueled for the day.  

Since we started this way of eating almost 15 months ago, we aren’t hungry all day. Formerly grazers, it’s a pleasant sensation to be comfortably satiated all day, free of the endless search for the next “food fix.”  

Eating low carb, gluten/grain/starch/sugar free diet prevents the addictive centers of the brain from crying for a constant fix of high carb foods. Over the past year I’ve been following the new research that is emerging daily clearly defining that our relentless hunger is a result of blood sugar spikes and brain chemistry.  

By eating a moderate protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet, we have found it easy to stop thinking about eating, simply enjoying two delicious and satisfying meals a day. More on this later.

So, we hauled our six orange Antler suitcases to our friend Karen’s home where we will reside from the night of October 24th until the day we leave Minnesota, October 31st.  

The thought of staying in our house during the estate sale seemed preposterous to us and to our estate sale guy, Jim Anderson.  Most likely, the furniture will sell first. If returning during the sale, we’d witness the vacant spot where our two comfy chairs had been or, see strangers traipsing down the road with their arms loaded with our stuff.  No thank you.

It’s unusual for us to stay in another’s home.  We seldom traveled over these past years together, rarely feeling compelled to leave the lake or our pups (dog lovers understand). When we did, we stayed in hotels, fearful of imposing upon others in varying parts of the country. 

Let’s face it. I am not the easiest house guest.  Tom is.  Not me.  My family and friends accept my cooking and eating habits along with my endless array of eccentricities around the house; nary a dish in the sink or an item of clothing left in the laundry basket.  

Of course, my ultimate desire is to avoid making others uncomfortable with my peculiarities. Thus, I am somewhat of a “closet” perfectionist. 

It is only this confession that so clearly reveals why all the details of the planning of this year’s long adventure is not laborious to me.  It fuels my passion for the infinitesimal, researched and documented until there is no more. Then, the finale, let it go and enjoy it.    

Thank you, dear husband Tom for accepting my eccentricities with your usual aplomb and great sense of humor, for teaching me to laugh at myself and not taking it all so seriously.

So, house guests, we will be.  I will temper my ways, saving room for the relentless teasing I have so welcomed over the years while trying to simply enjoy the process.  

In 9 days, we move out for good.  In 16 days, we leave.  Thank you, family. Thank you, friends. Thank you, husband. Thank you, God, for them, for the joy they’ve given us and for that which the world has yet to offer.