Its a new day!…Whew!…

Thick Neck/Bad Leg with mud on his horns from digging for food.

If I had to judge how I’d feel based on yesterday, today would not be a good day. But, miraculously, I awoke this morning feeling great with no pain or discomfort at all! How could that be when yesterday, after returning from having my tooth pulled when the anesthetic wore off,  I was in agony and could barely write a word here.

As it turned out, the tooth wouldn’t come out. Dr. Siingh and his assistant had to hold onto me for leverage while he yanked and pulled, only to have a small portion of the tooth come out. This was a tooth that had a root canal a few months ago that continued to hurt. He assumed it was cracked, which didn’t show on the scan.

Several bushbucks were in the garden this morning.

While I lay there wondering what would happen, I could hear him pulling out each of the root canal pins one by one. It was unnerving. Luckily I didn’t feel pain, only lots of pressure and rocking back and forth. Finally, he had to use a drill and a laser to cut away the remnants of the tooth.

Before getting the tooth out, he seated the new crown in another tooth, which went well, requiring no anesthetic. Thank goodness, that is done! It was a relief to have that resolved after the temporary crown kept falling out every few hours over the past week. Eating, drinking, and talking were a challenge.

This morning, Stringy was lying down in the garden.

Finally, the cracked tooth was out, and we were back on our way to Marloth Park from Malalane, a 35-minute drive. I had a wad of gauze in the space, biting down to stop the bleeding. After returning to the house, I had made similar wads using paper towels when we didn’t have any gauze. It didn’t seem as sanitary as gauze, but the bleeding didn’t stop for about two hours.

Then, the numbing agent wore off, and the pain began. It wasn’t perfect. I was climbing the walls. I took the prescribed Advil-type (narcotic free) pills I’d been given but got little relief all evening until finally, exhausted from the ordeal, I konked out, only awakening in pain a few times during the night.

We had to pick up Frank’s seeds from the ground. Otherwise, the bushbucks will eat them.

I’d taken the prescribed medication again before I went to sleep, but it wore off during the night, and when I awoke, it was too soon to take another. Eight hours had to pass. At 5:00 am, I played a game on my phone and drifted off back to sleep amid the discomfort. I awoke at 7:00 am, and much to my surprise, the pain was gone.

Wow! I hadn’t taken the Advil-type tablet since 11:00 pm and haven’t needed to do so today. I guess I’m recovered, just like that! I am thrilled this is over. I was dreading it for days. I haven’t had a tooth pulled in more than 54 years, shortly after my son Richard was born. In “those days,” they said a woman would lose a tooth for each child born, which has since been proven to be a wive’s tale.

Spikey’s horns are growing as he matures.

Tom had a more leisurely first day when two teeth were pulled a few weeks ago, which has since healed. When we return to Marloth Park in 15 months, he’ll see Dr. Singh get implants for both missing teeth, which shows when he smiles. My tooth was the last molar in my bottom right which doesn’t show. There is no point in doing anything about that.

As they say, “It’s hell to get old.” These issues are a by-product of aging, often resulting in problems with teeth and other body parts. But, the alternative? Nah, not so good. It’s the way it is. All we can do is continue to strive to take good care of ourselves in every possible way, some of which are easier to do than others.

In one way or another, I’m looking forward to leaving for the US again in 37 days. The roads where we’ll be staying in Apache Junction are level, allowing us to go for daily walks easily. Also, it seldom rains in the desert, and the weather will be comfortable and sunny most days during the winter months.

Regardless of how hard it is to leave Marloth Park, I keep reminding myself of the good parts we’ll enjoy being back in the US for a total of four months. And, of course, we’ll be looking forward to our future itinerary as we now consistently add to the list.

Have a happy, healthy, and fulfilling day!

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

One year ago, this photo was posted in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #175. We were fortunate to see many rhinos while in the Maasai Mara in 2013. For more photos, please click here.

Off to the dentist once again…Busy morning in the bush…The animals are hungry!…

A rock for a pillow.

In a few minutes, we’ll be leaving for my dentist appointment when finally, I’m having that recently root-canaled tooth pulled. It just wouldn’t stop hurting, and there was no point in adding a crown to a painful tooth. Since it’s the last molar on the bottom left and won’t be visible when I smile or laugh, pulling was the best option.

Since I had the root canal only a few months ago, Dr. Singh explained it could require “surgery” to pull it out if it doesn’t come out quickly on the first try. I am not looking forward to this.

Thick Neck/Bad Leg hangs around most of the day and night.

My plan today was to start preparing today’s post, hoping to complete it when we return. Hopefully, I will feel fine and will be able to finish the post. If not, I will write a short update, add what I have written thus far, and be back with more tomorrow. I am hoping I don’t need to take more antibiotics. I’ve had enough of them in the past year with the teeth issues.

Once I am done today, if all goes well, I won’t have to return to Dr. Singh until we return in December 2022, when I still have one silver amalgam filling in my mouth. I want to be removed, once and for all. Over the years, I’ve had all of them replaced with white porcelain.

Kudus and bushbucks in the garden this morning.

This morning was quite eventful in the garden. At one point, we had no less than 20 wild animals in the garden. Without rain yet, the bush is so dry the animals have nothing to graze upon and are subject to people like us feeding them. Several bushbucks live in our garden, always looking at us for more food. It’s heartbreaking. We can’t possibly give them enough food to get them through the day.

However, they will make it to the rainy season, from what we can tell. They all look healthy and surprisingly well-fed. On Friday night at Jabula, we met Gary, one of our neighbors, and he sees and feeds many of the same animals we see and feed. We laughed over their characteristics. Each animal has its unique personality, and it’s often easy to distinguish one from another. We all laughed about Broken Horn, This Neck/Bad Leg, and Holey Moley.

Lots of animals were looking at us this morning.

Gary wasn’t quite sure who Little is, but then again, he may not have been looking for his distinguishing marks and characteristics, which for me is hard to miss. When he approaches, he always heads to the side of the veranda, closest to where I sit. He’s very bossy and will come up onto the veranda if we don’t respond to his visit. Gosh, soon we’ll be gone, and he’ll have to find someone else to pester several times a day. (Not that I mind at all).

A few readers have written inquiring about how hard it will be on the wildlife when we leave. Once the rains come in the next month or two, everything will be green, and eating pellets and vegetables offered by humans won’t be necessary to survive. But, they are resourceful and will wander to other locations where residents are feeding.

We couldn’t toss out the carrots and pellets quickly enough.

At that point, any pellets tossed their way are comparable to treats one would give their pet, not necessary for survival but fun for us humans to show our love and devotion.

Last night, we cooked burgers on the braai, directly on the grates. This morning, a dozen or so mongooses climbed up the back of the braai and started nibbling on the remnants of the meat and fat. Soon, Vusi or Zef will arrive and clean the braai as they do each day after we’ve used it. But it’s always funny to hear the mongooses moving inside the gas braai. It’s another of those humorous experiences we discover in the bush.

As I looked out the window in the kitchen, I saw the kudus in the front garden.

Right now, three mongooses are drinking from Frank’s little container of water. As carnivores, they don’t eat seed or vegetables, but on occasion, they’ll run off with a piece of cabbage, celery, or carrots, playing with it but not eating it.

Right now, only 15 minutes before we depart for Malalane, Tom is watching overtime for last night’s Minnesota Vikings Game. If it’s not done in time for us to leave, he’ll watch it when we return later on.

When they heard the commotion in the back, they moved to the rear garden with the others.

We have returned from the dentist in Malalane. I’m not up to writing much now, but I’ll be back with more tomorrow. All went well, but right now, I think I’ll take it easy and watch the latest episode of Season 11 of The Walking Dead and lay low for the remainder of the day.

It’s a beautiful warm, not hot, sunny day. The animals returned when we did, and they were looking for pellets and seeds. We are attending to them now. Tomorrow is another day, and surely I will be fine by then.

Three kudus in the front garden munching off a little tree with greenery.

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 13, 2020:

One year ago, this photo was posted in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #174. As we were sitting in our outdoor living room in Kenya that morning in 2013, while writing, seven goats jumped over their stone wall behind our garden directly into our garden, only a few feet from us. They decided to dine on the lush leaves of the hibiscus bushes in our yard. For more photos, please click here. For more photos, please click here.

It didn’t turn out quite the same as expected…More new exciting bookings…

Broken Horn and Hal in a bit of scuffle over pellets this morning.

For days I was dreading the prospect of having my tooth pulled, only to discover that Dr. Singh decided to wait until next week when he seated a crown on another tooth that needed a crown replaced. That way, I wouldn’t have to have the anesthetic injections all over my mouth.

I appreciated his consideration. He prepared the bicuspid with the old crown, leaving me with a temporary crown until following Monday when he’ll seat the new crown and, afterward, pull the molar resulting in the necessity of only one injection. He had decided on a good plan suitable for me. A little over an hour later, I was out the door to find Tom waiting in the car for me. All seemed OK.

A closer view of Broken Horn and Hal.

After returning home, while preparing dinner, I felt an odd sensation in the tooth with the temporary crown. It reminded me of when I was a kid and a baby tooth was loose, ready to pop out. Oh, goodness, the crown was loose. There will be no Tooth Fairy these days.

Of course, I went to Dr. Google to find solutions on a reputable US national dental site to see if it was no big deal if the temporary falls out, preferably, not swallowed. I contacted Dr. Singh this morning, and he said, no worries, push it back in. It seems I have to do this every few hours but again, no big deal, until the following Monday. He said if it ultimately falls out, do not use dental glue. Either keep it out or push it back up there.

Moments later, they were getting along quite well.

Well, based on the placement of the tooth in my mouth, if it falls out, I will be pushing it back again. I don’t want to look like a “snaggle tooth” when I smile. I told Tom I could wear my mask when we are around people. See, those masks can be handy for more than Covid-19!

I’m OK with the new dental plan and hope to put all of this behind me soon. I only have one more tooth in my mouth with a silver filling and will have him replace that with white porcelain before we return to the US on October 21st. I wouldn’t say I like having dental work, but I have spent my entire life taking good care of my teeth, and I’m not stopping now. It will be a significant relief to have all of this done here soon. The total cost for the crown was US $318, ZAR 4560, a far cry from what it would cost in the US.

Several female kudus stopped by for a snack.

In the past few hours, Tom booked two more cruises. We are so excited and will share the details in tomorrow’s post. I can’t tell you how enthused we are to be building an itinerary once again. Before too long, we’ll make a new itinerary list to share here. It’s been a very long time since we’ve done that!

It’s been a hectic morning in the bush. I didn’t get started on todays’ post until three hours later than usual. But, it’s been worth every moment. What awoke us this morning was a barking sound coming from the garden. I jumped up to look out the bedroom window, and there was Broken Horn, asking for his pellets and carrots breakfast.

There are always several bushbucks hanging around in our garden.

We both jumped up to ensure he got his requested meal laughing all the while. A short time later, while we were both in the kitchen, we heard the funny chirping of the mongooses, only to find two they had stuck their noses in the door and managed to get inside the house. We scooted them back outside while Tom proceeded to cut up paloney for them. They were thrilled. Again, we found ourselves laughing out loud.

Four kudus, eight bushbucks, six pigs, Frank, and dozens of helmeted guinea-fowls later, we got back to the business of figuring out our future travels. As you can imagine, getting back to Marloth Park sometime in the future was certainly on our minds. Tomorrow, we’ll share if, how, and when we may return in the next few years. It makes me smile from ear to ear.

A mongoose was drinking from a puddle on the veranda floor after Vusi had hosed it down.

That’s the news for today, folks. We hope every one of you stays healthy and hopeful for the future, whether it’s travel plans you are longing to book or peace of mind into the new year. We are always thinking of you and appreciating how you’ve stayed with us throughout the years.

We’re not done yet!!!

Photo from one year ago today, September 7, 2020:

This photo was from a  post from one year ago while in lockown in Mumbai, India, on day #168. The kingpin goat at the holiday home in Diani Beach, Kenya, in 2013. He nuzzled up to Hans when we entered the gate, remembering his early days when Hans fed him with a baby bottle. For more photos, please click here.

Off to the dentist for a tooth extraction…

Pretty female kudu at Frikkee’s Dam.

Sorry, but no new photos today. We’ve been preoccupied with online research and will get back to taking photos soon.

I wouldn’t say I like going to the dentist, especially when the appointment is about anything more than a standard cleaning, which isn’t too bad. Today, my last molar on the bottom right will be extracted after an unsuccessful root canal that wouldn’t heal. Each time I brushed my teeth, it hurt, indicating the tooth had to go after two months had passed since the root canal was done, along with a recent round of more antibiotics.

Soon, at 10:15 am,  we’ll make the 35 to 40-minute drive, depending on Monday morning traffic which can be a real issue on the N4 due to an endless stream of trucks and never-ending road construction.

Thank goodness I didn’t allow myself to fuss over this upcoming appointment during the night, and I had plenty of sleep for a change. It was only about a month ago when Tom had two teeth pulled that were beyond repair. His fast recovery is encouraging, but then again, everyone is different.

The last time I had a tooth pulled was in 1967, after the birth of my first son. They said women would lose a tooth for each child they carried in those days, which proved to be a “wives tale.” They assumed the growing fetus depleted the calcium in the mother’s body during pregnancy resulting in the loss of a tooth.

In the realm of things, having one tooth pulled is no big deal. Can we even imagine how horrible having a tooth extracted was a hundred years ago or more?  I shouldn’t give it another thought. But, as a borderline dental phobic, I don’t go into this procedure with ease and confidence.

Yesterday, I prepped tonight’s dinner for Tom and planned to have scrambled eggs or something similar for myself. We’ll see how it goes. As for the remainder of the day, I hope to feel well enough to proceed, as usual, working on more corrections as soon as today’s post is uploaded.

At this point, I have 50 more days required to complete the corrections, which will be finalized just about the time we arrive in Arizona. After doing these for over a year, I can’t tell you how thrilled I will be to have this behind me. Almost every afternoon during the past year, I’ve been working on them. After all, there have been over 3300 posts since we began posting in March 2012.

Right now, I have about 1000 left. Recently I increased the pace and can manage to do 20  post corrections per day, an increase from my previous 10. Sure, I’ve missed some days here and there and don’t fuss about it, but it’s often on my mind after uploading the new daily post.

Since I don’t have to concentrate quite as much while doing the corrections, as opposed to preparing a new post, I usually have a podcast or movie in the background on a split-screen. It helps me to stay entertained during the tedious process. I can’t imagine how wonderful it will feel in the future to have my afternoons free to do whatever I’d like.

In Arizona, the roads are evenly paved, and I will begin walking outside each day. I may do it comparably to the process I did in India while in lockdown by getting up and walking every hour, rather than one long walk. I will listen to podcasts as I’d done in those long corridors. Plus, it helps to get up out of a chair and move every hour instead of going out once a day.

I am looking forward to walking again, which I haven’t done much while in Marloth Park with the uneven pothole-ridden dirt roads. The cool crisp air in Arizona in the wintertime is pleasant for walking outdoors.

So, that’s it for today, dear readers. We hope you have a pleasant day. We’ll be back with updates tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, September 6, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while we were in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #167. There we were, at last, in Kenya, Africa, on this date in 2013. We were hot and sweaty as we embarked on our first walk outside the gated complex, onto the main road, definitely a daytime-only event. For more photos, please click here.

Visit to a dentist in South Africa…More excitement at “home”…Remembering a friend in the “Photo from one yea ago”…

From left to right, at the reception desk are Dr. Luzaan, assistants Daleen, and Melanie. They can be reached at 061 608 9323 for appointments.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Male impalas who rarely visit our yard stopped by last night for a few pellets. They’re timid, and any sudden movement will make them dash off in a hurry. During the mating season, they bark when claiming their territory among other males. It’s a sound like no different sound we’ve heard in the bush.

As we drove through Kruger National Park two days ago, I felt a sharp pain in my right bottom molar several times over three or fours hours. It was over three months ago, while we were on the Antarctica cruise, that a temporary filling I’d had in Costa Rica finally fell out.

When we’d gone to the dentist in Costa Rica (click here for details), for some reason, I didn’t feel right having the dentist entirely replace the chipped filling. Instead, I asked for a temporary filling, knowing that something else would have to be done in time.  

The spotless waiting room in Dr. Luzaan Du Preez’s dental office is located two doors from Wimpy’s in the Spar Shopping Centre in Komatipoort.

Once the temporary filling was in place, I didn’t give it another thought until it fell out during dinner while on the cruise. Since there was no pain or discomfort, just a gaping hole in the tooth, I’d figured that in time I’d get it repaired. 

The well-equipped modern treatment room was the most sophisticated we’d seen in years with the latest and most professional equipment.

Oh, good grief. I don’t like medical stuff. But, if we still lived in the US, from time to time, we’d go to a dentist, a doctor, an ophthalmologist, or others for a wide variety of aches, pains, and illnesses that occur to us at any age. No one is exempt from these issues.

Many zebras were hanging around the yard when we returned from the dentist appointment and grocery shopping in Komatipoort. Of course, we gave them pellets, apples, and carrots.

Unfortunately, living outside our home country and unsure of the quality of medical care in many countries, taking care of medical issues is fraught with a certain degree of fear and apprehension. 

Warthogs are always lurking in the bush, waiting for other animals to stop by so they can partake in the pellet offerings. No wonder they are called wart “hogs.” Five zebras were munching.

Are things sterile?  Will we “catch” something in the doctor’s office? Is the doctor educated sufficiently to handle our concerns, or do they do “cookie-cutter” treatment for all their patients? One never knows. 

As we’ve worked with Dr. Theo Stronkhorst in Komatipoort for our vaccination boosters and my gastro issues, we’ve felt confident in his care. His knowledge and attention to detail are impeccable.

Then, there were seven zebras.

Yesterday’s appointment with Dr. Luzaan made us both feel the same way, resulting in our booking appointments to have our teeth cleaned on May 3rd. What an exceptional dentist! Plus, the entire bill, including x-rays, was only ZAR 625 (US $50.28)!

She took x-rays of my tooth to discover it has a crack, most likely from grinding my teeth at night, which I’ve done all of my life. She explained that the filling she replaced might not last forever, mainly if I eat anything hard to chew on that side. In essence, the tooth may eventually need a root canal and crown. I was in no mood for that right now or at any time soon.

Zebras tend to stay close to one another due to their distinctive stripes acting as a point of confusion to predators. However, in Marloth Park, generally, there are no predators. Although, recently, lions have been sighted.

She gently repaired the filling without anesthetic (to which I jumped only a few times), and we were off to the grocery store, meat market, and biltong store for the foodstuffs we need over the next week.

Another holiday is on the horizon, and once again, Marloth Park will be packed with tourists. We won’t be returning to Kruger until the holiday is over after the weekend. We hear it’s the “May Day” holiday which wasn’t mainly celebrated in the US in our old lives.  Instead, we celebrated “Labor Day” on the first Monday in September.

They stayed around for quite a while, occasionally tossing a kick toward a warthog who honed in on their treats.

By 3:00 pm, we were back home, put away all the groceries, and settled in on the veranda to a busy night in the bush. We used the gas grill to make pork chops for Tom and lamb for me, along with bacony green beans and homemade low-carb almond flour muffins, a real treat when warmed and topped with butter. 

Several times during dinner, we had to jump up to accommodate visitors. But, we don’t mind. A cold plate of food is just fine as long as we can spend time with the animals who stop by day and night, always making us smile.

Enjoy your day and evening! 

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

One year ago today, we posted a story and this photo (not ours) about our friend and loyal reader Glenn, who passed away a few days earlier. It’s with love, respect, and reverence that we recall his memory and post this photo once again as we think of Glenn and his lovely wife Staci, with whom we’ve stayed in close touch. For the full story, please click here.

Another inconvenience…Life in the world…

We jumped for joy when we came across this Iguana, especially when taking photos without a chain link fence impeding the view.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

One of these cows moos so loud several times a day it’s ear-splitting, which also makes us laugh out loud.

A few days after our dental appointments on August 21st, while eating a relatively easy to chew casserole-type dinner, I gasped when I felt something metal in my mouth. Much to my surprise, one of my dental crowns fell out from the last tooth on the bottom left.

This is an Emu we spotted at Zoo Ave, the aviary we visited in the Central Valley.

I put it aside until after dinner when I read online about how to handle such an incident. At that point, I remembered I’d initially been packed a small tube of dental glue/adhesive used for these exact types of situations. Over these past years of world travel, we’d never had a reason to use the glue.

He posed nicely for us, seemingly unperturbed by our proximity.

Immediately, I opened our blue medical/dental/supplies suitcase to find the little tube unopened in its original packaging with instructions. Perfect. I brushed my teeth and the crown and attempted to fit in its place, as instructed before placing the glue on the crown. This was to prevent the possibility of putting it in the wrong way while using the glue.

As soon as I attempted to fit it in place, it became so stuck. I couldn’t pull it back out. Humm…I’d read that sometimes you can re-seat a crown without glue, and it will stay, possibly for years to come.  I liked that idea. As much as I tugged and pulled, it wouldn’t come out. OK, leave it be, I thought.

A face only a mother could love. But for us, we love every creature, finding beauty in their often peculiar appearances.

It felt as if it was seated correctly, fitting comfortably. Within a few hours, I forgot all about it. Most likely, we assumed, it had been jarred loose during the strong teeth cleaning on the 21st. 

Last night, Alas was eating meatloaf, again, an easy to chew item, it fell out once again. This time, I decided to follow the instructions on the package and glue it back in myself. After dinner, I brushed my teeth and cleaned the crown. This time, I’d open the box and poke a pin into the tinfoil opening of the tiny tube when reversing the cap, and using that piercing tool didn’t seem to work.

An Emu at rest.

After poking at it several times, I discovered, much to my dismay, that the glue was completely dried out. It wasn’t surprising it had dried out entirely. After all, I’d had the thing since 2012. At this point, I had two options; one, to re-seat it once again, hoping it would stick or, go to a dentist to get it done professionally. 

I had no intention of returning to the dentists in San Jose. It was too far away, hard to find, and required a long wait. We’d try to find an appointment with one of the few dentists here in Atenas. It wasn’t as if I’d need lots of skilled dental work to glue this back on. I could have done it myself if I’d had the proper glue on hand.

This chick’s fluffy, molting feathers made us smile as we recalled the Laysan Albatross chicks in Kauai, Hawaii, in 2015.

The next challenge was to communicate with the Spanish-speaking only receptionist when I called one of the few dentists here in Atenas, one that had more activity in google and no seeming bad reviews, actually no reviews at all. 

I looked up the Spanish words for “crown fell out,” which translates to “la corona de cayó” and managed to figure out that I have an appointment today, “hoy,” at 2:00 pm, “dos en puento.” Whew!

Another Emu in the natural habitat.

We sure took the simplicity of our old lives in the USA for granted!  Crown falls out? No worries. Call, email, or text the dentist’s office for an easy and quick appointment. When there’s any type of medical or dental issue in a non-English speaking environment, a solution becomes tricky.

Besides, we didn’t have to use the navigation to find our dentist’s office in our old life. We’d been there at least twice a year for cleanings and whatever other miscellaneous procedures we had performed over the years.

At around 10:00 am this morning, we’ll call a taxi to pick us up and take us to Supermercado Coopeatenas to grocery shop. We’d had enough food on hand to last for nine days, and now it’s time to restock. While I shop, at 11:00 am, the Thrifty car rental guy will arrive at the market’s outdoor cafe to drop off our five-day rental car, which we’ll return to the exact location at the same time on Saturday morning. 

What a large and beautiful hawk.

At that point, we’ll run the groceries back to the villa, unpack and put it all away while I get a bit of a head start on making tonight’s low-carb lasagne. At 1:30 pm, we’ll head back out for the 2:00 pm dental appointment leaving ourselves ample time to find the clinic and park the car in the congested downtown Atenas area.

We’d hope to go sightseeing today, but we’ll save it for tomorrow, weather permitting, and other days over the remainder of the week based on the timing. So there it is, folks, another minor issue in the lives of these world travelers. But, as many of our readers often say, it’s the trivialities of our daily lives that pique their curiosity as well as the “big” memorable events.

Have a great Monday or Tuesday (depending on where you are in the world)!

Photo from one year ago today, September 4, 2016:

The morning view in Bali, as I worked on the post by the cabana by the pool. For more photos, please click here.

All new photos of the interior of the villa…Making appointments and taking care of business…

The view of the main pool from the master bedroom. These sliding doors and others on the adjacent wall open wide with fine screens to keep out insects. It’s such a treat for us to have screens! The louvered slats above the sliding doors allow cool air to enter the room when the doors are closed.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

This morning at 6:00 am as the clouds continued to roll in.

Since taking the above photo at 6:00 am this morning, the clouds and fog have rolled into a greater degree and we can’t see across the valley at 7:30 am as I sat down to begin posting.  The temperature is in the low 70F’s, (21C) but the humidity is high and everything feels sticky.

Other than the moisture we feel under our feet while gingerly walking barefoot on the somewhat slippery-when-wet tile floor of the veranda this type of weather doesn’t bother us a bit. 

The sauna/steam room is accessible via a door in the master en suite bathroom which also has a door leading out to the veranda to the cold plunge pool.

We have much more to face in the way of inclement weather in the many months to come, particularly in Antarctica and Africa upcoming in the next many months. 

As we observe today’s date of August 9th, we predict we’ll be landing in Mpumalanga Nelspruit-Kruger Airport six months from today or tomorrow, depending on which flight we choose.

This short walk from the sauna/steam room toward to the cold plunge pool for a refreshing event after the heat.

Now, reveling in this peaceful, relatively uneventful period in Costa Rica, as we spend time bird watching over the lush canopy of trees surrounding us, we’re on a mission to get a number of tasks accomplished that we’ve put off for awhile. 

Although neither of us is procrastinators, the nature of our lifestyle often leaves us prioritizing based on its level of importance and/or urgency.  Spending the last over two months in the US, left us little time or motivation to work on some of the project’s we’re mentioning today.

Even this hallway between the living room and screening room has ample closets and decor.

In the past 24 hours, we’ve handled the following appointments:
1.  Friday’s upcoming phone meeting with our accountant in order to get 2016’s taxes completed before October’s due date (we had to get an extension when the box of our documents was lost and later found).
2.  Dentist appointments for both of us on August 21st (a 45-minute drive from Atenas.
3.  A car rental for five days beginning on August 21st enabling us to drive ourselves the long distance.
4.  Found a hotel for the 31-nights in Buenos Aires from December 23, 2017, through January 23, 2018, plus one additional night when the Antarctica cruise ends on February 8th (after which we’ll fly to South Africa as indicated above).

Once the hotel booking for Buenos Aires is wrapped up at the corporate rate, we’ll share the details and the excellent pricing in what appears to be an ideal hotel for our needs over this extended period. 

The villa is not only tastefully decorated but has many useful special areas.

We don’t love staying in hotels for a month or more but we needed to be able to store our luggage since the round trips flights to Ushuaia Argentina where we’ll board the ship, have serious weight restrictions (smaller planes).

As for the dentist appointments, they’re long overdue.  The last time we had our teeth cleaned and checked was in Trinity Beach in July 2015.  Since that period, Tom had an abscessed tooth pulled (a wisdom tooth) in New Plymouth New Zealand in 2016.  At the time we couldn’t find a dentist that did cleaning or we could have had it done then.

This courtyard creates a pleasing entrance to the property!

Not only do we both desperately need a cleaning but Tom’s lost two fillings and I’ve lost one.  Neither of us cares to have more dental crowns so we’re hoping they can refill the teeth. 

Yesterday, we called and spoke and spoke to an English speaking staff member who explained it would be no problem to refill/repair the broken fillings.  They have nine English speaking dentists in the clinic and are highly rated by the expat community in Costa Rica.  This was quite a relief.  We’ll report back how this goes.

Fountain in the center courtyard.

It feels good to finally be addressing these issues.  That’s not to say we don’t have plenty of work ahead of us to get these items wrapped up but at least the ball is rolling after a lengthy period of distractions.

At the moment, Tom’s sitting in the screening room watching US news he found on the TV while I’m comfortably situated outdoors on the veranda on this cloudy damp day.  Perhaps, I’m preparing myself for spending entire days on the veranda as we contemplate doing the same upcoming in Marloth Park.  Bugs?  Snakes?  Heat?  Humidity?  Bring it on, baby!

Plants and flowers in the entrance center courtyard.

Enjoy the beginning of a series of interior photos of this amazing villa in Atenas, Costa Rica!

Happy day to all!


Photo from one year ago today, August 9, 2016:

Memorial markers at a local cemetery in Phuket Thailand.  For more photos, please click here.

Day 11…Circumnavigation the Australian continent…Quite a day in US politics…Interesting email from a loyal reader…Medical emergency one year ago!…

A small rescue boat anchored to the side of the ship.

“Sightings on the Ship in Australia”

Not sure what this display is about… footballs of some sort?

With the election behind us, we can now return our focus to life aboard ship. That’s not to imply that our focus has diverted from having a great time. But it has been on the minds of most Americans and others worldwide for some time, and often the topic of conversation among our fellow passengers, both Americans, and Australians.

I’m looking forward to being able to read the posts and see photos of family, friends and readers on Facebook without the toxic vitriol espoused by those expressing their personal views of either candidate. 

At times over this past year, I’d considered giving up on FB, but its also been a great means of seeing family and friends photos and staying in touch across the miles of sea between us. 

Clothing for sale in one of the ship’s shops.

Hopefully, now and in the future, opinions will be focused on our own efforts to make the US and the world a better place with love, understanding and compassion in the forefront. Amid that, supporting our new President’s efforts will surely unite our country whether we agree with his plans and ideas at this time. Time will tell.

Speaking of our readers, yesterday we received this letter from a long time loyal reader Tom met long ago on another cruise. Of course, I asked her permission to post her letter to which she happily agreed. I’ve also included my response.

Please see below:

“Jessica, you and Tom have been our inspiration. 
We just sold our house and our things are about to be given away/stored for now. We have taken a severance package from our employer. 
Our plan is a 2 year adventure for now. I have been reading your blog since we briefly met Tom on Brilliance of the Seas TA (I have written before) a few years ago now. We begin in January. Our plan is similar to yours, avoiding flying, cruising to destinations and AirBnb etc., monthly stays in cities we like, along the cruise repositioning routes.  (Continued below).
Men’s clothing.
have learned a lot from your site. I still have not decided which direction we are going yet. I couldn’t plan as this all happened rather suddenly (sold our house while cruising to Australia lol). Any advice about direction?  Follow the sun in warm weather.. (Australia, New Zealand first, then Singapore to Dubai, then Suez canal to Europe) or do
South America followed with a Transatlantic with summer in Europe?
I hope you enjoy your Transpacific on Explorer of the Seas in April. We have done it both ways this year. If you ever make it to Pt Vila Vanuatu you must tour with Atmosphere tours and ask for a guide named Alfred – he is passionate about his culture and a fabulous guide. Best guide, we have ever had.
In closing, I wish you and Tom all the best and continued happy and healthy travel. The memories of the life you are leading mean more than all the “stuff” people have.
I hope we run into each other on a future cruise. Would love to chat.
Logo wear.
We replied as follows in bold type:
“Elaine, how excited we both were to see your message. We’re so excited for both of you embarking on your own adventure.
It’s not easy answering your questions when so much is predicated by what appeals to you both to see over the next two years. Our desires may be entirely different than yours.
We both believe your best guide is to make a list of where you’d like to visit and then using the world map, map it out so you don’t waste time and money jumping all over the globe.  (Continued below).
Perfume and cologne shop.

We don’t like big cities but you may. We no longer care if the weather is ideal. We’re looking for the experience.  We don’t care to live in apartments.  You may find this works for you.

Since our focus is wildlife and nature, you may find historic buildings more interesting. If we never enter another old building, we’ll be fine. But, Africa is calling us for another visit in 15 months.  Antarctica in on the schedule for 14 months. 
You see, how it’s so hard to say where and when to go. Our tastes are all so diverse and unique. But, I will say we’ve loved NZ and AU. By the time we leave the South Pacific for a 9 week family visit, we’ll have spent almost two years in this part of the world.
Thank you so much for reading our site. You have no idea how much it means to us if we’ve inspired you even one iota. We’d love to hear what you decided to do and wish we could be more helpful.
May I copy and paste your email to our site. We won’t use your names, but what a great story to share!
Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom
Tourist trinkets.

Then, Elaine responded again:
“Sure, go ahead and post my email Jess and Tom. Thank you for your responses. They actually do help a lot. We want to do Antarctica too, and the Northwest passage. We must see the pyramids in Egypt.   wo years probably won’t be enough, but as long as finances hold and we don’t get tired of travelling (not likely for us) we probably keep going. 

One more question for you.  Which are your favorite booking sites?  Vacations to Go?  For cruises…VRBO for bookings (have you had any bad experiences with bookings?)  Favorite Airlines (sometimes a necessary evil)?   Any favorite ways to save money…ie Airline Miles plans etc.  Diamond status is lovely isn’t it.  We just hit it on our last cruise and I expect it’ll be great.
Quote “You have no idea how much it means to us if we’ve inspired you even one iota”  (Continued  below)
Bargain tables with handbags.
Our whole idea for doing this began with the posts by Tom made on Cruise Critic which led us to your website, talking briefly to him and reading your words each morning before I go to work. We always intended to travel, as we do already now, but not to just cut loose and go. That cutting loose is what is enabling us to finance this trip by investing our money. 
The next 7 weeks are going to be crazy! We love Australia too, but have never been to New Zealand. I’m not sure what our focus is yet. We’ve seen many historic buildings already.  I love art and sculpture. My husband loves history. Wasn’t Petra amazing, but I could do without that walk in the heat!  I think we just want to go everywhere and see and experience as much as we can, while we can, make memories for when health fails us and have no regrets. So exciting to see all the wonders of the world we’ve heard about all our lives.
I’ll email our choices once I figure them out! Wish I had more time to plan, but what a wonderful conundrum to have!
So, Thank you both once again. You are changing our lives.
Scuba, beach and snorkeling products.
Our dear reader posed some excellent questions as shown in blue above from her most recent response. Due to space and time limitations today, we’ll answer the above questions in blue in tomorrow’s post. Please check back.
Have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 10, 2015:
One year ago, we visited the dentist in Fiji when Tom developed an abscessed tooth. The bill for the dentist visit was surprising at FJD 6, USD $2.76, AU 3.60. The two antibiotic prescriptions were “free’ when we walked across the parking lot in the local hospital’s pharmacy. For the full story and photos, please click here.

Tom’s tooth abscess is resolved at last!…

Tom, standing outside Taylor Dental Practice in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Finally, Tom’s tooth abscess is resolved. After three months since the onset of the problem, two rounds of antibiotics, both of which gave him temporary relief, two trips to a dentist, one in Fiji in November, the other yesterday, it’s all over now.

“Dr. Dennis, the Dentist” at the Taylor Dental Practice in New Plymouth pulled his tooth after examining his x-rays and giving him three options for the tooth that had already had a crown:

The waiting room was comfortable and organized.

1. Root canal with a new crown at an expense of NZ $1500, US $1011
2. An implant that would take eight to nine months (out of the question, time-wise) 
3. Pull the tooth

It didn’t take long for us to decide. As the last tooth next to a wisdom tooth, losing the tooth wouldn’t result in a noticeable difference when he smiled or laughed. Who among us in the senior years hasn’t had at least one tooth pulled in their lifetime? This was a first for Tom.

There was plenty of reading material, but we didn’t wait long.

Tom has always had “laughing gas” (nitrous oxide) for all dental work, a practice that started when he was a young adult. This is seldom used in many countries and wasn’t available at Dr. Dennis’s location.

The tooth would be pulled with only a lengthy injection of Novocaine (Procaine) and out the tooth would come!  He hesitated when hearing there would be no nitrous oxide used. With reassurances from Dennis, the hygienist, and me, he decided to go ahead.

As shown in Tom’s x-ray, the gray area under the far-right crown is where the infection has been festering off and on.

I asked Dr. Dennis an important question before he began the procedure, “How long would it take to pull out the tooth?” He explained it would be over in less than one minute. Knowing this gave Tom a bit of comfort.  

We had visions of a dentist tugging and pulling, broken bits remaining behind, with the dentist using leverage to yank out a pesky tooth. Not the case. It was over in 10 seconds, not one minute. We were both surprised by how quickly the tooth, mushy in the gums, easily came out.

He still smiles, considering what was ahead.  The goggles are worn to protect the eyes in the event of any “flying” tooth matter during the extraction.

The look of relief on Tom’s face was evident when the dentist showed him the extracted tooth. It was over.  What a relief for him and for me who’d suffered along with him over two worrisome rounds of antibiotics and trips to the dentist. After a few instructions for care, we were out the door of the treatment room and off to pay the bill.

Considering the exam, the x-rays, the Novocaine injection, and the extraction, we expected a bill in the several hundred dollar range. Were we ever shocked when we were handed the bill for NZ $170, US $115? We couldn’t pay it quickly enough.

Dr. Dennis, the Dentist did a fine job, quick and painless.

No doubt this would have been much more costly in the US although not quite as good a deal as it may have been in Fiji at NZ $4.09, US $2.76 per dental appointment.  

In examining the sterilization at the two locations, we felt more at ease in New Zealand and we’re glad we waited, even though it cost Tom an extra round of antibiotics. That’s not to say the dental care in Fiji is inadequate but at their low prices, it may not have been possible to provide the degree of caution exercised in New Zealand where we felt totally at ease.

Based on this single experience, we’d highly recommend Taylor Dental Practice and Dr. Dennis, the dentist with whom we chatted for a bit about his homeland of Malaysia which we’ll be visiting this upcoming April on our next cruise. Overall, it was a relatively painless and pleasant (as such an appointment can be) experience in a professional, competent, and caring clinic.

Allison, the dental assistant was equally friendly and supportive.

After the extraction, we continued on with our grocery shop. I told Tom we could easily wait to shop until today when we’re soon heading back to town to visit with June and Simon at their historic home. He insisted he was fine and we could continue with our multiple-stop shopping. 

Heading to Pak’nSave, on a different day of the week than last time, again we ran into June who was also shopping. We all giggled over the coincidence assuring her we’d be at her home as planned at 11:00 am today, Friday. Small world. 

Then we were off to the Kiwi Meat market with a final stop at New World Market for the balance of the items we couldn’t find at PAK n SAVE. By the time we returned “home” the cleaners, Ra, and Isabel hadn’t finished cleaning after arriving late.

The old metal crown Tom had made many years ago, moments after it was pulled.

Hurriedly, we put our perishables away leaving the remainder on the dining room table to deal with later, and headed back out the door to “kill” another hour. Tom had suggested a new road to explore he’d spotted on the map. He explained he was feeling fine and has continued without pain or discomfort since the extraction. 

As always in New Zealand, every road offers myriad treasures and we continued exploring for a few more hours taking photos on another overcast day. We’ll share those photos in the days to come.

We’ll be back tomorrow with photos from today’s visit to the historic home. Please stop back to see!

Photo from one year ago today, February 5, 2015:

It was one year ago today that we attended our first Full Moon Party, organized by friend Richard, as we continued with a busy social life in Kauai. Thanks, Richard, we’ll always love you for befriending us! For more details, please click here.

Off to the dentist for Tom…Beautiful scenes on a walk…Broadband now working in the house…

We stopped to visit a few horses in the neighborhood who immediately approached us.

Who would think that the technician from Vodafone would be such a delight? We had a great time with Peter who not only provided the best possible solution for owners Trish and Neil but also for the remainder of our stay.

Horses wear blankets to regulate their body temperature and protect them from the elements.

With 80 gigs available in the monthly plan which is not our expense, it’s a huge relief to have the expensive data plan with Spark behind us. With a few gigs left on our hot spot device, we can take it with us when we go on road trips in order to use the GPS feature on our phones. 

Pink flowers along the road on our walk.

Monitoring our usage to ensure we don’t exceed the 80 gigs included in the 30 day period is vital to our peace of mind that we don’t exceed the limit, incurring additional expenses we’d have to cover.

Throughout the hills, as seen from our veranda, there are groupings of trees in the form of a mini forest, adding to the beauty of the countryside.

With Peter’s excellent help we figured a “workaround” allowing me to check on the IP address for the accumulating data usage. Not only was Peter efficient and conscientious, but he was also friendly, making the installation process pleasant and seamless. Vodafone couldn’t have a better, more qualified, and professional rep.

Agapanthus flowers New Zealand, have been classified as a weed and are considered invasive, although it’s beautiful as it lines roads and highways. For more information, please click here.

We find this friendliness and care for customers prevalent wherever we may go in New Zealand. Today, we can only hope the dental practice we decided on, based on great online reviews, proves to be equally helpful and professional. We’ll report back tomorrow with photos. 

We’re always in awe of the view of Mount Taranaki.

Certainly, this dental appointment will be considerably different than Tom’s almost “free” dental appointment in Fiji a few months ago. At present, he’s not experiencing any pain or sign of infection, an ideal time to get this situation resolved one way or another. 

Peter, our Vodafone rep did a fabulous job to ensure we had a strong connection.

We certainly don’t want him to have to go through the third round of antibiotics while on the two-week cruise beginning on April 16th or during our upcoming two months in Bali, immediately thereafter.

Similar flowers are seen in many areas that grow prolifically in New Zealand’s mild climate.

Having moved our appointment with June to see her historic home on Friday and grocery shopping today after his dental appointment, we’re back on track.

Morning view of the mountains from our veranda.

We’re off for Tom’s appointment and will be back tomorrow with more new photos and the continuation of living a joyful life in the countryside in exquisite New Zealand.  We had no idea how much we’d love this fabulous location.

Back to you soon!

Photo from one year ago today, February 4, 2015:

Tropical climates such as Fiji and Hawaii have ideal conditions for flowers to bloom year-round. For more photos, from our time in Kauai, please click here.