Marloth Park…No dogs allowed…Remembering…

Willie, during his last 17 days of life, resting on our bed with his favorite toys; Tiger Woods (in the forefront) and Fred Flinstone behind his head.  At night, he’d always use his pet steps while carrying these toys up onto the bed with him

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Treefrog sitting atop the vacuum hose to our plunge pool.  Could this be one of the frogs hatched from the nest of almost two months ago?

Anniversary dates seem to matter more to us as we’ve aged, whether it’s in regard to our relationship, places we’ve been and experiences we’ve had over the years.

Today, one particular anniversary is difficult to pass, the day our last dog, WorldWideWillie, made his way to doggie heaven.  It was a heartbreaking and sorrowful day.

Willie standing on the seat of a picnic table in our yard, on his last day of life looking for moving critters to chase.  He’d been awake all night coughing terribly while we stayed awake with him, comforting him.

For those who’ve never had a dog or other pet, wanted a dog or other pet or understand the degree of love we can have for our furry friends, surely today’s post will be of little interest.

But, oddly, there’s a huge connection with our love and remembrance of Willie with being in Marloth Park, one that is so obvious to us, as we cherish each and every animal that stops by to visit, whether its as unassuming as the above-mentioned tree frog in today’s “Sighting of the Day in the Bush” or as fascinating as “forkl” of 20 kudus such as visited us over the weekend.

Willie would sit staring at my laptop for hours, hoping I’d Skype my sister Julie when he and I were visiting son Richard in Las Vegas.  He’d get so excited when he’d hear her voice.

It’s the profound love of animals that some, not all, of us possess that drives us, motivates us and inspires us, to have dogs as pets, lavishing an often over-abundant lifestyle to ensure the quality of joy they bring us and ultimately them in our excesses.

Such was the case with Willie and our two prior Australian Terriers over a period of 18 years.  Bart was run over by the mailman on our private road at five years of age and Ben passed from the effects of Cushing’s Disease at 12 years of age, two years before the heartbreak of losing Willie.

Willie on his last trip to Petco after his diagnosis, deciding if he’d like anything which normally, he’d choose from these reachable bins.  This time, he didn’t choose a thing.

It was through the love of these dogs and ultimately with Willie when we arrived at a magical place within our hearts that clearly defined our passion for animals had come to fruition.

Willie passed away on April 9, 2011.  We began our worldwide journey on October 31, 2012, 18 months later.  However, it was during the planning stages in 2012 while we were still living in Minnesota that we booked plans to come to Africa, first to Diani Beach, Kenya to go on safari in the Masai Mara and then making plans to come here to Marloth Park, South Africa.  Why?  To see the animals, plain and simple. 

Shortly before the vet came to the house to send Willie to doggie heaven.

Sure, I could go into the details of why we loved Willie so much and the heartbreak we both felt over losing him on this date seven years ago.  But, you’ve heard it all before, from us, from others, on losing their beloved pets and the sorrow that hovers in one’s heart, days, weeks, months and even years later.

So, today, and other days, we remember Willie who, through the first blog I’d ever written about the last days of his life, presented from his perspective.  If you haven’t read his blog and would like to, please click here

Willie climbed this tree on command.  After he developed a cataract he was afraid to do it.  We’d scheduled eye surgery with a specialist but he refused to allow us to put the preliminary drops into his eye which was required before and after the surgery.  He spent the remaining years of his life only able to see with one eye, but was perfectly content.

If you’d like to read Willie’s blog from the beginning (the first post was on March 20, 2011), please scroll down to the archives on the right side of the main page and start with the first entry.  Many of you who’ve lost beloved pets will certainly relate to his story.

Here it is, seven years later and we still celebrate you Willie and always will.  You taught us, focused us and lead us to the heavenly environment giving us the will, the desire and the opportunity to look into the eyes of a visiting animal and see them and…see you. 

He saw the vet pull into the driveway wondering who was coming to visit.

No dogs or other pets are allowed in Marloth Park for the peace, harmony and unity of the humans and wandering wildlife.  Being here is a gift as was the infinite joy of loving our dogs and now, we’re blissfully able to spread the love among many who grace us with their presence each and every day.

May you find the love of an animal to fill your heart with a profound connection providing you with an eternal ray of light and hope in your life.  Rescue.

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Photo from one year ago today, April 9, 2017:

While walking on the Manly Scenic Walk we enjoyed an excellent view of boats in North Harbour Reef Bay.  Please click here for more details.

Heartbreaking “Bali Sighting on the Beach”…Paradise isn’t always as pretty as it seems…

We’ve seen no less than 20 dogs wandering the beach each day, some looking fit and healthy while others are scrawny and unfit.  The beach in front of our house is clean and pristine, cleaned daily by house pool guy, Ribud.  However, other beachfront areas aren’t maintained and are littered with trash and various items washed ashore.

Watching beach life in this remote location is different than observing beach goers anywhere else in the world we traveled to date.

“Bali Sightings on the Beach”

Sorry the photo isn’t clear.  We were too far away and my hands were unsteady after seeing the dog shot.  This guy picked up the dead dog by one hind leg and placed him in a laundry bag as he carried him away.  More on this below.

Before we get into today’s story, I want to mention that we placed an order from BaliBikeRental.com for a hot spot rental for the remainder of our time in Bali.  Their driver made the four hour (each way) harrowing drive to deliver the device for which we paid IDR $3,885,577.50, US $291 plus an additional IDR $1,068,200, US $80 for a deposit.

Alas, the driver arrived with two devices to ensure at least one would work but neither would acquire an adequate signal.  At that point, we were worried we wouldn’t get our money back or be charged a high transport fee.  Much to our surprise, we were refunded the entire amount including the deposit 

Although these dog seem friendly and harmless, many have rabies and other diseases.

Of course, we felt badly it wouldn’t work in this remote location for us and for the efforts of the company.  But, the honorable company, BaliBikeRental.com, immediately refunded our entire payment inspiring us to mention them here. 

If you’re looking for a motorbike or hotspot rental while in Bali, this company appears highly reputable.  They’ve never had a request for a device from this remote area in the past and didn’t realize it wouldn’t work. Apparently, they work well near the resorts and Denpasar, the capital city. 

As a result, we have no choice but to use the slow wifi signal in the house, which works off and on.  Downloading photos is challenging which I will do late at night for the next day’s post.  We’ll do our best to get at least six or seven photos posted each day along with our stories.


Not only do the dogs wander the beaches searching for food, they often play together and roll in the sand.  They drink the water in the river and go into the river water to cool off but we’ve yet to see one enter the ocean.

On to our story of the day…

As much as we’d like to assume living each day in Paradise is perfect, as our regular readers so well know from experience, we tell it like it is…the good, the bad and the ugly.

The beach in front of our house is a constant stream of activity, some interesting, some mundane and some shocking.  We’ve seen children as young as four or five years old, alone playing on the beach with no parent in sight. 

We’ve seen naked young boys between five to nine years old, swimming and playing in the river for hours at a time, alone without adult supervision, later to throw on their shorts and wander away. 

As we closely watch the activity on the beach, we wonder which dog will be “next.”

We’ve seen “seedy” looking characters on the beach, occasionally looking our way.  We’ve seen an endless stream of motorbikes traveling up and down the beach all day, into the early evening. 

We’ve seen moms and kids walking along the beach, women with pots on their heads and as shown, buffalo and horses being escorted to the river for a cooling soak.

Of considerable interest to us both, dog lovers that we are, we’d enjoyed watching the seemingly friendly busy dogs running up and down the beach, searching for tidbits of food and companionship, mostly with one another.

The dog on the right is with the guy who brings the buffalo to the river each day.  She plays with the other dogs while he cools down the buffalo, catching up with him when he departs. 

For safety’s sake we’ve avoided getting too close not knowing if they’d become aggressive with humans, although they seemed oblivious of people on the beach. 

Nor, did we want to encourage any of them to hang around refusing to leave.  We made the wrong assumption that most of them belonged to local homeowners.  How wrong we were!  We’ve since discovered most are feral dogs, born near the beaches and left to fen for themselves as soon as they stop nursing. 

On Wednesday afternoon we were lounging in the cabana with the camera in close proximity.   My eyes were peeled on a dog wandering the beach in their usual helter-skelter pattern on a sniffing frenzy.  Suddenly, we both heard a quick “splat” and the dog began yelping miserably.

Coconut husks are used in many ways, including being made into fiber boards for construction.

We didn’t know what to do.  Watching the dog teeter to and fro, within 30 seconds, it fell to the ground.  Someone had shot the dog!  Horrified we looked down to beach to a house no more than three doors from us to see a guy in a red shirt with some type of pellet gun in hand.  We couldn’t do a thing but watch and wait. He saw us watching with our camera in hand.

Moments later another guy walked over to the dog, picked it up by its hind leg placing it in what appeared to be an open weave laundry bag.  The dog was dead from what we could tell.  Had it been an annoyance?  Had it bitten someone?

Gede (had also misspelled his name as “Gaday”) was gone to Denpasar and we couldn’t ask him.  The two Kataks don’t speak English well enough be able to answer our questions.  Egon, the owner, was on his way back to Holland with his family.  We had no choice but to wait.

Hindu temple on the road into town.

By the next morning, after thinking about this overnight with a heaviness in our hearts, Gede arrived and answered our questions.  Rabies is rampant in Bali.  Dogs are “culled” in an attempt to lessen the risks to humans and other animals. 

The guy in the red shirt was an indication of a vet using a “tranquilizer” type gun to shoot the dog.  Some are tranquilized and tested for rabies and vaccinated if healthy and others are shot to the death if rabies is suspected. 

How this determination is made, is unknown to us.  We surmised most are shot to death unless they have a collar, may belong to a local resident and have already been vaccinated.

It is traditional in the Hindu faith to have numerous statues in the yard of their homes as a means of expression their love, faith and devotion to God.

This explained the horrific sighting, but it still left us reeling and sad over this reality.  In the wild in Africa, we watched animals hunt and kill, accepting this reality making us able to watch and take photos knowing this is a reality of life. 

Now, as we’ve observed this dog culling, we feel sad over this reality as a part of life in Bali, not only in the busy cities but also in remote areas such as we’re living in Sumbersari, Negara.

Many object to the culling stating it’s a poor means of protecting against rabies.  See this link for more information. We’ll reserve our opinions for a future date when we know more as we continue to research and speak to local citizens.


Photo taken from the backseat of the van of the road as we exit the property to head to the village. 

This morning we noticed two little girls no more than four or five years alone running along the beach.  We’ve never seen unattended children of these ages alone on a beach. Its the nature of life and culture in Bali, one we must accept.

Obviously, if a child or adult needs to be rescued from the sea, we’d be all over it.  We keep our eyes peeled when anyone enters the sea.  But, as for the dogs, we can only continue to observe them, never knowing, only accepting, their eventual fate.

We’d planned to get out today or tomorrow but much to our surprise, Tom has a sunburn on his feet (first sunburn he’s had in our travels) and is unable to put on his shoes for a few days.  In the interim, we’ll stay put until he heals.

Then again, staying put certainly is no hardship.  There are plenty of passing pleasant experiences to observe each day on the beach as we continue to revel in these extraordinary surroundings.

May you revel in your surroundings today!

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Photos from one year ago today, May 6, 2015:

There’s never a shortage of roosters wandering about in Kauai when there are literally thousands of feral chickens and roosters on the island supposedly as a result of hurricanes destroying chicken coops over the years.  For more photos, please click here.
 

A visit to the Princeville Artisan Fair…Showcasing local artists….Getting along…

In the event of rain, the various outdoor vendors had tents under which they displayed their products.

Why in the world would we go to an artisan fair when most of the products they sell are either for the home, clothing, or jewelry, none of which we can or will purchase in our travels?

Without room in our luggage for one more item nor having a home in which to hang a painting or photo, none of the products in these types of fairs are suitable for us.

In some cases, vendors fear photos being taken of the products to avoid the copying of their unique designs.

However, over these past 29 months of traveling the world, we’ve attended a number of these types of events out of curiosity and for an opportunity to highlight a local artist or vendor. With our huge and growing worldwide readership, it’s an opportunity for a vendor to have a little more exposure.

As a business owner for most of my career, I certainly appreciate the importance of marketing and advertising.  As in the case of this website, we don’t accept any money or gifts in place of a good review, a product, or mention of any skilled craft. 

Jake, with a vendor, seemed to be enjoying the attention from passersby, including me.

However, on many occasions, we’ve highlighted local shops, restaurants, vacation homes, and vendors as a way of giving back for the blissful experience of traveling the world as we do. From time to time, we’ve received feedback stating this exposure has proved to be beneficial for them in one way or another.

Today, we’re showcasing a few vendors we encountered at yesterday afternoon’s Princeville Artisan Fair which occurs at the Princeville Community Center on the fourth Sunday of every month from 1 to 6 pm. Here’s an article from the local newspaper, TGI, The Garden Island with details about the fair.

Colorful fabrics with Hawaiian patterns are often found in various sarongs, scarfs, and dresses.

Although Tom has little interest in looking at merchandise we have no intention of purchasing, he decided to join me to ensure I got a parking spot, a kindness he employs on a regular basis, always looking out for my convenience. He drops me off, then drives around looking for a spot. In this case, the closest possible spot opened up as we pulled in and we chuckled. 

He had the choice of sitting in the car or wandering about with me. He chose the latter. But, leave it up to Tom to find a great spot to sit for people watching, and within minutes he and another retiree were busily engaged in idle chatter.

I was fascinated with this handloom this vendor was using in making scarfs, shawls, and wraps. It looked like to fun activity that I’d have enjoyed in my old life. Unfortunately, I’d never have room for such a loom in my luggage. The quality of the work was exceptional.  For more information, click here for Skywoven’s website.

He never rushes me at such venues; shops, fairs, and farmer’s markets. He waits patiently, never making me feel rushed or worried that he’s waiting. On the other hand, I’m sensitive to the fact that he’s waiting, inspiring me not to take a moment longer than necessary.

I suppose this mentality is one of the many reasons we get along so well and our travels are filled with pleasure, not only getting along but getting along lovingly. That’s us.

Skywoven‘s finished products were beautiful. 

Off I went to explore both the grounds of the Princeville Community Center which had myriad tents and displays set up not too far from the building and then, inside the building which housed some of the smaller displays. 

This vendor, Kauai Curators specialized in shell-made leis and various pieces of jewelry of what appeared to be scrimshaw. This artist was so busy, I didn’t have an opportunity to compliment them on their work.

It appeared that 80% of the visitors were seniors like us and the remainder, tourists with families, some with dogs and young children. We easily blended into the welcoming environment as has been the case in every activity in which we’ve participated here in Princeville. The people are friendly and quick to say hello.

This vendor, Rooster Exotic Woods, specializes in utilizing the local wood of the islands including but not limited to Koa wood to make a variety of products as shown here and in the photo below.

In reality, if a senior chose to live in Princeville as a single person or as a widow or widower having lost a spouse or significant other, of which there are many in this area, there would be no lack of social activities providing them opportunities to make friends and to feel a part of the community. 

More wood products from Rooster Exotic Woods.

The only difficult aspect to this scenario is taking that first step to engage in conversation and if all goes well, to encourage a future get-together. We find this to be the case even for us as a couple. 

Pottery design and manufacture is the product of this vendor, Love Fate Studios

Both last night and again tonight, we are out to dinner with two separate couples Tom has met across the street at the ocean lookout. He took to the initiative to start up or participate in conversation which ultimately led to finding the commonality of interests. From there, gradually plans were made to get together out to dinner.

Mugs and pots from Love Fate Studios. Some of the vendors didn’t have websites, which we encouraged them to develop in order to enhance their visibility and subsequent sales.

Last night’s dinner was with Cheryl and Paul from Minnesota (coincidence) at Kalypso, a reasonably priced bar and restaurant located in the heart of the town of Hanalei. 

Us old-timers had to maneuver carefully when walking on these tree roots in the display area, often found on trails in Kauai. No point in spraining an ankle or breaking a leg.

It proved to be a highly enjoyable evening for all of us. The food and service were acceptable and at under $50 with tip and drinks for each couple, it was one of the better-priced meals in this otherwise pricey area. 

The entrance to the community center’s building where recently Tom and I had attended a party for seniors.

With the high degree of a delightful conversation, I failed to take photos of our food but, our meals were similar to other such restaurants we’ve visited in Kauai thus far.

These hibiscus located at the Princeville Community Center are the largest we’ve seen. They are the size of a cantaloupe.

Tonight, we’ve invited Brenda and Pat for pu pu happy hour at our place. Then, we’re off together in their car to Hanalei once again to the same restaurant we visited last week with Julie and Richard, Bouchon’s. 

The food and service at Bouchon’s Grill and Sushi Bar warranted a positive review at TripAdvisor for which I received a pleasant response to our review from the owner. If you’d like to read our review and the owner’s response, please click here.

This vendor had adorable handmade cards on display but no business cards or website to promote their sales.

Today’s a sunny day and once I’ve uploaded today’s post we’re heading to the Makai Club’s pool. Each time we visit, we find ourselves enjoying the company of even more people, whether tourists staying at St. Regis or Westin Hotels which provide access to the Makai Club, or locals, like our friend Richard who uses the pool and fitness center for a fee as we’ve done these past months.

Happy Monday! Spring is in the air.

                                             Photo from one year ago today, March 23, 2014:

It wasn’t always the best quality of products and often items were “knockoffs” of brand names but, the tourists gathered around displays such as this anxious to negotiate great prices. For details from that date as we counted the days until we’d see our family in Hawaii in December, please click here.

 

 

Tomorrow’s cruise to Hawaii…Total expenses for Vancouver…Worrying?…

Sunset in the Vancouver bay.

The departure checklist begins once again:

  • Do laundry – We found a laundry near the computer store that will do it for us for US $1.83, CAD $2 per pound in two hours.  Today, we’ll drop it off, picking it up later in the day.
  • Fill pill cases for the next two weeks
  • Do manicure and pedicure
  • Pack everything except Tuesday’s clothes and toiletries
  • Notify family that we’re leaving Vancouver – We do this each time we’re on the move
Sunny day skyline.

Gosh, this list is much shorter than in the past. We’ve already printed out cruise tickets. The hotel checkout is electronic with a copy coming to my email which I’ll save in a folder. It gets easier every time we move.

Colorful sky at sunset.

Our total expenses for Vancouver are estimated at US $2050.86, CAD $2247.35 including the hotel bill, airfare from Boston (one way), taxis, meals, laundry, and tips. At this total, our daily cost was approximately US $341.81, CAD $374.56. We’re actually pleased it wasn’t more costly than this. 

Lonely looking boxer waiting for his family who was inside the restaurant where we had lunch.

We’ve made every effort to keep our costs to a minimum during this six-day stay and the three days in Boston to offset the WiFi and beverage fees on the upcoming cruise which are typically close to US $900, CAD $986.  We’re actually, $600 under budgets expenses for Vancouver

The South Tower on the Sheraton Wall Centre where we’ve stayed since last Wednesday, with a blackbird in the photo.

There’s never a day that passes that we aren’t in tune with our expenses. It is this diligence that allows us to continue on our journey without financial stress. For homeowners and renters worldwide this type of diligence may serve them well in keeping living costs within one’s means.

Dining outdoors on an upper floor in the Sheraton Wall Centre South Tower.

Of course, there’s also the painful reality for those who’ve lost their jobs in this precarious economy or are unable to work due to illness. It’s difficult to commit to budgeting when there’s little to no income. 

On a walk, we passed by this Cannabis shop.

At some point in our lives, for some of us, we recall the angst and worry associated with not generating sufficient income to cover one’s living expenses, a dreadful state of being. For those of our readers in this precarious position we hope and pray that you find a resolution.

Distant small marina.

We always hear that good health is the most important aspect of our lives. And, unquestionably, it is. In our minds, freedom from worry is next in line. Worrying is disastrous for one’s health and sense of well being. Worrying is a roadblock to happiness.

Community garden.

That’s not to say that we don’t worry at times. Either of us can awaken during the night wrought with worry that is often exacerbated at night in the dark. Tom worries about the little things. I tend to worry about the big things. Together, we’re an “efficient worrying machine.” That’s teamwork!

Photo from one year ago today, September 22, 2013:

The table was set on the well-manicured lawn. With the balmy breeze and the fire roaring, the mosquitoes stayed away, although we were well-armed wearing our BugsAway clothing. For more photos, please click here.

 

Adeus (goodbye) Madeira!…Travel day post…A beginning to share from long ago…Reporting back from Paris tomorrow!

On sunny days, the blue of the sky is breathtaking.

As we rushed around the house preparing to leave this morning, we knew there would be no time to write a new post for today, as we usually do, each and every morning.

The variety of colors of flowers on the island have been a pleasure to see.

This past week when reviewing some of our past posts, we noticed a number of editing errors that remained in place, either one of my errors that we missed or editing errors when we had a poor connection. 

We drove through one little village after another on our most recent road trip.

I’ve finally decided to go over each and every one of our previous over 700 daily posts and begin making corrections on at least 10 each day. Unable to use the costly internet time while cruising for a month, it may take over three months until I’ve completed this task.

We’ll never forget the terraced hills, beautifully manicured for growing gardens and farming.

Beginning this process a few days ago, I stumbled across our very first post. Not only did I find several of my errors to correct but, I was anxious to see if our thoughts and opinions had changed much over the almost two and a half years since we began posting in March 2012. Surprisingly, most of our basic principles have remained the same.

Many areas had many homes built in the past 20 to 30 years as the surge of tourists has increased over the years, inspiring tourists to buy vacation/holiday homes on the island.

In lieu of writing a new post for today’s travel day, knowing full well I won’t be able to wait to write again once we’re situated in Paris, today we share these final photos of Madeira and, our very first post for those of our readers that joined us partway in the telling of our ongoing story.

What are these berries on this bush?
Blue flowers found recently on a road trip.
The flower grew from a pod in our yard.

We’d love to hear your perspective if indeed you see that we have changed (other than my hair-brained notions of how much luggage we should bring). Please feel free to comment at the end of this or any post.

There’s always heavy humidity in the ocean air, at times visible in photos.

We’ll be back with you from Paris. If time allows and we have a WiFi connection during our layover in Lisbon we may write a short update as to the progression of the day.If the flight is uneventful, we’ll be back tomorrow from Paris!

From time to time we’ve spotted religious shrines in public areas.

Here’s our first post from March 14, 2012:

“Sunday morning we both jumped out of bed at 6 am with a peculiar sense of urgency to begin the painstaking process of changing the myriad clocks in our home. Daylight savings began during the night.  

Over the 21 years that Tom and I have joyfully enjoyed life together, we seem to have assigned ourselves which clocks we each change, two times each year. We scurried about the house, mumbling to ourselves as we adjusted one clock after another, realizing that this will be the last time we will change clocks in this house, in this state of Minnesota, and perhaps in this country.  

In 7 months and 22 days from today, our journey will begin. Tom retires on Halloween after 42 years on the railroad (I retired 16 months ago) and off we go to the adventure of our lives, time being relevant to us in the future only in terms of the time of our next cruise, the time of our next flight, the time of the next ferry, or the time when we move into yet another vacation home.  

As we each finished our last clock, oddly about the same moment, I said to Tom, “We need a domain name for our future website and blog.”  

He chuckled, and said, “Funny, I was just thinking the same thing.” It’s equally odd how couples often have thoughts simultaneously. We never cease to be amazed by this phenomenon.

We had been mulling over some names the past month, as we booked our plans well into the future, knowing the time to document this process was coming near.

Last year, I wrote my first blog, WorldWideWillie.blogspot.com as our beloved Australian Terrier, WorldWideWillie’s precious life came to an end, finding solace in the process. With over 400 followers we found comfort in their invisible, lurking presence as I wrote almost daily from Willie’s perspective, his final days, days filled with love, humor, and tears.  

When Tom returned home each night, I read him the daily postings, often crying a river through the sobs that welled up in my chest. Tom cried with me, unashamed by his vulnerability, a charming aspect of his manly demeanor that which I have always adored.

We chose to honor Willie by using part of his name, WorldWide, by adding a 3rd word beginning with a “w.”  Sitting at our computers we looked up all the “w” words that may be available as a domain. We stumbled across “Waftage,” a word that means “travel gently by water or air.”

How perfect a word when in fact this blog will be about us leaving our well-established lives here in Minnesota to travel the world, leaving our grown children, including our six adorable grandchildren, other family members, our longtime friends, our amazing neighbors, and all of our “stuff,” to be sold off at an estate sale… days before we leave on Halloween, 2012. 

This blog will document a journey that at this point knows no end, a journey meticulously planned to be affordable and yet rich in comfort, visually stimulating, surrounded by nature, filled with history, all the while enjoying that which we have enjoyed the most, simply being together.

We’re lousy photographers but we’ll post photos. We don’t like tourist traps but we will visit some. We don’t care to buy trinkets but we’ll surely buy a few.  

Ironically, neither of us has ardently enjoyed “sightseeing” but, we will seek out those that appeal to us. We don’t like crowds, gridlocked traffic, loud noises, or waiting in line but, we will experience all of these.  

We are both gluten-free, wheat, grain-free, and sugar-free. We won’t eat bread, croissants, or pasta. I don’t drink alcohol. Tom drinks a little but doesn’t like wine. Tom doesn’t like to go for walks. I love walks. Occasionally, we’ll walk.

Then why will we do this? 1. Because we have figured out a way to afford to make this possible with some creative planning, which we’ll share with you along the way. 2. Because we want to!  

More than the concept of world travel in itself, we relish in the concept of stepping outside the box; getting out from behind our computers with fingers flying across the keyboard with our latest preoccupation; getting out of our comfy chairs while watching one of our big flat-screen TVs playing a popular premium hi-def series; playing another rambunctious competitive game of Wii Bowling or looking forward to the next great homemade meal.  

We have loved every minute of our lives, whether hanging out with family or friends or looking out the window for another delightful morsel Mother Nature throws our way:  an eagle swooping into the trees outside our house, a beaver building a den along the shoreline, a pack of coyotes looking for “little dog lunch.” We have loved it all.

So…we registered our domain name early Sunday morning. We poured ourselves a cup of perfectly brewed coffee, topping each cup with a dollop of real whipped cream, and sat down at the bar in the kitchen.  We both smiled, eyes locked on each other. The little crinkles around his eyes made a wave of something wonderful wash over me.

We both looked up at the same time to notice we hadn’t changed the time in the big clock in the kitchen. We both jumped up simultaneously and said, “I’ll get it!” We laughed. We have all the time in the world.”

                                            Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2013:

Palazzo Ducale in Lucca is located in Piazza NapoleoneDecorated in the center is the statue of the Criminal Lucca Francesco Carrara.  For more photos and story of our visit to the walled city of Lucca, please click here.

 

 

Nights in Madeira…Breathtaking!…A new day…whew….Hello, Madeira!…

This is the nighttime view from our veranda! Tom said it looks like Las Vegas with all the lights. Not quite. These street lights stay on all night on the entire island.  This must be quite the view from a ship. Soon, we’ll take another nighttime photo when the stars are shining bright, but last night was cloudy.

This morning I awoke to a new day after a 12-day illness. I reminded myself of a goofy little dog we adored for 12 years who passed away five years ago, Ben. 

Each time we gave him a bath we washed his often troublesome “poopy butt,” a common affliction of little dogs after which he’d run around the house as fast as he could, excited to be free of his tangled butt. He was happy.

Last night, our living room. The lights cast a cozy glow.

This morning I awoke with a desire to run around the house like Ben, happy to be feeling better from the recent illness, not from being free of a tangled butt. Finally, the splitting headache and heaviness in my head are almost gone along with the glassy eyes, dizziness, and general feeling of malaise. Yeah!

Of course, the tendency is to go wild doing everything we’ve missed since we arrived in Madeira 11 days ago. But, I’ll be wise and gradually increase my level of activity building back my strength and stamina, sorely missing after days of being sick.

This morning’s view of the sea with white caps as the wind whistled through the hills.

Last night, we’d intended to dine out only for me to change my mind at the last minute when I couldn’t muster enough energy to go out. We ended up making a meal of scrambled eggs with Portuguese sausage, onions, mushrooms, and cheese with a side of green beans and salad. 

Late this afternoon, we’ll head to Ribeira Brava to walk along the boardwalk, peer into the windows of the shops and later try another restaurant. We’re both excited to get out, see the local “flavor,” take photos, and experience more delicious Portuguese food.

A freighter passing by.

Over the past several days, we’ve been planning our future travels when all of our reservations run out on May 15, 2015, a year from now. It’s hard to believe that with all of the advance planning that we’re less than a year away from the end of our bookings.

Now is the time to begin booking well into 2016 when many of the great vacation homes getting booked well in advance. Many have asked why we don’t “wing it” and wait until closer to our travel dates. The answer is clear to us.

What appeared to be a pleasure boat pulling a smaller boat.

We’ve learned that the best-priced vacation homes get booked well in advance. If we waited, we may end up paying more than we’d prefer or unable to find what we’d like for the quality we’d like at an affordable price. As it’s turned out, the planning well in advance has worked out well barring a few locations that weren’t necessarily ideal.

Our bedroom is above these heavy sliding doors with its own small veranda.

Hopefully, today or tomorrow we’ll wrap up the beginning of our planning beyond May 15, 2015, which we’ll share with you as each booking occurs. We’ve spent hours of discussions and researching our options as to where we’d like to go next. 

Gladiolus on the veranda a few days ago.

We take these decisions seriously to ensure we will be making the correct choices, now well-armed with experience and, most of all, knowing what appeals to each of us, the most. We feel confident we’re making the right decisions after many months of research.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos of today’s outing. See you then!

This morning, the gladiolus in full bloom. 

                                    _________________________________________________

Photo from approximately one year ago today, May 27, 2013:

With no story or photos posted on May 27, 2013, here is a photo of one of the jeweled (real jewels!) chandeliers in the Sheikh Zayed Mosque that we visited on May 29, 2013, for which we posted photos on May 30th. More will follow in days to come. No link is available for this date.

 

A pleasant respite from the heat…The moon over the Indian Ocean on a windy night…Dinner cost how much?

A “house” dog is commonly seen at beachfront restaurants to warn of unwelcomed visitors entering the property from the beach and to chase off animals and rodents.

With the seasons reversed south of the equator, it’s spring in Kenya, comparable to warm May in many other parts of the world.  In many tropical regions throughout the world the temperature differences from spring to summer are usually only few degrees.

The beachfront restaurant is simple and unassuming. Sand  crabs are constantly scurrying across the floor.  It’s very dark inside in an effort to conserve on power.

When we arrive in South Africa on December 1st, it will be comparable to June in countries north of the equator with temperatures ranging from 70F to 105F, 21C  to 40C.  Cooler at night as it is here, we’re prepared for the heat in South Africa, hoping the humidity will be less than Diani Beach on the sea.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the AC (although not central air) will work well for those extremely hot nights.  We’ve managed the low 90F’s, 32C’s in Kenya without AC but there’s a huge difference at 105F, 40C.

I caught Tom off guard here.  You can see his hair blowing and his shirt blowing open.

Yesterday, with both of us feeling the full effect of the weather at 90F’s, 32C’s, day, we were pleased we’d made our third dinner reservation at the Blue Marlin.  By far, this entirely outdoor restaurant is the coolest thus far and we’ve found the food to be consistently excellent.

The moment we arrived to the Blue Marlin we knew we’d come to the right place.  Situated on the beach with no shades obstructing the ocean breezes (as done in many other restaurants, last night the wind was powerful. We didn’t care.  The cool breeze sucked the humidity off of our skin and clothing in minutes, leaving us refreshed and relaxed. 

I hadn’t felt this cool since we’d spent three nights at the Sands on our mini holiday over our travel anniversary with the air conditioner on all night enabling us to sleep with a blanket on.  In our bed here we have only a seldom used sheet.  I’ve always enjoyed the feel of heavy weight covers.  Ha!  Not here.

The Blue Marlin’s namesake.  It almost doesn’t look real although it is.

It had been two weeks since we’d last dined at Blue Marlin, during a pelting rain storm.  The long walk, including up and down steep stone steps with no handrails, was treacherous during that storm but less so last night in dry weather.

The usual uncomfortable beach chairs at the tables prompted me to ask for a chair with a sturdy back, readily available at other tables.  Our server graciously made the switch and, I was in heaven, never wanting to leave. 

Ah, the simple things.  I don’t recall ever moaning with pleasure over a breeze in our old lives.  From time to time, a cool ocean breezes wafts over us during the day in our outdoor living room.  It never lasts. On each occasion, we both mention it, often wishing it would last longer.  It never does.

Every day, local fisherman bring their catch to the restaurants for sale.  To our surprise there
was never any fresh fish for sale at the Nakumatt grocery store.

Last night, the breeze didn’t stop for a moment.  Had my exquisite piece of fish not been so huge, it may have flown off of my plate.  I held onto the delectable huge portion for dear life. Tom indulged in “chips’ (French fries) and Swahili fish.  I giggled when I saw his “chips” quivering in the wind on his plate.  There was no way he was letting one of those fly off, I assure you!

Snapping a few mindless photos shown here today, having shown similar photos of the Blue Marlin in a previous post, I found myself doing so with a greater attachment to the place.

Arriving at 7:00 pm, we both lolly gagged after eating, wanting to extend the relaxing time a little longer.  By 9:00 pm, knowing that most likely Alfred was waiting in the parking area, we called him to say we were ready to go.  We had warned him we’d be two hours. This time he didn’t call us to ask if we were ready to go.

Our entire bill for dinner including Tom’s two bottles of beer and ice tea for me, including the tax and tip came to a grand total of KES $3200.00, US $37.52.  The taxi was KES $1100, US $12.90, a fixed fee we negotiated with Alfred on our first day in Kenya which covers anywhere we decide to go in Diani Beach.  Of course, in 10 days when we go to the airport in Mombasa, we’ll pay him KES $5000, US $58.62 for the hour long drive and ferry ride.

Tom’s dinner consisted of Swahili, a coconut flavored sauce over the catch of the day. He actually ate a few bites of his veggies.  I always tell him that fried potatoes (referred to here as “chips”) don’t count as a vegetable!

A short drive down the main road and we’d returned to our neighborhood. The guards unlocked the main gate to let us in (they now recognize us and Alfred’s car), with Jeremiah unlocking the gates to our two house compound and we were home.  No breeze.  Too early for bed. Mosquitoes promptly gathering around us.

Rather than complain, we dressed in our BugsAway clothing (our best travel investment to date), hauled out my laptop and watched another episode of Downton Abbey, Season 4, Episode 6. (It won’t be released in the US until January 2014 but has been available for download, one episode at a time, from Graboid every Monday after it’s been shown on TV in the UK on Sunday nights).

Mindless drivel. We loved every moment as we always do.  Afterward, I called it a night while Tom stayed up with his laptop.  With a good ebook to read on my phone, the respite under the mosquito netting is always comforting.


Look at the size of my fresh caught rainbow fish.  Not a single bone, perfectly cooked in garlic butter with grilled vegetables and a side of homemade mayo.  Superb!

However, changing for bed is not a pleasant experience for me.  The bugs are amped up at night and I often find something on or near my skimpy cotton night clothes.  Last night, after I’d washed my face I used my hanging towel to dry off.  I felt something crunchy on my cheek.  It was a large brown beetle, the same color of the towel, easy to miss. 

This time I did scream and Tom came running.  The beetle had run off.  Gross.  Very gross.  I got that squeamish look on my face, perhaps lasting through the night. 

Yes, I always shake out my clothing and shoes before putting them on and also, my bath towel before drying after a shower.  But now, I’ve added shaking out my bath towel before using it to wipe my hands or face.


The fierce winds moved the dark cloud across the moon.  It was fun to watch the constantly changing appearance.

After that incident, I did my usual “flash light check” of the entire bedroom; corners, walls, ceilings, and under the bed, before climbing in.  One might assume that a full-round mosquito netting protects during the night.  Not the case. “Whatever” may crawl up the legs to the bed, the frame and the headboard to work their way in. Oddly, we are somehow able to sleep through the night.

Don’t think for a moment that these reactions to this huge scary looking insects is exclusively mine.  Tom, too, although braver than I, cringes and gets the freaked out look on his face as well.  Our fear is not the sight of the insect as the potential for a serious injury as a result from a sting or bite with our mutual allergies.

We anxiously waited for the moon’s full reveal as the clouds quickly moved. Notice
a slight reflection on the ocean below.

Then, one may ask, why did we come to Kenya?  We knew about the many risks.  It was all about challenging ourselves. And, as we prepare to leave in 10 days, we don’t have one regret.  The varied experiences, by far, outweigh the bad.  We’ve seen and done that which we’d never have done had we stayed in the US, as “normal” retired folks, moving to a condo in a warm climate.

This morning, Hans stopped by to explain why the security alarms were blaring  at 8:00 am.  Apparently, the neighbors were burning garbage (illegal here but hard to control) and the fire had gotten out of hand.  Luckily, it was promptly put out.  This entire compound had burned to the ground several years ago due to an out-of-control garbage fire.  These thatch roofs rapidly ignite. 


The final review or, as much as we saw in the 2 hours at the Blue Marlin.
Whether it’s concerns over safety, security, insect bites, malaria (we take pills), illness, food poisoning from local restaurants (we only dine at resorts), potential fires, auto accidents (no highway patrol), the risks are many.


Keeping safe has been our primary concern and yes, we may obsess about it from time to time. But 90% of our time, our lives have been enriched by this time in Kenya and…we leave here with great stories to tell and memories we’ll relive over and over again in years to come.

 
 

South of the equator…It’s spring here now…Monday was the hottest day so far…Power outages for over two days…Rain, rain and more rain…

 

Three rainy days in a row.  Humid.

As I lay in bed this past Monday morning thinking of getting up after a fitful night, to turn on the hot water heater for my shower, the sudden sound of the overhead fan going off, alerted me once again to a power outage. How long will it be this time? 

Lizards live inside the webbing of the chair. I’ve tried to get a photo, but they move too quickly. Jessie and Gucci chase them when they exit, to later spend hours looking at this chair, hoping for more action.

Here it is, now Thursday with our power finally stabilized on Wednesday. During several periods of time, we had no juice left in our computers and our smartphones were dying rapidly, leaving us with nothing to do but play Gin, which with Tom constantly beating me, was getting dull.

When the power would return in an hour or less, we’d quickly charge everything, repeating this process throughout the days. How we managed to write and post the blog, escapes me. I must be online with power to write in the website. 

As long as he keeps smiling…

Feeling hot and sticky from the humid nights after several reapplications of insect repellent, I decided to go the cold shower route two days in a row, which in this heat,  wasn’t so bad after all. After drying off, the usual lathering up with more insect repellent is a must before dressing for the day in the most minimal of clothing, shorts and a tank top. Tom sits around in a swimsuit on most days.

When the power returned for short periods, Tom showered and we both changed into our BugsAway long pants and shirts for the evening outdoors. It’s not easy to put on warmer clothing after such hot days with temperatures in the 32C+, 90F+(very humid heat) but, it is worth it. 

The ebony handmade base to the glass table where we sit each day.

Although there’s a generator here it seldom fulfills our needs. Hesborn has managed to get the generator going from time to time but it becomes difficult when the power goes on and of so frequently, often for hours at a time. 

With the gas-powered generator serving both houses and the likelihood of running out of gas quite high, we suggested he hold off using it until dark if need be. With no one here having a car, going out to get “petrol” would be inconvenient, to say the least, especially at night. 

Hand washing our underwear and placing it in the kitchen window seems to dry it more quickly than hanging it anywhere else inside. I no longer use the clothesline. The last time I walked out back to hang a few items in the tall grass, I was stung on my thigh, resulting in a very painful huge welt that eventually turned into a huge black bruise, lasting for weeks. 

It’s been raining in buckets since Tuesday, all day, all night. On Tuesday, the outdoor switch for the generator to our house blew out from the rain, making a loud sound. Then, neither the electricity nor the generator was working. 

We waited for the electrician to arrive, but with all the problems in the area, we anticipated that he wouldn’t arrive by nightfall. This would result in yet another night in the dark, all equipment dead; laptops, MiFis, and phones leaving only candlelight. To date, he hasn’t arrived.

Gucci, a fabulous watchdog is always on the lookout, mainly for monkeys. When he spots one, he “tells” Jessie and they run to the walk toward the monkey. They never bark at the monkey, knowing that the barking will chase it off..  Quietly, they wait, never “catching” one, thank goodness.  A baboon would tear them to shreds in self-defense.

With plans to go out for on Tuesday night with the power still off, Tom had no choice but, the cold shower route. Plus, as we wrote yesterday, we got soaked on the treacherous long path from the taxi to the restaurant and back. 

As I was writing this a few days, the power went out again. I had to shut down my laptop to save “juice” so we can have something to do in the dark, perhaps watch a downloaded TV show or movie. I’ll continue when the power returns at some point. 

Now, here it Thursday, one of three of our usual dining out nights. Tonight, we’ve decided to eat in, not interested in getting soaked again. None of the local restaurants are indoors with a close drop off point. 

Jessie waits patiently for a sign from Gucci that a chase is on following him in a flash. Although I adore them both, she and I have a very special bond.  This fluffy little mixed breed, age unknown, was tossed aside by her original owner, taking up residency in Jeri and Hans’ yard and glomming onto Gucci.  Tom says that Jessie is Gucci’s pet.  She lives completely outdoors, day and night, only coming inside to look for us or to be fed.  In the mornings she comes to the door of our house, making a wild animal sound we’ve never heard, wanting us to open up for the day.  If I look outside during the night, I see her sleeping on the floor or looking at the door, waiting for us. It will be hard to say goodbye to these two dogs.

Today, our future planning continues. Although living on a safari game reserve in South Africa for three months will be exciting each day by not only going on game drives and game walks, but watching numerous animals visit us at our vacation home in a remote location, we still feel a desire to venture out while in Africa. 

At this point, we’re planning another flight on yet another tiny plane to spend three or more nights at another tented safari camp in Zimbabwe to finally fulfill Tom’s dream of seeing Victoria Falls. Guess I’ll jump into that dream!

Mid-January will be a good for this adventure, midway into our three months in South Africa. As soon as we book it, in the next month, we’ll share the details and of course, post days and days of photos of all-new wildlife and scenery. Hopefully, our “safari luck” will continue in Zimbabwe.

Last night flying ants were attacking our faces during dinner in our outdoor living room. I put on my BugsAway hat, wearing it during dinner and into the evening. Our surge protector and one major adapter was blown out by the generator. We found out we can receive a package in South Africa. We’re ordering replacements. The humidity is so high that it takes three days for my hand washing to dry. I noticed mold on a pair of socks I’ve been drying for days. Eventually, the sun will come back out and everything will dry. I finally found a bottle of bleach at the Nakumatt grocery.  I’ll bleach the socks.

A few mornings ago, I felt crunching under my foot when I stepped outside the bedroom door. I’d stepped on a bright green leaf-like insect that had come inside from the rain. I had recently started keeping my Minnetonka Moccasins inside the mosquito netting at the foot of the bed so I can put them on when I get out of bed, taking my LED flashlight with me. Glad they were on my feet that morning.

This is a False Katydid, the leaf-like insect I accidentally stepped on, which was too destroyed to take a photo. This is a “borrowed” photo as shown in the link.

For today, we have power, the temperature is in the ’70s for the first time during the day in over two months, we have plenty of food for cooking meals; Jessie and Gucci are at our sides continually making us laugh, my shoulder is getting better and the world. It’s a big place. Life is good.

 

Mini holiday has ended…Review of The Sands at Nomad…Cost for our stay…Surprising return to our home in Diani Beach…photos…

Friday morning at The Sands at Nomad, 8:00 am. Low tide.

 

Our mini-vacation left us both relaxed as we walked the beach as we celebrated our first full year of travel.

 

The clean sand on the beach feels wonderful underfoot. It’s no wonder the resort is called The Sands at Nomad.

The past 3 days at The Sands at Nomad have been the perfect venue for celebrating our first year of worldwide travel. This fabulous resort epitomizes the fulfillment of expectations of the most discriminating traveler with its attention to detail, exemplary service, finest of amenities, excellent food, and relaxation-inducing environment.

The eye-catching view from our padded chaise lounges in the ocean front yard of our beach cottage.  It was amazing that no matter how hot and humid the day, sitting in the shade on these lounges continually kept us cool and refreshed. Although we were excited to have air conditioning, we seldom used it, preferring to spend our time outdoors to languish in the ocean views, the wildlife, and lush greenery.

In addition, it’s accommodations, sensitive to energy conservation, never left the guest needing more and if so, any reasonable request would graciously be provided. With one bath towel per person per suite per day, no washcloths, on and off switches for hot water, reminders to turn off the AC and the lights, we never felt short-changed, instead, appreciating this concerted effort of both management and staff.

This “house” kitty was fast asleep at the bar when we ordered our cocktails last night. Although some may be “offended” by a cat on the bar, we found it indicative of the homey atmosphere at The Sands at Nomad.
Many resorts along the beach have a “house” dog as an adjunct to security guards.  The fact that his older dog may no longer be the best watchdog and yet continued to be welcomed to stay, further exemplified our respect for the resort staff.

The mosquito netted bed was comfortable with lush sheets and blankets and soft pillows. The bathroom, although on the smallish side, was adequately equipped with toiletries.  The living area had a comfortable seating area with a TV, coffee table and a well-stocked mini-bar fridge where we were able to keep a fresh bucket of ice, we’d requested be delivered twice a day.

This tree referred to by the locals as an “upside-down” tree is due to its branches appearing to be more roots than branches. The constant care, maintaining the landscaping was a feature we appreciated.


As we were leaving today, we noticed the gardeners removing coconuts from the trees, not only to use in drink-making but to avoid guests being hit on the head. 

This coconut tree was no less than 50 feet tall and here is a resort worker sitting atop the branches, cutting off bunches of coconuts. We’d love to have seen him shimmy up or down the tree but it was check-out time and we’d needed to keep moving.

 

The décor is befitting the African theme embellished with a Moroccan influence with artwork, statues, and artifacts adding to the warm ambiance, allowing the guest, regardless of the length of stay, to feel at home. 

The monkeys, however pesky they may be, are treated with kindness and reverence by the staff, asking guests to do the same. This young woman came to call yesterday when we were dressing for dinner, once again peering in the window of our beach cottage for a possible fruit plate. As close as I was to the opposite side of the glass, through which I took this photo, she never backed off until finally, we opened the door to step outside.


Another adorable monkey visiting yesterday as we lounged on the veranda. We never tired of taking their photos of the varied expressions on their human-like faces.


This may be an older monkey.  It appears this one has a cataract in its left eye, possibly as a result of injury or old age.  In any case, this monkey appeared comfortable with one “hand” on our clothes drying rack.

Complimentary coffee and tea were offered at any time of day delivered to the suite. A bottled water dispenser with both hot and cold water was provided and the balance monitored daily. Teabags, instant coffee, cream, and sugar were also on hand.

No, I didn’t edit the mouth on the forward camel which appeared to be laughing.

The front ocean veranda appealed to us at all hours of the day and night, especially with the frequent visits by two breeds of monkeys, both large and small, often entertaining us.  The powerful ocean breezes kept us cool and comfortable, out of the hot sun. Two padded chaise lounges under an umbrella were attended to daily with fresh towels in our oceanfront yard. 

This photo, taken from a considerable distance, is rich in the beach culture on the Indian Ocean in Kenya, camels, and a Maaasai worker, side by side on the beach. From afar, it appeared the camel had 2 heads causing us to do a double-take, later to reveal in this photos, that it was these two “attached at the hip” camels. Now, they’re both laughing.


Camels strolling on the beach as we relaxed in our chaise lounges in the shade. The camel owners are constantly on the outlook for willing participants of which we only saw a few. At an average cost for a 20-minute ride at Kenya Shillings $2000 per person, US $23.59, there were few takers. As it turned out in our entire three days, we saw a total of 10 to 12 takers. With  numerous resorts along the beach, this was hard work for both the camels and owners, walking
in the hot sun all day.

The pool area, although clean, beautiful, and well situated had few sunny spots for sun worshippers so we opted to do our short sunning periods on our own chaise lounges each day. 

On the first day, many of the elusive Colobus monkeys created the perfect backdrop of entertainment as we lounged by the pool. After that first day, we never again saw another Colobus monkey, although we looked several times over the remaining days. 

Luckily, we were able to post our many Colobus monkey photos including our favorite below which we’ve posted here today, one more time for those who may have missed it while busy watching the exciting US World Series.

Repeat photo for those who missed it. This Colobus monkey and I made eye contact for some time until finally, he offered me this pose, now one of our favorite monkey photos.

Rivas, the poolside bar, is open 24 hours a day, a unique offering for night owls.  The main dining room opens at 7:30 am with a hearty breakfast buffet, offering an endless array of foods appealing to guests from all over the world.  The dinner menu and buffet provided the utmost in dining options befitting all age groups and tastes. 

We had chosen the B&B option which included our oceanfront cottage and breakfast which especially worked for us with neither of us caring to eat lunch. Dinners were prepared with skill and attention to one’s preferences, which in my case was utmost of importance. I never felt I was imposing or “asking too much” when requesting my special considerations.

With flour laden sugary desserts not an option for my restrictive diet,  the chef didn’t hesitate to prepare this delicious cheese plate.

Staff quickly learned our names making us feel at ease and welcomed regardless of the area we were visiting, especially in the restaurant. The only suggestion we’d offer is that the beer wasn’t cold enough and thus, Tom requested it is freezer-chilled before we arrived for dinner, most evenings around 7:15. Bruno happily complied to ensure this was handled each evening.

The “snake show” on Wednesday evening at 5:30, brought many of the guests together for an entertaining experience for even the most squeamish of attendees. As you’ll see in tomorrow’s post, our final post on our mini holiday celebration, we took plenty of photos.

This morning at low tide as we dined on our “custom made” omelets and multiple offerings at the breakfast buffet which was included in the cost of our cottage.

Complimentary coffee and tea with “crumpets” was served poolside each afternoon from 4:00 to 5:00 pm which we never attended although we’d intended to do so. Instead, we were lazily relishing the cool ocean breezes, the rampant wildlife easily visible on the property, and the relaxing environment. The Sands at Nomad freely exuded its obvious mission to create a flawless and memorable holiday experience. Mission accomplished. 

The cost for oceanfront cottage for three nights with breakfast, tax, and service charge included:

Kenya Shilling $77550, US $914.50 plus extra for three nights dinners plus cocktails and beverages, Kenya Shillings $12330, US $145.40 plus all tips Kenya Shillings $3000, US $35.38 plus taxi fare to and from Kenya Shilling $1300, US $15.30.

Grand total:  Kenya Shilling $94180, US $1110.60

Note:  As for our pleasant surprise upon returning to our Diani Beach home, with one more month as of today until we leave for South Africa, was that Hans and Jeri had arranged to have our house professionally treated for insects. With us gone, it was an opportunity to let the process work and to protect us from the fumes. We couldn’t be more appreciative and thrilled to know we’ll be swatting fewer insects off of us.

Also, when we returned, our temporary dogs, Jessie and Gucci went wild with enthusiasm, barking, and literally chirping when they saw us. Now back a full two hours, they’ve yet to leave our sides. It feels like “home.” But, then again, isn’t that what a temporary home for world travelers such as us,  is supposed to feel like?

 

No water yesterday…No electricity for 17 hours today…What?? Boredom? Nope, not us.

 

Who can be bored when the playful antics of our temporary dogs, Jessie and Gucci never fail to entertain us?

Yesterday, late afternoon the power went out.  After 15 hours with no water yesterday, the power going out after the water came back on was an odd coincidence, none the less frustrating.

We were showering and dressing in preparation for dinner at a resort we’d yet to try, Diani Reef Resort and Spa (photos coming tomorrow).  Luckily, it was light enough to finish getting ready.  Our taxi driver, Alfred, was due to arrive at 6:30.  Darkness falls at 6:45 pm.

Gucci loving demeanor make us laugh when he’s so pushy about us paying attention to him.  He reminded us of our beloved Worldwide Willie (read Willie’s blog of the last days of his life, if you love dogs) who’d elicit a low bark if we made eye contact with him and then looked away. We love dogs.

As we drove away from the house, we both sat silently, not looking forward to returning to a dark house after dinner.  Since arriving on September 2, 2013, the longest power outage in Diani Beach had been an annoying 6 1/2 hours a few weeks ago. 

After a divine experience at the Diani Reef Resort and Spa last night (we’ll share details tomorrow), we’d hardly given the power situation a thought until at 10:00 pm we were back in the taxi with Alfred for the long drive back. 


Candles and lanterns to get us through power outages which frequently occur.

The moment we approached the main security gate  to our small neighborhood, which the guards opened upon recognizing Alfred’s taxi and waving “jambo” at us, we knew the power was still off.  Jeremiah, our security guard greeting us at our gate with a flashlight walking us to the dark house.

Within moments Jeremiah (our security guard) and Jeri (Hans’ wife) appeared with a above handheld candle lantern, two tabletop lanterns and extra candles.  With our plan to use an hour of the remaining battery power on my laptop, we settled in bed to watch a show.

With no overhead fan working, I was restless all night, overheated and uncomfortable.  Yesterday, it had rained off and on, torrential with wind that required that Tom moved the sofa in our outdoor living room to avoid us getting wet.  The sticky humidity remained into the night.

Just before falling asleep, Tom reminded me of the KES $28492, US $335 for two weeks of groceries we’d purchased the previous day, most of which was in the refrigerator and freezer.  Thinking about the possibility of throwing out all of the food, had a tendency to flutter through my mind during the night also keeping me awake.

For the first time, I put my little LED flashlight under my pillow in the event I had to get up during the night.  One must never walk around in the dark without checking the floors and walls for creatures.  Also, getting into bed, I used the light to check under the sheet, pillows and around the bed.  The rain drives the poisonous centipedes inside.

Another morning with no shower, the second in a row. (Thank goodness we showered late yesterday after the water came back on). Today, there was no power to heat the water.  A cold shower didn’t hold much appeal.  I got up at 6:30 am, exhausted but hopeful that in daylight the power outage would soon be resolved.

By 8:00 am, I found Hesborn (he lives on the property) to see if he knew anything about the power situation.  He’d heard from a neighbor that a transformer blew with the power outage effecting a huge area.  Again, we wait.

By 10:00 am, Hesborn informed us the power was back on, 17 hours after it had gone out. Surprisingly, the food in the freezer was still frozen solid and after tasting my ice tea from the pitcher in the refrigerator, it was still cold indicating that the refrigerator food also survived.  I’ll guess I’ll stop whining about the refrigerator’s minuscule size now that I see how well it stayed cold in a power outage.

As much as we’d love to have “safari quality” stories to share every day, reality dictates that at times, that our lives likes yours, may at times be mundane and relatively uneventful and, perhaps at times seemingly boring. 

We’ve asked ourselves why we seldom if ever, feel bored.  With two little adorable dogs hanging out with us most of each day, with a baboon running through our yard cautiously looking our way, with birds involved in a mating rituals before our eyes, with goats in the yard making hilarious sounds as if they’re being torturing (they’re not), we find pleasure and humor that easily entertains us.

When we know that tonight, a dining-in night, that we’ll have another delicious homemade meal, to later watch a few favorite shows while munching on locally grown nuts, we have no reason to be bored.  When we know that tomorrow night, once again we’ll dine out for what will most likely prove to be yet another excellent evening, again boredom is not within our realm.

In any case, last night we had a memorable evening at the Diani Reef Resort and Spa with the utmost of sophisticated atmosphere, the finest of gourmet food and the epitome of outstanding service which we’ll share tomorrow with several photos of both location and food.