No one is exempt from a scam…Including me, making a mistake…A warning for all of us…

Gee.This ad looked legitimate. Lori and other Shark Tank cast members have mentioned that there have been many scams using their likenesses and names. QVC explained this ad was on TV in 2019 but not since.

Shortly after we arrived in Nevada on December 15, I saw a Facebook ad on December 18 for a fantastic carry-on bag. It was advertised on a video by Lori Grenier from QVC and Shark Tank, so I didn’t question its validity for a second. I placed the order but noticed I didn’t receive a confirmation email.

I didn’t question not receiving an immediate email confirmation from QVC simply because it was so close to Christmas, and I trusted QVC. I hadn’t made a QVC order since 2011 and wasn’t concerned, thinking it would arrive sometime in the 3½ months we’re in Lake Las Vegas, leaving on March 31.

Tom asked me if I had ever received the bag a while ago, and I explained I had not. I’d assumed that with the high demand for this nifty bag, I’d undoubtedly receive it within 60 days and still wasn’t concerned. The cost was only $40 for the item with shipping.

However, in the past day or so, I started thinking about this item. and decided to contact QVC. I wanted the item more than I wanted a $40 credit. Alas, after speaking with QVC this morning, I discovered they had no record of me purchasing the item. The last purchase they showed for me in their system was in 2011 before we began traveling the world.

The supervisor I spoke to explained that they’ve received many calls from customers who purchased this same item and never received it. After a little further research I found a comment page on Facebook with hundreds of people complaining the ad on Facebook was a scam.

I realized getting this resolved was only through my credit card company since QVC had no record of the purchase and obviously couldn’t offer me a refund (or the item). However, I had a copy of the transaction on my December credit card statement. It didn’t show as if it was from QVC. The entry was from some arbitrary company, Sarry. Maybe they meant “Sorry,” sorry that I fell victim to their scam.

Even when I went through the December statement in January and didn’t give the charge another thought, after speaking with QVC this morning, I called the credit card company. After the call, they credited my account for the $40 and will handle the resolution afterward.

I learned a lesson I will implement going forward. I will no longer buy any products from Facebook ads. If I see something I want to buy, I’ll go directly to the website and purchase it from there, or better yet, from Amazon, which has almost every product you can imagine. I haven’t had any problems dealing with Amazon. If there was a problem, they quickly resolved it to my satisfaction.

That’s not to say that all products offered on Facebook are a hoax; I’m sure many are legitimate. But, after spending about an hour this morning dealing with this, I prefer not to waste my time trying to resolve such an issue.

Nonetheless, I would have loved to receive that carry-on bag. It was perfect for me. I can do a little research to see if I can find something similar from a reliable source.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, February 7, 2014:

There he was, looking at us through the glass and wood sliding door in the master bedroom at Khaya Umdani. What a sight. For more photos, please click here.

Please “unfriend me” if…Social media during lock down…

The excellent staff served us at the Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport. They couldn’t be more attentive and concerned about our needs and those of the other stranded foreign nationals staying at the hotel during this difficult time. Thank you, dear staff members, for taking such good care of us, including taking everyone’s temperature this morning.
Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Regardless of difficult times, our lives are filled with the love and support of family/readers,/friends from all over the world. In 2019, when I had emergency open-heart surgery in South Africa, there was and continues to be an outpouring of generosity in prayers and warm wishes. 

We can proudly say, we have “no haters” imposing upon the joys and challenges of our daily lives of world travel.

Now, as we wait in a hotel room in Mumbai, India, for the virus to run its course and free us and the rest of the world to be able to continue with our lives, again the kindness and concern expressed by countless readers throughout the world flood our inboxes.

This generosity of spirit not only brings smiles to our faces as we rifle through the messages, trying to respond to each one personally, but it honestly has had an impact on our day-to-day lives.

As I lay on the sofa in our holiday home in the bush in February, March, and April 2019, with mosquitoes buzzing around our heads, temperatures well into the  40C (100F) range, with power going off and on due to load-shedding (utility company turning the power off for hours at a time to conserve resources), nothing beyond the loving attentiveness of my husband, family and local friends brought me more peace and comfort, than hearing from so many of you.

With the impact of this dreadful virus, we’re all locked down in one way or another, and yet our readers continue to reach out to us each day. This feeling of “never being alone” positively impacts both of us as we, like you, muddle our way through this challenge.

The hotel staff, some of whom are shown in the above photo, have embraced each guest with such kindness, extraordinary service, and a high level of concern, far beyond what one would expect during these trying times. 

During the lockdown in India, the Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport has created this heart image as a show of supports using lights in various hotel rooms.

And beyond the communication we so much treasure with our worldwide readers is the opportunity to connect with family and friends via Facebook, which we use more than any other form of social media. 

Over the past 7½ years of world travel, Facebook has been a valuable source for us in seeing photos and reading stories about our loved ones and friends. Few of our blog readers share Facebook with us when they have their friends and family with whom they share the most detailed aspects of their lives.

Unfortunately, if a reader “friends” us, if we don’t know them and there’s no accompanying comment that they are a reader/friend, we may not accept their friend request. We’re not on a mission to have thousands of Facebook friends since doing so would result in too much sorting through posts.

For me, I go to Facebook five or six times a day to see what’s happening. I don’t notice annoying ads or promotions. But, I notice “hate speech” and “toxic vitriol,” which is often politically based. 

I try to breeze by the toxic comments, but like many of us, especially now with “time on our hands,” it’s not easy to do. I find myself reading hateful remarks about our leaders and the leaders of other countries, regardless of theirs or my political affiliation, that is an outright slam against their service and a slam against them as human beings.

I challenge anyone in this world to step into their shoes, now, in the past, or in the uncertain future, to do a better job than they are doing. Sure, we all fantasize about how “we’d do it better,” but none of us, regardless of how well-read or educated we believe we are, can fathom the depth, the magnitude of what is required to be in such a position unless we’ve been there.

No, I am not condoning poor or ruthless leadership. Nor am I expressing a personal political view. I don’t want to see or hear “hate speech” of any type on my Facebook feed. We are each entitled to our opinions, and yes, they can be voiced at appropriate times.

But, now, as we all struggle to stay upbeat, positive, and hopeful for the future, during this particularly challenging period in history, none of this toxicity is doing any of us any good. 

Thus, if you feel compelled to continue posting “hate speech” on Facebook, which as a medium, I consider a valuable source of hopefulness, humor, and optimism, please feel free to “unfriend” me. 

Yes, I can read about your troubles, challenges, joys, thoughts, health, and emotions as I have shared mine. Yes, I love seeing your photos of your family, your friends, scenery, places you’ve been or long to be and, animals, cats, dogs, wildlife, anything that walks, flies, or crawls. Who doesn’t love funny animal videos?

Yes, I can read news about Covid-19 as a reality we all face. But, not for one more day can I read “hate speech.” If you can’t stop, even during this challenging time, please… UNFRIEND ME.

I won’t judge you, nor will I announce “who” unfriended me. I’ll just let you “waft” away.  

May we all stay safe and hopeful during this difficult time.

Photo from one year ago today, March 30, 2019:

Young males gnus (wildebeest) have blondish hair on their heads, so mature males will leave them alone and not fight until they mature when the blond hair changes color.  Due to the blond hair, the older males perceive the young males as females and have little interest in harassing them. For more photos, please click here.

Facebook…How much do we participate in social media?…

These flowers seen from the veranda remind us of Plumeria in Hawaii.

We’re disappointed we weren’t able to capture photos of the fireworks we heard from dark until well after midnight. The position of the house, on the edge of a mountain, prevented a clear view of the celebrations surrounding us. We hope all of our Hindu neighbors in Savusavu, Fiji, and throughout the world had a fabulous Diwali celebration.

Overall, on Facebook, I’ve kept a fairly low profile. Mainly, I post photos or stories I deem to be “share-worthy” although that may not always be the case for my FB “friends” who may or may not care about the photos I post.

It’s natural to assume the number of “likes” determines the degree of interest one’s friends may have in viewing a particular post. When there are few, if any likes, it’s easy to wonder as to what didn’t appeal to one’s friends. 

Our single house is located in the far right of this photo, down from the house above that has three rentals, a huge upper floor, and two good sized lower apartments.

The most innocuous posts may elicit a huge number of “likes” and “comments” while other seeming life-altering events may hardly attract a single click of a finger garnering attention our way.

Tom, on the other hand, is a Facebook fan, frequently posting a wide array of views, objections to other posts, and occasionally, bawdy humor. At times, I may mention (in person) that his comments may not be “PC” but he shrugs and reminds me about our civil liberties, seeming to be quickly waning in regard to freedom of speech. 

It’s hard to argue that point. I slither away, keeping my own mouth shut about him tempering his opinions when Facebook certainly inspires us to address our varying views about many topics. 

Another view across the bay from the opposite side. Our resort is located near the open brown spot in the far right in this photo.

With dozens of railroad friends on Facebook, many retirees, Tom is provided with an opportunity to stay in touch with the “guys” which he thoroughly enjoys. The laughter and banter they often enjoyed in the lunchroom at work are now enjoyed online. 

Many of Tom’s many family members are on FB, giving him more opportunities to enjoy time chatting back and forth, staying up on family events and activities. It’s this type of communication that keeps him engaged day after day.

View from the opposite side of the island where slightly to the left-center is Nawi Island and the village.

Occasionally, I can’t resist posting a mention of health or, unhealthiness, in regard to chemicals in food or the overuse of sugar, starch, and grain consumption and the use of certain prescription drugs with dangerous side effects, that a good diet may better serve. I can easily fall prey to the lure of Facebook in stepping atop my soapbox to express my personal causes and beliefs, especially when another post triggers a response.

Before the popularity of the Internet, we saved such discussions for the dinner table or water cooler. Today, social media provides us with the opportunity to bash, criticize or even extol the virtues of anything we believe regardless of the topic. 

As for my number of FB friends, I haven’t really encouraged our blog readers throughout the world to “friend” me on Facebook. There’s no particular reason why not. All of you are welcome to friend me.

As seen from our veranda to the steep grounds below.

If you’d like to “friend” me, please click here, since there are others with the same or similar names.  I’ll happily accept friend requests.

On average, I spend no more than 10 to 15 minutes a day on Facebook, mainly “speaking” to family and friends in the “chat” module or “liking” a variety of posts I find interesting, mostly revolving around travel, nature, and wildlife in an attempt to stay somewhat neutral in this venue.

Believe me, for those who personally know me, I’m highly opinionated on certain topics but, I’ve chosen to temper those opinions since we began traveling the world, especially in the written word. 

Dense vegetation surrounds us providing us with a sense of living in a rainforest.

While on cruises, we often find ourselves with others who are equally opinionated, providing all of us with an appropriate arena in which to express our myriad views without recrimination that may result from posting such opinions on social media.

As for Twitter, we are truly invisible. I have a Twitter account but never use it. Tom doesn’t have an account.  Writing, posting, and searching for photo ops each day occupies enough time that constantly staying in tune with Twitter is not on my radar. Plus, without a phone contract and the high cost of data, it makes no sense to incur additional expenses reading and posting on Twitter.

Plus, I can’t imagine what I could possibly say in a tweet that would garner enough interest or attention when the majority of our time is spent simply “living” and enjoying our surroundings as is the case for many retirees. 

Pineapples growing on the ground of this resort.

We’re not bored in our day to day lives, but others maybe if we tweeted. It’s not as if we’re at a club and have spotted a celebrity or, for that matter, that we’re “persons of interest” with a vast array of snippets each day.  Perhaps, on travels days and when we’re engaged in a variety of activities a tweet would be worth posting.

It’s hard enough to post worthwhile items on Facebook, let alone be bogged down by other forms of communication. We certainly appreciate and understand the enthusiasm others may experience in tweeting and in text messaging, another area in which we don’t participate much.

Again, without a phone contract and the outrageous cost for text messages using a phone SIM card, we see how easily texting could result in an added expense we don’t deem necessary. At no cost (other than data when online), we can private message on Facebook, and for a minimal cost, we’re able to Skype with our family and friends, regardless of where we may be.

View from the highway to Savusavu.

Without a doubt, traveling the world wouldn’t have appealed to us without the availability of the Internet and, with the use of social media, which to some degree, enables us to stay in touch.

It’s especially fun to connect with our readers in a more personal manner via Facebook if you so choose. Hope to see you there soon!

Today, we’re off to the village! Have a blissful day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 12, 2014:

Beautiful colors at dusk at the lava rock breakwaters in Maui, Hawaii. For more photos, please click here.

Oh no! Yellow Fever side effects hit…

Yesterday, I felt great, optimistic that the potential side effects of the Yellow Fever Vaccine had bypassed me.  One in six, especially in patients over 60, experience some side effects: general malaise, lethargy, aching joints, low grade fever and flu-like symptoms.

When I awakened this morning at 5:45, my legs felt heavy when my feet hit the floor, so  heavy that I wavered momentarily before standing. I dismissed this uncommon feeling, attributing it to a poor night’s sleep or from arising too quickly.
Making the bed seemed an insurmountable task; the normally light and fluffy covers feeling like lead in my hands.  Preparing my usual mug of coffee, the normally inviting smell sickened me. I turned off the coffee machine instead guzzling a huge glass of ice water.

Of course, running through my mind was every possible Yellow Fever Vaccine side effect I’d discovered perusing through the CDC’s website. Yes, I was experiencing side effects, my worst fear.

There’s no doubt that I am a worrier when it comes to medical procedures. After a several unpleasant reactions over the years, I am  skeptical about any invasive treatments.  One could easily surmise that I am overly cautious.
The biggest problem is my continual desire to be educated about health and wellness in an effort to maintain the highest possible level of fitness. Each week, I read a multitude of scientific studies from reliable resources which include Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic and major universities.  
In the past several weeks, I have be reading and re-reading The Smarter Science of Slim by Jonathan Bailor, based on 1000’s of scientific studies surrounding a healthful diet and the HIIT exercise protocol which I have since incorporated into my routine. 

Many may find these topics tedious and boring.  For me, as my friends and family will attest, its more fodder for my guarded manner of approaching traditional medical by occasional musings on Facebook.
Information is power. Medical information is vital to maintaining one’s long term health objectives.  
But…its a double edged sword that wields a sense of apprehension and mistrust by the continuing contradictions handed us via the media, over and over again.
Are vaccinations safe? Did we really need a Yellow Fever Vaccine to go on a week long safari in Kenya (no Yellow Fever is documented in South Africa) while living in a guarded ocean side resort community? Probably not, but “they said” and “we” believed them, myself included.

Today, I took Ibuprofen every four hours, which greatly reduced the achy fluish symptoms. The onset of the worst of the side effects may occur on the 5th day after vaccination. Tomorrow is day #4. Hopefully my feet firmly hit the floor tomorrow and Sunday morning!  I’ll keep you posted!

Personal exposé…

Revealing one’s inner self is intimidating. Some of us are an open book, some of us never reveal anything about ourselves, and most of us, like myself, only reveal their truest feelings, deepest thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams of those we know, trust and love.

As a lurker in Facebook, various blogs and web sites, and has been an obsessed Internet user since the early ’90s, (hence the name of my most recently lost beloved little dog, WorldWideWillie), I have preferred anonymity as opposed to notoriety.
Over the years my younger sister, Julie, a TV producer in Los Angeles, has asked me to appear in one of her many shows. In life, I am lively and animated. In front of a camera, I somehow turn into a stone statue with a curious forced smile that makes me (and others) cringe.  
Twenty years ago, she talked me into appearing on an episode of a gardening show she was producing. With sweaty palms, heart racing, and voice quivering I got through it. I was so inept as a performer that I was unable to watch myself on the video she sent a few weeks later, hiding it from Tom, throwing it away a few months later. With angst, I awaited its broadcasting, fearing friends and acquaintances would see it and call, pretending to enjoy my “performance.” Thank goodness, no one called.

Us lurkers tend to enjoy the quiet seclusion of our non-public lives, preferring to spend our social time with long time friends, neighbors, and family. Oh yes, at times, we can be quite the social butterflies, preferring to flutter among the familiar garden we have harvested over a lifetime.
So, here I am, writing for anyone in the world to see, about a very personal dream, its adjunct expenses (discussing money was always a “no-no” in my little world), my relationship with my more popular and outgoing husband, my fears (zip lines, vaccinations, bungees, bats, guano, being trapped on an airplane on the tarmac, stuck on a chairlift or tram and on and on). 
Also, I will be compelled to deal with the vulnerability of exposing the many mistakes we’ll make along the way, which invariably will fall upon me, as the “official world travel planner” in this pairing.
Reveal, I will. As hard as it will be to say here, that when we showed up at the supposedly lovely stone house we rented for a month in France, for which we paid in advance, is actually a freestanding 300 square foot vacuum repair shop in the industrial district, next to a chlorine processing plant. We’ll take the hit and we’ll take it here. Stay tuned.