Day 5…Henderson, Nevada…Posting photos from Norway continues today…Fantastic day and evening with Rita & Gerhard…More friends coming to visit!!!…

Last evening, while at the Green Valley Ranch Spa Resort and Casino with our dear friends Rita and Gerhard, who flew from Washington to join us for dinner, returning a few hours later. What a joy it was! Such good friends!

It was a pleasure to see Rita and Gerhard waiting for us curbside at the Las Vegas McCarran Airport yesterday afternoon at about 2:00 pm. The six hours we spent with them sailed by so quickly it felt like a blink of an eye. We caught up on everything in our lives over the past year since we’d seen them and dreamed of plans together for the future.

Performers with painted-on breasts walked down the boulevard advertising a show.

Hopefully, we can figure out the timing to meet them somewhere in the world over the next year. With somewhat flexible plans after the first of the year, we should be able to plan something that works for all of us. Also, we look forward to spending more time together in Marloth Park in the next year or two.

But life is in flux, this life we live, and one never knows what may transpire in months/years to come. They are about ten years younger than us and in good health, much better than me. With many recent bouts with Afib, I’ve begun to wonder what the future holds. Getting good sleep seems to be a factor, and I am doing well with that right now and haven’t had a bout since we arrived in Nevada on August 31.

Check out how busy the strip was yesterday, on the Labor Day holiday weekend.

We walk a lot in this massive resort, getting as many as 6000-7000 steps daily. As mentioned, walking isn’t easy for me, but shorter distances seem easier than long ones. We’ll see how it goes.

As for yesterday, when we picked up Rita and Gerhard, our hearts soared with delight over seeing their faces and embracing them both in big hugs. They’d wanted to see the Las Vegas Strip, and Tom drove slowly, following in the traffic on the busy strip, enabling us to take many photos, which we’ve included here today.

The Encore, luxury hotel rooms, and casino.

It was a beautiful sunny day with a high of in the low 90s, a far cry from the typical 110s or higher this time of year. Of course, we didn’t spend much time outdoors. Once we returned to the hotel, we gave them a tour of the hotel and showed them our room, where we sat and chatted for a bit.

With many unforgettable memories to share along with our travels and activities over the past year, the conversation flowed as easily as it always had. It was almost as if we’d never been apart. Our mutual memories of times we spent in Marloth Park were a point in the conversations we kept repeating. Perhaps we’re all meant to be back there together at some point soon.

Palazzo at The Venetian…

They will spend about six weeks in Marloth Park at the end of October. They will share their stories and photos of our favorite animals at our favorite house, the Ratel house, where we’ve each stayed at different points in our travels but never at the same time.

While we were with Rita and Gerhard at the restaurant, I heard a beep from WhatsApp on my phone. I took a peek at the message, knowing only a select few special people ever contacted me through WhatsApp. It was a message from friends Gary and Marilyn, another wonderful couple we met from our site who came to Marloth Park and with whom we became great friends, asking if they could visit us while we’re in Nevada. They live in Utah, the next state over to the east.

Colorful signs along the strip.

Rita and Gerhard also came to know Gary and Marilyn while we all were in Marloth Park. They shared in our enthusiasm over the prospect of them coming to visit us in the next few days. We wrapped up our plans with Gary and Marilyn, and they will drive here (over two hours) to see us this upcoming Thursday for lunch! Another fantastic get-together with friends.

We feel so blessed to have made friends from all over the world with whom we stay in close touch. No words can express our appreciation for Rita and Gerhard spending a day traveling to see us. Who flies from the state of Washington to Nevada for dinner, returning the same night? We love this! But only they would be so adventurous! They often bestowed big surprises on us, and this one fits right in!

Our favorite TV chef, Gordon Ramsay.

Now, we look forward to the arrival of Gary and Marilyn in three days, where, once again, we’ll be reminded of how fortunate we are to have such amazing friends. And then, of course, there’s family, and in a few hours, we’ll be heading to my son’s home for dinner, which they are making for us. It will be another memorable day filled with lively conversation and shared experiences. Plus, we’ll do our laundry at his house!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 4, 2013:

A different view of the veranda than yesterday’s posting. With a huge room upstairs without furniture and no living room on the main floor, we’ll have no choice but to spend most of our idle time outside both day and evening. Finally, wearing my African pants last night was appropriate, just spraying my arms and feet. Gee…those pants work well! I wish I’d known about BugsAway clothing while living in Minnesota. The bugs are nasty. For more photos, please click here.

In reviewing the photos we hadn’t been able to post, it appears it will be very time-consuming and complicated to return to each post and add the photos we couldn’t post. As a result, we are posting some of the photos under the heading of each town over days, which can be found after each new day, listed as Part 1, Part 2 Norway, for example.

The new post with the photos is located below:

Tasks, done and dusted…Setting up my new laptop…

My new laptop. See the specs below.

This morning, we picked up the hotel arranged rental, a new BMW, a lovely car, much more upscale than many we rent while living in different countries. It was an easy process. We arrived at the concierge desk, and within 10 minutes, the car was delivered to the valet area, where we jumped in and were on our way.

Well, I shouldn’t say “jumped in.” I am recovering more slowly. We’re still somewhat weak and lethargic, me more so than Tom. He’s rapidly on the mend, off of all medication, and regaining daily strength and stamina. The headache over my left eye is relentless, making me wonder if I may have developed a sinus infection from having Covid.

I’m not going to a doctor here in Nevada. Once we return to Marloth Park a week from today, I will make an appointment with Dr. Theo, as will Tom, to be checked after the dreadful round of Omicron, lasting a month so far. I can’t wait to feel like my energized self, as I had when we left Marloth Park on March 23, after I’d been vigorously walking 7000 to 8000 steps a day.

We’re getting in about 5000 steps a day in this vast property, but I am exhausted after each walk through the property. This is a typical after-effect of having a more extreme case of Omicron, not significant enough to require hospitalization but dramatic enough to impact the quality of our lives over the past many weeks.

Tom’s new Samsonite suitcase.

The thought of heading out shopping for a new laptop for me and a large suitcase for Tom intimidated me. How would I feel walking around Costco feeling as weak as I do? But, somehow, once inside the giant store, with the prospect of buying a new laptop, a burst of adrenaline and enthusiasm got me through selecting a computer that would serve my heavy use needs.

I selected a Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 with an Intel i7 processor, a lighted keyboard, and a touchscreen with Windows 11, including these specs:

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 15IIL05 81X3000VUS (Intel i7-1065G7 4-Core, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Intel Iris Plus, 15.6″ Touch Full HD (1920×1080), Fingerprint, Win 11 Home) Graphite Grey Convertible Laptop

This same laptop is for sale on Amazon for US $999. The Costco price was US $799, but we had a shop card from Costco for US $310 plus a $80 credit from our prior use of our Costco Premium membership. We only had to pay the difference with tax. We feel comfortable that we got a good deal.

It was nice to ride in an excellent car like this BMW that we rented through the hotel for US $79 a day. We’ll turn it back in tomorrow morning.

I am still typing on my old Chromebook with the bad letter “L.” As it turned out, this cheap HP Chromebook wasn’t sophisticated enough for my heavy use. This new computer has a larger monitor, better for our regular streaming of various services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. The screen’s better resolution will be a big bonus as well.

Two of my favorite features are the built-in card reader for my camera and the lighted keyboard. Although I don’t type much in the dark, I’ve always loved a lighted keyboard and haven’t been able to get this feature on my last few laptops. I am thrilled to have this now.

I encouraged Tom to get a new one like mine, but his Chromebook still works well, and he has no interest in replacing it right now. By tomorrow morning, I will have everything set up on the new machine and be able to post using it. We will keep this old laptop for streaming news broadcasts, sports, and other background shows while working on our regular laptops.

After the trip to Costco, where Tom had no luck finding a new large suitcase, we headed to TJ Maxx and within minutes found Tom a fantastic black Samsonite bag, easy to identify with two tan stripes running down the black surface. He’s already moved his clothes into the new bag and is content with his purchase.

The car has an elaborate console.

Then, we stopped at Walgreens Pharmacy to pick up a few Covid-19 antigen test kits we’ll use the day we depart for South Africa on Sunday.

That’s it for today, folks. I am anxious to wrap this up to continue setting up my new laptop. Switching from Chromebook to Windows 11 will be time-consuming, but I am looking forward to working on it. I won’t be carrying over all the junk files from the past by doing a manual update so that I can start with a clean slate. All of my old files are on Google Drive, which I will easily be able to access on this new device.

It may take me weeks to get everything set up to my liking since I’m not feeling 100%, but I have all the time in the world.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 17, 2021:

Kudus stopped by for pellets at sundowner time. While watching wildlife, it will be fun to be back in the bush, feeling better and sipping on an adult beverage, such as my favorite Skinny (ow alcohol) red wine. We haven’t had a drink in almost a month. For more photos, please click here.

Las Vegas is unlike anywhere else in the world…What a city!…What a nightlife!…

It’s such fun to be staying at the beautiful Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa in Henderson, Nevada, located across a highway from son Richard’s gated community. The lights, the luxury, the glamour, and the food are always over-the-top in this sparkling city of lights and addictive pleasures. Thank goodness, we don’t gamble. We both gave up giving money to casinos many moons ago.

We are thrilled with our lovely, well-appointed hotel room.

But, getting here yesterday was quite a challenge. We didn’t get to our hotel room until 1:00 am this morning, which was 3:00 am, based on Minnesota time. We were both anxious to get a good night’s sleep but awoke at our usual early time, close to 6:00 am. After less than  5 hours of sleep, we are surprised how energized we feel today.

There was ample space to open our bags and avoid unpacking which we preferred. We’ve become quite good at living out of a suitcase.

Not only will it be wonderful to see son Richard and his GF, but we’ll be able to pick up our mail with many items we’d purchased from Amazon, to refill our supplies, including two pairs of shoes and a few clothing items for me. Tomorrow, after uploading the day’s post, we’ll head to North Las Vegas to our mailing service to collect the many valuable items, including our new camera.

Unusual-looking cakes on display in the casino.

Of course, we’ll have to repack our bags to make everything fit, but Tom included one of our newer empty duffel bags in his suitcase that we’d purchased to go on the later canceled trip to Kenya months ago (due to Covid-19 lockdown) that required cloth duffel bags for the small airplane.

Taste-tempting treats for sale at the Lucky Penny Restaurant.

Yesterday’s trip from Milwaukee back to Minneapolis was a traffic nightmare. Our flight, scheduled for 9:20 pm (Minnesota time), seemed like a shoo-in when we left Sister Beth in the morning after our second visit, headed back to our hotel to pack, and we were on the road by 1:00 pm after requesting a late check-out.

Tom’s colossal ham steak, eggs, and hash browns breakfast. I gave him my fruit.

Traffic from Wisconsin to Minnesota on I-94 was at a standstill on several occasions.  We barely made it to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport within the required two hours. Once at the airport, check-in queues and baggage processing were long and slow, when curbside SkyCap check-in was no longer available due to Covid.

My breakfast of flourless egg-white wraps containing chicken, avocado, and cheese, topped with pickled onions. Delicious!

Going through security took another 25 minutes. Since I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, we’d hoped to eat at the airport. Many of the usual restaurants were closed due to Covid with lack of support staff. Buffalo Wild Wings was the only restaurant suitable for my eating, which had a long queue and was completed 40 minutes later.

As we entered the casino…

It was rush, rush, rush. We made it to our gate on time to find the Delta flight overbooked with offers of $500 gift cards for passengers willing to forfeit their seats. That wasn’t for us. We weren’t in the mood to wait for almost four hours for the next flight.

Due to touchless gambling, machines such as this don’t accept cash instead of using only pre-purchased cards.

But, the absolute chaos began in Las Vegas when we waited in a line of hundreds of people to take the shuttle to the car rental facility a few miles from the airport. It took another hour to be processed at Budget Car Rental, pushing our bags around when there were no luggage trolleys nearby. We never liked Las Vegas McCarran Airport for these and more reasons. From the time we landed until we reached our nearby hotel (10 minutes from the airport),  2½ had passed. Ridiculous.

Casinos are a playground for adults with every imaginable game of chance.

This morning, we bolted out of bed with a new attitude, showered and dressed in our lovely upscale hotel room, and headed to breakfast at the hotel’s casual restaurant, the Lucky Penny. Photos shown here today are delicious breakfast meals that convinced us that we don’t need to go any further for breakfast over the next few mornings until we leave for South Africa on Saturday.

Waterfalls are built into the walls of a restaurant.

This morning, “I got a text!” (as they say on Love Island, a goofy matchmaking series we’ve watched on a few occasions) from Richard to meet them for dinner at the Claim Jumper restaurant only two miles from here. We’re both looking forward to seeing them, after 20 months since the last time we were here, arriving on Thanksgiving afternoon when we later had Thanksgiving dinner with Richard at the same restaurant where we dined this morning, formerly called the Grand Cafe. Quite nice.

Enjoy our fun Las Vegas-type photos, and we’ll be back with more as the week progresses.

Have a fantastic Monday, everyone!

Photo from one year ago today, July 18, 2020:

One year ago today, I’d posted this photo on this date, which was day #117 in lockdown in Mumbai, India. Here’s what I’d purchased from a local vegetable truck in Boveglio, Italy, in  2013, for a total of Euro $4.09, US $5.33. Prices were better at the grocery store, but the freshness and convenience made it worth paying more. For more, please click here.