Still, few visitors due to lions…Two kills found in Marloth Park…Seventeen hours without power…Heat, humidity, dust mites in the bed again…

Note: Due to WiFi issues today, I am unable to post the caption for the photo below, which  should read:

This is Stringy. He often has dirt and vegetation on his horns, as was the case this morning. Please zoom in to see a string stretching across his two horns. Very funny!

We have been shocked to see so few visitors to the garden over the past several days. Last night, when we were getting ready to go to Jabula for dinner for the second night in a row, Little appeared, waiting on the edge of the veranda closest to where I sit. I was busy inside getting ready to go out.  He’ll wait there patiently for me until I come out to say hello. Not only does he love the pellets, but he also enjoys it when I talk to him, moving his head responsively and animatedly.

Last night while at Jabula for yet another pleasant time chatting at the bar with Dawn and Leon and some of their guests, we heard that two kills had been found in Marloth Park, obviously due to the four lions sighted days ago. They are still roaming the park for readily available food. Two Impalas were sighted, including a rare sighting as told by Jabula hostess Lyn,…vultures circling above the carcasses.

This is Stringy. He often has dirt and vegetation on his horns, as was the case this morning. Please zoom in to see a string stretching across his two horns. Very funny!

The wildlife in Marloth Park is subject to kills by leopards often seen at night. But, lions hunting is more unusual when they usually prefer to stay on the other side of the fence in Kruger National Park. The only way we’ll know for sure that the lions have left is when the animals return to our garden, as they’d done so before this event.

In the past few minutes, ten impalas appeared in our garden. Is this a good sign the lions may have moved on? Maybe, maybe not.

Stringy was sharing with the ten impalas that stopped by while I was preparing this post.

Some residents take the presence of lions very seriously, refusing to go outdoors, while others conduct their usual walks on the uneven dirt roads throughout the park. But, there is always a dusk-to-dawn walking curfew.  As we’ve done several times this week, one must consider their safety when leaving restaurants and gatherings when returning to their vehicles and bush houses after an evening out.

We always bring a rechargeable lantern with us whenever we are out after dark. Last night, with the power outage starting about while we were at Jabula, the light came in handy when walking from the carport to the house, turning off the alarm, and opening the front door.

The Big Daddy of the herd of impalas seemed to get along well with Stringy.

Lately, we’ve been seeing insects everywhere, including mozzies, ants, cockroaches (prevalent in the bush), scorpions, spiders, and many more. Now, during the spring season and summer looming, we need to start paying extra attention to avoid letting insects into the house when we open the door and watch for snakes coming out of winter hiding as the weather warms. Snakes will be next.

It was evident that many of the females were pregnant with bulging bellies, as shown in the center of this photo. Soon, we’ll see plenty of calves from this herd.

As for the dust mites, they are back, infesting our bed. Vusi and Zef will change the linen tomorrow, and when doing so, they will spray every inch of the mattress with the dust mite killer and repellent. At the moment, I have no less than ten areas of my body covered in hive-like welts from the dust mites, which are very itchy. I am using cortisone cream, which seems to work well.

As for the power outage, as of this writing, it has been 17 hours. We can still use our inverter for charging laptops and phones and running one fan in the bedroom. But with only two bars remaining as a charge on the inverter, that may stop working later today, at which point we won’t have WiFi, the fan, or a means of charging our digital equipment.

Impalas, who can grunt and bark, seemed to be harmoniously sharing pellets with Stringy. As shown, the bush is getting green after all the rains that have knocked out our power.

Hopefully, the power will be restored sometime today, and all will be well. Our biggest concern is always about saving our food.

Otherwise, all is well with us. We’re staying upbeat and looking forward to being done at the dentist in Malalane tomorrow. Tom is getting his implant bases set, and I’m having a bone spur removed from the space where the tooth was pulled six weeks ago. Oh, dear.

Have a great day!

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

This photo was posted one year ago in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #236. The various colorful displays were set up in the hotel to commemorate Dawali, the Hindu holiday. We asked the staff if we could come downstairs to take photos. For more, please click here.

Not a perfect day in Paradise…”Keeping it real”…

This bird appears to be a Blue Kingfisher. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Yesterday, Tom took this distant photo when he spotted this peculiar boat which appears “sunken” in the middle. We had no idea what type of boat this is.  Any comments from our Indonesian (or other) readers who may know?

As previously mentioned in other posts, most tourists traveling to Bali (and other countries we visit) are staying in a resort or hotel of some sort, not a private single family home. The conditions for comfort are very different. 

Also, they may ony stay only one or two weeks and challengingconditions may not present themselves during the shorter period. Today, is aday, where weather and other conditions are challenging, to say the least. 

The heat and humidity is as high as we ever experienced in Africa on the worst of days. On these hot and humid days and nights, especially after its rained there are lots of flies.

It’s too hot to shoot the wall of glass doors, but, with the many flies already in the house, even that would do little good. The only safe respite is in the master bedroom where we keep the door shut constantly, where’s there’s AC if we finally decide to hide away for an hour or two. 

At the moment, I am sitting outdoors, unable to get online due to the poor signal and there are dozens of flies hovering around me. I am covered with 30% DEET, the only possible product I can use to keep me from getting many fly bites.

And yet they still find a way to attack any unreached spot on my back or behind my legs. None of the “natural” repellents (I’ve tried many) actually repel flies or mosquitoes from biting me.  om, on the other hand, seldom gets bit.

With mountains in Java obstructing the final setting of the sun, we relish every sunset photo we see.

Since we couldn’t get online as I wrote this, I’m using “Live Writer,” a MS app that enables me to write and then, once able to attain a signal, I can upload it to the Internet.  Thank goodness for this option.  Otherwise, I could spend the entire day trying to get a decent signal. We’ll have only a few photos today due to the poor signal.

When the sun comes out, we’ll have a reprieve from the flies. They seem less bothersome on sunny days. We imagine the number of flies is certainly due to the rain we’ve experienced over these past several days.

We continue to spend time figuring out the visa situation for July’s upcoming cruise. It appears we can get a visa for Cambodia online.  But, on Viking’s Mekong River cruise documents, it states we cannot get and use an
e-visa for this particular cruise. We must use a service to apply which requires snail mailing our passports which we will not do. 

In the past 24 hours we’d been attempting to reach Viking but with the huge time difference and poor signal it had been difficult.There’s a 15-hour time difference. Finally, this morning, we got through on Skype before they closed for the day. 

Explaining our situation they agreed we could apply for the Cambodia visa online. Only a few online services offer this option, one we’ve used in the past, which is located in Washington, DC and is safe to use. 

I asked Viking to send us an email confirming they’ll accept the e-visa for Cambodia so we won’t experience any issues when we present the e-visa at the time of boarding in Hanoi. We’ve since received this confirmation email
Which, if necessary, we’ll present at boarding.

There are many visa companies out there in cyberspace that are scams.  One could easily be giving their personal passport information to a scamming visa app company. Please beware in doing so and feel free to contact us for names of valid companies we’ve used.

The reflection on the sea is particularly appealing.

Today, we’ll apply for the Cambodia visa and once we arrive in Singapore we’ll only have to apply for the visa for Vietnam (not available as an e-visa), a plan we can easily accommodate. If we’d had to apply in person for
both visas while in Singapore it could have taken a significant amount of time during the one week stay. Most likely, in this case we won’t lose more than a single day.

Enough about flies and visas. We share these details not only to express that at times, traveling the world is not as easy as it may seem but also for those who may consider this lifestyle, to use a little of which we’ve learned in the process. 

It’s easy to become stressed on hot, humid, fly infested days such as today when there are tasks we need to accomplish in the background that add to the frustration. Surprisingly, both of us remain calm and determined to figure out solutions.

Now, as the sun begins to peek out at almost noon, I’ve begun to feel confident that we may have comfortable day after all. 

May your day be comfortable and relatively easy.

Photo from one year ago today, May 12, 2015:

Locomotive and coach formerly used for tours at the Kilauea Sugar Plantation, now closed for many years. For more sugar plantation photos, please click here.


Moving on…Celebrity Equinox awaits us…Perks of an upgrade to Concierge Class…

It hot and humid here in Boca Raton, Florida, so humid that my clothes are sticking to me.  It rained all night, pouring pelting rain.  Tossing and turning all night, kicking off the covers from time to time, I awoke exhausted this morning feeling as if I hadn’t slept a wink.

Both of us have bad, painful right shoulders, different issues, similar discomfort.  We hurt today in the dampness, both taking two Aleve, know the hauling of bags into our friend’s SUV was yet ahead of us.  It’s almost 10 am and we can’t leave here until noon since we can’t board the new ship until 1:00 PM.

This time on the Celebrity Equinox we booked a Concierge Class balcony, an upgrade, we elected when booking the 11-night cruise from which we’ll embark three days early by the “tender” (smaller boat) in Belize.

We’ll live in the small peninsula community of Placencia, a four-hour drive from Belize City, for more than two months, moving to Ambergris Caye for an additional almost two weeks in yet another beach house. 

The Concierge Class upgrade was a bonus feature of the balcony cabin we selected at the time of booking.

Concierge Class includes:


    • Priority check-in
    • Express luggage delivery
    • Personalized Concierge service
    • Priority disembarkation based on travel needs
    • Complimentary shoeshine service
    • Access to the exclusive Concierge Class Pre-departure Lounge


    • Main and specialty restaurant seating time preferences
    • Expanded room service menu


    • Welcome Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine with a commemorative label featuring exclusive artwork from the ArtCenter/South Florida artists
    • Pillow menu to suit sleeping preferences
    • Daily delivery of Afternoon Savories (appetizers, most of which I can’t eat)
    • Plush Frette® bathrobes
    • Fresh fruit (we don’t eat fruit)
    • Fresh flowers
    • Custom-blended bath amenities
    • Personalized stationery
    • Use of binoculars and golf umbrella
    • Oversized 100% cotton bath towels
    • Extra handheld hairdryer
    • Celebrity tote bag

Stateroom Features

    • Hansgrohe® massaging showerhead

Hopefully, this express check-in feature will serve us as well as the seamless check-in we experienced leaving San Diego on January 3rd when we boarded the Celebrity Century for our 15-night Panama Canal Cruise. Now, after three days in Florida, we are excited to board the new ship. 

Packing carefully, we’ll only have to open a few of our bags aboard the Equinox, hiding the remainder behind the curtains as Tom so cleverly managed to accomplish on the last cruise.  Hopefully, by dinner time tonight, we’ll be unpacked and ready to enjoy another fabulous evening dining with amazing food and meeting other passengers.

Last night, we finally booked our airfare for June 3, 2013, getting us back to Barcelona after our 15-night cruise and a two-week stay in Dubai.  We struggled when deciding on the airline and the flight time. 

Hoping to get a great price and handling of our excess luggage (two bags over the limit), we finally decided to go for the shortest non-stop flight (7 hours 55 minutes from Dubai to Barcelona) of which there was only one, at $700 per person with an allowance of two large bags plus one carry-on each. 

This flight was almost twice as much as the 11 hours, two stops, separate airlines, changing planes, layover flights offered.  We’ll store our two extra bags in a storage facility we found near the pier avoiding $100 in extra charges.

We decided that the 8:15 am flight on luxurious Emirates Air with many amenities was worth the extra expense including service of gourmet meals.  We don’t enjoy flying. Simplifying the process makes it a more pleasant experience leaving us comfortable with our decision. I had budgeted $1500 for this particular flight. We’ll have the extra $100 for tips and gum. 

Now, we must find a hotel for the one night we’ll stay in Barcelona until our cruise a day later, departing from Barcelona to explore the Mediterranean. While onboard the Equinox we’ll research and book the one night plus another night we’ll need a few months later, which we’ll describe in a future post.

Here we go once again, boarding our second Celebrity ship which placed us into the “Captain’s Club” providing some cocktail parties and extra perks which we’ll report on as we experience them.  That combined with the Concierge Class upgrade should make this an extra special experience.  After reading many reviews online, some cruisers didn’t see any added value for the two upgrades but we shall see how it works for us.  We’re easy to please and we appreciate even the slightest extra amenity.

Special thanks to our friend Carol in Boca Raton for putting up with us for three days, for the comfortable accommodations, the fun dinner party meeting her friends, and for the bothersome drive to and from the Fort Lauderdale Pier.

Back in touch soon with updates, pricing, and comments on the Celebrity Equinox and the journey to Belize.  Stay well.