Day #244 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A stunning and surprising revelation…

 

Today’s few photos are from those taken in the past 24 hours.

Although today’s story may be of little interest to many readers, I felt it was important to share it with those who may be interested. None of today’s information is intended to provide medical advice in any manner. Please contact your health care professionals for assistance with these or any other issues if they apply to you or someone you love.

On November 2, 2020, in this post, I described how the restaurant had been making chicken burger patties for me, that without my knowledge, included bread crumbs as a filler. I have been gluten, sugar, and starch free since 2011 in order to reduce a chronic spinal pain condition exacerbated by inflammation from food, stress, and lack of sleep.

It was this way of eating, basically, a very low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet, consuming no more than 20 carb grams per day from both small amounts of dairy and certain low carb vegetables that changed our lives in 2012. As many of our long-time readers are well aware, the almost total reduction in pain was instrumental in our deciding to travel the world, while we may never know when and if the pain would return, as I’ve strictly adhered to this way of eating.

At the time I embarked on this way of eating I was on two drugs for hypertension since developing hypertension in the year 2000, Lisinopril 10 mg with HCTZ 25 mg daily which I’ve continued for 20 years, and also was diagnosed as pre-diabetic with a strong family history of metabolic disease including diabetes, heart disease, severe spinal stenosis, and more. For many of my family members, obesity was not uncommon, as often is prevalent in those with metabolic disease.

As a child, I witnessed relatives suffering from these diseases and at a young age, I started exercising and carefully watching what I ate, primarily focused on the dictates of the medical profession, a low-fat way of eating, that kept me slim most of my adult life but didn’t spare me from all of these conditions.

Thus, weeks ago, when I discovered I was being fed “wheat” in those chicken burgers, after specifically informing the restaurant that I would not be eating, wheat, grains, starch, or sugar in any foods served to me, the pain only increased since arriving at this hotel, which had continued after cardiac bypass surgery and subsequent leg surgeries due to infections from the grafts taken for my heart.

In worsening pain in my legs over these past many months, while struggling to walk 5 miles, 8 km, per day in the corridors, I finally realized I must have been eating something horribly wrong for me. Immediately, I went on a drastic mission to reverse this situation by cutting out all carbohydrates from my diet, including vegetables but leaving in a small amount of cheese. This was about three weeks ago. My intent was to basically do a zero carb, carnivore-type (no beef available here) way of eating until I got back on track.

In the mornings, I’ve had two hard-boiled eggs, which hold me until dinner. For dinner, I had either grilled chicken or salmon topped with Emmental cheese, four thin slices of bacon, two more eggs, fried in butter, and mustard as a dipping sauce. I requested no oil (only butter), minimal spices, and have freely used pink Himalayan salt while drinking only water throughout the day.

From Amazon India, I ordered powdered unsweetened electrolytes which I add to a big glass of bottled water. I have been satisfied and not hungry while continuing to slowly lose weight, which I’ve needed to do. I felt great. Two weeks ago, the pain was literally gone. But, I noticed something else, I felt better, different.

What was going on? For the heck of it, I tested my blood pressure using an Omron device we’ve carried with us for years, which I’ve used each week and also, tested my blood sugar, using fresh Accu-Chek sticks I also ordered from Amazon India. I was astounded by what I was seeing. For the first time in 20 years, my blood pressure was so low, I decided to gradually reduce the dose of my medication. I am now down by 75% of my former dose, to a tiny dose of 2.5 Lisinopril, 6.25 HCTZ.

With my blood pressure still too low, compared to a high normal of 120/80, I will continue to check it and will drop the last 25% dose in the next several days.

Additionally, to my amazement, my blood sugar is now in the 70s, (3.9mmol) and 80s, (4.4mmol) for the first time in 20 years when only two months ago my blood sugar ranged from the 100s (5.55mmol) before meals to 130s (7.22) after meals! I can only attribute this to the reduction in carbohydrates to this large degree.

After reading many scientific studies over the past few weeks, I’ve noted that an extremely low carbohydrate intake for those with severe metabolic disease might, for some, lower both blood pressure and blood sugar, both of which vastly contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Of course, in the interim, I will continue to closely monitor these two drastic changes, and once we get to South Africa, I’ll make an appointment with Dr. Theo to review these changes and see if I need to do anything differently. In the meantime, I’m reeling with delight over these two massive changes.

I realize there is no guarantee of long-term improved health from these changes, but I feel confident the numbers are going in the right direction.

So there it is. While in lockdown in India, with no access to a family doctor, with medical clinics, hospitals jammed with COVID-19 patients, I had to take the bull by the horns and be proactive in my own health care. I’m no expert, but being one’s own advocate during challenging times may present some advantages.

BTW, Tom rarely eats vegetables and he’s ok.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 22, 2019:

While we were so busy in Minnesota on this date, one year ago, we posted this photo, from today’s date in 2014 when we stopped along the highway in Maui for a breathtaking view. For the story one year ago, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Redesigning our site…Tooth abscess update…

Wild night in the bush with more wildlife than we could imagine.

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.
Today’s photos are from May 30, 2013, from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  Please click here for more details.

Umer, our driver and guide, insisted we stop for a photo op, in front of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE on this date in 2013.
As of yesterday, we began the laborious process of redesigning this site after finding a quality web developer online. Our prior design company ceased operations about three years ago making any changes cumbersome and difficult for me.


By no means, am I qualified as a web designer. I’ve never taken any interest in spending even more hours online learning all the skills required to be able to make the type of changes we need at this time.
Definitely not my most flattering photo. We’re standing in front of the architectural scale model. After we posed for this picture, a security guard rushed over telling us we are not allowed to touch one another in the mosque.  Of course, we complied.
When we were informed that Blogger, our current hosting company is changing its policies at the end of June, it became necessary to find a company to work with us. After considerable online research including reading many reviews, we found a company that will be re-doing our site beginning today.

Of course, I was hesitant about doing this. We didn’t want to lose any of the almost 2900 posts we’ve uploaded to date. As it turns out, we’ll have an opportunity to work online closely with the new company to ensure everything in order for our ongoing daily posts and for your ease of reading.
The White Mosque in Abu Dhabi, also known as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which we visited on this date in 2013.
Nothing will change for our readers. You’ll be able to click on our page and easily see each new post, photos and find our archives easily on your smartphone. 


As seen above in a “Note,” I’ve been posting a recommendation for a means by which readers can find our archives on your phone as easily as you can on a computer, laptop, Kindle, or tablet of any brand.
As we neared the mosque.

It’s been frustrating to post the instructions to see our archives at the beginning of each post along with the fact that our advertisers links are older and need a new look.


Making this big change will require some work on my part, but what better a time than to do this now, during the continuing lockdown in Mumbai, India? Hopefully, in the next month or so we’ll have it done. You’ll only need to find us as you’ve always done or receive email messages as you’ve requested. We’ll keep you updated as to the transition which will occur spontaneously once we’re done.

As we approached Sheikh Zayed Mosque.  It was difficult, based on its size and location to get a full shot of the mosque’s enormous expanse.


Many of our dear friends/readers/family members have inquired as to how I’m doing with my tooth abscess. After another full week on antibiotics, while cutting back a little on my vigorous walks, always a good idea when trying to heal from most conditions, I am experiencing some relief.

As we entered Abu Dhabi, our mouths were agape at the world’s first-round skyscraper, AIDer HQ.


The wonderful dentist I found online, Dr. Kavita Kumar with Designer Smiles in Mumbai is readily available by phone or Whatsapp: 098212 43274. Her support and assistance have been very helpful but based on my heart condition and risk of the virus she suggested no invasive treatment is recommended at this time. I never took the risk of going out to see her at this point.


The continuation of the antibiotics for a few more days and saline rinses were the recommended treatment at this time. If the painful symptoms return, which most likely they will since abscesses rarely go away on their own, she wants me to contact her immediately to come up with a new treatment plan.

This chandelier, one of three, was made entirely with gold and jewels.

She has continued to stay in touch with me each day, to see how I am doing. The comfort in knowing she is there if I need her has provided a huge amount of peace of mind and a reduction in the amount of worrying. 


In the interim, we’re holding up OK. I am back to walking once an hour and Tom and I are enjoying some new BBC series in the late afternoons and evenings to keep us distracted, thus reducing the risks of stress during these trying and unusual times. 

Standing among the gilded elegance left us in awe.


Mealtime continues to be the highlight of the day. I’ve been switching my dinner entrees between; grilled chicken, paneer Mahkni and grilled salmon always along with a large portion of vegetables. 


Tom is still ordering the same chicken penne with white sauce, roasted potatoes (from my entree), and toast. For breakfast, I have a vegetable omelet and two chicken sausages; while Tom has the same fried eggs, bacon, and toast each morning. Boring? Yes. But delicious each time.

Only steps from the door to exit the mosque, Umer again grabbed the camera insisting we take one more shot of us, pressing me to smile. The dry heat was suffocating that day, well over 40C, 104F. 


Have a good weekend, as we see many parts of the world opening up their shops and services. But, please everyone, stay safe in the process.

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

A pair of look-alike cows may be a mom and a calf in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.


Part 2…British Day…Language, slang and expressions as we’ve traveled the world…

A female lion who’s not looking well, seen at the Verhami Dam in Kruger National Park.

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.

Today’s photos are from May 29, 2019, from Connemara, Ireland.  Please click here for more details.

After a positive response from yesterday’s post about Australian’s use of the English language including slang expressions, we looked forward to posting more of these commonly used by British people, not necessarily including those in other parts of the UK, such as Ireland, Wales and Scotland each of which has their own languages.

Tom had to duck his head to enter the house at the Connemara Heritage and History Center.
English people, on the other hand, speak English and as we know, don’t necessarily use another standard language in their repertoire. Although, England, like many other countries has had an influx of immigrants from all over the world resulting in a melting pot of languages spoken.
Today, like yesterday, we are focusing on England’s English speaking language which consists of many slang expressions we’ve found endearing and humorous, especially over the past several years as we’ve traveled the world.
This twin-size daybed is located in the main living area, although there is a bedroom as shown in the photo below.
Overall, we’ve probably communicated more frequently with Australians and British folks we’ve met along the way, many on cruises and some in other areas in which we lived for a month or more. 
Many, including Afrikaans/English speaking South Africans, seem to use the English language in a way similar to the slang expressions used by Australia and England, although most are of Dutch descent. We’ll save their distinct slang expressions for a post, hopefully sometime down the road when we’re back in South Africa.
The one bedroom in the house was most likely where Dan and his wife slept.
Our close British friends, Linda and Ken, and many more, who live in South Africa but, are from England, possess an adorable mix of both English and South African expressions that always make us smile. 
There’s no doubt, we’ve picked up some of this lingo along the way but as mentioned yesterday, we avoid going overboard in using such expressions when years ago, the singer Madonna, was bashed by fans for suddenly speaking with a British accent after living in England for a few years. 
Spinning wheel in a corner of the bedroom.
Many immigrants retain their origin-based accent as many as 40 or 50 years since they left their homeland. We won’t be so presumptions as to acquire a dialect or accent other than that which we learned growing up.
So here are some expressions used by the British, many of which are used with their special tongue-in-cheek sense of humor which we adore for this site:

1. Ace
‘Ace’ – a British slang term that means something that is brilliant or excellent. It can also mean passing something with flying colors.
For example, ‘Jenny is ace at the lab experiments’, or, for the latter definition, ‘I think I aced that exam’.
2. All To Pot
Slightly more of an outdated version, this British slang term is still used, and its meaning remains relevant today. ‘All to pot’ refers to a situation going out of your control and failing miserably.
For example, ‘The birthday party went all to pot when the clown turned up drunk and everyone was sick from that cheap barbecue stuff.’
3. Blimey
‘Blimey’ is used as a way of expressing surprise at something, often used when seeing or looking at something surprising or impressive instead of shocking or upsetting.
For example; you might say ‘Blimey! Look at that!’
4. Blinding
‘Blinding’ – a slang term that is far from something that physically causes someone to lose their sight. ‘Blinding’ is a positive term meaning excellent, great, or superb.  For example, ‘That tackle from the Spanish player was blinding.’
The Dutch door to the barn next to the house.
5. Bloke
Bloke is an extremely common term denoting a man, usually, it is used in reference to an ordinary man, akin to the US ‘average joe’, but it is not uncommon to hear it used to describe a man generally. As such, you can use it like this, ‘That bob is a good bloke.
6. Bloody
You probably don’t need me to describe this, out of all British slang, this is by far the most popular and most commonly used. In the past, it was regarded as a swearword but now, due to its common usage, it is generally acceptable. It is often used as an expression of anger or is used to emphasize a comment.  In anger, you might say, “Oh bloody hell!” Or to use it as emphasis, ‘That’s bloody cool!’
7. Bob’s your uncle/Fanny’s your aunt
The first form of this is far more common and is sometimes used internationally. For those unaware, the expression essentially used at the end of a series of basic instructions. The origin of the expression is unknown, and is quite old, but is still in general use. In context, ‘Get the food, put in the microwave, heat it up, then bob’s your uncle, ready to eat.’
8. Bollocks
Perhaps one of the most internationally famous British slang terms, ‘bollocks’ has a multitude of uses, although its top ones including being a curse word used to indicate dismay, e.g. ‘Oh bollocks’; it can also be used to express derision and mocking disbelief, e.g. ‘You slept with Kate Upton last night? Bollocks…’; and, of course, it also refers to the scrotum and testicles. For example, ‘I kicked him right in the bollocks when he wouldn’t let me go past.
9. Bollocking
Very different from the ‘bollocks’ of the previous suggestion, a ‘bollocking’ is a telling-off or a severe or enthusiastic reprimand from a boss, co-worker, partner, or anyone you like, for a misdemeanor.  For example, ‘My wife gave me a real bollocking for forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning on my way home from work.
10. Brass Monkeys
A more obscure British term, ‘brass monkeys’ is used to refer to extremely cold weather. The phrase comes from the expression, ‘it’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.” For example, ‘You need to wear a coat today, it’s brass monkeys outside.
Note the small size of the barn.
11. Brilliant
‘Brilliant’ is not a word exclusively in the British lexicon, but has a very British usage. Specifically, when something is exciting or wonderful, particularly when something is good news, ‘brilliant’ can mean as such. For example, ‘You got the job? Oh, mate, that’s brilliant.’ Sometimes brilliant can be shortened to just “brill” to give it a more casual feel.
12. Bugger All
‘Bugger all’ – a British slang term used to be a more vulgar synonym for ‘nothing at all’. For example, ‘I’ve had bugger all to do all day.’
13. Butchers hook
This is the cockney rhyming slang version of having a gander, to look at something. Though it may seem strange at first, it’s pretty simple, it is constructed out of the expression’s second word, in this case, the way ‘hook’ rhymes directly with ‘look’ however, perhaps contrary to expectations, the word ‘hook’ is often removed, so you may hear someone say ‘have butchers at this.’ But like most things cockney, it’s becoming less popular.
14. Car Park
One of the more boring and technical terms on this list, a ‘car park’ is in effect, the place outside or attached to a building where people park their cars. The British equivalent to the American ‘parking lot’ or ‘parking garage’. For example, ‘I left my car in the car park this morning.’
15. Cheers
‘Cheers’ doesn’t quite have the same meaning that it does in other counties – of course, it still means ‘celebrations’ when toasting a drink with some friends, but in British slang, it also means ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you’. For example, ‘Cheers for getting me that drink, Steve’.
This breed of white horses is indigenous to Connemara.
16. Chuffed
Chuffed is used more or less all over the UK, it seems to be decreasing in popularity, but is still in relatively common usage. Essentially, it is an expression of pride in your own actions or achievements. For example, you could say ‘I’m feeling properly chuffed I won that.’ If you’re talking to someone else you can use it as such, ‘I bet you’re pretty chuffed you won!’
17. Chunder
Not a wonderfully melodic word, ‘chunder’ is part and parcel of British slang terms. Meaning ‘to vomit’ or ‘to be sick’, ‘chunder’ is almost always used in correlation with drunken nights, or being hugely ill and sick.  For example, ‘I ate a bad pizza last night after too many drinks and chundered in the street.’
18. Cock-Up
‘Cock up’ – a British slang term that is far from the lewdness its name suggests. A ‘cock-up’ is a mistake, a failure of large or epic proportions. For example, ‘The papers sent out to the students were all in the wrong language – it’s a real cock-up.’ Also, ‘I cocked up the orders for table number four.’
19. Damp Squib
More of a usual term, a ‘damp squib’ in British slang terms refers to something which fails on all accounts, coming from the ‘squib’ (an explosive), and the propensity for them to fail when wet. For example, ‘The party was a bit of a damp squib because only Richard turned up.
20. Do
A “do” is essentially a party, to my knowledge, it doesn’t refer to a particular form of party, so feel free to use it as you like. For example, you might say ‘I’m going to Steve’s birthday do tonight.’
A shed used to store peat moss which may often be used for heating as well as: “Gardeners use peat moss mainly as a soil amendment or ingredient in potting soil. It has an acid pH, so it’s ideal for acid-loving plants, such as blueberries and camellias. For plants that with more alkaline soil, compost may be a better choice.”
21. Dodgy
In British slang terms, ‘dodgy’ refers to something wrong, illegal, or just plain ‘off’, in one way or another. For example, it can be used to mean illegal – ‘He got my dad a dodgy watch for Christmas’; it can be used to mean something food-related that is nauseous or nauseating – ‘I had a dodgy kebab last night and I don’t feel right.; and it can also be used as a pejorative – ‘He just seems dodgy to me.
22. Fortnight
‘Fortnight’ – a British slang term more commonly used by virtually everyone in the UK to mean ‘a group of two weeks’. For example, ‘I’m going away for a fortnight to Egypt for my summer holiday.’
23. Gobsmacked
‘Gobsmacked’ – a truly British expression meaning to be shocked and surprised beyond belief. The expression is believed by some to come literally from ‘gob’ (a British expression for mouth), and the look of shock that comes from someone hitting it. For example. ‘I was gobsmacked when she told me she was pregnant with triplets.’
24. Grockel
This is cheating, it is almost exclusively used in the English county Devonshire, but I’m including it as its fun to say. It is used as a derogatory word for tourists. For example, ‘I don’t go over there anymore, it’s full of jokes these days.’
25. Gutted
‘Gutted’ – a British slang term that is one of the saddest on the lists in terms of pure contextual emotion. To be ‘gutted’ about a situation means to be devastated and saddened. For example, ‘His girlfriend broke up with him. He’s absolutely gutted.’
View of the creek running through the history centre’s grounds.
For another 25 of these fun British slang expressions, please click here.

On another note, we’re saddened and devastated by the police brutality in our home state of Minnesota and the subsequent riots causing further injury and loss of lives, loss of businesses, and subsequent further loss of jobs. We live in challenging times and pray for the well-being of the citizens of Minnesota and all over the world.


Stay safe wherever you may be.
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Photo from one year ago today, May 29, 2019:
This is the tiny house Dan O’Hara, his wife, and seven children lived until they were forced to vacate when they couldn’t pay the rent during the potato famine. For more details, please click here.

Part 1…Aussie Day…Language, slang and expressions as we’ve traveled the world…

Elephants are so smart. Watch this wonderful animal digging a hole to reach water in the heat of summer in South Africa.

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.

Today’s photos are from May 28, 2019, from Connemara, Ireland.  Please click here for more details.
Pansies at the Connemara Heritage and History Centre appear to have little faces.
As we’ve traveled the world during the past 7½ plus years, we’ve somehow managed to pick up language nuances from many countries we’ve visited. Surprisingly, the majority of citizens of most countries speak English except in select European countries.


During our stays in non-English speaking countries, we’ve somehow managed to learn a few words, sufficient enough to get us by. Also, when we’ve chosen to live in more remote locations, English most certainly wasn’t the first language of choice.


Here in India, it’s a mix. Many speak very good English while again, in more remote locations, Hindi and one of 22 other languages are spoken as follows:


“India has 22 official languages, namely Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.”

Tom has been wearing the flannel shirt he purchased in Penguin, Tasmania in 2016/2017.  It comes in handy in cooler weather in Ireland.

Unfortunately, with few interactions with locals during our now four months in India, we’ve had little opportunity to learn much of the Hindi language. Many drivers, hotel staff, and other service professionals speak good English, although, at times, it’s been tricky to decipher their English due to their very rich Indian accent.


But, like most countries, there are nuances used in speaking English whether it’s the native language or the second most common language. Many of those nuances have been endearing to us. Invariably, we’ve picked up some along the way.


The most prevalent in our minds is in Australia, The UK, and South Africa, all of which were British colonies that share many common nuances and slang usage of the English language which over centuries have become commonplace.

Tom stands in the doorway of an old building located on the grounds of the centre.

Let’s start with Australia. Here is a list of some of their most slang expressions which we always found the most humorous from this site:


1. Arvo: afternoon

2. Barbie: barbeque

3. Bogan: redneck, an uncultured person. According to the Australian show Bogan Hunters, a real bogan sports a flanno (flannel shirt), a mullet, missing teeth, homemade tattoos (preferably of the Australian Flag or the Southern Cross), and has an excess of Australia paraphernalia. This “species of local wildlife” can be found by following their easily distinguishable tracks from burnouts or the smell of marijuana.
It’s easy to see how tiny this lamb is standing next to Tom.
4. Bottle-O: bottle shop, liquor store

5. Chockers: very full

6. Esky: cooler, insulated food, and drink container

7. Fair Dinkum: true, real, genuine

8. Grommet: young surfer

9. Mozzie: mosquito

10. Pash: a long passionate kiss. A pash rash is red irritated skin as the result of a heavy make-out session with someone with a beard.

11. Ripper: really great
Me, in the doorway of the old fieldstone building on the ground of the centre.
12. Roo: kangaroo. A baby roo, still in the pouch, is known as a Joey

13. Root: sexual intercourse. This one can get really get foreigners in trouble. There are numerous stories about Americans coming to Australia telling people how they love to “root for their team.” If you come to Australia, you would want to use the word “barrack” instead. On the same note, a “wombat” is someone who eats roots and leaves.

14. Servo: gas station. In Australia, a gas station is called a petrol station. 

15. She’ll be right: everything will be all right

16. Sickie: sick day. If you take a day off work when you are not actually sick it’s called chucking a sickie.
Pretty flowers blooming on the shore of the lake in the garden.  Thanks to reader Laurie for identifying these flowers as rhododendron!
17. Slab: 24-pack of beer

18. Sook: to sulk. If someone calls you a sook, it is because they think you are whinging

19. Stubbie holder: koozie or cooler. A stubbie holder is a polystyrene insulated holder for a stubbie, which is a 375ml bottle of beer.

20. Sweet as: sweet, awesome. Aussies will often put ‘as’ at the end of adjectives to give it emphasis. Other examples include lazy as, lovely as, fast as and common as.

21. Ta: thank you

22. Togs: swimsuit
These two buildings were homes at one time.
23. Tradie: a tradesman. Most of the tradies have nicknames too, including brickie (bricklayer), truckie (truck driver), sparky (electrician), garbo (garbage collector), and chippie (carpenter).

24. Ute: Utility vehicle, pickup truck

25. Whinge: whine

26. Good onya, mate! Understanding the Aussies should be easy as now.

No doubt, we didn’t pick up all of these while we were in and out of Australia during a 22 month period, from June 2015 to April 2017. But, we certainly are able to know what Aussies are talking about in general “convo” (conversation) when these expressions are used.
Bridge across the lake to an old home.
We have often wondered when in the company of Australians if we should use their expressions or if we’d be too presumptuous to attempt to mimic them. An occasional word was thrown out here and there seems to pass with flying colors when they too, often chuckle over our attempts to fit in.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with the same for British expressions for which, most likely we’ve experienced more frequently.
These beautiful flowers are often found in Ireland.
Not much is happening today. As usual we’re hanging out, doing the usual. Our cable box quit working. Within minutes, a hotel staff member stopped by (we were all wearing masks) and had it working in no time. I’m still waiting to hear back from the dentist for my upcoming appointment. Status quo.

May your day be safe.

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_


Photo from one year ago today, May 28, 2019:
Note the little horns growing on this lamb.  Too cute! For more photos, please click here.

What am I doing about an abscess tooth during times of Covid-19?…Mating season in the bush…

Elephants digging into a dirt wall in Kruger National Park. We’ll never know why.

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.

Today’s photos are from May 27, 2018, from Kruger National Park, South Africa.  Please click here for more details.
When posting past photos and videos we’re reminded of all the fantastic experiences we’ve had in the past barring the three months of my confinement in 2019 and no over two months in lockdown in India.


During this peculiar lengthy period in lockdown our past stories, photos and videos have put a smile on our faces. No doubt, the question remains…will we ever be able to return to our lives of world travel or will this current pandemic put a damper on travel into the future for us and for the world?

As we’ve mentioned many times, we don’t know, the world doesn’t know. Only time will tell, when and if it may be possible for us to continue on. In the interim, we find ourselves often reading past posts, looking at photos, and watching videos, often chuckling over our past experiences.

Four “Big Daddy” kudus stopped by with one female, all vying for her attention.  They were more interested in her than pellets.

But, the present is what we have to deal with and face full-on which right now means an abscessed tooth that is quite bothersome. Before we left South Africa one year ago, in May 2019, and three months after I’d had triple coronary bypass surgery I went to our wonderful dentist in Komatipoort to see if she could work on a tooth that was bothering me a little.


Trusting Luzanne as much as I do I took her advice to heart (literally and figuratively) to wait at least a year for any invasive dental work which in this case, most likely would require a root canal and crown. 


Since it wasn’t bothering me much, other than an occasional twinge when I chewed down on it, I didn’t give it another thought until about a few weeks ago when my face, particularly my right cheek, was feeling funny, more of a dull ache than a sharp pain, coming and going throughout the day.

Kudus sniff the female to ensure she’s ready to mate.

With no doctor’s offices open or safe to visit during the lockdown, I had no choice but to treat this myself as mentioned in a prior post. After two rounds of antibiotics, the second of which I received from a local pharmacy that delivered them to the hotel, I began to be concerned. What’s the problem? Why wasn’t it getting better


I only needed relief to last long enough to get us to our dentist in South Africa or another dentist in any other country we may visit while we wait for the SA’s borders to open.

By the way, I wrote about this in a prior post. Click the link
here.  Anyway, on day 5 of the new antibiotics and the situation not improving, I knew I had no choice but to find a dentist allowed and willing to help me during times of Covid-19. That was a daunting task in itself. They were all closed during the lockdown, leaving suggestions for suffering dental patients to go to the local hospital with a dental emergency.
This male was the “kingpin” and kept the three other mature males away.  Check out the size of his neck which enlarges during mating season.
There was no way that I’d be willing to walk into a local hospital, jammed packed with Covid-19 patience. I persisted contacting several dentists to no avail when finally, a five-star rated dentist, Dr. Kavita Kumar, only 10 minutes from here was willing to help.

After taking photos of my face and tooth (tricky to accomplish) and sending them via WhatsApp and after talking to her at length, she’s agreed to see me on Friday or Saturday. She’s waiting for her supply of PPE (personal protective equipment) to arrive in the next day or so and hopes to see me by Friday or Saturday.


Definitely, she stated, due to my recent heart surgery, she will not perform a root canal or crown feeling it is too invasive at this time and under these particularly delicate times. 

Even Frank and The Mrs. were busy working at building a nest in the bush in our yard.

However, she’ll take a full head x-ray and perform a comprehensive exam after which she’ll come up with an alternate plan of attack that should see me through the next several months. She explained that in some cases an abscess can be treated without invasive treatment. We shall see.


I informed the hotel reception desk that I will need a ride to the dentist while the driver waits for me during the appointment. No problem. Am I worried about going out? Not really. I will be well prepared with a face mask and gloves on for the drive and ask for goggles during the exam.


Based on the photos of the dentist’s office online I can only hope this highly professional dental practice has taken and will take every precaution. I have no choice. I have to proceed.

Warthogs testicles become engorged during the mating season.

Yes, I am sick and tired of having medical issues. I guess if we were like “normal people” we’d live in a retirement community in a warm climate with a regular doctor and dentist at our disposal as needed requiring no mention here whatsoever.


Hopefully, by the end of the weekend, I’ll have an action plan in place and continue to go back to worrying about when we’ll get out of here!


Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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Photo from one year ago today, May 27, 2019:
Connemara marble is described as follows from this site: “Connemara is bounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean and encompasses a wide variety of natural and semi-natural habitats, reflecting its great geomorphologic and geological complexity. It also has diverse economic resources. Among the more unusual are extensive deposits of soapstone and veins of green marble and vivid white quartz. In Neolithic times, the green marble was traded as far away as Lough Gur, County Limerick, and possibly to the Boyne Valley. ‘Connemara Marble’ is a serpentine-rich rock, popular since ancient times as a decorative facing stone. With its ‘forty shades of green’ and its wild patterns, it represents perfectly the landscapes of the Emerald Isle. Connemara Marble inspired artists, architects, and artisans throughout the world. Jewelry and other small objects such as key rings, coasters, and crosses are also made with this unique stone.” For more information about our tour of the Connemara Heritage and History Centre, please click here.

The 2½ hour wait at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles…

While in Penguin, Tasmania in 2017 we took this photo on our way to the town of Ulverston. Tasmania never disappoints!  For more photos, please click here.

We each had over a year left until the expiration of our Nevada driver’s licenses. However, with uncertainty at this point as to when we’ll return to the US, we needed to take care of this task before we depart Nevada in four or five days.


We both dreaded the process when the DMV in Henderson (and other locations) usually requires appointments to avoid waiting for hours. The last time we did this, seven years ago, the line extended outside the building with no less than 100 impatient applicants pushing and shoving to secure their spots.


With Tom sick all week, we avoided going. But as time wore on, we decided we’d better take care of this regardless of how he or I was feeling. When we awoke yesterday morning, it was raining heavily.


We imagined standing in that long queue outdoors in the rain with both of us still coughing (especially Tom) and getting soaked. I’d packed our cheap plastic rain protectors in the blue bag and by 9:45 am we took off.


Imagine our elation when we drove into the parking lot and there was no line at all! Apparently, due to the inclement weather, people decided to wait and go another day, which proved to benefit us greatly.


Upon entry into the building, which was packed, within minutes we got a number from the receptionist, found two adjacent chairs and began the long wait, making sure we didn’t miss the call of our number over the PA system.


We realized the wait would be long, but we were so pleased to avoid standing outdoors in the rain, hardly a whimper crossed our lips during the over-two-hour wait.


Some may say, the facility is disorganized with so many applicants always waiting to be seen. In fact, we perceived it as being very organized and well-planned with friendly customer service and systems in place to facilitate a somewhat painless process.


I played with my new phone while Tom never took his eyes off the screen with the numbers that had been called and those numbers upcoming. The time went more quickly than expected and by noon we met with the rep who would process our renewals.


The process itself took about 30 minutes when the rep was curious as to why we were renewing early which apparently is unusual. She then continued to ask many questions. Of course, we had nothing to hide, but we didn’t want to get into our entire story.


Finally, our temporary licenses were issued and we were directed to the area where photos are taken. Amazingly, there was no queue there and we breezed through the process in a few minutes.


Once out the door, we sighed in relief. It was finally done. Next time, we can again apply online when every other renewal time, an applicant must apply in person.


We feel as if we accomplished a lot while in the US, amid both of us being sick; we applied for and received our visas for India, applied and are awaiting our “second, four-year” passports and now renewed our driver’s licenses. It’s been a huge relief to get these time consuming and cumbersome tasks out of the way.


Our next project…deciding on how we’ll spend the two unbooked months in India after we’ve completed the Maharajas Train tour on February 8th. Planning this is a big project and we just may have to wait until we get settled in Arizona next week. Plus, we still have to work on hiring an attorney to assist us in getting the visa waiver to return to South Africa.


I’m off today to visit my sister Susan once again. I’d intended to go yesterday, but when we returned from the DMV so late in the day, I realized I’d be stuck in rush hour traffic, in the rain, on the return drive. No thank you. I’ll be on my way soon.


Have a pleasant day!

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Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2018:

Mom and piglet enjoying the cement pond on a hot day. It’s summer during this time of year in South Africa and with the drought and lack of bodies of water available to the wild animals, they may seek a refreshing dunk in the cement pond in our garden, intended as a source of drinking water. For more photos, please click here.

Turning the corner…Still lots to do…

Two years ago today in 2017, in Pisco, Peru, we spotted these children playing at the beach with views of colorful fishing vessels.  For more photos, please click here.

While we were about one week into the most recent cruise, one early evening at the beginning of the free-drink-happy-hour (two hours long), I wasn’t able to take a sip of my wine. I felt queasy and dizzy.


Tom walked me to the cabin, helped me get situated into bed while I encouraged him to go back to the event to enjoy the evening’s camaraderie and bring me a small plate of food from the buffet before he went to dinner in the main dining room. There was no point in him sitting there with me.


Before 7:00 pm, he brought me a plate of roasted chicken, grilled fish, and steamed veggies. By 9:00 pm, he’d had dinner and returned to the cabin for the night. 


I had no idea why I was dizzy but by morning it passed leaving me with a peculiar little cough that eventually blossomed into the full roar of the virus from which we’re still experiencing now. It’s been 34 days since the onset.


As I mentioned yesterday, Tom is now suffering as I did over two weeks ago in Minnesota when I went to Urgent Care twice only to ultimately discover after taking antibiotics and cortisone, it is truly a virus with little to be done other than to wait it out.


Of course, if either of us had suspected it was more serious than the virus we contracted while cruising, we would have sought more medical advice. We had no fever, no symptoms of pneumonia, no chest pain (although our stomach muscles ached from coughing, a common side effect).


Yesterday, I awoke to feel dizzy again, on top of awful coughing, and this morning that is totally gone and much to my delight, my cough has lessened dramatically. Oddly, it came in with dizziness and left with the dizziness. Go figure. I’m finally out of the woods, or so it seems.


Tom is insistent we go to the DMV today but again oddly enough, it’s going to rain today. A visit to the DMV results in a long outdoor queue often standing for hours. We weren’t able to book an appointment based on a lack of availability while we’re here before we depart for Arizona next week.


The end result? Today, rain or shine we’ll stand in line at the DMV, to renew our driver’s licenses. Yes, we have raincoats but no umbrella. Who has an umbrella in Nevada? It rarely rains here.


I’d planned to see Susan today but that’s up in the air based on how quickly we are able to get through the line at the DMV. If not today, I’ll go tomorrow. Perhaps, the lines will be shorter today with it raining.


Out of the small backpack, I just dug out the total-body-coverage cheap plastic raincoats we’d purchased in Thailand for 85 cents each which have served us well on several occasions over these past few years. We’ll see how they work for us today.


No doubt, I’m dreading this DMV thing but it has to be done. Tom offered to go on his own but I too, need my license renewed and it makes no sense for us to go separately.


We’ll continue to keep our readers informed of the infinitesimal activities of our time here in Nevada. Soon enough, a little excitement may ensue as we begin to pull ourselves out of the throes of the virus.


Happy day to all, rain or shine.

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Photo from one year ago today, December 4, 2018:

This fluffy little one captured our hearts. For more photos, please click here.

Coughing from hell…Is cruising worth it?…

On this date in 2016, we arrived in Penguin, Tasmania where we stayed for six weeks. This is the view from the living room window of the wonderful holiday home we rented. It was a delightful six weeks and remains one of Tom’s favorite places in the world. For more photos, please click here.

During our seven years of world travel, there was only one other time we were both as sick as we are now with a virus. We were on a cruise from Honolulu to Sydney. Upon our arrival, I was barely able to get myself onto the deck to take our first photos of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.


Driving the rental car to the holiday home in Trinity Beach is but a vague memory. We were disorientated, exhausted and racked with horrible bouts of coughing for no less than three weeks. 


We never mentioned it in the blog feeling we didn’t want to “bore” our readers with medical woes. However, after this past dreadful year of my heart issues, we don’t feel as if we need to “hide,” especially when so many of our readers have written to us not only wishing us well but finding comfort in some of their own issues, in the fact they are not alone.


Only a week into the most recent cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, we acquired this virus and we’re struggling with it much longer than expected. It seems the cough, exhaustion, and feeling disorientated has become worse over time. We can’t imagine others on that cruise aren’t suffering in the same manner.


It would be easy for any observer to say, “Then, why in the world would you go on cruises if you get sick?” 


We’ve been on 25 cruises since beginning our journey in 2012. Sure, I’ve had the cruise cough several times, with Tom catching it less often. Our answer is simple: we use cruising as a means of getting from one part of the world to another, avoiding considerable flights.


Then again, airplanes can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses and we often hear about travelers becoming sick from flying. Combine the flights many take to arrive at the point of embarkation on a cruise, and it’s become a double whammy.


The reality is, for whatever reason, our immune systems are vulnerable to the germs on cruises. No doubt, we need to focus on ways in which to be all the more cautious while cruising. We’ll begin doing more research on ways in which we can reduce the risk and also improve our immune system.


Perhaps its a by-product of long term travel. We’re often asked if we get flu shots and we do not. Each country has its own specific strain and it would mean we’d have to be immunized in several countries. This doesn’t seem to be 
healthful or sensible.


At this point, Tom is suffering in a manner similar to where I was a few weeks ago when I went to an urgent care clinic and was prescribed antibiotics and cortisone, neither of which alleviated the symptoms. I still kept coughing and feeling awful.


But during this time, both of us were very busy with our families and could hardly slow down when we were there for only three weeks. We’ve slowed down considerably since arriving in Nevada and luckily Tom has had a chance to rest for several days while I’ve gone to visit my sister, shopped and cooked meals, nothing overly strenuous.


Tom’s time to rest nor my level of activity have had any impact on helping or changing anything one way or another. Today, I’m “down for the count” right along with Tom. We’re both staying in all day, lounging on Richard‘s comfy sofa with plenty to watch on the big screen TV.


We had planned to go to the DMV to renew our driver’s licenses today but neither of us has the strength to stand in line for hours. Somehow we’ll manage to take care of this before the end of the week. We’re leaving (driving) for Arizona early next week.


While at the urgent care clinic in Minnesota two weeks ago, they explained we aren’t contagious anymore but also there is little to be done to alleviate the symptoms of a virus. 


There is no point in us seeing a doctor. Antibiotics don’t work. There’s nothing that can be done. We’re using the over-the-counter meds recommended by the doctor at the clinic. The nighttime Nyquil seems to help us sleep better. We just have to wait it out.


Be well. 

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Photo from one year ago today, December 3, 2018:

Giffafe in the garden aching for the treetops. For more photos, please click here.

Report from cardiology appointment at Minneapolis Heart Institute….On the move again…Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Upon arrival in Mombasa on Thanksgiving Day in 2013, we took this photo from the ferry, as another ferry was taking off.  Notice the crowds. For more photos from that day please click here.

For the past few weeks, amid this awful continuing cough (which Tom has also), I’ve felt apprehensive about my upcoming cardiology appointment. After leaving South Africa, I had a final exam by the cardiothoracic surgeon who performed the triple bypass surgery but that very day he arranged for me to be readmitted to the hospital for the infections in both of my legs.


This third admission resulted in two more surgeries, on both of my legs, days apart, from which I’ve only recovered in the past two months, especially after stopping three heart medications that impeded my ability to walk without pain.


As time has passed after stopping the three drugs, I’ve begun to feel like myself again, although I may be inclined to call it a “new normal” as the saying goes. Then, while on this most recent transatlantic cruise both Tom and I contracted a horrible cough, his only exacerbating in the past few weeks, mine continuing with fervor even after treatment with cortisone and antibiotics.


The coughing has continued albeit not as frequently and without the intensity of a few weeks ago. I believe I’m on the mend. But this ailment became of little importance when I met with cardiologist Dr. Ash at Minneapolis Heart Institute yesterday morning.


Instead, the conversation and exam centered entirely on the condition of my heart, arteries and recovery from the bypass surgery on February 12th, nine and a half months ago.


An EKG (aka ECG) was done and I was thoroughly examined by both the PA and the doctor ending up spending an hour with the doctor. I was shocked and pleased by the amount of time he spent with me in that exam room. 


He was very thorough in his assessment, reading all of the medical reports page-by-page to ensure he didn’t miss a thing. My pulse and blood pressure were slighted elevated from sheer terror for the results but later everything returned to excellent readings as the appointment continued especially when I got good news.


End result: I am good to go!!! We’re thankful beyond words.


He freely expressed how impressed he was by our ongoing world travels, including the period since we continued on after leaving South Africa in May. Not only did my EKG look totally normal, but he also assured me that the very best thing I could do for my health is to continue to be happy. 


Happiness is good for the heart, along with exercise, management of diet and good sleep. I’m right on track. 


He didn’t object to my getting off the two evil FDA Black Box drugs, Amiodarone and Bisoproplol but as expected he did push a little on statins which I refuse to take when they caused me to feel extreme pain in my extremities. That’s not for me. 


He understood my hesitancy but for all practical purposes, doctors can’t help themselves in pushing statins. They may be beneficial for those who don’t have side effects but quality of life is the name of the game for me, especially with this lifestyle we lead with hopes to continue.


I promised to return for another appointment and a few more tests when we next return to Minnesota. But, for now, he didn’t see any reason for a myriad of unnecessary tests when all looks good. 


Yes, I have severe arterial disease which didn’t go away with the surgery but I am no longer going to live my life in fear of some dreadful heart event. I have peace of mind, which is golden as we continue on.


In a few hours, we’ll head to Greg’s home to say goodbye to Camille and the grandchildren and at 2:00 pm he’ll drive us to the airport. Our bags are packed, weighed and paid for, and ready to be loaded into the minivan which Greg will use to drive us to Terminal 2, only 20 minutes from his house.


So, that’s it for Minnesota folks! Thanks for “hanging in there” with us during this seeming uneventful, mundane, not-necessarily-entertaining period in our travels. 


Happy Thanksgiving to all you who celebrate this popular US holiday and we’ll be back with you soon. Eat well!

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Photo from one year ago today, November 28, 2018:

The five lions in the pride.  All were adult females. For more photos, please click here.

“It’s always somethin’ Jane!”…

Six years ago today, on November 19, 2013, we posted this photo when we visited the Swahili Beach Resort for dinner at Diani Beach, Kenya.

We can live anywhere in the world and wherever we may be at any given time, life isn’t free from worries and concerns for ourselves and for our loved ones. As we spend more time with family while in Minnesota, we have a first-hand opportunity to witness the trials and tribulations of those we love, often centered around health problems commonly found as a result of aging and other causes.


With our dear DIL dealing with cancer and similarly one of Tom’s sisters and with Tom’s sister, Sister Beth, in the hospital with some unknown illness, we find ourselves worried. Tom spent the better part of the day at a local hospital with DIL Tracy, who is having tests for a worrisome condition, yet unknown, we feel like health issues are everywhere. We hope and pray Tracy will be OK.


No one is exempt from the risks of acquiring health conditions. When Tom met for lunch with several railroad retirees last week, more than half of the group was suffering from one serious illness or another. Railroad workers are often exposed to toxic chemicals in their line of work which may result in serious health conditions later in life.


When we’ve met with his family over these past several days, it’s evident that many are in the throes of recovery from surgery or illness or in the manifestation of a new condition in itself.


What’s happened in this world? Why are so many people getting cancer, heart disease, and a wide array of other life-threatening illnesses? When I think of my own situation, I can hardly blame it on lifestyle or pesticides. I’ve spent a lifetime eating healthy, fresh foods, avoiding sugars, starches and now in the past 8 years, grains.


Of course, there’s no easy answer. For many, illnesses may be age-related, lifestyle-related, environmental, and as in my case, genetic, the most difficult causal factor to change. 


As research, unbiased of course, not funded by Big Pharma, continues in many of these areas, “they” are discovering more on more on the role genetics play in our health throughout of lives. Perhaps, not in our lifetime, but down the road, more discoveries will be made to attempt to avert some of these seemingly inevitable scenarios.


On this topic…as each day passes, I begin to feel a little better. My cough is about 20% better than it was yesterday, now day 4 of antibiotics and Prednisone. I can’t wait to be able to breathe more easily and sleep better at night.


Still, I remain grateful for the quality of care I had at the local Medexpress Clinic and of course, the reasonable fees of $189, plus the cost of the various medications that weren’t too bad. They provided us with discount coupons for the meds! Amazing!


Next week on Wednesday when I see the cardiologist for my early one-year heart check, it will be much more expensive and we’re bracing ourselves for that. Since my heart feels good, I see no reason for a plethora of tests.


As one of the worst patients on the planet, I tend to pick and choose what I feel is appropriate for me, not necessarily what the doctor may order. Many may disagree with this type of thinking but we each have to be our own advocates and do what we feel is right for us.


Taking drugs that cause me to be exhausted, in pain and feeling ill is not on the horizon for me. Quality of life is of the utmost importance and I continually strive to build and maintain such a lifestyle to enhance that possibility.


That’s it for today, folks. Please stay tuned for more mundane updates on family matters. In nine days we’ll be in Las Vegas certainly, there will be a few more photos ops and forms of entertainment to share with our readers.


May you be well, healthy and content.

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Photo from one year ago today, November 19, 2018:
Kudus in the garden. It was always important to feed the animals during the dry summer months in South Africa, during a drought. Vegetation was at a minimum and they often depend on offerings from the visitors living in the bush. For more, please click here.