Disputing charges due to Covid-19…Trouble with new booking in times of Covid-19…

Cape buffalo grazing on the Crocodile River as seen from the fence in Marloth Park

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Today’s photos are from May 16, 2015. Please click here for more details.

As mentioned in prior posts, on March 20, 2020, when we arrived at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 3:00 am, after waiting in line for over an hour to check our bags and check-in, we were refused an opportunity to board the scheduled flight.

South Africa, our destination, was in the process of closing its borders and began refusing all incoming international flights due to Covid-19. Had we left a few days earlier, we could have been allowed to fly and could have made our way to Marloth Park when the country-wide lockdown didn’t begin until March 27th. Here’s the link with the story about South Africa’s lockdown.

The chicks were born in early February and will fledge in the next month or so. It’s been amazing to watch their fluff fall away as their feathers suitable for flying grow in.

We could kick ourselves for not leaving a few days earlier when we’d already ended our tour of India due to the risks of large crowds at various sightseeing venues. But, who knew? We had no idea how the worldwide lockdown would escalate at that point.

We’d booked the flight with Kenya Air at a ticket price for each of us at INR 32627, US $430 for a total of INR 65254, US $860. We considered this a reasonable fare for the one-way flight that would require almost 16 hours of travel time including layovers for the three legs of the flight.

An un-banded Albatross out for a walk. Its impossible to determine the albatross’ gender without a DNA test. There are no obvious markings or physical definitions. Since both parents equally share in sitting on the nest and the care and feeding of the chick, perhaps nature has made them visibly indistinguishable. 

Once we returned to our hotel, the shock left us reeling for a few days. After being turned away, we figured it made sense to wait a few days before applying for a refund with all the cancellations.

As it turned out, we didn’t apply for a refund until several days later once we were situated in this current hotel knowing full well, it would be a time-consuming process.

We began the process by contacting Kenya Airways directly for the credit. This resulted in no less than 12 hours on hold over a period of several days. Finally, we reached a human who instructed us to apply online at their site. Immediately, we used. 

All of the chicks now have both fluffy and new feathers, as shown in this napping chick.

Several weeks later, we received an email stating that they would not process a refund. We were required to seek a refund from Expedia.com where we’d originally booked the flight.
The lengthy process at Expedia commenced; hours on hold; chat modules with no results until finally, Expedia sent us a message stating we’d have to get our refund from Kenya Airways. How’s that for shuffling us back and forth.

Our only option, at that point, was to contact the credit card we’d used to dispute the charges. There was no “live” chat module or option to send an email for a dispute… only a phone call would be accepting.

This banded albatross appeared to be a parent when she or he was hovering near a chick.

Again, I spent hours online, only to discover they were closed during the daytime hours during which we could call with the huge time difference. Usually, the number on the back of the card is a 24-hour phone number. But, again, due to Covid-19, they too, were operating with a limited staff.

There hadn’t been a single evening that I felt like spending an hour on the phone working this out. Once, in the past, about a year ago, we disputed a charge with Ethiopia Airlines to get a refund when they, not us, canceled a flight. The credit card company took care of it for us but it still required considerable time on hold.

This morning, much to my delight, I was only on hold for 10-minutes and, they had staff working at night, their time. A pleasant woman came on the line who was more than happy to assist after I explained the circumstances.

This chick has been a favorite of ours, with their nest reasonably close to the road and her/him often checking out the scenery.

The end result? In a few days, we’ll see the full refund on that specific card while they continue to work on it over the next 90-days, during which they may contact us to forward the supporting email messages if they run into any problems. In a few clicks, I’ll send the relevant messages without thinking twice.

With this resolution, we’ll have finally received all the refunds for any future travel plans impacted by Covid-19. Subsequently, we have some credits on credit cards, as opposed to debits, which we can use to pay for this past 28-nights in this hotel, plus our meals, when we’re required to pay on May 20th.

Here are two chicks approximately six feet apart although they look closer in this photo. Here again, they are tucked away napping during the wind and rain.  The parents lay one egg and thus these two are not related or, perhaps, they are.

Hotels are often paid after the stay, although some may require full payment in advance during the booking process. That hasn’t been the case here at this Courtyard Mumbai International Airport. They let us pay-as-we-go every 28 days.

When there was a problem with the Hotels.com site, a phone rep was able to get our reservation booked for the first part of our hotel reservation extension from May 20 to June 1, 2020, but not the second portion due to issues on their site.

There is a promotion for double points that we’re trying to take advantage of for the second part of our stay from June 1 to June 17, 2020, which is only applicable for bookings made after June 1, 2020, resulting in our preference to break up the two bookings for a combined 28-night stay into two segments.

By the time we left the area, the sun was shining and we spotted this typical lawn mowing scenario…Cattle Egret hovering near the mower hoping for morsels the process may unsettle. This always makes us laugh. For this story, please click here.

Now, the second part of our booking won’t process. Their tech department will contact us with a resolution in the next few days and hopefully, we’ll be able to get these other dates with the extra points booked.

There go another 90 minutes of my life while in lockdown spent on the phone in a state of utter frustration during these times of Covid-19. Everything is different now.

That’s it for today, folks. Stay safe.

Photo from one year ago today, May 16, 2019:

John, the fish guy with Tom. John will stop by once a week. The prior night I had fresh-caught haddock without a single bone topped with the freshest crabmeat. For more from this date, please click here.

Making decisions while in lockdown…Photos from a tropical garden, five years ago in Kauai, Hawaii…

This video of Laysan Albatross antic in Kauai, Hawaii, always makes us laugh. They are such delightful and charming birds. See the link here for the date we posted this video.
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Please click here for those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story.

A few days ago, I inquired at the reception desk if there was a possibility of upgrading to a larger room in the hotel. I did so on a whim, hoping like some hotels in the past, they’ve given us a complimentary upgrade.

Last night, shortly before we headed the dinner, the friendly staff person called our room, suggesting a price for an upgrade to the suite next door to us. It was more than we wanted to pay, but we decided to look at it anyway.

Five years ago today, the drive on the way to the Princeville Botanical Gardens is in itself a breathtaking experience.

It was comparable to an apartment with a living room, two flat-screen TVs, a formal dining room, a large bedroom with a huge en suite bath, and a second bath near the living area. It was pleasant and decorated. 
When we did the math, converting from rupees to US dollars was too much considering how long we may be here. After a bit of negotiation back and forth, the best they could do was charge us an extra IDR 76,177, US $1,000 more per month over and above the IDR 226,626, US $2,975 per month we’re currently paying.

Everywhere we walked, the scenery was outstanding. Unlike many botanical gardens, the owners chose to leave some areas open with expansive green lawns, adding to its beauty.

My first reaction was that for that amount for such a substantial upgrade, this was a reasonable amount, especially since I was feeling a bit of “cabin fever.” But Tom, in his usual sensible and frugal way, convinced me it wasn’t worth it, even under these trying circumstances.

I rationalized it in my mind that along with food and tips, our total monthly expenses would still be less than we usually pay while living in a nice holiday home with a rental car, groceries, and dining out. 

Although Hawaii may not be the perfect climate for cactus to increase, many varieties of cactus seem to thrive, as this has that I spotted on tour.

As the family “numbers cruncher,” I tend to think in terms of totals rather than personal expenses as long as we stay within budget. But Tom, the more practical of the two of us, reminded me that, under so many unknowns, such a “frivolous expense” wasn’t necessary based on our current circumstances.

Sure, I grumbled a little under my breath, but overnight realized he was right. After watching the news this morning and reading yesterday’s speech by President Ramaphosa of South Africa, it’s conceivable we won’t get into South Africa for four months or more.
This red fruit caught my eye, although I was uncertain as to its identity.

As we mentioned, if the airport here in Mumbai reopens to outgoing international flights, we have some ideas about where we can go to stay, perhaps an island in the Indian Ocean, not too far from Africa. At the same time, we wait for South Africa to open its borders.

It would be a lot easier to live in a beach house overlooking the sea while we wait, as opposed to sitting in a hotel room for many more months to come. Then, of course, we’ll have the added expenses of flying to one of these islands, paying for a rental car and housing, and all the ancillary costs associated with such a location.

Lipstick bamboo.  Look at these colors!

We’re better off saving our funds for that trip than moving from one hotel room to another right now. I got over it. I’m fine. I can get sidetracked at times. Tom always steers me in the right direction.

This restaurant continues to add a few items from their regular menu, and tonight, I have salmon for the first time since we arrived here. This is quite a treat after eating two small chicken breasts every night for almost three weeks. 
Tonight, I’ll also pass on the paneer makhani and have a huge plate of steamed veggies. The chef came by and offered Tom Pasta Carbonara, which will be a nice change for him.
Shrimp plants are also known as Yellow Candles.

It’s funny how meals have become more important to us during this lockdown than ever in the past. By 4:00 pm each day, I start chomping at the bit, getting hungry and anxious to go to dinner at 7:00 pm. 

Boredom? Perhaps. I’ve read online that many are eating more during the lockdown. We aren’t eating more since we have no access to food other than the two meals a day, breakfast and dinner. But, we surely enjoy mealtimes which many of you may be experiencing now as well.

When we’re safe and have basic conveniences, it’s our thoughts that do a number on us. Keeping those in check, when possible, will help all of us get through these trying times.

Be safe. Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 11, 2019:

Tiny and a mongoose getting along. Mongooses don’t eat pellets, so no competition for food. For more photos, please click here.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Heartbreaking news for my sister…

Our favorite bird, Birdie, sang for us each day to give him nuts.
Please listen to this song all the way through!
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Please click here for those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story.

Charles Dickens wrote in The Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief. It was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of light. It was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Five years ago, this adorable pair of Northern Cardinals visited us several times each day in Kauai, Hawaii.  He’s sharing the nuts we gave him with his mate that we leave on the railing each day.  How sweet is this! For that post on April 10, 2015, please click here.

And here we are, dear readers, in the worst of times as most of us are striving to survive with grace and dignity through this frightening pandemic. No one is exempt. No one is free from the fear, risk, and consequences of a world in lockdown for an indefinite period.

My sister, Susan’s situation is indicative of these stressful and unusual times. She’s back at the assisted living facility in much worse shape than she was before she fell. 
He’s so cute.  And he sings as nobody knows! See the above video of him belting out a tune for our attention for more nuts.
Not one nursing home, palliative or hospice care facility, or rehab center in Nevada would accept her as a patient due to COVID-19. Not one. Subsequently, she was sent back to her assisted living facility, which does not provide the type of palliative/hospice care she requires at this time. 
She literally cannot get into her wheelchair to get to the bathroom or attend to any of her personal needs. She can barely feed herself. She’s trapped. The assisted living facility has agreed to do what they can to help her, but they have many patients who require attention, especially when no family members can visit.
But, these facilities don’t offer the degree of help she requires now and most likely will require for the remainder of her life, which may be shorter thane anticipated under these dire circumstances. It breaks our hearts to know how she is struggling to get through each day.
Birdie, contemplating his day.
I call her every morning, which is nighttime in Nevada, USA, but I’m having trouble keeping the call from cutting off. Thank God, my sister Julie, niece Kely, and Susan’s ex-husband Tom are all also calling her frequently providing considerable emotional support and encouragement.

Based on lacunar infarctions, of which she’s had many, her memory is fading by the day. Lacunar infarction is described as follows: “Lacunar stroke or lacunar infarct (LACI) is the most common type of ischemic stroke, resulting from the occlusion of small penetrating arteries that provide blood to the brain’s deep structures.”

No doubt, many of you have experienced a similar diagnosis in your aging parents and family members. On top of this frequently occurring situation in her brain, as mentioned earlier, she has COPD, congestive heart failure, and a chronic pain condition. Also, she was injured in a recent fall. Oh, good grief, this is unbearable for her.
The male Red Crested Cardinal also came to visit each day, but he and Birdie didn’t get along well.
Susan was a brilliant and successful businesswoman for most of her life with an illustrious career. She, too, traveled the world and we often share stories of places we’ve been and the experiences we’ve had, especially while on safari in Africa and India. 
To lie in bed for 12 years withering away is unthinkable for any individual, as the quality of life fades away, day after day, as do the memories of a life well-lived. 
She asked me is she should “let go” and do what our mother had done at 81 years old in 2003, stopped eating and drinking, refusing all treatment until 17 days later she drifted away with all of us at her side. What could I say? Fight to live under these dreadful circumstances?
A showdown between Birdie and his competition.

I could only offer my love and support for whatever path she so chooses. Only she can make that decision. Many of us can make such a decision when and if the time comes, and if we hopefully still possess a modicum of mental resources to make such a dire decision.

The sorrow this virus has bestowed upon all of us worldwide has placed so many in the horrifying position of making life and death decisions for ourselves and for those we love.
Thank you to our readers for the love and support you send our way in thoughts, messages, and prayers. We extend the very same to every one of you.

Photo from one year ago today, April 10, 2019:

Mr. Nyala likes it there. It was a delight for Tom to see him again that morning and to be able to take these photos. For more photos, please click here.

Six British hotel guests are flying home today, releasing four hotel rooms…What would be nice at this point?…

Giraffes visited our yard in January 2014 in Marloth Park, South Africa.
Hanalei Bay from an overlook in Kauai, Hawaii. For more photos from our post on this date, April 9, 2015, please click here.
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.

Please click here for those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story.

Each time a hotel guest checks out, I can’t help but worry that the hotel will close. There are very few hotels open during the lockdown and beyond in Mumbai except those housing suspected COVID-19 cases. As we’ve mentioned, we’ll never stay in one of those hotels.

Tonight at 9:00 pm, five hotel guests who’ve been utilizing four hotel rooms are heading to the airport to board a chartered flight to the UK. The airport here is still closed except for the few flights arranged by various country’s state departments to repatriate citizens to their home countries.

Hanalei Bay on a sunny day, taken from our condo in Princeville in Kauai, Hawaii.

We are happy for these people, some of whom we’ve communicated with (at quite a distance) who’ve been here as long as we have, today at 16 days. They are excited to return to their homes. 

According to today’s news from what appears to be a reliable source, 50,000 US citizens have been returned home who’ve been stranded abroad in 90 countries. It could have been 50,002 (sic) if we’d chosen to head to the US.
Instead, we’re locked down in this lovely hotel, comfortable and feeling safe until we can move on to our next location. But, of course, it would be natural for some concern when the number of rooms occupied in this 334 room hotel diminishes as guests find a way out of India.
A juice bar on wheels in the quaint town of Hanalei.

This morning I spoke to my brother-in-law, Tom, my sister Susan’s ex-husband, who’s been a constant in her life for many years, helping her more than one could imagine. Tom explained how eerie it is in Las Vegas with all the lights off on the strip with all the casinos and hotels closed due to COVID-19.

He said it reminded him of those “end of the world” movies that he, like me, always enjoyed watching, never thinking for a moment that our world would be so similar, in lockdown and that the business world would come to a standstill with every town appearing like a ghost-town.

It’s easy for us to be insulated from these realities other than what we see and hear on the news. We haven’t ventured outdoors in these past 16 days and don’t plan to do so anytime soon.
These handcrafted plates for sale in Hanalei were pricey, many over INR 7615, US $100 each.

This morning at breakfast, we were thrilled to see the restaurant had a shipment. Tom could have strawberry jelly with his toast, and I could have chicken sausages with my omelet. This was a nice change we both appreciate.

As for dinners, no changes will be coming there. Most of the food items they offer are spicy Indian dishes. Tom will stick with his chicken penne pasta with white sauce and a side of potatoes (not healthy, but all that’s available that he’ll eat). 
I continue to order the same meal each evening consisting of Paneer Makhani (a spicy tomato-based Indian dish infused with cubes of paneer, a cheese similar to feta but more dense and creamy), with two small pieces of grilled chicken and steamed veggies. 
These quirky glasses were almost INR 7615, US $100 each.

Still, no wine or beer is allowed in India, with all bars and liquor stores closed indefinitely. Gosh, a drink would be nice at this point. Gosh, lounging with friends with a glass of red wine in hand would be nice at this point. 

Gosh, going outdoors would be nice at this point. Gosh, we’ve surprised ourselves as to how well we’ve been holding up without any of these at this point.
We’ve been holed up in hotel rooms for almost a month, but like most of you, we’re making the best of it. Continue to hunker down and stay safe.
Photo from one year ago today, April 9, 2019:
Lone elephant crossing the road in Kruger. For more photos, please click here.

Medical concerns mount, worldwide and “at home”…

Elephants on the Crocodile River in Kruger National Park in 2013. 
Five years ago today, we continued to be wrapped up in the growing albatross chicks nesting in the yards of homes in the neighborhood. This was our favorite Laysan Albatross chick, named “Joy,” who usually sat facing the wall.  She was practicing clacking when we stopped by the previous day, although we were at least 15 feet from her.  On this particular day, she wasn’t facing the wall, as she often does, as did her parents.  For the post from that day five years ago today, please click here.
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.

For those who may have missed the post with SW News Media’s article on our story, please click here.

My sister’s situation has escalated over the past 24 hours. She now has no choice but to go into a rehabilitation center or, even worse, a nursing home, many of which are dealing with cases of COVID-19. 

She cannot care for herself sufficiently to return to her assisted living facility, which only offers minimal care for its residents, such as dispensing medication, health checks, meals, and cleaning. At this point, Susan is being prescribed “palliative care,” which focuses on improving their quality of life.

This cannot be accomplished while living in an assisted living facility. If the fears of the virus weren’t prevalent at this time, this entire scenario would be much easier.

It’s hard to believe that these fluffy balls will eventually grow into the adults’ beautiful pristine white and gray feathers.

I’m doing what I can from afar, but it’s a difficult situation with several family members involved, each trying their best for a good outcome that doesn’t look promising.

It breaks my heart to think she could be permanently separated from her beloved Yorkie, Chase. This will be the most challenging part for her. Little dogs are often allowed in assisted living facilities but never in rehabilitation centers or nursing homes. In the next few days, we’ll see how this all rolls out.

I have no doubt many of our readers have been faced with these types of situations. Both Tom and I experienced it with our aging parents, who now passed away long ago. Overseeing even a part of their care is disheartening and sorrowful for all family members.

Could this chick be any cuter?

On India’s national news, there are considerable speculations on how India will go forward when the lockdown ends on April 14th. Numerous options are being presented; including the extension of the lockdown based on the fact, there has been no reduction in the number of cases in the country of 1.3 billion people.

Today, India has 5356 cases and 160 deaths based on this report which is considerably less than the US with 400,500 cases and 12,857 deaths. South Africa has 1749 cases and 13 deaths. These numbers will not be accurate since reporting is limited in some countries.

It appears we won’t know what India will do for several more days but, even if the lockdown ends and the airport reopens, there isn’t a country with its borders open we’d care to visit. Subsequently, we will stay here until there are possibilities that work for us. This could be months away. We are prepared for this eventuality.

A Brown Gecko is hanging out in this plant with sharp thorns, a safe hiding spot for sure.

The hotel routine continues day after day. We go to breakfast between 8:00, and 9:00 am. While our room is being cleaned, we sit in the lobby with our laptops and return to the room. 

I walk the corridors of the fourth floor once an hour until we go to dinner. We each listen to podcasts, the news, or stream shows on our respective laptops during the daytime.

Back in our room after 7:00 pm dinner, together we watched two episodes of Showtime’s TV series: Homeland, The Affair, Ray Donovan and then tried to sleep. Usually, by 11:00 pm, we’re drifting off to awaken the following day to do it all over again.

This peculiar tree was growing in the neighborhood where the nesting albatrosses were located.

As much as we’d like to shake it up a little, there’s no real opportunity for change. Although many of you housebound have similar restrictive activities, you have the added concerns when venturing out to shop. We haven’t left this hotel once in the 15 days since we arrived. 

We could potentially be saying the same thing in one, two, or three months from now. We shall see. Tolerating this situation is a mindset we hope to maintain for as long as we stay ensconced in this (or another) hotel.

Here’s a new tidbit of information we discovered: Close the toilet’s lid when you flush, at home or when out (avoid using a bathroom when out). COVID-19 spores can spread through the air from toilet contents when flushing without the lids closed.

Stay safe.

Photo from one year ago today, April 8, 2019:

Little’s Friend…His tusks are even tinier than Little’s. For more photos, please click here.

Closer to home than we think…A personal story…Five years ago, a little shop in Kauia, Hawaii…

We could watch and hear the church bells when we lived in Boveglio, Italy, in the summer of 2013. This particular video is viral on our YouTube page. Click here for the post on which we included this video.

As I wrote today’s post, starting with the headline, I smiled. “A personal story?” All of our stories are personal in one way or another. Today is no exception.

At times, people ask, “How do you feel comfortable revealing so much of your personal life online?”

My answer is always the same, “One of the reasons people all over the world read our posts is due to this very fact. If this were just a travel blog with photos of tourist locations, hotels, and restaurant reviews, we wouldn’t have kept the interest of readers for so many years.”

It’s the raw reality of our daily lives that inspires us to keep writing each day, that so quickly comes from the heart, enabling my fingers to fly across the keyboard with barely a moment of concentration or forethought. “Writer’s block” doesn’t dwell herein.

This is the only health food store, Healthy Hut, within a half-hour drive of our holiday home in Kauai, Hawaii. The inventory is ripe with fresh, locally grown organic produce, grass-fed meats, free-range chickens and eggs and food and health supplies one would find in a much larger location in a big city. Pricey? Yep! For the full story from five years ago today, please click here.

Yes, many of our prior posts suggested where to go and what to see in various parts of the world. We love sharing those tidbits of information with associated photos and links.

But, now, in isolation, without being “out there” sightseeing, shopping, socializing and feeling a “part of the world,” an entirely tunnel-vision-type approach has overcome me. It’s all about us and what we’re thinking, feeling and experiencing while locked down in a hotel room in Mumbai, India for an indefinite period.
Certainly, most of our readers can relate to our isolation when you, too, are literally trapped in your homes, facing the complexity of myriad problems, which include emotional, physical and financial concerns.
I was surprised to find many of the products I needed to make my recently posted recipe for Low Carb High Fat Protein Bars, my new favorite recipe. Click this link if you missed the recipe.

In many ways, it’s easier for us. Sure, I’d like to be able to cook a meal, have a glass of wine, do laundry and stay busy around the house. But, we have little responsibility other than staying active, eating two meals a day, and paying for our hotel and dinners (breakfast is included). 

Financially, this lockdown doesn’t impact us one way or another. We’d be paying rent for a holiday home, groceries, supplies and the occasional dinner out. Our hotel bill here is no more than we’d have paid for a holiday home and the dinners, not much more than we’d have paid for groceries and dining out.

But, for those of you out of work as you continue to incur household and living expenses, this dreadful time can only be worrisome and frightening, along with fears about the virus impacting your family and friends. Our hearts go out to all of you.

Of course, we worry about our family and friends, but based on frequent communication it seems everyone is hunkered down to the best of their ability, wearing masks, social distancing and frequently washing their hands.

Although our situation is not dire at this point, we aren’t exempt from worry and concern. My dear sister Susan, who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada who’s been bedridden for many years with various severe medical conditions, took an awful fall a few days ago, one of many she’s experienced over the years.

Seeing pumpkins and squash reminds us of crisp, cool fall in Minnesota as I stood admiring this at a comfortable 82 degrees.

She is now a coronavirus-free hospital after hany tests that determined she has been suffering numerous small strokes, causing her to fall over the years, often incurring brain bleeds and injuries. In addition, she has COPD, congestive heart failure, and severe chronic pain syndrome. (Bad genes in my family).

For the past nine months, she has been living in a lovely assisted living facility in Las Vegas, which, to date, hasn’t had any cases of COVID-19. I spent many delightful afternoons with her when we stayed in Nevada in November 2019. 

I baked a few of her favorite desserts (from our childhood) at son Richard’s house in Henderson and brought them to her when I visited each day. We laughed and told stories while cherishing every moment together. On December 9th, when we left Nevada it was hard to say goodbye, not sure we’d ever be together again.

Based on US Medicare requirements when a patient/senior is hospitalized and still a bit unstable, they require the patient to go to the rehabilitation center before they can return to their former living arrangements.

With all the news of COVID-19 impacting rehab and nursing facilities, my dear sister is terrified of being forced to go to one of these facilities before she can return to her assisted living facility where she’s been content and comfortable.

The shelves were packed with beauty products, snacks, and treat, none of which we purchase.

My sister Julie, my niece Kely, Susan’s adult daughter, both of whom live in California, and I, have been on the phone trying to attend to her care the best way we can. No visitors are allowed in the hospital to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. She was injured during the fall and is in considerable pain along with the chronic discomfort of her other medical conditions. This is heartbreaking.

We are trying to avoid her going to the rehab facility, which emotionally would be devastating for her. Although we are grateful she doesn’t have the virus, ishe wouldn’t survive f she did become infected  

Many of you are experiencing similar situations throughout the world with family members alone in the hospital without the possibility of visitors and other medical conditions that require care and treatment during this difficult time.

These are challenging times for all of us in our own ways. We pray for toursafety and well-being fnd all of our loved ones wherever they may be. May this devastation soon end.

Photo from one year ago today, April 7, 2019:

This morning, this Hornbill stood on the top of the door to let Tom know it was time to eat. Tom came running outdoors to comply with his fervent request. For more photos, please click here.

Off we go!…Final expenses for Kauai…Over budget in one category only…

Our final video of the Laysan Albatross.  Great for a huge chuckle. Nature is amazing!

Today, we fly away to Oahu to stay overnight at Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach. We used points we’d accumulated to pay for the hotel using the link on our site for Hotels.com.

We chose this hotel when our intent was to be close to Cheeseburger in Paradise, our favorite Waikiki restaurant, and to have easy access to walking along the beach boulevard, Kalakaua Avenue.

Tom had wanted to have a photo with the car since we first noticed it in downtown Hanalei. Finally, during our last few days, we got it done.

Tomorrow around noon we’ll grab a taxi to take us the short distance to the pier in Honolulu, where our ship, Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas will be ready for boarding. Need I say, for the zillionth time, we’re kind of excited?

The final packing and cleaning of the condo are complete, and we’re all set to go. Check-out time is 10:00 am but our flight isn’t until 1:30 pm so we’ll take our time getting out the door when the cleaning people aren’t due to arrive until 10:30.

After the first half-hour, the clouds rolled in and it began to rain in the mountains.

Yesterday, I began calculating the final expenses to share here today. These calculations include every expense we’ve incurred in Kauai for a total of 128 days with the exception of clothing and supply purchases we’ve made during the lengthy stay.  Here they are:

Rent (128 nights):                           $ 9,000.00 (special rate for long term stay, web exposure)
Car Rental & Fuel:                              3,492.32
Airfare to and from Kauai:                     576.00
Tours & Entertainment:                         450.00
Dining in Restaurants:                           905.92
Groceries & Household Products:          5,679.79
Total Expenses:                            $20,104.03

Average Cost per Day:                  $     157.06
Average Cost per Month:              $  4,777.24

We are pleasantly surprised with the totals although we were over on the budgeted amount for groceries by $579.79 when originally we estimated food costs at $5100. (Tom says that we were only over budget by $4.52 each day. No big deal, right?)

Most of our food purchases include mostly organic vegetables (when available), grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, free-range organic chicken and butter and bake a few items with expensive coconut flour at $8.95 for 12 ounces and almond flour at $15 for 12 ounces. Of course, the extra costs for these added considerably to the totals.

A group of tourists from a couple of tour vans walked along the pier with the guy in the blue shirt singing and playing the ukulele. Most likely they were cruise passengers out on a day tour from Norwegian’s Pride of America.

As an alternative view of our food expenses, we never eat more than two meals per day and purchase no snacks or munching type foods other than quality cheeses, meats, and nuts.  

We use organic real cream in our coffee. We’ve fed the birds no less than $25 of raw nuts. We buy no canned or bottled sodas (other than Sprite Zero for Tom’s occasional cocktail) and we only drink iced tea. Also, we’ve replaced most of the staples we used during our stay that were on hand when we arrived including paper products and cleaning supplies.

The point in Hanalei with the shape of a dragon on the side facing us inspired the song “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

When you consider the above grocery bill, it averages $44.37 per day. Considering the quality of the food we’ve consumed, we find this total to be acceptable, especially when dining out wouldn’t guarantee food quality with an average cost of $68 including tip, for a meal at a casual local restaurant without cocktails, appetizers or desserts. 

If we’d eaten dinner out every night, we’d have spent another $3,024.64 and still had to purchase household goods and miscellaneous items for breakfast and snacks.  

If one lived in Kauai long term and enjoyed making quality meal, occasionally dining out, and visiting various sites, we estimate the monthly cost with a modest rent, food, dining out, and a car rental it could be approximately $4500 a month.

This was the view when we sat in our chairs in the sand.

We didn’t have to include the cost of the hotel in Poipu for my birthday when this room was also booked using a “free night.” However, we did include meals, fuel, and miscellaneous in the appropriate categories.

As I upload this post, within minutes, we’ll be running around checking every nook and crannies for any items we may have missed. We’ll place the door key back in the lockbox and be on our way.

We’ll be back tomorrow morning from the hotel in Oahu with an update on the flight, dinner in Honolulu, and an assessment of the hotel. If time allows and we get connected on the ship’s wifi, we may write a short blurb with a few photos of our first impressions aboard the ship. If not, we’ll be back on Monday morning with the scoop.

As the chick’s fluffy feathers fall away, the new feathers quickly fill in. We’d love to see as this progresses and will be able to do so by watching this live webcam from Cornell Labs.

Dear Readers, thanks for hanging in there with us all of these months. We realize at times, our stories were a stretch and perhaps a bit mundane. Let’s face it, daily life in itself isn’t always exciting and eventful. It was a long haul we may never repeat in one location. Also, it was a long stretch  coming up with stories and photos during the eight months in Hawaii.

Please stay tuned and look forward to new adventures to begin aboard ship for 18 nights, across the International Dateline, the equator and living in Australia beginning on June 11th.

Bye, bye, Birdie!  You’ve made it all the more wonderful!

Birdie sitting on the railing of the lanai trying to get us to bring out the nuts. How could we ever refuse when we heard this song?

Have a safe Memorial weekend!

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

The entire village of Campanario is built on the side of a mountain.  The roads are steep and winding like nothing we’d ever seen.  There were tunnels everywhere, older ones made with stone walls.  For more details on that date, please click here.

One more day until departure!…Saying goodbye to friends and wildlife…Last Kauai photos…Links to other Hawaiian Island photos and total expenses….

We seldom are able to get a photo of us together without imposing it on others. On occasion, when appropriate we’ll offer to take a photo of a couple or a family hoping they’ll also take ours.

Yesterday, at noon we put on our swimsuits and headed to the beach at Hanalei Bay to sit in our Costco chairs, one last time, gaze at the sea and walk on the pier. The sun was shining when we arrived and, not surprisingly, gone by the time we left. We took some photos and languished in the beauty surrounding us. We’ll share those photos tomorrow.

This green anole has begun shedding its skin. We were excited to see this at the overlook across the street.

The beach was quiet, perhaps due to the fact that permanent residents may have gone to the mainland or other islands for the upcoming Memorial weekend. Other than a few tour vans that arrived loaded with tourists, it was peaceful and quiet except for our own endless chatter on plans for the future. It was perfect!

This partnership that we’ve watched daily between Birdie and Ms. Birdie reminds us of the partnership we share, always looking out for one another. This is a favorite photo.

In a prior post, we’d mentioned that we’d share some favorite photos from the three other Hawaiian islands we’ve visited over these many months. For expediency, instead, we’ve listed the links to the final posts that include some of our favorite photos from each island. Plus, these links include the final expenses for each location. Please click here to view:

Waikiki/Honolulu: https://www.worldwidewaftage.com/2014/10/hurricane-ana-on-its-way-to-hawaiian.html
Maui:  https://www.worldwidewaftage.com/2014/12/aloha-mauimaui-expense-totalssix-weeks.html
Big Island: https://www.worldwidewaftage.com/2015/01/final-expenses-from-big-island.html

Tomorrow’s post will include the total expenses and final photos of our time in Kauai. Please check back.

Another exquisite view from the hilltop at Princeville Ranch.

Communicating with the many friends we made over the past several months while living in Kauai continues up over these past few days via email and in person. This afternoon, we’ll visit Richard and Elaine at their home to say goodbye and give them our two Costco lawn chairs that we certainly can’t take with us. Who better than Richard to inherit these chairs who will undoubtedly use them at upcoming Full Moon Parties?

An ocean view from the highest point at the Princeville Ranch when we toured the property with Curlie, the owner.

This evening, we’re meeting Alice and Travis for dinner at Hideaways across the road, giving us the opportunity to say goodbye to them in person. We’d planned to eat leftovers, but when Alice asked if we’d like to meet for dinner via Facebook messenger, we were thrilled to be able to see them one more time.

We’ve gotten a kick out of all the feral chickens, chicks and roosters found everywhere in Kauai.

Yesterday, our new next-door neighbors followed us to the neighborhood so we could show them the albatross families and take a few final photos. To our delight, we ended up taking a hysterical video that we’ll be posting tomorrow on our final Kauai post, along with an expense breakdown. If you’d like a good chuckle, make sure you watch that short video in its entirety.

There are an estimated 1100 Hawaiian Monk Seals left in the world. Having the opportunity to see this one was pure “safari luck.”

I’m mostly packed. Tom will pack later today. Now, we’re doing our final loads of laundry. Today, Tom decided we should wash all of his shirts so they’ll be hanging all over the condo to get the wrinkles out before he packs.

At times, the wildlife staff will fence off the Hawaiian Monk Seals to avoid curiosity seekers from getting too close. The morning Julie and I spotted this one, she/he was comfortably at peace, longing on the beach without a fence enclosing her/him.

Usually, each day we wash one load of clothing and towels. Once we board that ship, we’ll have to accumulate dirty clothes until the ship offers a deal on laundry, usually $30 for one grocery sized bag. This bag usually arrives after the first week. 

Another breathtaking sunset in Kauai.

It’ll be tricky waiting until that paper bag arrives when we have few clothes. In the interim, we’ll be washing underwear and swimsuits in the bathroom sink. We could have them done piece by piece, but at the ship’s cost of $5 for a single tee shirt, it makes no sense. Wearing most items more than once or twice will be necessary.  Then again, this is not unfamiliar to us.

View over Hanalei Bay.

Fortunately, our clothes never smell of body odor even if we wear the same item twice. Neither of us sweats that much and freshly showered a few times a day, in the morning and after the pool, our clothes stay fresh for a few days. 

Hanalei Wildlife Refuse.

The bigger problem is spilling food on our clothes, particularly Tom, who really doesn’t appear to be a messy diner. But, invariably he has coffee, iced tea, or food spots on the front of his shirts. I’m not exempt from this issue either.

This Jackfruit is known for its medicinal value. 

Packing and flying have a few nuances we have to consider, especially the no more than 3-ounce liquid rules.  Although the flight is less than 30 minutes to Oahu, all the rules still apply. Thus, we’ll pack our toiletries we’ll need overnight at the hotel and pack larger liquid containers in the suitcases which we don’t plan to open until we get to the ship.

I spotted this gorgeous rhododendron on the tour of the Princeville Botanical Garden.

Yesterday, I threw out my worn purse. It had heavy metal buckles. The only purses I have left are two tiny evening bags, one black, one beige, that I use on occasion when we go to dinner which I am planning to give away today. Otherwise, Tom carries my few items in his pockets. Why women’s clothing doesn’t have ample pockets baffles me.

This bottlebrush type of flower was a mystery to the tour guide and the owner of the Princeville Botanical Garden.

Instead of a purse in which to carry my small black cosmetic bags, a brush, and comb, my wallet and camera,  going forward I’ll be using the big yellow insulated Costco bag as a carry on which has multiple uses as a grocery bag or beach bag.

Another view of the Hanalei Wildlife Refuge. 

I can fit my purse stuff and the pill bag inside the Costco bag so it will appear that I have only one carry-on bag instead of two. Tom will carry one computer bag, a duffel bag, and the rolling cart. With this average of two items each, we’re good on all flights going forward. Minimize. It’s a way of life for us.

Could these orchids be more beautiful?

That’s it for today folks! We’ll be back tomorrow morning shortly before we depart for the airport. On Sunday, we’ll be posting in the morning from Honolulu as we wait for the appropriate time to grab a taxi and head to the pier. Yeah!

Happy Friday! Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2014:

Zooming in to quite a distance from our veranda in Madeira, we could see this man on his roof near the clothesline. Dryers are unheard of in many other countries. Once again we were hanging our clothes outdoors.  For details, please click here.

The end of an era in paradise…How to make Kauai work for a vacation or holiday…Two days and counting…Favorite Kauai photos…

The view from our lanai.

For those living in more beautiful places than Kauai, do tell me where you are and we’ll hope to visit someday soon.  For those living in barren, desolate areas, we appreciate the beauty of those places too.

The beach at Hanalei Bay.

Our hearts skipped a beat over the barren desolation in three countries in Africa, finding an indescribable beauty that will linger in our hearts and minds forever, hoping to return to Africa sometime in the future.

An albatross parent looking happy.

It isn’t always about ocean and mountain views, lush greenery, and blooming tropical flowers. It can be sand blanketed desert or rocky tumbleweed covered plains and the unique beauty is evident. 

An Eyebrowed Thrush we spotted in the yard.

Wherever we may travel, we find ourselves in awe of Mother Nature’s bounty of terrain and vegetation appropriate to a climate and elevation. How magical is that fact in itself? 

Anini Beach on a cloudy day.

As for Kauai, its truly a paradise and if scenery provides the traveler with a much needed respite from the rigors of daily life, Kauai is the place to visit. Many assume that it’s hard to travel to Kauai when in fact there are direct flights from some major cities. 

The dry caves at Tunnels Beach.

In the worst case, a short layover in Honolulu will result in a short 30-minute flight heading this way every few hours. Car rentals are reasonable, especially if booked online at such sites as rentalcars.com. We were able to rent a car in Kauai for under US $700 a month, surprisingly reasonable. (For shorter rentals, the rates may be slightly higher on a per-week basis).

Birdie added a lot of fun to our stay in Kauai.

Accommodations are plentiful in Kauai whether one chooses to stay in Princeville, Hanalei, Kilauea, Kapaa, Poipu, Waimea, or any of the other resort areas. Prices vary from as little as $120 a night to $1000’s per night.  Overall, most average rates are around $265 a night for a well-equipped condo that may include an ocean view. 

African Tulips bloomed and not bloomed.

By staying for a week or more with a full kitchen one can keep the costs at a reasonable level by cooking some of the meals. Our average cost for groceries has been under $50 a day as opposed to approximately $200 or more (for two) who may choose to dine out twice a day. 

Beautiful, the name escapes

Many condos with full kitchens are equipped with basic spices and condiments. Being able to avoid purchasing paper products, cleaning supplies and condiments keeps the costs at bay. It may be worth asking if any of these items are included in the rent.

A newly hatched albatross chick, nestled under a parent.

With our long one to three months stays in mostly houses, we have no expectations of the owners providing us with paper products, laundry and bath soaps, shampoo and cleaning supplies. However, these items may all be included for the one to two-week stay in a vacation property.

A Princeville shore.

Dining out is sketchy at best in Kauai. It’s important to check the reviews on TripAdvisor for restaurants in Kauai to decide what will fit your budget and food preferences. For us, there were few good options, mainly due to my way of eating.

A waterfall on the treacherous path down to the Queen’s Bath.  We can’t believe we made that hike!

Will we ever return to Kauai? The answer would be “yes” if we didn’t have so much world yet to see. At this point, we’ve seen so little of the world and have many plans in mind for the future which doesn’t include returning to Hawaii.

During our visit to the southern shore of Kauai, this horse seemed happy to see us.

Would we ever live in Kauai, if and when health requires we settle down, which, let’s face it, most likely will occur at some point? If that occurs, most likely we’d prefer more convenient access to competent medical care.  Who knows?  Preferably, we’ll be able to stay fit and healthy and when our final days near we’ll be situated in a favorite location for a 90 day or longer stint.

The Spouting Horn in Poipu.

Kauai is not necessarily suitable for those with chronic health conditions who may need frequent access to treatment and facilities which, if needed can be found an hour’s drive from Princeville in Lihue or perhaps taking a flight to Oahu. 

Rainbow Eucalyptus tree. 

We’ve spoken to some locals that travel to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona for annual physicals and treatment and others who fly to Honolulu for care. That may be too cumbersome for long-term residents.

This Kauai sunset will remain a favorite.

If, as a traveler, walking is your preferred activity, Kauai offers the utmost in trails, designated sidewalks, beaches and tourist towns for some of the finest walking to be found anywhere. 

A clear pool of water at high tide.

If all one did when coming to Kauai was to walk, partaking in some of the many trails based on the level of fitness, and spent time gazing at the scenery, the sunrises, and sunsets, it would be an extraordinary and memorable experience. It isn’t necessary to spend much if any money on tours if one is on a budget and longs to visit Kauai.

This shot was taken on our hike down the steep path to Hideaways Beach.

We leave Kauai with happy hearts for an experience we’ll always cherish for its constant beauty and for the many friendships we’ve made and the memories we’ll always treasure.

                                                Photo from one year ago today, May 21, 2014:

We took this photo from a steep road on our way to Ribeira Brava in Madeira, Portugal. For more details from that date, please click here.

Three days and counting…New photos…Our years long journey to everywhere continues…Link to our Princeville condo here…

Free-range cattle poses for a photo.

It’s unimaginable to be saying this but, Hawaii has been a long haul. Oh, don’t get me wrong it’s been an excellent experience in tropical island living. With the mountains, the ocean, the fast-changing weather, the extraordinary vegetation, and its friendly people, it’s been a memorable leg of our year’s long journey to everywhere.

The pounding high tide surf over a rock formation jutting out from the steep cliffs in Princeville.

Overall, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time here. However, the wanderlust beacons us and we’re anxious to be on our way to the point of counting down the days over the past month.

A portion of the paved path that leads to Hideaways Beach, one of the many steep paths we navigated to beaches.

As the days wind down to a mere three until we load the car, make the hour-long drive to Lihue and fly for 20 minutes to arrive in Oahu for one day, we become reminiscent of the many months we spent in Hawaii including a total of 12 nights in Oahu, six weeks each in Maui and Big Island and now over four months in Kauai, totaling almost eight months.

Anini Beach is secluded in many areas.

When we recall originally booking the five various vacation homes in Hawaii, all based on our family coming to the Big Island for Christmas and, this upcoming cruise in May, it all made sense at the time. Hawaii, then off to the South Pacific with a relaxing, stress-free four-plus, months in Kauai in between. 

A path from a secluded area in Anini Beach to the street.

Looking back now, we could easily have spent a shorter time in Kauai, found a different cruise, and seen more world by this period in time. But, this isn’t the Amazing Race. It’s our lives, albeit our sometimes complicated lives that are interspersed with almost constant dreaming, planning, booking, and ultimately, living for days, weeks, or months in those places of our dreams.

Part of the charm of Kauai is its many chickens. chicks and roosters we’ve found everywhere.

We have no regrets. Our only time limit is life itself and continuing good health, or at least health issues we can manage along the way wherever we may be at the time. Feeling wonderfully well again, I’m reminded of the fragility of life itself. 

Ocean views are a huge motivator for island living.
We have no delusions about how quickly it all can be snapped away. Perhaps, this acceptance makes us a little more cautious than some may be on a vacation or holiday or, for a many month’s long respite from winter’s cold weather. 
Palm and coconut trees line the landscape.

We don’t take too many chances attempting to tackle high-risk physical adventures beyond practicality as we age. Why take the risk? It’s not as if our worldwide following is waiting with bated breath for us to bungee jump or hike a dangerous trail. 

This cow was particularly interested in us.

When we look back into our over 1000 archives of these past years since 2012, we giggle over the many adventures we have experienced, never thinking about what we “should’ve, would’ve or could’ve done.” 

Many large homes and estates have long and winding driveways.

As we wind down this lengthy stay we’re also reminded of all of the friends we’ve made, the parties we’ve attended, and the conversations we’ve shared with a seemingly endless array of fine people. 

It wasn’t unusual to see sheep grazing in Kauai. 

Whether our social activities were precipitated by the kindly social directing of our friend Richard, whom we met our first few days in Kauai, or those we met on the beach or at the overlook across from us on Ka Haku Road, or other travelers we’ve met who moved in next door to us for a few days or a week, every one of them mattered to us

Many property owners raise goats and sheep on their acreage.

A huge factor in making this extended period pleasant for us has been this condo. If you plan a trip to Kauai, you’ll also enjoy its comfortable bed and bedding, relatively good wireless broadband and cable TV, the washer and dryer conveniently located in a closet in the kitchen, and a good supply of kitchen appliances and gadgets, all of which have made staying here easy and convenient.

Whenever we’ve stopped for photos of the many grass-fed cattle in Kauai, they approach the fence to check us out.

Above all, the view from the lanai to the wild vegetation in the back with a breathtaking ocean view and another enticing ocean view from the front, also with a view of Hanalei Bay, has made awakening each morning a treat.

Horses are found on acreage, ranches, and farms.

And then, there are the birds we’ve come to know and love, the sounds of the roosters crowing and the chicks and chickens clucking, hidden beneath the palms in the surrounding yard and we’ve found this location and condo to be ideal. 

These pods are growing against the railing at the overlook across the street.  Many plants, shrubs, and trees in Hawaii grow large pods that bloom into gorgeous flowers or simply more leaves.

Adding the countless opportunities we’ve relished of visiting the growing Laysan Albatross chicks only a short distance away, from the parents sitting on the nests in January to the hatching of the chicks in February and as they matured, chucking their fluffy feather, soon to fledge the nest.

Sunset from our front lanai.

Today, we’re sharing a few remaining new photos and starting tomorrow, as promised, a recap in photos of our time in Kauai with a few remaining photos of our time on the other islands in Hawaii.

Hump day, think upcoming weekend. Have a great day!

                                               Photo from one year ago today, May 20, 2014:

After getting settled in Madeira, Portugal, we started getting out and navigating the steep hills of Campanario, the little village in which we lived. It was cool when we first arrived, staying in the cool ’70s throughout the summer. Tom is standing on the ground of a lovely restaurant we visited late in the day for an excellent meal. For details, please click here.

Continue reading “Three days and counting…New photos…Our years long journey to everywhere continues…Link to our Princeville condo here…”