Day #234 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Good news!!!… Halfway, anyway!…

Although the hills block the sun setting, these beautiful skies give us a peek of what lurks behind the hills.

Today’s photos are from this date while staying in a condo overlooking Maalaea Beach, Maui, Hawaii in 2014. For the story and more photos from this date, please click here.

While researching photos for today’s post, I experienced a hurdle. There was only one post on this particular date of November 12th, in the past eight years that appealed to me. I knew at some point this would happen. With over 3000 past posts and repeats for the past eight months, it was inevitable I’d eventually run into such an obstacle.

Subsequently, today’s photos are no big deal. After all, there were only eight 12ths of November, with the first year, 2012 with no photos at all. So bear with us on today’s less-than-interesting photos. When living in certain parts of the world for extended periods, it’s not unusual for us to have days when we take no photos.

A new Coast Guard boat in the marina.

There are days when we choose to stay in. In anyone’s life, sightseeing isn’t always an important aspect of one’s daily life. In our old lives, we never went sightseeing unless we had out-of-town guests who were anxious for us to give them “the tour” of the highlights of our city.

Of course, our lives of world travel usually (except for now) warrant us heading out to see what treasures we can discover as we tour the most recent location and take hundreds, if not thousands of photos. At some point, we’ll repost many of the photos we’ve taken here in India, while touring during our first six weeks before COVID-19 hit and we had to curtail our activities.

Not our photo. Several times each day we checked the surf reports in hopes of spotting photo opportunities such as this.

Speaking of which, according to numerous news media reports, it appears that President Cyril Ramphosa of South Africa has agreed to reopen borders to travelers worldwide. See this article here. His comments include:

“By using rapid tests and strict monitoring, we intend to limit the spread of the infection through importation,” he added. “We expect that these measures will greatly assist businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors.”

The president did not give further details or a specific date for the reopening. A presidency spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

South Africa opened its borders to some international travelers at the beginning of October after a six-month ban, but the restricted entry from high-risk countries, with the latest list, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Brazil, and India.”

Beautiful colors at dusk at the lava rock breakwaters.

Yeah! Well, almost yeah. India has yet to open up international flights in order for us to be able to fly to South Africa. But, now we feel more hopeful. Now, we wait for the airlines to start booking flights from Mumbai to Johannesburg and then on to the Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger, a one hour drive to Marloth Park.

We’ve had zillions of readers contacting us via email, comments, and Facebook, letting us know about this news. We thank each and every one of you for letting us know. However, during the night when I suddenly awoke and couldn’t go back to sleep right away, a news notification popped up on my phone with the story. I couldn’t wait to tell Tom but didn’t want to awaken him.

Note how the colors of these flowers progress to brighter pink at the top. This is a variety of Aloe Vera.

The first moment I felt him moving around this morning, I excitedly shared the news. Now, we both feel so much more hopeful and can more easily wait out the time for India to resume international flights. How exciting this is! Of course, the reality remains we can only spend 90 days in the country without having to leave to return for a new visa stamp. We have been prepared for this all along.

Ninety days is simply not enough time for us to spend there. But, we have several options as to which countries we can visit in order to do this and be able to return. Doing so requires a stay in a country that doesn’t border South Africa. We’ll figure that out later. Right now, we are reveling in our enthusiasm and newly found hopefulness.

It’s the same challenge with these unusual fruits, which we were unable to identify after searching through hundreds of photos.

Today? We’ll be walking, smiling, binge-watching, eating the same food as the prior days, walking, smiling, and repeat.

Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, November 12, 2019:

While out to dinner with son Greg’s family, my cioppino (fish stew) at Stella’s Fish House was delicious. For more, please click here.

Day #230 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Guests not wearing masks…Frustrations…

Full moon over Maalaea Beach. Check out the shadows of that crazy trimmed tree in the condo’s yard.

Today’s photos are from this date while staying in Maui, Hawaii for six weeks. For the story and more photos from this date, please click here.

After another fitful night, awakening at 1:30 am and not falling back to sleep until 4:00 am, it wasn’t until 8:30 that I finally got out of bed to begin my day, feeling sluggish and unmotivated to begin the daily walking regiment. Forty minutes later I was out the door to begin the first mile. I never finished it.

The Maui shoreline is a photographer’s dream.

While walking in the corridors on our floor, no less than 12 new guests arrived, searching for their rooms. I stood at a distance of no less than 15 feet, (5 meters) from each group when I spotted no less than five people not wearing face masks. In addition, I spotted two room attendants wearing their masks below their noses. What’s the point of that?

With people checking in from the toxic outside world in Mumbai, who haven’t necessarily been tested in the past 24 hours, the risks of contracting the virus from such people could be high. At no point did I get close to any of them. This hotel has been meticulously careful in avoiding a single case of COVID-19 all these months. But, with this rash of new guests arriving and staying on our floor while not wearing face masks, that could change quickly.

The Hawaiian Islands, like many other tropical islands, has an ever-changing weather phenomenon.

While Tom was walking, passing by me from time to time, he took a photo of a guest waiting who’d come from his room, heading to the elevator from our floor without a face mask at all. Once I was back in our room, I sent the manager-on-duty an email with the photos explaining the situation. Not only is this type of negligence and arrogance dangerous for us, but what about the other guests and hotel staff?

A Covid-19 outbreak in a hotel certainly wouldn’t be good for business, let alone the risk to many hard-working people who’ve continued to live here, away from their families, to protect the hotel guests and other staff members.

The subtle colors in these hills are breathtaking.

After sending a very polite and diplomatic email, I ran into the manager in the corridor who’d come up to inspect the floor. He graciously apologized to me stating from here on, a staff member will guard the floor off and on throughout the day, to ensure no one is violating the face mask policy which requires a mask in all public areas. He asked that we inform him if we see any infractions.

In the meantime, the restaurant is open to the public as well as the hotel guests. Although the tables are socially-distanced, there is a lunch buffet seven days a week. There’s no way in the world we’ll ever eat in the dining room under these circumstances.

It’s odd at times to find lush vegetation in what appears to be arid and desolate areas.

And then, the next thing happened, and although seemingly a small issue, most hotel guests may never think of, we were both furious, still maintaining a sense of diplomacy and kindness when bringing it to the attention of our room attendant and the wandering manager-on-duty. You may think we’re too picky bringing this up, but please think about it. Here goes:

After our room was clean, when Tom did the usual inspection to ensure we had plenty of everything provided, (towels, toiletries, coffee and tea supplies) he noticed a partial toilet paper roll was placed on one of the two toilet paper holders, one of which we knew was empty, Where did this partial roll come from?

The swirling ocean below the ravine where we stood and watched.

Certainly, it was from another room. There is no way we’d want a “used roll” of toilet paper taken from the partial use of another guest, Covid-19, or no Covid-19. Good grief! Under what circumstances would this ever be acceptable in a hotel or public facility?

I put my mask back on and walked the corridors searching for our attendant and once again, kindly explained, “We do not want partial toilet paper rolls placed in our bathroom, please).” Immediately, he replaced the “used” roll with a new one, removing it from our room.

This orange buoy is a marker for a nearby scuba diver.

Oh, dear, we sound like nags. But, our health and well being are at the forefront, not only now, but as we continue to travel the world, should we ever be able to begin again.

Today, in dire frustration, we discussed the possibility of returning to the US until things improve. But, with a record-breaking 124,390 new cases in the US in the past 24 hours, which is three times more than they had in India yesterday. We’d prefer to stay put, feeling safer here than anywhere else we could be at this time, of course, providing everyone wears face masks in the corridors.

We continue on…

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

The digital display on our table at Qzine Specialty Restaurant on the ship left us totally in awe over not only the visuals but also the fine food. For more photos, please click here.

Day #223 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Flowers in Hawaii…A bad dining experience…

Plumeria is often used in making leis in Hawaii.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2014 while living in Maalaea Beach, Maui, Hawaii where we celebrated our two-year word travel anniversary at an Italian restaurant, sorely disappointed over the meal. See the link here.

No, I won’t get into the disappointment we felt over our second-year travel anniversary dinner in an Italian restaurant. Feel free to read the details in the above-mentioned link. In actuality, we’ve forgotten all about it, probably a few days after the event. Dining in TripAdvisor recommended restaurants worldwide is no guarantee the food will meet any diner’s particular needs like ours; me, with my dietary restrictions; and Tom, with his picky taste buds.

Kimi Pink Ginger.

The bottom line, if I can get a decent-sized serving of some type of animal protein, fish, or seafood along with a few vegetables, and if Tom can get beef, pork, or chicken with some type of potatoes or white rice, you’d think this would be an easy bill to fill. You’d be surprised how difficult this is to accomplish in many restaurants we’ve visited throughout the world.

Overall, we’ve had from good to excellent experiences. Every now and then, we’ve been disappointed, most often by the small portion of my protein, often only four ounces, .11 kg, simply not enough when I only eat once or twice a day. With prices so high at most locations, it makes no sense to place a double order for me when I can’t eat most of the accompanying side dishes.

I searched through no less than 500 photos of Hawaiian flowers, unable to find some of the names of those we’ve shown here today.

Instead, I’ll often eat Tom’s vegetables and I’ll give him my potatoes. When we return to our holiday home, I can always have a piece of cheese to tide me over until the next day. Most often, as we all know, “eat a small amount and 20-minutes later, you may be comfortably full.” This is often true.

We enjoy seeing a hearty portion on our plates when we prepare our own meals. I often refer to us as “piglets.” However, when cooking low carb/keto meals we can enjoy a portion sufficient to fill us to satiety, keeping in mind, we may only eat once or twice a day and generally don’t snack, unless we haven’t had breakfast. In those cases, by 3:00 pm, we both may have a piece of cheese to hold us over until dinner. We rarely eat anything after dinner.

A wilted variety of Plumeria, perhaps.

When we’ve been on cruises, we tilt our heads in wonder, observing most other passengers eating breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner, drinks, and dessert. We would blow up like balloons if we ate so much food. Based on stats, the average cruise passenger gains 1 pound, .45 kg a day.

After 27 cruises the past eight years, we’d have a big problem on our hands if we’d gained on all these cruises, much more than the challenge we’re facing now, dropping enough weight to fit in the clothes in our luggage. In my old life, I had the flexibility of different sized clothes in the attic to accommodate an occasional weight gain or loss.

This must have been pretty before it began to fade away.

But, that’s not the case now. We’d better fit in those jeans when we leave here, whenever that may go. I haven’t fit in those jeans since August 2019 after gaining back all the weight I’d lost from the open-heart surgery (in February 2019) when the drugs I was on made me sleepy, lethargic, and hungry all the time.

This becomes particularly important now when I recall checking out a few women’s clothing stores in Komatipoort, near Marloth Park. They either had large sizes or tiny, tiny, short length jeans suitable for whom, I couldn’t figure out. With my height and overly long legs, the only jeans I can wear are available in the US.

More Plumeria.

Since we won’t be ordering any clothing from the US to be shipped to us in the future, after our recent package fiasco, I’d better fit into the items I have on hand now. I have two pairs of jeans and two pairs of shorts that almost fit. Tom’s elastic waist shorts fit, but his jeans are still tight. By the time we leave here, we both should be able to fit into the clothing in our bags.

Tom too is losing weight along with me, now that he only eats a big breakfast and no dinner, having given up the chicken pasta and roasted potatoes. I am eating a small breakfast of one boiled egg and one slice of bacon, and dinner is a good-sized chicken burger patty, topped with Emmental cheese, an egg, and bacon with mustard on the side. This is working for both of us right now.

Maui goose.

Every time I write about food, my mouth waters, not so much as a result of trying to lose weight, but from missing out on many items we’d love to savor which aren’t available here. Sorry, to so frequently mention food in our posts. It’s hard not to think about it during these peculiar circumstances.

Have a tasty day, enjoying something you love!

Photo from one year ago today, November 1, 2019:

Clouds over the skyline in New York as we reached the USA. For more photos, please click here.

Day #213 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Gentle musings on the simple things…

Tom’s gluten-free, low carb, starch, and sugar-free pizza with fresh mushrooms, green olives, onions, and Italian sausage, topped with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. This will last for three delicious nights. We never mind repeated dinners for three nights in a row. The crust is made with grated cheese and one egg. He’ll be drooling over this photo today.

Today’s food photos are from the post on this date in 2014 after grocery shopping in Maui, Hawaii. For more from this date, please click here.

When I checked out Kenya photos from this date in 2013, there were few photos worthy of posting today. Instead, I jumped forward to 2014 on this date, once again, while we were spending six weeks on the blissful island of Maui. We’d been out grocery shopping and were pleasantly surprised over our purchases in the nearby town of Kihei.

My pizza is made with free-range chicken sausage, anchovies, onions, olives, mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, organic zucchini, eggplant with mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. This crust is also made with cheese and egg and is low carb and gluten, sugar, and starch-free. Love it!

Ironically, for the first time in almost two years since the onset of our travels, I drove the rental car, finding my way to the Safeway supermarket, a 20 minute drive from our condo, and the largest market we’d seen in so long. It felt great to be driving again after so long.

Yesterday, Tom and I were chuckling over this time in Mumbai as the longest period he’s gone as an adult without driving a car. Continuing in our world travels, there were plenty of times I didn’t drive for extended periods when I don’t feel comfortable driving a manual transmission with the stick on the left side. My left hand is useless.

As I entered the store, my eyes darted everywhere in awe of all of the “stuff” for sale.

On top of that, I don’t possess the ability to retrain myself to drive while managing the stick shift, while on the opposite side of the road from which I learned in the US at 16 years old. I suppose it’s a lack of coordination. Under familiar circumstances, I know how to drive a stick shift. At one point, as an adult, I purchased a vehicle with manual transmission.

Upon returning to the condo, I used the Ziploc bags to individually wrap each of the three steaks which Tom will eat while I’ll have the rack of lamb.

Well, anyway, that day in Maui, I was thrilled to once again be driving and totally loved the time I could spend meandering around the huge supermarket with nary a thought of how slow I was going, inspecting countless products along the way. Most often, Tom had been with me while grocery shopping, and although I enjoyed his participation, I loved it when he waited in the car reading a book on his phone.

Having not purchased meat at this store on our visit the prior week, I was pleased to see the prices on meats were no more than we paid in our old lives.

If and when we return to Africa, I’ll be in this same spot with most rental cars having manual transmissions and all driving in the left lane as opposed to the familiar right lane. Tom will drive me everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, he gets tired of being my chauffeur, but he freely acknowledges that I am a terrible driver even with an automatic transmission and driving in the right lane, as in the US. Hey, we all have our flaws and I certainly have my fair share.

I’d purchased this 3.32-pound package of three New York Steaks for $26.93 at $8.98 a serving. That was an excellent price!

So, shopping in Maui during those six blissful weeks was a treat for me. If I wanted to peruse the other shops in the strip mall, before grocery shopping I could easily do so. If I wanted to read the labels on every product I could do so at my leisure. If I wanted to stop and chat with another customer or staff member, nothing held me back. It was indescribable fun.

Ziploc freezer bags in the half gallon size surprised me at only $4.49.

Wow! At this point, this sounds to me like a trip to Disneyland for a kid. It’s not surprising that the simplest tasks I may have taken for granted in the past now rise to the forefront as absolutely desirable and delightful. Then again, I think of how fun it will be to be sitting with good friends in Africa, sipping on a glass of red wine, enjoying the sounds of nature, the consistent flow of “visitors” and I literally swoon.

I cut this free-range Rack of Lamb into three portions which I’ll have when Tom has the above steaks. At $20.15 for the entire package, it is $6.72 per serving. We’ll cook the lamb and the steaks on the outdoor grill that overlooks the ocean, which we’re anxious to use.

I’ve kept asking myself what we’ll learn from being in this hotel, possibly for one year, (now at seven months), and perhaps it will be as simple as the heart-pounding enthusiasm I’m feeling putting these thoughts to “paper.” During these peculiar circumstances, it’s imperative to glom onto hope, knowing full-well at some point in the future, these memories won’t be so far removed from current-day reality.

The gorgeous Maui scenery on the return drive to Maalaea Beach.

Hum, I think I’ll feel equally enthused to machine wash our clothes, eat some of the above-shown pizza, smell the fresh air, set the table, see a sunset, and of course, spend time with humans and animals. No doubt, we’re grateful we’re safe and, we’re equally grateful knowing at some point, this will all change.

This receipt is not easy to read resulting in my listing the items above for details and clarification.

Be well.

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

Friends Linda and Ken with us in front of the Raglan Castle in Wales. For more photos, please click here.

Final full day in Maui…Disappointing whale watching…

The Maalaea Marina as we made our way out of the windy bay.

Boarding the boat that held 146 passengers was a lengthy process. Not only were we asked to arrive by 12:15 for a 1:00 pm sailing but after we’d checked in, we had to wait with the crowd for another half hour for our guide to “walk us” to the awaiting tri-hulled boat.

The view in front of us while we were seated on the boat. Our condo building was straight ahead.

VIP members of the Pacific Whale Foundation were allowed to board first which after making their donation, made sense to us. Luckily, we were next in line after that group able to pick preferred seating on the boat which surprisingly ended up with less than 101 passengers on the long holiday weekend.

We’d read numerous reviews on on the Pacific Whale Foundation stating that passengers were disgruntled when they were “required” to have their photos taken. Long ago in our travels, we learned that no one can “make us” have our photo taken unless one has signed a contract agreeing to do so.

As our boat was heading out to sea another similar boat was returning.

Shoo them away! That’s what we’ve done in all of our travels and again yesterday when pressure was exercised for us to get in line for a photo before getting on the boat. We passed right by, shaking our heads and saying, “No thank you,” as we’ve done many times in the past.

Its hard to determine the severity of the winds from our photos.  Our eyes were focused on spotting whale blowhole spouts as we were instructed by the marine biologist on board as the easiest way to spot a whale.

The wind was blowing so hard, it almost knocked me over. We’d both worn our matching BugsAway bill hats, having to hold onto them during the entire period to keep them from flying away. 

We enjoyed sailing past the same road we’d taken to get to Lahaina and Kaanapali Beach.

The crisp white of the boat, the glaring sun, and the huge waves made watching the ocean for whales a bit challenging. Wearing the hat helped block some of the glare. Holding onto it was annoying. Even wearing my quality sunglasses, I needed the hat to allow me to see anything at all. We sat on the top deck of the boat, adding to the feel of the wind. 

As we took off, the captain explained that Maalaea Bay is the windiest harbor in the US and second windiest in the world and that yesterday was one of the windiest days they’d seen of late. Had we spotted any whales it would have been challenging to take a photo or a video when it was nearly impossible to stand up and maintain one’s balance.

The scenery in Maui is always beautiful.

After the first 30 minutes, I left Tom in the seats we’d originally picked to find a better vantage point, hoping I wouldn’t miss a shot. Although one whale spouted from its blowhole, I never saw it nor did many others. We waited in the area for it to reappear, only to move on 30 minutes later when it never surfaced again.

At the end of the event, all the passengers were offered another complimentary outing, good for one year, since we never really had a sighting, also due to the fact the two-hour boat ride was so uncomfortable in the high winds. We’ll have no way to use it when neither of the upcoming two islands has locations for the Pacific Whale Foundation.

After I’d move to the bow of the boat, I stood for another 30 minutes, holding on with one hand while the other held the camera in ready mode. On a few occasions, the boat lurched substantially. Luckily, I held on for dear life, using my left, not my bad right arm.

We’d have loved having photos of a whale to share today but, the scenery is all we have to offer.

After that, I found a decent spot to sit with a good view of the bow, ready for action. The only action I saw during the last hour was the lively conversation with a lovely tour guide I met who lives in the islands.  Exchanging business cards, we agreed to get in touch in the near future.

When the boat finally docked at the Maalaea Marina, I walked back to find Tom with a huge smile on his face, cheerful as ever, happy to see me.  He’d stayed in the same seat during the entire two hours, knowing I’d find him at the end. Based on the fact the captain never announced that anyone had fallen overboard, he never had a worry in the world.

In Maui, one minute the sky is blue, and moments later, the clouds roll in.

We weren’t as disappointed as we could have been had this been an actual “vacation” in the islands.  Whales will be surrounding us in many of our future locations and we’re certain that at some time in the future our whale watching aspirations will be fulfilled.

Today is packing day. Now that it takes less than a half-hour to pack everything we own, it causes no concern or stress for either of us. 

The reality finally hit us that we’re leaving Maui. Last night, as Tom peered out the open door to the lanai he said, “It’s hard to believe we’re actually in Hawaii. Then again, it’s always hard to believe wherever we maybe.” So true, my love. So true.

Tomorrow on travel day, we’ll post our total costs for the entire six weeks we spent in Maui, including a breakdown of rent and expenses. Please check back for details which will be posted at our usual time.

At the moment, Tom is watching the Minnesota Vikings football game on his computer and is happy as a clam.  That’s not to say that they’re winning!

Have a happy Sunday!

                                                Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2013:
One year ago, it was a travel day from Diani Beach, Kenya to Marloth Park, South Africa, a long and laborious journey. As a result, no photos were posted on that date. But, soon as we arrived in Marloth Park, the fun began when we had visitors every day during our three months of living in the bush, having the time of our lives. For details of that travel day, please click here.

Tomorrow’s upcoming adventure…Three days until departure…

Out for a drive, we stopped to see this beach.

How excited we were to hear we had a confirmed reservation for a whale watching expedition for tomorrow (Saturday) at a 1:00 pm sailing. 

Maui has one beautiful beach after another.

We secured a reservation with help from our new friends, Marie and Terry at Maui Travel Partners, condo and event booking agents, whom we met last week at the Whalers Village Museum. With the busy holiday weekend, we were thrilled to secure a spot.

Many beaches are left in a natural state with vegetation growing along the shoreline.

If we don’t have the glorious opportunity to see whales, we’ll consider the fact that we had a pleasant boat ride in Maalaea Beach. The outing is arranged through the Pacific Whale Foundation, which has a location in this area, an organization devoted to the preservation of marine life as indicated below:

“Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 to save whales from extinction. Our mission is to protect our oceans through science and advocacy. We are an international organization, with ongoing research studies in Hawaii, Australia, and Ecuador, and are active participants in global efforts to address threats to whales and other marine life.”

The colors in these hills looks more like a painting than real life.

The foundation states there is a 97% likelihood that we’ll see whales. But, a little skepticism is in play based on the fact that the whales usually arrive in the islands in December which explains why we waited so long to book this event.

Perhaps, we’re a few days off or not. We shall see if “safari luck” prevails once again tomorrow afternoon.

The top of a mountain peeked through the clouds.
In a matter of minutes, the clouds began to disperse for a better view of the mountaintop. Notice the buildings at the top of the mountain.

This morning I’m off to the post office in Kihei to mail the package to the first house in Pahoa containing the excess food and supplies as a result of our zealous purchases at Costco in preparation for Hurricane Ana when we first arrived.

On the road to Kihei, we stopped at this park to walk along this wood walkway.
The walk on the wooden walkway.

We decided that even if the cost to mail the package is $50, it will be worth doing so. In estimating the cost of its contents, I calculated a total of $125, certainly worth the effort. 

Breathtaking shoreline.

Now, I’m rushing to complete today’s post including more new photos, drive to the post office with the package and return for another fabulous day.

We stopped to investigate what appears to be a Chinese cemetery.

The weather is perfect, the doors (with screens) are wide open welcoming the cooling breeze, and we’re content as we can be knowing that every single day of life matters and is as fulfilling as we choose to make it.

A headstone with two stones left as a token of love, by a visitor.

We hope our family and friends in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Happy day to all.

                                          Photo from one year ago today, November 28, 2013:

One year ago today, as we wound down the time in Kenya, we anticipated the ferry that was necessary to take in order to get to the airport located on the island of Mombasa. For details from that day’s story, please click here.

WiFi issues resolves…Here’s today’s post from Monday’s visit to Kaanapali Beach…Many new photos…

The entrance to the popular Whalers Village shops an attraction for many travelers to the area.
As the holiday tourists arrive in Maui we thought we’d better get to Kaanapali Beach before it became unbearably crowded over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. Yesterday morning, we took off for what proved to be an enriching day.
The mountains in Maui on the way to Kaanapali Beach almost don’t look real.

Kaanapali Beach is one of the most popular tourist areas in Maui with hotels lining the gorgeous beach, one after another, from the poshest and expensive hotels and condos to the more moderately priced vacation rentals in some of the older condo/hotel complexes. 

There are many more hotels along the coast in Kaanapali Beach than are shown in this photo.

Hotels, restaurants, shops, and sports adventure huts and kiosks line the boardwalk attempting to lure takers and shoppers of their variety of offerings. In all, it was a feast for the eyes, not unlike the boardwalks of many major oceanfront vacation locations.

With a straight shot on Highway 30, we had no doubt we’d easily find Kaanapali Beach and Whalers Village.

As we perused the row of hotels and shops, we weren’t surprised by the cost of dining at the numerous restaurants nor the cost of products and services. Although prices were high, they certainly weren’t any higher than that which we’ve observed in other popular holiday destinations throughout the world thus far in our travels.

The Kaanapali Golf Course is close to Whalers Village.

Upon arrival in the popular Whaler’s Village shopping and dining complex, we parked in the ramp noting the parking fees at $6 an hour. Knowing we’d most likely stay for several hours, we flinched at the thought of paying $18 to $24 for parking.

One of the first shops we spotted was “Jessica’s Gems.”

Upon entering the Whalers Village Museum we were surprised to discover that by paying the $3 each for entrance in the famous humpback whale museum, we’d receive a free parking pass to present upon exiting the lot. For a total of $6, we wandered through the interesting museum watched a movie about humpback whales, and received the parking pass.

This old whaling boat was on display in Whalers Village.

Also, we conversed with the lovely managers from Minnesota, Marie, and Terry (small world). Terry had lived in Minneapolis as had Tom when growing up. Oddly, they knew some of the same people. It was delightful sharing stories with them about their passion for Hawaii. I drooled over Terry’s profoundly beautiful photography on display and for sale in the museum’s gift shop.

Koa wood is commonly used in creating interesting decorative items in Hawaii.  Click this link for more information on various woods used in Hawaii.

Marie, his wife, and I chatted about letting go of “stuff” in order to change one’s life to a less stress-inducing lifestyle. They arrange tours, events, and condo rentals in Maui. To reach them, click here.

This large Koa wood bowl was particularly interested as we wandered about this expensive shop.

After touring the gorgeous mall, boardwalk, and various sites in the area we were back on our way to Maalaea Beach, thrilled we’d made the effort to get out as our time in Maui rapidly withers away.

These handcrafted lacquered lamps caught my eye for their quality design.

With only six days until we depart Maui next Monday, we’re beginning to make preparations for our arrival on the Big Island which includes:

1.  Pack all of our clothing and belongings scattered about the condo.
2.  Ship a box of leftover supplies to the new house.
3.  Make the comprehensive grocery lists for each family from their list of preferred foods they provided (upon my request) to have on hand when they begin to arrive beginning on December 6th.
4.  Organize and arrange all of our receipts and expenses from our time in Maui which we’ll report in the next few days.

A decorative Hawaiian cape.

This departure list is considerably easier than many we’ve had in the past. Throwing in time to clean the condo, cook our remaining meals, and finish any last-minute laundry, we’ll be good to go on Monday morning. 

These Koa wood hats and caps were priced from $36 for visors to $48 for the full hats.

We both laugh at how much better we’re getting at this part which now is relatively stress-free when we no longer have to suck the air out of the no-longer-needed space Bags. 

Standing at the third-floor railing before entering the museum, we spotted a display at a distance, of a humpback whale skeleton, an attraction many check out when visiting Whalers Village. Tomorrow, we’ll share close up photos of the skeleton.

We further lightened our load when we left the small vacuum in Honolulu at the condo for future use for other renters, tossing the remaining Space Bags.

By turning around from the second-floor railing, the ocean views were breathtaking from Whalers Village.

Thanksgiving will be simple for us with two large chickens, vegetables to roast, and salad to make, leaving us with a few days of leftovers. As always, we’ve carefully monitored our remaining perishable food to ensure we use it before departing Maui.

There were numerous “chain stores” in the mall and also many locally-owned unique boutique type shops. We actually entered several shops to revel in the local merchandise, most of which was very expensive.

We’ll continue to post photos from Whalers Village, the museum, and Kaanapali Beach over the next few days as we wind down the treasured time we’ve spent on the tropical island of Maui, a new favorite on our list of places to visit.

                                          Photo from one year ago today, November 25, 2013:

One year ago, as we continued to wind down the three months we spent in Kenya, we shared some of our photos. For details from that date, please click here.

More amazing vegetation…What’s a Monkey Pod?.. A village visit in the rain…The magic of Life..

The massive short trunk Monkey Pod tree we found in the village of Wailuku on Saturday. 

Yesterday, we took off at 10:00 am for Costco to return the floor model laptop Tom purchased in Boston on September 15th. Costco offers a 90-day no-questions-asked return on all digital equipment enabling him to purchase a new preferred Acer model online, transfer his files, and finally be done with the problematic floor model. 

With the new laptop data transfer completed and assured he’d taken everything off the old one that he needed, we were ready to return the old one. True to their commitment, Costco handed us the cash for the return in a matter of minute, indeed with no questions asked.

With our RFID wallets (security enabled) there isn’t a lot of room for that much cash. For safekeeping, we purchased a gift card for $500 which we’ll use toward the purchase of food and supplies for our upcoming family gathering next month. The gift card (now in a secure spot) won’t put a dent in it, but we decided it’s better than carrying cash.

A pretty scene from Wailuku in the rain.

After Costco, we headed the few short blocks to the airport to sign a new contract for the rental car. The 30 days was up and renewing can’t be done over the phone for more than a few days, as we’ve learned from past experience. 

Luckily, we were able to get the same excellent online rate, prorated for the remaining 15 days. At $725 for 30 days, we were content with a total of $1100 for the six weeks in Maui. We’d expected it would be considerably higher in Hawaii. Booking cars online makes all the difference in the world on pricing (as opposed to booking from a vendor’s website).

Another tree in Wailuku that had a variety of plants growing in the “Y” of these branches.

We’d hoped to explore Maui on the return drive but, as it seems to be the case each time we attempt to explore, it was raining in buckets. Determined to get a few decent photos, we decided to follow another path and check out Wailuku, the city for the mailing address where we’re now living, although several miles from our condo.

I didn’t hesitate to get out of the car in the rain to take some shots. What’s a little rainwater? As it turned out, the most exciting find of the day was the huge Monkey Pod tree as shown in these photos with Tom getting the car in a perfect position enabling me to get out of the car with unobstructed views of the enormous tree.

Could this Bird of Paradise look more like a bird?

Tom is great when I’m trying to take photos, maneuvering the car to the most advantageous spot, driving around blocks retracing our steps in order to avoid missing a possible subject we’d passed and couldn’t stop to capture. It’s a perfect pairing, to say the least.

As the rain escalated, it only made sense to find our way home. It’s hard to get lost in Maui. It’s merely a matter of finding the sea with major highways that follow the coastline to some degree or another.

Once we were back home to find the sun shining we put on our swimsuits to head to the pool. Sun in one area and not another is not unusual in the Hawaiian Islands – raining in one area of an island and not the other; raining when the sun is shining, both frequent occurrences in Hawaii.

As we welcomed the warmth of the sun, we came to a mutual observation. We are not only drawn to wildlife but, we are almost equally mesmerized by vegetation in any form; a tree, a flower, a plant. 

Ah, we still get our “animal fix”  in Hawaii including this free-range chicken in Wailuku.

Vegetation in any form has a life cycle that is often mysterious and profound. In our travels, we’ve strived to gain knowledge and admiration of vegetation with the same passion we glean from all forms of life. 

Sure, a tree may not have a brain with an endearing personality and behavior patterns that humans find appealing. Instead, they have a unique life cycle that we are free to enjoy at varying stages, as they cross our path.

We discussed the Milo tree we’d shared in yesterday’s post and now the equally interesting Monkey Pod tree that we happened to encounter in the rain, a tree that also has its own unique story to tell as illustrated in today’s photos and links.

Link to documentation of the University of Hawaii’s report on the Monkey Pod tree.

Monkey Pod tree flower which only blooms for one day, later becoming the shown pods with a green bean-like structure. (Not our photo).

Based on this article, the Monkey Pod tree is now banned from new plantings in Honolulu due to its massive structure which can reach over 60 feet tall and 100 feet wide, obstructing and destroying everything in its path.  Luckily, many of these gorgeous trees still stand on the various islands of Hawaii. 

We expect, with the people of Hawaii’s reverence and regard for their surroundings, the Monkey Pod tree will remain as a legacy for its citizens.

We drove down a dirt road to get this rainy photo of the hills near Wailuku.

Ten minutes later, the sky clouded over and heavy rain began to fall. We hurriedly headed back inside, by no means disappointed, especially when we consider that the rain provides much-needed moisture for the exquisite vegetation surrounding us.

Hawaii is no Masai Mara or Marloth Park with wildlife all around us, although hopefully soon, the whales will arrive in the islands, a treasure for our viewing. Having seen the sea turtles now on several occasions, we’re hoping to soon see the whales. 

In the interim, we continue to find joy and fulfillment in our love and appreciation of the “Life” surrounding us, in whatever form it may be, wherever we may be.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, November 16, 2013:

A year ago we wrote about the size of Africa as compared to other continents and countries. As shown, it’s huge comparatively. For details of that story, please click here.

High surf in Hawaii due to storm in Russia…New photos…Why, this life?…

Although the hills block the sun setting, these beautiful skies give us a peek of what lurks behind the hills.

Forecasters say a powerful storm a few days ago off the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia has generated a very large northwest swell. This swell reached the Hawaiian islands Monday evening and persists through Wednesday morning, bringing warning level surf to the area.

A new Coast Guard boat in the marina.

We can’t see the resulting high surf from here. The usual break of medium-sized waves along the shores of Maalaea Beach continues as a steady wake. But, the storm in Russia certainly illustrates how the world around us has an effect on others all over the world. 

As a matter of fact, we can “run, but we can’t hide” from the effects that reverberate all over the world from one country to another; political unrest, infectious disease, financial downfall, and as we see here today, weather systems from very far away.

Not our photo. Several times each day we check the surf in hopes of spotting photo opportunities such as this.

Hawaii, not unlike other parts of the world has a variety of newsworthy events occurring due to weather, volcanos, and their lava flow, hurricanes, high surf, and shark attacks. There even a website devoted to reporting on recent shark attacks. Click here for details.

And here we are, Tom and I, safely ensconced in a comfy condo by the sea, perfectly content with the simplicity of this life in the islands, never having to get up and go to work, never having to mow the lawn or shovel snow (especially after recent storms in Minnesota and other parts of the US).

Beautiful colors at dusk at the lava rock breakwaters.

Some may say, “Gee, how did they get so lucky?” In reality, it had nothing to do with “luck” and everything to do with a combined 90 years of hard work and finally throwing in the towel to retire and choose a life “outside the box.”

As glamorous as it may sound, it has required a huge amount of planning and sacrifice which many may hesitate to consider in search of that which may be fulfilled in times of retirement. 

Notice how the colors of these flowers progress to a brighter pink at the top. This is a variety of Aloe Vera.

What was it about our lives that made us take such drastic measures to create a new life? The answer isn’t that easy. For us, it was a combination of many life events that made it a possibility.

In part, it was the self-sufficiency of our grown children in creating responsible and fulfilling lives for themselves allowing us to let go. In another way, it was our own “lurking below the surface” desire for adventure. 

It’s the same challenge with these which we’re unable to find after searching through hundreds of photos.

In another significant manner, it was a result of Tom’s excellent retirement benefits that enable us to continue with this life as long as we can, as long as we want, providing we maintain a strict budget that we adhere to without failure. 

In another way, it is our interest and passion for detail, using the internet as a valuable resource that moved us along allowing us access to the world, never to have been available in years past.

The crisp white and yellow of Plumeria.

Would our health allow us to be away from routine doctor appointments, prescriptions, and usual health insurance? For me, it was only through my restrictive diet that I attained renewed health or I’d never been able to tackle this life on the move when a mere four years ago, maneuvering through daily life was excruciating and barely manageable? 

Also, it was a combined willingness to let go of routines and familiar aspects of life we’d found fulfilling in many ways. Were two people, rigid in some ways, able to change and find new ways to move through life with happiness and fulfillment?

Sunset over the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Building.

It was a matter of these many factors falling into place that motivated us to choose to enter into this life. And, it was the availability of this amazing world around us, however tumultuous at times; sharks, hurricanes, lava flow, snakes, biting insects, treacherous roads, potential hazards, and risks, that brought us to this place, this date, this time in our lives. 

For this, we are humbled.

                                          Photo from one year ago today, November 12, 2013:

We never quite figured out these pods growing in the yard of the house in Kenya. For details of that date, as we wound down our final of three months in Diani Beach, please click here.

Stuff happens…Plans change…

A catamaran at the pier.

Today, we’d planned to go to Kaanapali Beach for the day, after we finished posting here. In close touch with family, today I want to be nearby for a Skype call regarding a beloved family member’s serious medical issue. That call trumps all else.

As a result, we won’t have photos from Kaanapali Beach until I feel more at ease not being available by Skype for my family. No matter where we may be, life goes on and the trials and tribulations of daily life continue, perhaps harder when we’re so far away.

An old boat awaiting restoration or the junkyard.

Then again, in our old lives, all of our family members didn’t live nearby.  Instead of a Skype call, it was a call on a scratchy cell phone, the signal often less clear than on Skype, but the significance of being there for one another was always as clear as day.

That hasn’t changed in our travels. Love continues on. We worry. We wait. We anticipate. Our hearts still ache with concern and sorrow for those we love wherever they may be, whatever they may need, and however we may be there for them, as close as a computer click away.

The Maalaea Beach Marina on a cloudy day.

And moments later, there’s a familiar face on the computer screen and a familiar voice, knowing that we are together once again and can be loving and supportive in good times and bad.

As we often have written here, health and emotional well being are vital for happiness. Whatever one must do, however difficult, must be done to maintain and grow our own highest level of health and strength.

An invitation to s fishing expedition.

But, we humans are imperfect. We’re not like a flower, give it water and sunshine and it will flourish. Many of life’s challenges stand in our way. Many of our own inequities and lack of willingness to stay strong stand in our way.

And then, there are those situations that are beyond our control when we’re held captive to an illness, injury, or circumstance at which point our only control is how we respond to the graveness of our situation and how much we’re able to fight back.

The expanse of the oceans the islands and the sky never fail to inspire.

Who am I to know the answers?  I’m not more qualified than the next person. But, I do know one thing…we can never give up. In doing so, we release the power to cope, to grow, to change, and ultimately, to heal.

So, this morning, I run out for a quick visit to the store in Kihei for a few grocery items, returning in plenty of time for the call with the time difference in mind and praying for a good outcome.

A waning moon lighting the sky and sea.

With that, I’ll close for today to be back tomorrow, hopefully, a little bit stronger, a little bit wiser, and ready to tackle whatever life throws our way.

Have a good day!

                                            Photo from one year ago today, November 10, 2013:

Pufferfish are deadly if not cleaned properly. Luckily, this pufferfish was fried with batter so I wasn’t tempted to try it. Puffer is the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world after the Golden Poison Frog, the most venomous creature known to humans. For details of that date, please click here.