Day #245 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Golfing for travelers…

A manmade pond on the Kahili Golf Course in Maui, Hawaii, created a pretty scene.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2014 while living in Maui, Hawaii. Please see here for more details.

Neither of us ever took up the sport of golf, mainly because neither of us is very good at it. After a few tries over the years, each separately, the frustration factor was too much to overcome, nor did either of us have enough interest in the sport to take lessons.

In a way, when we began traveling the world, we were glad we had no interest in playing golf. Hauling clubs all over the world made little sense, considering how much we travel. The added costs for flying with two sets of golf clubs, plus fees and expenses, would have far surpassed our budget, requiring we sacrifice something more important to us, such as quality holiday homes, rental cars, and dining out.

The lush lawns at the Kahili Golf Club in Maui were similar to the gorgeous lawns at our condo in Maalaea Beach.

Many avid golfer travelers rent clubs as they travel, but that may have been for a few trips a year, not non-stop world travel. Nonetheless, we’ve enjoyed the beauty of many golf courses throughout the world and have either driven through them to revel in their carpet-like lawns and, at times, dine in the clubhouse.

In Princeville, Kauai, in 2015, where we lived for four months, we acquired a social membership to the Makai Golf Course, which allowed us access to the pool, fitness center, dining, and social activities. We certainly took advantage of that membership at US $250, INR 18,547, per month for the two of us. In reviewing their site, we couldn’t determine the cost of that same social membership now, particularly in light of COVID-19, when everything has changed.

A gazebo and footbridge on the course with the ocean at a distance.

It’s difficult to determine costs for any travel-related expenses at this time when so much has changed due to COVID-19. Still, in reviewing costs to travel with golf clubs, the added price will vary from airline to airline, depending upon their included and extra baggage fees. It could range from US $35, INR 2595, to US $150, INR 11122, per bag or more.

Adding the cost of greens fees, cart, taxes, tips, and beverages can easily be as much as US $1000, INR INR 74139 for two players at an upscale course, and 30% this amount at a modestly priced system. If we were golfers, hauling our bags with us, we’d feel committed to playing at each new location, spending thousands more each year.

We were tempted to try either of these buffets offered at the Kahili Golf Course. But, as usual, buffets in the US seem to provide less acceptable options for my way of eating.

No, doubt, for an avid golfer with ample funds allocated for the sport, golfing throughout the world would be quite an adventurous and fun experience, especially if done so as a couple, avoiding the necessity of finding others to play with at each location, who may not suit your level of play.

As mentioned in the above-posted link for today’s photos, we both were addicted to playing Wii Golf in our old lives, eventually resulting in what our family doctor referred to as “Wiinjuries,” injured incurred due to excessive play of the very fun video game, played on a flat-screen TV. Of course, this was nothing like playing “real” golf, but it certainly was fun until we both had to quit due to shoulder injuries acquired from playing this “small” version of golf.

Although there was a road warning of “crossing by the Nene birds (Hawaiian geese), only these Cattle Egrets ran back and forth across the road.

For those interested in traveling with their golf clubs, here are some tips from the PGA’s website here:

  • Try to get a non-stop flight, if possible. The fewer times baggage handlers need to move your clubs from plane to plane in a short amount of time, the better.
  • Get a durable, well-made travel bag. Hardshell bags are more expensive, and the best will run around $250. But Schmidt said they’ll give you more protection if you want that peace of mind.
  • If you use a soft-sided bag, don’t forget to pack a golf club protection device. It looks like an adjustable aluminum crutch that’s taller than your driver and keeps your shafts from being damaged in case the bag is dropped upside down.
  • Don’t forget that golf bags are considered “oversized check-in.” Be aware that some airports will send your golf bag through the regular baggage belt (with all of the other luggage), but others (such as Atlanta Hartsfield) will leave at a different location for oversized bags. If you don’t know where to find check-in or pick up at a particular airport, Schmidt said to make sure you ask someone as soon as you get there. And if you’re unsure about the cost or weight allowance, check with the airline or your travel agent.
  • Add some personal ID marking to your bag. Miller said adding some bright-colored string or a pom-pom will help you identify it quickly. Many bags have places for business cards as well. Don’t forget to include your cell phone number. If possible, include the name of the hotel where you’re staying.
This lush greenery outlined the entrance to the golf tunnel. What a beautiful way to mask an otherwise less appealing entry and exit!

PGA.COM COURSE FINDER: Locate a course near you by distance, price, or type

  • Don’t wind up with more luggage than you need. “Never travel with more bags than you can manage alone,” Miller said.
  • Think about a cab or car service (or ride to the airport). It drops you off closer to the gate than parking, which means a long haul at times with a large bag to roll.
  • Pack your clubs so they won’t move around in the travel bag. “If you’re going to Scotland or Ireland, it’s easy because you’re going to be throwing extra sweaters or a windbreaker in there to give it extra protection,” Schmidt said.
  • Tip: Use your travel bag for additional storage. “You can put gifts and other things you’re bringing back home in that golf bag,” Schmidt said.
  • Don’t leave your expensive electronics in your golf bag. Rangefinder? GPS? Treat it just like your computer – carry it on with you.
  • If you’re still leery of putting your equipment on a plane, do use a shipping service. “It’s not necessarily the most affordable way to transport them,” Schmidt said. “But if you want the peace of mind, they do a good job with that.”
    As we ended our visit to the golf course, one more panoramic view was in order.

Well, 245 days later, simply walking through or dining at a golf course would be delightful at this point in lockdown. Even if we could play Wii now, that would also be an excellent way to spend time in this hotel room.

At the moment, Tom is watching yesterday’s Minnesota Viking football game on his laptop. I didn’t care to see it since I accidentally stumbled (no pun intended).

Otherwise, all is fine. Another day…

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 23, 2019:

One year ago, I’d forgotten to take photos while visiting family in Minnesota on this date. Instead, I posted this photo from this same date in Maui in 2014, which we’ve highlighted above. For the story from one year ago, please click here.

Day #239 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Thanks for inquiring about our well-being…

The old Wailuku Courthouse, built-in 1907, is located on the US National Register of Historic Buildings.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2014 during our time spent in Maui on a day trip to the town of Wailuku, visiting several historic buildings and beaches. For more, please click here.

Over the past many months, we’ve had more inquiries and comments from readers than we’d had in the prior eight years. Many readers offer suggestions about future travel, borders opening, and how we can allay boredom under these unusual circumstances. We appreciate your input and suggestions.

A small percentage has suggested we’re too cautious about protecting ourselves from COVID-19 and that we should get out sightseeing, return to the US to “settle down,” along with many informing us as to borders opening throughout the world. We appreciate all of those comments, whether we agree or not.

Wailuku Union Church, built-in 1911.

We strive to be upfront and forthcoming with our responses. Yes, we fully understand there is a particular faction of people throughout the world that don’t “believe” COVID-19 is “real.” You certainly are entitled to those opinions. But, we choose to remain cautious, especially after my terrifying experience in having emergency open-heart surgery in South Africa in February 2019.

I am still dealing with the aftereffects of that surgery and will do so for years to come. I will never be the person I was before that. Subsequently, I may be more cautious than most, remembering what it was like to be intubated and spending nine days in ICU with a total of three weeks in the hospital with numerous complications. The experience is too fresh in my mind to take COVID-19 lightly, also in light of the fact I am high risk based on my age and commodities, including advanced coronary arterial disease.

Bailey House Maui.jpg
The Bailey House Museum is also listed on the US National Register of Historic Buildings.

In any case, we both work hard each day in an attempt to be healthy and avoid proximity to anyone who may have or be carrying the virus and, we plan to remain so going forward, wherever we may be.

I recently posted an ongoing problem with walking due to severe leg pain I’ve had since the surgery. Both of my legs were cut from ankle to thigh to harvest veins for heart surgery. Three of my heart’s arteries, including the Widow-Maker, were 100% blocked.

Weeks after returning from the hospital to recover at our holiday bush home in Marloth Park, both of my legs became seriously septic. I had to return to the hospital for two more surgeries on each leg resulting in what I thought was permanent pain in both legs.

Kaahumanu Church, another building on the US National Register of Historic Buildings

Months ago, when I began walking 10,000 steps a day in this hotel’s corridors, I struggled due to the pain, which after a few months only exacerbated from the inflammatory foods I was eating, with too many carbs. I stopped the spicy red sauces and opted for plain chicken and salmon, and still, I struggled. It was weeks later I realized I was still eating too many carbs and further cut my carb count, knowing that for me, excess carbohydrates increase inflammation.

Now, weeks later, I am thrilled to report the pain while walking is gone, gone, gone. Many of our concerned readers have written inquiring how this was going. Today, after a whole week of total relief, I feel confident to report I can walk without pain for the first time in 19 months. I’m over the moon with joy.

Also, as a surprising side benefit of reducing carbs further, my blood pressure has become so low, I had to cut my regular medication in half. Plus, my blood sugar is now normal for the first time in years. Wow! Who knew I’d reap these benefits in only three weeks. Based on our current circumstances in India and refusal to go to a doctor’s office or hospital, I’ve had no choice but to figure out what to do on my own through extensive research.

The rain stopped on the return drive to Maalaea Beach, and the sky cleared to this bright blue. No more than 10 minutes after we returned, we were outside enjoying the sun, sea, and surf for another fabulous day in the Hawaiian islands.

Once we are situated in Marloth Park, we’ll both make appointments with Dr. Theo for checkups. Please seek your medical professionals for any health issues you may be experiencing. None of our information is intended as medical advice in any manner.

Last night, we started streaming an excellent Netflix show, The Queen’s Gambit, a mini-series, an excellent show! Today? At the moment, we’re listening to Garage Logic. When that ends, we’ll begin streaming yesterday’s Minnesota Vikings football game.

Have a healthy and safe day!

Photo from one year ago today, on November 17, 2019:

Seven years ago today, we booked the hotel with our cruise ending in Boston, with the intent of visiting my father’s gravesite and seeing family. This is my parent’s wedding photo we posted one year ago on this date. For more, please click here.

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

Although the hills block the sun’s 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 world lives usually travel (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.

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.

After a six-month ban, South Africa opened its borders to some international travelers at the beginning of October, 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. We wait for the airlines to start booking flights from Mumbai to Johannesburg and then 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 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 hopeful and can more easily wait out the time for India to resume international flights. How exciting this is! Of course, the reality remains that we can only spend 90 days in the country without leaving to return for a new visa stamp. We have been prepared for this all along.

Ninety days is not enough time for us to spend there. But, we have several options as to which countries we can visit to do this and 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 could not identify after searching through hundreds of photos.

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

Happy day to all!

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

While out to dinner with my 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.

Another action packed day…

Photo from today’s date in 2014 when we stopped along the highway in Maui for a breathtaking view. For more photos from this date, please click here.

With only six days remaining until we leave here, the time is going quickly. We’re still trying to get in as much as we can with our family and friends.

Yesterday was a busy day when I visited my friend Chere at her home in Eden prairie after having glaucoma surgery the previous day. It was good, and I’m hoping to have an opportunity to see her again before leaving Minnesota next Thursday.

After meeting with Chere, I returned to the house to work on the day’s post while Tom put together all the documents we’d need for applying for the second passport this morning.

In the late afternoon, we drove to a restaurant near daughter Tammy’s work to say goodbye. Today, she and her family left for Washington DC and Pennsylvania for their Thanksgiving holiday.

It was always hard to say goodbye, but Tom is grateful for the quality time together. Unfortunately, I only had an opportunity to see them a few times and enjoyed every moment.

We remained busy all afternoon with necessary piles of paperwork and later joined Karen and Rich for happy hour and leftovers from the previous night’s dinner at Gianni’s.

As always, the evening passed quickly as we were all engaged in lively conversation and endless laughter, finally heading off to bed close to 11:00 pm.
This morning we returned the rental car to the airport. DIL Camille offered her a minivan for the remainder of our time in Minnesota. We so appreciate this.

After dropping off the car, I picked up Tom at the rental car ramp. Using Whatsapp on our phones, we were easily able to locate each other in the complicated ramp. With plenty of time until our 11:40 am appointment, we decided to stop at Perkins on returning from the airport for breakfast.

We arrived at the passport application appointment at the government service center in Chanhassen earlier than expected. Although the place was packed, we were called within 10 or 15 minutes because we had pre-booked an appointment.

Tom had done such a thorough job of putting all the paperwork in order we breezed through the appointment in no time at all, confident all should go well.

There was a showing at Karen’s house today between 12:00 and 1:00 pm. We tidied up and hid away all of our belongings before we’d left this morning, leaving not a single bit of evidence of our stay.

When the passport appointment ended earlier than we’d expected, we decided to head to visit Tom’s brother Jerome in Coon Rapids, which is almost an hour’s drive away. It was still too early to return to the house due to the showing, so we took advantage of the extra hour to visit Jerome.

Jerry is blind and uses the narrator on his computer to read our daily posts, which Tom sends to him each day after removing the photos. It was wonderful visiting with him as we’d done over two years ago when we came to the US for a family visit. It’s been such a joy to share our lives with him and…he with us.

Tonight at 5:30 pm. we’re meeting long-time friends/readers Marie and Bill for dinner at Redstone restaurant in Eden Prairie. Coincidentally, Karen and Rich are also going to Redstone tonight for dinner with other friends. I’m sure we’ll all have a drink together and then go off to our respective tables to have our dinner with our other friends. Small world.

Tomorrow’s another busy day, but we’ll report on that in the next post with hopefully some new photos to share.

May every one of you have a fantastic weekend.

We’ll be back with you soon!

Photo from one year ago today, November 22, 2018:

Tusker’s left ear was severely injured a few months ago, but it has continued to heal, although he can no longer “perk it up.”  Here he is at night, lying down at the edge of the veranda, relaxing after eating quite a few pellets. He’s a gentle little soul for having such giant tusks. For more details, please click here.

A great day with a great new friend in Lahaina, Maui…A very scary event on the returning tender…

Yesterday, it was cloudy with a bit of drizzle as Helen and I wandered about Lahaina Maui, but the weather didn’t hamper the quality of the day.

While situated in the Diamond Lounge preparing yesterday’s post, new friend Helen popped in to say hello. We discussed the idea of heading to Lahaina on our own, leaving Tom behind.  

Craftspeople are often seen working with a variety of wood commonly found on the Hawaiian island.

Tom had no interest in shopping nor walking through Lahaina one more time after we’d visited the famous tourist town on five or more previous visits. I was thrilled at the prospect of leisurely strolling through the pretty village, perhaps doing a little shopping along the way.

It had been a long time since I’d gone shopping with a friend and was excited by the idea, especially when there was an “outlet mall” several blocks from the port. The ship was anchored in the bay, requiring tender boat rides to the shore.

Banyan trees in the local park in Lahaina.

Helen stopped by our cabin at 2:00 pm when I was ready to go with a shopping bag, camera, wallet and a few incidentals figuring we’d only be gone until 4:00 pm or so. The line for the tender moved quickly, and by 2:30 pm, we were ashore.

The famous tourist town was rife with cruise passengers shopping, dining, and reveling in the sights.

After browsing many shops looking for trinkets for the grandchildren, Helen and I decided to make the several block hike to the outlet mall, especially when we heard about the GAP store. I hadn’t shopped in a GAP store in almost five years. Tom and I both needed updates to our tee shirt inventory when many had become worn and tattered.

An old hotel in Lahaina.

It was a long walk to the outlet mall, which was very different from other outlet malls I’d visited years ago in Minnesota. But, many of the familiar stores were available, and after so long, it was fun to see them once again.

I purchased 12 items for a total of US $106, mainly tee shirts for each of us and three nightshirts for me. The three nightshirts I had remaining were practically threadbare after years of wear.

The last time we visited Lahaina in 2014, we also took photos of this art store.

As it started to sprinkle, we began the return walk to the port, hoping to get aboard a tender before a downpour. After we arrived at the port and a 20-minute wait, we were aboard the tender. 

Lahaina is often packed with tourists. This was our fifth visit to this Maui town since the onset of our travels four and a half years ago; twice by ship, three times by car when we lived in Maui for six weeks in 2014.

This particular ship uses its lifeboats as tenders to ferry passengers back and forth from the ship to the port of call when the port is inadequate for docking. In most cases, the ride from the ship to the land takes less than 20 minutes but boarding and disembarking can take anywhere from 10 to 20 additional minutes, at most.

It was apparent the seas were rough shortly before 5:00 pm on a cloudy, windy day. We bobbed side to side as the tender headed toward the ship at full throttle. 

An exciting piece of art in a local gallery.

At first, none of the passengers appeared worried or concerned during the rough seas until we reached the boarding and disembarking platform, a section of the ship that drops down to create a flat ramp that usually provides relatively easy access for most passengers.

Historic Hawaiian property under construction in Lahaina.

A few passengers were using canes and walkers, generally not precipitating a problem with staff available to assist. As the boat pulled up to the staging area, the driver was unable to steady the ship sufficiently to pull close enough to tie the boat’s mooring lines to the platform.

As the rough seas escalated, the boat rocked to and fro with such force; it was impossible to gain a firm enough hold with the thick lines to allow a single passenger to disembark. At that point, the conversation stopped as many passengers had worried and frightened looks on their faces.

We’d taken a photo of this tiny theater in Lahaina three years ago.

The boat banged against the metal platform with such force that some exterior lights and accouterments were smashed as we slammed harder and harder against the platform. Suddenly, a woman screamed who’d banged her head against the window, asking if she was bleeding. 

I was seated at the window and felt myself cringing and moving to the left each time the boat fiercely banged against the metal structure. As a boater for most of my adult life, I wasn’t frightened at all, nor was Helen. 

It was fun to go to a Gap outlet store for the first time in almost five years. I purchased several tee shirts for both of us.

Many passengers were terrified and anxious to get off the boat. It took no less than 30 minutes for the boat to become stabilized enough to allow one passenger at a time to disembark. One mentioned her fear of having a heart attack based on her level of sheer terror.

In all, it was about an hour from the time the tender reached the ship’s platform until we were all able to disembark. Throughout the remainder of the evening, several passengers chatted about the incident, shocked by the experience.

Of course, I’d hoped to make a video of the incident but it was impossible, based on where I was seated. I attempted to get the camera out of the shopping bag but could not hold on well enough to do a video or even take a single photo.

View of our ship from the sidewalk in Lahaina.

My paper GAP shopping bag had torn during the upheaval, and the new items began to spill to the floor. Helen and I hurried to gather the things which she placed into her backpack. 

By the time I entered the cabin, it was already close to 6:30 pm. Indeed Tom was at happy hour with our friends on the Promenade deck and waiting for me to arrive. I hurried to get myself changed and ready for the evening, able to get out the door by 6:45 pm.

Busy day in Lahaina.

The evening was pleasant as usual, with my dinner diligently attended to by Belik, the head waiter and my food restriction coordinator, who fusses over me more than any other such staff member on any of our past 17 cruises. 

We made a point of mentioning his exemplary and attentive service to Captain Rick and have already written a glowing review on a mid-cruise survey. When the cruise ends on May 15th, in six days, we’ll rave more about Belik on the online survey that follows each cruise, which Tom diligently prepares in every case.

A man caught a good-sized fish from the shore.

Today, we’re in Honolulu with no intention of getting off the ship.  After many prior visits and tours, we’re content to stay aboard and see the matinee movie in the Palace Theatre at 1:30 pm.

Tonight, we joining another lovely couple for a second “dinner date,” Leann and Chuck, for what indeed will prove to be yet another divine evening. We’re heading back out to sea at 6:00 for the final leg of our cruise to Seattle, Washington. 

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 9, 2016:

We miss the fantastic food prepared by two cooks named Ketut in Bali which included Blue Fin tuna made with a tomato, lemongrass sauce, spicy vegetables with a side of coleslaw. For more details, please click here.

It’s official!…Hurricane Ana is a Category One hurricane…A year ago…A ride in a single engine airplane…

We’re in awe of the ocean views as we stopped along a beach on our way to Kihei.

As of news reports this morning, overnight, Hurricane Ana decided to hit the Hawaiian Islands with less intensity than expected. As I write now, weather warnings continue to pop up on the TV screen for flash flood warnings on the Big Island which Ana is approaching.

Hurricane categories.

Big Island has been hit by heavy rains, winds, and high seas in the past 12 hours, resulting in considerable flooding but not to the degree as in higher category hurricanes.

We purchased more food and water than we can possibly use, but as mentioned yesterday, we’ve decided to ship a box to ourselves for when we arrive on the Big Island on December 1st, the food we can use when the family arrives. 

The sandy beach in front of our building.

Yesterday afternoon, we drove eight miles to a regular grocery store to purchase a few smaller items we weren’t able to buy at Costco. You know how that goes at Costco, not all products are required in “jumbo” sizes. That was always the case (no pun intended) when we shopped at Costco in our old lives, an imminent trip to a regular grocery store was required to fill in the blanks.

Bird of Paradise, definitely an appropriate name here in Hawaii.

Although it takes a good 20 minutes to drive to the Safeway in Kihei most likely that’s where I’ll grocery shop going forward. A lesson I finally accepted in the Safeway was to do not to expect Tom to go grocery shopping with me ever again! Overly grumpy!

As the tide went out we searched for signs of life, at time fooled by the large boulders that appear at low tide.

With no sense of direction, I paid special attention to the return drive as to which turns to take to get back to Safeway next time I need to shop. The rental car company included me as a driver at no extra charge. I have not driven a car since December 2012. I hope it’s like riding a bike.

When we were outside the US, driving stick shift vehicles often on the “wrong” side of the road, Tom would drive me everywhere, waiting in the car reading a book on his phone while I shopped.

On our way to Kihei, we stopped at a roadside area on the beach to find this sign.  We didn’t see any turtles.

I know how to drive a stick shift but not with my left arm when the driver sits on the right side of the vehicle, also driving on the “wrong” side of the road. It goes against everything my brain is willing to process.

In any case, after the rushed moody shopping trip I couldn’t get out of there quick enough. Luckily, they had everything on the list, an app on my phone. How exciting it was to see ingredients I haven’t seen in almost two years. There was nothing on my list that couldn’t be found.

Another gorgeous sandy beach at the Turtle Nesting Area.

As for pricing, next time I do a complete grocery shopping trip, I’ll take a photo of the receipt for those of our readers who may be considering a move to Hawaii and are concerned about grocery prices.

Using the app on my phone for the past five years or more, I’ve become very familiar with prices. Honestly, from what we experienced yesterday and at Costco on Thursday, prices are not much higher than they were in Minnesota over two years ago. – an 8oz package of Philadelphia cream cheese at $2.99, the same price back then; a can of unsweetened coconut milk was $1.79, slightly less than in Minnesota long ago.

Moss growing on the rocks along the shoreline.

Could we ever return here based on what we’ve seen so far?  If it was to Maui, we’d say yes, perhaps someday, if we’re able to rent vacation homes comparable to where we’re living now. It’s beautiful, people are friendly, the weather (usually) is ideal and the vegetation is exquisite. 

The only aspect we’ve yet to discover is wildlife. Last night before dark, we wandered along the shoreline searching for the sea turtles we’ve heard often visit in the early evening. It’s a little early for whale watching but, the season will soon be upon us. We can hardly wait.

As for the next few days, staying put makes sense as the storm maneuvers its way to Maui. The surf is picking up this morning as we watch surfers taking advantage of the ever-increasing waves as the effects of Hurricane Ana gradually arrive.

Late yesterday, the surf had yet to pick up with Hurricane Ana still hundreds of miles away.

Without a doubt, we’re safe based on the local news reports. It won’t be as devastating as the media had feared. Costco made a lot of money this week when shoppers were in a frenzy filling multiple carts with supplies. We certainly fell prey to that mentality.

Tom’s back in his usual good mood and of course, I’m overly bubbly. Wait! Am I supposed to go back to worrying about lava flow?

                                                     Photo from one year ago, October 18, 2013:

For the return flight from the Masai Mara to Diani Beach, Kenya, I was no longer fearful of the small single-engine plane as Tom and I sat behind the pilot.  For details of that day, please click here

Hurricane Ana on its way to Hawaiian Island…Lava, hurricane…Oh, my!…Final expenses for Honolulu! One year ago photo with Chief Richard…

Sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

Today, we’re on our way to the island of Maui where we’ll spend six weeks in a first-floor condo on the beach.  With more space than we’ll have had since July 31st when we lived in Madeira, Portugal in a three-bedroom house. With closer proximity to the sea than in Honolulu, we’re excited to move on.

We’re grateful our flight is today as opposed to Friday or Saturday when Hurricane Ana is on her way to the Hawaii Island expected to reach landfall over the weekend.

Another evening’s sunset over the beach.

Although the news is reporting that the Big Island will be hit first, the other islands including Maui is in her path. Between the lava flowing to the neighborhood of the houses we rented on the Big Island and this hurricane, the adventure has picked up the pace.

Who knows what will transpire over the next several days?  With Hawaiian residents “batten down the hatches” in preparation for the hurricane, our plan is to pick up the rental car at the airport, drop off our luggage at the condo, and head directly to the grocery store.  Will it already be low on food when area residents are preparing for the hurricane?

The dilemma is, do we buy lots of food to see us through or a small amount?  If the power goes out, we’d lose the perishable food. After careful consideration, we’ve decided to be optimistic and purchase enough groceries to last for a few weeks, much of which will be non-perishable which we’ll use in six weeks in any case.

Sunset Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii.

We don’t eat processed foods. Once we’re situated in a vacation home doing our own cooking we usually don’t have to be concerned about keeping non-perishable foods on hand in case of an emergency. 

We discussed the possibility of a power outage in Maui and came up with the following items for meals which can be prepared without power. When we shop today, we’ll be purchasing these:

1. Canned ham (small sizes) with canned veggies
2. Canned tuna with celery, onions, and mayo (we’ll purchase several small jars of mayo since it won’t keep without refrigeration once opened) and canned veggies
3.  Herring in a jar with canned veggies
4.  Nuts and salmon, beef and turkey jerky
5.  Bottled water

We had all of these sunset photos in Oahu accumulating, deciding to share them on our last day on this island.

We’ll purchase enough of the above to get us through two weeks without power. At this point, we’re not worried. We continue to watch news updates on the progression of Hurricane Ana.

We aren’t thinking beyond two weeks without power. Of course, if the power is out, the WiFi won’t work and we won’t be able to post. 

Cloudy evening sunset Waikiki Beach.

If you don’t see a new post for Saturday, Sunday, or Monday one can assume that we’re unable to post. Please keep checking back. As soon as the power and WiFi are working again, we’ll immediately post an update with our hurricane experiences and photos. 

Our three camera batteries will be fully charged, easily lasting for a week or more. And yes, if the hurricane hits, we’ll be taking many photos. If it doesn’t make landfall,  we’ll still be taking many photos in our new location, the beautiful island of Maui.

The sky looked as if lights were turned on.

Yesterday, we did the laundry and packed, leaving out clothing and toiletries for the morning. At 10:30 am, we’ll grab a taxi to head to the airport. We’ve weighed all of our bags and they comply with the maximum 50-pound weight. We’ll see how that goes.

Of course, this sky was more unreal in person.

As for our final Honolulu expenses, here are the total expenses:

Vacation rental:  $2,137.00
Airfare to Maui:       218.58
Taxi fares:                55.00
Tours:                    165.74
Laundry:                   19.74
Meals & Groceries     598.99 

Total:                $3,195.06

Waikiki Beach on a cloudy evening.

The average cost per day (11 days) was $290.46. When looking at these numbers it’s important to consider the reasons why our cost per day may be less than the average tourist visiting Hawaii:

1.  Low airfare – We’ve only included our cost to fly from Oahu to Maui since we arrived by cruise ship.  Most tourists would be flying in and out from much further away increasing airfare costs considerably.
2.  Low taxi fares – We only dined in restaurants we could reach on foot and explored the general area.
3.  Low sightseeing costs – With the upcoming family reunion in December, we chose to keep our costs to a minimum.
4.  Meals and groceries – Here again, with a goal of eating in restaurants that work for my way of eating. When we found one, particularly, Cheeseburger in Paradise, we stuck with it for over half of our dinners when they have the best Cobb Salad and bacon cheeseburgers on the planet which we each enjoyed. Also, we only eat one meal a day and don’t order appetizers, beverages, or desserts with our meals, keeping the cost as much as 50% less. If a couple were to eat three meals a day, with beverages and an occasional appetizer of desserts, they’d easily spent a minimum of $150 a day, dining in the most economical restaurants.

Although the sun wasn’t visible its impact on the clouds was breathtaking.

We’d estimate that the average couple would spend no less than $7,000 for 11 nights in Honolulu (depending on their selected hotel), including extra airfare, tours, shopping, and dining expenses.  A Hawaiian vacation/holiday is definitely expensive.

Washington Place, the Governor of Hawaii’s residence.  For details, please click here.

In no way did our budget impede the quality of the experience for us. Other than being sick for four days (during which time we continued to go out for dinner each night), we’ve had an excellent time in Oahu, easily anticipating our return in May to be equally pleasurable.

Iolani Palace, the only palace now a part of the United States.  Click here for details.

Look for us tomorrow with Maui photos, the results of our first trip to the grocery store, our new accommodations, and of course, updates on the hurricane.

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

We were inside one of the mud huts in Chief Richard’s Maasai village. It was really hot that day.  We were wearing our BugsAway clothing when the mosquitoes and flies were heavy in the village with the abundance of livestock. For details on the peculiar diet of these healthy people and more information about their lifestyle, please click here.

Hello, Lahaina, Maui…We’ll also see you soon!…

When the trolley in Hilo stopped to pick up passengers in a strip mall, we spotted this orchid.
The thought of returning to live on these various Hawaiian Islands is exciting. This morning at 7:30 am, our ship anchored in Maui, again requiring a tender boat to get to the shore to the village of Lahaina. Since we’ll be back in Maui in less than two weeks we decided to stay on board today and tomorrow, before disembarking on Sunday. Many of the tours and shuttles are off for shopping in Lahaina. We’ll visit Lahaina later on our own.
Gazebo at the park in Hilo.

With constant WiFi problems, honestly, I’m anxious to get on land where we’ll have a good signal. This has been frustrating. In our effort to post each day, I’ve literally spent hours attempting to upload two or three photos a day. Even the MiFi from XCOM Global is receiving a poor signal.

It’s easy to post text only. But, surely our readers enjoyed seeing some photos while we sailed across the seas. Hopefully, by the time we embark on our next cruise in May 2015, technology will have improved for a better signal aboard the ship.

Pretty scenery at Liliuokalani Gardens.

We have many wonderful photos to share that we’re unable to upload due to the poor signal. Once we’re situated in our condo in Waikiki and our laundry is done (almost out of clothes), we’ll be excited to post many of these photos of the various islands we’ve seen.

Once we get these “backed-up” photos presented, we’ll continue to explore each island on which we’ll live sharing new photos and stories along the way. We look forward to doing so.

Shoreline in Hilo.

After visiting cooler climates these past several months, we certainly can feel the impact of the scorching heat in Hawaii, especially today in Maui. We like the warmer weather and in a short time we’ll be used to it as we had in
Africa for almost nine months. 

Overall, most of our travels have included hot weather except after we arrived in Madeira, Portugal, where the average temperature was in the 70’s. In Hawaii, this time of year, most days will be in the humid, sun-scorching

We took the trolley in Hilo enabling us to get some good shots along the shoreline..
With AC in each of the locations in which we’ll live, we’ll have a comfortable mix of cool air inside and warmth when we’re out and about, ideal to our liking. As always, there’s a short period of time for adjustment to our
surroundings, the culture, the way of life commensurate with each locale.
With only 11 days upcoming in Oahu, we look forward to settling in for the six weeks in Maui, where today we need only look across a short expanse of the sea where it awaits us in all of its glory.
Sky at dusk in Hilo.

Again, we’ll continue to attempt to post photos while lounging in air-conditioned comfort aboard the ship in the luxurious Sky Lounge knowing full well that in almost 48 hours we’ll be off the ship to begin our almost eight-month stay in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Yum.

Photo from one year ago today, October 4, 2013:

It’s hard to believe that we were in Kenya a year ago, packing to leave the next days for a safari in the Maasai Mara, one of the most extraordinary experiences of our lives. On this date, one year ago, we experienced a power outage that prevented us from posting. Starting tomorrow, one year ago, we began the life-changing safari in the Maasai Mara. Of course, we’ll share photos each day on our daily one year ago posting at the bottom of each new post.

Planning for the future…Eight months and counting…Family time…

Taking photos in the souk is a huge challenge.  Islamic law prohibits its followers from being photographed. As a result, the shopkeepers, rightfully so, don’t want to be in the photos. As you’ve seen, we’ve diligently respected this. But, in an effort to illustrate the unique offerings and culture in the old Medina of Marrakech, we hesitantly take photos as appropriate situations arise. 

In seven months we’ll land by a cruise in Oahu, Hawaii, where we’ll stay for 11 days. Tom, a history buff, is looking forward to visiting Pearl Harbor. Staying for this period gives us time to soak in the frenzied atmosphere of Waikiki and Honolulu and then we’re off for six weeks in Maui for sun and surf.

Leaving Maui on December 1, 2014, we’ll fly to the Big Island for 46 days, at first renting one house on the ocean and on December 15th, renting the house next door, a weird coincidence, with neither related in any way to the other.

While walking, I often hold the camera and shoot, getting whatever I can get.  Sandals and shoes are a common item for sale in the souk and the Big Square.

Beginning on December 6th, our adult children and their families will begin to arrive. Long ago, we had suggested a family gathering at our expense to enable the time together while each would also have a vacation in fabulous Hawaii.

Little did we realize at the time the skyrocketing cost of airline tickets anywhere in the US mainland to Hawaii, ranging from US $1300 to US $1800 per person especially during the busy holiday season. Of course, we knew it would be outrageous. We carefully budgeted not only for the cost of the tickets but also the two houses, food, two rental vehicles, and on and on. 

Not all areas of the souk are filled with active shops and tourists. When searching for restaurants, we often find ourselves in a quieter, less occupied area such as this, wondering how these shop owners can stay in business with limited foot traffic.

We’ve just begun the process of booking the tickets, with one of our four kid’s family’s tickets already set and more to be booked in the next few weeks until everyone has a ticket. Within 60 days, the tickets will all be purchased.

Several times each day we check prices. We have apps that are checking for us as prices change.  Not much is changing at this time. We need to wrap this up soon since we doubt the prices will drop to any degree. The fallacy about prices being lower on certain times or days of the week is just that, a fallacy. We haven’t seen any differences during any specific periods.  

This shop was mainly offering these colorful rocks for sale. A few cats were playing among the items for sale.

Of course, it’s predicated by some formulas and schedules the airlines use that is unpredictable. What motives would they have to make us privy to their best pricing? Duh. None. So we, captive audience that we are, keep checking, hoping to save a few hundred dollars here and there.

Dismissing this financial part, we can hardly wait to see our family, our four grown kids, significant others, and six grandchildren. My younger sister Julie, who lives in Los Angeles, may be stopping by for a few days. Having all of us together is exciting. 

Finally, we found the restaurant after another long and winding walk through the souk.

Feeding 15 to 16 people dinner each night is a bit daunting, but somehow we’ll manage. For dining out in a nice restaurant in Hawaii, the cost per person is from US $70 to $100 per person. Guess we won’t be doing that!

Although the closest Costco is 90 miles from our location, I’m sure a few trips in the SUV will be warranted.  What we’ll do about Christmas is up in the air, hard to plan or think at this point. Tree? Decorations? Wrapped gifts for the little ones? We definitely don’t want this period of time to be spent “doing too much” while not spending valuable time together. We shall see.

By the time we arrived at the restaurant, the sun began to set and we both were chilled. For the first time since arriving in Marrakech, we are indoors at a comfortable banquet.

Our old days of “doing too much” are over. This may come as a surprise to those of our readers who personally know us. The focus will remain on the quality of time with our loved ones, not spending full days baking and cooking. The name of the game will be simplicity and lots of fun.

Had the fireplace been lit, we certainly would have sat close to it.  We still haven’t acclimated to the cooler (but getting warmer) weather in Morocco after over a year in hot climates.

This morning as we sit in the salon of the riad in Marrakech, Morocco, Hawaii is a million miles away. But as we’ve seen, especially those of you who have followed us since the beginning in March 2012, all of these booked events are coming up, tumbling over one another. In two months we’ll be settled in Madeira.  At one point it seemed so far in the future.

My dinner, although small, was good.  Carefully, I avoided the raw vegetables. Luckily, they served nuts and olive as an appetizer which helped fill me up.

Over the past several weeks as we continue to research for the unplanned time after May 2015, we’ve decided to add another element to our travels, winging it. With the excitement over the endless possibilities and after having booked over two years in advance, we are feeling knowledgeable enough with our recent experiences to wait until we pin down what is to follow. 

When Tom heard that the chef was Italian he ordered this lasagna which didn’t disappoint. With bread on the side, he was satisfied.

Doing so, in itself, adds a sense of adventure we both welcome. After spending seven months living on four islands in Hawaii, seeing the sites, whale watching, checking out volcanoes, and reveling in the exquisite scenery, we’ll be ready for the next phase of our world travels. 

With the hope to visit all of the continents, with four under our belts, we still have three more to go. But within each of those continents that we have visited, we have so much more to see. One could spend an entire lifetime traveling and still see so little. 

After dinner, as we were leaving, this colorful seating area jumped out at us. Wouldn’t that be a fun spot for a gathering of friends, food, and drink?

We take it at our own pace, in our own way, seeing what appeals to us, sensing no urgency, with no time constraints other than maintaining a level of health that allows us to continue on. 

Being with our family next Christmas will fulfill a longing in our hearts to see their smiling faces once again, recharging us to continue on and, we will.

Tonight, we’ll dine in while Madame Zahra makes lamb for us. Tom, who doesn’t care for lamb, ordered it on my behalf, knowing how much I love it.

Thanks, my dear hubby!  I owe you one!


Photo from one year ago today, March 23, 2013:

The piece of driftwood decorates the beach by our villa in Belize The sidewalk to the center-left is the sidewalk directly in front of our villa. For more photos, please click here.