Day #231 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Home grown dental care…

Tom checked in at the reception desk at the dental office while we waited outside with no indoor seating areas. The dental office was located on the hospital grounds.

Today’s photos are from this date while living in Savusavu, Fiji on the island of Vanua Levu For the story and more photos from this date, please click here.

Today’s historical photos put a smile on our faces. What an unusual experience we had on the day in Fiji when Tom had a raging abscessed tooth requiring immediate attention! Our landlord explained there was a dental office located across from the hospital parking lot. Otherwise, it would have required a four-hour round trip drive to the next closest dentist.

Tom was his usual cheerful self even under these worrisome circumstances. 

Appointments weren’t required. We contacted Rasnesh, our usual driver, to take us the short distance to the hospital grounds where the dental office was located. Rasnesh explained he had been seeing this same dentist since he was a child and was happy with the care he’d received, giving us peace of mind.

As it turned out, Tom did indeed have a bad abscess revealed on the x-ray, and the doctor recommended either pulling three teeth in that area or Tom taking antibiotics. In three months, we’d be in New Zealand, where he could be treated as needed. The dentist gave him three prescriptions; two antibiotics and one for high dose Paracetamol (Tylenol).

The treatment room was spacious and seemingly well equipped.

When we proceeded to pay the dental bill, we couldn’t stop giggling. The x-ray, exams, and the time with the dentist came to a total of US $2.76, INR 204! We walked across the parking lot to the hospital’s pharmacy to discover the prescriptions were “free.” In both cases, we offered to pay more explaining we were tourists, but due to their national health care system which included visitors, they refused payment, handing over the neatly wrapped medications. Wow!

Within three to four days, the pain was gone, but once more he needed a round of antibiotics two months later when the pain returned while we were waiting to board a cruise in Sydney, Australia, (see that post here) ending in New Zealand, where finally, he had the one abscessed molar pulled (see that post here).

We could only hope for sanitary conditions.

We both had a cleaning appointment scheduled before we left South Africa in 2019, but after my open-heart surgery, the dentist refused to work on my teeth due to the risk of infection, possible after heart surgery. Thus, I haven’t seen a dentist since 2018. Tom kept his cleaning appointment in South Africa in 2019. Once we return, we’ll both head to our wonderful dentist in Komatipoort, 20 minutes from Marloth Park.

While in lockdown I had an abscess which seems to have resolved after taking the same antibiotics Tom had taken for his. No prescription is required in India for non-narcotic prescriptions. Hopefully, it doesn’t return, allowing me to have it treated when we get to South Africa, whenever that will be.

Luckily, he didn’t have one of these dreaded injections.

In the interim, we are being very careful with our teeth, brushing frequently with our Braun battery-operated toothbrushes, using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide every few days, continuing with our usual regime of “oil pulling” using organic unrefined coconut oil. Here’s a US scientific study on some of the health benefits of oil pulling using coconut oil.

In addition, we both floss after each meal using brush picks and dental floss. Hopefully, these preventive procedures will help us make it to our dentist in Komatipoort in many months to come. Of course, there’s no substitute for quality dental care by a licensed professional. For now, as with everything else, we do the best we can.

The used sponge on the sink could instill a degree of concern for sanitation. Then again, we Americans may be overly concerned about germs.

On a side note, at the end of yesterday’s post, two of our kind readers wrote, “Why don’t we live in a holiday/vacation home in Mumbai as opposed to staying in this hotel?” For their comments and our responses, please click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

We certainly appreciate the comments and questions and fully understand the basis of such questions. But, in reviewing our responses, you’ll see how staying put in this hotel makes more sense for us right now. In the interim, all those wedding guests cluttering the corridors without face masks yesterday have since checked out. I was able to walk without issue this morning, much to my relief. Yesterday, I stopped walking halfway through my daily goal when there were countless guests not wearing face masks.

The bill for the dentist visit was surprising at FJD $6, USD $2.76, INR 204!

At the moment Tom is watching the Minnesota Vikings football game that was played yesterday in the US. We’ll see how that goes!

Find comfort in the small things.

As we entered the hospital’s pharmacy. We only waited a moment for service. The medications he received were already packaged and ready to go. Only the label was added with Tom’s name and instructions. 

Photo from one year ago today, November 9, 2019:

There was no post on this date, one year ago. We had just arrived in Minnesota to be with family and we spent a very busy day.

 

Redesigning our site…Tooth abscess update…

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

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.
Today’s photos are from May 30, 2013, from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  Please click here for more details.

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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


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

Standing among the gilded elegance left us in awe.


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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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


1. Arvo: afternoon

2. Barbie: barbeque

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

5. Chockers: very full

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

7. Fair Dinkum: true, real, genuine

8. Grommet: young surfer

9. Mozzie: mosquito

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21. Ta: thank you

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

24. Ute: Utility vehicle, pickup truck

25. Whinge: whine

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

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

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

May your day be safe.

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_


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

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

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

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

Warthogs testicles become engorged during the mating season.

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


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


Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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

Seven years ago…Accomplishing tasks feels good!…

On this date in 2014, similar to the main photo in this post of December 14th, once again, we looked toward the driveway to discover giraffes coming our way.  What a glorious sight! Click here for the post from this date.

When we left Minnesota to begin our world travels on October 31, 2012, we knew we were embarking on a long journey. We never imagined we’d be traveling in 2020 or beyond.


We began a road trip to Arizona, where we rented a holiday home for two months thinking it might be a good idea to stay for future reference. Would we consider Arizona as a possible permanent home when we decided to end our journey? 


We stayed in Old Towne in a condo where for two months we worked on the balance of the tasks we had ahead of us before we could officially leave the US on January 3, 2013, seven years ago. 


Yesterday, Tom reminded me of this fact after I’d already uploaded the post. As a result, we decided to write this story today. At that time, we didn’t have a clue as to how to take photos and barely included photos in our posts until later on.


During this period, we also rented another holiday home in Henderson, Nevada, where Tom’s sisters and spouses stayed with us during Christmas while other family members came to spend time with us: son Richard from Henderson, cousin Phyllis from Massachusetts and her two adult daughters, Robin and Wendy and, my sister Julie, all from California. We had a fantastic time.


After the holidays we returned to the condo in Arizona and spent the remainder of December continuing to complete the tasks we had on the agenda including purchasing and setting up new digital equipment.


On New Year’s Day, we headed to San Diego and spent two nights with niece Kely and her husband Dennis at their lovely home in San Diego where our first cruise on the Celebrity Century was sailing away on January 3, 2013.


We’d never been on a cruise, but as boaters in Minnesota, we had no doubt we’d enjoy being on the water. Also, we were confident we’d never be seasick. Our assessment was correct. We love cruising and have never been seasick.


Here’s the link to the day we boarded our first cruise.


Our mouths were agape during the entire cruise. Not only were we in awe of the outstanding itinerary and beautiful ship, but we were also enthralled by the social interactions that continued day after day. 


Those first few days, we were so naive about cruising we booked tables for two at dinner in the main dining room. We were having a great time together, but in only a few days we got into the groove and started booking “shared dining” in the main dining room and the good times escalated.


If you’d like to read about this first cruise, please click the above link or visit our archives on the right side of the page beginning on January 3, 2013. You will easily be able to read through the excitement of that first cruise which ultimately shaped our opinion of cruises which hasn’t changed much over the years.


As a part of my tasks mentioned in yesterday’s post, I needed to start updating our new 2020 Excel spreadsheet, including a page for cruises only. At this point, we have five cruises booked, including the upcoming cruise from Mumbai, India on April 3, 2020, which ends in London on May 2, 2010, a full 29-day cruise.


We cringed when it was required to pay for the entire expensive Mumbai cruise fare at the time of the booking, but now, we’re happy to have that behind us. Now, it’s imperative to begin booking holiday homes for the six-months between the Mumbai cruise and the cruise returning to Africa for which we’ve yet to be provided a visa waiver. 


On Monday, with the holiday season over, we’ll start making phone calls to find an immigration lawyer in South Africa to assist us with the issue. That item was on yesterday’s to-do list. The time difference is quite an issue.


As a matter of fact, from the seven items we’d listed in yesterday’s post, we are down to only four items, when we immediately got to work accomplishing these tasks. More on this later.


Last night, we had a happy hour get-together at our place with the family and our two new neighbors. Today, there’s a party by the pool at 3:00 pm which we’ll attend with the family and other locals who’ll gather around our table.


Tonight, at 10:00 pm, we’ll pick up Margie from the Mesa airport and our family group of seven will be complete. However, within the next few weeks, another of Tom’s sisters, Rita, will arrive from South Dakota and, Mary and Eugene’s son Kevin (Tom’s nephew) will also arrive. And then, there were nine! The good times continue.


May you be experiencing good times with your family and friends in the New Year!

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Photo from one year ago today, January 4, 2019:

One year ago today, we spotted young zebras running around a circular path playfully chasing one another. For more photos, please click here.

Making a list…Checkin’ it twice!…

On this date in 2016, we posted this photo of a vegetable stand where we purchased most of our produce during the 28-day stay in Pacific Harbour, Fiji. For more from that date, including final expenses for Fiji, please click here.

With the new year upon us and only 26 days remaining until we leave for India, we’ve begun to put the wheels in motion to get everything in order for our departure.


Last night, I began compiling for our departure, including the following:


1. Compile a box of cold weather clothing and ship it to our mailing service in Nevada to hold until we need it again. We are glad we’d purchased warm items with the cold weather in Minnesota, Nevada, and Arizona. This morning it was 35F (1.7C). It makes no sense to bring these items to India, but we may need them again during the year.
2. Order the box of supplies we have awaiting us at the mailing service in Nevada.
3. Contact an immigration attorney to begin working on our visa waiver for South Africa.
4. Contact United Healthcare Global with questions, and purchase an annual health insurance policy for the two of us.
5. Reorganize our supplies suitcase in order to lighten the load.
6. Purchase a list of items we’ll need for India and going forward; socks for both of us; a belt for Tom; and cool summery tops for me.
7. Start transferring data from our current Excel spreadsheet to our new workbook that is relevant for 2020 only.


Each of these items could take some time, but with the days ticking down, it’s imperative I get to work. The list falls into the categories of tasks that I perform, not Tom. He has “other fish to fry” and his time will come soon enough to get to work.


Traveling the world isn’t a laid back as some may perceive. Last night while we had Shark Tank on the TV in the background, I scrolled through over 500 listings in Homeaway.com for Portugal. 


With our next cruise departing from Lisbon, it makes sense to spend the last few months near Portugal before we sail away on November 10th. Last night’s research proved fruitful when I found dozens of possibilities in and around Lisbon. Today, Tom and I will go through these together.


With the restrictions of the European Schengen visa, we have to be very careful not to stay in Europe too long, especially when part of the cruise will be visiting a few ports of call in the Schengen area that count toward our total allowable days.


It was these restrictions that caused us an immigration problem in Australia when we’d been on the continent a few days too long due to being on a cruise. The cruise was considered a “closed-loop” when sailing from Perth to Sydney (with several ports of call in New Zealand) and all the days we were cruising counted toward our maximum time on the continent. We won’t let this happen again.

Making lists have always been helpful to me. Although they are hardly New Year’s resolutions, our timing precipitates getting them done.


Today, we’ll work on more research and I’ll try to knock off a few items on the “to do” list. So far, there are no plans for social activities tonight, but one never knows. They often pop up at the last minute in this senior community.


May your New Year list provides you with a sense of accomplishment we’re looking forward to over the next several days.

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Photo from one year ago today, January 3, 2019:

In Marloth Park, one year ago today, one of our two favorite frogs took up residence in this cute little decorative basket near the pool on the veranda. We couldn’t stop laughing! For more photos, please click here.

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Have a pleasant day!

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

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

Turning the corner…Still lots to do…

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Happy day to all, rain or shine.

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

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

Coughing from hell…Is cruising worth it?…

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Be well. 

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

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