The wind was roaring…The power and WiFi were out!…What a day and night!…Covered in bites…Chicks.

Helmeted Guinea-fowl and their four chicks stop by daily for seeds. They are so shy it’s difficult to take a good photo when they don’t stay still for a moment.

Africa has its challenges. As is the case in most countries with extreme humidity, when it rains for days, weeks, or months, the mosquitoes breed in standing water as follows:

“10 to 14 days
How Long Does It Take for Mosquitoes to Breed on Standing Water? The length of the mosquito breeding cycle varies by species, but mosquitoes generally need 10 to 14 days to develop in standing water. Insect control authorities often recommend dumping any standing water at least once a week.”
Of course, we are well aware of the malaria risks when being bitten. Our friend Alan lost his dear wife and nearly died himself from a rare form of malaria, which they both contracted while living in Marloth Park in 2019. People who live here regularly don’t take malaria tablets. The side effects are too dangerous for long-term prophylaxis. Instead, they, like me, use the dreaded DEET, the only chemical that really has the potential to work.
Mom and Dad and four chicks, of which only two are shown in this photo.
But, even so, we all still get bites. It’s easy to miss a spot when applying the product or to be an hour late in re-applying the next round, usually every six hours. There’s no easy answer.
There is a pond with vegetation growing outside our bedroom window. It’s no wonder we are being bombarded day and night. Then again, Tom rarely is bitten and doesn’t wear repellent, except when we’re outside at night. At this point, after weeks of non-stop rain and humidity, I have no less than 50 bites.
Although I cover myself with Tabard Repellent, popular in South Africa, specific to its types of mosquitoes, a DEET containing product, every six hours. I don’t cover my eyes, face, and head, but now, they are biting me on my eyelids in a desperate search for some exposed skin. Finally, I’m starting to feel better from being off of those strong antibiotics and now I am constantly itching.
Two Ms. Bushbucks looking for pellets.
Last night was when I could finally savor a glass of wine with the required eight days passing since I started the antibiotics. With the WiFi and power out, there was nothing for us to do indoors in the inclement weather. We decided to “rough it” in the bad weather and we spent the evening on the veranda to have our first sundowners in a while. I loaded up on repellent from head to toe to ensure I wouldn’t be stricken with one more mosquito bite. It worked out.
It appears that about half of my “bites” are reactions from dust mites to which I am allergic. Oh, good grief. I inherited most of these medical issues, (allergies, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, joint issues, and on and on) and I was a bit fed up yesterday but feeling better today after a good night’s sleep.
With the power out and no idea when it would be restored, we decided to make the best of the evening. We’d never experienced such high winds in South Africa during the 19 months we’ve spent in this country in the past eight years. Yesterday’s midday meal required the use of the electric stove, which, when the power wasn’t restored, we had no choice but to cook on the braai. We managed to figure it out, although our meal wasn’t as good as it would have been cooked on the stovetop. The power and WiFi both came back on during the night.
Mom and maturing baby bushbuck.
Whew! I don’t like whinging in our posts, nor, do I care to complain much to Tom. He’s so accepting of my various health issues, but only because I spend as little time as possible talking about them. He’s well aware of my issues and is totally supportive. I can only imagine what a mess I’d be if I didn’t work hard as possible to be healthy.
But, these are the realities of living in South Africa and also in other parts of Africa with the heat and humidity, due to the unpredictable weather. The insects are another thing.
While in the hotel room in Mumbai, India, I promised myself that no matter how bad the weather, the insects, and the bites, I’d still be grateful to be here, and I am. Only moments ago, Tom came in to tell me that Frank and The Misses were on the veranda, looking for me. When these situations occur, I forget all about the inconveniences and revel in the joys of why we are here.
Once again, Wildebeest Willie poses for a photo.
Yes, I could avoid mentioning any of my woes, here on our site. But, we always promised to “tell it like it is.” By no means, am I a “Pollyanna” pretending that all is sweetness and light. Once, while living in Minnesota, we lost power for five days due to a severe summer storm. That was a tough five days. Nowhere in the world is exempt from issues of daily life and here is no exception. Right now, the power outages in the US are equally difficult for many citizens to tolerate.
Last night in the wind and rain, we sat on the veranda while I was sipping on my glass of wine and  Tom, on his cocktail, reveling in the joys the bush has to offer. We were pleasantly surprised when it proved to be the most prolific night of visitors we’ve had since we arrived over a month ago. We were thrilled! Photos will follow tomorrow.
Stay safe. Stay healthy.
Photo from one year ago today, February 17, 2020:
The soldier prepared for the big event, the nightly ceremony of closing the borders between India and Pakistan. For more, please click here.

Life in Fiji?…Would we return someday?…How many miles have we traveled to date?…Final resort photos…

A walkway at Namale Resort & Spa, as described in yesterday’s post, from guests personally making these stones during their stay at the exquisite resort, one of many activities centered around the personalization of guest experiences.

Often we’re asked, “Would you return to Fiji (or wherever we may be at the time) for another visit?”

As much as we’ve enjoyed this island and other locations, it’s doubtful we’ll return to most places we’ve lived in the past. The world’s a huge place. We’ll be lucky to see what comes our way in these hopefully healthful remaining years of our lives, the clock seemingly ticking faster now than 20 or 30 years ago.

The traditional Fijian bell, the lali, is used to alert guests as to activities and meal times at Namale Resort & Spa.

It’s not that we haven’t particularly loved some locations. We have. Fiji has been one of them. Sure, the ants and mosquitoes are rampant. but that would have no bearing on a return visit. At present, I have no less than a dozen itchy two and three-day-old bites that I refuse to scratch, which doesn’t seem to help one way or another. 

The effectiveness of vitamin B1’s warding off mosquitoes has wafted away in Fiji, although it appeared to work in Australia. The “natural” products I have used diligently have no benefit here and the only effective means of keeping them away is the chemical-laden local products, many containing 20% DEET.

The Veidomoni Deck where guests can relax and watch the blow-hole.

Then the question becomes, “Bites or chemicals, which is worse?” I alternate trying to stay free of bites on particularly bad days using the chemical products and on clear sunny days when less are biting, I go without, taking my chances on getting a few bites throughout the day and evening.

Sadly, we’re both unable to sit outdoors in the shade all day, which we’d love to be able to do. When the sun is shining I use a minimal amount of repellent to be able to sit still for 30 minutes on the solitary chaise lounge for my dose of vitamin D. It seems they don’t bite as much in the heat of the sun. In the shade, even “auto-repellent” Tom is getting bitten. 

A walk down this short walkway to the sea, the hot tub, and seating in this area overlooking the blow-hole that can be reserved for private dining or viewing.

Mosquitoes may carry disease, even in pristine Fiji where there are no snakes, few venomous spiders and centipedes, and a few flies. One has to weigh the pros and cons when implementing either option, repellent, or no repellent. 

However, a return to this lush tropical island is highly unlikely. The only places we feel confident we’ll visit again is Marloth Park, South Africa, and then to tour more of Africa, including seeing the gorillas in Rwanda and Victoria Falls which we missed on our last visit.

A luxuriating hot tub at the site of the blow-hole, ideal for cocktails and relaxation.

Kauai, Hawaii is one of our favorite places in the world. Both of these repeat visits are well down the road, long after we’ve swept through South America, next on the agenda as a continent to explore over a period of a few years.

Days ago, on our third year travel anniversary when we posted our expenses and stats, we missed an important fact that Tom mentioned, we’d forgotten hours after the post was uploaded, “How many miles have we traveled to date?”

As the blow-hole spouted…

Of course, off the top of our heads, we didn’t have a clue. On the right side of the page for each new post is a Travelers Point map that enables us or our readers to view our “full-size Travel Map” with a single click. Please feel free to do so. 

We spent several hours updating and correcting this map in the past few days. It’s now accurate and complete to date. For those of you who travel, you can use your own map at Travelers Point for “free” without any annoying advertising. It’s fun to map out your travels throughout your life. We’ve only included where we’ve traveled in the past three years.

The coral reef in the Koro Sea.

By clicking on that link on our site, the full travel map will expand and show everywhere we’ve been. To date, we’ve traveled 128,907 km, 80,103 miles. Many business travelers have traveled over a million miles which for us, will be impossible to achieve. Stopping to live in a vacation home for two to three months along the way makes such a number far from our reach.
 
Then again, this isn’t a marathon, nor is it even a race. We’re just two relatively laid-back seniors leisurely traveling from country to country, continent to continent enjoying the journey along the way.  If we had to stop now, we’d look back on that map and say, “Gee, we’ve certainly traveled our fair share throughout the world.”

A footbridge across a ravine.

And yet, we haven’t been to Asia (other than the Asia side of Istanbul), South America, Russia and so much more, all of which call to us in the future. Plus, we’ll surely return to some parts of the world we’ve visited in the past to “expand our horizons” in new cities, on river cruises

By September 2016, a mere 10 months down the road, we’ll have spent considerable time in Cambodia, Viet Nam and living in Phuket, Thailand, giving us a small sampling of Asia which we’ll further explore in years to come.

At a distance to the building where guests come from all over the world to attend Tony Robbins’ seminars while staying at the resort.

Upcoming in a post in the next few days, we’ll be sharing photos and stories of a new location, where we’ll live for three months beginning on August 1, 2017, a mere 21 months into the future. 

As far off as it may seem, the time flies quickly and we can easily imagine ourselves in the new location, sitting in a comfy chair in the morning again writing to you about all of our adventures, big and small.

As we prepared to leave, this guitar player proceeded to play. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay to enjoy his music.

In the interim, we have many more miles to travel, places to see, and experiences to behold. We treasure each location as if it were our first, as one may treasure on a “vacation/holiday” on which they embark once a year.  But for us, it continues on and on, with no end in sight.

Recently, as we ended a conversation with a couple we met, they blurted out, “Enjoy your trip!” Often we hear, “Have fun on your holiday!” Safe travels on your vacation.”

Fresh locally grown flower arrangements were on display in many areas of the resort.

Later, we often chuckle after hearing these considerate, well-intended comments. This is no “trip,” no “vacation,” and no “holiday.” This is our day to day lives and although challenging at times, we remain joyful, grateful, and in awe of the world around us. Above all, we’re continuing, if not enhancing, being together, day after day, through laughter and a pure sense of appreciating one another.

Thanks to all of you for sharing this life with us!

Photo from one year ago today, November 3, 2014:

On a walk in the neighborhood of our condo in Maui, we encountered this Cattle Egret, commonly found in the Hawaiian Islands. For more details from the walk, please click here.

Are we back in Belize or Kenya?…What’s going on?…

In between parts of the souk, there are outdoor areas where many locals may be offering their wares. We’ve seen boxes of products arriving from Bangladesh and China. Shopping tourists often assume that all of the offered products are made locally. Some are, but not all.

When we arrived in Belize over a year ago, our first week spent in the little cottage on the beach, (until we moved out a week later), I suffered from over 100 bites from what is referred to as “no-see-ums” commonly known as sandflies. 

Once we moved to the fabulous LaruBeya we’d only have to go indoors at dusk to avoid being bitten and wear repellent when outside at night. Later, in Italy, with no screens on the windows or AC, the flies dined on me day and night, eventually requiring me to wear the BugsAway clothing, leaving me hot as I was overly dressed in the heat of summer.

Shop owners and workers often play with their smartphones as they await the next customer.

In Kenya, it was mosquitoes, making it necessary for me to wear insect repellent 24 hours a day. In South Africa, it was mosquitoes, referred to as “mozzies,” again requiring me to wear repellent at all times that buzzed around my head but not nearly as bad as they had in Kenya.

When we arrived in Morocco two months ago, it was cool, mostly in the 60Fs during the day, cooler at night.  Without a bug in sight, I thought that for a while I was home free with no biting insects. I was kidding myself.

As spring arrived this past month, almost on queue with the weather warming more and more each day, I awoke 10 days ago with no less than 25 bites on my right arm and hand.

This appears to be an abandoned construction site.

I sleep on my left side with my right arm draped over an extra pillow placed perpendicular to my body. This pillow provides relief for my bad right shoulder. As a result, my right arm is outside the covers most of the night. I didn’t see a single insect fly by the screen of my phone as I’d read a book each night. What was biting me?

Itching like crazy with neither repellent nor itch relief on hand from when we’d lightened our load, I searched online for the source of my dismay…the lowly sandfly, aka “no-see-ums” commonly called the phlebotomine sandflies. Nasty little invisible buggers!

These are no simple bites. These are vicious bites leaving raised hot, red, swollen nodules that itch beyond belief, eventually to ooze if rubbed or scratched even in the slightest. Oh, good grief. Here we go again as I wondered, why me and not Tom?

Hundreds of years of wear and tear is evident in certain areas.

In finding this article from the Smithsonian Institute, the answer is clear. I am a Type-0 blood type, twice as likely as Tom’s Type-A. Plus, I must have a genetic factor. My two sisters suffer from the same tendency to be bitten.

After reading through the above article I feel confident the answer to the dilemma lies therein explaining my propensity to being bit in general, let alone attracting biters away from Tom. He often explains that when I leave the room, they flock around him in my absence until I return.

Unable to find repellent at the pharmacy we tried in the Medina, I’ve resorted to being totally covered in clothing around the clock. Sandflies, invisible to the eye are too small to bite through clothing or blankets. As a result, I’ve been wearing one of Tom’s white long-sleeved BugsAway shirts to bed at night with my arms well covered and during the day wearing my own BugsAway shirt, jeans, and socks.

This shop sells attractive tiles sinks and basins.

Now, completely covered they’ve resorted to biting my hands during the day and again during the night. A few days ago Adil brought a plug-in device for the bedroom that continually emits a repellent. We keep the drapes covering the doorway to the bedroom closed at all times, as I’ve instructed Madame and Oumaima to do the same each day after cleaning our bedroom.

These combined measures appear to have improved the situation. But, I’m still getting bites on my hands and fingers. Nothing is more itchy and annoying than bites on one’s knuckles or between the fingers. As I sit here in the salon at this moment, I can’t see them but they surely hover around me avoiding my bug repellent shirt instead, feasting on my hands. I no longer scratch after reading that scratching exacerbates the length of time the bites remain “active.” I knew this. I needed to be reminded.

After 10 days, the original bites continue to itch and the newer ones are revving up for days to come. In reading information about these nasty critters, the itching may last for weeks or months.

Off the beaten path, second-hand items are offered for sale on the ground as the local seller hunches on the ground, hoping for a sale.

Today, if necessary we’ll stop at every pharmacy in the Medina to find repellent and anti-itch cream. If we find the repellent I’ll wear it around the clock, reloading it on my hands each time I wash. Perhaps, if the repellent works well I’ll be able to stop wearing hot, bulky clothing as the weather is now into the scorching 90F degrees (32.3C) almost every day.

In the realm of things…no big deal!  But, for those prone to being bit, one must be prepared when traveling. How did we end up unprepared? When packing to leave South Africa, my tube of Cortisone cream was almost empty and expired so I tossed it, thinking I could easily buy another. When I used the last drop of repellent on the last day, again, I thought replacing it would be no issue.

Also, after reading about insects in Marrakech nothing was mentioned about these pesky critters. Once we arrived, not seeing a fly or bee anyway in the riad with the center courtyard open to the sky, I thought there would be no issue. Little did I know.

A few nights ago, my entire right arm was hot and swollen from all the bites. Using antibiotic ointment, I dabbed at each of the bites before putting on Tom’s shirt for bed.  In the morning it was better. These types of bites may become infected making it important to stay mindful as to their condition. Initially scratching them, even gently over my clothing, proved to result in further damage.

Caught up in the discomfort of itching results in losing valuable time better spent enjoying our surroundings and time together. I’ve learned my lesson to always have anti-itch cream and repellent on hand wherever we may go.

Is it any wonder that there would be sandflies in the desert…duh…the sand? Good thing I didn’t ride a camel on the desert sands as originally planned! Our change of plans turned out better than we’d expected!

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Photo from one year ago today, April 30, 2013. With no photos taken that particular day, below is a photo from the prior day:

A tourist boat made to look like an old pirate ship passed by our ship, the Norwegian Epic as we watched from our balcony. For details of the story posted on April 30, 2013, please click here.