The planning continues…As busy as I can be…

On this date in 2015, we were at the Arts Village in Pacific Harbour, Fiji. For more photos, please click here.

At this point, we need to get to work and decide on what we plan to do in India for 54 days beginning on February 8th after the end of the Maharajas Express train from Mumbai to Delhi.


We’re deliberating over several options and will definitely share what we’re deciding to do when we hopefully come to a decision in the next few days. There is so much to consider.


As far as booking periods of time, this period of time in India is the most challenging. We don’t want to be floundering by ourselves jumping from town to town, flight to flight and hotel to hotel without a plan in mind.


Many have asked over the years if we are “backpackers” and if we possibly stay in hostels, making our way through a country without specific bookings in mind. That’s not us. 


We have no home. We require the peace of mind of knowing where we’ll be staying during our time in any country, whether it’s in the US or anywhere else in the world. 


India is not an easy country to visit without plans in mind. We do not want to be trapped for days in a smoggy, over-populated city attempting to figure out what to do next.


A priority for us is also a tiger safari which is a must-do to be included in our almost two-month itinerary. This is not practical in many areas that are not particularly close to wildlife areas or national parks.


Having had literally no experience in India, we have had countless travelers and others making suggestions as to what would our ideal itinerary. We appreciate the input, but we feel we must pursue this considering our own interests and desires, not what may necessarily appeal to others.


Yes, we could make a mistake in the planning process, but as always, we’re willing to take the risk. After all, we had the “unthinkable” happen this past February and somehow we managed to make our way through it with careful planning, dignity, and grace.


Right now, we are working with a highly competent agent with a highly rated travel agency in India who booked the train for us. As I write here now, amid stopping every 30 minutes to get back to work on tonight’s dinner, Tom is going through all the “paperwork” on some options that may or may not work for us. We shall see.


This morning I went grocery shopping for the last time while here in Nevada. Before doing so, I stopped at a branch of our bank to get some blank checks. 
I am making tonight and tomorrow’s dinner and Sunday brunch. On Sunday afternoon, we’re going to the Vegas Gold Knight’s game at 3:00 pm at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.


After the game, we’ll go out to dinner on the strip and then on Monday morning we’ll pack and leave for Apache Junction, Arizona. Hopefully, Tom will be feeling well enough to drive for five hours. I’d be happy to drive but he doesn’t like how I drive and the stress associated with his “backseat driving” isn’t worth it.


He’s yet to turn the corner with his cough and exhaustion, but when I consider that’s where I was a few weeks ago, he still has a way to go. I looked back at the level of activity a few weeks ago in Minnesota and I don’t know how I got through it feeling as he does now.


I just finished making enough broccoli salad for all of us, including a batch for my sister Susan, which I’ll bring to her tomorrow. Soon, I’ll make the low carb hamburger buns, peel potatoes for the first time in over a year for tonight’s oven-baked fries (chips), shape the ground beef and ground turkey into patties, make the homemade ketchup, and slice the onions, tomatoes, and lettuce for toppings for the meat. It will be another busy day.


Tonight, we’ll grill the meat poolside and enjoy a quiet and restful night in. Thank goodness.


Take care, dear readers.

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Photo from one year ago today, December 6, 2018:

A praying mantis stopped by for a visit this morning.  After it walked on the veranda table, it landed on Tom and then landed on me.  Friendly little fellow. 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.

In a rush today…

It was five years ago today that Tom was checking out the views from one of the two houses we rented in Pahoa, Big Island, Hawaii. Only days later our family began to arrive for the holiday. For more, please click here.

Today, I am in a bit of a rush. I have to leave the house at 10:45 am to drive to Las Vegas to see Susan and to join her for lunch in her new assisted living facility located 45 minutes from here.


I’ll stay a few hours and then stop at Smith’s Market on the way back to Richard‘s home for a few items for tonight’s dinner and then rush back to begin preparing dinner. Richard only eats chicken so as his mom, I try to be inventive and produce another good chicken recipe.


As for the coughs…Tom is in the worst of it now while I am slowly beginning to turn the corner. If it weren’t for Nyquil Cough, we wouldn’t be able to sleep at all. Both of us have fits of coughing at all hours but especially during the night. For some reason, everything seems worse at night.


We’d hoped to go to a movie with Richard while here but there’s no way we would be able to get through a two-hour period without hacking and disturbing everyone. We’ll see how it goes. We’re leaving in eight days.


Why this cough has lasted so long has baffled us. It started slowly on the cruise over a month ago. Tom had a bit of a tickle in his throat and I had a small pointless cough. I spent one night’s dinner in the cabin when I was feeling dizzy and out of sorts not knowing what was wrong.


But, the dizzyness was the beginning of this dreadful virus when only the next day the cough exacerbated. Also, one of the symptoms we have both experienced has been a feeling of utter exhaustion. 


I am past that stage right now but Tom has been going through it over the past two weeks, worsening the past three days. Please, let this be over soon so we can return to our usual enthusiastic selves, especially now that we know we can move forward with travel plans.


Speaking of which…we booked our flights to India on British Airways at a great price as follows (for both of us):

Total price: USD $1675.16
Trip Protection:      117.26

Total:                $1792.42
 
We used a flight booking company (after reading lots of reviews) we’d never used Hop2.com for the best possible pricing. The flight leaves Phoenix on January 29 and ends on January 30, 2020. 
 
There are two over nine-hour flights with an eight-hour layover in London in between. It will be a long 27 hours. This leaves us a few days in Mumbai to refresh and recover before we begin the exciting six night-train excursion on the Maharajah Express.
 
As always, we’ll manage OK on these long flights although neither of us is able to sleep on the plane. It’s funny. I can fall asleep sitting upright on a sofa while watching a show but I can’t sleep for five minutes on a plane in a similar position. Go figure.
 
Tonight’s a big sports night here at Richard’s…the Vegas Golden Knights will play on TV along with the Minnesota Vikings. I plan to get back early enough to make the dinner so we can all settle in and somehow watch the games simultaneously. 
 
Tom can bring up the football on his laptop via NFL GamePass and the Vegas Golden Knights can be playing on the TV. We’ll see how it goes.
 
Thanksgiving weekend is over in the US and life is back to normal also after “Black Friday” shopping frenzy has ended. We’d intended to go to renew our driver’s licenses today but as mentioned, this is supposedly the DMV’s busiest day of the year. Forget that!
Unfortunately, no new photos to share but check out last year’s photo below! It still makes us laugh!

Be well. Be happy.

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Photo from one year ago today, December 2, 2018:

Little decided to check out the inside of the house.  I was in the kitchen chopping vegetables when he entered and looked up to see this! We both couldn’t stop laughing. I yelled out, “Little, is that you?” (I knew it was him). He shook his head a bit like he often did when I spoke to him. He climbed up six very slippery tile steps to get to me, difficult in those “high heeled shoes.” For more photos, please click here.

A much needed restful night in…Using Google Pixel 4XL phone for photos?…

Richard is definitely a Vegas Golden Knight’s superfan when he had this mural painted on a wall in his backyard pool area. We’re looking forward to attending a game with him on December 8th.

Yesterday, I baked seven pumpkin pies. When Tom and Richard enjoyed their miniature pumpkin pies topped with whipped cream while out to dinner on Thanksgiving night, I decided I needed to bake a few pies. 


Two of the pies are low carb and the remainder are traditional. I made an extra for my sister Susan which I’ll bring when I visit her tomorrow at lunchtime. Richard often has a low carb way of eating but when he saw how different the low carb pies looked, he decided on the regular pie instead. 

I guess I’ll have to figure out how to eat two pies over the next several days. Most likely, I’ll freeze one and we’ll take it to Arizona when we make the drive on or about December 10th or 11th.


To make all these pies and dinner for the next several nights yesterday morning I grocery shopped by myself for the first time in over nine months. I was a little slow moving in Smith’s Market in Henderson due to another bad night’s sleep with both of us coughing, but I managed to get it done.


Years ago, while visiting Richard, I’d signed up for the Smith’s rewards card. Long ago I’d disposed of the card but I was able to remember my old phone number which worked in place of actually having the plastic card in my possession. 


As a result, when I was checking out after spending $300 on groceries, I saved over $34 from recalling the old phone number. Wow! That was a thrill. I purchased all the ingredients for the seven pies, two glass pie pans which we’ll take with us (Richard doesn’t bake pies), lots of Keurig coffee pods (so we don’t deplete Richard’s entire supply) and enough food for four or five dinners.


Last night we had carryout from Cheesecake Factory. I was too pooped to make dinner after making all the pies. Carryout was perfect. Today, I’m making dinner, enough to last for two nights but made fresh daily.


Today, I’m making boneless skinless chicken breasts stuffed with sauteed mushrooms, onions, garlic butter, and mozzarella and parmesan cheese and wrapped in hickory-smoked bacon. On the side; cauliflower mash, steamed asparagus, jasmine rice, and homemade coleslaw, a nice easy-to-prepare Sunday dinner.


After we devoured our Cheesecake Factory dinners, we began watching a movie that had recently been released on Netflix, “The Irishman,” which is over three hours long. Of course, I fell asleep on the comfy sofa, ultimately dozing off and on during the movie.


About an hour into the movie we took a break for pumpkin pie. Each of us could choose a pie of our own, without having to share. This is a great way to savor a pie at one’s own pace without worrying about sharing with others. We’ve often done it this way with my former passion for baking which over the years has diminished since we’ve been traveling.


By 11:00 pm, the movie ended and we were off to bed each chugging the little plastic cupful of Nyquil Cough, hoping we wouldn’t disturb each other’s sleep. It was a useless expectation. We each awakened many times from our own and each other’s coughing. Tom is where I was two weeks ago and I still have a long way to go to be free of this virus. 


In case you haven’t noticed I have been posting photos taken with my phone. This is something I’d been adamantly opposed to for a long time, preferring to use a camera. Now, with this new phone, I am amazed by the quality of the photos as seen in the above photo.


This doesn’t mean we won’t keep using a camera. One of our two cameras “died” while in my carryon bag on the flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Minneapolis, Minnesota. How? I don’t know. Now, we’re left with one camera and will use it for most sightseeing. For now, it sure is fun using my new phone.


When I take photos with the phone, within seconds they are automatically on my laptop through Google. This saves me so much time. Having these many features is astounding to us having been so far removed from the most current digital equipment for so long.


Our phones work like Amazon’s Alexa. We can ask anything at all by voice and get an instantaneous response within seconds. This is quite fun for me but Tom doesn’t seem as interested in using voice commands.


That’s it for today, folks. We hope each of you has a peaceful and restful day as well.
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Photo from one year ago today, December 1, 2018:
This is our boy Wildebeest Willie, who stops by most afternoons for pellets and several naps.  He waits for other wildlife to appear then gets up to join in on the pellet frenzy.  He isn’t interested in carrots, celery tops, apples or pears.  He responds enthusiastically to his name and most likely responds to names other residents have given him.  Smart guy, that Willie! For more, please click here.

Visited my sister for first time in over two years…The Las Vegas Strip for dinner…Food photos…

Chase, Susan’s adorable Yorkie.

Yesterday afternoon, I drove to Summerlin, Nevada to see my sister Susan, who moved into an assisted living facility on November 1st. This move was long overdue when she requires quite a bit of help in her day to day activities. I am hoping she’ll be able to manage there when she’ll no longer have as much support staff as she had in her apartment.


My sister has been bedridden for approximately 14 years from what I recall. She suffers numerous health conditions including COPD and pain syndrome which requires constant oxygen, many medications and frequent doctor visits.
Seafood salad.


Her spirits are good and always have been. She’s accepted her limitations with dignity and grace. As my older sister by four years, she’s always been an inspiration to me. How dare I ever complain when I am up and around traveling the world while she lingers in a bed around the clock?


But, as we know everything is relative. When we suffer, regardless of the cause, thinking of the suffering of others doesn’t necessarily bring us comfort. It may for a few moments when we contemplate the suffering of others but rarely does it make us become pillars of strength and resiliency. It the nature of the human spirit.

Fried chicken.


As I sat there with her for three hours, hacking and coughing, she was more concerned for me than for herself. I dismissed the annoying cough as a mere inconvenience that eventually will go away. 


And it will. This morning I noticed a slight improvement. On the other hand, Tom is in the throes of the worst of it, behind me by about two weeks. Hopefully, soon with his strong constitution, he’ll be on the mend. It’s unlike him to become ill.

Chicken Piccata.


I will return to see my sister on Monday, joining her for lunch at the facility. They allow visitors to have meals with residents for a $9 fee. I noticed they had a salad on Monday that will work for me. The food is irrelevant. It’s the interaction that bespeaks it all. I will be able to dine with her.


When I returned back to the house, we drove to New York, New York Hotel and Casino and walked through the casino to the Venetian Hotel to a restaurant Richard suggested The Grand Lux Cafe.

Guess who ordered the beef pot roast with mashed potatoes?


The offerings were primarily American fare which Tom prefers the most and we all had an excellent meal. Once again, I had salad, this time seafood salad but that is always the easy go-to for me.


Today will be low-key. Soon, I am going to Smith’s Market to buy some groceries. Today, I am making pumpkin pies, both regular and low carb which we all missed over the Thanksgiving period. It will be wonderful to be able to have a slice of low carb pie topped with real whipped cream.


Most likely tonight we’ll dine out and then tomorrow, I’ll do some cooking for a few days. Richard only eats chicken so it will surely be a “chicken fest” while attempting to make a few favorite chicken recipes. I haven’t cooked a meal in almost a month.


May you have a spectacular weekend!

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Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2018:

Bushbuck baby, maybe dad and mom often stop at the bottom of the steps for their pellets.  For more, please click here.

Another difficult travel day in the US…

Five years ago we’d seen photos of this car, a 1959 Cadillac convertible (woody) hanging from the ceiling at Hard Rock Café in Lahaina.  On our return drive from Kaanapali Beach, we stopped to take a few photos of our own as shown. For more photos, please click here.


This may sound awful to say as proud American citizens but we’re are disappointed with the service at airports in the US. Questions go unanswered, the staff appears disinterested in traveler’s need and we discovered somewhat of a blase attitude of many airport employees.


Of course, there are many exceptions but during these past two flights; one from Fort Lauderdale to Minnesota and yesterday’s flight from Minnesota to Nevada left us wondering if the average worker is dissatisfied with their job.


No, I won’t get into all the potential reasons why we may have experienced these inconsistencies. None the less, we were grateful to arrive safely on somewhat of an uneventful flight, barring some turbulence as we approached Las Vegas where it was raining.


It is cool here but we don’t mind. It’s certainly not as cold as it was in Minnesota. Today’s high is expected to be 45F (7.2C), cool enough to require we dress warmly. The sun is shining today after a few days of rain.


It was wonderful to see son Richard after two years and four months. Once we arrived at his home, we dropped off our luggage, piled into his Escalade and headed right back out the door to go to Thanksgiving dinner. 


The restaurant he selected located across the road at Green Valley Ranch was perfect. Tom and Richard ordered the traditional Thanksgiving dinner while I had a Cobb salad. The turkey dinner had too many items I couldn’t eat and the salad was filling and satisfying. 


As I’d mentioned, Tom’s cough has exacerbated and last night after returning after dinner he went directly to bed. I am still coughing but am now convinced its a virus not a bacterial infection and there is nothing we can do to make it go away. Not antibiotics, not steroids…just time.


This gives me pause when considering upcoming cruises. What can we do to prevent catching the dreaded cruise cough? I can only surmise that avoiding the buffet, restrooms, and elevators when we can, may be the only way to ramp up our avoidance of catching these awful bugs.


We’d hoped that today we go to the DMV to renew our driver’s licenses. Richard suggested we wait until next Tuesday when it won’t be as busy. We’ve heard stories of people waiting all day to be called for their renewal. We have no interest in waiting in a queue for hours. 


Soon, I’ll take off to visit my sister Susan at her new home in Las Vegas, a beautiful assisted living facility, about 30 minutes from here. I can hardly wait to see her.


Tonight, we’ll all head out for dinner at a favorite spot of Richard‘s on the strip. Many new hotels and restaurants have been built in the past few years. We’ll enjoy having an opportunity to see the new properties and dine at one of the restaurants.


At the moment, I’m seated in his comfy living room with a great cup of Dunkin’ Donut Decaf Keurig coffee. At some point today or tomorrow, I’ll grocery shop to make a meal in the next few days. We’ve been eating out almost every day (except for a few fabulous dinners Karen made) since we arrived in the US on November 8th.


A home-cooked meal may be just what the doctor ordered. Settling in here in this low key environment is also on the list of healing properties, a little easier pace than we had in Minnesota.


We wish our friends in the US a fruitful “Black Friday.” the big sale after Thanksgiving each year. We prefer not to partake in the festivities! We hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a fabulous meal with quality time spent with family and friends.

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Photo from one year ago today, November 29, 2018:
Many species visited our garden in the early mornings;  kudus, bushbucks, warthogs, helmeted guineafowl and duikers.  What a great start to the day! For more photos, please click here.

What type of security have we experienced at hotels as we’ve traveled the world?…A little bird’s story…

This is the lounge on the veranda where the hummingbird landed after flying into the glass wall behind it.  See story below with more photos.

 “Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

The pretty little hummingbird was stunned after hitting the glass wall and landed on the round chaise lounge.

Yesterday, another rainy day, we stayed indoors watching the news with our thoughts constantly on the horrific shootings in Las Vegas.  Heartbreaking, frightening and beyond belief, the events and stories surrounding the attack continue to wrench one’s heart.

Having family living in Las Vegas including son Richard and sister Susan and family, and Tom’s nephew John and family coupled with the fact we’re residents of the state of Nevada, made us feel a special affinity as the details rolled out.


We were impressed with the manner in which first responders, medical professionals, and private citizens rallied to assist resulting in may heroic events.  No doubt, thousands of lives may have been saved by their selfless, efficient and fast responses.

Tom noticed the red coloring on her/his chin.

Throughout the day, we discussed security measures at hotels we’ve encountered in our world travels that may have been instrumental in preventing this particular type of attack as perpetrated by this heinous human being. 

We came to the conclusion that in only one hotel over these past five years of world travel, have we seen security that may have been instrumental in preventing this particular type of attack.  Although, the shooter may have been able to arrange a different location from which to exact this attack.

When we stayed in Denpasar Bali, close to the airport on three separate occasions at the Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport, we were surprised to note that no one was allowed entry into the hotel lobby without going through security, both the walk-through scanner and the scanner for all bags and belongings. 

Spreading her/his wings to see if flying was possible.

Here’s one of our links from the Bali hotel.  The security station is located to the right and not shown in these photos.  (Most security guards don’t allow photos taken of the  scanning equipment).

At first, we thought the scanners were a little off-putting, based on the inconvenience, comparable to security at an airport.  After discussing it, we realized it would make sense at all hotels and hadn’t given it another thought until the news broke on the events in Las Vegas a few days ago on October 1st.

Regardless, of any potential security measures, there are endless means of bringing harm to others even excluding the use of weaponry.  I won’t go on a rant about “gun control,” one way or another since we prefer to keep our political views from imposing upon this travel related site.

Soon, an attempt to fly may be possible.

Questions remain as to the “why” this attack occurred.  But, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, the answer may never be found.  We all wait, watching the news hoping an answer comes forward giving us some sense of relief that it wasn’t premeditated “murder” from what may have been enacted by a “sane” person.  But, would a sane person perform such an outrageous act?

Can it be justified by some form of mental illness or a brain tumor?  Or do we long to hear its as a result of an affiliation with a radical group either inside or outside the US?  As above, most likely we’ll never know. But if we do, will we discover a sense of relief to know the “why”?  Most likely, we won’t.  The deed is done.  The horror remains.

Shortly after this photo, she/he flew away so quickly Tom couldn’t get a photo.  But, he saw her/him fly to the nearby tree and then back to the feeder for another “sip” of our homemade nectar.  Whew!

Today, the news reverts back to some of the other horrible events in the world including the aftereffects of Hurricane Maria that ravaged Puerto Rico.  How will the ravage born by this natural disaster ever reconcile?  Lives lost, homes lost and an entire country reeling, wondering how they’ll ever put their lives back together.  Sad stories.

Also today, we share a number of photos Tom took yesterday afternoon of a precious little hummingbird that had flown into the glass wall after hovering not far from the bird feeder we keep well stocked with sugar water.  The poor little thing was stunned but miraculously survived and flew away a short time later.  Great photos, Honey!  They brought a smile to my face on an otherwise sad day.

May your day bring you wonders, however small, putting smiles back on your faces!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 3, 2016:

The front of the property is located at the end of the road, resulting in no passing traffic.  Last year this villa was priced at EU 249,000, US $279,017, IDR 3,616,896,723 CRC 159,388,461. For more details, please click here.

Sorrowful day in Las Vegas Nevada…Our home state of residency…

These appear similar to Begonias in the US which thrive in shady areas.
“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”
Colorful sky at sunset.

At 12:30 am I awoke with a start, wondering why I was awakening at this odd hour.  Most nights I don’t awake until after 4:00 am often staying awake for the remainder of the day.

I try to avoid taking a Tylenol PM, Melatonin or any other over-the-counter sleep aid when sleep often alludes me, a common scenario for many seniors as well as the younger population

Keeping my phone on the bed with the earpiece plugged in seems to help in putting me back to sleep while I listen to a variety of podcasts that aren’t necessarily stimulating and overly interesting.

Lime tree in the yard.

Yes, I know the many comments made by sleep experts that taking your phone or tablet to bed is a cause for one’s inability to get a good night’s sleep.  But, how many of you, as you read this, are guilty of the same behavior?

However, last night was unique.  I awoke four or five times during the night, finally giving up at the 4:00 am awakening to check the news on my phone.  I was shocked at what I found, knowing I’d never fall back to sleep realizing the horror that occurred at a concert last night at the Mandalay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada.

Eldest son Richard lives in Las Vegas and was on the strip last night for a pre-season hockey game for the new Vegas Golden Knight’s.  After the game, he ended up at New York-New York Hotel and Casino which was only a block away from the attack at Mandalay Bay.  He left one hour prior to the attack.  

Pretty flowers in the yard.

It was a relief to see his comments on Facebook this morning that he was safe.  Grateful he is fine, we couldn’t help but feel grief and sorrow for those who lost their lives and were injured and, of course, their family and friends.  The trauma of this experience will remain with the thousand attending the concert for the remainder of their lives.  Survivor’s guilt?  Why did I survive and not others?

There’s no doubt that many of those attending the country music concert were visitors from all over the world.  Las Vegas is one of the most popular places to visit in the world attracting over 42 million tourists a year.

Plants flourish in the humid and rainy climate.

Here’s an article from the Las Vegas Sun with tourism stats for 2016:

Published Tuesday, March 14, 2017 | 1:29 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, March 15, 2017, | 9:45 a.m.
A record number of tourists visited Southern Nevada last year and spent a record amount of money, according to a report that economic analyst Jeremy Aguero presented today to the board of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Some 42.9 million people visited Southern Nevada last year, spending $35.5 billion — 16.3 percent more than in 2015 when they left behind $30.5 billion, Aguero said. Per person, Las Vegas visitors spent an average of $827, up from $721 in 2015.
Convention attendees made up 14.7 percent of all visitors to Southern Nevada last year, up 7.1 percent from 2015.
The presentation highlighted the impact of tourism on the local economy. Among the report’s findings:
• One in four people in Southern Nevada is directly employed in the tourism industry.
• Tourism wages and salaries total $11 billion, or 26.2 percent of the $41.9 billion earned by Southern Nevadans.”

To continue this article, please click here.

As soon as I noticed Tom stirring I told him what had transpired and we both bolted out to bed to the TV room to turn on the one English speaking news channel.  Now, as I write this we’re transfixed over the details of this horrific event.  It will be hard to look away for days to come.

How does this happen?  Will we ever know what motived a 64-year-old to commit such a heinous act?  Why did he feel so removed from a moral and purposeful life to inflict such savagery on others, let alone people he didn’t know…strangers…innocents…?  Most likely we’ll never know.

Purple Petunia.

We continue to soothe our sadness with the stories of first responders and good Samaritans who immediately took action to assist those who fell prey to this attack.  There is good in this crazy world.  There is hope that the human spirit strives for goodness, kindness and the well-being of our future.

We can only watch the details with heavy hearts and continue to pray for those who lost their lives and for healing for the hundreds injured.  Peace?  At what cost?  Is it even possible?

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Photo from one year ago today, October 2, 2016:

Upon closer inspection, we’ve been thrilled to see the detailed beauty of a red dragonfly that visits each day.  For more photos, please click here.