Six days and counting…

When we had dinner in the bush in Kruger National Park in 2013, and Louise and Danie presented an exquisite Christmas event with fabulous food and decor, a praying mantis landed on an empty plate. Amazing!

This morning, I awoke with a smile on my face…in six days, we’ll be heading to Las Vegas to our 107-day booked condo in lovely Lake Las Vegas. After this most recent disappointment, my expectations are in check, but being close to stores, restaurants, family, and friends certainly contributes to a positive state of mind.

If the condo isn’t perfect, so be it. Knowing we can enjoy ourselves otherwise, we’ll make the best of this. A good bed, strong WiFi, and reasonably comfortable living room furniture, coupled with the property being in good condition, is all we need to make it work.

With excellent reviews for the condo, we feel at ease knowing many tourists found it complete with many amenities and plenty of kitchen supplies. Often, like here in Ecuador, the kitchen supplies are limited. But, when many travelers only spend three or four days in a holiday home, eating out for most meals, they have little use for kitchen gadgets.

For instance, we’ve been functioning with only one medium-sized glass bowl. Instead, we’ve used various sizes of pots as bowls, and it worked fine. There is no can opener, so the tuna and coconut cream we purchased had pull-top tabs for opening. I have my own three little paring knives, which have helped with all the daily chopping and dicing I do, and they come in handy.

We’ve used one sizeable sharp knife to cut meat and large vegetables. The only bowls for serving coleslaw and other vegetables are small-sized side dish bowls that are a part of the basic set of dishes. There is no roasting pan or cookie sheet. But, we’ve used the four various-sized pots with stainless steel handles that can go into the oven for roasting meat and chicken.

There is one medium-sized square Pyrex pan that we’ve used on occasion, but it is hard to wash, and we couldn’t find parchment paper at the market. Instead, we purchased two rolls of tin foil, the best quality they had. But it was impossible to get any of it off the roll since it was so flimsy. We’ve managed without tin foil.

Over the years, we’ve learned to live without many kitchen utensils and gadgets. In our old lives, we had every kitchen gadget you can imagine. It’s been quite an adjustment adapting to using what’s available. If there’s no large bowl at the condo, I may buy one as I did in Florida. That’s the one item I miss the most. I make a mess trying to stir ingredients in the small bowl and pots.

The bed here is comfortable, and so is the living room furniture. We’ve never dined at the dining room table since we prefer to eat at the granite center island, with two barstools.

Since our HDMI cord broke and the one here is rusted from the humidity and doesn’t work, we’ve each entertained ourselves at night by reading the news and watching videos on our laptops. The nights have passed quickly, and with only a handful of nights to go, it hasn’t been as boring as I anticipated.

Every so often, we stop what we’re doing to chat while sitting across from one another. I usually go upstairs to bed about an hour before Tom, where I’ll finish watching a show on my phone, respond to our reader’s email messages that I hadn’t gotten to during the day, or play games on my phone.

Both of us are now relaxed and will soon begin thinking about packing. As mentioned, we could be packed in an hour or two if necessary. There’s no rush.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 8, 2013:

Nothing like a little brotherly love. Zebras are very affectionate with one another. For more, please click here.

Yeah!…We’ve had power for the past 36 hours!…Ten days and counting…

Our dear friends, seated, Danie and Louise, and standing, Rita and Gerhard. We are looking forward to when we can all get together again.

It’s incredible how a good night’s sleep, feeling well, and electricity can make us so happy. Today is a new day, and we will make the best of our remaining ten days in Ecuador. No doubt, the power will be out again, hopefully not for 12 hours. We have enough food to get through these next nine days (we leave on the 10th day) by adding a few packs of meat from the little store. Raphael fills in the rest with fresh, organic vegetables, watermelon for Tom, and freshly picked strawberries for me.

Last night, I slept through the night, and Tom also had a refreshing sleep. Now, he’s watching football on his laptop with the NFL Game Pass, now called DZN, and is quite content. I have a busy day with laundry, meal prep, travel record keeping, and perhaps a little organizing upstairs to prepare for packing in one week.

Feeling well and energetic, I am putting all my negativism in the past and forging ahead. I am looking forward to moving into the upcoming main floor condo in Lake Las Vegas, where we feel confident we’ll be comfortable and at ease.

I have always enjoyed being in Nevada, our home state. With the opportunity to see family and a few friends who live there, we’ll enjoy dining out each week and having easy access to everything we could possibly need or want. Our expenses are always higher in the US than when traveling in other countries, but we’re prepared for that. We’ve done this before.

We’re not expecting $40 dinners with drinks and tips, as we experience in South Africa. Nor are we anticipating $150 weekly grocery bills, buying quality groceries as we have there as well. Easily, we’ll spend $250 or more weekly for a trip to Smith’s or Albertsons. There’s a Whole Foods store nearby, but the prices are outrageous, as we’ve found to be the case in other parts of the US.

Plus, dinners out will easily be $100 for two. Since I am not drinking wine right now, the bill will be a little less when a glass of wine can cost upwards of $15, and I am only drinking plain water. Tap water is safe to drink in Las Vegas and Henderson. In most countries we’ve visited, we’ve had to buy bottled water, except in South Africa, where it’s included in our rent.

Gosh, the more I write, the more reasons I see why we love Marloth Park so much. Not only are prices so much more reasonable, even with inflation, but humans and animals provide a constant source of entertainment. As our regular readers know, I can’t wait to return.

I heard from Rita and Gerhard as they were about to leave Marloth Park after a few months’ stay, living in the same house called the Ratel House (most houses in Africa have a name). Last night, they sent me a photo of their last dinner out with Louise and Danie on WhatsApp, as shown above in the main photo. We are always so happy to see friends enjoying time together who have all come into our lives due to our blog.

It reminds us of how important it is to have good friends throughout the world. Research has been done (not that I believe all research) that having a social life contributes to a longer life and better health. If that’s the case, we should live to be 100. Each day, we connect with our friends worldwide, either on social media or by phone on WhatsApp. Each time we have an opportunity to hear their voices, we are reeling with delight, even after the call.

Today, we are cooking bunless burgers topped with purple onion, fresh tomatoes, sliced cheddar cheese, sauteed mushrooms, homemade ketchup, homemade coleslaw, and sides of green beans and broccoli, a healthy meal for both of us. I use large cabbage leaves to wrap my burger so it can be hand-held. Delicious!

Have a wonderful Monday, and be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 4, 2013:

This morning as we sat on the veranda by the pool, this group of 9 warthogs, seven babies and two moms, walked up the driveway toward us, happy to visit and looking for pellets. For more photos, please click here.

My broken laptop…Here’s what we’ll do…

Warthog family. I miss them all.

My laptop is getting worse each day. I’m hoping it will last until we arrive in Nevada on December 15, departing on the 14th, and we can get to the Costco store in Henderson, Nevada, to purchase a new one. Based on the condition of the hinge that closes the lid, I think that once we try to close it, it won’t ever open again.

Before we leave here on December 14, I will load all my saved files on my desktop to a zip drive or our external hard drive. Thus, once I get a new Windows 11 laptop, I can simply load the files on the new device and be ready to go. It’s funny how, based on our travels and heavy use, something happens to my laptop every two years, and I have to replace it.

I can only imagine how bored our readers are, reading about yet another device going bad for one reason or another. This one broke when we had it on the floor in our cabin during the Galapagos cruise when the seas were so rough that we stayed at the dinner table as long as possible when the nausea was so unbearable that we both needed to lie down.

That was the only night Tom had a problem and puked into the trash can. That was the only time he suffered from seasickness, but I continued to suffer for nights to come. It was always worse at night since they didn’t move the boat during the day while he and the other passengers went on expeditions.

During the days when I stayed behind, there was much rocking and rolling while anchored. But I never felt sick while we weren’t out to sea. I stayed behind working on our daily posts and the endless flow of photos Tom had taken on the tours. That seems like such a long time ago, and yet it was only six weeks ago.

Nonetheless, when I tried to open my laptop after the first night of rough seas while we were on the move, I encountered this hinge problem. That morning, three or four of the staff members worked on it and managed to get it maneuvered back in place, allowing me to open and close it until it all fell apart about a week ago.

I’m holding it together long enough to order a new laptop from Costco using a $250 gift card, and we’ll pick it up at the Henderson location. Within 24 hours of our arrival in Nevada, I’ll have my new laptop, and a short time later, I’ll have it fully set up. While at Costco, we’ll buy enough groceries to get us through the first week or so. That’s a great plan, which I am actually looking forward to. Shopping at Costco is fun.

Since we’ll be in Nevada for 3½ months, we can easily stock up on oversized packages of toilet paper, paper towels, ziplock bags, food, and more. It will feel great to stock up on familiar items after our time in Educador, with limited products available for our way of eating.

Tom is having the low-carb mushroom burger scramble dish for dinner with rice, while I will have fish with cooked cabbage, broccoli, and green beans for both of us. Tom won’t eat cooked cabbage and broccoli. With Raphael coming by twice a week, we sure eat lots of veggies, which helps fill me up. Plus, Tom has been enjoying having watermelon with ham and cheese rollups at lunchtime.

That’s it for today, dear readers. Again, thank you for the ongoing email messages and comments on the post. You all mean the world to us.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 28, 2013:

Upon arrival in Mombasa, Kenya, we took this photo from the ferry as another ferry took off. Notice the crowds. Shortly, we’ll be on this ferry again in Alfred’s vehicle. For more photos, please click here.

Leaving Las Vegas…Our trip to Minnesota…All is going great!!..

Our last view of the pool at the Green Valley Ranch Spa Casino Resort.
With today’s busy schedule, I wrote the text for the post while flying from Las Vegas to Minneapolis. There were only 60 passengers on the Southwest non-stop flight, and we were asked to choose our seats when we boarded rather than in advance.

That was unusual for us, although we’ve had a similar scenario when we have flown on small planes. But this plane has a capacity for about 175 passengers, so it was weird that so few were flying to MSP. We chose seats across the aisle from one another.

There were no entertainment screens on the flight, so I could play non-WiFi games on my phone, which I did for the first 45 minutes and got bored. At that point, I decided to write the post based on how little time we have tomorrow with one family event after another.

Leaving the hotel was seamless, and since we had to check out by noon, we decided to head directly to the airport. It’s a good thing we did. Tom dropped me and the three bags off at the airport at curbside check-in and drove off to return the rental car. We picked a spot where I’d wait for him. I waited and waited, and no Tom.

After a while, I became concerned when he didn’t show up—an hour had passed. Las Vegas airport is undoubtedly chaotic, but he should have returned sooner. I wasn’t sure if he’d turned on his phone after putting it on Do Not Disturb last night, but I called him on WhatsApp hoping he’d answer, but he did not.

I didn’t panic. Sooner or later, he would arrive. I needed to be patient. Finally, he appeared, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to see him.

As it turned out, he’d accidentally left the computer bag in the rental car when he dropped it off. It had our passports, laptops, and essential documents. Also, it included his wallet with cash and credit cards. Oh, good grief. This could have been a major fiasco. Fortunately, the bus driver drove him back to the rental car return and the bag was still in the vehicle. Whew. He dodged a bullet.

He had to find his way back and forth on multiple bus rides to get the bag and make his way to the terminal to find me. I can only imagine how stressful that was for him. He surprised me by how calm he was when he finally arrived.

In no time, we made our way to the gate, where we waited for over 90 minutes to board our flight. Good thing we arrived so early.

As I wrote, when we were surprisingly comfortably situated on the plane, we appeared to be arriving in Minneapolis in no time at all. The flight was less than three hours long.

We got the rental car and headed to our hotel in Eden Prairie, where we will stay for the next month until we depart for South America.  All is good.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 10, 2013:
There was no post on this date ten years ago.

We’re off again!…Minnesota, here we come!…Photo of dear friends!…

This photo of our booked house in Ecuador is the only one we’re posting today. With limited time today, since we’re leaving soon, we didn’t have adequate time for the entire story with photos. Please check back in the next few days for more photos, pricing, and details.

Note: The main photo shown on our main webpage of all posts is different from what is shown above here. Based on a lack of time, I wasn’t able to get the above photo to post due to its unusual format, which won’t upload on our website. The owner will be sending me the photos in a format I can use.

The nine nights in Henderson, Nevada, flew by in a blur of good times, good food, and, above all, good people. It was our most fun visit to Nevada that we can recall. Now, we’re off to Minnesota for more of the same. No doubt, it will be wonderful to see more family members, and this time, with this extended stay, getting together with more friends than ever.

Last night, we had an excellent evening with my son and his girlfriend. After a good quick dinner at Red Rock Casino in Summerlin at the Yard House restaurant, we walked through the casino to the movie theatre and watched Denzel Washington in the latest movie, Equalizer 3. It was entertaining, albeit a bit gory, but we’ve watched plenty of gory films over the years.

The half-hour drive to Summerlin flew by in a flash as we all engaged in lively conversation. By 9:30 pm, we were back at our hotel and ready for a good night’s sleep, which we both easily achieved without awakening during the night. We languished until 8:00 am and finally bolted out of bed to begin the busy travel day.

At the moment, at 11:00 am, our bags are packed, weighed, and waiting by the door for the bellman to pick them up close to noon when we have to check out. We couldn’t get a late checkout due to how busy the resort is. So, at noon, we’ll head to the airport and wait for our 3:45 pm flight rather than stay in the lobby here.

This way, we won’t be rushed at all, and once we’ve checked our bags and found our boarding gate. We’ll most likely have at least a two-hour wait until we board the Southwest flight to Minneapolis. We are used to long waits at airports, so this is nothing new to us.

We’ll easily entertain ourselves by playing with our phones and people-watching. I hope to upload today’s post before we leave for the airport. This way, we won’t have to take out laptops again after going through security.

Lovely photos of our friends Marilyn and Gary, who visited us here in Henderson on Thursday. It was great to see them both! We will see them again in Marloth Park in July.

I intended to post photos of our newly arranged holiday rental in Ecuador, but it takes a while to upload photos from VRBO, and we didn’t have much time today. Also, uploading many photos using the airport WiFi is not easy, so we’ll post them in a few days at the latest.

As for tomorrow, we have arranged plans with the family beginning at 10:00 am and ending well into the evening, leaving little time for much of a post tomorrow. Most likely, we’ll post that we’ve arrived and do the best we can with the limited time in the morning before we head out from the hotel. By Monday, we’ll have more time to post the photos and information about the house in Ecuador that we’re excited to share.

It’s a massive relief that we could find a house at this short notice, with only about six weeks until we finish the Galapagos cruise and hotel stays associated with the cruise. Not only did we find a lovely modern property on the beach with a pool, but we could book it at a great price. This above photo reminds us of the villa in Bali in 2016. Quite lovely.

That’s it for today, folks. We’ll be back with more tomorrow. Have a fantastic weekend.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 9, 2013:

This fantastic array of seafood was all grilled and seasoned to perfection at dinner in Diani Beach, Kenya. It contained lobster, prawns, octopus, squid, snapper, and a few chewy, wormy-looking items I didn’t recognize but ate anyway. Need I say that I cleaned this plate as well? For more photos, please click here.

Day 9…Henderson, Nevada.. Posting photos from “White Night” on Azamara Journey…One day and counting…

We won’t post more photos from our Norway cruise going forward other than today’s posting from the fabulous “White Night” aboard Azamara Journey, as shown on this post, not in a separate post. I appreciate your patience while we shared photos from our first cruise when the WiFi signal was too weak to post photos. We excluded a few ports of call for expediency.

The decor by the pool was decorative and festive for the occasion of “White Night.”

Day 11…Norway Cruise…Last night’s fantastic “White Night”…Today…Alta, Norway…

We were looking forward to posting the photos from the Azamara “White Night” but had decided to post them after we’d posted them from the ports of call on the Norway cruise. Now that it is completed, I can relax and return to preparing one post each day.

This was my delicious plate! It was amazing that there were many items I could eat.

We hope you enjoy the photos from that night, which we consider our favorite event on the two cruises. It wasn’t so much about the socialization, which was great, but more about the festive atmosphere on a night that put the Azamara staff to work on many aspects of the event.

There was plenty of seating for the ship’s 578 passengers.

Officers were serving food, and it appeared most of the staff was in attendance, ensuring it was a memorable night for each one of its passengers. It was flawless, with every aspect prepared and executed to the most finite detail. We couldn’t have asked for more.

The food was not only delicious but also presented beautifully.

We’ve had a busy morning. We slept until around 8:00, and by 9:00 am, we were comfortably seated in a booth in the restaurant for our usual delicious breakfast. There’s only one more breakfast, and we’ve both loved our delightful meal. Over the years, it has been a real highlight for us when we’ve stayed at the Green Valley Ranch Spa Resort and Casino in Henderson, Nevada.

There were more options than I had room for.

Once we finished breakfast, we headed back to our room to put together a pile of clothing to donate to the Goodwill store close to the DMV, where we went on Tuesday to renew our driver’s licenses. The licenses will be sent to our mailing service in a few weeks, and we’ll have them forwarded to us at the hotel in Minnesota where we’ll be staying for the next month.

We didn’t eat any of these items.

Next, we headed to Richard’s office to scan a pile of documents left from the mailing service pickup a few days ago, none of which we needed to keep hard copies. We don’t carry “papers” with us, adding to the weight of our bags. After we left Richard’s office, we drove to the Goodwill store, a 15-minute drive. Then, we filled the rental car with petrol and returned to the hotel.

Neither of us selected cheese with so many other exciting options.

Once back in our room, I completed communication with the owners of a house we’re renting in Ecuador, beginning on October 24, after the Galapagos cruise. Negotiating a reasonable price, details we’ll share with photos tomorrow. We’re excited about this new place where we’ll live until January 8, 2024.

Mouth-watering offerings.

From there, we have nothing booked at this time. However, in Ecuador, we’ll decide on future plans in South America or wherever we may travel. It’s all up for grabs. Since the pandemic, we feel comfortable not booking too far into the future, based on the hassles we experienced when we had to cancel many trips, flights, cruises, rental cars, and holiday homes.

The white theme was visually appealing to everyone.

I picked up a copy of our hotel bill so far and found an error this morning. They hadn’t credited us the 50% off we got on the resort fee when we first checked in. A few minutes ago, I received a call from the VIP reception staff, and she’s since made the corrections that will show up on our bill when we check out tomorrow at noon.

As we looked around, we realized how many wonderful people we’d met, all of whom were having a great time. Six sat at our table for more lively conversation.

Late this afternoon at 4:30, my son and his girlfriend will pick us up at the entrance to the resort to head to Summerlin for dinner and a movie. It’s been fun hanging out with them several times since our arrival. This has been a fantastic stay in Nevada, with quality time with family and friends. I am getting a few things done and enjoying this lovely resort.

There were many items I didn’t try when I didn’t want to bother the staff enquiring about ingredients.

Tomorrow, we fly to Minnesota and will attempt to get a new post uploaded before we fly away at 3:45 pm. Thanks for “traveling along with us” on these past journeys. We look forward to more in the future.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 8, 2013:

Our new vegetable stand in Diani Beach, Kenya, is a short walk from our holiday home. Notice the motorcycle. The produce is delivered by motorcycle each day! For more photos, please click here.

Day 8…Henderson, Nevada.. Posting photos from Trondheim, Norway continues today…Two days and counting…

Not our photo, but what a great shot of the Northern Lights in Norway in the winter when they can be seen.

Yesterday afternoon, we watched another movie at the movie theatre in the resort, one Tom didn’t like, Meg 2, The Trench. I’m less picky about these types of movies, and although it wasn’t worthy of many stars, I was moderately entertained. I looked at him several times and hoped he was napping since I knew he was struggling. Finally, it ended, and we were returning to our room to make plans for the evening.

On our walk through the casino, we stopped and made a reservation at Borracha, the Mexican restaurant in the hotel. With our VIP coupon of 20% off all meals (not drinks) at any restaurants in the resort, we thought this would be a good choice. Once we returned to our room, we got a message from my son and his girlfriend that they had made a reservation at Borracha for 6:30 for the four of us. What a coincidence!

I texted the hostess to let her know we’d be canceling our 6:00 pm reservation since we were already included in a 6:30 reservation. Before dinner, while still in our room, I worked on setting up my new Fitbit, which we’d picked up from the mailing service. I charged it and installed a new band I’d purchased with it, a decorative stainless steel band instead of its usual ugly black band.

Since I’d dropped my old Fitbit, breaking the face, I was anxious to get it replaced. With my heart condition, I need to track my heart rate and perform occasional ECGs, provided accurately using the watch with an FDA approval feature. Since we arrived in Nevada a week ago, I haven’t had a single bout of Afib, which makes me hopeful after many episodes in the past month on the two cruises.

Focusing on getting plenty of sleep, which I think was a trigger when staying up too late too many nights, I may have discovered an additional important factor in preventing this awful irregular, fast heartbeat, often lasting for hours. I’ll continue to focus on sleep and lots of walking, which seem to help so much.

In this hotel, it’s a long walk from our room to the restaurants, and we leave the room several times daily. No, my legs can’t walk 10,000 steps a day, but for now, I am managing to get 5,000-6,000 steps per day, quite an improvement from when we were in Florida. Gosh, that seems like a long time ago.

Anyway,  by 6:30 pm, the four of us were situated at the comfy booth in the restaurant and had another fantastic time together. The food was mediocre, and Tom was disappointed he couldn’t get a blended Margarita in a Mexican restaurant. He doesn’t care for the non-blended versions. I had trouble finding something to eat and ended up ordering the equivalent of a taco salad, without the shell, topped with a small sliced flank steak. It was good but not great.

In two days, on Saturday, we’ll fly to Minnesota in the afternoon, arriving at 8:45 pm. It certainly has been fun being here. Couple that with feeling better and visits from our friends; our time here in Nevada has been delightful.

Speaking of visits from friends…around 11:00 am, our friends Marilyn and Gary from Utah will arrive to have lunch with us. We didn’t go to breakfast this morning since we’ll be having lunch before too long. We’ll probably have a late dinner tonight since, after eating lunch, we won’t be hungry for quite a while.

The only task we have left to accomplish while here is to go to Richard’s office tomorrow to shred a stack of papers from the mail we picked up yesterday at the mailing service, most with some confidential information. We don’t have a lot of tasks to do in Minnesota other than to go to a Minute Clinic to get a prescription for an altitude sickness medication, acetazolamide, for our arrival in Quito, Ecuador, in a little over a month. It’s 2859 meters (9350 feet) above sea level.

The last time I was at that high an altitude was skiing in Colorado in the 1980s. Tom hasn’t ever been that high. This drug is supposed to prevent the symptoms of altitude sickness. At this point, we don’t want to take any chances with our health.

That’s it for today, folks. We’ll be back with more tomorrow, including a photo from today’s get-together with Marilyn and Gary.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 7, 2013:

Today, we met Nancy, one of the daytime support staff, at our guarded gate in Diani Beach, Kenya. She was so sweet, holding my hand the entire time we chatted. We love being able to talk to the locals. For more photos, please click here.

In reviewing the photos we hadn’t been able to post, it appears it will be very time-consuming and complicated to return to each post and add the photos we couldn’t post. As a result, we are posting some of the photos under the heading of each town over days, which can be found after each new day, listed as Part 1, Part 2 Norway, for example.

The new post with the photos is located below:

Part 6…Unpublished photos from the Azamara cruise to Trondheim, Norway…

Day 7…Henderson, Nevada.. Posting photos from Tromso, Norway continues today…Enjoying times in Nevada…

Trolls are famous in Norway. What Are Trolls from Norse Mythology? Norwegian trolls are believed to be mythical creatures that live in isolated rocks or caves. They are believed to live alone or in small families and are hostile towards humans. As per the troll legends, they are believed to be evil and dangerous beings that prefer the wilderness.

We’ve run out of photos of Las Vegas and may not have time to take more local pictures while we’re here. As a result, we will only post one main photo on the regular daily post from one of the two recent cruises. Once we get to Minnesota, we will try to take photos, but it’s not always possible when busy with family events. Not all family members want their photos posted online. We always respect that.

Yesterday, when Tom’s old railroad friend Mark responded that his wife could not join us for drinks or dinner, I suggested Tom go on his own for some “guy time.” It’s a rarity that he has time to commiserate with friends without me there. Instead, I stayed in the hotel room and chatted on the phone with my friend Kathy (Kathy and Don), who lives in Hawaii. It was great that the time difference worked out when, so often when we chat, we’re dealing with substantial time differences.

Tom returned shortly after 8:00 pm when we headed to the restaurant for a nice dinner. Later, back in our room, we streamed a show and got to sleep by 11:00 pm. Twelve hours later, we were back in the restaurant, having breakfast, and now, close to 11:00 am, I’m making an effort to put a dent in today’s post so soon we can drive to our mailing service to pick up our mail.

Once we get the mail, we’ll be busy for an hour going through everything. We don’t have any big plans for today but have begun to book times to get together with our kids and grandkids in Minnesota. We’re starting with a busy Sunday, hoping to see all three of our kids in one day.

From there, we will have over a month to spend plenty of time with everyone, including time with Tom’s siblings and other family members and several friends we hope to see. It will be a fun and busy time until we finally leave for South America in October. It will be tricky managing the use of the rental car when we each have separate families to visit, and sometimes we each have to go our own way. But, as always, we’ll figure it out.

At least this time, we won’t be sick and can see everyone. When we had COVID-19, we spent weeks in Minnesota and never were able to spend time with the family for fear of infecting them, even after we tested negative. We were still coughing and wondered if we could infect anyone regardless of testing negative. There were mixed reviews on this topic.

It’s hard to believe we leave Nevada in three days, but we’ve got a lot done while we are here and spent quality time with family and friends who’ve come to visit. The surprise of Rita and Gerhard flying in from the state of Washington for six hours was quite a treat.

Tomorrow, friends Marilyn and Gary arrive at our hotel at 11:00 am, and we’ll have lunch together. We’re looking forward to seeing the two of them and are grateful they are driving the long way to see us. We are lucky to have such fine friends in many places.

Otherwise, we have a quiet day today with not much going on. We just returned from the mailing service and picked up all our packages and a small stack of mail, nothing too important. I’m anxious to set up my new Fitbit, but I will do that after everything else is gone through and when I finish today’s two posts.

This afternoon, we’re heading to another movie at the Regal Theatre here in the resort. It’s such fun for us to go to a movie after not doing so for a long time while living outside the US.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 6, 2013:

The goats in the rear yard of this property in Diana Beach, Kenya, posed for us when Hans‘ two small dogs, Gucci and Jessie, chased them into their goat house. For more photos, please click here.

In reviewing the photos we hadn’t been able to post, it appears it will be very time-consuming and complicated to return to each post and add the photos we couldn’t post. As a result, we are posting some of the photos under the heading of each town over days, which can be found after each new day, listed as Part 1, Part 2 Norway, for example.

The new post with the photos is located below:

Part 5…Unpublished photos from the Azamara cruise to Tromso, Norway…

Day 6…Henderson, Nevada…Posting photos from Svolvaer Norway continues today…Fantastic dinner with family…

The Venetian Las Vegas.

Yesterday afternoon, we stopped at a liquor store for wine and beer on the way to Richard’s home for dinner. I found a low-carb, low-alcohol wine for me and a bottle of William Hill Merlot for them, along with some beer. We arrived promptly at 4:00 pm and had a lovely evening, chatting, laughing, and later enjoying a delicious chicken dinner with mashed cauliflower, salad, and au gratin potatoes for Tom.

We’d brought three loads of laundry and got all of them done and folded in no time. It was a relief to have clean clothes once again. We’ll wait until we arrive in Minnesota on the 9th to do laundry again when they have self-service at the hotel. Easy peasy.

More and more structures line the strip each year.

After dinner, we watched a movie, but I slept through half of it, nuzzled up with a comfy blanket on the recliner sofa chair. I couldn’t have been more relaxed and couldn’t help drifting off for a while. I always get teased when I do this, but a movie must be engaging to stay awake after a big meal and glass of wine.

Back at our hotel by 10:00 pm, we put the laundry away and headed to bed, knowing today was the day we had to renew our driver’s licenses at the DMV in Henderson. We have an 11:00 am appointment for both of us. It’s a chaotic place and necessary to have appointments; otherwise, one could wait in a queue for a few hours.

Casino Royale Resort.

We just returned from the Henderson DMV after our 11:00 am appointments. The DMV is a bustling place, and we were relieved we’d made appointments instead of waiting for hours as we had last time we renewed the licenses in 2019. It appears that we can apply online next time rather than have to appear in person.

In all, the process went smoothly. We filled out the forms and waited for our assigned numbers to be called. We both were processed in less than ten minutes of one another and after our eye tests and photos were taken, we were on our way out the door. It was a relatively painless process.

The Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas.

Tomorrow, we’ll head to our mailing service and pick up whatever mail we have there, including a new Fitbit I purchased a few days ago when the face cracked after dropping it on the asphalt when we were exploring at a port of call during the first cruise in Norway. It was almost three years old, and I’ve found they don’t seem to last any longer than that anyway. I purchased a newer version of the Sense model, a Sense 2. I am anxious to see the new features, if any.

Now, back in our hotel room, I aim to finish today’s post and post photos from the next city on our itinerary in Norway on the Azamara cruise. I hope many of our readers have had a chance to review the added posts for the next town on the Norway itinerary.

The Wynn Las Vegas has 2,716 hotel rooms.

We realize many photos were exciting, but these small fishing villages didn’t necessarily present the best photo ops. If we’d gone out on excursions, surely we would have seen a lot more, but at a typical cost of about $400 per day for such outings and with so many ports of calls on that cruise, we could easily have spent another $5000 which wasn’t in our budget.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the cruises to Norway and the second cruise to Greenland, which gave us an entirely new perspective of what life may be like in these oceanfront villages in these remote locations. We didn’t find that the winter weather would be any worse than what we experienced living in Minnesota for Tom, all of his life, and for me, over 40 years.

Every corner is an opportunity to advertise and promote the many venues in Las Vegas.

After considerable research, it appears the winter weather in both Norway and Greenland was warmer and with less snow than in Minnesota. It’s no wonder we chose to move away.

That’s it for today, folks! We’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 5, 2013:

The gate from our veranda in Kenya, our only living room, looks out to the yard. There were no screens, so we were constantly dealing with insects. For more, please click here.

In reviewing the photos we hadn’t been able to post, it appears it will be very time-consuming and complicated to return to each post and add the photos we couldn’t post. As a result, we are posting some of the photos under the heading of each town over days, which can be found after each new day, listed as Part 1, Part 2 Norway, for example.

The new post with the photos is located below:

Day 5…Henderson, Nevada…Posting photos from Norway continues today…Fantastic day and evening with Rita & Gerhard…More friends coming to visit!!!…

Last evening, while at the Green Valley Ranch Spa Resort and Casino with our dear friends Rita and Gerhard, who flew from Washington to join us for dinner, returning a few hours later. What a joy it was! Such good friends!

It was a pleasure to see Rita and Gerhard waiting for us curbside at the Las Vegas McCarran Airport yesterday afternoon at about 2:00 pm. The six hours we spent with them sailed by so quickly it felt like a blink of an eye. We caught up on everything in our lives over the past year since we’d seen them and dreamed of plans together for the future.

Performers with painted-on breasts walked down the boulevard advertising a show.

Hopefully, we can figure out the timing to meet them somewhere in the world over the next year. With somewhat flexible plans after the first of the year, we should be able to plan something that works for all of us. Also, we look forward to spending more time together in Marloth Park in the next year or two.

But life is in flux, this life we live, and one never knows what may transpire in months/years to come. They are about ten years younger than us and in good health, much better than me. With many recent bouts with Afib, I’ve begun to wonder what the future holds. Getting good sleep seems to be a factor, and I am doing well with that right now and haven’t had a bout since we arrived in Nevada on August 31.

Check out how busy the strip was yesterday, on the Labor Day holiday weekend.

We walk a lot in this massive resort, getting as many as 6000-7000 steps daily. As mentioned, walking isn’t easy for me, but shorter distances seem easier than long ones. We’ll see how it goes.

As for yesterday, when we picked up Rita and Gerhard, our hearts soared with delight over seeing their faces and embracing them both in big hugs. They’d wanted to see the Las Vegas Strip, and Tom drove slowly, following in the traffic on the busy strip, enabling us to take many photos, which we’ve included here today.

The Encore, luxury hotel rooms, and casino.

It was a beautiful sunny day with a high of in the low 90s, a far cry from the typical 110s or higher this time of year. Of course, we didn’t spend much time outdoors. Once we returned to the hotel, we gave them a tour of the hotel and showed them our room, where we sat and chatted for a bit.

With many unforgettable memories to share along with our travels and activities over the past year, the conversation flowed as easily as it always had. It was almost as if we’d never been apart. Our mutual memories of times we spent in Marloth Park were a point in the conversations we kept repeating. Perhaps we’re all meant to be back there together at some point soon.

Palazzo at The Venetian…

They will spend about six weeks in Marloth Park at the end of October. They will share their stories and photos of our favorite animals at our favorite house, the Ratel house, where we’ve each stayed at different points in our travels but never at the same time.

While we were with Rita and Gerhard at the restaurant, I heard a beep from WhatsApp on my phone. I took a peek at the message, knowing only a select few special people ever contacted me through WhatsApp. It was a message from friends Gary and Marilyn, another wonderful couple we met from our site who came to Marloth Park and with whom we became great friends, asking if they could visit us while we’re in Nevada. They live in Utah, the next state over to the east.

Colorful signs along the strip.

Rita and Gerhard also came to know Gary and Marilyn while we all were in Marloth Park. They shared in our enthusiasm over the prospect of them coming to visit us in the next few days. We wrapped up our plans with Gary and Marilyn, and they will drive here (over two hours) to see us this upcoming Thursday for lunch! Another fantastic get-together with friends.

We feel so blessed to have made friends from all over the world with whom we stay in close touch. No words can express our appreciation for Rita and Gerhard spending a day traveling to see us. Who flies from the state of Washington to Nevada for dinner, returning the same night? We love this! But only they would be so adventurous! They often bestowed big surprises on us, and this one fits right in!

Our favorite TV chef, Gordon Ramsay.

Now, we look forward to the arrival of Gary and Marilyn in three days, where, once again, we’ll be reminded of how fortunate we are to have such amazing friends. And then, of course, there’s family, and in a few hours, we’ll be heading to my son’s home for dinner, which they are making for us. It will be another memorable day filled with lively conversation and shared experiences. Plus, we’ll do our laundry at his house!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 4, 2013:

A different view of the veranda than yesterday’s posting. With a huge room upstairs without furniture and no living room on the main floor, we’ll have no choice but to spend most of our idle time outside both day and evening. Finally, wearing my African pants last night was appropriate, just spraying my arms and feet. Gee…those pants work well! I wish I’d known about BugsAway clothing while living in Minnesota. The bugs are nasty. For more photos, please click here.

In reviewing the photos we hadn’t been able to post, it appears it will be very time-consuming and complicated to return to each post and add the photos we couldn’t post. As a result, we are posting some of the photos under the heading of each town over days, which can be found after each new day, listed as Part 1, Part 2 Norway, for example.

The new post with the photos is located below: