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.

Wait until you hear this one!…More whinging, whining, complaining…11 days and counting…

This was Mont Blanc, a precious baby alpaca born before our eyes in New Plymouth, NZ, in 2016 while we lived on an alpaca farm. It is one of our favorite memories. Sadly, a few months later, he died due to his blue eyes, which indicated a genetic abnormality. We were so sad to see this unravel before us. For more, please click here.

I am sorry we’ve whinged so much since we arrived at Mirador San Jose on October 24. It’s been one thing after another. In our attempt to “tell it like it is,” our dear readers have had no choice but to listen to me complain day after day. The alternative would have been to smile and pretend nothing is wrong, painting an unrealistic representation of our challenges as we’ve traveled the world. We never intended to have it all be “fluff.”

Maybe Ecuador itself is fine for many expats and residents. No doubt it is when many live here, enjoying nature, the sea, and, like us, the Galapagos Islands expedition, which we’d highly recommend, especially if you aren’t prone to seasickness and the altitude in Quito, which is the launching point for most Galapagos tours.

As we quickly approach the time we’ll be leaving Ecuador in 11 days, we are reminded of the challenges we’ve faced here, including power outages for extended periods. In Marloth Park, South Africa, load shedding was and continues to be a daily occurrence. But we knew when they were coming, and 95% of the time, they only lasted two hours.

Yesterday was the end of my rope, as they say…the last straw…the straw that broke the camel’s back. I threw my arms up in frustrated resignation and complained most of the day. We had no power for over 12 hours, two hours in the morning and ten more hours, well into the night, when we laid in bed in the dark, digital equipment dead, with no aircon in the humid heat.

The power was restored at 11:00 pm when, as a light sleeper, I was convinced I’d never sleep a wink if it didn’t come back on. There are no screens on the windows, and opening them wide made no sense for some more sticky, humid air. We lay there, talking in the dark, as we’d done downstairs, before heading upstairs.

Our only candles were tea lights, which hardly lit the room, and we sat in the living room, squeezing out the last bit of power on our phones to play a few mindless games to keep our minds occupied. Even my portable charger was out of juice, and of course, my laptop was dead, and we couldn’t stream anything anyway without WiiFi, which is also out each time the power is out.

Plus, we couldn’t stream anything to the TV monitor, which wouldn’t go on without power even if we used the external hard drive Rita and Gerhard gave me for my birthday a few years ago, loaded with 1000 movies. There was no way to watch them.

Technology is excellent, but power is more significant. Even making dinner without power was a pain, although, thank goodness, the stove is gas, or we wouldn’t have been able to eat. We ate by candlelight, usually romantic, but not in this case. Tom did the dishes in the dark.

Ugh! After fussing all day, I was wound up and had trouble falling asleep even after the power was restored. I didn’t nod off until after 1:00 am, feeling exhausted and unrested this morning. Later, I will take a short nap on the sofa to help recover.

We’ll see what today brings, hopefully, not more of the same. I am uploading today’s post earlier than usual, in the event the same power outage occurs.

Have a lovely Sunday, and be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 3, 2013:

These are African skimmers, and we were excited to get this shot of mom or dad feeding a baby. Look at those yellow eyes! For more photos, please click here.

Last night’s stunning sunset…12 days and counting…

Sunsets don’t need an explanation.

The power just came back on after two hours. The sun is shining today, and it’s a little less humid.  The high will be 79F, 26C, a perfect weather day. But, at this point, we have no desire to use the pool. We tested the water, which was very cold and too cold for us. I have stopped using ice in my room-temperature water and have given up drinking anything but water throughout the day.

The Afib improved when I stopped guzzling ice-cold drinks all day. I’m not taking any chances plunging into an ice-cold pool. Apparently, the vagus nerve is instrumental in setting off bouts of Afib, and for some, including me, it’s considered a “trigger.”  Long ago, a doctor of Chinese Medicine who worked for me said drinking ice-cold beverages is bad for overall health. I never understood that until now.

For the past few days, I’ve been feeling really well. Taking one pill a day, as opposed to two, which is time-released, works for me. Besides occasionally getting sleepy, the side effects are diminishing each day. I can do this! Using the FDA-approved ECG on my Fitbit, my results have been perfect over the past few days. I simply perform the test on my Fitbit, refresh my program, and the results roll over to a free app I use from Stanford University’s Cardiology Department. From there, the result is analyzed by the app.

The app is called Qaly and can be downloaded to most devices. A more comprehensive use of the app includes a monthly fee of $30, whereby technicians at Stanford further read the results, providing a report. I tried the one-week free trial and then canceled it, since my results have been so good, I don’t require further analysis. If you are interested in more details on this, please write to the staff in the “contact details,” and they will provide more comprehensive details. This is useful for those with Afib.

The prevalence of Afib in the US is estimated to range from 2.7 to 6.1 million. I am not unique in having this issue. Many people never have surgery to correct it and can manage it with antiarrhythmic drugs and blood thinners, both of which I am taking. Untreated Afib can cause strokes if meds aren’t used.

Nonetheless, I look forward to our time in Nevada, leaving in only 12 days. I won’t be thinking about packing until a few days before we leave since we hardly unpacked our bags and with only a few trips back and forth to the two extra bedrooms where our suitcases are lying open, ready to receive the few items in the closets and cupboard. If we had to, we could pack in only a few hours, but as typical, we won’t be waiting until the last minute.

Also, I can’t wait to get a new laptop and finish with this fiasco I am having to use right now. We decided to go to Costco and buy the laptop rather than pay for shipping. We get in after midnight on December 15, when we’ll get some sleep, and then head to Costco in the morning for the laptop, food, and supplies, perhaps stopping for breakfast since we won’t have any food at the condo.

All we’ll bring with us for the morning is regular and decaf coffee and some powdered creamer in Ziplock bags (which we don’t usually use since real cream is better and healthier). We’ll be fine if we can have our coffee in the morning.

I am making roasted chicken breast for me and pork chops for Tom tonight. We are counting down the days that are left to figure out how long our food supply will last. Fortunately, the little store finally restocked their meat, fish, and chicken supply due to increased visitors to this area, and with that and Raphael, we’ll make it through easily.

We’ll give anything we have left to our lovely cleaner, Maria. She’s been so kind and helpful. She cleans for three hours each week for $20 and the tip we give her.

Enjoy your Saturday, wherever you may be, and know we are always thinking of all of you.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 2, 2013:

Today, ten years ago, we awoke in Marloth Park for the first time. We didn’t realize, until we arrived in Marloth Park, that baby zebras have fluffy hair and short bodies until seeing one up close and personal. Too cute! For more photos, please click here.

The challenges continue but we stay strong….

This is one of our favorite photos while in India. We were touring and having dinner outdoors at the Khaas  Bagh during our train tour on the Maharajas Express over a month before we had to go into lockdown for ten months in a hotel room in Mumbai due to Covid-19. For more details, please click here.

Yesterday, as I began to write today’s post, we’d been without power for over 4 hours. We headed to the little store for a jug of water as we do every few days, hoping the owner, Gilles, had some idea when the power would be restored.

Gilles didn’t have a clue or the other people in the store. This is getting ridiculous. I am beyond frustrated today about how anxious I am to leave.

I was concerned that if the power wasn’t restored before too long, we would lose the balance of our food in the refrigerator. There’s no way I’d be interested in driving back to Manta for more groceries. We’d eat eggs for dinner every night until we leave, which is 13 days as of today. Raphael sells eggs and produce, which we can always get from him if we have to toss our food.

Everything for last night’s dinner was prepped and in the fridge, waiting to be cooked. We were having roasted bone-in chicken breasts, which we had to put in the gas oven before they spoiled. Lighting the oven without power would be difficult since we didn’t have a long lighter.

We have kept the refrigerator extra cold for such an event. Normally, within two hours the power has been restored. I will update this post to reflect what transpired.

I hadn’t uploaded yesterday’s post before the power went out. So, as I wrote this post for today, I was hoping it would come back on so I could upload it. Otherwise, I will receive countless email messages inquiring if we are okay. Thank you for thinking of us. We will try to reply to those messages if that’s the case.

I was looking forward to today, December 1, knowing it would be our departure month. Ah, Henderson, Nevada, sounds awfully good to me right now. Our simple life in a condo in Lake Las Vegas holds a lot of appeal right now.

It’s quite cool there now, especially in the mornings, but it warms up nicely during most days in the winter months. Being in a less humid climate in only 13 days will be great. The humidity is so high here in Ecuador by the sea that we must wear non-slip rubber-soled shoes to avoid slipping on the shiny tiled floors which always feel wet in bare feet.

Thank goodness there haven’t been loads of insects here since we keep the doors open all day and close them at night when we sit in the living room, stream our shows, and turn on the nearby aircon, which dries everything up quite well.

Tom is upstairs taking his 2:00 pm, 20-minute nap (if lucky). Since I have been taking the drugs for the past several weeks. I’ve been sleepy during the day and nod off sometimes, too. It’s quite refreshing.

That’s all I have to say today, dear readers. I will update this post tomorrow before uploading it if…we have power.

Note: As it turned out, the power was restored five hours after it went out. The food was fine; moments later, we were again our usual selves anxious to get on with our day.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 1, 2013:

Some of our views were obstructed when we were seated over the wing on our flight from Kenya to South Africa. But the Heavens offered up this cloudy view. For more, please click here.

Fifteen days and counting…

We miss seeing bushbabies and hope to see them in the future. This one just finished a cup of yogurt we put out for the adorable creature.

We can’t believe how quickly time is passing. The days start early for us and typically end by 11:00 pm, sometimes at midnight for Tom. If I stay up too late, I have trouble falling asleep. I must try to fall asleep by 11:00, like last night when I didn’t nod off until close to 1:00 am for the second night in a row.

My nights are filled with dreams of my younger years, often occurring in hotels and resorts. Duh! No wonder. The antiarrhythmic meds I am on cause lots of brain activity at night.

However, since taking the heart meds recently, I have been sleeping through the night once I get to sleep, even if I fall asleep early, waking up surprised that I slept for so many hours. I was never a good sleeper.

My Fitbit usually reveals that I have slept seven to eight hours, which is comforting to know. I may not be exercising a lot right now since the AFib seems to be at bay when I don’t over-exercise. Instead, I get up from sitting every hour to walk around the house rather than sitting constantly, which is bad for anyone, let alone anyone with a heart condition.

Knowing I would run out of the antiarrhythmic drug on December 19, taking two pills per day, 12 hours apart, yesterday, I decided to take only one pill a day.

My online order from ProgressiveRx is expected to arrive in Nevada around December 29, one month from today. After dropping the morning dose yesterday, I suffered no significant ill effects and took one capsule at 7:00 pm. Off and on I had a little Afib during the day and looked forward to the evening dose, which really helps.

If Afib returns while doing this one pill-a-day regimen, I will have no choice but to return to two capsules a day and run out on December 19. The cardiologist here prescribed a different drug, which I can take, if necessary, to hold me over until the usual drug arrives at our mailing service. But I tried that in the past, and it didn’t work well.

Otherwise, even on one capsule, I feel okay but not perfect. I am hoping that I may not need surgery for a while as long as I get a heart ultrasound test every six months or so, which I plan to do, as long as I have no new symptoms.

Millions of people in the US live long and productive lives with mitral valve issues, only deciding on surgery if serious symptoms arise. We shall see how I do, but I won’t take any unnecessary chances.

In the interim, over the next 15 days, until we depart, we are doing a lot better. As always, we have developed a consistent and comforting routine for both of us, listening to interesting podcasts during the day, conducting research at other times, and enjoying some great shows to stream in the evenings after dinner.

We continue to discuss the possibility of continuing to travel at some point, but for now, health prevails. We still consider ourselves nomads since we won’t be establishing a permanent home, and at the very least, we plan to travel to the US and eventually return to South Africa for a three-month visit.

We hope you all are experiencing good health, which ultimately remains the most critical aspect of our lives.

Of course, be well and be happy.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 30, 2013:

No photo was posted on this travel date in 2013, but there was a story. For details, please click here.

It certainly is a good time to go…

In 2013, Big Daddy kudu was standing at the railing of the Hornbill house.

Yesterday, the power was out twice, once in the morning and another time just before we cooked dinner in the oven. This is like load shedding in South Africa and was resolved for us by Louise and Danie when they installed an inverter system that allowed us to have power at all times.

Need I say we are anxious to be on the move in 15 days?

Last night, the aircon worked in the bedroom after not working for several nights, which caused us to wake up several times during the night. The thoughtful owner was more than willing to fix it, but it would be weeks before a technician arrived. As it turned out, it started working again once.

When we first arrived here on October 24, there was no WiFi upstairs in the bedroom. The router on the main floor wasn’t powerful enough to reach upstairs. It took a month for the tech guy to arrive with two new routers. Now, as of two days ago, we have WiFi upstairs. At night, when I go to bed, I often reply to messages from our readers. But without WiFi, I wasn’t able to do so.

With the power going out so often, daily life is challenging: the washer stops mid-cycle, dinner is postponed, and WiFi and streaming don’t work without power, leaving us unable to work on our laptops.

I am writing this post using an offline app I have on my phone. I don’t type well on the little keyboard on my phone and pick away using the index finger of my right hand. So it goes.

At least we won’t have to return to Manta to go grocery shopping. We purchased enough to get us through a few weeks when we were at MegaMaxi last Wednesday. At that point, we didn’t know we were leaving early and would have bought less toilet paper and miscellaneous food items. However, we have enough of everything we’ll need to get us through the next two weeks, with only 15 days until departure.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I look forward to a Costco trip in Henderson. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have felt this way.

But, with the recent health concerns, I feel comfortable being in the US for an extended period. There’s something to be said about being in a familiar place when one is not feeling like themselves. There is little concern because we don’t have a home. We’ve learned to make wherever we may be our home, with the sole exception for this period in Ecuador.

Tom felt that way when we were in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2014 and never complained about a holiday home and its environment until now.

Tonight, we won’t be going to Kokomo for dinner. It, too, has lost its charm when the food is marginal at best and the socializing is non-existent. The residents here all seem to know one another and have little time for passersby like us. We get that. Why bother cultivating a relationship with transient tourists?

So, off we go in 15 days. Yes, I am counting them down much sooner than I usually do, anxious to move on to the next phase of our lives, inevitable and timely as it is.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 29, 2013:

Lions in the Maasaai Mara seldom climb trees. Anderson, our guide, spotted this cub and raced across the bush to get as close as possible. The mother lion and more cubs were lying under this tree. 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.

17 days and counting…Whew!..

Giraffes in the garden.

Under normal circumstances, I don’t usually start counting down the days this early, before departure from a country, but I couldn’t help myself this time. With our new plan to leave Ecuador almost four weeks earlier than we’d booked, knowing we won’t be getting any money back, it’s fantastic we’re going so soon.

We’re doing so for a few reasons: one, I can’t get the medication I need in Ecuador, and they don’t allow medication to be shipped into the country for any purpose. Two, we’re done. With grocery shopping requiring a long and treacherous one-hour drive to Manta and the lack of restaurants and socialization in the area, we are ready to move on. This hasn’t been a good location for us.

Actually, I’m looking forward to staying at Lake Las Vegas. There are many restaurants and grocery shopping nearby (within five miles) and plenty to keep us busy and enjoying life.

I am looking forward to deciding on meals and shopping accordingly. I haven’t cooked since, besides here for the past six weeks since we were in Florida in July, and I can’t wait to be able to find the ingredients to make some of our favorite dishes.

Often, while on a flight, when traveling to a location where I’ll be cooking, I plan some meals and list the items needed on my phone. “Everyday life” is especially appealing at this time. Perhaps, in a sense, we are both ready to make life a little easier right now in light of the medical concerns and inconveniences we’re facing right now.

Gosh, we’ll be able to see family and friends while in Las Vegas, and if and when we want, we can go to a show on the strip or attend a movie in a theatre, which we both enjoy, let alone go out to dinner at one of the countless restaurants in Henderson and Las Vegas.

By the time we leave in 17 days, I’ll still be working on losing the final weight on my journey to get healthier. But I will be able to enjoy a fish dinner with a salad. We haven’t had a salad since we’ve been in Ecuador, fearful of contamination from washed salad vegetables.

Then again, there was a recent salmonella outbreak in the US from cantaloupe. Apparently, two people died after consuming this fruit. See the story here in part below and online.

“Cantaloupes Linked to Deadly Salmonella Outbreak, U.S. Says

Two deaths were reported in Minnesota, and the number of people sickened by salmonella has doubled since the outbreak was announced last week, federal officials said.

Two people have died in a salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupes as cases have more than doubled since the outbreak was first announced last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

The Food and Drug Administration said on Nov. 17 that it was investigating the outbreak. At that point, 43 cases and 17 hospitalizations had been reported in 15 states. As of Friday, federal officials had reported 99 cases in 32 states.

Several fruit producers have issued recalls for a number of cantaloupe and cantaloupe products that were distributed nationwide, the C.D.C. said.

Health officials asked consumers and businesses to throw away the recalled fruits, which include imported whole cantaloupes grown in Mexico labeled “Rudy” and “Malichita” and pre-cut cantaloupes sold under the “Vinyard,” “Aldi,” “Freshness Guaranteed” and “RaceTrac” brand names.”

If you have cantaloupe at home, please check to ensure you do not have these brands and the source of these fruit. As we so well know, there is nowhere in the world exempt from situations like this occurring. We must all proceed with caution, regardless of the location, when purchasing ingredients that will be served uncooked.

We just finished our light lunch, and I’ve already prepped everything we’ll have for dinner, including vegetables we’ll cook for dinner. Cooking is instrumental in killing certain bacteria found in produce and other items.

Not much is going on here today. Last night, we sat in the dark, unable to stream shows, with tea lights lit when the power was out during dinner and afterward. Yep, we’re ready to go!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 27, 2013:

The four cardboard boxes we packed were ready to be shipped to the local post office to be returned to our mailing service. For more photos, please click here.

It’s all figured out…We’re leaving Ecuador on December 14th…Details here today…

We love this photo, taken when we were at Chobe National Park in Botswana in 2022. This elephant illustrates how they use their trunks as snorkels. Aren’t they amazing?

What a relief! We had difficulty figuring out where to go in the US and finding flights and holiday homes available so close to Christmas and on short notice. We researched for hours, finding only a few flights with less travel time and almost no holiday homes available for our preferred dates of December 15 to March 31, three and a half months.

The first question we asked ourselves was where we wanted to go. We were thinking of either Nevada, our home state or Arizona, close to the Mayo Clinic. There were no affordable holiday homes in Phoenix, Scottsdale, or Apache Junction, close to Tom’s sisters, since so many retirees and seniors visit Arizona during winter.

There were several condos available on VRBO for Lake Las Vegas. Years ago, when I visited my son, Richard, he showed me the area, and I loved it. It stayed in my mind as a possible place to stay at some time in the future. The reason there was availability in that area is the 25-mile drive to the Las Vegas Strip, where most visitors prefer to be in close proximity.

For us, staying there makes life so much easier right now. And easy is what we’re looking for based on current circumstances. We need easy grocery shopping, going out to dinner, and some form of socialization, which may be readily available in Lake Las Vegas.

So, here’s what we booked/planned in the past 24 hours:

  1. December 14: Drive for three hours to Guayaquil, where there is a larger airport than Manta and shorter flight times
  2. December 14: Fly from Guayaquil to Panama City to Las Vegas
  3. December 15: Pick up the rental car at the airport in Las Vegas
  4. December 15: Check in to the holiday home in Lake Las Vegas. See the link here. Dates: December 15, 2023, to March 31, 2024
  5. December 30: Return the rental car to the airport and pick up another
  6. January 9: Drop off the rental car
  7. January 10: Tom flies to Chicago for his pulmonology appointment regarding exposure to asbestos while working on the railroad for 42½ years
  8. January 10: Tom flies back to Las Vegas from Chicago and picks up another rental car
  9. February 10: Drop off the rental car at Las Vegas airport and pick up another.

We’re renting cars, which are so expensive in Nevada, using reward points. On one of our credit cards, collision insurance is included for only the first two weeks of the rental, whereas on another card, we are covered for 31 days. We chose the card based on the rewards’ value, but must comply with the insurance periods.

As a result, we’ll have to return the rental car after having it for only two weeks. It’s 15 miles to the airport from Lake Las Vegas. Coverage is only provided on new contracts, not extensions on prior contracts. Tom is fine with this. Also, I will be driving the rental car to the grocery store. Tom is thrilled with this, and I won’t mind being able to take my time while shopping. It’s mind-blowing for me to be able to peruse the countless options.

I’ve spent enough time sitting at my broken laptop for one 24-hour period. I am excited to put it down and relax a little.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 26, 2013:

From a walk on the beach across the road. One of our favorite views of the Indian Ocean. For more photos, please click here.

Still no definitive answers due to the holiday weekend in the US…

Lovely elephant mom and baby. What a sight to behold!

We are still working on two vacation homes in two different states. It usually takes a few days to wrap up a rental, get questions answered, work on pricing, and ensure it has everything we need. Either of these two scenarios will be satisfactory to us but certainly have a bearing on where we’ll fly on December 14, so we’ve yet to book the flight.

Since we decided to fly out of Guayaquil instead of Manta, there are many more options, some with travel times of around ten hours, which works for us. We are so used to long travel times that comparatively ten hours is a piece of cake. Actually, Ecuador isn’t that far from the US, but there are no nonstop flights, which would be ideal if possible.

Packing will be easy here since we didn’t fully unpack our bags. I could do it if I had only two hours to get ready to go. Unfortunately, when we grocery-shopped on Wednesday, we hadn’t even discussed leaving early. I brought it up on the return drive from Manta, and Tom was on board.

As soon as we returned to the house, after finding out from Fybeca Pharmacia in Manta the pills I take for Afib, which are working for me right now, aren’t available in Ecuador. There are only so many drugs that work for Afib, and this was the only one that worked for me after trying others unsuccessfully. I’ll be running out of my current supply by December 18, so we need to get to the US in time to get more.

That was the biggest motivator for us to leave Ecuador earlier than planned. Ecuador doesn’t allow prescription drugs to be shipped into the country.

I planned to go to an urgent care facility to get a prescription. Still, today, with the prescription the cardiologist wrote, I could purchase a three-month supply, leaving plenty of time for me to see a cardiologist in the US at one of several good cardiac care centers. I need a second opinion and will plan from there.

ProgressiveRX processed my order this morning, and the medication will arrive at our mailing service, which can be sent overnight wherever we land in the US. I couldn’t wait another day to place the order to ensure the order would be waiting for us when we arrived in the US.

We are both doing okay with everything up in the air right now. We know we are doing the right thing by returning to the US to determine our next move. We have no intention of buying a house, furniture, or household goods. We have decided to continue living in holiday homes that supply everything we need. Plus, with our minimal luggage, we don’t mind moving every three months.

Once my health issue is resolved, it will be fun to tour the US, which we’ve talked about doing eventually, anyway. That doesn’t mean we won’t explore outside the US or stop going on cruises. We see cruises in our future, health providing. Of course, everything is predicated on health at this point in our lives. We’ll take one step at a time.

It is also good we’re returning to the US since I need to replace my laptop and most likely will do so using the balance on a gift card we got from Costco for booking a cruise through them. This setup I have with the broken monitor is cumbersome and annoying.

No words can express our gratitude for the many readers who’ve written to us after reading yesterday’s post here. We are so grateful for your thoughtfulness and kindness in taking the time to write. I am responding to the messages one by one, but with so many, it may take a while.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 25, 2013:

No photo was posted on this date, but the text may be read here.