A look back to ten years ago today…Wow! What a great memory!…Company’s coming again!…

The further we walked toward “The Treasury” in Petra, Jordan, the carved stone became more and more detailed and interesting. The balance of these photos will be shared in tomorrow’s post. See the post here.

Note: Today’s photos are from this date in 2013 when we embarked on the long walk to see “The Treasury” in Petra, Jordan. It was a long walk in the heat but well worth it, and we wanted to share the photos with all of our newer readers who may have missed the original post ten years ago.

It was a lovely Mother’s Day. Hearing from my two sons with lively conversation and quality time spent with Tom made it a special day. Then again, most days are special. At sundowner time, for the first time in a few weeks, we enjoyed an adult beverage while seated at the table on the lanai.

It was hard to believe the two-thousand-year-old craftsmanship.

It was warm outdoors, but not as warm as we’d become accustomed to in South Africa, and we chatted for quite a while until it was time to go indoors and make dinner. Having prepped most of the meal ahead of time, in no time at all, we sat down for dinner.

After dinner, we lounged in the living room to stream a few shows, and by 9:45, I was off to bed while Tom stayed up watching Shark Tank. My Fitbit informed me this morning that I’d slept nine hours. Wow! I could tell I’d slept well when we walked as soon as I was up, showered, and dressed.

The passageway became narrower and narrower the further we walked.

Tom gets up earlier than I do but often naps at 2:00 each afternoon, only sleeping for a short time, if at all. I’m not much of a napper until at night in front of the show we’re streaming, usually around 7:30. I guess I need the sleep, especially after my recent health crisis. I am feeling much better.

We haven’t been out much lately to take photos, but today, we’re sharing photos of Petra from ten years ago. Tomorrow, Karen and Rich will return to pick us up to drop them off at Orlando Airport. They’d offered us the use of their car for the two weeks they’ll be gone for Karen’s son Jack’s wedding in Minnesota. This will allow us to drive around The Villages and take photos to share here.

The raw beauty of nature and artistic skills made the walk exciting moment by moment.

We don’t have any shopping other than a quick trip to a CVS for a few toiletry items I haven’t found at Kroger’s online shopping. Today, when placing a Kroger order, they had a problem with their website, and my order wouldn’t process. I called and am awaiting a response when they resolve it. Even in the US, not everything works as smoothly as expected.

We have been busy planning menus for our upcoming company, including dinner for new guests on Wednesday and meals for friends Carol and Mark, who arrive on Saturday and stay for three nights. While Carol and Mark are here, we’ll be going out to dinner on Sunday and dining in on Saturday and Monday. Having company’s undoubtedly enjoyable, and I am pacing myself to ensure I don’t run out of steam.

Tom carried our heavy bag with water and supplies during the entire three hours of the journey.

They leave to return to their home in Boca Raton on Tuesday. It’s almost a four-hour drive depending on traffic on the freeway. We haven’t seen Carol, a retired airline pilot with Delta, since we came to the US in November 2017 to board a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It will be fun to see her again and meet her boyfriend Mark, whom we’ve never met.

It’s certainly been fun seeing friends while here in The Villages. As it turns out, we have many more opportunities to spend time with old and new friends while we’re here for the next few months. It will be a fun and busy time.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 15, 2013:

Here we were yesterday, in front of the world-renowned “Treasury” in Petra, Jordan—a fantastic day for both of us. For more photos, please click here.

A day in the life…Easy, breezy, as pleasant as it can be…

We couldn’t believe we spotted this croc from so far away, lounging on a sandbar on the rover.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Zebra nursing in our yard.

Life in this house, “Orange…More Than Just a Colour,” is relatively easy. There are fewer insects, bats, snakes, and rodents than we encountered in the Hornbill house four years ago, perhaps because this house doesn’t have a thatched roof or that the veranda and entrance into the house are several feet above ground level.

Another photo of this croc was taken from a long distance while sunning on the river’s edge.

Most houses in Marloth Park have thatched roofs which look great, but we wonder if they may contribute to more insects and critters in the home since the grass can attract all kinds of animals.

This croc on the bank of the Crocodile River appeared quite long.

The mozzies aren’t bad either, although we continue to use repellent day and night, reapplying every four to six hours while using various outdoor repellents outdoors at night such as coils, candles, and scented oils. 

As winter approaches, we’ll see fewer and fewer mosquitoes, although we’ll continue to use repellent throughout the year. Today, when we head to Komatipoort to have our teeth cleaned, we’ll visit the pharmacy to purchase Malarone (atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride). These anti-malarial pills don’t need a prescription here. Dr. Theo suggested we take these when visiting other African countries. 

This baby bushbuck is growing up fast and is now able to eat pellets.

The Wi-Fi works perfectly and only doesn’t function during a power outage which seems to occur once or twice a month. In most cases, power is restored within 12 hours.

We don’t have any cable or TV service since we told Louise and Danie not to pay for it when the contract ran out. We don’t watch TV anymore. Instead, we spend all of our time outdoors on the veranda, watching nature unfold before our eyes…much more fun than watching TV. We can easily check online news, which we both do daily. We need to know what’s going on in the world, which impacts our future travels.

We hadn’t seen this warthog mom with five babies in about six weeks. Warthogs have only four teats, so this litter of five must have been a challenge which may explain why one of them is a “runt.”

Marta lives in a bit of house on the property and will follow our lead to any cleaning and laundry we’d like her to do. Most household staff do dishes from the previous night’s meal, but we prefer to wash them ourselves after eating to avoid cockroaches and other insects seeking scraps of food on unwashed plates and dinnerware.

This mom with the five babies has enormous tusks.

So far, so good. We’ve only experienced a few occurrences when we first arrived, but none since then. We’re meticulous in keeping kitchen countertops and work surfaces cleaned and washed, as we’re always preparing food and refuse to be instrumental in getting ants which can be a real nuisance. Hot soapy water seems to be the best deterrent.

The biggest cleaning issue right now is the soot we get on the veranda almost every day due to sugarcane burning in nearby fields.  Josiah comes to wash the veranda, tend to the yard and clean the pool five days a week. Right now, no more than an hour after he’s done, the white-tiled veranda is covered with nasty black soot. 

Yesterday afternoon, we spotted elephants near the river.

We sweep several times a day when we don’t want to carry the soot inside the house on the bottom of our feet, which are filthy by the end of each day. No big deal. A quick wash in the shower remedies this issue before we hop into bed.

My mornings consist of showering, getting dressed for the day, putting away the dishes Tom had washed the previous night, and leaving to dry. Also, I cut up carrots and apples for the wildlife, prepare a cup of birdseed for the guinea fowls, Frank and The Misses.

We waited for her to turn around, but she was busy eating the tall grasses.

Since I can no longer drink coffee, tea, or iced tea and am waiting to order our shipment, which will include herbal tea for me (I can’t find it at any of the local shops), I drink a glass of room temperature purified water in the morning and throughout the day. No longer does ice agree with me, so I avoid that too.

Some mornings I make us a breakfast of eggs and bacon when we know we won’t be eating until late, such as last night when we went to Kathy and Don’s home for dinner. 

Another elephant was grazing nearby.

We had a spectacular evening starting with appetizers on their second-floor veranda. Later, we moved to the ground level “boma” area to gather around an open fire for more lively chatter and their other two guests, Jane and Andrew. The food, the ambiance, and the conversation couldn’t have been more perfect.

Today, a simple day; the trip to the pharmacy, appointment to get out teeth cleaned, a stop at the meat market for biltong and some meat, a run through the supermarket for a few odds and ends.

Today’s early morning visitors.

We’ll be back “home” no later than 5:00 pm to make another great meal and spend the evening outdoors on the veranda, waiting to see Scar Face, Wart Face, Little Wart Face, Big Daddy, Tom’s Girl (the sweet bushbuck who adores him) and many more we’ve come to know and love.

It’s a good life.  We couldn’t be more content.

May your day bring you much contentment!

Photo from one year ago today, May 3, 2017:

Queensland Gut Healing Tour. 2018
One of Dr. Peter Dingle’s newest books. Click here for details.

Part 2, Happy May Day to all!…Milestone dates in May in our world travels…Crazy!…

We fell in love with a Northern Cardinal in Kauai, Hawaii, posting this video
in May 2015.  Click here for the link from that day.
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
This morning’s photo of Scar Face clearly illustrates his improvement.  We’re so excited to see his continuing recovery from this horrific injury. Now that the holidaymakers are mostly gone, he is stopping by several times a day.

Today we continue with Part 2 of specials days in May in our past travels. Yesterday, we left off in May 2014, and today we begin with May 2015. When reviewing posts from over the years, it’s always meaningful for us when one might perceive that the days and nights blur into one long period of worldwide experiences.

By looking back at old posts, we’re reminded how rich these past years have been, filled with such unusual and exciting (to us) places we’ve been and adventures we’ve had. Now, with only nine days until we depart for Livingstone, Zambia, we’re quickly reminded of the excitement and diversity of our travels.

No doubt, there are long stretches where we relax, stay at “home,” living a life not too dissimilar from yours. We find ways to entertain ourselves, cook, clean, do laundry, and socialize, which results in a very average and “normal” (if there is such a thing) lifestyle. 

Then again, our daily lives in Marloth Park are only expected for those who live here among us…a life far removed from our day-to-day in many other countries. However, as we look back at prior posts, like those listed below, we’re awestruck by other events we’ve been blessed to experience throughout the world. The month of May for 2015, 2016, and 2017 left us reeling with a sense of wonder and enrichment, as described below.

May 2015:  This particular May was bittersweet. We didn’t want to leave Kauai, one of our favorite islands in the world, especially with the reality of going two unique bird species to whom we’d become instead attached.   

One extraordinary adventure in Kauai was witnessing the Laysan Albatross pairs that nested in the neighborhood of many of our friends, allowing us to observe the miracle of life from the hatching of a single egg to the fledging of the chicks who had grown to 16 kg, (35 pounds) to begin their five-year journey out to sea.  Someday they’ll return to that same site with a lifelong mate to bring their little fledgling to life in this exact location.

(Note:  We send our love and prayers for all of the citizens of Kauai, Hawaii. They’ve suffered an outrageous flood that has devastated the island. The fantastic people of Kauai have gathered together to provide relief for those in need).

A newly hatched albatross chick nestled under a parent from this post in May 2015.

Seeing these lives evolve over the four months we spent living nearby was a gift. It was filled with the purest of pleasure and desire for knowledge of these magical bird’s lives. 

Astounding! It was hard to leave only one week before they’d all begin to fledge off the high cliffs in the area. Fortunately, our friends living in the neighborhood sent us videos of these astounding birds as they walked in their wobbly manner to the cliffs, spread their wings, and embarked on the journey of their lives.

Secondly, during these four months, we fell in love with a Northern Cardinal who visited us several times a day, often with his mate, singing a beautiful multi-layered song we’d never heard and may never hear again. Each day, I cut up bits of macadamia nuts and almonds, handing them over to him after he sang the song. It was a win-win for both of us. He sang. We rendered the nuts. You can hear his song on the video posted as the primary photo today.

This partnership we watched daily between Birdie and Ms. Birdie reminded us of the partnership we share, always looking out for one another. This was a favorite photo from our time in Kauai, ending on May 24th, 2015.

May 2016: This was a highly cultural and exciting time, the total of four months we spent in an exquisite home in Sumbersari Bali. It didn’t only consist of exceptional lounging days by the infinity pool overlooking the ocean but was rich in a wide array of cultural experiences we’ll never forget.

Here’s a photo we took on May 1, 2016, upon our arrival at the exquisite villa and the link with more photos from that day:

We spent many days and nights outdoors at this fine property and many enriching Balinese experiences.  Click here for this May 1st link.

Living in a remote area of Bali allowed us to see how people live away from the big cities, a life rich in simplicity, religion, love, and appreciation of the world around them. Here is a shrine we visited in this photo below:

On our walk down the narrow road to visit Gede’s family home, he pointed out this temple where his family worships.  For the link from this date in May, please click here.

May 2017:  Hoping to arrive in Minnesota by Memorial Day weekend, we took a side trip after the cruise from Sydney ended in Seattle, Washington, and embarked on a nine-night cruise to Alaska from Vancouver, British Columbia. It was the perfect segue back to North America to visit family, and we were grateful for the experience.

The cruise included many educational lectures and seminars about Alaska and numerous ports of call, all unique and exciting. We got off the ship at every port and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the culture of the small towns in this unusual part of the world. See the photo below of Hubbard Glacier, a highlight of the cruise:

We were in Alaska at the Hubbard Glacier on May 22, 2017, a stunning experience on which we embarked before heading to Minnesota to spend six weeks with family. For the link from this photo, please click here.

As we delved further into May 2017, we finally settled into our hotel for six weeks and spent precious time with our family members. In about 11 months, we’ll be back in Minnesota to see everyone once again.

Not only were the months of May spectacular in our lives of world travel, but so were the Januarys, the Februarys, the Marches, and on and on…Every day, week, month, and year hold a special significance in this remarkable life on the move.

It was a warm sunny day in Ketchikan, Alaska.  See this link for more photos.

We have no regrets. We’ve done exactly what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it. We’ve felt no pressure or stress to accomplish any specific goals. We don’t particularly have a “bucket list,” nor are we attempting to visit a certain number of countries in any given time frame. 

And now, it’s May 2018, day two. So far this morning, we’ve had seven wildlife species come to visit, now that the bulk of the tourists have left. That’s a great start to May! By the end of the day, no doubt it will be more.

Tonight, we off to dinner at friends Kathy and Don’s home along the Crocodile River. Humans, animals…we love them all.

May your month of May be filled with rich experiences!

Photo from one year ago today, May 2, 2017:

A path to the aqua blue bay on an island port of call. For more details, please click here.

Part 1, Happy May Day to all!…Milestone dates in May in our world travels…Crazy!…

We encountered this flock of ostriches on a recent drive in Marloth Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Check out the massive size of an ostrich’s feet.

As our readership has grown over the years, we realize many of our newer readers may have missed earlier posts. With so much of our story contained in earlier posts, we decided to make this a special May Day for our readers by posting photos and links from past months of May beginning in 2012.  We’ll share these posts, photos, and stories over two days, today and tomorrow.

Please feel free to click each of the links provided, with no particular theme, only with the intent of sharing the diversity of our lives over these past six years since we began posting (on March 15, 2012).

As a result, today’s photos are those we chose randomly to share on May Day, 2018.  Some may be favorite days in May over these past six years (not including May 2018, of course), and others may be photos we thought you might find interesting. 

May 2012:  This was an exciting May for us. We were already entrenched in preparing to see all of our personal belongings and selling everything we owned. The goad was to avoid having to use a storage facility which ultimately, we accomplished. At this point, we were five months away from the departure from Minnesota date of October 31, 2012.

How we’ve changed. Here’s a favorite May photo/entry from May 25, 2012. We chose this particular entry since it depicted who we were at the time and who-we-are-not-now, hOn this date, we posted a unique (per occasion) printed menu we always prepared when company was coming for dinner. Upon arrival we presented each guest with the menu in the event they preferred any variations due to dietary or taste restrictions. 

Here’s the menu we posted on that date (click here for the link) which we had used for one of many holiday dinner parties:

First Course – Appetizer
Brie Cheese with Apricot in Puff Pastry
Homemade Pickled Herring Salad 
with Sesame Honey Crisps

Second Course
Shrimp Cocktail with Tangy Cocktail Sauce 
& Lemon Wedge

Third Course
Two Soups Served, Swirled in a Single Bowl Topped 
with Buttery 
Sautéed Morel Mushrooms
Creamy Lobster Bisque
Vichyssoise, served warm

Fourth Course
Salad with Belgian Endive, Radicchio & Hearts 
of Palm 
with Gorgonzola, Walnuts
& Lightly Sprinkled with a Delicate 
Raspberry Vinaigrette
Fifth Course
Filet Mignon with Portabella Burgundy Sauce
Steam Kings Crab Legs with Clarified Butter
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
French Green Beans, Drizzled 
with Lemon Tarragon Butter
Sixth Course – Dessert
Classic Homemade Vanilla Crème Brule
Goldschlager, Cinnamon Flavored Liqueur 
with Flecks of Gold
Cappuccino with Chocolate Curls

Please see the post here for details and more photos. 

Who were these people preparing this elaborate meal for guests? It was us. It seems so long ago. I can’t imagine doing all this work now. I recall at the time it was enjoyable regardless of how much work was required to pull this off for upwards of 12 guests. But, our lives are so much simpler now and we find we can still make a lovely meal for guests without this massive amount of work and preparation.

May 2013:  This was a May that totally changed our lives. At this point, we’d been gone from Minnesota almost seven months and from the US, four months. By the end of May, we’d already sailed on seven cruises, which provided us with some of our most stunning adventures.

We are thankful to refer to our past posts allowing us to recall every step along the way, including, as illustrated below, on May 16, 2013, when we visited fascinating Petra in Jordan in the Middle East.  It was an exciting and life-changing day for both of us. Please click here for that day’s link and more photos.

The walk to The Treasury in Petra was hot and long and downhill on the way up and torturously uphill on the way back. Once we reached this scene, we were grateful we come to see this historic site.  Please see the post here.
May 2014:  This was an exceptional May for us. We spent the first half of the month finishing our final 2½ months in Marrakech, Morocco, and the second half, off the coast of Africa in Madeira, Portugal.

Madeira was unlike any island we visited. The language spoken is Portuguese which wasn’t easy for us to learn. Somehow we managed.  What intrigued us the most about this spectacular island of winding hills and mountains was the friendly people and the quaintness and culture at this breathtaking location.

One of many highlights was purchasing produce, fish, and chicken from trucks that regularly drove through the neighborhood, each playing its identifiable Portuguese song. On each occasion when they passed by our gorgeous holiday home, we ran up the hills to catch them, yelling out for them to stop.  It was hilarious and so much fun!

Please click here for the post from which we shared this photo.

When we heard a unique song playing from a passing truck, we raced up the steep hill to follow it, wondering what they were selling. When we discovered this fresh tuna for sale, we were excited to purchase an entire yellow-fin tuna from the vendor’s truck which he cut into single serving pieces.  Read the post here for the unbelievable price.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back sharing May stories from May 2015, 2016 and 2017. Please check back then for more. 

As for today, the official May Day holiday in South Africa, we’ll stay up once again. Last night, Okey Dokey, husband Danie, and adorable baby Danie stopped by for a few hours to say goodbye. We couldn’t have enjoyed seeing them more! We’re hoping to get together again during the remainder of our time in South Africa.

As for today, with many tourists exiting the park as their holiday time ends, once again, we’ll stay put. We’ll cook some chops on the braai, saving the bones for Scar Face who still continues to heal. Soon, I get to work on veggies and salad and whatever else I concoct which will go well with the chops. 

The sun is shining. The temperature is mild. It will be a good day, especially as our wildlife friends return from their hidden places in the park during this busy holiday weekend. 

May your day be sunny as well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 1, 2017:

Cute, but after a little research, we found this “cooking pot” to stir up dreadful thoughts of life for many in decades past on many islands in the South Pacific. For more photos, please click here.

Answering the question from readers, “Where should I travel?” Our top 13! Link to our world travel map…

The Treasury in Petra, Jordan after a very long, hot walk. Click here for one of two posts.  This sight made us gasp with our hearts pounding wildly, less from the walk, more from sheer joy!

Frequently, we receive email inquiries from our readers asking for suggestions for the best places to visit in the world based on what we’ve seen to date. 

That’s a tough question to answer.  Its almost as complex as asking a person what they like to read, to eat and what they prefer for recreation.  Its all a matter of personal preference.

Zef, our houseman, held this monstrous insect Tom had fished out of the pool with the net.  Not only did living in Marloth Park include daily visits from big wildlife but also the smaller world of many insect such as this enormous rhino beetle.  For more details, please click here for one of our three months of posts.

Keeping in mind that our primary interests (although we’ve enjoyed many other aspects in the world which we’ll also include here) revolve around observing wildlife, vegetation and naturally created scenery which limits more than half of the popular “places to see” in the world.

With our goal to visit every continent, choosing countries/regions within that continent we strive on making decisions befitting our personal interests.  To date, we visited 49 countries as shown in our map on Travelers Point.  Please click here to see our map.

A container freighter ahead of us in line to enter the first set of locks, the Miraflores Locks as we entered the Panama Canal.  See here for one of the posts.

When reviewing our map its clear to see how we’ve yet to visit most of Asia (we’ll be visiting a few Asian countries soon), South America (upcoming in 2017) and Antarctica, upcoming in 2017 or 2018 (cruises yet to be posted).

Sure, we’ve found many big cities interesting, romantic and exciting: Paris, London, Sydney, Vancouver, Barcelona, Dubai, Venice, Marrakesh, Cairo, Dubrovnik (Croatia), Reykjavik, Cork (Ireland) and on and on…too many to list here.

This female lion as all animals in the wild in the Masai Mara, Kenya, is constantly on the lookout for the next meal to feed her cubs.  It was a memorable, life changing experience we’ll always treasure.  See here for more details.

Our readers continue to ask for our favorites and for many of our regular readers you may already be familiar with our preferences. For our less frequent visitors, here are a few suggestions that not only include remote areas of particular interest but also cities/areas we found especially exciting:

1. Marloth Park, South Africa:  Abundant wildlife, friendly people, plenty to see and do, reasonably priced
2. Panama Canal cruise:  Making a transit through the canal is quite an experience.  The cruises include many stops to other interesting countries.
3.  Masai Mara, Kenya:  Photo safari one of the top experiences in our lives; pricey.
4.  Petra, Jordan: Visit the Treasury, one of the most amazing man made structures in the world, breathtaking.  Getting there can be pricey.
5.  The Middle East cruise:  (May not be safe at this time).  Traveling through the Red Sea, the Suez Canal (loved this) and the Gulf of Aden proved to be our most adventurous cruise to date.

After we traveled through the Suez Canal, we entered the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden, requiring “pirate drills” and special forces onboard with the “packages” including armory to protect the ship and passengers.  Very exciting.  See the post here.

6.  Venice, Italy:  Amazing, must-see for those who don’t mind “tourist” attractions with huge crowds, long queues, and bumping elbows. 
7.  Mykonos, Greece:  (Sardinia is reputed to be even more exquisite). Mykonos has gorgeous scenery, interesting shopping, great restaurants with many delightful hilly walks.  Expensive.
8. Placencia, Belize (a peninsula):  Our first stay outside the US with a bad start for during the first week in a less desirable house – moved to fabulous property – remote, had an exquisite stay; great people, reasonably priced.  Quiet life with a week or two of sites to see. There are many islands in Belize such as Ambergris Caye that tourists often choose over Placencia.  We prefer more remote locations.  Not recommended for those with precarious health issues when its a rough four hour drive or an infrequent flight on a small plane at a local airport to a hospital in Belize City (city is rough and best to avoid for extended periods). 

As our ship made its way to the port of Venice, our mouths were agape in surprise a the feast before our eyes.  Click here for one of two posts.

9.  Sydney, Australia:  One of the most beautiful cities in the world; expensive, good local transportation, fabulous shopping, hotels and restaurants, lots to see, far to travel from many parts of the world.
10.  New Zealand:  This country has so much to offer one could easily stay busy and in awe for many months touring both the North and South Islands, especially if you enjoy road trips.  For us, staying close to New Plymouth and the alpaca farm has totally fulfilled us, although we plan to do some touring in the near future.  Reasonably priced.

The Harbour Bridge.  Wow!  It was extraordinary.  We look forward to returning to Sydney in 2017 for 40 days to fill a gap in our schedule.  For the link to this post, please click here.

11.  Dubrovnik, Croatia:  The must-see walled city may not require a long stay but a few days to a week could be highly gratifying.  Pricey.
12.  The countryside in France and the UK:  We’ve visited many small villages but will someday return for a more comprehensive tour. Expensive.
13.  Kauai, Hawaii:  Extraordinary island offering the “naturalist” a wide array of sightseeing opportunities, scenery and unique wildlife.  Expensive.

The walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.  For more photos of this breathtaking historic city, please click here.

We could go on and on.  We’ve provided a few links in the caption of today’s photos for our visits to these special places. If you’d like to see more photos, please search on the right side of our daily homepage and you’ll find a ‘SEARCH” box directly below the listed archive dates (for more past posts). 

If you’ll type in the name of any of the above cities/countries/locations, you’ll find a list of every post in which we’ve visited these areas.  If you have difficulty with this, please send an email and we’ll be happy to assist in finding the appropriate posts containing many photos.

Not wanted to awaken her/him, I kept my distance although I’d have loved to see more of the rarely seen Hawaiian Monk Sea at the beach at the Napali Coast, Kauai.  Click here for more details.

Actually, it would take writing a comprehensive travel book to describe the details of these experiences and more.  Instead of writing a tedious time consuming book, we’ve chosen to share  our story each day. 

For now, our goal is to assist our inquiring readers on areas they may find suitable for their needs and desires. We hope today’s story helps for those who are considering traveling if possessing some criteria similar to ours.

Have an interesting day whatever you choose to do!


Photo from one year ago today, February 12, 2015:

A final view of Hanalei Bay before we exited an open house in Kauai.  For photos of the house we toured, please click here.

Australia’s crime stats…World Crime rate stats…Travelers, please read…

View of Double Island at a distance.

With all the strife, wars, natural disasters and horrific incidents on the news each day, we’ve particularly enjoyed the Aussie TV news when the majority of it is fun and informative tinged with the typical Aussie playful sense of humor.

Of course, they do report on the heart wrenching international and local news keeping us well informed on worldwide events. A portion of the Aussie news consists of small stories, such as a biker in Brisbane falling off his bike and breaking his arm. Although we felt sorry for the biker, Brisbane is a long way from us and we chuckled over the how the national news carries such a simple news story.

Extra parking in the driveway where we live in Trinity Beach.

Australia’s entire population spread out over this vast continent is over 23 million, comparable to the population of the cities of Beijing or Karachi.

Overall, the crime rate in Australia is low:

Australia is generally a safe country with a low rate of crime. Statistics show that the homicide rate has actually decreased in almost every state since 2002. Crime statistics are monitored by the Australian Institute of Criminology and the Australian Bureau of Statistics provides comparative breakdowns for different types of crimes.

As we plan to travel to new countries we check out the crime rate (primarily the murder rate) before booking anything.  Yes, we’ve made a few exceptions when motivated by certain aspects of a country we didn’t want to miss. 

Unusual flat leaves on a bush.

In reviewing the chart below, good placement on this chart doesn’t mean one can be laissez-faire with their wallets, cameras, luggage, personal effects, and personal safety. 

(Please excuse formatting issues on this chart due to poor connection, with rankings in far-right column and #218 numbering not listed). To see more detail on this site and inclusions for lost lives as a result of wars, please click here).

UNODC murder rates most recent year
Country Rate Count Region Subregion Year
Burundi 8.0 790 Africa Eastern Africa 2012
Comoros 10.0 72 Africa Eastern Africa 2012
Djibouti 10.1 87 Africa Eastern Africa 2012
Eritrea 7.1 437 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 4
Ethiopia 12.0 11,048 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 5
Kenya 6.4 2,761 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 6
Madagascar 11.1 2,465 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 7
Malawi 1.8 279 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 8
Mauritius 2.8 34 Africa Eastern Africa 2011 9
Mayotte (France) 6.0 12 Africa Eastern Africa 2009 10
Mozambique 12.4 3,133 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 11
Réunion (France) 1.8 15 Africa Eastern Africa 2009 12
Rwanda 23.1 2,648 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 13
Seychelles 9.5 9 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 14
Somalia 8.0 819 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 15
South Sudan 13.9 1,504 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 16
Uganda 10.7 3,753 Africa Eastern Africa 2011 17
Tanzania 12.7 6,071 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 18
Zambia 10.7 1,501 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 19
Zimbabwe 10.6 1,450 Africa Eastern Africa 2012 20
Angola 10.0 2,079 Africa Middle Africa 2012 21
Cameroon 7.6 1,654 Africa Middle Africa 2012 22
Central African Republic 11.8 532 Africa Middle Africa 2012 23
Chad 7.3 907 Africa Middle Africa 2012 24
Congo 12.5 541 Africa Middle Africa 2012 25
Democratic Republic of the Congo 28.3 18,586 Africa Middle Africa 2012 26
Equatorial Guinea 19.3 142 Africa Middle Africa 2012 27
Gabon 9.1 148 Africa Middle Africa 2012 28
Sao Tome and Principe 3.3 6 Africa Middle Africa 2011 29
Algeria 0.7 280 Africa Northern Africa 2011 30
Egypt 3.4 2,703 Africa Northern Africa 2011 31
Libya 1.7 103 Africa Northern Africa 2012 32
Morocco 2.2 704 Africa Northern Africa 2012 33
Sudan 11.2 4,159 Africa Northern Africa 2012 34
Tunisia 2.2 235 Africa Northern Africa 2012 35
Botswana 18.4 368 Africa Southern Africa 2012 36
Lesotho 38.0 764 Africa Southern Africa 2010 37
Namibia 17.2 388 Africa Southern Africa 2012 38
South Africa 31.0 16,259 Africa Southern Africa 2012 39
Swaziland 33.8 416 Africa Southern Africa 2012 40
Benin 8.4 848 Africa Western Africa 2012 41
Burkina Faso 8.0 1,311 Africa Western Africa 2012 42
Cape Verde 10.3 51 Africa Western Africa 2012 43
Ivory Coast 13.6 2,691 Africa Western Africa 2012 44
Gambia 10.2 182 Africa Western Africa 2012 45
Ghana 6.1 1,537 Africa Western Africa 2012 46
Guinea 8.9 1,018 Africa Western Africa 2012 47
Guinea-Bissau 8.4 140 Africa Western Africa 2012 48
Liberia 3.2 135 Africa Western Africa 2012 49
Mali 7.5 1,119 Africa Western Africa 2012 50
Mauritania 5.0 191 Africa Western Africa 2012 51
Niger 4.7 803 Africa Western Africa 2012 52
Nigeria 20.0 33,817 Africa Western Africa 2012 53
Senegal 2.8 379 Africa Western Africa 2012 54
Sierra Leone 1.9 113 Africa Western Africa 2012 55
Togo 10.3 684 Africa Western Africa 2012 56
Anguilla (UK) 7.5 1 Americas Caribbean 2012 57
Antigua and Barbuda 11.2 10 Americas Caribbean 2012 58
Aruba (Netherlands) 3.9 4 Americas Caribbean 2010 59
Bahamas 29.8 111 Americas Caribbean 2012 60
Barbados 7.4 21 Americas Caribbean 2012 61
British Virgin Islands (UK) 8.4 2 Americas Caribbean 2006 62
Cayman Islands (UK) 14.7 8 Americas Caribbean 2009 63
Cuba 4.2 477 Americas Caribbean 2012 64
Dominica 21.1 15 Americas Caribbean 2010 65
Dominican Republic 22.1 2,268 Americas Caribbean 2012 66
Grenada 13.3 14 Americas Caribbean 2012 67
Guadeloupe (France) 7.9 36 Americas Caribbean 2009 68
Haiti 10.2 1,033 Americas Caribbean 2012 69
Jamaica 39.3 1,087 Americas Caribbean 2012 70
Martinique (France) 2.7 11 Americas Caribbean 2009 71
Montserrat (UK) 20.4 1 Americas Caribbean 2008 72
Puerto Rico (US) 26.5 978 Americas Caribbean 2012 73
Saint Kitts and Nevis 33.6 18 Americas Caribbean 2012 74
Saint Lucia 21.6 39 Americas Caribbean 2012 75
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 25.6 28 Americas Caribbean 2012 76
Trinidad and Tobago 28.3 379 Americas Caribbean 2012 77
Turks and Caicos Islands (UK) 6.6 2 Americas Caribbean 2009 78
United States Virgin Islands (US) 52.6 56 Americas Caribbean 2010 79
Belize 44.7 145 Americas Central America 2012 80
Costa Rica 8.5 407 Americas Central America 2012 81
El Salvador 41.2 2,594 Americas Central America 2012 82
Guatemala 39.9 6,025 Americas Central America 2012 83
Honduras 90.4 7,172 Americas Central America 2012 84
Mexico 21.5 26,037 Americas Central America 2012 85
Nicaragua 11.3 675 Americas Central America 2012 86
Panama 17.2 654 Americas Central America 2012 87
Bermuda (UK) 7.7 5 Americas Northern America 2012 88
Canada 1.6 543 Americas Northern America 2012 89
Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France) 16.5 1 Americas Northern America 2009 90
United States 4.7 14,827 Americas Northern America 2012 91
Argentina 5.5 2,237 Americas South America 2010 92
Bolivia 12.1 1,270 Americas South America 2012 93
Brazil 25.2 50,108 Americas South America 2012 94
Chile 3.1 550 Americas South America 2012 95
Colombia 30.8 14,670 Americas South America 2012 96
Ecuador 12.4 1,924 Americas South America 2012 97
French Guiana (France) 13.3 30 Americas South America 2009 98
Guyana 17.0 135 Americas South America 2012 99
Paraguay 9.7 649 Americas South America 2012 100
Peru 9.6 2,865 Americas South America 2012 101
Suriname 6.1 33 Americas South America 2012 102
Uruguay 7.9 267 Americas South America 2012 103
Venezuela 53.7 16,072 Americas South America 2012 104
Kazakhstan 7.8 1,263 Asia Central Asia 2012 105
Kyrgyzstan 9.1 494 Asia Central Asia 2011 106
Tajikistan 1.6 126 Asia Central Asia 2011 107
Turkmenistan 12.8 660 Asia Central Asia 2012 108
Uzbekistan 3.7 1,060 Asia Central Asia 2012 109
China 1.0 13,410 Asia Eastern Asia 2010 110
Hong Kong 0.4 27 Asia Eastern Asia 2012 111
Macao 0.7 4 Asia Eastern Asia 2010 112
North Korea 5.2 1,293 Asia Eastern Asia 2012 113
Japan 0.3 442 Asia Eastern Asia 2011 114
Mongolia 9.7 266 Asia Eastern Asia 2011 115
South Korea 0.9 427 Asia Eastern Asia 2011 116
Taiwan 3.0 686 Asia Eastern Asia 2011 117
Brunei 2.0 8 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2012 118
Cambodia 6.5 964 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2012 119
Indonesia 0.6 1,456 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2012 120
Laos 5.9 392 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2012 121
Malaysia 2.3 652 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2012 123
Myanmar 15.2 8,044 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2012 124
Philippines 8.8 8,484 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2012 125
Singapore 0.2 11 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2012 126
Thailand 5.0 3,307 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2011 127
Timor-Leste 3.6 39 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2010 128
Vietnam 3.3 3,037 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2012 129
Afghanistan 6.5 1,948 Asia Southern Asia 2012 130
Bangladesh 2.7 4,169 Asia Southern Asia 2012 131
Bhutan 1.7 12 Asia Southern Asia 2012 132
India 3.5 43,355 Asia Southern Asia 2012 133
Iran 3.9 3,126 Asia Southern Asia 2012 134
Maldives 3.9 13 Asia Southern Asia 2012 135
Nepal 2.9 786 Asia Southern Asia 2011 136
Pakistan 7.7 13,846 Asia Southern Asia 2012 137
Sri Lanka 3.4 707 Asia Southern Asia 2011 138
Armenia 1.8 54 Asia Western Asia 2012 139
Azerbaijan 2.1 194 Asia Western Asia 2010 140
Bahrain 0.5 7 Asia Western Asia 2011 141
Cyprus 2.0 23 Asia Western Asia 2012 142
Georgia 4.3 187 Asia Western Asia 2010 142
Iraq 8.0 2,628 Asia Western Asia 2012 143
Israel 1.8 134 Asia Western Asia 2012 144
Jordan 2.0 133 Asia Western Asia 2011 145
Kuwait 0.4 12 Asia Western Asia 2012 146
Lebanon 2.2 95 Asia Western Asia 2010 147
Palestine 7.4 312 Asia Western Asia 2012 148
Oman 1.1 34 Asia Western Asia 2011 149
Qatar 1.1 23 Asia Western Asia 2012 150
Saudi Arabia 0.8 234 Asia Western Asia 2012 151
Syria 2.2 463 Asia Western Asia 2010 152
Turkey 2.6 1,866 Asia Western Asia 2011 153
United Arab Emirates 2.6 235 Asia Western Asia 2012 154
Yemen 4.8 1,099 Asia Western Asia 2010 155
Belarus 5.1 486 Europe Eastern Europe 2010 156
Bulgaria 1.9 141 Europe Eastern Europe 2012 157
Czech Republic 1.0 105 Europe Eastern Europe 2012 158
Hungary 1.3 132 Europe Eastern Europe 2012 159
Poland 1.2 449 Europe Eastern Europe 2011 160
Moldova 6.5 229 Europe Eastern Europe 2012 161
Romania 1.7 378 Europe Eastern Europe 2012 162
Russia 9.2 13,120 Europe Eastern Europe 2012 163
Slovakia 1.4 75 Europe Eastern Europe 2012 164
Ukraine 4.3 1,988 Europe Eastern Europe 2010 165
Denmark 0.8 47 Europe Northern Europe 2012 166
Estonia 5.0 65 Europe Northern Europe 2011 167
Finland 1.6 89 Europe Northern Europe 2012 168
Greenland (Denmark) 19.4 11 Europe Northern Europe 2009 169
Iceland 0.3 1 Europe Northern Europe 2012 170
Ireland 1.2 54 Europe Northern Europe 2012 171
Latvia 4.7 97 Europe Northern Europe 2012 172
Lithuania 6.7 202 Europe Northern Europe 2012 173
Norway 2.2 111 Europe Northern Europe 2011 174
Sweden 0.7 68 Europe Northern Europe 2012 175
United Kingdom 1.0 653 Europe Northern Europe 2011 176
Albania 5.0 157 Europe Southern Europe 2012 177
Andorra 1.3 1 Europe Southern Europe 2010 178
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.3 51 Europe Southern Europe 2011 179
Croatia 1.2 51 Europe Southern Europe 2012 180
Greece 1.7 184 Europe Southern Europe 2011 181
Italy 0.9 530 Europe Southern Europe 2012 182
Kosovo 3.6 64 Europe Southern Europe 2010 183
Malta 2.8 12 Europe Southern Europe 2012 184
Montenegro 2.7 17 Europe Southern Europe 2012 185
Portugal 1.2 122 Europe Southern Europe 2012 186
San Marino 0.7 x Europe Southern Europe 2012 187
Serbia 1.2 111 Europe Southern Europe 2012 188
Slovenia 0.7 14 Europe Southern Europe 2012 189
Spain 0.8 364 Europe Southern Europe 2012 190
Macedonia 1.4 30 Europe Southern Europe 2011 191
Austria 0.9 77 Europe Western Europe 2012 192
Belgium 1.6 182 Europe Western Europe 2012 193
France 1.0 665 Europe Western Europe 2012 194
Germany 0.8 662 Europe Western Europe 2011 195
Liechtenstein 0.0 0 Europe Western Europe 2012 196
Luxembourg 0.8 4 Europe Western Europe 2011 197
Monaco 0.0 0 Europe Western Europe 2008 198
Netherlands 0.9 145 Europe Western Europe 2012 199
Switzerland 0.6 46 Europe Western Europe 2011 200
Australia 1.1 254 Oceania Australasia 2012 201
New Zealand 0.9 41 Oceania Australasia 2012 202
Fiji 4.0 35 Oceania Melanesia 2012 203
New Caledonia (France) 3.3 8 Oceania Melanesia 2009 204
Papua New Guinea 10.4 713 Oceania Melanesia 2010 205
Solomon Islands 4.3 24 Oceania Melanesia 2012 206
Vanuatu 2.9 7 Oceania Melanesia 2012 207
Guam (US) 2.5 4 Oceania Micronesia 2011 208
Kiribati 8.2 8 Oceania Micronesia 2011 209
Micronesia 4.6 5 Oceania Micronesia 2012 210
Nauru 1.3 x Oceania Micronesia 2012 211
Palau 3.1 x Oceania Micronesia 2012 212
Cook Islands 3.1 x Oceania Polynesia 2012 213
French Polynesia (France) 0.4 1 Oceania Polynesia 2009 214
Niue 3.6 x Oceania Polynesia 2012 215
Samoa 3.6 7 Oceania Polynesia 2012 216
Tonga 1.0 1 Oceania Polynesia 2012 217
Tuvalu 4.2 x Oceania Polynesia 2012

There is no country, city, locale, or venue that is entirely safe. We need only keep an eye on the news to discover this reality. For us, a vital aspect of travel has been being as diligent as possible in regard to our personal safety, and yet, we still run the risk of becoming victims of crime, no matter where we may travel. 

After all, our own home country, the US is ranked #91 on this list, certainly on the higher end of the scale.  Seeing Australia ranked as #201 is not surprising to us. Also, with Fiji ranked at #203, which we’d checked long ago before booking Fiji, gives us peace of mind.

The beginning of the driveway heading down the hill doesn’t look steep in this photo, but it’s very steep.

Although we don’t spend time worrying about crime, we feel that knowledge is power. Protecting our stuff has been relatively easy with all the safety measures we have in place, which we’ll be sharing in tomorrow’s post along with a horrific vacation rental story that was in the news. It’s in protecting our physical selves that leaves us at the most risk.

Traveling to relatively safe countries certainly reduces those risks and staying away from high-risk cities, especially at night reduced the risk. No matter how diligent any of us maybe we’re never exempt from risk.  We often hear of tourist attacks on the news and pay considerable attention. The fact that we seldom dine out, walking streets at night to get to our car or a taxi, also reduces the risk. 

We’ve yet to use the hot tub in the yard for a few reasons, neither of us cares to use hot tubs and secondly, the cost to heat the hot tub and to keep it heated, if we used it, would be outrageous for the owner who pays all the utilities. 

We’re not implying that one shouldn’t dine-in at restaurants. (We tend to avoid restaurants when the food is a potential risk for me which varies from country to country based on how they season and add sauce to their protein sources. Australia is big on marinating and saucing their food). However, it may be safer dining out during daylight hours and avoiding dark spaces at night. 

The side yard off of the kitchen. Many of the huge plants in Australia are used as small houseplants back in the US.

Then again, we hear horrible stories of daylight hours incidences in cafes and on buses. One could make themselves crazy worrying about every potential situation. We ran some of the same safety risks in the cozy town where we lived in Minnesota, USA.

It’s difficult to climb up to the rainforest in the backyard.  Without trails, it would be tricky to explore.

For us, we choose to opt on the side of seeing that which we’d love to see, whether it’s a busy high-risk marketplace, a stroll along a potentially risky beach, or a visit to a country in which we can see wildlife. After all, we’ve already been to Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Tanzania, and on and on…all in the higher-risk categories.

We’ll continue to stretch ourselves to see that which appeals to us.  Last night on TV, we watched a fabulous TV show, “The Lost City of Petra (Jordan)” which seeing in person was one of the major highlights of our journey to date. We’d have missed this life-changing experience had we let fear rule our decisions.

Had we been too cautious in our travels, we’d have missed the opportunity to see this unbelievable site and to enjoy our photos for the rest of our lives of The Treasury in Petra, Jordan. For our Part 1 Petra on this memorable day, please click here. For Part 2, please click here.

If you have the opportunity to review these two above referenced posts, it becomes evident why we often choose to pull something out of the “bucket list” although there may be some risks, resulting in an extraordinary experience that we’ll never forget.

We continue on tomorrow with a scary vacation rental story, a must-see for all travelers who use online vacation rental sites.

Photo from one year ago today, August 17, 2014:

The Eurostar formerly referred to as “The Chunnel.” We were excited for a chance to travel on this train, one year ago, when we needed to get from Paris to London. Traveling on a train under the ocean was definitely a mode of transportation we anticipated with excitement. We weren’t disappointed, although many of our perceptions were dispelled.  For more details, please click here.

Tally of our expenses for 75 days in Marrakech, Morocco…A year ago…A once in a lifetime experience…Check out the photo!

This creative display is so Morocco, brilliant colors, beautifully presented.

With our massive spreadsheet opened, this morning I entered the final numbers for our expenses while living at Dar Aicha in Marrakech, Morocco for the past 2.5 months up to and including when we board the plane tomorrow.

These wristbands are marked “Lovely Price 20 dirhams,” which is only US $2.44.
The grand total including virtually every possible outlay came to a whopping US $14,028.63, MAD 15,0018.84, Euro 10277.11, GBP 8322.63. This averages to US $187.05 per day or US $5611.45 per month, within our monthly budget.
These little pots are often a tourist takeaway.

The stay in Morocco has been the highest cost per day for any two to three month period while living in a vacation home. The bulk of the reason for this increased amount is not due to our general expenses while here.  It’s a result of the higher cost of the rental, more than we’ve usually paid, at slightly more than US $8100, averaging at US $3240 per month.

Handbags, backpacks, and luggage and boots are often appealing to tourists at low prices.

We realize that some locations result in higher expenses. Dar Aicha’s rental rate included the expenses for a staff of four to which we added a 10% tip prorated to each staff member paid in two installments, based on the amount of work they’ve done for us. 

Morocco is known for its spices with Certified Spices a must!
Madame Zahra and Oumaima received higher amounts of the tips while Adil and Samir the lesser amounts. We paid the second half today again receiving warm hugs and kisses of appreciation. Ouch, it’s hard to say goodbye.
Chess, checkers, and Parcheesi sets are commonly offered for sale in the souks.
The costs for meals including dining out, the few snacks we purchased at the grocery store, bottled water, and dining out (including tips in restaurants) came to a grand total of US $2583.13 which is 18% of the total expenses, averaging at US $34.44 per day. 
Bangles and a variety of bracelets are a huge draw for tourists.

This amount is no more than our average monthly cost for groceries (which included paper products and cleaning supplies) in the US when we rarely dined out. In this case, we dined out 33 times with Madame Zahra cooking all the remaining meals. Dining out often cost close twice as much as dining in.

Silver-plated trays are affordable but bulky to pack.

None of these numbers are surprising to us. Overall, we were US $500 under budget. Wow! Budgeting certainly helps keep the expenses in perspective. There is no way one could travel as we do without a documented handle on expenses. It’s that budget that drives our expenditures, our luxury spending, and the occasional unexpected extras leaving us with peace of mind.

These scarfs were for sale for MAD 20, again only US $2.44.
It is that peace of mind that enables us to forge ahead, plan and look to the future with excitement and anticipation knowing full well that our journey can and will continue, health providing, long into the future.
Burberry knockoffs are a commonly offered item in the souks.
Tomorrow, with a plan in place to leave Dar Aicha at 2:00 pm to head to the airport we’ll again post as we wrap up the packing and say our goodbyes to the staff.  We will continue to post tomorrow before departure and again while on the two-hour layover in Lisbon, Portugal if we can find a WiFi signal. At least this is less than desirable laptop holds a charge long enough to last during the layover.
Yes, Marrakech had antique vendors with most items open for negotiation at reasonable prices. 

I get a lump in my throat over saying goodbye to Madame Zahra and Ouimaima who have graced us with their presence each day. We are grateful.

Very grateful.

Photo from one year ago today, May 14, 2013:
Based on the fact that the trip to Petra was a 12-hour expedition, we didn’t post on May 14th, the day of the actual excursion. Instead, we posted over the next few days as we will here as well.

This was our view as we made our way through the narrow passageways in Petra. The three-hour walk to the Treasury in the Lost City of Petra, Jordan was long and arduous, downhill on the way in and uphill on the way back. This journey was definitely not for the faint-hearted. Visiting Petra was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives, contrary to our usual lack of interest in historical buildings. This was a once in a lifetime “must-see” that will remain with us forever. More photos will follow over the next few days. For details, please click this link.

Part 2…A day to remember…Petra…Aqaba Jordan…photos, photos and more photos…Plus pirate drill!

Part 2.  Our experiences in Petra, the lost city.  Part 1 was posted yesterday on May 15, 2013.
For the detailed history of Petra, please click here.

Yesterday morning, after posting our Part 1 of our expedition to Petra, everyone aboard ship was to participate in a mandatory drill in preparation for our upcoming passage into the Gulf of Aden.

All passengers in the inside cabins would be required to stay in their cabins in the event pirates boarded the ship. Passengers in balcony cabin (us) and suites were to move to the hallways after locking their cabin doors staying in place until directed otherwise. 

The drill lasted 30 minutes as security maintained their stations to ensure all complied. The quiet was unsettling. 

As described to us, most often, pirates attack larger ships during the night. Thus, we’ve been instructed that tonight and over the next three nights, beginning at sunset and ending at sunrise, to keep our curtains closed and all outdoor lights off.  Also, all outdoor nighttime activities will be suspended during this four day period.  Walking along the decks at night will also be prohibited.

After speaking with a ship’s officer a short time ago, he explained upon my polite pressing, that an escort convoy of naval ship from multiple countries will be accompanying us over the next four days as we navigate toward and through the Gulf of Aden.

Are we frightened?  Not at all. The likelihood of pirates boarding a cruise ship at full speed with naval escorts is slim to none.  Although, we must admit that the excitement of it all adds to our varied experiences as we travel the world.

Who we are as individuals is comprised of all of our life experiences, good and bad.  Every step of our journey, now almost seven months since leaving Minnesota, has changed us in subtle ways, has changed our view of the world and, our view of our world.  These discoveries continue each and every day as new opportunities and challenges are presented to us, such as the visit to Petra.


Now, back to where we left off yesterday in Part 1 ending with this photo as we inched closer and closer to the Treasury at the lost city of Petra, Jordan:

This was the photo we posted at the end of yesterday’s Part 1 of our trip to Petra.
This was the next scene as we entered “the city” to see the world renowned “Treasury.”
We couldn’t stop shooting.  It was breathtaking!
In Jordan, the camel owners proudly let us take photos.  In Egypt at the Great Pyramids, either they’d grab your camera and smash it or demand $50 to get it back.
More of the Treasury, illustrating the rose hue to the daunting structure.
Actually, Tom was much happier than he looks in this photo!
Imagine, they said tourism is down.  What would it have been like if that wasn’t the case!
Check out the intrigue detail of Treasury performed by craftsmen over 2000 years ago. The twelve pillars represent the twelve months of the year.
The seven cups along the border illustrate the seven days of the week
After the long walk, sitting down for this not so smiley photo was a huge relief. The grates behind me at the front of the Treasury are protecting more intricate design.
Much to our surprise, vendors were set up by the Treasury but in Jordan, they weren’t “pushy” as they were in Egypt at the Pyramids.
We continued on past the Treasury to yet another area full of wonders.
This camel posing for us preferred his side view!
Visitors aren’t allowed to enter the various tombs and chamber.

The ride back was nerve racking, the bus bobbing along on the rough roads. Luckily, the day was cool which made a huge difference in our three hour walk. But when we got onto the bus, the driver put the heat on full blast. It was so hot, it felt as if it was burning our feet as it blasted out down below. No one on the bus said a word.

This donkey, high above us was standing on the rocks, waiting to be beckoned for his next passenger.
Tom, sitting on the aisle jumped up and approached the driver, kindly asking that he turn off the heat and put on the AC.  He agreed and the people on the bus cheered as the cool air came on.
Our tour guide positioned himself in an advantageous spot in order to take photos of passengers in our group using each of our own cameras.  He took the photo of us at the top of this page.

The ride continued on until about five miles from our ship.  Suddenly, a warning sound on the bus blared, startling all of us.  The driver stopped the bus, turning off all of the lights, as he pulled toward the curb.  Moaning ensued by the passengers. 

Wouldn’t it be interesting to crawl into these openings?

We heard one person say, “Oh, I knew this day was too good to be true.”

The open area by the Treasury make me wonder what it would have been like 2000 years ago filled with townspeople, animals and vendors, typical of the era.

My mind was spinning. It was already 7:30 pm. We could be stuck on this road for hours waiting for another bus, a hazard on the road with no taillights turned on.  Both the driver and the tour guide were speaking in Arabic on their cell phones trying to figure out what to do. Fifteen minutes passed.

More interesting formations.

Tom looked angry. I was worried. Soon, they both got back on the bus and the driver started it up. It sounded alright. We could see our ship at the far distance, its lights twinkling in the dark. Much to our delight, we were on our way once again, the driver mumbling something about a “bad sensor.”

More interesting entrances.

We didn’t get back to the ship until 8:00 pm. We were hungry, exhausted and anxious to move about. Rather than spend time showering and dressing for dinner, knowing the main dining room closed at 9:30, we dropped off our heavy bag, changed into clean clothes and headed to dinner.

Imagine the hard labor for the artists who crafted these stones.
Falling into bed by 10:30, we had smiles on our faces over an overall enriching day that neither of us will ever forget.
A doorway to…
Thank you, Jordan, a peaceful country rich in history and treasures they have gifted to the world to see.  We’re grateful, once again.

Part 1, A day to remember…Petra…Aqaba Jordan…photos, photos and more photos…

A fantastic day for both of us. Yesterday, we were before the world-renowned “Treasury” in Petra. 

It was a trying day, a walk beyond the difficulty of any walk I’ve ever experienced. It was a full three hours of rough, rocky, uneven terrain, downhill on the way to Petra and strenuous uphill on the return. 

This bus fleet was waiting as our ship approached the pier in Aqaba, Jordan. Yeah, the cattle herding thing… but we said “moo” with a smile this time.

We were enchanted by the history and beauty of this two-thousand-year-old ingeniously built gift to the world and were proud of ourselves for making the arduous trek.

Water was found in this area, resulting in this fertile green farmland. Enough water was discovered to supply Jordan for the next 60 years.

Leaving at 9:45 in the morning, we were herded to about 40 awaiting air-conditioned buses with a modicum of chaos, finding ourselves good seats in the front of the bus. No security guard was needed on these buses. 

The black goat’s hair Bedouin tents are shown in the back. The white structure appears to cover some type of equipment, protecting it from the elements.

Much to our surprise, we discovered that Jordan is now a peaceful country, its citizens warm and friendly, and its streets clean, although poverty prevails. We did not feel or sense any unrest, as we had in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt.

As we entered the area of Petra, the winding hilly roads were scattered with hotels, resorts, and restaurants to accommodate the endless flock of tourists from all over the world that also want to check Petra off of their “bucket list.”

On the two-hour drive, our tour guide pointed out that the borders of Israel and Jordan were a few miles from us. Also, the port to which we’d arrived is used by Iraq, which results in their using Jordan’s port for all their significant imports.

The rock formations along the way were breathtaking. Little did we know what lay ahead. (Due to the poor internet connection today while out to see, photos will be posted in varying sizes).

Again, as we had assumed that oil is produced in Jordan, we discovered our preconceived notions were wrong. Jordan pays exorbitant prices to buy oil from Saudi Arabia, as does much of the world.

 The further we walked, the more interesting the carved stone was.

The long drive to Petra was broken up by the occasional sighting of the black goat’s hair, Bedouin tents scattered throughout the barren desert, a flock of goats and sheep crossing the road, and an occasional herd of camels, donkeys, and horses.

When we approached this area, we thought we were there. We did not realize we had much more to walk to reach the Treasury.
Our guide explained that most Bedouin families are intelligent, successful entrepreneurs living thriving lives with little use of modern tools and equipment. However, they may own a vehicle for the movement and marketing of their wares. They are highly revered for their ancient ways by the Jordanian people.
Entrances to caves were everywhere.
Once we arrived in the Petra area, we were surprised by the hilly trek from the bus parking lot to the hotel, the Guest Houses of Petra. More anxious to get on our way than eat lunch, we followed the flock into the upscale restaurant sharing a table with four men, all experienced baby boomer world travelers.
It’s hard to believe the two-thousand-year-old craftsmanship.
The passageways became narrower and narrower as we continued along.
The raw beauty f nature, coupled with artistic skills, made the walk exciting, moment by moment.
Tom carried our heavy bag with water and supplies for the entire three hours of our journey.
Horses, donkeys, and wagons transported weary tourists to and from the Treasury.
We expected the Treasury to appear at each end of the long walk through yet another narrow passageway.
Hard to believe the feasts our eyes beheld.
 We thought we couldn’t make it through each time we encountered these narrow crevices, but we managed at each turn.
Looking up is more of nature’s wonders; we were enthralled.
Man and nature’s wonder combined was awe-inspiring.
Can you imagine the excitement of the Swiss adventurer that discovered this
find in 1812?
At last! The Treasury! This sight made us gasp with our hearts pounding wildly, less from the walk, more from sheer joy!

Part 2 of our fantastic expedition will continue tomorrow. With a poor Internet connection while out to sea, posting these photos has taken over an hour of online time. We’ll try to post some links about the history of Petra as well, but we’re having difficulty bringing up web pages.

And then, slightly more…
We can’t wait to share the remainder tomorrow! 

Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 14th…Petra Jordan excursion….Gone all day…

We’ll be back on Wednesday with photos and the story of our 10 hour expedition to Petra in Aqaba, Jordan.  Please check back for details.

“Lost City” of Petra Still Has Secrets to Reveal

A person standing in the doorway of the Monastery at Petra, Jordan, shows the enormity of the ancient building’s entrance. Carved into the sandstone hill by the Nabataeans in the second century A.D., this towering structure, called El-Deir, may have been used as a church or monastery by later societies, but likely began as a temple.