Lovely house for auction in the neighborhood… Photos of the offered house next door…

View from the dining room balcony of the lovely house next door scheduled to be auctioned on April 22nd.

When Bob explained the house next door was scheduled for auction, we were excited at the prospect of attending the auction after having an opportunity to walk through to view its many fine features. Another story idea was born right before our eyes, and we were anxious to share it with our worldwide readers.

This second-floor veranda provides expansive views of the bay with plenty of space for entertaining and lounging.

Yesterday, when we arrived for the viewing at 11:30 am were surprised to discover the date for the auction for the house, named “Windemere,” had changed to April 22nd, the day we’ll sail away. In any case, we were thrilled to be able to participate in the open-to-the-public viewing.

View from the house for sale to Bob’s home next door. Sliding doors to our apartment are shown on ground level.
View from the veranda as shown above.

Prospective bidders must have been pre-approved by their bank or lending institution, confirming they are, in fact, qualified to make the purchase should they win the auction.

The spacious lounge/living room has rich wood finishes and a fireplace.

Auctions for real estate have been popular throughout the world for centuries. They have grown in popularity over the past several years as economic conditions have faltered, seriously impacting real estate values.

Alternate casual dining and lounge area.

During the worst of times during the real estate crash, most likely, home values in this area may have fallen, as was the case in most parts of the world. However, based on today’s pricing in Australia, values have more than fully recovered to the point where pricing is as high as we’ve seen anywhere in the world.

The formal dining room walks out to a balcony.

The listing agent, Eddy Piddington explained its expected the house will sell from AU 3,500,000, US $2,625,700 to AU 4,000,000, US $3,000,800. It will be interesting to hear the auction results should they sell on the upcoming scheduled date.

The kitchen has newer high-end appliances and sealed wood countertops.

When we entered the house with Bob and his friends, we were warmly welcomed by the attending real estate agents. Bob had prepared us for the estimated value based on the value of his home, which is of comparable size with similar views and amenities.

We wondered why the auction date had changed from yesterday to April 22nd, surmising there may not have been sufficient buyers prepared at this early date. Rescheduling for a later date would provide adequate time to roust up a few more bidders. 

The kitchen’s ample eat-in dining space.

Of course, in the interim, the property, located at 55 Upper Clifford Avenue, is listed on the market through Clarke & Humel real estate company which may be reached here at this link.  The listing agent, Eddy Piddington, may be reached via this link or contacted at 02 9977 3300 (office phone).

The master bedroom with excellent bay views has a step-down walk-in closet.

We were surprised to find as many “lookers” as individuals and groups large and small wandered through the property. As we always said in real estate, there was never a shortage of “lookie-loos” with no intention of bidding or making an offer.  They may consist of neighbors, curious tourists, and locals.

View from second of four-bedroom windows.

For us, we may fall into the category of all of the above, but our real intent was to share this information with our readers.  Who knows?  Perhaps, there’s a buyer out there in cyberspace who may discover this is their dream home.  

The house includes four bedrooms; this is shown as the smallest.

From time to time, we include real estate information for those of our readers who may be curious about markets in other parts of the world or, in some cases, in their neighborhoods.  

Pretty antique style chandelier, one of several throughout the home.

We found this excellent video for the property, which tells the story in more detail than we can illustrate here. Please click this link to see the well-presented video.

Guest bathroom.

As time quickly winds down toward our departure date, we enjoy every moment in this lovely area and part of the world. Australia has so much to offer, and we feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience many aspects of this fine country.

Have a fabulous weekend day, wherever you may be.

Photo from one year ago today, April 9, 2016:

Not our photo, but not unlike the experience we hope to have on our booked cruise to Antarctica in only nine months. The cruise was booked up so fast on the day it was posted, we decided to book this far ahead one year ago today. For more details, please click here.

Horrible weather in Sydney…Opera House tickets tonight…Happy St. Patrick’s Day!…

This cockatoo stopped by for a visit, alighting atop Bob’s medicinal Papaw tree in the yard.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those who celebrate. Today, March 17th in the US is also eldest son Richard’s 50th birthday. Happy birthday, Richard! It’s hard to believe you’re 50!  Richard is a highly successful real estate agent in Henderson/Las Vegas, Nevada with nothing but five star reviews in Zillow. (See here for details). We wish you continued success and much happiness and look forward to seeing you in July!

Evening walk through a portion of the shopping area near the Manly Ferry.

Today around 3:00 pm, we’re off to the Sydney Opera House in this outragous weather; windy, rainy and cold.  Bob will drive us to the Manly Ferry which will bring us within a 20 minute walk to the venue. 

Fish Cafe in Manly where we dined this week.

The only part of the trip that concerns us is that 20-minute walk from the wharf to the opera house in the event the pouring rain continues. We’re not concerned about getting soaked on the return walk to the ferry. It won’t be fun to be soaking wet while sitting in the theatre during the performance. 

Daily specials posted outside the restaurant where we dined with Bob this week. The highest-priced items on this menu at AU 36.90 is equal to US $28.42.

Bob has supplied us with an large umbrella which along with our hooded parkas we hope to stay dry.  Unfortunately, our parkas aren’t necessarily stylish for the opera but we have nothing else to wear. Plus, the only shoes I have that are appropriate for my outfit and the long walk are black sandals. So it goes.

We were early and the rush of diners had yet to arrive at the popular local restaurant.

This is a reality of our lives of world travel…if we chose to partake in a more dressy affair, we don’t necessarily have the appropriate clothing. As always, we’ll make the best of that which we have on hand. It’s worked on formal nights on cruises and will certainly be sufficient for the Sydney Opera House.

My plate of grilled barramundi, vegetables and a side of sour cream.

According to the theatre’s website smart casual is acceptable although they say many attend wearing formal attire while others may be dressing more casually. It was a relief to read this comment. Overall, Australians tend to dress casually for most events although they certainly can “dress to the nines” when they so desire.

Tom, with little interest in grilled fish, ordered the fish and chips.

Although no photos will be allowed during the performance, we’ll bring the camera in a waterproof bag and take as many photos as possible of the exterior and interior of the world renowned theatre which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post.

Bob dined on the grilled swordfish and salad.

Today’s photos are from a night out to dinner with Bob at a popular seafood restaurant in Manly. The beachfront area is rife with shops and restaurants which we look forward to browsing when the weather improves. Since our arrival five days ago, its been raining each day. 

Aquarium in the Fish Shop Restaurant where we dined  with Bob earlier in the week.

A week from Monday, we have a scheduled appointment at the Australian Immigration office in Sydney, after which we’ll know what we have to do in order to be able to board the cruise to the US on April 22nd. We’ll keep you updated on how this rolls out.

Manly Beach across the road from the restaurant.

For those who celebrate, have a safe and fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day. While in Ireland in September, 2014, we didn’t kiss the Blarney Stone after we heard dreadful stories about it. 

Us, in front of the Blarney Castle in Ireland in September, 2014.  Click here for this link.

Instead, we kissed one another with Irish on our minds although Tom kissed it twice on previous visits to Ireland (before I came on the scene). According to DNA test results Tom is 99% Irish, certainly sufficient to warrant celebration on this special day.

Happy green beer day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 17, 2016:

For a heartwarming and equally heartbreaking story of a favorite alpaca we so much loved, Mont Blanc, please check our year ago post.  Please click here for the details

Part 2…What does it cost to own and maintain a gorgeous vacation villa in Sumbersari, Bali? Photos, pricing and expenses!

View from the veranda of the second floor of the new villa presently for sale.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Fisherman near the shore fishing with nets.

Today we are delighted to continue sharing the final photos and expenses for the new villa of Gede and Egon on the road to our villa in Sumbersari, Bali. If you have any additional questions, please contact Gede by email at

Lounge at the second floor.

As mentioned in yesterday’s Part 1 of this two part post, today we’re including estimated expenses for owning this villa, comparable to expenses owners may incur for similar villas in this area. These totals can change according to the individual use of public services.  

Top-level lounge in the new villa.

As reported in yesterday’s post, the asking price for this private villa is IDR 3,616,896,723, EU 249,000, US$ 279,017.

Credenza, wiring and space for TV and audio equipment in upper level living room

Estimated monthly expenses for the following:
IDR 3,000,000, US $230, EU 205:  Household staff of two, including one cook/cleaner and landscape/pool maintenance staff member.
IDR 2,000,000, US $153, EU 137:  Electricity, well water, bottled gas for stove.
IDR 6,000,000, US $460, EU 411:  Internet, satellite (TV) services.

Estimate annual expense
IDR 200,000, US $15,  EU $14:  Annual property tax (This is not a typo.  Property taxes are paid at the time of the purchase of vacant land).

Estimated income for vacation/holiday rental (per night)
IDR 2,000,000, US $153, EU 137 (a 5% governmental rental tax is payable).

Outdoor dining area in villa’s upper level.

A prospective buyer must be prepared to either pay cash for the purchase of property in Indonesia or arrange for financing outside of Indonesia. No mortgage funds are available for foreigners unless its under special circumstances.

Bean bag chairs for lounging on the second story veranda.

For those seeking an affordable vacation home in a beautiful, peaceful and safe location, this villa may be worth considering. One can only imagine the excitement and pleasure of owning such a property in this lovely area.

Master bedroom on second story with en suite bathroom.

As an aside, we’d like to thank and give kudos to our mailing service, MailLinkPlus in Nevada. Eric, our loyal and diligent representative of the company, has proven to manage all of our packages and snail mail with the utmost of confidentiality, attention to detail and professionalism. 

En suite master bath with double sinks, huge shower with tile, stone and wood finishes.

Often responsible for opening certain confidential pieces of mail to scan and email to us, plus sorting and securing all mail until we request a shipment and then, the eventual packing and shipping of items we’d like to receive in any given country, the service has been impeccable.

Alternate view from second level.  Java is located at the horizon.

With this month, the four year anniversary of our annual contract with MailLinkPlus, we want to thank Eric and his staff for handling our snail mail with the utmost of integrity. Today, he shipped a large box of supplies to us here in Bali, which we expect to arrive within a few weeks, in ample time before our departure from the villa on the 29th. 

The cost for the shipping via USPS was US $181, IDR 2,358,701. I asked about insuring the package, but Eric recommended we do not insure it to reduce the risk of theft. Had we insured it, the likelihood of being able to collect the insurance would have been a time consuming and difficult process, not worth the contents. 

Pool views from second story.

We sit back and keep our fingers crossed it will arrive safely and in time. Most likely, the contents will be checked upon arrival and we’ll be subject to pay customs fee. Gede explained this can be negotiated at the time. We shall see and report the results here at the time.

As for what’s transpiring otherwise, we’re doing very well. The Minnesota Vikings won yesterday’s football game. Tom was thrilled. They’re 4-0 since the regular season began, weeks ago and we’re optimistic for the remainder of the season. 

View toward the security/common party building located to the right of the paved narrow path to the beach.

With only two more games until we board the ship on October 31st, we’re hoping for a strong enough signal on the ship’s new Wi-Fi system, ZOOM, to be able to stream the game using the NFL’s GamePass app which Tom’s purchases annually. 

Today, sunny and hopefully a little less humid, we’ll spend most of the day outdoors. It’s rained quite a bit these past days since our return from Lovina but part of each day has been clear. 

Exterior view of the entrance to the villa.

Tonight, we will anticipate one of our favorite meals perfectly orchestrated by our two excellent cooks, Ketut and Ketut. Once again, they’ll prepare the spicy Balinese chicken in a sugar and starch free sauce along with a big bowl of locally grown sautéed spicy organic vegetables.

Tom will have coleslaw and white rice as side dishes while I stick to the main course of chicken and veggies.

May your taste buds soar over a tasty meal and may your day be bright and sunny.

Photo from one year ago today, October 5, 2015:

Seeing Vanua’s Levu Blue Lagoon in Fiji was pure pleasure. The color was breathtaking. For our story on local culture, please click here.

Foreigners buying real estate in Fiji…Chinese gaining a foothold…

Upon seeing this ship from the fast-moving taxi in traffic, we were curious as to the purpose of this vessel. Upon returning home we discovered this: “The Yuan Wang 3 is at the Suva Harbour. The vessel is used for tracking and support of satellite and intercontinental ballistic missiles by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of the People’s Republic of China.”

Fiji is fast growing as a desired tropical paradise in which to own real estate. A recent headline:

“November 27, 2015, 1:24 pm

Fiji’s political stability spurs buyers to seek piece of paradise

The country’s return to democracy and growing economy are attracting more foreign investors to its idyllic shores

It may be several thousand miles from Hollywood and Silicon Valley but Fiji is a partial home to some of California’s more notable residents. Google co-founder Sergey Brin has a superyacht, “Dragon Fly”, lapping the crystal clear waters while film star Mel Gibson owns an island just a speedboat ride away.

The attractions are clear: a tropical climate, some of the world’s best surfing, and a dazzling array of beaches. Yet while Fiji is a playground for the super-rich, it is also fast becoming a magnet for property investors.”

To continue with the remainder of this news story, please click here.

Moving quickly in traffic, it was impossible to focus on clearer photos of the satellites on this Chinese ship in the Suva harbor. For more details on this ship, please click here.

To single out China as a major player in the development market, is not unrealistic. As we drove along the highways, we saw flags flying in the breeze one after another in groupings over massive plots of oceanfront property, all indicating future development.

With a minimum of readily available experienced labor and many Fijians already serving the needs of their own people, developing these properties may be challenging with the necessity of bringing in laborers from other parts of the world.

With the abundance of hotels and vacation homes we’ve noted on the two most populated islands, Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, we wonder how much in demand houses built on large tracts of land will appeal to the general world population as a preferred retirement or vacation’/holiday property, especially during these times of uncertainty.

Many homes are offered for sale.  Here’s a link to homes for sale.  Here’s a link to a money converter where you can convert these prices to your country’s currency.

Many times, in these past almost four months in Fiji, we’ve discussed how ideal Fiji maybe for the retiree on a limited budget. With reasonable rentals and housing prices, free medical care for all including visitors and expats, the low cost of purchasing groceries, vegetables with fruit for the picking on most plots of land, it could actually be the ideal environment for those on a fixed income.

A single person on standard US Social Security most likely couldn’t afford it alone, but a pair living together with some back up funds possibly could make it renting a modest home, living a lot less frugally than necessary in the US with its medical care and dental care, prescription costs, housing and food costs over the top.

That’s not to say, we’re considering it. We’re not. Although, everywhere we live, we engage in many conversations as to whether the current location would be a possible place to live out our days, if we ever needed to stop traveling. 

Many homes appeared to be built ten to twenty years ago, prior to the economic crash.

For us, we’d only stop due to health concerns.  In that case, we may prefer to be close to top-notch medical care as opposed to the limitations of the availability of the most current medical technology and procedures, such as in Fiji in the free hospital.  We’ve heard the care is good, although many tourists and ex-pats choose private hospitals for a fee, as opposed to the “free” hospitals. 

Fiji is an island paradise.  The areas in which we’ve lived are more remote than many popular tourist locations.  Living in a house as opposed to a hotel creates an entirely different sense and feel.

Living in a house isn’t luxurious or romantic when we cook, clean and fen for ourselves most days.  Here, a weekly cleaning person for three hours reduces some of the work, but day to day, we live like the rest of the world; making the bed, doing dishes, sweeping the floor, cleaning the bathroom and on and on.

Pacific Harbour is exactly one of those types of neighborhoods the Chinese and others will be developing in the future with homes in varying price ranges.  Some communities may be more upscale for the more affluent.

Owning a home wouldn’t be a lot unlike how we’re living now, except those doing so may afford full time household help for all cooking, cleaning and daily tasks. For us, even if that were possible, we imagine that in time we’d become bored and antsy.

We’ve lived in more upscale homes in our travels. We’ve lived in modest homes in our travels. For us, it’s basically the same. Once the familiarity of the lush surroundings settles in, it becomes the familiarity and joy of “how” we live our daily lives that make it rich and rewarding. 

With a pool, if possible, working wifi, a comfortable bed and furniture, and a few screens on windows, an ample size refrigerator, we feel as of its all the luxury we need. If we have an amazing view, its a bonus. Ants? Bugs? Mozzies? They’re everywhere regardless of the amenities or value of a property. We’ve learned to live with them.

A private drive to an upscale home in our neighborhood.

For buyers of vacation property and travelers throughout the world, Fiji fulfills all of their dreams and expectations. Thus, the purchase of real estate will continue to appeal to both individuals and large corporations.

Two weeks from today, we fly away to our next location grateful for the experience of living in Fiji on two islands for a total of four months. Once again, on our last day, we’ll include the expenses for the month in Viti Levu and a grand total for the four-month period.  Perhaps, for those considering a long-term stay in Fiji, this information may be helpful.

Tom’s watching the clock so he can begin watching today’s Minnesota Vikings football game from the NFL GamePass app (only for use outside the US) on his computer using the HDMI cord plugged into the flat-screen TV. It’s funny that having a TV has become a luxury! Oh, good grief, I was just flicking through the channels for news and found today’s Vikings game, live on Fiji TV! Go figure.

Happy day to all during this holiday season and always!

Photo from one year ago today, December 21, 2014:

Tom and TJ looking out at the sea for whale blowholes, a common sighting in the area of our two vacation homes. In another day, the rest of the family would begin to arrive. For details, please click here.

Extermination day…Much to prepare…A year ago…A rare endangered species…

Late yesterday afternoon, Tom spotted this partial rainbow, taking this great shot.  

In our old lives, the only time we’d call an exterminator would be in an extreme case of an infestation by any insects or creatures that we could not rid ourselves of after trying every natural method possible. 

The last time I got rid of a creature in our old lives I used a safety trap with cheese. In a short time, I had it trapped and let it go outside.

Living in OPH (other people’s homes) we don’t have the opportunity to decide on the maintenance they choose for their property. Other than a few biting flies and mosquitoes, we haven’t seen many insects since arriving at this Maui property two weeks ago. 

About a year before we left Minnesota, I spotted this Chipmunk on the bottom step in our house. I ran upstairs to the attic, getting the safety trap which I’d set with a chunk of cheddar cheese on the floor near the steps.

I imagine that on a regular basis, a part of the association dues paid by the owners every month is allocated to pest control. Most likely, the work is done every few months or so. 

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t be exposed to such chemicals that we’re so adamantly opposed, except in urgent situations as was the case in Kenya where bugs were crawling all over the walls. It was this experience that broke us in part to an aversion to insects. As long as they wouldn’t bite or crawl all over us we could live with it.

It’s the biting insects that are hard to take when I’m an awaiting meal for any voracious biting insect who invariably thumb their noses at Tom when they see me.

An hour later the adorable chipmunk was chomping on the cheese. I brought the case outside, opened the door, and her/him out tossing the remaining cheese in her direction.

Today, an exterminator is coming to do this entire condo complex. With no room in the cabinets for any non-perishable foods, of which we purchased in bulk in preparation for Hurricane Ana, this morning we moved all the food to the bedroom, placing it on the bed and covering it with beach towels. 

Also, we cleaned off the countertops in the bathroom of all of our toiletries stuffing everything into the limited space cabinets and drawers. We removed the extra rolls of toilet paper and the tissues, fearful of the toxic stuff ending up in the most delicate of places.

We have no say in this or any other type of scheduled maintenance while we’re living in someone else’s property. Luckily, the owners of the homes we’ve rented these past two years (tomorrow’s our two year anniversary of leaving Minnesota).

I can’t recall the last time we put onions on the bed.  We covered them after taking this photo.

The kindly owner of this condo called and asked how we’d feel about the property being shown for sale while we’re living here. We, in turn, kindly asked that they wait until we leave. 

The house in Morocco was for sale during our stay. There were three showings while we were home, feeling we should be there to keep an eye on our stuff. We felt very uncomfortable with strangers coming into the house.  Having been in real estate for many years I know the risks associated with the possibility of perpetrators “scoping out” a home for digital equipment and other valuables.

Even the bottle water needed to be hidden from the exterminator’s toxins.

I also know that real estate people have no knowledge if a potential buyer is in fact a criminal. Background checks aren’t provided on prospective buyers. Anyone can get an appointment to see a house.  

After the experience in Morocco, we decided that we won’t rent a house that is actively for sale unless the owner agrees that no showings will occur during our occupancy.

Yea, that’s Spam. It’s low carb and gluten-free. Tom’s been eating a little each day as a snack. No thanks!

The bottom line, these aren’t our homes. Unless specified during the time of a rental agreement, we have no control over maintenance, and other owner arranged visits to the property.

I’m certain that if we’d asked the owner of this condo to keep the exterminator away, they would have complied. But, with the precautions we’ve taken today, we’re at ease, certain that we’ll be fine as will the items we’ve put out of harm’s way.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, October 30, 2013:

When we were on “vacation” for three days, one year ago today, we spotted the elusive and endangered Colobus Monkey. No words can express how overjoyed I was to have this one pose for me. We’d seen a few dash through the yard in Diani Beach, Kenya but hadn’t been able to get a photo until this one. For more photos of these monkeys and more, please click here.

Real estate for sale in Belize…Offered by our Minnesota neighbors, here in Belize…

The lagoon side of the house.

This morning we took a short hike to see the home being built across the road on the lagoon, by our new friends and neighbors from Minnesota here at Laru Beya.

Upon completion and landscaping this meticulously built and designed home will be a virtual paradise for the discriminating buyer.
Tomorrow night we’ll have our Minnesota Pot Luck dinner with our new friends, neighbors and the builders and owners of this unique property.  We’ll surely have plenty of stories to share about our lives back in The Land of 10,000 Lakes (now they say its over 15,000 lakes).
View from the rooftop to the lagoon.
As for tonight, today is our anniversary and we plan to celebrate it in style at a gourmet dinner next door, only feet from the ocean, the sound of the waves, slapping at the shore, music to our ears.  Happy Anniversary, my love.  Thanks for this pleasing, low key, low stress lifestyle of our own. 
  Closer view of the rooftop’s spiral staircase that, can you believe, we climbed up without handrails (as yet) with only ropes for a guide.  Not big on heights, I hung on to Tom for dear life, managing to go up and down without screaming.  Once handrails are installed not only on the stairway but fully around the rooftop, this will be one of the best viewing spots in Placencia.

The house is currently listed on MLS but what we saw today is much more complete than the photos depicted on the listing.  Thus, we’ve added some photos of our own.

The lagoon and marina.

Spending most of my career in real estate and now retired, I can’t quite get real estate out of my blood.  This is a fabulous well constructed and designed property, ideal for those seeking a primary home in a tropical climate or as a second home that could be fully furnished and stocked to be utilized as a vacation rental home, such as those that we are renting all over the world.

The beautiful kitchen is almost completed.

The property is reasonably priced at USD $575,000 with its expansive ocean and mountain views offering easy access to the Caribbean Sea via a deep lagoon suitable for larger boats.

 The future pool will be completely round.

Close to shopping, restaurants and adventure activities, this home presents the utmost of desirability for the those seeking not only an investment property in this rapidly expanding area but a virtual paradise for one’s personal use and pleasure.

With our new friends from Minnesota, their Minnesota area code and phone number are displayed on this sign.

Yet to be completed, there were no less than 11 local workers hustling about the property zeroed in on various projects with the hope of completion in the very near future. 

Tom was checking out the rooftop bar.  The railings had yet to be installed making it a little freaky to walk around so many stories above the ground level.

As is common in tropical areas, the pace is slower than that which we’re used to in more metropolitan areas of the world.  As we’ve so well experienced in our time here since January 29, 2013, the slower pace definitely is not as a result of laziness in the case of the workers. 

From what we’ve experienced the work ethic is strong in Belize from the quality of the individuals we’ve met.  It appears to be more a matter of balancing one’s life making time for family, personal activities, hobbies and strong community involvement.  Those of us from the fast paced, stress inducing lifestyles so common worldwide, have much to learn from the Belizean lifestyle.

Soon, this enchanting property will be sold and in the hands of the perfect buyer seeking a complete lifestyle change or a modern, unique upscale home providing them with a respite from the stresses of daily life elsewhere.