Limitations…Living within our means…Not always easy…

View from the chaise lounges of the pool, the Jacuzzi to the left, and beyond it, the cold plunge pool. Nice.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica” 

Even the entrance to this property is stunning, as taken from the veranda on a cloudy day.

It’s been raining almost every day. We knew when we booked this property during the rainy season, but we decided with as much “work” as we had to do while here, it wouldn’t matter to us so much.

Besides, the likelihood of finding a reputable rental car facility was iffy from what we’d read online and heard from our landlord Aad. Hence, we decided to rent a car periodically (via Aad’s contacts), which we’ll be doing one week from tomorrow for five days.  We’re waiting for the quote and will post it here.

We realized that if we’d paid the premium prices for a decent car for over three months, it would be sitting in the driveway most days due to the rainy days. So it wouldn’t make sense to go sightseeing on these mountainous roads during rainstorms which occur by noon almost every day.

We noticed the times it starts raining since we attempt to use the pool each day, but often I don’t get done uploading the post until almost noon, and by then, the sun is gone with thunderstorms and lightning surrounding us, not a good time to go into the water.

Neither of us cares to go sightseeing in the rain when we can avoid it. Thus, when we have the rental car next week, we’ll try to get out in the mornings, and a few of our posts may be uploaded later in the day. We’ll let you know when and if this occurs.

On Monday, the 21st, the first day we’ll have the car Aad will have arranged for us. In addition, we both have dentist appointments at a distant location at 1:00 pm, giving us ample time to post before heading out.

Pretty plants and trees are scattered throughout the grounds, which Ulysses keeps perfectly maintained.

This past Friday, we’d intended to go to the weekly Farmers Market in the village at 1:00 pm based on times stated in an online ad we’d seen that said it started at 6:00 am and ended at 6:00 pm. 

Well, as it turned out, Marian, Aad’s wife, informed us that the Farmers Market closes at 1:00 pm. So thus, we canceled the taxi driver with a plan to go next Friday, the 25th, when we could go on our own in the rental car, taking our time to mosey around and take plenty of photos.

Many tourists rent cars in Costa Rica without incident. But, there’s a big difference in renting a car for a week or two instead of three and a half months. The agencies tend to give us the least desirable vehicles based on the extended period and the reasonable prices we’ve received online.  Generally, this is fine with us when we’re saving vast sums of money over extended periods. 

In this case, it just didn’t work out, so we’re somewhat stranded in the interim. However, we always strive to live within our means, especially with the pricey Antarctica cruise in five months which we’ll pay off in full by October 16th, in a mere two months.

Our “belts are tightened” during this period to prepare for this significant outlay of cash. Recently, we had a cost of almost US $10,000 (CRC 5,761,850) for our extended stay here in Costa Rica for this fine property. With a strict budget to follow and much upcoming in the future, we live as modestly as we can. 

A careless world traveler could efficiently run through money so fast they’d quickly put an end to their travels. So for us, we carefully manage every dollar we spend to ensure we can continue until we physically can’t go on any longer, not when we “run out of money.” 

The driveway pavers are laid to perfection.

We live off of our fixed monthly income comparable to that of most retirees. Yet, living as comfortably as we often do (with a few exceptions here and there), we must continue to be frugal. That means few expensive professional tours, dining out at a minimum (my diet dictates this more than money), no needless shopping, planning and cooking our meals, and above all, not being wasteful. 

A huge benefit of spending 2018 and part of 2019 in Africa is that it enables us to recover from the high expenses of the three upcoming cruises, all occurring by January 23, 2018. 

When we leave Costa Rica on November 22nd, we’ll fly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for one night, after which we’ll be embarking on a 30-night back-to-back cruise to South America, finally ending in Buenos Aires, where we’ll stay 31 plus one night, as mentioned in a post of a few days ago, as shown here.

In a 78-night period beginning on November 23, 2017 (Thanksgiving Day in the US) and ending on February 8, 2018, we’ll be cruising for 47-nights.  The remaining nights we’ll be living in Buenos Aires as mentioned above.  Here again, we’ll have a long stretch where we won’t cook a single meal or make a bed.

Once we arrive in South Africa on or about February 9, 2018, we’ll begin to “lick our wounds” and once again be shopping, cooking, and taking care of our day-to-day lives on our own. A cleaner will come once or twice weekly while living in Marloth Park, comparable to here in Costa Rica, the delightful Isabel.

Gorgeous blooming plants.

That’s not to say we won’t have some significant expenses while in Africa with all we plan to do while there, leaving South Africa every three months (visa requirement) for one type of expedition or another that we’ll book once we arrive and settle in.

We’re in a constant state of flux, a state of being we both find exciting and adventurous, definitely not for everyone. However, most humans tend to find great comfort in gaining familiarity with their surroundings and creating a place to call home. 

Perhaps we nomadic humans in this world are more like the wildlife. We tend to go where the going is fruitful, where the going is exciting, continually on the move for the next adventure. So stay tuned, fellow travelers, fellow readers. Much more is yet to come.

Photo from one year ago today, August 13, 2016:

In the 1980’s I stayed in Phuket, Thailand, for a few weeks (before Tom, whom I met in 1991), splitting the time between two gorgeous resorts on the beach. Living in a vacation home in a resort town proved to be an entirely different experience when the front yards of many homes looked like this in the neighborhood of the lovely house we rented. This is the life of world travel, not always dreamy and gorgeous. For more details, please click here.

Updates and tidbits…Fun photos!…

A photo from guests staying at our upcoming rental house in South Africa.  Doing laundry takes on a whole new meaning!

As we write about the nuances of our days, on occasion we may leave a reader wondering what transpired with a particular situation that we may have mentioned in an earlier post.

The rental car: With no further email from Budget, we are assuming they decided to let us keep the car until we return it to Venice on September 1st.

When they agreed to extend the rental agreement (which we have in writing), they billed our credit card on file for the prorated balance through the return date.  Oddly, when they informed us that the car was sold, they reversed the charge of over $1300, yet to charge us for the balance.  There’s no doubt they’ll charge us for the balance once we return the car.

The bees and the fly’s issues: The coins in the Ziploc bags hanging in the doorways have reduced the influx of bees by 95% and the flies by 75%. Unfortunately, a few flies enter each day. For some peculiar reason, they don’t seem to land long enough to kill them. They are vicious, biting me with a frenzy. As a result, I have no less than 10 fly bites at any given time, that take no less than 5 days to stop itching. 

Can you imagine soaking in the tub with these visitors stopping by to say hello?

At 4:00 am this morning, I was awakened by the itching forcing me to take a Tylenol PM to get back to sleep.  Tylenol PM and other over the counter sleep aids, often contain diphenhydramine, an antihistamine that causes drowsiness and stops the itching. Luckily, I fell back to sleep.

It seems most of the bites occur around dinner time, the smell of food drawing them inside. Instead of feasting on the food, they feast on my arms and legs so fast I can’t shoo them away. Tonight, I am going to wear my Bugs Away long pants during and after dinner, hoping to keep the biting at bay.

The weather: For almost two weeks, we had over 90 degree days. Last week, it was 97 degrees, one day with humidity to match. It cools down nicely at night. On two nights we slept without covers, fortunately, not losing much sleep over the heat. 

Now that it’s beginning to cool down, it was so cool last night that I slept in warmer PJs. With the mosquito netting over one of the master bedroom windows, we can sleep without buzzing around our heads, enjoying the cool breeze. As we sit on the veranda while I write this, it’s no more than 68 degrees, wonderfully comfortable.  We’re hoping it continues to stay cool as we prepare to leave Tuscany soon.

Seat assignment for our upcoming flight: A few days ago, I called Turkish Air able to speak in English to a representative. She informed us that arranging seat assignment wasn’t possible until August 26th, a full week before the flight. I’ve never heard of this before. Most likely, we’ll be charged to sit together which we’ll disdainfully pay. 

Upcoming year’s prescription order.  In early July, we ordered all of our upcoming year’s prescriptions. They were to arrive in 6 boxes.  As of this date, only 4 boxes have arrived.  Now it may be too late for them to send them.  I’ve decided to wait until Monday. If they haven’t arrived, I’ll contact the company having them resend the missing boxes (hopefully, at their expense for expedited shipping). 

A box from our mailing service: The chargers for both of our computers will soon die, based on the difficulty we’ve begun to experience. Thus, it made sense before we leave for Africa, to order two new chargers, in the event either or both of them entirely fail. The replacement cost was US $9.95 each with free shipping in the US only. Also, I needed a few cosmetic items I’d be unable to find in Italy. 

We put together an order from Amazon, all with free shipping to be shipped to our mailing service in Nevada.  The chargers, along with my few cosmetic items were all shipped in one small box at a cost of US $50. Of course, they included the few pieces of mail we hadn’t received as yet, most of which we look at online at a cost of $2 per scan. The box arrived in 18 days from the shipping date via USPS international, coming directly to the door here.

Overpayment on credit card: When we saw the charge on the credit card for the prorated balance (as described above) on the rental car, I immediately paid the bill off in full.  Our goal is to keep all of our credit cards at a zero balance in the event of an emergency. When Budget reversed the charge (go figure) a few days later, we ended up with a credit on Master Card. Wouldn’t one assume, they’d just leave it there until additional purchases we made? Oh no! They mailed a check to our mailing service. How inconvenient!

Fortunately, we’d left dozens of envelope and deposit slips with our mailing service before we left Nevada, in the event we received any checks. Contacting our rep at the mailing service by email, I requested they deposit the check. Looking each day to confirm the deposit was made, it finally came through, taking a full week from the date it was mailed for the deposit to show in online banking.  Good to know. 

Staying on top of situations and tasks such as these, however small they may be, is thought-provoking and time-consuming. Luckily, Tom and I both prefer to avoid tasks hanging over our heads, so we strive to be diligent in getting tasks out of the way as quickly and painlessly as possible.

We’d rather save our time and energy over that which we have no control, the surprises, the unexpected. 

Now, I’ll go make a baking soda paste to see if that will help with the itching. I checked today to discover that both houses, in Kenya and in South Africa have screens. Yeah for screens!