Four days and counting…Packing has begun…

We took this photo on Volstruis Street. The word volstruis means ostrich in Afrikaans. Sadly, in the past year, the lions killed all the ostriches in Marloth Park. For this post, please click here.

Note; Today’s photos are from a post on this date in 2018. For the story, please click here.

It’s been a long and enjoyable three months living in The Villages in Florida, but we are ready to move on. We never had a chance to look at any real estate for sale when neither of the agents we contacted returned our calls. They must be so busy they didn’t have time to deal with our curiosity.

Not only do they gravitate toward the river for food but also for water, where they drink, play, and swim.

We would have liked to peruse a few houses, but we had to let that option waft away with only the golf cart and the new construction very far from here. Besides, after three months here, we’ve decided we have no interest in ever living here permanently when and if this time comes that we must settle somewhere.

The summer weather is unbearable, and with the small backyards and gardens, there’s little chance or desire to be outdoors, which we’ve missed. It’s just not for us with the lack of wildlife and nature, although the scenery is quite lovely driving through the vast retirement community.

I am not a photographer by nature, but hopefully, over time, I will improve. Photo from 2018.

We loved seeing so many of our friends here, but we can and most likely will return to Florida for a visit sometime in the future and see them all again if it works out. We like that it’s an income-tax-free state, like Nevada, our state of residency, but that would never inspire us to live here.

We weren’t here during the busy winter season when many residents told us they couldn’t get a place to park when visiting any of the town squares for dinner, let alone getting a reservation for a meal. They said the traffic on the roads and golf cart paths is indescribable during winter when tourists and property owners return from colder climates for the excellent weather.

The green grasses along the river are pleasing to the elephants.

That’s not for us. We’re happier living in remote areas, away from crowds, long queues and traffic. Looking back at our almost 11 years of world travel, most of it was spent in remote locations.

You may ask, “Why would we enjoy cruising with the crowds on the various ships?”

The answer is simple. Sailing on a large ship with 500 to 2000 passengers doesn’t feel crowded to us. We can freely wander about the ship, find places to relax and socialize in the various areas and venues and really feel like we are in a small town. Plus, socialization on a cruise ship is ten times easier than it’s been while out and about here in The Villages.

Wildebeest Willie and a friend, along with some warthogs, at night.

We thought it would be more social, but we found many residents have their own little “cliqies” and don’t easily include “newbies” in the conversation. However, I must add we did meet several wonderfully friendly and interesting people while out and about in the town squares on several occasions.

I suppose my problem is comparing everywhere we go to Marloth Park, where strangers smile and stop to chat while at the market, the pharmacy, and then again…our favorite place, Jabula, “where everyone knows your name.” (Remember that line from the TV series, “Cheers?”

Trying out a few of the camera techniques I learned from our friend Ken, I still see that I have a long way to go.

Now, I must wrap this up and get to packing my stuff for the bag we’re shipping to the hotel in Minnesota, where we’ll arrive in less than seven weeks after the two cruises, one day in Boston with my cousin and the nine-day visit to Henderson, Nevada, to see Richard and renew our driver’s license. We’re looking forward to it all.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 24, 2013:

This was one of the many photos we took on the beach in Belize. As we’ve traveled, we’ve found that each beach has its breathtaking beauty, memorable in its way. For more, please click here.

Winding down…Two fun videos…

This video was posted at this post on this date in 2018. It was such a joy to see this again! Also, see the video below from ten years ago today, in 2013.

In speaking with friends Linda and Ken yesterday (it was Linda’s birthday), she explained they are also going to be in Marloth Park in a few months; around the same time, Rita and Gerhard will also be visiting, who will be staying in our old house  It’s too bad we won’t be there to be with our friends  If it were one year later, we’d also be there.

Instead, we’ll enjoy the photos and experiences they will share with us during their time in Marloth Park. During that period, we’ll be in South America, having experiences of our own that we’ll share here in photos and posts with them and all of our worldwide readers.

With “White Night’ upcoming on the Azamara cruise beginning on August 1, I ordered a few items, including a pair of white jeans and a white top that fit without trying them on. I ordered the jeans directly from Levi’s since I have two pairs of Levi blue jeans, figuring if I purchased the same size, the white jeans would work, and they did, much to my relief. The shirt also worked, and I am ready for that special event.

Tom is all set, too. While in the US a few years ago, when we knew we’d be going on Azamara cruises, he also purchased a pair of white jeans.

Speaking of clothes, I went through the closet yesterday to see what items I could donate to the Salvation Army. Since I take good care of my stuff, I feel comfortable donating some of my used items. Going online to the Salvation Army’s local site, I was able to schedule a pick-up for this coming Friday. I am hoping to lighten my baggage weight substantially.

No longer, in this life, do I ever get attached to clothing items since most can be replaced. Although, in many foreign countries, I can’t find anything to fit me based on my height, I am much taller than most women. Here’s a small sampling of the average heights of women in various countries from this site.

“Country Average Height for Women

The Netherlands 5 ft  5.5 in. (168.7 cm)

Barbados 5 ft  4.2 in (165.5 cm)

United States 5 ft  3 in. (161.5 cm)

China 5 ft  2.4 in. (159.8 cm)

Iran 5 ft  2.3 in. (159.7 cm)

Nigeria 5 ft  1.3 in. (156.4 cm)

Guatemala 4 ft. 8.8 in. (149 cm).”

As a result, it’s difficult for me to find pants and tops that work for my frame. Most of the items I can fit into are from stores in the US that offer tall sizes. These items can often only be purchased online when most shops don’t carry tall sizes due to lack of need. Thus, I rarely have an opportunity to try something on, so I must buy the same brands over and over again to ensure they’ll fit.

Usually, while in the US making some purchases, I have no interest in buying things to try on and potentially return. Paying extra for return postage is foolish, so I am cautious about what I buy. For Tom, it’s a lot easier, as it often is for men.

In any case, I’m thinking about packing, although I am not putting anything into suitcases yet. That process will begin next week as we prepare the suitcase we plan to send to Minnesota to avoid taking everything with us and incurring added baggage fees, far exceeding the cost of shipping the bag.

This morning was stormy again. We haven’t walked in days due to inclement weather. Once we leave, we’ll get plenty of walking in, even when walking back and forth on the ship each day and going on excursions. I am considering working out in the fitness centers on the two upcoming cruises and again in the hotels in Nevada and Minnesota. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked out in a health club, and I will do so carefully.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 17, 2013:

A video (not ours) of a motorbike ride through Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy, on this date ten years ago. For the text, please click here.

“White Night” on the upcoming cruise…More photos from Tuscany…

The bell tower in Colognora is almost identical to our everyday view.

Today’s photos are from a post ten years ago today, while we were living in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy, found at this link.

    Hundreds of years later, Stone endures to provide excellent insulated housing for generations of homeowners.

This morning, it dawned on me that I didn’t have anything to wear for the upcoming “White Night” on the Azamara cruise beginning three weeks from today. I went through my neatly hung clothing in the closet, fully aware of what I had and didn’t have, and couldn’t find a single possibility.

I’m not really a dress person. I prefer to wear pants, especially these days with all the scars on my legs from the heart surgery. If pantihose were still fashionable, I could wear the opaque style, but I don’t want to look like an old lady wearing nylons (no offense intended to anyone of any age who still wears nylons). They could hide a multitude of flaws. (Only women will get this).

Many old houses show water damage and wear due to heavy precipitation and humidity in the Tuscan regions.

No, I haven’t lost all the weight I’d intended to while we’re in Florida. All I can say is it’s been hard to do while I’ve still had this dumb facial and head pain. It seems impossible right now to focus on losing weight when I’m trying everything possible to eliminate this chronic pain since I had Covid-19 15 months ago.

We were looking back from Bagni di Lucca to Colognora as we continued our journey to Pescia to load up on groceries and find a Barbieri (barbershop) for Tom. He hadn’t had a haircut since March in Belize.

Of course, I am a little apprehensive about getting Covid again going on these two cruises, but I am comforted by the fact that we hear less and less from our cruising readers that they’ve become ill with that virus. Passengers get other viruses on cruises, but now that we’re obsessed with hand washing and close contact, maybe we’ll be ok. It’s a risk we take to continue on with our lives of world travel.

This looks almost identical to the above photo of Colognora, but it’s the bell tower at Villa Basicillica, another village we visited today.

Anyway, back to the White Night issue. We want to participate, and Tom has white clothes that work for him. So this morning, I looked at the tags on two pairs of jeans that fit me well and tried to find the exact jeans in white online. It wasn’t as easy as I thought, but I finally succeeded, placed the order, and a pair of white jeans will arrive within five days.

Once they get here, I try them with one white shirt I have that may work, and if all is well, I’m good to go. If the shirt isn’t good, I’ll buy something on Amazon to arrive in a few days. Problem solved. I hope.

Old, abandoned property that most likely burned many ago. In the US, most burned-out structures would be torn down.

This morning, again, II slept late and feel better today. It seems that my head pain is less on the days I sleep more. I wish I could find another way to get some relief, but for now, I will accept this for whatever reason it helps. Once we get on the ship, I won’t sleep so late since we’ll want to go to breakfast in the dining room and begin our day aboard the ship, which is always fun for us.

It’s pouring rain again today. I’d hoped to go to Walgreen for a few things, but we’ll wait and go another day. We can’t believe how much it rains here. Neither of us had ever spent so much time in Florida in the summer months and had no idea as to the number of storms that roll through, day after day. We haven’t gone on our walk for a few days due to the weather but hopefully can resume soon.

Many years ago, the creek running through the village created an enticing backdrop for the many homes along its banks.

Today, again, we’ll stay in. We are never disappointed to stay in. We so enjoy our days and evenings whatever we do. We love the stimulation and adventure of traveling, but soon, we’ll be doing plenty of that. We’re also looking forward to seeing my cousin in Boston in September, my son in Nevada, and our three adult children and grandchildren in Minnesota. Since we began our travels, we’ve never stayed in Minnesota for a month. We’ll have plenty of time to spend with family and friends before we start our long journey to South America.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 11, 2013:

The red paint slashed across the town’s name indicates leaving the village limits. We’d purchased a half-a-cart full of the freshest organic vegetables, grass-fed meats, locally made exquisite cheeses, and free-range eggs, enough to feed us for 14 days and nights. Why is it so much less than what we paid in the US, never less than $200 per week, using coupons and scrambling to get the most current specials? Who knows? For more photos, please click here.