Nearly landlocked due to storms and road washouts…Stunning photos of our area…Happy Valentine’s Day!…

First, I’d like to thank Marlothian, Thea Sander, for sharing today’s photos with us, which she took yesterday after the constant rains resulted in washouts on several roads in our area. If it weren’t for one short stretch of another road, we’d be landlocked until everything dries out. Road maintenance in Marloth Park is minimal at best.

With the bit of car we rented a month ago, there is no way we’d attempt to get out right now. With rain forecast through Monday with a short reprieve midweek, it appears it will pick up again next Saturday. We may not be going anywhere for days. After raining for at least three of the past four weeks, the ground and the roads are soaked and may not become passable again for weeks to come.

In any case, it’s certainly better than sitting in a hotel room in Mumbai, India, for months. We can cook, do laundry, feed a few determined wildlife that comes to call when the rain stops in short bursts, and move about freely. This is quite an improvement. Hopefully, by following Monday, the 22nd, we’ll be able to drive to Komati for my next dentist appointment to see if the tooth abscess is gone. Hoping.

Marloth Park doesn’t have a stable infrastructure for utility services and road maintenance, although their emergency services, including fire, rescue, snake removal, rangers, security, and wildlife control, are exemplary. Cost is the determining factor as it is in most municipalities. The citizens and powers-that-be of Marloth Park chose correctly when they had to “pick and choose” their priorities.

Of course, the reliability of electrical services is predicated by the poorly managed national electric company, Eskom. This is the case throughout the entire country when load shedding is an ongoing fact of life in South Africa.  It’s impossible to determine when and if this will ever change. However, often their staff is quick to respond when there is damage to the lines, usually coming out in inclement weather and the middle of the night.

Many, if not most, African countries struggle with their infrastructure, resulting in many observers describing them as “third world countries.” In our travels, we often hear other travelers describe parts of the world as “third world.” But, this phrase has become derogatory and outdated in today’s modern world. We kindly offer a more appropriate phrase for such a country as a “developing nation.”  See more on this topic here at this link.

Without question, poverty, wars, unrest, and corruption are instrumental in a country’s slow progress in building a more robust infrastructure. But, as we scour the world, we see these factors play out and are prevalent in many countries, at times even in more modern countries like our own USA and many countries in Europe and other continents.

We live in difficult times, only made more so, due to the pandemic of the past year. Will we ever come out from the ravages and rubble that have ravaged the world during these challenging times? It’s hard to say. As much as we want to believe, we will, with this belief keeping us hopeful and sane as we struggle with “pandemic fatigue,” as described in part in this article.

“Humans have a remarkable capacity to conceive of a task they have never done before and plan and execute the actions needed to do it. For example, most of us probably didn’t have a routine of wearing a mask around other people before this year. But, once we understood that it stemmed from the spread of COVID-19, many of us started doing so. It didn’t take hundreds of trials of training to learn this behavior, or indeed, thousands of years of evolution. Rather, we incorporated mask-wearing into our daily lives almost immediately. Humans can link our abstract goals, ideas, rules, and knowledge to our behavior at speed and on a scale that no other species can match and no AI yet built can emulate. We can do this because of a class of function scientists term cognitive control, a function that is supported by several interacting systems and mechanisms that are uniquely elaborated in the human brain, including the prefrontal cortex.”

There’s no easy answer as to how we humans will get through this difficult time. Now, as I am situated in the bedroom since it’s raining too hard to be outdoors, we even question our ability to get through lesser times such as this on a much smaller scale.

But, as I learned decades ago in a Tony Robbins seminar, we must utilize our human ability to “reframe” a situation to enable ourselves to cope in the best possible manner with the best possible outcome. Here are a few of Tony’s quotes that have lingered in my mind over the years. See his link here.

The power of positive thinking is the ability to generate a feeling of certainty in yourself when nothing in the environment supports you.”

“Knowing you have failed to live up to your standards is the ultimate pain; knowing that you have fulfilled your highest vision is the ultimate pleasure.”

There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that, once unleashed, can make any vision, dream, or desire a reality.”

What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.”

That’s it for today, folks. May your Valentine’s Day be filled with love and hope for the future…

Photo from one year ago today,  February 14, 2020:

A gaur is crossing the road. “The gaur (/ɡaʊər/, Bos gaurus), also called the Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine. It is native to South and Southeast Asia and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986. The global population has been estimated at a maximum of 21,000 mature individuals by 2016. It declined by more than 70% during the last three generations and is extinct in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In a well-protected area, it is stable and rebuilding.” For more, please click here.

Worst storm in our travels, yesterday in Bali…Flooding in the streets…Photos…

We haven’t seen a flood like this since we lived in Minnesota, USA, a lot of moons ago. We took this shot from the front of the villa.

“Sighting on the Beach in Bali”

A rainbow at the end of the storm.

During our four years of world travel, we’ve experienced a tremendous number of storms, winds and hurricane scares, all of which we survived unharmed and without serious consequences, unlike millions who are suffering in the eastern seaboard in the US, Haiti and many other islands in the Caribbean Sea.

We extend our deepest sympathies for the loss of loved ones, their homes and all their belongings. Most are uninsured and can only pray for ways to sustain their lives as their shelters, towns and villages are rebuilt. 

The road facing our villa was flooded during the storm but had retreated this morning.

With the toxic water supply after such catastrophes, the lack of food and medicine, the suffering lived by these lost souls can only be imagined in our worst nightmares. May the souls of the world’s genres come together to help bring some semblance of stability and security to their lives as soon as possible. We pray for the safety and well-being of these people.

Based on the latest online news report 13 died in the United States as a result of Hurricane Matthew with 900 deaths reported so far in Haiti.    The numbers keep increasing as more and more news comes in. Millions of people have no electricity with a lot of houses under water. Many view their personal belongings and the debris of their homes floating away.

View to the lawn from the kitchen window.

Nothing we have experienced over the past few years of traveling the world can be compared to the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew and other natural and human-inspired disasters. Our hearts break for the suffering of other people around the world.

But, as we continue to share the details of our lives in our daily posts, which under the above circumstances seem trivial and unimportant, nonetheless, with the utmost of respect, our lives and yours continue on. 

The details of our experiences seem to be the driving force to bring back our faithful readers day in and day out for both the exciting and surprising, the mundane. 

Another view of flooding on the road into the next door neighbor’s gate.

In fact, I often feel like we all enjoy the mundane. Everyday life, as such, for most of us is relatively mundane. We humans, more or less like animals, find great comfort in the familiarity of our routines. 

Judge us, you may, you constant-adventure-seekers… You are the exception to the rule. We admire you for your bravery and sense of wonder that takes you on one exciting trek after another, one life endangering adventure after another as you explore your surroundings with a passion that few of us know or fully understand. Go for it! Be as safe as you’re able! Share your stories and photos with us!

For the rest of us, we’re able to find excitement and adventure in other ways, based on our level of desire for challenge, our age, our limitations (at times, self imposed) and above all our fear.    We all have the right to choose where we fit into this realm.

Last night, the two Ketuts walked in bare feet in this rain flooded road to the villa to make our dinner, leaving their motorbikes elsewhere on higher ground.

Overall for us as world travelers, we’ve opted on the safer side. After all, we decided long ago that this adventure would be on our own terms, not what others may do or expect. We don’t feel we have to prove anything to anyone as to how brave and fearless we are, we have been and we may be in the future.

One needs only to be investing our archives to find endless risky experiences we’ve consistently embarked upon along the way with many more such adventures yet to come. It’s only been during these past four months we’ve been hindered by my recent spinal injury (on June 1st) which continues to improve each day.

As we share yesterday’s storm experience, it is in no way intended to imply we were in any danger or could possibly grasp the magnitude of the devastation to the lives of those having experienced Hurricane Matthew and other such heart wrenching disasters.

We’re here to report the mundane, the exciting and the adventures of our lives, of world travel whether its an interesting insect on the veranda, a beautiful flower blooming on the grounds or an angry buffalo in the river anxious to chase my husband at his earliest convenience. 

This monstrous beetle was hunkered down on the veranda during the storm.

We report it all here for our readers to decide (if in fact, deciding is relevant) which aspects of our lives appeals to them and which do not. We easily can decipher from our stats which topics seem to attract more readers as we strive to appeal to many readers at any given time. 

We appreciate each one of you whether you like certain topics or not.

For those of our regular readers, you well know, we’re only one day away from a new topic which may prove to be more appealing to your interests than the current day’s post.

At any time, please write to us if you like us to cover topics appealing to your senses. Although, we tend to shy away from highly controversial and politically charged topics on this site, we aren’t exempt from sharing some thoughts and opinions. Otherwise, our posts would read like a dictionary.

This morning we found this leach type creature in the house, after yesterday’s storm.

This site in not intended for us to spew our perhaps one-sided opinions on certain delicate topics. That’s not to say we’ve never espoused opinions on the healthful growing of produce and meat along with the efforts we make in hoping to maintain good health through what we perceive as good nutrition and quality of life. We have… And most likely will continue to do so as our travels carry on.

May your day bring about a lively conversation or a quip you’ve read or heard that holds your interest! Be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, October 9, 2015:

In Savusavu, Fiji, tourist information was available at the local police station. For more photos, please click here.

The excitement never ends…

Gede sent me his photos of a tornado in Java in January or February. (Impossible to enlarge due to poor resolution of mobile phone photo).
One of the pictures of Gede’s phone from the tornado above.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

A man on the beach picking up various items from the beach, placing them in this basket attached to his motorcycle.

Living in Bali is the perfect environment befitting our daily posts. Almost every day, there is something interesting before our eyes as we bask outside on the veranda, whether installed in the sun loungers or seated under the hut.

Most days after I’ve completed posting and Tom has finished the bulk of the day’s research for future travels, we get comfortable under the shade of the thatched roof cabana, the closest spot to the ocean on the veranda to cool off, dry off from the pool and get out of the sun. 

Yesterday, suddenly, the sky darkened as the winds rolled across the beach.    October is the rainest month in Bali. It’s rained the first two days of the month thus far.

As we’ve mentioned many times in past posts, we don’t spend more than 30 minutes a day in direct sunlight, sufficient for a good dose of vitamin D while providing enough of a tan base to protect us while walking on the beach and in the neighborhood. 

Neither of us uses sunscreen which we consider to be a toxic slurry of chemicals we’d prefer to avoid. This is not possible for everyone, especially children, who are too young to know about excessive sun exposure.

With a massive gust of wind, we heard an enormous bang from the neighboring window.

While we’re in the pool, we both wear baseball caps and sunglasses, keeping our bodies under the water from the neck. No sunburns are found here! The sun in Bali, so close to the equator, is unbearably hot likely to burn most within 20 to 30 minutes. At our recent resort stay, we noticed many tourists with painful sunburns.

During our recent stay in the resort, we noticed a lot of tourists with painful sunstrokes. 

Close-up of the fallen glass on the second floor porch.

Having been away from people for so long and not using my voice as frequently as I may have in the past and on cruises, I can only read aloud for about 40 minutes when my voice begins to sound hoarse. I guess the voice is comparable with any other part of the body, use it or lose it.

After putting down my phone (the book is on the Kindle app), we often chat about the book we’re reading, future travels and many other topics with our eyes peeled on the beach for possible sightings of interest.

Tom’s picture when he went around to see what happened during the high winds.

Yesterday, our first full day back from Lovina, we found ourselves entrenched in this familiar and highly pleasurable routine when suddenly the sky went dark with ominous looking clouds with excessively high winds whipping through the area. 

In a matter of seconds, we jumped up to head indoors, hearing an ear splitting crash of glass and metal in Egon’s house next door. Apparently, as shown in today’s photos, the wind was so powerful it broke one of the massive safety glass walls of the upper level veranda with the heavy duty glass crashing to the ground.

We have an identical glass wall in the second floor veranda of this villa as well. Only minutes earlier we’d been lounging on the verandas where this glass would have fallen had it occurred in this house.  Whew! Safari luck prevails, once again.

This photo illustrates how the blown out thick glass enclosure left an opening where the blinds were blowing in the now open space of the veranda.

Luckily, none of the staff at Egon’s villa was injured when the glass wall shattered to the ground.  Tom, anxious to take photos of the incident, grabbed the camera and hurried next door to take today’s shots while I stayed indoors at our villa under cover of safety. 

I was worried that he was outdoors during the storm anxiously awaiting his return to our villa. With what felt comparable to 60 mph winds almost blowing me over when I was outdoors, Tom took the photos and quickly returned thrilled he’d been able to see what had transpired beyond the vegetation blocking the view from our veranda.

Finally, we were both safely indoors while Tom immediately closed the wall of glass doors on the main floor while we hunkered down in the master bedroom where we could easily continue to watch what was happening outdoors.

The falling glass was scattered about the patio floor below.  Once the storm danger had passed, the staff went to work cleaning it up.

The rain didn’t fall violently as we’d expected. In a short time, the worst of the storm had passed, leaving a steady stream of rain in its wake. We remained indoors the remainder of the day and evening. Today, it is raining again.

After another fabulous dinner prepared by the two Ketut’s we meandered into the living room for the evening.

Gede had replaced the flat screen TV that was destroyed by the flood after the hot water heater’s broken pipe (located on the roof) a few days before we left for Lovina. 

Not surprisingly, again we had a working TV and sound system we could use with our HDMI cord to watch both Marco Polo and Narcos on Netflix. Great shows, by the way! Recently, Netflix had become available for international use. We jumped all over it signing up for the first month’s free service to see if we’d like it. Most likely, we’ll continue to service after the trial ends.

The blinds blew from the open space during the high winds.

We’re still using Graboid for recently aired series, although the signal in Bali is too weak to download a single episode. With these two services, we can watch most TV series and movies broadcast in the US and the UK. The combined cost for both of these services will be IDR 390,495, US $30 which is almost eight times less than what we paid for premium cable (and internet) in the US.  No complaining here.

Today, we’re on our own with the staff off for the day. As much as we enjoy quiet Sundays to ourselves, we never mind the presence of the staff who are with us only part of each of the remaining six days a week. Neither of us cares to eat breakfast or lunch, except when on cruises or at resorts, there’s no necessity for them to hang around the villa.

They arrive in the morning, prep for the evening’s meal, clean the villa and take an afternoon break returning by 4:00 pm to prepare dinner. Ribud, our kindly landscaping and pool guy, arrives each morning at 8:00 am, prepares our chaise lounges with fresh towels, cleans the cabana and veranda, cleans the beach in front of the villas and works on the pool and grounds. 

Tom quickly returned to our villa for safety during the storm.

He then stays next door through the remainder of the day, rushing over here in the event of rain to bring in the chaise cushions and towels indoors. If we need him for anything, he’s here in a flash. 

Gede pops in and out every few days to see if there’s anything he can provide. It’s a perfect scenario ensuring our privacy and fulfilling any desires we may have. We continue to be impressed with the attention to detail and their infinite care. We ask for very little but are given a lot.

We hope your day fulfills your needs.

Photo from one year ago, October 2, 2015:

One year ago today we posted this favorite photo we’d taken in Fiji. Look at those cute pink ears! We did our own squealing with delight seeing this little white pig. For more details, please click here.