Traveling, but love to listen to music without paying?…

There are endless rows of terraced gardens on the island of Madeira.

Over the past week or so, we’ve been posting some products and services we’ve been using that have added to the enjoyment of our worldwide travels over the past 12 years. An integral part of that enjoyment has been listening to music, especially at the end of the day when we’re sitting outdoors on a veranda or patio.

We’d often partake in a cocktail (for Tom) and a light wine (for me), making the simple activity seem like a night in the town. Dinner will have been prepped and ready for cooking to add to the pleasant evening as it progressed and the sun disappeared on the horizon.

While we are in the US right now, without a veranda or patio and in a public location where we can’t make noise, we’ve had to forgo this pleasant pastime. Once we can be on the move again, we’ll undoubtedly begin again, hopefully next year in South Africa.

Over the past several years, we have listened to music on our phones using a Bluetooth speaker with such clarity and sound quality that it’s been astounding. Recently, we had to replace a JBL speaker that stopped working (they wear out after intended use), but we found another for only $39.99 on Amazon at this link. Following is a photo of our new speaker:

Portable Speaker, Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, IPX7 Waterproof, 25W Loud Stereo Sound, Bassboom Technology, TWS Pairing, Built-in Mic, 16H Playtime with Lights for Home Outdoor – Black

When we made the above purchase, we wondered if it would be as high quality as the JBL speaker we had, based on the price. But the quality was equally good; we couldn’t imagine it would have been better. Since Tom is hard of hearing (his hearing aid appointment is coming up on August 1), having a speaker has been necessary for listening to music, podcasts, and streaming shows using our laptop as the broadcasting device.

When we’re streaming to the TV monitor, it’s easy to increase the sound using the remote, which is suitable for his hearing ability. But if we’re streaming a show on my laptop at the table during dinner, the laptop’s sound doesn’t get high enough or clear enough to use it exclusively.

Right now, during this waiting period, we are listening to or watching something for most days and nights: streaming podcasts during the day and streaming services in the evening. Of course, when we’re feeling better, we are out several evenings each week, such as this upcoming Friday and Saturday nights when we’ll be out with family and friends.

Undoubtedly, it helps our state of mind to stay distracted with interesting morsels in podcasts, movies, and series. In between listening, I head outdoors to walk, and so far this morning, I walked for 15 minutes in one session, which was the first since my legs hadn’t been working so well.

To avoid “paying for music,” we often use YouTube, not YouTube Music, which requires a membership. Type in the name of a favorite song, and you can play it for free. Eventually, your smartphone will remember the songs you picked, and your list of favorites will be readily available—there is no need to pay. In the worst case, if your list doesn’t build automatically, you can type in your favorites and hit “save.”

Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member, as we are, we have access to 100 million songs ad-free, the largest catalog of ad-free podcasts, and thousands of playlists and stations included with Prime at no additional costs.

Of course, there are many other music streaming services, some free and some with monthly or annual fees. By searching online you can find many different options you may prefer.

If any of this is unclear to you, please don’t hesitate to ask, and we’ll post the answers to our questions here.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 27, 2014:

These unusual flowers hung from a short tree. For more photos, please click here.

Day #126 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Our new website…Streaming issues…Our worst nightmare…

A Great White Heron was standing in the water at Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 27, 2018, while in Marloth Park, South Africa. See the link here for more photos.
The process of re-doing our website and moving over almost 3000 historical posts from the archives is taking longer than we’d expected. But, we aren’t concerned when the developer stays in close touch with us, sending the links as it progresses day by day. We’ve been happy with their service, a company, coincidentally here in India.
This was our friend Tusker. He is the sweetest guy who comes to visit several times each day, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm). He was so comfortable he often stayed for a short nap.

As many of us are aware, India, in general, has some of the most skilled tech people in the world, and we were thrilled to use the services of a well-known company with rave reviews. We’ll post more information on this company once we go “live” with our new site sometime in the next 45 days. 

I’d anticipated this process would be stressful, but our skilled and calm developer has made it as painless as possible for me, quickly responding to changes and inquiries.

We never tired of seeing these wondrous animals, both in Kruger and in Marloth Parks.

We’ll give you, our readers, a heads-up when we know it will go live. The link will be the same, and thus, there will be nothing for you to do but to continue reading and commenting as you have over the past eight-plus years.

On another note, we’ve been grateful for the excellent WiFi connection we’ve had during the past 126 days in this hotel. But, as more and more businesses re-open in India, although cases of COVID-19 continue to rise rapidly, we’ve noticed a slowing of the connection from time to time.

Zebras were crossing the road in Kruger.

Don’t get me wrong. We appreciate being in this beautiful hotel with great food and service, especially with the conscientious efforts to protect all of us from the virus, requiring their staff to live on the premises, unable to leave for months at a time until they are given a two-week break.

(When a staff member returns from their time off, we are only served by those that have been in residence for at least two full weeks, continuing to ensure our safety).

A bloat of hippos at Sunset Dam in Kruger.

Our worst nightmares here would be (beyond exposure to COVID-19 or other health issues) that WiFi service would go down in Mumbai or the hotel. At that point, we’d lose our ability to continue to post, and equally important is our ability to stream shows from the internet to our HDMI cable to the flat-screen TV.

Last night, we had a taste of what that would be like when, for some odd reason, we were unable to stream on Netflix for the first time since we arrived on March 24, 2020.

OK, folks, here’s a new one for you…This is a “bask” of crocodiles!

We were watching season four of the beautiful historical series Reign when the signal dropped repeatedly. I started and re-started my laptop to no avail. For two hours, we continued to attempt to get the show to resume. 

Finally, the later it got, the signal improved. We have to consider the reality that as more time passes, the hotel has more and more guests, mostly business travelers, since this hotel is primarily geared toward business travelers.

As winter continues, there’s less and less green vegetation for the wildlife in Kruger and Marloth Park.

Some domestic flights have resumed in India, although as we’ve mentioned, international travel remains at a standstill. The added domestic travelers have certainly impacted the quality of the WiFi in the evening hours when most will be online. 

Hopefully, we won’t experience this issue in the future.

Stay safe and healthy!

Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2019:

A six-year-old photo was posted last year when our photo inventory for Ireland was lacking. Busy preparations surrounded the church in Campanario as workers rushed to get the decorations in place for Saturday’s religious festivities. For the post one year ago, please click here.