Kindness and the ugly American…More museum photos…

An antique turnip cleaner.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”

“Only
about 9% of people in Ireland have natural red hair, contrary to popular
belief.”
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Traveling can be frustrating at times.  Service may be slow, venues may be booked incorrectly, plans may be changed over which we have no control, food isn’t hot or tasting as anticipated or there’s the complaint consisting of “there’s a fly in my soup.” 

Blue ribbons on display for events with Connemara Ponies.

Notoriously, airline and cruise lines have a tendency, based on the millions of passengers they serve each year, to make endless mistakes both human and technologically impacting travelers, leaving them in a wake of confusion and frustration.

These same issues may be prevalent in our “hometown” even when not traveling.  Based on the fact we have no home, our perspective is slightly different.  Perhaps, in some ways, and in some situations, our expectations may be higher.

A wagon filled with peat, a common product used for fuel in Ireland.

Tourism is the lifeblood of many towns, villages, regions, states, and countries.  Without tourists, the bulk of an area’s revenue and thousands (if not millions) of jobs would be lost.

The reality remains, not all employees and companies place enough importance and emphasis on the value of the customer and the vital role they play in keeping their business alive and flourishing.

A variety of antique items.

In the process of these types of inconveniences, we as the recipients of human or computer error, have a decision we can make as to how we respond to the situation.  


We can choose to enact volatile behavior and/or uncooperativeness to those we encounter in the process.  Or, we can choose to remain calm, although confident and assertive, tossing in a healthy dose of kindness.

A 100-year-old saddle.

The perception of the “ugly American” does exist throughout the world.  And even as Americans, in a prejudiced manner, we may hypothesize on what appears to be stereotypical behavior of people from certain countries.


I will admit on a few occasions, we’ve entertained such comments in a group of friends, stating that people from this country and that, generally react in a certain way.  And, no doubt, cultural differences can play a role in these behaviors, acceptable in their country but perhaps not so much in our own or others.

Parts of horse harness.

But, often times, our perceptions, right or wrong, may be totally changed when we encounter those who are kind, friendly and easy-going regardless of the circumstances that impact their travel.  They look on the bright side reacting accordingly.  


It’s not always easy to be diplomatic and kind and by no means are we examples of perfection in these areas, but somehow, we try to remember the words “ugly American” and simply…make every effort to be kind and play a role, however small, in dispelling this perception.

A two-wheeled buggy used over 100 years ago.

It’s easy in Ireland.  Everyone is outrageously friendly and kind.  We’ve yet to encounter a single individual who has treated us in any manner short, of being a long lost friend, who they revere and hold in the highest esteem.


For this, we are in awe and ultimately very grateful.  For this reason alone, we know we are in the right place, exactly where we should be at this time in our world travels.  We still have challenges to face with my health and ongoing recovery.  

One of the first types of marine radios.

But, this welcoming place has made living in Ireland for three months all the more meaningful and memorable.  


Be well.  Be happy.

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Photo from one year ago today, June 23, 2018:

An adult hippo needs to resurface every 3 to 5 minutes to breathe.  For more photos from Kruger National Park, please click here.

Visit to a museum…Connemara Ponies and more…First non-stop transatlantic flight…

View from the second story of the museum.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Ireland
has mounds of dirt that are known as “fairy forts” Legend has it that
those who disturb one of these mounds will be riddled with bad luck. These
mounds are actually ancient dwellings from the Iron Age.”

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A few days ago, we decided to take advantage of our shopping trip to Clifden and visit the Station House Museum which was listed as an important place to tour while in Connemara.

We arrived at the Station House Museum a little too early and left wandering about town until it opened 30 minutes later. The entrance fee is Euro 3, US $3.42 per person.

Keeping in mind that Connemara, although with a small population of around 32,000, is a vast area covering many miles.  We can easily drive for almost two hours and still be within the region. 


Located in County Galway, its a point of interest for many tourists visiting Ireland for its scenery, history, people and cozy country feel with sheep, horses, donkeys, and cattle easily spotted on the narrow, winding roads, often only wide enough for one car to pass.  For “city” people this is a unique experience.

Replica of the biplane that made the first non-stop transatlantic flight by two British pilots from St. Johns Newfoundland to Clifden.

For us, and our world travel experience, it’s another interesting place to live with a number of worthwhile sites in the area.  Less interested in long all day road trips,  we strive to find the venues that appeal to us both that are within a reasonable driving distance.  Museums are often top on the list.


What an excellent way to learn about a community, its culture, and its people.  Such was the case when a few days ago, we visited the Station House Museum located close to downtown Clifden, the small town where we’ve found shopping to be enjoyable, with its friendly, often Irish-speaking population who’ve learned English over the generations.


A saddle from the early 1900s.

We arrived at 10:00 am as advertised online but when we arrived promptly, we found a note on the door stating they wouldn’t be open until 10:30.  No worries.  We busied ourselves walking around while we waited for the opening.


The Station House Museum is small but packed with historical facts and memorabilia that we found both refreshing and enlightening.  Here’s some information we found online about the museum:

Replica of Connemara Pony and cart.

From this site: “Located in a former train shed, this small, absorbing museum has displays on the local ponies and pivotal aspects of Clifden’s history, including the Galway to Clifden Connemara Railway (in service from 1895 to 1935) and Guglielmo Marconi’s transatlantic wireless station at Derrigimlagh, which was also the site of the crash landing of John Alcock and Arthur Brown’s first nonstop transatlantic aeroplane crossing in 1919.”


Additionally, we discovered the following information from this site:

“An international library of Connemara pony stud books and journals is available for research by enthusiasts. A video of the ponies in their native habitat filmed nearly forty years ago is shown daily. The ground floor is dedicated to Ireland’s native pony breed, the Connemara.

One hundred years ago, British aviators “John Alcock and Arthur Brown as shown in these statues made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in June 1919.  They flew a modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber from St. John’sNewfoundland, to ClifdenConnemaraCounty Galway, Ireland.[The Secretary of State for AirWinston Churchill, presented them with the Daily Mail prize for the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by aeroplane in “less than 72 consecutive hours”.A small amount of mail was carried on the flight, making it the first transatlantic airmail flight. The two aviators were awarded the honour of Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) a week later by King George V at Windsor Castle.”

The high roofed interior, with tall shedding windows either side, is the backdrop for montage panels of photographs and documents. These are well supported by memorabilia and artifacts.

A sign posted near above statues.

All the latter have an intimate association with breeders and ponies from the Western Seaboard throughout the last two centuries.”

A buggy from yesteryear.
An upper gallery takes visitors step by step through the rich history of the region, D’Arcy early in the nineteenth century, to the building and life of the Galway to Clifden railway line (1895 – 1935).

A photographic exhibition of the Marconi Wireless Station at Derrygimla (1905 – 1925) and lifesize figures of Alcock and Brown who landed on this site after their historic flight (1919) complement the interesting range of exhibits.”

Replica of Connemara farmhouse with donkeys pulling a cart.  We see many donkeys in this area.

Nearby, only a few steps away from the museum is the popular Clifden Station House Hotel with two restaurants and a pub serving tourists and locals.  After reviewing their menu, surely during our time here, we’ll try the restaurant, most likely for lunch rather than dinner. 

(We’re avoiding driving long distances at night with a high risk of accidents on the narrow winding roads, especially after a few drinks).

A variety of winning ribbons for Connemara Ponies.

As shown in our photos, we found plenty of interesting information and artifacts in the museum and learned a lot more about this appealing area, country and its people.

We’re staying in over the weekend but after another outing yesterday, we have plenty of new photos to share.  A special thanks to all of our new readers for stopping by.  From whence you come…we have no idea but, we’re happy to see you here.  We have no access to your email or personal information but we can see we’ve had new visitors.

May your weekend be filled with awe and wonder!


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Photo from one year ago today, June 22, 2018:


This male was “standing watch” so the others could relax and nod off.  For more photos, please click here.

Late posting due to sightseeing outing…Planning for departure day….

 
 This is the sun on its final ascent.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Even though he is considered their patron saint, Saint Patrick was not born in Ireland. He was actually born in Britain, according to research, and some believe that he was kidnapped as a teenager and brought to Ireland.”

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This morning, before I had a chance to start the post, we decided to drive the hour plus drive, back toward Galway to the quaint town of Oughterard which we’d noticed as we drove to Glinsce on the day we arrived on May 12, 2019. 

Sunset from our holiday home overlooking Bertraghboy Bay, an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean.

Gosh, that seems like a long time ago.  And yet, we’ve only been here for 40 days and nights.  Undoubtedly, we haven’t been sightseeing as much as we’d prefer but in the past week we’ve picked up the pace and have been getting out a little more often. 

More of a beautiful sunset.

We’re accumulating many photos we’ll share over the next many days but after returning so late in the afternoon today, I realized I had little time to upload today’s post. 


Subsequently, getting into details regarding our recent sightseeing trips wasn’t on today’s agenda with this late start.  The afternoon is almost over and after around 1500 hours, 3:00 pm to 1600 hours, 4:00 pm, I usually lose motivation to get it done or get into historical details.  

Moments later it was gone from view.

I’m a morning person and once mid-afternoon presents itself, I’ve always had trouble being creative and/or innovative.  Since the onset of my recent recovery, I’ve had particular difficulty motivating myself in the later part of the afternoon to get much of anything underway.


Laundry and preparing dinner is yet to be completed and today, we’re researching and deciding if we’ll stay in a hotel in Dublin on our last night here, August 8th.  This way travel day will be less stressful.  

This particular style of the exterior of apartment buildings is often seen in European countries.

Although we often have the expense of leaving our holiday home a day early and not getting a refund for the one-night from the owner/manager and in bearing the cost of the hotel and dining out, we’ve found this plan to be of particular appeal with the 3½ drive from Glinsce to Dublin.


While in Oughterard, we stopped at the dentist’s office to make appointments at 11:00 am to have our teeth cleaned on August 8, while we’re on our way to Dublin.  This saves us the long drive back to Oughterard between now and then and we’ll have plenty of time that day.

Some of the apartment buildings and office suites have been built in the past 20 to 30 years.

By the time we’re done, we’ll complete the remaining 2½ drive to Dublin.  Tom will drop me at the hotel, which we’ll book today and drive to the rental car location which is quite a distance from the airport.  Their shuttle will return him to the airport and the hotel’s free shuttle will pick him up.  


We’ll save one day’s rental on the car and taxi fare to and from the rental car facility and the hotel. By selecting a hotel offering a free shuttle and also free breakfast and WiFi, we save even more. 

The old railway station in Clifden.

Even arranging one single night in a hotel requires a certain amount of planning, which is a vital part of our day to day lives.  Thank goodness, neither of us minds spending time on these types of tasks.


Soon, we’ll wind down for the day, pour ourselves a libation and get situated in our two comfy chairs facing the big window out to the sea, chatting over the day’s events and plans for the future.  An hour later, we’ll switch to water and iced tea and prepare our dinner rolling into a pleasant evening.

Storefront in Clifden off the main street.

Today is the summer solstice and here in Ireland, the sunrise was at 5:12 am and sets at 2212, 10:12 pm.  There are seven hours the sun is not in the sky leaving 19 hours of light due to light an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset.  


Wherever you may live, enjoy this first day of summer!

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Photo from one year ago today, June 21, 2018:

At night, Little Wart Face, later named “Little'”  lies down for a nap, exhausted from eating pellets and his busy day.  I miss him…For more please click here.

Have I died and gone to heaven?…Hippo pool…Meet “Wart Face”…

We could watch for hours and rarely see more than a hippo taking a quick breath of air.  We were lucky to get this shot.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We call him “Wart Face” who has the biggest warts of any warthog in Marloth Park and is known by many.  Most nights, he visits us after dark.  His mouth is like a vacuum hose sucking up pellets and only certain veggies.  No carrots for Wart Face!  Apples? Yes!

We apologize for the late posting.  We decided to go shopping in Komatipoort early in the day when it would be less crowded on a Friday.  The morning shopping worked well to our liking but, by the time we returned and put everything away, I’d yet to prepare the first word or photo. 

The long dirt path we walk to get to the river to the hippo pool.  We walk gingerly checking for snakes as we bat off the flies and other insects flying around our heads. 

What occurs in a mere 24 hours is often astounding to us.  Living in an environment such as this fairy-tale place is truly a breeding ground for one adventure after another.

Hippo viewing at this location changes from day to day. 

As I sit here on the veranda on yet another scorching hot day without a hint of the slightest breeze coupled with outrageous humidity, I often ask myself, “How am I able to do this? How is Tom so tolerant of doing this?  How do we do this with nary a complaint from either of us?”

Geese and other birds are always at the shoreline at the hippo pool.

Is the uniqueness of this special place enough to distract us from any potential discomforts to make us so accepting and tolerant?  I suppose in a way its an accumulation of things over these past years of world travel that has changed us so much. 

Stunning!  We spotted this sausage tree at the hippo pool area.  From this site: The sausage tree of sub-Saharan Africa is beautiful in flower. The blood-red to maroon flowers hang in long panicles. The fragrance of the flower is not pleasing to humans but attracts the Dwarf Epauletted Fruitbat (Micropteropus pusillus), its pollinator. As the flowers drop from the tree, animals come to feed on the nectar-rich blooms. Impala, duiker, baboons, bush pigs, and lovebirds all feed on the flowers of the Sausage tree. Grey fruits grow out of these flowers. These grey fruits resemble sausages and can grow for months to become over a foot long and weigh over 10 pounds.”

The other part is trade-offs…a little discomfort from time to time in order to reap the excitement, not unlike riding on a roller coaster…the fear and the uncomfortable feel in one’s belly is compensated for by the thrill.  Will this ride ever stop during this next year until we again fly away?

We don’t think so.  We see people like Louise and Danie who after living here for years took off before 6:00 am yesterday in search of the seven hyenas spotted by the rangers not far from here.  We did the same hours later.  It was an unlikely, needle-in-a-haystack kind of thing, neither of us having any success but the adventure of it all…breathtaking.

At a quick glance, one could mistake this for a crocodile.  In either case, “STAY AWAY!”  They are both dangerous animals.

Pinch me.  Wake me up.  Have I died and this is what my form of heaven looks like?  I’ve never known happiness like this before; interminable and uninterrupted pure bliss. 

As we approached the hippo pool these past two days in a row, we encounter a scene such as this.

If only we all could find comfort on this earth, in this life, that heaven truly is being with someone who loves you unconditionally, in a place you only imagined in your wildest dreams, totally nourished and surrounding by that which makes your heart sing, your pulse racing with excitement and your mind flooded with knowledge and experience.

It appeared there were two hippos at this specific spot but there were more only a short distance away.  The views were obstructed by foliage.

And so it is…forever how long it lasts, it lasts, and we’ll move on to the next leg of our journey, remembering and perpetually searching for an experience, however different may somehow match the depth and meaning of our time spent here.

The people?  They nourish our souls as an adjunct to that of the wildlife; comforting, enriching and meaningful.  How grateful we are when serendipitously another event stumbles our way like last night’s invitation from Louise and Danie to join them at Ngewenya Lodge, located on the Crocodile River for “sundowners” and Thursday night’s buffet dinner.

Regardless of the obstructed view, we were thrilled to see them and will return several times a week.

When the text arrived at 4:40, we promptly responded with an enthusiastic yes.  We’d be ready at 5:00 pm for their arrival to pick us up.  Both hot and sweaty after sitting outdoors upon returning from the hippo pool after more heat and scorching sun, we hurried, showered and dressed and were waiting outside when they arrived.

We had leftovers planned for dinner.  No problem.  We’ll have that dinner tonight.  Off we went on the short drive outside the park to the lovely Ngewenya Lodge, a massive complex of time-shares, condos and hotel rooms with one of the finest river views in South Africa and, like Marloth Park, an abundance of wandering wildlife. 

Last night’s sunset at Ngwenya Lodge, a beautiful resort about 10 minutes outside Marloth Park.  We enjoyed happy hour and an excellent Thursday night buffet dinner with Louise and Danie.

We hadn’t been there in over four years and it was fun to return.  The evening was exceptional, as always, the buffet food superb, and the drinks flowed with ease along with the conversation.

After only a few photos, darkness fell.  We dined outdoor with few mozzies, good service, enjoying the pay-for-what-it-weighs buffet concept.  This time it was our turn to buy after considerable effort in convincing our friends.  The total bill including drinks was a paltry ZAR 470, (US $39.63) for the four of us, drinks, dinner and tip!

Moments before darkness fell we observed these four waterbucks at the river.

Back at home, we hunkered down satisfied over another memorable evening with friends.  Tonight, we’ll stay in, dine on good leftovers and take a breather since both Saturday and Sunday nights are busy with other friends.  How did we get so lucky?

By the way, in this past 24 hours, we booked our trip to Victoria Falls, Zambia.  We’ll post he details tomorrow.  Please check back.

May your day bring you good luck and heavenly experiences!

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Photo from one year ago today, April 6, 2017:

Tom, Forty Bean’s owner Rebecca and Bob in Fairlight, Australia.  For more photos, please click here

The end of our trip to the southern coast of Kauai…A sunset like none other…A year ago, human and animal came to say their goodbyes…

A little strip of clouds added to the view of the setting sun in Poipu Beach, Kauai.

After we spent time at Spouting Horn as described in yesterday’s post, it was time to head to our hotel, the Sheraton Kauai in Poipu Beach.  With valet parking only, we took our few bags out of the car on our own and headed to the registration desk.

The sunset started like this, bright and relatively clear.

With only one guest in front of me at the desk, we expected we’d be checked in quickly.  Their computers were down.  Well, up and down.  After 20 minutes it was finally my turn.  Tom waited in chairs with the bags while I handled the check in, our usual procedure.


Then, it progresses to this point, giving us hope the cloud would provide an amazing view.

Again with their computers up and down, the wait was annoying but, I stayed calm and friendly, especially since I was asking for a free upgrade to an ocean view room.  Another 20 minutes later, key cards in hand we were headed to our upgraded partial ocean view room on the VIP level (whatever that is).



It was getting more interesting by the second, not minute. Note the streak at the bottom right.

When we realized we had to cross the street to get to our room, I was tempted to go back and ask to be closer to the main pool and the ocean.  I decided to forgo this option realizing it would be another wasted 20 minutes. 

Off we went on an at least 10 minute walk to our room, frustrated as we crawled around tarps scattered all over the walkway floors.  There was construction occurring in almost every area. This stuff usually doesn’t bother us.  But, at $300 a night, it would have been worth a mention when we checked in and perhaps provide us with a quieter area.

Here’s the link to our review in TripAdvisor.



When it progressed to this point, we knew we were in for a treat.

As always, we chose not to complain. Low stress is a part of our motto. The room did have a nice view overlooking the pool and the ocean at a distance.  The king sized bed was comfortable and the décor and furnishings were of high quality and tasteful.  The over-sized bathroom was well appointed with amenities including two fluffy robes hanging in the closet.  We were content.

After spending a bit of time relaxing and making a reservation for dinner at the popular Merriman’s Fish House Restaurant located in a new nearby center, Kakui’ula Village, a shopping mall which in Poipu Beach that would appeal to avid shoppers.


As darkness fell, it presented this view.

Leaving the hotel for dinner before sunset, we wandered over to a lookout area to take the sunset photos we’re sharing today.  Other guests were equally enthused snapping photos with their cell phones.  It’s amazing how quickly the sun makes its final descent, quickly changing if one so much as looks away.

Eyes peeled at the display on the camera, I stood in place, careful attempting to avoid making a single movement to ensure a clear shot of the breathtaking scene before us.  We couldn’t have been more excited to add yet another sunset photo to the dozens we’ve accumulated over the past few years of travel.


View from our fourth floor lanai.

The only available dinner reservation at Merriman’s was for 7:30 which can be a problem for me.  Since I exercise what is called “intermittent fasting,” I only eat one meal a day during which I am never hungry based on my high fat, moderate protein diet which kills my appetite in 24 hour increments. 

When we arrived at Merriman’s Fish House at 6:45, we asked if we could get in earlier.  They were booked although, downstairs on the lower level, they had a casual burger and pizza restaurant.  We decided to give it a try when the kindly hostess called to discover they did in fact have an available table.

Here’s the link to the review we posted on Merriman’s Pizza and Burger Restaurant at TripAdvisor for details.


With little sun remaining by the time we got to our room, we decided to spend an hour by this uncrowded smaller pool in the area of our distant room.  Oddly, we had to walk to the main pool to get beach towels.  That made no sense.

For those of you who don’t click posted links, the food was mediocre but the service was impeccable.  The chef made a good effort to accommodate my way of eating which included a tiny salad, plain burger on the side and an extra order of avocado.  Tom had a burger and fries.  Our dinner was under $50 with tip. 

Back at the hotel by 9 pm, we settled in for a good night’s sleep and an early morning exit with a plan to head to Costco and Walmart in Lihue.  More on that tomorrow.

Thanks, dear readers, for stopping by.  It means the world to us.
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Photo from one year ago today, February 26, 2014:

Louise and Danie came to pick up after our overnight at the Crocodile River Safari Lodge.  As we approached our home, we spotted these giraffes, necks in a tangled mess.  We all howled with laughter and joy for this scene.  It was getting to be time to say goodbye to our human and animal friends as departure day loomed.  For more friends that came to say goodbye including Clive and the returning Mr. Frog, please click here.