Our bag is here!!!…What a relief!…Tom’s dental disaster…

This is not Tiny, whom we’ve yet to see, eight days after our return. This is The Imposter, who resembles Tiny. He’s become a regular visitor whom we welcome with pellets.

There was no question that someone had gone through our bag with a fine-tooth comb. We had purchased vitamins in the US and hundreds of Vitamin D3 gel caps that spilled all over the bottom of the bag, and everything else was askew. Some of our toiletries spilled, but nothing seemed to be missing.

Our five pairs of shoes were intact, as well as the clothing items. Now we have to figure out if we are filing a claim and how and when we’ll be reimbursed. We were informed that there would be no compensation for the “inconvenience,” only the items we had to replace. As mentioned earlier, there was nowhere near us to replace any of the contents in that bag while we were without it.

It was delightful to see Torn Ear return to our garden.

We’ll take whatever airline credit we can get and see if we’ll ever bother to use United Airlines again. But that is behind us now, and we’re anxious to put the annoyance to rest. Tom is currently at the dentist in Malalane, and I’m home alone trying to recover from my current flu virus of some sort.

I don’t believe I have Covid, nor did Tom. It was just a bad cold, the same cold/flu Tom had a week ago, from which he has since fully recovered. Soon, I’ll hear from him when he leaves the dentist to find out what transpired there.

Whoa! I just got a call from Tom. He had to have two teeth pulled! I feel so badly for him. It is disheartening to lose teeth, especially when it’s a reminder of the ravages of aging, and it leaves a gaping hole that must be dealt with in three months after it fully heals.

Based on feeling under the weather, we haven’t taken many photos the past few days.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post here, there’s no escaping the realities of health issues regardless of where we live in the world. Fortunately, here in South Africa, we have access to excellent dental and medical care, a fact we fully appreciate. This isn’t an assurance in many countries we’ve visited in the past and something to consider going forward.

Over the next few days, Tom will be recovering from the two extractions. We intended to go to Kathy and Don’s home tomorrow evening for sundowners and dinner. But based on how I am feeling and now, Tom’s recovery from his dental work, neither of us may be able to go. It is very disappointing.

But, Kathy and Don will be here until the end of November, and hopefully, we’ll have plenty of time together with them and all of our friends in Marloth Park.

We dumped all of the sweet potatoes into the garden for the wildlife. They quickly rot in the bag indoors, requiring us to put them in a pile outside. Within a few hours, they were gone.

Based on my being sick and Tom’s recovery from his extractions, it doesn’t look as if we’ll be too active today. I’d taken tenderloin out of the freezer and placed it in the fridge to defrost overnight. Tom won’t be able to eat steak tonight. Instead, I’ll make scrambled eggs with cheese for him, which will be easier for him to eat.

He’s since returned and seems to be doing well, albeit with a little bit of pain and discomfort. The dentist gave him a prescription for probiotics and mild pain killers. Apparently, the antibiotics we had him taking over the past four days were exactly what they would have prescribed, suggesting he continue them for one more day.

Hopefully, in the next few days, he’ll be feeling better along with me. Weirdly, we’re both under the weather at the same time, but we will continue to take care of one another.

Torn Ear preferred the pellets over the sweet potatoes. But, once he devoured all the pellets, he got to work on the potatoes.

May your day be pleasant and fulfilling!

Photo from one year ago today, August 3, 2020:

From a post on this date while in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #133. Our photo, as we drove into the city of Paris. It was an experience in itself. For more photos, please click here.

It’s not always easy…But, that’s how life is, regardless of where we live…Hornbills are back!!!…

This hornbill is contemplating eating seeds we placed on the railing.

If we lived in a retirement community in the US, we’d be no more exempt from day-to-day issues, illnesses, and challenges than we are now. In essence, it all boils down to the adage, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” This is especially true in today’s world, now more than ever.

This darned pandemic is rampant in most countries throughout the world.  If a person tried to escape it entirely, they’d be kidding themselves if they thought those countries with low case levels were any safer than anywhere else in the world. Many more obscure countries aren’t reporting cases of Covid-19 or don’t have the medical infrastructure to do so.

Hornbill is eating Frank’s seeds.

Sure, at this site, Worldometer, out of 220 countries, there are a handful of countries with no deaths recorded, based on a small population. But there isn’t one country of the 220 countries listed with no cases of the virus whatsoever. If such a haven of health existed, no doubt, a particular faction might choose an extended stay for their long-term safety.

As Covid-19’s Delta strain cases continue to ravage many countries, we look at the stats in South Africa, and comparatively, if at all accurate, we are safer here than we were in the US during our four-week visit. As we’ve read more and more about the fully vaccinated becoming infected anyway, we now wonder how careful all of us must be going forward. There’s no clear and concise answer to these questions. Opinions are all over the place.

One aspect we feel confident may be reasonably accurate: if one were to contract the virus after being vaccinated, it may, and I emphasize, “may” be a milder case. I suspect that boosters will soon be required for better protection regardless of the brand of vaccine one received. If a booster is required for future travel and our safety, we will opt-in.

Hornbill in a tree.

While here in South Africa in 2018, we went to Dr. Theo for boosters for vaccines we had before leaving the US in 2012. I don’t suppose, in our minds, getting a Covid booster will be much different, providing it is readily available to us. We never received a text for an appointment from South Africa’s vaccine registration app after we’d applied within days of the app’s availability.

We’re assuming; since we’re foreigners, we’d never be included. This may be the case when and if a booster is available in the province of Mpumalanga. The controversy surrounding the vaccine is as rampant here as it is in the US and other countries. We choose not to judge anyone for their choices. We all have the right to make our own decisions.

Amid all this madness, life continues, albeit in a manner that is less familiar to most of us. I don’t believe most of us take the impact of this virus in our stride. It’s changed everything. Life as we knew it, only about 18 months ago, is becoming a distant memory as we all struggle to accept mask-wearing and social distancing.

Hornbill at the bushbaby house.

Life goes on. Sickness and illness continue in other ways besides Covid-19. We get flu, viruses, coughs, and colds. Tom is now recovering from a cold he got weeks ago. Over the weekend, I developed a bad sore throat which is now on the downswing; no cough, no fever, no loss of taste. I’m just feeling a little tired with a sore throat that is gradually improving hour by hour.

I attribute the tiredness to the severe lack of sleep we experienced for a week. That is also improving with a considerable amount of sleep each of the past three nights. Tomorrow, Tom has a dentist appointment in Malalane since he’s had a bad toothache for several days.

It’s good that we have access to excellent medical care within a half-hour drive of Marloth Park. It provides us with tremendous peace of mind. In many countries we’ve visited over the years, we didn’t feel confident about medical care. In the future, we will strive to be conveniently located to quality medical care, especially as we age.

Another hornbill took a turn at the seeds on the railing.

We still haven’t seen Tiny, but his look-alike, whom we call “The Imposter,” has become quite a regular. “The Misses” is back to visit us, along with Frank,  as well as many other regulars. Since our return one week ago, we haven’t seen as many warthogs as before we left. However, it’s been wonderful to see Little and his new family a few times each day. Hopefully, in time, Tiny and his friends will return.

In the interim, it was fun seeing our favorite hornbills once again, pecking at the windows while chirping at us for seeds. We’ve been happy to comply, as shown in today’s photos.

Hopefully, today, Leonora will return from the airport with our missing bag.

Have a pleasant Monday!

Photo from one year ago today, August 2, 2020:

This one-year ago photo is from the post while in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #132. Tom is as content as he could be while we were in Costa Rica at La Perla de Atenas. For more photos, please click here.

The 2½ hour wait at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles…

While in Penguin, Tasmania, in 2017, we took this photo on our way to the town of Ulverston. Tasmania never disappoints!  For more photos, please click here.

We each had over a year left until the expiration of our Nevada driver’s licenses. However, with uncertainty at this point as to when we’ll return to the US, we needed to take care of this task before we depart Nevada in four or five days.

We both dreaded the process when the DMV in Henderson (and other locations) usually requires appointments to avoid waiting for hours. The last time we did this, seven years ago, the line extended outside the building with no less than 100 impatient applicants pushing and shoving to secure their spots.

With Tom sick all week, we avoided going. But as time wore on, we decided we’d better take care of this regardless of how he or I was feeling. When we awoke yesterday morning, it was raining heavily.

We imagined standing in that long queue outdoors in the rain with both of us still coughing (especially Tom) and getting soaked. I’d packed our cheap plastic rain protectors in the blue bag and by 9:45 am we took off.

Imagine our elation when we drove into the parking lot and there was no line at all! Apparently, due to the inclement weather, people decided to wait and go another day, which proved to benefit us greatly.

Upon entry into the building, which was packed, within minutes we got a number from the receptionist, found two adjacent chairs and began the long wait, making sure we didn’t miss the call of our number over the PA system.

We realized the wait would be long, but we were so pleased to avoid standing outdoors in the rain, hardly a whimper crossed our lips during the over-two-hour wait.

Some may say, the facility is disorganized with so many applicants always waiting to be seen. In fact, we perceived it as being very organized and well-planned with friendly customer service and systems in place to facilitate a somewhat painless process.

I played with my new phone while Tom never took his eyes off the screen with the numbers that had been called and those numbers upcoming. The time went more quickly than expected and by noon we met with the rep who would process our renewals.

The process took about 30 minutes when the rep was curious about why we were renewing early, which is unusual. She then continued to ask many questions. Of course, we had nothing to hide, but we didn’t want to get into our entire story.

Finally, our temporary licenses were issued and we were directed to the area where photos are taken. Amazingly, there was no queue there and we breezed through the process in a few minutes.

Once out the door, we sighed in relief. It was finally done. Next time, we can again apply online when an applicant must apply in person. every other renewal time

We feel as if we accomplished a lot while in the US, amid both of us being sick; we applied for and received our visas for India, applied and are awaiting our “second, four-year” passports and now renewed our driver’s licenses. It’s been an enormous relief to get these time consuming and cumbersome tasks out of the way.

Our next project. Is deciding on how we’ll spend the two unbooked months in India after completing the Maharajas Train tour on February 8th. Planning this is a big project and we just may have to wait until we get settled in Arizona next week. Plus, we still have to work on hiring an attorney to assist us in getting the visa waiver to return to South Africa.

I’m off today to visit my sister Susan once again. I’d intended to go yesterday, but when we returned from the DMV so late in the day, I realized I’d be stuck in rush hour traffic, in the rain, on the return drive. No thank you. I’ll be on my way soon.

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2018:

Mom and piglet enjoying the cement pond on a hot day. It’s summer during this time of year in South Africa and with the drought and lack of bodies of water available to the wild animals, they may seek a refreshing dunk in the cement pond in our garden, intended as a source of drinking water. For more photos, please click here.

Turning the corner…Still lots to do…

Two years ago today, in 2017, in Pisco, Peru, we spotted these children playing at the beach with views of colorful fishing vessels.  For more photos, please click here.

While we were about one week into the most recent cruise, one early evening at the beginning of the free-drink-happy-hour (two hours long), I wasn’t able to take a sip of my wine. I felt queasy and dizzy.

Tom walked me to the cabin, helped me get situated into bed while I encouraged him to go back to the event to enjoy the evening’s camaraderie and bring me a small plate of food from the buffet before he went to dinner in the main dining room. There was no point in him sitting there with me.

Before 7:00 pm, he brought me a plate of roasted chicken, grilled fish, and steamed veggies. By 9:00 pm, he’d had dinner and returned to the cabin for the night. 

I had no idea why I was dizzy, but by morning it passed, leaving me with a peculiar slight cough that eventually blossomed into the full roar of the virus from which we’re still experiencing now. It’s been 34 days since the onset.

As I mentioned yesterday, Tom is now suffering as I did over two weeks ago in Minnesota when I went to Urgent Care twice only to discover after taking antibiotics and cortisone. Ultimately, it is truly a virus with little to be done other than to wait it out.

Of course, if either of us had suspected it was more serious than the virus we contracted while cruising, we would have sought more medical advice. We had no fever, no symptoms of pneumonia, no chest pain (although our stomach muscles ached from coughing, a common side effect).

Yesterday, I awoke to feel dizzy again, on top of awful coughing, and this morning that is gone, and much to my delight, my cough has lessened dramatically. Oddly, it came in with dizziness and left with the dizziness. Go figure. I’m finally out of the woods, or so it seems.

Tom is insistent we go to the DMV today, but again oddly enough, it’s going to rain today. A visit to the DMV results in an extended outdoor queue often standing for hours. We couldn’t book an appointment based on a lack of availability while we’re here before we depart for Arizona next week.

The result? Today, rain or shine, we’ll stand in line at the DMV to renew our driver’s licenses. Yes, we have raincoats but no umbrella. Who has an umbrella in Nevada? It rarely rains here.

I’d planned to see Susan today, but that’s up in the air based on how quickly we can get through the line at the DMV. If not today, I’ll go tomorrow. Perhaps, the lines will be shorter today with it raining.

Out of the small backpack, I just dug out the total-body-coverage cheap plastic raincoats we’d purchased in Thailand for 85 cents each which have served us well on several occasions over these past few years. We’ll see how they work for us today.

No doubt, I’m dreading this DMV thing, but it has to be done. Tom offered to go on his own, but I, too, need my license renewed, and it makes no sense for us to go separately.

We’ll continue to keep our readers informed of the infinitesimal activities of our time here in Nevada. Soon enough, a little excitement may ensue as we begin to pull ourselves out of the throes of the virus.

Happy day to all, rain or shine.

Photo from one year ago today, December 4, 2018:

This fluffy little one captured our hearts. For more photos, please click here.

Coughing from hell…Is cruising worth it?…

In 2016, we arrived in Penguin, Tasmania, where we stayed for six weeks. This is the view from the living room window of the beautiful holiday home we rented. It was a delightful six weeks and remained one of Tom’s favorite places in the world. For more photos, please click here.

During our seven years of world travel, there was only one other time we were both as sick as we are now with a virus. We were on a cruise from Honolulu to Sydney. Upon our arrival, I could barely get myself onto the deck to take our first photos of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

Driving the rental car to the holiday home in Trinity Beach is but a vague memory. We were disorientated, exhausted, and racked with horrible bouts of coughing for no less than three weeks. 

We never mentioned it in the blog, feeling we didn’t want to “bore” our readers with medical woes. However, after this past dreadful year of my heart issues, we don’t feel as if we need to “hide,” primarily when so many of our readers have written to us not only wishing us well but finding comfort in some of their issues, in the fact they are not alone.

Only a week into the most recent cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, we acquired this virus, and we’re struggling with it much longer than expected. It seems the cough, exhaustion, and feeling disorientated have become worse over time. We can’t imagine others on that cruise aren’t suffering in the same manner.

It would be easy for any observer to say, “Then, why in the world would you go on cruises if you get sick?” 

We’ve been on 25 cruises since beginning our journey in 2012. Sure, I’ve had the cruise cough several times, with Tom catching it less often. Our answer is simple: we use cruising to get from one part of the world to another, avoiding many flights.

Then again, airplanes can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, and we often hear about travelers becoming sick from flying. Combine the flights many take to arrive at the point of embarkation on a cruise, and it’s become a double whammy.

The reality is, for whatever reason, our immune systems are vulnerable to the germs on cruises. No doubt, we need to focus on ways to be all the more cautious while cruising. We’ll begin doing more research on ways to reduce the risk and improve our immune system.

We’re often asked if we get flu shots, and we do not. Each country has its specific strain, which means we’d have to be immunized in several countries. This doesn’t seem to be healthful or sensible. Perhaps it’s a by-product of long-term travel.

At this point, Tom is suffering like where I was a few weeks ago when I went to an urgent care clinic and was prescribed antibiotics and cortisone, neither of which alleviated the symptoms. I still kept coughing and feeling awful.

But during this time, both of us were very busy with our families and could hardly slow down when we were there for only three weeks. We’ve slowed down considerably since arriving in Nevada, and luckily Tom has had a chance to rest for several days while I’ve gone to visit my sister, shopped, and cooked meals, nothing overly strenuous.

Today, I’m “down for the count” right along with Tom. We’re both staying in all day, lounging on Richard‘s comfy sofa with plenty to watch on the big screen TV. Tom’s time to rest nor my level of activity have had no impact on helping or changing anything one way or another.

We had planned to go to the DMV to renew our driver’s licenses today, but neither of us has the strength to stand in line for hours. Somehow we’ll manage to take care of this before the end of the week. We’re leaving (driving) for Arizona early next week.

While at the urgent care clinic in Minnesota two weeks ago, they explained we aren’t contagious anymore, but also there is little to be done to alleviate the symptoms of a virus. 

There is no point in us seeing a doctor. Antibiotics don’t work. There’s nothing that can be done. We’re using the over-the-counter meds recommended by the doctor at the clinic. The nighttime Nyquil seems to help us sleep better. We have to wait it out.

Be well. 

Photo from one year ago today, December 3, 2018:

Giffafe in the garden aching for the treetops. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Our year in review…Photos of us…Busy preparing new itinerary, ready for tomorrow’s post…

In July, we had a great evening at The Elephant Bar in Henderson, Nevada, with friends that live in Las Vegas.

New Year’s Day proved to be another good holiday. We stayed busy posting until later than usual and then spent the rest of the afternoon making future travel plans.

Why do we plan so far ahead? Our lifestyle gives us tremendous piece-of-mind knowing what’s coming down the road. Also, it gives us an opportunity for good prices for upcoming venues.

Tom standing next to the Giant Bamboo tree to gain a perspective of its massive size. The vegetation at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica was almost as interesting as the wildlife.

Although we’ll post the itinerary tomorrow, we’ve yet to book all of the vacation homes for the upcoming visits to various countries, but the cruises are already booked. Over the next few months, once we’re in Africa, we start booking vacation/holiday homes in these various locations.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, cruises are a driving force in our decisions to visit certain countries, although as shown, we don’t hesitate to fly when necessary.

I used repellent while at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica but still got a few mosquito bites.

Planning is a daunting task, and today, we’ll continue with the preparations for tomorrow’s post. We’re happy we’d committed to posting the itinerary. It motivated us to “get the show on the road” and finally decide for the future.  

By no means, our failure to get this done wasn’t due to any lack of enthusiasm on our part. Instead, it was based on the simple fact that we’ve been rather busy this past month with the cruise and socializing. 

We set up the tripod to take this photo of us in Costa Rica on October 31, 2017, the fifth anniversary of our world travels.

All along, we have intended to post a new itinerary around the first of the new year. We’ll have this accomplished by tomorrow as we joyfully share it with all of our worldwide readers.

As for yesterday, New Year’s night, we ate the remainder of the food purchases we’d made for sharing with Margaret and Con. By 7:30 pm, once again, we gathered in a big booth in the Prodeo Hotel’s dining room with food which included roasted chickens, coleslaw salad which I made in our room, olives, cheese, meat, and nuts.  It was another fine evening.

On formal night aboard Celebrity Infinity only weeks ago. My teeth were purple from the glass of red wine I’d just finished.

By 11:00 pm, we were sleeping, and although intermittently, I feel hangover-free and refreshed today, ready to tackle a new day in Buenos Aires. In a short time, once we’ll upload today’s post, and we’ll head to a local barbershop for Tom’s haircut, which opens after 12:00 pm.

He hasn’t had a haircut since October. He’s facing “hat hair” on the upcoming Antarctica cruise when we’ll both be wearing hats for several hours each day. This is less of an issue for me when a few swipes with the flat iron and I’m back to normal. 

We were with our wonderful new friends, Lisa and Barry, whom we hope to see in June in South Africa.

But for him, his hair tends to be spikey when either too short or too long. He’s thumbing through past posts right now to see how short he wants it cut today. We’ll post photos soon.

Tonight, we’ll walk to Serrano Plaza, our favorite area for dinner. There are many restaurants we’ve yet to try.  After eating in these past few nights, we’re looking forward to getting out again. Now that the holiday season is over, we expect to find more dining options.

On the ship’s deck as we sailed through the Chilean Fiords on the most recent cruise.

May your new year begin and end with considerable contentment and joy in all of your endeavors, whatever they may be. Happy day to all 

Photo from one year ago today, January 2, 2017:

Green/spring onions were being processed for wholesale distribution at a Penguin, Tasmania vegetable processing farm. For more details, please click here.

Tom’s haircut in Penguin…A visit to yesteryear in a historical barber shop…

Linda, the barbershop owner and sole employee and Tom, before his haircut.

Tom hadn’t had a haircut since August while we were in Phuket, Thailand over four months ago. His hair was unruly and difficult to manage. It was time for another buzz cut.

The front entrance to Zvoni’s Barber Shop, owned by Terry’s sister Linda.

Of course, we decided to visit the shop in downtown Penguin owned by friend/landlord Terry’s sister Linda, who’d purchased the historical shop eleven years ago from the former owner Zvoni, who’d owned it for 40 years.

Although the shop was filled with supplies and memorabilia, it was spotlessly clean, well prepared for men’s, women’s and children’s haircuts.

Not surprisingly, the shop was filled with memorabilia each with a story, most of which Linda was well acquainted over her years of ownership as the sole proprietor and employee. 

Postcards, letters and articles received over the years.

If Linda’s out, the shop is closed which is seldom. Other than Sunday’s and holidays, Linda is always on hand to tend to the haircutting and styling needs of local residents and visitors.

The shop has uses two antique barber chairs, over 80 years old, made in America.

Its ironic how each barber shop we’ve visited throughout the world, whether a traditional shop in Singapore as in this post or a haircut outside under a tree, long ago in Belize as shown in this post and photo below, has its own unique history and we’ve looked forward to each experience.

Tom’s haircut under a tree in Belize in March, 2013. The barber had no official shop, but had access to a electric outlet in a nearby building. For the rest of this story, please click here.
Each barber shop or salon has had its own story to tell as did Linda’s which proved to be interesting enough to be included in a Time Magazine article about Australia’s hidden treasures, presented about 10 years ago during a publication highlighting Australia.
Linda has several glass enclosed displays of various antique barber tools and equipment.

We can only imagine how excited Linda must have been to have a story about her and her shop published in this well known magazine and what a boon for business and tourism in this quaint town of Penguin.

The Time Magazine issue about Australia included the story as shown below, of Linda’s barber shop, Zvonie (named after the former owner).
Time Magazine’s article about Linda and the barbershop published approximately 10 years ago. 

I wish we’d had more time to talk to Linda but business comes first. She had another customer waiting for his haircut. Beside the excellent haircut, we both reveled in the simplicity of the experience which was rich in its 80 year history and originality, offered by diligent owners both in the past and today, with Linda in charge.

When Linda directed me to this photo, I gasped to see her with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip asking how she managed to get this photo. I got suckered! This photo was taken at the London wax museum!

If you plan to visit Penguin or its surrounding towns, waiting to get a haircut until you arrive in Penguin will add one more memorable event to your experience at this special little shop, owned, managed and run by one more special individual we’ve been fortunate to meet in Penguin, Linda Murphy.

Tom, with a new buzz cut.
Soon, we’re off and about for an exciting adventure. We’ll be back tomorrow with photos and details.  Have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 5, 2016:

One year ago, we stayed at a hotel across the street from the pier where our ship awaited us. It was raining hard and we decided to take a taxi rather than haul our bags in the rain. For two other cruises later in the year, Tom hauled the bags to the pier and we simply walked across the street and down these steps to check in. For more details, please click here.

Dealing with life’s everyday challenged while traveling the world…

A billy goat tied to a tree.

Finally, Tom is on the mend. After considerable research, we speculate that the abscessed tooth he had pulled may have resulted in the gastrointestinal infection that began to plague him 48 hours after the extraction, lasting for almost a week.

He suffered from severe gastric symptoms, fever, chills, body aches, and weakness. He took over-the-counter medications to alleviate the fever every four to six hours for the first few days until the fever subsided, sleeping most of the day on the sofa in the living room.

A bubbling brook.

The simple fact is that pulling the tooth released bacteria from the abscess in his bloodstream and stomach, resulting in what appeared similar to the bacterial infection I had in Marrakesh, Morocco after eating raw vegetables in a restaurant the first day of our arrival. 

After traveling for 17 months at that point, I should have known better. Now, we’re more cautious than ever in less developed countries. I had waited three weeks before succumbing to a three-day dose of Cipro which we’d brought along for exactly this reason.

Recently, we read a study that discovered the depth of the intellect of horses and their innate ability to connect with humans, even reacting to expressions on a human face.

Within hours I began to feel relief. In Tom’s case, we didn’t want him to take antibiotics a third time since his first dose for the abscess was in November, the second in January, on two occasions when the abscess flared up. Thus, he waited.

It wasn’t until he started feeling better yesterday that we conducted research to make the connection to the abscessed tooth extraction and the gastric. Had we suspected this earlier, calling the dentist to inquire, most likely he’d have recommended antibiotics, which we didn’t want Tom to take once again unless it continued for more than a week.

A creek we encountered on a drive.

Its in these types of scenarios that not having a “regular” doctor and dentist puts us in a tough position. In our old lives, if we were sick for more than five days we’d make an appointment to see the doctor often having tests and leaving with a few prescriptions. 

We don’t have this luxury now, 40 months after leaving Minnesota. For those family members and friends who are reading today…please don’t worry…if one of us exhibits life-threatening symptoms, we’ll immediately find our way to an urgent care facility or hospital. 

Even on cloudy days, the countryside has a special charm.

It may seem as if we’re often sick as we share the details of our daily lives. Most likely it’s no more than most of our readers. The difference is that few document each virus, infection, injury, and days of being under the weather. Most likely, twice a year we experience a malady of one sort or another.

After considerable discussion, we’ve come to the conclusion that moving from one location, one country to another, we have little time to build an immunity to local viruses than those who live in one location occasionally traveling who seem to build an immunity.

Stopping to admire cloud-covered Mount Taranaki.

On cruises, passengers are exposed to a variety of illnesses from living in tight quarters for a few weeks.  Luckily, we’ve never had Norovirus even during periods when there’s been an outbreak.

Although on four of our past cruises either one or both of us has developed the common “cruise cough,” the worst of which was on the cruise from Hawaii to Sydney with horrible symptoms lasting three weeks after the cruise ended. By far, that was the worst illness either of us has experienced since we left the US. 

Horses we encounter are animated and friendly.  Check out the cute pink spot on his nose.

When the ship disembarked we were so sick with a fever and a cough neither of us hardly recalls the time we spent picking up the rental car at the Cairns airport and finding the house in Trinity Beach.

We caught this awful virus toward the end of the cruise when a woman coughed on me in the elevator which, once my symptoms manifested, Tom was infected developing into the same whirlwind of awful symptoms.  

We each spent the last few days of the cruise in the cabin (it was an 18-day cruise) in an attempt to avoid infecting others. Otherwise, this was one of the most enjoyable of our 12 cruises to date, making many new friends with whom we’ve continued to stay in touch.

Another creek we crossed on a drive.

Most recently with Tom’s abscessed tooth, we ask ourselves what we may have done differently once the symptoms manifested. We were living in a remote area of Fiji. We visited a dentist within days of the first symptoms, taking antibiotics as prescribed. 

His second bout of symptoms occurred on the day we boarded this last cruise from Sydney to Auckland. The only solution was another round of the same antibiotics. As required in the case of antibiotics he continued with the full course of the medication. 

Once we arrived in New Plymouth, within two weeks of arrival, we were in the dentist’s office when at that time, no new symptoms were present. We feel we did everything we could. Then, he developed the awful gastrointestinal infection plaguing him for almost a week. 

A winding country road.

Now, he’s able to eat again, is feeling well and life will continue on as always, always, stress-free, filled with simple daily pleasures and the comforts of living in the countryside in this beautiful country. Soon, we’ll head back out to tour more of this exquisite location, sharing new photos along the way.

We feel blessed and grateful for each and every day of our lives. But, no one “said” life of world travel would always be easy.  It’s not. And, it’s the times it’s not easy that make us appreciate greater periods of good health and simple pleasures. Overall, we were very fortunate during these last 40 months.

Thanks to all of our readers for sharing this journey with us during periods of both excitement and the mundane events of daily life.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 13, 2015:

Thousands of feral chickens populate the island of Kauai. It is speculated that Hurricane Iniki in 1991 blew away hundreds of chicken coops, letting them loose to proliferate. It’s quite a sight to see! For more Kauai photos, please click here.

Tom’s tooth abscess is resolved at last!…

Tom, standing outside Taylor Dental Practice in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Finally, Tom’s tooth abscess is resolved. After three months since the onset of the problem, two rounds of antibiotics, both of which gave him temporary relief, two trips to a dentist, one in Fiji in November, the other yesterday, it’s all over now.

“Dr. Dennis, the Dentist” at the Taylor Dental Practice in New Plymouth pulled his tooth after examining his x-rays and giving him three options for the tooth that had already had a crown:

The waiting room was comfortable and organized.

1. Root canal with a new crown at an expense of NZ $1500, US $1011
2. An implant that would take eight to nine months (out of the question, time-wise) 
3. Pull the tooth

It didn’t take long for us to decide. As the last tooth next to a wisdom tooth, losing the tooth wouldn’t result in a noticeable difference when he smiled or laughed. Who among us in the senior years hasn’t had at least one tooth pulled in their lifetime? This was a first for Tom.

There was plenty of reading material, but we didn’t wait long.

Tom has always had “laughing gas” (nitrous oxide) for all dental work, a practice that started when he was a young adult. This is seldom used in many countries and wasn’t available at Dr. Dennis’s location.

The tooth would be pulled with only a lengthy injection of Novocaine (Procaine) and out the tooth would come!  He hesitated when hearing there would be no nitrous oxide used. With reassurances from Dennis, the hygienist, and me, he decided to go ahead.

As shown in Tom’s x-ray, the gray area under the far-right crown is where the infection has been festering off and on.

I asked Dr. Dennis an important question before he began the procedure, “How long would it take to pull out the tooth?” He explained it would be over in less than one minute. Knowing this gave Tom a bit of comfort.  

We had visions of a dentist tugging and pulling, broken bits remaining behind, with the dentist using leverage to yank out a pesky tooth. Not the case. It was over in 10 seconds, not one minute. We were both surprised by how quickly the tooth, mushy in the gums, easily came out.

He still smiles, considering what was ahead.  The goggles are worn to protect the eyes in the event of any “flying” tooth matter during the extraction.

The look of relief on Tom’s face was evident when the dentist showed him the extracted tooth. It was over.  What a relief for him and for me who’d suffered along with him over two worrisome rounds of antibiotics and trips to the dentist. After a few instructions for care, we were out the door of the treatment room and off to pay the bill.

Considering the exam, the x-rays, the Novocaine injection, and the extraction, we expected a bill in the several hundred dollar range. Were we ever shocked when we were handed the bill for NZ $170, US $115? We couldn’t pay it quickly enough.

Dr. Dennis, the Dentist did a fine job, quick and painless.

No doubt this would have been much more costly in the US although not quite as good a deal as it may have been in Fiji at NZ $4.09, US $2.76 per dental appointment.  

In examining the sterilization at the two locations, we felt more at ease in New Zealand and we’re glad we waited, even though it cost Tom an extra round of antibiotics. That’s not to say the dental care in Fiji is inadequate but at their low prices, it may not have been possible to provide the degree of caution exercised in New Zealand where we felt totally at ease.

Based on this single experience, we’d highly recommend Taylor Dental Practice and Dr. Dennis, the dentist with whom we chatted for a bit about his homeland of Malaysia which we’ll be visiting this upcoming April on our next cruise. Overall, it was a relatively painless and pleasant (as such an appointment can be) experience in a professional, competent, and caring clinic.

Allison, the dental assistant was equally friendly and supportive.

After the extraction, we continued on with our grocery shop. I told Tom we could easily wait to shop until today when we’re soon heading back to town to visit with June and Simon at their historic home. He insisted he was fine and we could continue with our multiple-stop shopping. 

Heading to Pak’nSave, on a different day of the week than last time, again we ran into June who was also shopping. We all giggled over the coincidence assuring her we’d be at her home as planned at 11:00 am today, Friday. Small world. 

Then we were off to the Kiwi Meat market with a final stop at New World Market for the balance of the items we couldn’t find at PAK n SAVE. By the time we returned “home” the cleaners, Ra, and Isabel hadn’t finished cleaning after arriving late.

The old metal crown Tom had made many years ago, moments after it was pulled.

Hurriedly, we put our perishables away leaving the remainder on the dining room table to deal with later, and headed back out the door to “kill” another hour. Tom had suggested a new road to explore he’d spotted on the map. He explained he was feeling fine and has continued without pain or discomfort since the extraction. 

As always in New Zealand, every road offers myriad treasures and we continued exploring for a few more hours taking photos on another overcast day. We’ll share those photos in the days to come.

We’ll be back tomorrow with photos from today’s visit to the historic home. Please stop back to see!
 

Photo from one year ago today, February 5, 2015:

It was one year ago today that we attended our first Full Moon Party, organized by friend Richard, as we continued with a busy social life in Kauai. Thanks, Richard, we’ll always love you for befriending us! For more details, please click here.

Off to the dentist for Tom…Beautiful scenes on a walk…Broadband now working in the house…

We stopped to visit a few horses in the neighborhood who immediately approached us.

Who would think that the technician from Vodafone would be such a delight? We had a great time with Peter who not only provided the best possible solution for owners Trish and Neil but also for the remainder of our stay.

Horses wear blankets to regulate their body temperature and protect them from the elements.

With 80 gigs available in the monthly plan which is not our expense, it’s a huge relief to have the expensive data plan with Spark behind us. With a few gigs left on our hot spot device, we can take it with us when we go on road trips in order to use the GPS feature on our phones. 

Pink flowers along the road on our walk.

Monitoring our usage to ensure we don’t exceed the 80 gigs included in the 30 day period is vital to our peace of mind that we don’t exceed the limit, incurring additional expenses we’d have to cover.

Throughout the hills, as seen from our veranda, there are groupings of trees in the form of a mini forest, adding to the beauty of the countryside.

With Peter’s excellent help we figured a “workaround” allowing me to check on the IP address for the accumulating data usage. Not only was Peter efficient and conscientious, but he was also friendly, making the installation process pleasant and seamless. Vodafone couldn’t have a better, more qualified, and professional rep.

Agapanthus flowers New Zealand, have been classified as a weed and are considered invasive, although it’s beautiful as it lines roads and highways. For more information, please click here.

We find this friendliness and care for customers prevalent wherever we may go in New Zealand. Today, we can only hope the dental practice we decided on, based on great online reviews, proves to be equally helpful and professional. We’ll report back tomorrow with photos. 

We’re always in awe of the view of Mount Taranaki.

Certainly, this dental appointment will be considerably different than Tom’s almost “free” dental appointment in Fiji a few months ago. At present, he’s not experiencing any pain or sign of infection, an ideal time to get this situation resolved one way or another. 

Peter, our Vodafone rep did a fabulous job to ensure we had a strong connection.

We certainly don’t want him to have to go through the third round of antibiotics while on the two-week cruise beginning on April 16th or during our upcoming two months in Bali, immediately thereafter.

Similar flowers are seen in many areas that grow prolifically in New Zealand’s mild climate.

Having moved our appointment with June to see her historic home on Friday and grocery shopping today after his dental appointment, we’re back on track.

Morning view of the mountains from our veranda.

We’re off for Tom’s appointment and will be back tomorrow with more new photos and the continuation of living a joyful life in the countryside in exquisite New Zealand.  We had no idea how much we’d love this fabulous location.

Back to you soon!

Photo from one year ago today, February 4, 2015:

Tropical climates such as Fiji and Hawaii have ideal conditions for flowers to bloom year-round. For more photos, from our time in Kauai, please click here.