Day #226 in lockdown in Mumbai, India…Election results day…Bubonic plague in Africa, two years ago…

More than 1,300 cases have now been reported in Madagascar, health chiefs have revealed, as nearby nations have been placed on high alert
This map of Africa in 2017, illustrates that there was a high-risk for bubonic plague. At that time we were planning to be in South Africa beginning in February 2018 and other countries, in order to renew our visa status. We, ultimately, stayed in Africa for 15 months at that time.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2017, during the news on the bubonic plague impacting the east coast of Africa  See the link here.

After a solid 5½ hours of uninterrupted sleep, I bolted out of bed at 5:00 am, anxious to shower, dress, and get ready to start the day, watching US news on the elections. While getting dressed I had the news on my phone in the bathroom, but the results were only dribbling in at that time.

Tom’s early morning view of the moon setting on the horizon, taken from the veranda.

Not wanting to awaken Tom, I decided against turning on the news on the TV to one of the few English-speaking channels in India. My phone is a perfect resource for news and at the moment at 6:00 am, I’m dressed for the day, sitting in my comfy chair, earbuds in my ears, listening to the news on my phone while I’m preparing today’s post.

My goal is to complete today’s post by the time Tom awakens and be able to plug in my laptop to the TV with live broadcasts of US news available to stream. I don’t mind not working on my laptop today, instead, using it to see what’s transpiring with the election.

We’ve often been asked if we pay attention to what is transpiring in the US as we’ve traveled the world and without a doubt, regardless of our fears and frustration over recent events, of course, we care deeply about our home country. We always stay in close touch via the news and reading a variety of publications online.

A boy covers his mouth as a council worker sprays disinfectant during the clean-up of the market in the Anosibe district, one of the most unsalubrious districts of Antananarivo.
Street scene in Madagascar during the plague. (Not our photo).

Over these many months in lockdown, we are paying special attention when we’ve had news on, in the background,  most days, switching between the few English speaking stations, most of which are international news which also has a big impact on our lives. There are one or two English-speaking Indian news channels which we also watch for updates on COVID-19 and the possibilities of the opening of international flights.

As for today’s photos, on this date in 2017, news broke about the bubonic plague (ironic, eh?) hitting the eastern coast of Africa. It caused us concern with our plans to head to South Africa in February, three months later. Fortunately, the virus was contained by the time we arrived in Africa as we headed to Marloth Park to celebrate my 70th birthday at Jabula with friends and to hopefully stay for an extended period.

By traveling in and out of South Africa by visiting other countries in Africa, we were able to stay for 12 months with only applying for one visa extension by traveling to other African countries and returning to South Africa for another 90-day visa stamp.

People queue at a pharmacy in downtown Antananarivo, Madagascar to buy protection masks against infections and medicines against plague on Monday, October 2.
Locals outside a pharmacy in Madagascar. (Not our photo).

When I had open-heart surgery in South Africa and couldn’t travel for three months, we overstayed our last visa by 90 days. Tom was too busy taking care of me to spend days working on another visa extension. When we left the country, we were told we couldn’t return for five years, described as “undesirables.” We had letters from doctors and proof of payment for medical bills to prove the reason why we’d overstayed. Still, we were banned.

While in Ireland after leaving SA, we hired a South Africa law firm to help us acquire a waiver to allow us to return sooner than in five years. It was granted months later, after considerable legal fees and now, ironically, we can’t get there. So much has changed for us and for people all over the world in 2020. I don’t believe this will be over with the new year.

Regardless of the results of today’s US election, we pray for the safety and well being of our fellow US citizens and for citizens of the world.

Be well. Be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, November 4, 2019:

The travel anniversary cake hosted by Murano, a specialty restaurant on the ship. Tom didn’t eat any of it. We handed over to the neighbors from Minnesota in the next cabin for them to enjoy. For more photos, please click here.

Continue reading “Day #226 in lockdown in Mumbai, India…Election results day…Bubonic plague in Africa, two years ago…”

The flurry of activity has begun…2 days and counting…Not freaking out about Coronavirus…

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Two years ago today, we wrote: “This is unreal…the Black Browed Albatross on Steeple Jason Island, remove tall grass from these massive “pod-like” structures, adding mud and vegetation to make it a freestanding pod on which they can nest. Here’s a young chick making a little noise while atop her/his elevated nest.  That’s amazing!” See the post here.

This morning I headed out to Safeway one last time for a few grocery items to fill in the blanks over the next few days. I received a $10 credit on the items I purchased from using up my rewards points. Tonight, we’ll eat breakfast again for dinner to use the remaining bacon and eggs we have on hand.


Tomorrow morning, we’ll do the laundry and finish packing our clothing bags and weigh them. We’re allowed two checked bags each, weighing a maximum of 50 pounds (23 kg) each. This should work fine for both of us.


We got rid of the duffel bag while in Minnesota and replaced it with a good quality wheeling carry-on sized bag. We’ll pack our heavy jeans and coats in this bag. Here’s what we currently have for luggage including carry-on bags:


1. Tom’s clothing: 50 pounds
2. Jess clothing: 50 pounds
3. Small carry-on bag: 40 pounds (we’ll check this)
4. Carry-on backpack computer bag: 20
5. Carry-on bag (doubles as a handbag): 15 pounds
6. Carry-on yellow Costco bag which holds medications and prescriptions, my small pillow and blanket: 15 pounds 


We’ve tried to reduce this load, but after these seven-plus years of world travel, we don’t see how we can narrow this down any further as hard as we’ve tried. Thus, we’ll continue on as always.


As mentioned in an earlier post, while in the hotel in Mumbai for two nights, we’ll reduce our load to eliminate some weight and leave a bag behind at the hotel for the two months.


Then, besides packing, we’re thinking a little about the Coronavirus but, not as much as some may. There have been only a few cases so far in India and they’ve been testing all arriving passenger’s temperatures at all major airports. So far they’ve sent 12 passengers back to China, refusing them entry. Hopefully, this diligence continues.


This morning I purchased more wipes, not only for our hands, but also for surfaces which we’ll wipe down wherever we go including the armrests and tray tables on both planes and all surfaces in our hotel room, including phone, remote, door handles, etc.


Today, our 100 disposable face masks will arrive from Amazon. I had a hard time finding these online, including at the Amazon site. We’d seen a news report in China where people were lined, hundreds deep, at a pharmacy hoping to be able to purchase face masks when they were almost  sold out.


We’re taking every precaution we can and we are striving to be sensible and practical. However, if we’d had plans to visit China at this time, I am certain we would have felt it necessary to change our plans.


Last night, we hosted a happy hour for our neighbors and Tom’s family. We gathered around the outdoor table and enjoyed a few hours of lively conversation, snacks and drinks.


Worrying is pointless, precautions make sense. We continue on with hope in our hearts that all will be well. 


Have a meaningful Monday!

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

This was one of the youngest kudus we’ve seen this season. For more photos, please click here.

Moving right along…3 days and counting…

In Kauai, Hawaii, on this date in 2015, our friend Richard, who sadly has since passed away, sat behind the impressive magistrate’s desk, gave us a feeling as to how it would have been to visit his office in St. Louis, Missouri might have been, before he and wife Elaine moved to Kauai. For more, please click here.
It was another enjoyable day spent with family and friends. Friend Jodi had made dinner at her home hauling everything over to Colleen and Margie’s home (whose backyards are adjacent), leaving only the pork chops for Kevin to cook on the gas grill.


The weather was ideal at a high of 74F (23C) inspiring all of us to spend the majority of the day outdoors in the much-appreciated warmth and brilliant sunshine.


We didn’t play cards since visiting sister, Rita doesn’t play and we wanted to spend time with her, not distracted by our card games. We arrived at 2:30 pm and by 9:30 pm I wandered back to our place, leaving Tom time to chat with his sisters.


With us leaving in a mere three days, each moment spent is worthwhile. Upon his return to our place at midnight, Tom knocked on the door for me to let him in. With only one set of keys, I’ve had to let him in each time he’s returned late at night after visiting with the family and playing cards.


The dinner was fantastic with marinated pork chops (we brought our own, our last package of meat to ensure I wouldn’t be eating any sugary marinade). Jodi made green beans, roasted potatoes, salad, and garlic bread.


Everyone dined outside except Tom and I. There’s a huge bush in the yard that is filled with bees. Since Tom and I are both allergic to bees and bees are attracted to food, he and I chose to eat dinner in Colleen’s dining room. 


Once everyone ate, we headed back outdoors and all of us stayed outside until well after dark bundled up in jackets, hoodies, and blankets. At around 5:30, Tom, Eugene, and Kevin headed to the Phoenix airport to drop Kevin off for his upcoming flight, returning 90 minutes later.


We are officially out of meat in the freezer. Tonight, we’ll have omelets with mushrooms, onions, and grated cheese with sausage and bacon on the side possibly repeated a similar meal tomorrow. 


Today, we’ll load the supplies suitcase onto the dining table while I decide what items we’ll pack and ship back to the mailing service to hold for us for our next shipment, along with some warm weather clothing we won’t need over the next several months.


Later this afternoon, we’re planning on happy hour with our friendly neighbors, Linda and Fred, and then, will have a quiet evening at “home” having dinner and perhaps streaming a few shows.


We’re excited about commencing the next leg of our journey, looking forward to two months in India. Of course, we’re not looking forward to the almost 30-hour journey to Mumbai, but now, we’re looking into booking a priority lounge for the 8-hour layover hoping there will be a place we can nap for a few hours.


Have a lovely Sunday!
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Photo from one year ago today, January 26, 2019:
“Hot tub by candlelight” with Little lounging in the cement pond on a hot evening in the bush. For more photos, please click here.

Recycling pleasures…4 days and counting…

A photo from six years ago today at this link. On either side of the face are two hanging red-tipped hanging pieces of skin. When the Helmeted Guinea-fowl moves about, these swing around as would a pair of dangling earrings. Ah, the beauty of the wild!

When none of Tom’s sisters required a used computer, when they each had well-working devices of their own, their friend Jodi (and now ours), volunteered to take it off my hands, rather than dropping it off a recycling facility.


Subsequently, I reformatted the drive and it’s now running like a brand new laptop. Today at noon, I’m heading over to Jodi’s park model to set it up for her. This may be more of a thrill for me than for Jodi!


Recycling any personal possessions provides a great sense of satisfaction for the donor and also the recipient, not only for reasons concerning the environment but, also for the joy of transferring your treasured items to someone who will enjoy the use of the item. 


Perhaps for sentimental reasons, it’s gratifying to know the recipient will carry on the legacy of a special item that may have been a big part of the history of the donor. 


Whoa! My old laptop has been around the world! I’ve pounded out millions of words on that keyboard after using it since January 2015 when I purchased it while in Big Island, Hawaii at a Costco store.


And, I’ve uploaded 2725 posts (as of today), done so with our passion for the world, our ability to continue to travel and the amazing people and wildlife we’ve been blessed to meet along the way.


Of course, all remnants of the past have been deleted and only a fresh palate remains. It’s not so much that I’ve been emotionally attached to it. More so, it symbolizes all the experiences we’ve gleaned along the way since we purchased it five years ago.


As we donate clothing to Goodwill, particularly when it was a favorite item, it makes us wonder who may one day own that item and hoping they will enjoy it as much as we did.


We live in a “throw-away society” described as follows: “The throwaway society” is a human society strongly influenced by consumerism. The term describes a critical view of overconsumption and excessive production of short-lived or disposable items over durable goods that can be repaired.”


We observe this throughout the world. It’s not exclusive only to the USA. Even in some of the most remote areas of the world, we’ve witnessed the rampant disregard for our world and its future.


Each of us has the opportunity to play a small role in passing on our used items, that we’ve since replaced, especially when we take a little time to bring them up to a usable condition for the recipient. 


No, we aren’t perfect in this area, nor will we ever be. But we began to appreciate it more when in 2012 we sold or gave away everything we owned to travel the world. 


It was at this crucial time in our lives, that we began to understand this concept of letting go of “stuff” we didn’t need and hopefully, putting it into the hands of those who may.


Soon, we’ll begin packing. We’ve discovered we need to further lighten our load for the constant traveling in India. We’ll donate some items, and those we’ll need down the road, we’ll send to our mailing service to be held until we can use them again. 


Trying to figure out how to handle “stuff” is a fact of our peculiar lives. We do our best to do so in a manner that befits our appreciation of our world and the many gifts it has to offer…those we cannot hold in our hands but only in our hearts and minds.


Be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, January 25, 2019:

We spotted a giraffe with two male impalas in Marloth Park. For more photos please click here.

Two weeks from today and we’re off…Fun night last night with new arrival, another family member…

 
Two years ago, Tom and I sat in the hotel bar in Palermo, Buenos Aires watched the Minnesota Vikings playoff game. We were the only patrons in the bar, but had a wonderful evening together. For more, please click here.
Last night, Tom and Eugene picked up Kevin (Mary and Eugene’s son and Tom’s nephew) at the airport. Kevin retired a few years ago from a lifetime career as a police officer and wanted to spend some time with his parents for 11 days.

While they were gone, I finished the final details of the meal we were bringing over to their home to share with everyone. Tom dropped Kevin and Eugene off and then he returned here to load up the hot food into Margie’s car, which we continue to use.

By 8:00 pm, we were having dinner amid non-stop talking and laughter. By 10:30 I pooped out and drove myself back to our place, falling into bed. It was a busy cooking day and a good night’s sleep was on the menu at that point.

In minutes I dozed off and awoke at 1:30 am when Tom came in. In no time at all, we both dozed off. Today won’t be as busy a day. All I have to do it go to OfficeMax to have the India 26-page itinerary printed and stop at a local outlet store to buy a few more items.

At 4:00 pm today, we’ll walk to the pool area where there will be the usual Wednesday evening fire pit get-together. Most likely, we’ll spend the remainder of the evening in, dining on leftovers and relaxing.

There are several social events over the next several days and most likely, we’ll attend most, if not all of them.

Our long-time reader/friends Pat and Dan referred their adult daughter Christina to us to discuss suggestions for a single woman traveling to South Africa alone to spend a few weeks in Marloth Park.

Christina called yesterday afternoon and we chatted for quite some time. She is a ranger in Yellowstone Park and the thought of Marloth Park is a dream come true for her. It was delightful talking to her. Plus, she spent two years in India as a missionary and it was fantastic to hear her enthusiasm for India.

Many people have stated concern over us staying in India for so long, all of whom have never been there. Yes, we’re well aware of the pollution (and other issues) in the country. A few days ago our two high tech filtered face masks arrived. We don’t care how we look wearing them, which we’ll do in the big cities when appropriate.

On Monday afternoon Tom will drive me to Mesa (and pick me up later) to meet up with another dear reader/friend, Staci with whom we’ve been conversing for several years. She’ll be in Scottsdale for a business trip and carved out time to meet up with me so we could get together for dinner and “girl talk.” 

I am so excited to finally meet Staci after chatting back and forth online for these past years. Hopefully, I’ll take photos and post them here the following day.

That’s it for today, folks. May you all have a fabulous day.

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Photo from one year ago today, January 15, 2019:
Tom was sitting at the end of the big table on the veranda. It was such a happy time for both of us. For more from that date, please click here.

A year ago memories…That never happened…

She decided to look at her reflection in the glass of the little red car assuming it was another hornbill, perhaps a possible mate. For more, please click here.

As I read the year ago post I felt a little melancholy. It was a post about how we assumed we were leaving in one month on February 15, 2019. See the post here.


We were getting ready for an upcoming birthday dinner party for our friend Rita (husband Gerhard) whom we’d met from our site who ended up living in the same house in Marloth Park where we’d lived for three months in 2013/2014. 


They rented the house when our site directed them to Louise, our dear friend and property manager who’d rented the Hornbill House to us and them, and then four year’s later rented the Orange House to us. 


Rita and Gerhard became friends fast enough that they hosted Tom’s birthday party on December 23, 2018 and to joyfully reciprocate, we decided to host Rita’s birthday party a several weeks later. 


The same wonderful group of friends were coming to the party. Linda and Ken from Pretoria were coming to stay with us for a week which only added to the excitement and fun.


In the interim we were all headed to Tambarina Restaurant for dinner that night for the first celebration of Rita’s birthday. We all loved a reason to celebrate and then again, we didn’t always need a motive other than the pleasure of sharing time together.


Kathy had arranged a going away “girl’s day” for me on the upcoming February 5th to include pedicures and lunch. That never happened.


Kathy and Don were hosting a going away party for us on Friday, February 8th. That never happened.


The next night on February 9th, our last Saturday night in the bush, we were all getting together for dinner at Jabula. That never happened.


Leaving for Kenya for a fantastic tour and numerous safaris was on the schedule with our intended departure date on February 15th, the day our visas ended. That never happened.


Eighty four days later, we were supposed to be in Minnesota. That never happened.


On Friday night February 8th, after the heart disease diagnosis with the subsequent emergency open heart surgery scheduled for February 12th, Kathy and Don invited all of us for dinner at their house. I’ll always remember that night when we all sat around the fire in their garden sharing stories and our deepest feelings.


The next night, February 9th, we all met again for my pre-surgery dinner party. It was a bittersweet evening with loving friends. I’ll always remember these times with heartfelt gratitude and devotion.


So, reading yesterday’s post reminded me of all of these events which will always be emblazoned in our hearts and minds, grateful for our friends and for Dr. Theo who discovered my condition on a hunch.


Yes, as we look forward to heading to India in 15 days, we’ll never forget what we’ve left behind and pray for the days we’ll all be together again.


May you enjoy good health and loving friends.

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Photo from one year ago today, January 14, 2019:

“Pig in a pond.” Mom opted for a sitz bath on the steamy hot day while the youngsters played nearby in the bush. For more, please click here.

Recipe request from many readers…More fraud on one of our credit cards…

One of several giraffes we spotted last night when dropping Rita and Gerhard back at the Hornbill house.  The partial moon is shown in the photo. For more, please click here.

After yesterday’s post and mention of our dinner last night, we had many requests for the recipe. I must mention this high fat recipe is only recommended for those on a keto or low carb diet, having converted their bodies from burning sugar for fuel as opposed to consuming sugar inducing foods such as sugar, fruit, wheat and other grains, and starches. (More on this way of eating here).


We both decided to also resume intermittent fasting several days a week to aid in our health as described here which may be highly effective in maintaining health and losing weight. These two means are effective for many health conditions including heart disease as described here in a Harvard study.


(Please keep in mind, we are not providing medical advise nor recommending you eat this way. Please check with your physician before starting any new health regime or diet).


Many, who have been following us all along, may wonder, “If these ways of eating were so effective, how did I end up with cardiovascular disease and the subsequent bypass surgery?”


The doctors in both South Africa and the US explained that I’d had hereditary CVD for 30 or 40 years, long before I started this way of eating. Also, I exercised all of my life. They stated that my low carb diet and exercise most likely prevented me from having a fatal heart attack. 


Also, this way of eating and exercise prevented me from having type 2 diabetes, another hereditary condition. Before I started eating this way my blood sugar was construed as pre-diabetic. Surely, by now I would have been on medication.


Everyone has to make decisions that work best for them, based on many factors including heredity, lifestyle, sleep patterns and stress. When my children were young and I was a single parent with two young sons, owning a stressful business with no child support being paid, my life was exceedingly stressful. 


At that time, I drank caffeinated beverages all day in an attempt to maintain a certain level of energy. This, coupled with my bad genes was highly instrumental in my developing severe cardiovascular disease, although I exercised all of my life and at that time consumed a low calorie, low fat diet.


I began this way of eating in 2011 and there is considerable information here on our site. If you type in ‘”low carb” into the search box on the right side of our home page under the word “Search” located below the advertisers, you find many posts on this topic.


Thus, here the link to the above mentioned recipe which we found at this site many years ago. If you decide to make this, let me know if you love this dish as much as we do.


Today is a busy day, taking care of financial matters. We had another credit card number used fraudulently. That’s two card numbers stolen since we arrived in Arizona. Go figure. This is more fraud than we’ve experienced in any other country. We’re awaiting the new card in the next few days.


May your day be pleasant and fulfilling!

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Photo from one year ago today, January 13, 2019:

I’ll feed gentle Ms. Bushbuck from my hand, one of few instances in which we do so. For more please click here.

The Minnesota Vikings continue to disappoint…Social evening softens the blow…Prescription drug error…

In Kauai, Hawaii on this date in 2015, here is another of Tom’s exquisite sunrise photos. For more photos from this date, please click here.

Yes, we were sorely disappointed by the Minnesota Vikings loss yesterday afternoon. The playoffs and the season is now all over for them until next season when preseason games begin in August and the regular season, in September.


Tom watched the game with the boys at Colleen’s home while I stayed behind at our place continuing to work on more of the contents of our package that arrived on Friday night. A year’s supply of my three prescription drugs had to be popped out the plastic packs and placed into bottles with my name and prescription in the label. 


Carrying loose pills in those plastic containers asking for trouble. If stopped at  security, the pills could cause a real issue as we discovered early on in our travels.


Also, I’d ordered quite a number of bottles of supplements, suitable for cardiovascular disease as opposed to taking statins, a decision I made many months ago. As mentioned, Tom and I went through the vitamin bottles consolidating as much as we could while leaving them in the original bottle.


In the process of going through the newly arrived prescription drugs, I noticed that the bottle of thyroid medication I’d been prescribed while in the hospital (when I was running out before the surgery) was for the wrong dose, .25 mcg as opposed to .75 mcg. 


My new prescription was for the correct amount of .75 mcg. Subsequently, I’d been taking ⅓ of my previously required prescription. After all we’d been through I never looked at the tiny print on the bottle but I did notice the pills were round, not oval. 


Since many drugs look different from country to country due to a variety of generic drugs, I didn’t give it another thought…not until yesterday and then I understood why after all this effort to feel 100% failed in part by not taking the appropriate dose of this important drug.


Subsequently, I’ve had typical symptoms of hypothyrodism which may be found here. I wondered why I gained weight over the past year (15 pounds) and been unable to lose it as I’ve always been able to do easily. Also, it explains why I’ve had a hard time getting up in the morning, staying in bed until 8:00 am or later.


I was always the early bird, along with Tom, bolting out of bed at 6:00 am ready to tackle the day. This all makes sense. Today, I took the first correct dose but it takes about a month to see an improvement.


In India, I’ll continue to eat a healthy diet of mostly fish, chicken and vegetables and of course, we’ll be walking a lot while on tours over the next several months.


When, a few days ago, we received our final itinerary for our almost two month tour in India, we were able to check the menus at the various hotels. Neither of us will have a problem based on these menus. 


The hotels are four and five star and appear to have excellent highly rated restaurants. No beef of course, but plenty of other meat options that will work for both of us. Tom doesn’t eat lamb which is a popular item on their menus but he will eat fish on occasion and chicken at any time. We breathed a sigh of relief.


Last night, after the game Tom returned. I sliced our remaining roast beef we’d cooked the prior night, reheated the huge pan of mashed potatoes, cooked green beans and made a salad, all of which we loaded into the car and brought back to Colleen and Gene’s home.

The seven of us gathered around the big kitchen, eating our reheated leftovers that everyone seemed to enjoy. The conversation was lively as always with many funny stories flying around the room. We had a great time!


This morning I made a favorite low carb hamburger casserole with a big salad for tonight’s dinner. We’ll stay in, while Tom watches more football today and tonight, we’ll stream a few shows we’ve been watching.


May you and yours enjoy a fantastic Sunday!

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Photo from one year ago, January 12, 2019:

Frank and The Mrs and friends stopped by for a visit. Frank is on the far right, the Mrs is found on the left. They never had a chick the entire time we were there. Maybe next time. For more photos, please click here.

Latest package arrived…Finding errors…

These Hornbill mates are often very noisy around us, asking for seeds.  They sure have us trained, says Tom. For more photos, please click here.

Over the past several months, we have been accumulating supplies to travel with us that have been waiting to be shipped to us in Arizona. While doing so we don’t have the opportunity to inspect each item, each piece of mail or each item of clothing we purchase when it arrives at the mailing service. Returns are an unlikely possibility.


As a result, we’re very meticulous in what we choose to buy online ensuring the quality of products, proper sizing, and receipt of the items. In the process, it may be difficult to determine what has arrived and what hasn’t.

Our mailing service enters receipt of items as they arrived by such comments in their online app, such as “Amazon, small gray bag.” Opening the item itself and taking a photo would be a time-consuming process they do not offer. They have 100’s of customers receiving packages.

However, they will open mail, scan it and place it in the system for us to see at a cost of $2.00 per page. We request this service on occasion. We can tell, based on who the sender is if we need to have it scanned.


We had a good idea of what should have been in the 40-pound box, but weren’t sure about some items. It’s the nature of our lifestyle and we comfortably live with it as we continue on our travels.


Last night when the package finally arrived at 7:00 pm by UPS, we couldn’t open it fast enough, especially when I suspected a few items wouldn’t be there.


One was the Cardiac Watch, which I’d ordered a few months ago. It wasn’t in the box. Immediately, I contacted the company and they apologized that the order got “screwed up” and it was never sent. They promised it will go out in today’s mail. Hmm, I’m leery of this one. We’ll see if it arrives.


I noted it on my calendar and if it doesn’t arrive within a week, I will ask for a refund and, if that’s a problem, I’ll contact the credit card company to resolve the issue. They are very good at handling such issues.


Also, missing from the box was the two sets of earpieces we’d ordered from Google for our phones. The wireless versions were “out of stock” for months to come and with the $100 credit we had at Google, we went ahead and ordered the wired versions which also weren’t in the box. I’ll check on this today.


Then, the most annoying news of all was from the state department. They didn’t like the photos we’d included with our four-year passport applications which we’d processed in Minnesota in December.


This morning we headed to Walgreens and started over, having new photos done, heeding their comments in the included letters, hoping the new photos will be satisfactory.


After grocery shopping at Safeway, we drove to the closest post office in Apache Junction and mailed the photos in the provided envelopes with the letters. Whether the passports arrive at our mailing service before we leave the US, remains to be seen. 


If they don’t arrive on time, we’ll have them mailed to us once we arrive in the UK in a few months. Sending them to India would be impossible for a number of reasons.


Then, there was a bill for $157.50 from the Urgent Care facility, we visited in Minnesota shortly after we arrived when the cough and virus I had was becoming unmanageable. We’d paid in full for the services at the time.

Since we had no US insurance that covered such care, they required we pay the entire bill in advance of $189 in order to be seen. This morning I called their billing department and they acknowledged the bill was an error. They removed it from their system.


Speaking of medical bills, today I after receiving the bill, I paid for my visit to the Minneapolis Heart Institute. We suspected it would be as high as $800 but much to our surprise, the hour-long appointment with a highly competent cardiologist was $449. 


After doing considerable research from equally competent cardiologists and medical centers worldwide, I discovered that those patients not taking statins, do well with a litany of supplements that have been found to aid in cardiovascular disease.


I ordered the supplements online from Puritan’s Pride when they were having a sale, “buy two, get four free.” Oh my goodness, there were dozens of bottles of supplements in the box.


Last night Tom and I consolidated the bottles when often the bottles were only filled one-quarter full. We narrowed it down considerably and this morning we loaded them into the third supply suitcase and they fit well. 


You would not believe the trash generated as we opened the box of items. It practically refilled the entire box the items were shipped in. Whew!  All I have left to do today is to go through the many packages containing the three prescribed medications I take and reduce that to a minimum as well.


We’re staying at the same hotel in Mumbai on both ends of our two months in India. Most likely, we’ll have them hold some of our luggage until we return to board the cruise in April.


Today, we’ll work on a few remaining projects and financial matters and stay in tonight for a great dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes (for Tom), veggies and salad. There are no big plans for the weekend other than watching the Minnesota Vikings game tomorrow. We’re rather excited about that!


Happy day!

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Photo from one year ago today, January 10, 2019:

This is Basket, the Bully, who scares off all the other warthogs including Little and Little’s Friend. For more photos, please click here.

Knocking down the “to do” list…Contacted an immigration attorney in South Africa…

One year ago today… Tom and I hid in the bedroom and once the others arrived for Don’s birthday, we suddenly appeared surprising everyone.  In the background is Keith (Don’s brother) and Ken, with Don and Linda in the center and Robin and Karen in the foreground.  It was a fun surprise. We had a fantastic stay with Kathy and Don. For more photos, please click here.

It was a quiet but good weekend. We had a happy hour party here on Friday night and attended a party by the pool on Saturday afternoon. The Vikings won their game, making Sunday special.


Last night, we laid back and watched a few shows including Jack Ryan on Amazon and a good show we’d downloaded on Graboid, The Resident, a medical series we’d missed along the way. 


The Resident would be a great binge-watching series, but right now we don’t want to take the time to be watching too many shows. We have other “fish to fry” while also continuing to participate in a multitude of social events with the sisters and other locals.


By the time I finish the daily posts, respond to many email messages from our readers/friends, the day passes quickly. Then, there’s dinner to prepare each day, our almost daily walks, cleaning and laundry (every four days), financial matters to attend to, leaving little time for research and planning for the future.


As far as research goes, we’ve made some headway in the past few days. So far, it appears Scotland, like Spain and Portugal, has some wonderful holiday homes within our budget. We’ve actually enjoyed doing the research and need to focus on this in the next several weeks.


Today, I ordered the shipment of our accumulating supplies at our mailing service in Nevada. It should arrive by the end of the week. Once it arrives, we’ll make an assessment on any additional items we may need and have them shipped to us in Apache Junction or in the worst case, I’ll head out shopping.


I really don’t enjoy shopping in stores, although I didn’t always feel that way in my old life. Now, the varied selections, and the abundance of items can be daunting making the process somewhat unpleasant. I don’t feel that way about grocery shopping which has always been enjoyable.


This morning, after conducting research online and reading many reviews, I found a South African immigration attorney to whom I wrote an inquiry explaining our situation, asking if they could assist and their fees for such services. 


The time difference makes it difficult to call during their regular business hours from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. We’re hoping they will be of assistance in expediting this immigration issue, enabling us to sail on the cruise arriving in Cape Town on December 2, 2020. We’ll report back what we hear.


Once we arrive in India, the time difference will only be three hours making any necessary phone calls more practical time-wise than it is now while in the US. 


Today, I sent another email requesting an update from Home Affairs in South Africa, the department which handles immigration issues for locals and foreigners. We’ll see if they respond.


The research will continue after we clean the house. The kitchen and bathroom are done. All that’s left is vacuuming the floors (Tom does this) and washing them with the mop (my job). It didn’t make sense to hire a cleaner for this small place and now that I’m feeling well, I can share in the process.


However, in future full-sized vacation homes, we’ll hire a once-a-week cleaner as we had in the past when such a service wasn’t included in the rent. Heavy-duty cleaning is not something either of us cares to do in our retirement.


That’s it for today, folks! We hope you had a fantastic weekend and all is well your way!

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Photo from one year ago today, January 6, 2019:

One year agoTwo hippos we spotted when visiting Rita and Gerhard’s temporary condo at Ngwenya in South Africa on Thursday evening. For more photos, please click here.