What an undertaking!…Switching from Chromebook to Windows 11…

Tom’s dinner consisted of a fresh turkey club sandwich and chips (fries) when we dined once again in the Lucky Penny restaurant in the resort.

In the “old” days switching from one Windows computer to another was implemented by using a cable between the old and new computers. Some apps and data could be transferred wirelessly or using a flash drive or external hard drive as time progressed.

But now, after using a Chromebook for the past two-plus years, and storing all my saved files on the cloud, Google Drive, I need to rethink how I store and use the information we need to keep. I saved all my old files on an external hard drive and the cloud from the time I last used Windows in early 2020, but I don’t want to clutter this laptop with all those unnecessary files. This time, I am starting anew.

Our old posts and photos are stored online, so there’s no issue there. The old posts and included photos can easily be accessed via our archives. There is no need for me to save any of those offline. New bookings, photos, and financial information will be easier to access via files and folders saved on my desktop, which I missed with the Chromebook. There is no way to save folders on the desktop on a Chromebook, at least not by any means by which I was familiar.

Gosh, when I think of people who are not computer savvy and find it necessary to make a change such as this, it baffles me how they’d get through this process. Indeed, it would be daunting and overwhelming.  Then again, those who are very active on and offline already know how to do this stuff. For those who use email and Facebook and browse online, it could be relatively easy.

Tom’s daily breakfast in the Lucky Penny; eggs, hash browns, ham and toast with jelly. He’s certainly enjoying this big meal.

But, for those seeking to participate in advanced tasks, such as keeping detailed and accurate records for business and personal use, making such a change could be time-consuming and difficult. I am not finding it difficult. But, starting from scratch  it will take some time.

So far, as I’m preparing today’s post, I keep encountering the necessity of adding apps I use in preparing each day’s post, some of which are Google-related (Chromebook), not Microsoft-related (Windows). I have found it necessary to continue to use some Google features I like, such as Google Photos, Google Keep, and… I may keep using the Gmail app instead of Outlook. I was never a big fan of Outlook, even in the early days when I used it exclusively.

In any case, I won’t continue to bore our readers with this massive change after today’s mention. Each day, I’ll add more and more apps and files, and perhaps in the next week or so, I’ll have it done. I am looking forward to being done, although I must admit, I enjoy doing this for some odd reason.

As I prepare today’s post, I’m thrilled about how much easier it is to type. When I started working on this Lenovo Flex 5 yesterday afternoon, I automatically banged extra hard on the letter “L,” which motivated me to purchase a new laptop. Other keys and the spacebar required me to bang on the keys to get a result.

My breakfast of three egg white gluten free tortillas, with chicken, guacamole, salsa and onions. It is low carb and very delicious.

What a pleasure it is now. I can type easily, although I am learning to use a different keyboard with numerical keys on the far right that I didn’t have on the old Chromebook. Thus, I need to position my hands toward the left to avoid accidentally hitting numbers instead of letters. In no time at all, I’ll get used to this change.

How are we feeling today”? Tom says he is 75% to 80% better than a week ago. I am, too, but I am still experiencing a lot of congestion, a sinus-type headache, and a degree of lethargy. Although not a napper like Tom, I am getting well over eight hours of sleep each night, according to my Fitbit. It seems sleep is the most beneficial aspect for the recovery of Omicron. We tested positive four weeks ago today.

In four days, we’ll depart for South Africa on a two day journey, spending one night in Johannesburg to avoid driving on the dangerous Highway N4 at night. There have been countless car-jackings using a device called spiking which tear up a car’s tires and causes drivers to stop and get out of their vehicles. At that point, the drivers and passengers are often killed and robbed of their belongings. This is scary. There is no way we’d drive on that highway in the dark.

Well, folks, that’s it for today. Sorry for the lack of interesting photos. Neither of us feels up to looking for photos ops right now. We’ll have plenty of opportunities when we’ll be back in Marloth Park in less than a week.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 18, 2021:

Mongoose waited at the door for food before we’d even gone outside in the morning. For more photos, please click here.

Weird news…Bad news…Good news…

Last nigh, Tom enjoyed his Rueben sandwich in Lucky Penny restaurant in the resort.

Our flight to Las Vegas from Minneapolis had a late departure, by almost an hour. The flight itself was good on a newer Delta plane with entertainment screens which helped the time pass more quickly. Tom and I each had aisle seats across from one another. We wore our masks on the plane, but less than 25% of the passengers did the same.

The flight arrived at 6:30 pm. We drank only bottled water and ate a few little packets of almonds. Tom has insisted I ride in a wheelchair since I was too slow walking after being sick for almost a month with Covid-19 and mainly lying in bed. Poor Tom had to handle the luggage but paid for a trolley to assist, the only place in the world where we’ve had to pay for a trolley.

I should mention that the fabulous helper that wheeled my chair was so conscientious that it shocked us. His name is Lee Paolo Matela. He works for a company called LAS Prospect, and they surely couldn’t hire a better candidate to work for their company. While I waited for Tom to collect the rental car, I emailed the company praising Lee Paolo for his kindness, efficiency, professionalism, and customer service. What a treasure this guy is!

I needed to wait for Tom at entrance #26 on the departure level with the trolley with our bags. He was gone no less than an hour. We knew it would take a long time when the rental car area was far from the airport, requiring transportation on both a bus and a van.

I watched out the window for every car approaching, hoping it was him. Finally, he shows up on foot without a car. What? I was shocked to see him on foot. When he explained that ACE car rental refused him the vehicle, they required a copy of a home utility bill for Nevada residents (which we are) to rent a car. We don’t have a utility bill for a home in Las Vegas. We don’t have a home. Good grief! That’s the weird news!

There we were, exhausted from the lingering effects of Covid-19. We hadn’t eaten anything in 13 hours except for those few nuts, and now we had no transportation. It turned out, a comedy of errors. We had to make our way to a distant area to get in line for the taxi stand. Tom pushed me in the wheelchair, insisting I stay in the chair while I pushed the trolley using his strength from behind me.  This would have been quite the sight to see.

Finally, we found a worker who grabbed a taxi for us, and we were on our way to the Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa in Henderson, Nevada. How we’d manage to go to Costco, replace Tom’s broken suitcase, and pick up supplies at our mailing service, a 30-minute drive from here, baffled us at that moment. We could barely think straight to come up with a plan. We both agreed to worry about this today instead of last night.

Check-in was relatively painless. A bellman delivered our bags to our lovely hotel room on the 7th floor. Since we’d booked the hotel with Expedia on our site, the best price we could find, we received priority status and received a coupon for 20% off on all of our meals. It looked like we’d be eating at the hotel without a car. Besides, we still didn’t feel well enough to go out to a restaurant or even have a beer or glass of wine.

Last night, I managed to eat every bite of this delicious Cobb salad at Lucky Penny.

This week will be one month since we tested positive for Covid-19. So far, we’ve spent 26 days in isolation; two on the ship and the remainder in hotel rooms. Tom’s cough is much better. He’s taken all of the antibiotics as of last night and the last of the cortisone this morning. He’s still using the nebulizer six times a day and will continue for a few more days. His coughing is 75% better and improving each day. That’s good news!

Walking to and from the hotel’s restaurant takes everything we’ve got. I am still getting headaches, occasional fast pulse, and minimal coughing. Of course, both of us are struggling with becoming exhausted from exerting ourselves in any way.

OK. So our big concern is getting our stuff at the mailing service, which has the Costco gift card we received for using Costco Travel for sailing on the Celebrity cruise, during which we got Covid-19, which we’ve intended to use toward the purchase of a new computer for me. The keyboard is dying from overuse. It’s over two years old, and I am ready to upgrade and return to Windows. I can’t bring myself to become a devoted user of Chromebook for the long haul. I need easy access to desktop folders with files that can be easily accessed.

We headed to dinner at 9:00 pm here, 11:00 pm to us, to the Lucky Penny in the resort. It has excellent food and service, and most likely, we’ll have breakfast and dinner there each of the remaining six days we’ll spend in this town, in this hotel. Tom had a fantastic Rueben sandwich with chips (fries), and I had a Cobb salad, both of which we’ve included photos here today.

This morning at breakfast in the same restaurant, savoring delicious meals, we came up with a plan. We’d arrange for a rental car through the hotel’s concierge for one day. After breakfast, we met with Douglas, the Concierge, who, with the greatest of ease, arranged a rental car for us for 24 hours, starting tomorrow morning, for only US $79. At 10:00 am tomorrow, the car will be driven up to the hotel’s valet station, and off we’ll go, no utility bill required. Good grief! Good news!

We’ll return the car tomorrow night and get all of our projects handled; head to our mailing service to pick up our mail which contains the gift card for Costco; then to Costco to use the gift card toward the purchase of my new laptop and Tom’s new suitcase; Walgreens for two Covid-19 tests for our upcoming flights to South Africa, using the US $15 coupons we received for Tom’s US $300 of prescriptions.

Our goal is to continue to rest and recover, which we both see as vital to our recovery. This morning, just walking in the hotel to breakfast used almost 2500 steps registered on my Fitbit. After dinnertime, I’m sure we’ll be up to over 5000 steps which equals over two miles. Based on how we’re still feeling, we’d never consider walking two miles while we’re still recovering. Once we both feel better, we’ll gradually amp up our activity levels and exercise.

We aren’t looking forward to the difficult upcoming two travel days back to Marloth Park. We have an over six-hour layover in Newark, followed by the 15-hour flight and having to spend the night in Johannesburg, to avoid the risk of the excessive number of carjackings after dark, on the N4 highway from the airport to Marloth Park.

When we leave Las Vegas on May 22, we’ll have to get up at 4:00 am to get to the airport for the international flight and then again at 4:00 am when we leave Johannesburg the following day.

We’re anxious to be in our new house in the bush to get back to some semblance of “normal life” among our human and animal friends in the bush.

As lovely as this resort is, it doesn’t feel like a “holiday” as much as it feels like another hotel room in which to recover from this dreaded virus. All we can say, at this point, is to do whatever possible to protect yourself from this virus. Perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky. It could have been worse, much worse. For that, we are grateful. The rest? An annoyance and gross and costly inconvenience. We can recover from this!

Take care, everyone!

Photo from one year ago today, May 16, 2021:

Our photo of the black sparrowhawk when it took a break from devouring its kill. For more photos, please click here.

On the move again…We’re off to Las Vegas…

The pool at the Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa where we’ll arrive later today.

The thought of the upcoming trip to Las Vegas is a bit intimidating. Neither of us is feeling as well as we’d like to be able to travel. Knowing that in one week from today, the two travel days to Marloth Park are even more intimidating, but hopefully, we’ll have recovered all the more by then.

Tom is still coughing, considerably more than me, but I have the fierce Covid headache that comes and goes along with a lesser cough and lots of congestion. We are not our usual “travel-ready” selves. We have no idea how the airplane’s cabin pressure will feel right now.

But, it was only two weeks ago that we flew the long distance from the UK to Minnesota when our symptoms were worse (we tested negative), and the journey was over 12 hours from airport to airport. I barely remember that trip except for the several movies we watched during the flight.

There are rarely entertainment screens on these shorter US domestic flights, so the 3½ hours will drag on. There’s no point in upgrading to business class for this short flight. We’ll check into upgrading when we fly back to South Africa a week from today. Gosh, that’s coming up quickly.

We would have flown back to South Africa from the UK two weeks ago in a perfect world. But, we’d already paid for all of our flights and hotels in advance and wouldn’t get refunds, only credits which we may or may not be able to use in the future with time restrictions on them. We assumed we’d feel better at some point and be able to continue with our plans to see family, but it just didn’t work out that way.

As it turned out, yesterday afternoon, we drove out to son Greg’s house and saw the three grandkids and Greg, who greeted us outside while we stayed in the car wearing masks. Miles had yet to get a negative Covid test, and we couldn’t take any chances. That’s not to say we won’t have risks flying on an airplane when the US doesn’t require Covid tests to fly on domestic flights. Ah, you can run, but you can’t hide from this pandemic. It’s everywhere.

It was wonderful to see the sweet smiling faces, all wearing braces, of the three teenagers and Greg. Camille wasn’t feeling well and was sick in bed, so we didn’t see her. It was only for a few minutes with no hugs and kisses, but we were glad we saw them.

  • It didn’t work out to see Tom’s family members. We can only look forward to the next time we visit the USA when that is up for grabs. We don’t have a clue when we will return. When we can start booking again, we’ll have a better idea.

We asked for and received a late check out from our hotel today. We’ll head out around 1:00 pm, drop off the rental car, and head to the gate to wait for the flight. Last night, Tom checked us in for the Delta flight and paid for our bags, US $140 for all of our checked bags. We had more bags this time due to the extra dressy clothes for the Cunard Queen Mary 2 cruise, on which we never sailed due to contracting Covid-19 on the last two days on the Celebrity Silhouette cruise.

Ah, this wasn’t the ideal travel experience we usually encounter. But, this could have happened to anyone, anywhere, at any time. No one is exempt from this virus regardless of how hard we’ve tried to stay safe over the past few years.

We’ll make the best of this last week in the US and then be on our way back to the safe haven we’ve found in the bush. The thought of being back in Marloth Park by May 24th is comforting.

Next time we write, we’ll be doing so from the comfort of our lovely hotel room at the Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa in Henderson, Nevada.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 15, 2021:

He ate pellets, left, walked around the house, and returned to the garden, thinking we might assume he’s someone new and offer more pellets. The warthogs and bushbucks are good at this maneuver. For more photos, please click here.

A glimmer of hope…

It’s hard not to miss our animal and human friends in Marloth Park. We hope Broken Horn will visit us at the new house.

Could it be that Tom coughed less last night? He says he still feels weak and exhausted, but I wasn’t awake during the night from his coughing and ended up getting enough sleep for a change. Yes, this morning, he’s been coughing like crazy since he got up, but the good night gave us some hope.

The thought of flying to Las Vegas on Sunday is a little daunting, especially when arriving at the massive airport, which is time-consuming and confusing. Since Tom is in no position to do so, handling our luggage is my biggest concern right now. Sure, we’ll get a trolley to wheel around the airport while we go to collect the rental car.

Once we have the car, everything will be easier. We’ll get help with our bags at the hotel, the Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino in Henderson, close to where son Richard lives. At this point, we don’t know if we’ll get to see him. It will be entirely based on how Tom feels and how Richard feels about being around us.

We considered changing our fights, staying longer in Minnesota, and flying back to South Africa. Fortunately, we won’t have to go through immigration or customs based on a domestic flight. It will be another matter when we fly back to South Africa from Las Vegas on May 22.

But, after considerable research, it just doesn’t work. There are no flights available out of MSP that we can change our United Airlines tickets to, and the cost is so prohibitive to start all over. After all, we’ve already lost several thousand dollars due to getting Covid.

The flight to Las Vegas is over three hours. Tom needs to be able to sit up comfortably. If he cannot by Sunday, we’ll have no choice but to change our plans. Once again, we’re “playing it by ear.” We know how to do this. Tom feels confident that he’ll be able to do this by Sunday, four days from today.

As of today, he is better able to move about. The problem for both of us is that we’ve been sitting in bed since April 20, when we first tested positive. That’s three weeks ago, as of today. Today, I moved the luggage off the love seat in our hotel room, and I am no longer sitting on the bed until the evening when we watch a few shows on the TV.

The smart TV in our room has Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. By logging in to our accounts using the QR codes on the screen, we can watch both services. That is slick. Also, there is accessible Showtime, so we can busy ourselves in the evenings watching shows to alleviate the boredom.

Many have suggested we watch the popular show “Outlander.” We watched the first episode a few years ago and couldn’t get into it. We tried again a few days ago in desperation, and now we’re hooked. What a fascinating show! We’re finishing the first season tonight, and we’re thrilled there are many more seasons to keep us entertained while we continue to recover.

Hmmm…shades of India (10 months stuck in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai), as once again, we are stuck in a hotel room, three weeks in the making. But this time, we don’t feel well, and I have no energy to walk the corridors for five miles, 8 km, a day. The food is a little better here.

Last night, the WiFi was out for 6 hours. I ended up calling Marriott’s tech support to get it working again. I don’t recall ever having to contact tech support with WiFi issues in any other hotel than this one in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. I don’t understand why the guest would have to call and not management or reception. This same thing happened when we first checked in on May 1 and again when we stayed here in July 2022.

It’s the only complaint we have about this hotel. Otherwise, it is pretty nice. After all, we have a fully equipped basic kitchen with a decent-sized refrigerator, range and oven, microwave, and a dishwasher.  These have prevented us from having to do takeaway every evening for dinner, and we’ve been able to put together a few easy meals with ingredients from the nearby market.

Also, the customer service at Towne Suites by Marriott, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is excellent. The cleanliness is exceptional, and the condition of the rooms is flawless and up to date. We will definitely stay here again, even knowing about the WiFi issues. Besides, the location is ideal, close to restaurants, shopping, and markets with easy access to the freeway.

Again, thanks to our fabulous readers for an endless stream of thoughtful email messages with good wishes for our recovery. You have no idea how much this has meant to us. If we missed responding to your messages, please bear with us. We are working on replies each day.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 11, 2021:

A mom or matriarch crossed the road in front of us while in Kruger National Park with a youngster. For more photos, please click here.

An outpouring of love from around the world…

This has been the best test kit we’ve used. They retail for about $25 at most worldwide pharmacies. To perform the test, you download an app, Navica, to your phone and a live rep will walk you through the test to ensure it’s done correctly. DO NOT OPEN THE BOX PRIOR TO FACE-TIMING WITH THE REP OR THE KIT WILL BE INVALIDATED.

We cannot express our appreciation for the response and outpouring of love after the Garage Logic podcast last Friday and now continuing with well-wishes for Tom after his Covid pneumonia diagnosis described in yesterday’s post here.

We have been so fortunate to receive such positive feedback from our readers. There have been only a few occasions where a reader may send us the equivalent of “hater” emails about our travels and life events. Why read about our story or the stories of others if one finds the content objectionable in one way or another?

However, those scenarios are far and few between. Instead, as we enter one phase of our world travels to another, many loyal readers write to us expressing their concern and prayers for our well-being. At times, there are more email messages than we can respond to.  We try to respond to each one, but we sincerely apologize if we’ve missed you.

With little else to do, we’ve been able to stay on top of it. But, now, with Tom’s busy medication schedule, it may become more difficult. On the free family calendar app we both use, Cozi Calendar, which may be found here, today I entered ten events regarding Tom’s medication dosing schedule, starting at 8:00 am and ending at 10:00 pm.

I am so grateful that I am feeling so much better. My only symptoms now are a loose cough, an occasional headache, and a stuffy nose from time to time. My energy level has returned, and I no longer feel tired and lethargic. Hopefully, Tom will reach this state of improvement soon. We both continue to test negative.

Today, we have to go out to get food for dinner. The Cub Foods, less than a mile away, has some chicken wild rice soup Tom finds he can eat. Otherwise, he has had little interest in food. I’ll find something for my dinner in the market as well. I don’t feel like cooking in the small kitchen, but surely, I’ll find something easy to put together.

Our grandson Miles is still testing positive for Covid. Next Sunday, we are scheduled to leave Minneapolis only five days from today. We have no idea if we’ll be able to see any of our family members before we depart Minnesota or if we’ll be able to see our son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, where we will be for one more week until we leave for South Africa on May 22nd.

It will be good to be back in South Africa in two weeks. Our new house will be ready for us, which we know Louise will have “perfect,” awaiting our arrival. She’s insisted on grocery shopping for us. How much of a list we’ll make is based on how Tom feels in two weeks. If he’s well, we’ll only ask Louise to get enough groceries to last for a few days, longer if necessary. If he’s better, we can head to Komatipoort to grocery shop.

We’d like to have Dr. Theo check us both after this big ordeal with Covid. His office is down the road from the Spar Market, and we’ll schedule appointments to coincide with our shopping trip. It will be lovely to get back into our usual routine of wildlife watching, taking photos, cooking fabulous meals on the braai, and eventually, socializing.

We’re looking forward to feeling well enough to sit on the veranda, sipping on sundowners, and watching “visitors” stop by to see if pellets are on the happy hour menu. Most assuredly, they will be.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 10, 2021:

Seeing the porcupines on the trail cam gives us a strong incentive to continue to check out the garden at night. For more photos, please click here.

Late post…Tom had to go to Urgent Care…Not a good diagnosis…

My guy, only a few days before Covid hit on the ship.

When we rent a car,  the rate doesn’t include the spouse or family member as permitted to drive the vehicle. Last year, we decided it wasn’t worth thousands of extra dollars a year to pay for me to be able to drive rental cars, so basically, I stopped driving. I can’t drive a stick shift vehicle with my left hand or drive safely on the opposite side of the road I was used to in the US.

Besides, I am a lousy driver. If there is an emergency, I can drive.  I will keep my driver’s license up to date when it’s often used for ID in our travels. If I were to drive the rental vehicle when I wasn’t included in the contract, the insurance would be negated. It’s not worth the risk. Thus, around the time of my 73rd birthday, I gave up driving.

In the US, with a car rental contract not including me, Tom, while sick, has had to drive us to Urgent Care. I felt so bad about this when he was “coughing up a lung.” On Sunday, we made the 10-minute drive to an Urgent Care facility, MedExpress, which we had used when visiting the US in 2017, and found the care and service good. But there was no x-ray tech on duty so we had to return today.

Well, a lot has changed since 2017. One doesn’t simply walk in the door of an Urgent Care with a mask on and meander over to the reception area to check in. Each prospective patient must do the following to be seen:

  1. Using one’s smartphone, scan the QR code on the notice on the front door
  2. Gain access to the clinic’s WiFi system to register for the appointment
  3. Complete about ten pages of questions
  4. Read all the HIPAA documents (patient privacy) and sign multiple documents in the box that appears on the phone.
  5. Submit the documents
  6. Wait for a phone call from the reception area, asking more questions. 10 to 15-minute wait
  7. Provide credit card number, expiration, and PIN for them to process the basic US $149.99 fee. Additional fees may apply.
  8. Hang up and wait for a call back to be allowed to enter the facility. 30 to 45-minute wait or longer if they are very busy
  9. Receive the call asking for detailed symptoms and the reason for the visit. Then, get informed to enter the building. Sit in “chairs” socially distanced while waiting to be escorted to a treatment room.
  10. Wait in the treatment room for 10 to 15-minutes for a medical professional to enter and examine the patient.

After all this and Tom’s detailed description of his symptoms, x-rays were ordered. Then, we waited for about 40 minutes for the x-rays to be read by a radiologist at another location. The PA came back into the treatment room to explain that Tom has Covid Pneumonia and would need a considerable treatment regime including six medications; two antibiotics, two different inhalers using the electric nebulizer we purchased in India in 2020, a cough medicine in a capsule form and cortisone tablets, not to be started until May 12, having given the antibiotics time to kick in.

Covid pneumonia appears as honeycombs in x-rays, a rare phenomenon of the many peculiar symptoms of the dreaded virus. He is supposed to return to the clinic for a check-up before leaving for Nevada next Sunday. Hopefully, he’ll be feeling better, and we’ll be able to fly out.

We were given a stack of papers with written instructions and Covid precautions, much of which we already knew. Of course, during the entire duration of Covid, I spent hours researching how and why Tom’s case manifested as Covid pneumonia. It happens to more people than you’d think, and the recovery can take weeks, if not months.

The PA called in the six prescriptions to the Walgreen Pharmacy across the street from the clinic. We checked out of the clinic after paying the extra US $50 for the x-ray. In moments, we were at the drive-through window at Walgreens, only to be told to return in an hour. The prescriptions weren’t ready.

We returned to the hotel, and Tom jumped under the covers for a 45-minute nap. He awoke in time for the hour to have passed, and once again, we headed back to Walgreens. It was at least a 45 minutes wait once I checked in with the pharmacist. I wanted to speak to the pharmacist personally to review the drugs, ensure we had everything prescribed, and ask a few questions.

The drive back to the hotel was hard for Tom with his constant coughing. Again, I begged him to let me drive, but he refused, knowing we didn’t need any added stress if something happened. We returned to the hotel to find the cleaners had yet to clean our room. We waited in the lobby for 30 minutes while the room was serviced.

Finally, we made it back to the room, and again Tom got under the covers. I went through each medication and gave him everything he needed, including his first breathing treatment, which required set-up and subsequent cleaning. The total cost for all of the meds was US $300.24. I set up reminders on my phone for each of the medications, ensuring we don’t miss a dose.

At that point, I took a huge plastic bowl to the building across the driveway to an ice machine on the second floor. The ice machine in this building hasn’t been working since we arrived eight days ago. I filled the ice cube trays with water, and between the big bowl of ice from the machine and the trays, that should get us through a day or two.

Then, the toilet overflowed. I don’t need to get into details, but you know how that happens. I then went to the front desk and got a plunger and extra towels. I wanted Tom to be able to sleep and not have to worry about maintenance coming to the door. In minutes, I unplugged the toilet, cleaned up the floor, returned the plunger, and bagged up the wet towels.

We had no idea, but our former next-door neighbor and friend, Nelleke, is the x-ray tech in the facility. We have stayed in touch, and she reads our posts regularly. It was wonderful to see her but sad under the circumstances. We hope to see her and Dave and our other old neighbors/friends when we return next time. We’ve all stayed in close touch.

So there it is folks. It hasn’t been fun since we disembarked the ship in Southampton, missed our next cruise on the Queen Mary 2, spent ten days in England trying to recover, and now over a week here with ongoing symptoms of Covid, Tom’s case has been much worse than mine. I feel pretty good except for an annoying cough now and then. Good thing I am well enough to help him get through this.

Sometimes, being nomads is not fun. But, if we had a home somewhere, we could still be in the same situation. Except under these circumstances, I don’t have to clean, vacuum the floor, take out the trash or mow the lawn. We can focus on getting well and soon be on our way.

Please continue to do everything you can to avoid getting Covid. For us, it’s been a lot worse than a “bad cold.”

Take care.

Photo from one year ago today, May 9, 2021:

This male must have been the dominant male. He came right up to the table to ask for more pellets. For more photos, please click here.

Fantastic interview at Garage Logic’s studio…

Please click on the above video for a shortened version of our Garage Logic interview. See below for the full interview.

5/6 We finally get to meet the traveling Lymans, Tom and Jessica, who were so spellbinding that they became today's episode

Please click on the above bold type to access the audio version of our interview with Joe Soucheray of Garage Logic.

After a difficult night for both of us, coughing and sneezing, we wondered how we got ready to head to St. Paul to the KSTP studio for our interview with Joe Soucheray and his co-hosts Chris Reuvers and Kenny Olson.

The idea of the 30-minute drive in traffic was daunting in itself, let alone being able to sit in the studio and tell our story as questions were posed to us. Once, we were greeted in the lobby by co-host Chris, who walked us down a long hallway to the Garage Logic studio.

Once we entered the studio, we forgot about our lingering coughs, and magic happened. Joe is an exceptional interviewer, and his two co-hosts frequently jumped in with thouhgt provoking comments and questions. Our interview was planned for 15 minutes, and it ended up taking up the entire show. We had so much fun it could easily have gone longer.

We’d both taken 12-hour doses of cough medicine a few hours before the event, hoping we’d make it through. Tom did well, although listening to the podcast later, it was easy to determine he was very stuffed up. I had to hold back a coughing jag on one instance. Also, the sound of my voice was unfamiliar when later listening to the podcast.

Our answers flowed with ease, along with Tom interspersing tidbits of humor, which he often does in general conversation. We all laughed with gusto on many occasions.

Over the past 9½ years of traveling the world, we’ve easily developed a way of sharing morsels of our experiences where we each take turns adding highlights of our experiences. Joe, Chris, and Kenny easily made this familiar banter flow with all the more fluidity than ever.

We couldn’t stop smiling throughout the entire interview. Telling our story only reminds us of how fortunate we are to live this unique lifestyle, be together as this well-matched couple during these experiences, and have developed a financial plan that allows us to continue traveling indefinitely.

Sometimes, it takes a scenario like this to remind us how grateful we are, especially after suffering from Covid-19 since April 20, when we first tested positive aboard the transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Southampton, England. Due to our positive diagnosis, we had to cancel our scheduled Queen Mary 2 cruise, sailing on April 24, arriving in New York on May 1, when we’d planned to fly to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to see family.

Not only were we too sick to go on the return cruise, but we continued to test positive until April 28, 29, and 30th, when we felt safe booking the flight from Gatwick Airport in London to Minneapolis for May 1, our original date of arrival after the Queen Mary 2 cruise.

Unfortunately, we purchased dressy clothes for the upscale cruise, which we won’t be able to wear when until we can use the full-fare credit for a future cruise on Cunard. We’ve had to haul those clothes with us this past month.

We couldn’t get a refund based on canceling last minute due to Covid. Hopefully, by the end of 2024, when the future cruise credit expires, we can book another cruise with this cruise line and use the credit. If not, it becomes another loss we’ve incurred due to the worldwide pandemic. Our losses over the past two years are in the $1000s.

Once we said our goodbyes to our hosts and thanked them for inviting us to the show, we headed back to our hotel. In the interim, we had a fantastic break from our current situation to revel in being guests of the Garage Logic show/podcast. We felt temporarily rejuvenated, but the reality remained that we had a way to go to recover from this dreadful virus.

With their over 2,000,000 listeners, we’ve received countless email messages, warm greetings, and hits on our website after the podcast aired yesterday afternoon. Thank you, everyone!  What a boost for us!

Thanks to Joe, Chris, and Kenny for inviting us to this special experience, one we’ll never forget.

Photo from one year ago today, May 7, 2021:

We later named this young male bushbuck, Spikey. For more photos, please click here.

We haven’t seen family yet…Waiting for our coughing to improve…

During Minneapois’s Winter Carnival, ice sculptures are made and on display by talented artists. It’s quite a sight to see.

It’s still cool here. Since we arrived on Sunday, it hasn’t topped 60F, 15.6C, but today may be the exception. We didn’t bring cold-weather clothing, other than lightweight jackets and hoodie sweatshirts for each of us. Usually, in May, the weather warms up in Minnesota. But the summers are short here, mainly from June to August when it starts cooling down.

The summer can be sweltering, and in case you haven’t heard, the joke is the mosquito is Minnesota’s state bird. They are worse here than they ever were in Africa. Fortunately, malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses are not as prevalent as they are in Africa.

Once it warms up, in our old lives, we always turned on our whole house, central air conditioning, generally keeping it on day and night until mid-August when it would cool down. The aircon kept the mozzies at bay since they don’t thrive in air conditioning. Also, the inflammation from the bites doesn’t last as long as they do in Africa.

When we return to South Africa in 18 days, the mozzies will be considerably less bothersome with winter starting on June 21. The temperature and humidity drop and the mozzies disappear, at least for a few months anyway. We particularly love winter in the bush with milder temps, fewer insects, and less of a presence of snakes. Snakes tend to stay undercover in cool weather.

But, like Minnesota’s short summers, South Africa has short winters, and only a few months later, all of the above-mentioned return with a fury…heat, humidity, insects, and snakes. Then again, these very aspects of life in the bush make it all the more unusual and interesting.

Am I sounding as if I’m missing it? Without being able to see family yet due to our ongoing symptoms, it’s easy for my mind to wander back to where we feel most at “home.” No, we never plan to live there permanently, but for now, with all the Covid-19 restrictions still impacting word travel for nomads like us, it’s the place where we can enjoy ourselves the most with our human and animal friends.

Since we don’t yet feel comfortable dining in a restaurant with all of our coughing, last night we headed to the Cub Foods market for a few items, such as laundry soap, bar soap, cough drops, and of course, Tom’s favorite plain old-fashioned cake doughnuts which he loves with his coffee in the morning.

I purchased a pint container of guacamole to add atop my chopped hard-boiled eggs from the hotel’s included breakfast, which is basically a continental breakfast. The hard-boiled eggs are the only item I can eat based on my diet. Tom goes to  breakfast early and brings the eggs back to me in our room, along with a very good cup of decaf coffee. It works for us.

After the stop at Cub Foods, we headed to Wendy’s, which Tom wanted, and again to Chipotle for me. Back at the hotel, we sat on the bed with our food on our laps with towels protecting the bed and watched an episode of Shark Tank. After eating, we watched, This is Us, and finally, another episode of the new miniseries on Amazon Prime, The Offer, which is about the making of the movie, The Godfather. Very entertaining.

At about 10:00 pm, I started watching “Out of Africa” on the TV, staying awake until after 11:30 when it ended. I’ve seen the movie no less than ten times but enjoy it on each occasion. No, it’s not authentic in many ways but still provides some thrills about Africa.

Years ago, I wrote a story about this movie in a post when we’d seen the movie again and discovered very little of the movie was filmed in Africa. Instead, it was made in a studio in Hollywood. We watched it, again at that particular time as a “movie in the bush” outdoors, amid the wildlife in Maroth Park in 2013. Here’s our story about that here.

That’s all for today, dear readers. It’s crazy being here and unable to see them. Hopefully, we’ll be improved enough to start seeing family members by tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 4, 2021:

Check out Torn Ear’s horns covered in mud. He may have been showing off his digging skills for the females during the rutting season. For more photos, please click here.

Test results…Covid is insidious…On the move in 24 hours…

This was where I stood waiting for my dinner delivery. The hotel doesn’t allow drivers to enter the parking lot. I waited outside for 30 minutes in the cold when the driver was late.

I am sitting on the bed propped up with pillows. I’m showered and dressed, but I am somewhat surprised I got that far considering how I feel. Yesterday, we both tested negative, but the virus is not over for us by far.

By the way, the letter “L” on my keyboard isn’t working, and each time I type a word with an “L,” I have to bang the key as hard as possible. It has been a task these past many days since we tested positive, and our strength was severely impacted. I’ve tried using words that don’t contain an “L,” but thinking of those words is more of an effort than banging on the key. It’s having other issues as well. Once we get to the US, I will be getting a new aptop, (oops, laptop).

I purchased this HP Chromebook from Amazon India when we were in Udaipur, India in 2020, while on a private tour staying in a hotel. It arrived in one day, so I didn’t complain when everything wasn’t perfect, although it was supposedly new. I’ve been doing workarounds for the past two-plus years, and I am ready to start anew,

So, yesterday afternoon, the PCR tests were negative, although we both have many lingering symptoms, mainly weakness, a lack of energy, and a relentless cough. Yesterday afternoon, I noticed an irritation in my eyes which, as a contact lens wearer, can happen when the pollen count is high, which right now in London is at its highest.

My eyes have never been so red, swollen, and oozing. I took out my contacts, used Visine, and applied warm compresses throughout the evening, including every few hours during the night. I’ve been taking Benadryl, but I’d never experienced anything like this. At one point, I read that Covid can cause eye irritation, and it was impossible not to attribute it to that. This morning, it was a little better but still scary-looking. I look like a zombie. Hopefully, by tomorrow when we leave the UK, it will be better.

We made a plan to get out of here tomorrow. Today, we’ll take the final two PCR tests we have left to use for flying. The US requires negative tests to enter the country, regardless of where we are coming from. We chose an oddball airline, Iceland Air, to get us to Minnesota. It was the only airline that could get us there in the shortest time…11 hours and, at the best price we found of US $1470 for the two of us.

Tom did extensive research and found this flight which flies to Reykjavik, Iceland, where we’ll transfer to another flight heading to Minneapolis. Many flight options consisted of 30 to 40 hours of travel time, priced at US $4800 for two! This peculiar route saves us hours on layovers since Minnesota is so far north near Canada.

The only tricky part of this route will be when we reach Iceland, we’ll have to collect our bags and go through immigration and security to make the next flight 90 minutes later. This was a risky decision, but we preferred the risk of spending 30 to 40 hours getting to the US, considering our present condition.

If all goes as planned, we’ll arrive in Minneapolis by about 6:30 pm, get our rental car, and head to our hotel. We can’t wait until all of this is over, and we’re situated in the hotel with a kitchen where we can make breakfast and keep our ice tea cold. We won’t miss a night’s sleep, which was essential to us.

Since we’ve been in a hotel room the past ten days, with no fridge, we relied on hotel food and Deliveroo, which delivered peri-peri chicken and broccoli to me the past few nights, while Tom walked the short distance to a McDonald’s to get some things for himself. It will be great to have more options and be able to eat healthier meals.

We’ll be back with a post before we leave for the airport tomorrow and then, yeah, from our hotel in Minnesota on Monday.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 30, 2021:

The previous night’s trail cam photos picked up this porcupine! We are so excited to see this! The prospect of getting this photo prompted us to purchase the trail cam. For more photos, please click here.

We’re off!!!…Sail day has arrived…The road trip to Fort Lauderdale begins…

Celebrity Silhouette Itinerary, Current Position, Ship Review | CruiseMapper
Our ship, Celebrity Silhouette, which we’ll be boarding later today.

The two weeks in Florida passed in a blur of good times, good food, great weather, and gorgeous scenery with our thoughtful hosts, Karen and Rich, who were married in February. We were sad to miss their wedding due to Omicron, but they shared many details and photos, almost making us feel like we’d attended.

Their lovely home on the waterway, known as Flamingo Canal, was the perfect soothing and pleasant experience we were seeking before all the commotion begins for our next several weeks of cruising, visiting family, and then returning on the long and exhausting flight back to South Africa starting on May 22, arriving on May 23.

This trip is not like a typical vacation/holiday for us. It’s simply another leg in our continuing world travels, this time, once again, returning us to our favorite place in the world. But, don’t get me wrong…we’ll be on the move several times during our one-year booking of the new house we’re moving into upon our arrival.

One never knows what the future holds. At one point, we’ll be gone for about 45 days, and another time, for a few one-week trips for visa reasons. Also, we may add even more cruises to our itinerary as more cruise options are posted online.

We’re excited to board the ship this afternoon and then the next cruise on the Queen Mary 2. But we are also excited to see family members and then return to live in our newly remodeled house in Marloth Park.

Surely. Louise will have everything perfect awaiting us. We will give her a short grocery list so we won’t have to leave to grocery shop for a few days. (This morning I got a message from Louise that the lions were seen near our upcoming new house. How exciting!)

Once we unpack our bags and the boxes we left behind, we will settle in for a few months until we need to get a new 90-day visa stamp. We may travel or apply for an extension. We can decide on that in the months to come.

Funny thing. While I was preparing today’s post while still in Florida, the power went out during an electrical storm. They hadn’t lost power here for a long time, and it was only for 30 minutes. It was out for about two hours, and we were all happy to see it restored by 3:15 pm. Ironic, eh? Ironic, eh?

We stayed in for dinner, deciding against going out on a rainy day when most restaurants are outdoors. The remainder of the day and evening was lovely with Karen and Rich. We are sad to say goodbye, but we’ll see them again soon. They are planning to visit us in Marloth Park in August this year. How wonderful it will be to return the hospitality to our dear friends.

The next time you hear from us, it will be on Saturday, long after the ship set sail on Friday evening. We’ll have plenty of photos and stories to share about how the embarkation and check-in process worked during times of Covid with an outrageous number of precautions. It could prove to be very chaotic.

Thanks for staying with us, dear readers, through this waiting period. Your continued interest and support mean the world to both of us. We will be back with you soon.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 8, 2021:

Zebra traffic on the main road in Kruger National Park. For more photos, please click here.