11 days and counting…Looking forward to the next step…

The sun was filtering through the uneven slats on the ceiling of the souk in Marrakesh. This display was colorful scarves, so often worn in Muslim countries.

Once we start getting close to the end of our time in any specific location, we both start looking forward to our next adventure. Even leaving this fantastic location in Nevada allows us the luxury of enthusiasm for our next step, which is upcoming in 11 days. The countdown has begun.

There’s no specific number of days that we start posting the days until our departure. It happens organically when I suddenly enter the countdown in our daily headline, perhaps mentioning it in the body of the post. Counting down the days until we depart a location has little bearing on whether we’re anxious to leave.

In this case, when we’ve enjoyed this location and condo so much while working our way into a delightful routine, we still have no problem knowing we’ll be leaving soon. The only time I feel disappointed to be leaving is when we are in Marloth Park, leaving all the wildlife and our delightfully engaging friends. But I can’t think about that now.

Will this upcoming visit to South Africa be our last? With my heart situation, traveling so far away may not be wise. However, after the cardiology appointment next Wednesday, I will know if this will be the hard facts about winding down our journey. That doesn’t mean we won’t keep traveling; it may change where we go and how long we stay.

Many world travelers only stay for a week or two in any location. But, as seasoned readers know, we tend to stay for a few months in any given area, partly because it’s easier than moving every week or two. We also love becoming immersed in a location, living somewhat like the locals, and learning as much as possible about the culture and surroundings.

We often read posts from other world travelers and find those who move around every week or two are usually much younger than us. Plus, few can constantly be on the move for the long haul and afford the added cost of moving frequently. When we stay in any location for a few months or more, we save money from added flights and travel expenses.

Also, short trips often require hotel stays or higher costs for holiday rentals for brief durations. We’ve often been able to negotiate a better rate for holiday rentals directly through an owner, sometimes saving thousands of dollars on long-term rentals.

There have been many exceptions over the years, especially when dealing with visa restrictions or traveling to meet up with a cruise or multiple cruises. In the past year, we embarked on three cruises, which required us to fly to specific embarkation points with many flights, layovers, hotel stays, and other travel expenses, such as transportation, tips, and meals.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, road trips to the seven states we’ll visit between April 1 and June 17 will require a lot of time and expense in the next few months before we fly to South Africa again.

Not much is happening today. Soon, I’ll prepare vegetables and salad for tonight’s dinner, when our main course is the final of the three-day portion of our delicious, most recent recipe. All is good here.

I’ll head out for another long walk in the corridor to ensure I meet my walking goals. I never miss a day or excuse myself from the responsibility. Since starting the yoga workouts from BetterMe, I’ve faithfully followed the routine each day for the past 23 days and will continue to do so along with walking.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, March 21, 2014

Humphrey Bogart is in front of Rick’s Cafe in the movie Casablanca, which we watched ten years ago in Morocco. There is an actual Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca, fashioned per the movie. For more, please click here.

Thanks for all of your comments…A little bit of this and that…

This photo of us was taken in January 2013 while on our first cruise through the Panama Canal.

Yesterday, after writing about Tom being under the weather with what appears to be a cold, we received more messages and comments than I could have possibly imagined. Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to respond to each one individually, I am writing a general thank you to everyone who wrote thoughtful comments. I hope you realize how time-consuming it would be if I wrote back to each one.

In any case, thank you all, with very similar comments that he may easily have become infected on his trip to Minnesota on December 19. Since he didn’t exhibit any symptoms until December 26, he may or may not have become infected on those flights or at the Union Christmas party.

However, where he picked up the virus is less important now. His recovery is of the utmost importance to us right now. So far, his symptoms haven’t escalated, and he’s feeling the same today as he did yesterday. No change. No coughing. No fever. No aches and pains.

A few suggested he may have Covid. Although we have some Covid tests left, we didn’t bother to test him. He’s only around me, and we have no plans to go out until he’s fully recovered. Thus, if he has a highly infectious virus, he’s staying away from people. I don’t have any sign of having been infected. I still feel great.

Instead, we’re laying low, cooking lovely meals and relaxing, except for me running around the house doing various tasks such as laundry, cooking, and cleaning up. Our condo is clean and tidy, and once Tom is fully recovered, we’ll do a whole-house cleaning, which should be easy. I don’t see any dust on any surfaces, and there’s hardly a crumb on the floor.

On Friday, we’ll have been here for two weeks, and everything is in good order, clean and neatly arranged. If we suddenly had company, there is nothing we’d have to do to get ready.

It is nice that we both are good at picking up after ourselves. Neither of us leaves a dish in the sink or a towel on the bathroom floor. Each morning, I make the bed the moment I get out of it. Tom takes care of all of the dishes, pots, and pans while I wipe down the counters and electric stove top after each meal.

Neither of us ever finds it necessary to comment about one of us not doing our “jobs,” contributing to our day-to-day lives being pleasant and cheerful. Overall, our tasks are balanced. It’s funny how we never decided on “who does what.” Somehow, it evolved seamlessly, never requiring specific conversation when Tom retired.

When he worked  12 hours daily for the railroad in our old lives, I did most of the household tasks. We had a weekly cleaner, which helped a lot. Although I also worked, I had more free time to take care of things. Since I cooked a lot more in those days, I had to do the kitchen floor after each meal.

At that time, we had carpeting and two little dogs, which also required more attention to cleaning when, at times, they entered the house with wet or muddy feet. I taught both of those two adorable dogs, Ben and Willie, to wait by the door for me to grab a treat. In no time at all, they learned, “Wipe your feet, get a treat.” They’d wipe their little feet on the rug in front of the door.

We often think of those two little dogs. Ben passed away in 2009 and Willie in 2011. It’s funny, but if they’d been alive in 2012 when we began our journey, we’d never have left when we did. The thought of leaving dogs in the hands of others was beyond our comprehension.

Many part-time travelers have mentioned how difficult it is for them to travel when trying to figure out where to board their dog(s) in their absence and how much they miss them while they are away.

It’s hard to believe New Year’s Eve is almost here. We don’t have any big plans while we’re here. If Tom is feeling well, we might go outside to see the fireworks from the Las Vegas Strip. Las Lake Vegas is elevated, and we can see the strip at night.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 28, 2013:

Taking this photo without zoom gives a perspective of the small size of this island, somehow appealing to her for its varied vegetation. For more photos, please click here.

Oh, dear…Tom is sick…How did that happen?…

I couldn’t resist posting this photo of Tom one more time with the “germy” sombrero on his head. At the time, I thought this photo was hilarious. Maybe not so much now.

When we were out to dinner on Saturday night at Lindo Michoacan, I had mentioned to the hostess it was Tom’s birthday, thinking he might get a complimentary drink or dessert. Moments before the staff came to our table, they celebrated a little girl who also had a birthday on December 23.

The waitstaff sang the birthday song at her table after they’d placed an oversized sombrero on her head. When Tom saw this, he said, “Oh, that hat must be dirty from being on so many heads!” I shrugged it off. We’ve often been exposed to things others have handled, sick or not. I’ve often thought about those pagers you get in restaurants while waiting to be alerted that your table is ready.

Moments later, they came to our table; they handed Tom a complimentary Mexican dessert, plopped the oversized sombrero on his head, and sang the song. Trying to be a good sport, Tom went along with it, although it was evident that he was horrified he had that germy hat on his head for what proved to be no more than three minutes.

He ate the dessert, and we continued the lively conversation with Richard. Yesterday, three days later, he started sneezing like crazy, with his nose running incessantly. Most likely, it’s a cold, but the question in our minds is, “Did he catch a cold from the sombrero?”

There is no other location we’ve been to since we arrived except for Costco and  Smith’s Marketplace. He certainly could have caught it in either of those two locations.

I got out my arsenal of cold treatment products: zinc, Vitamin C, Tylenol (Paracetamol), and a twice-a-day nasal spray. When Tom grew up in a large family, they didn’t use Kleenex. Instead, he learned to “sniff it back up” rather than blow his nose. As a result, he refuses to blow his nose and sniffs every 30 seconds.

Need I say, the constant sniffing is very annoying, but I don’t say a word. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Tom, I am not implying you are an “old” dog but more a mature dog with well-established habits that I can’t change, especially not by nagging, which I prefer not to do.

Fortunately, he sleeps on his right side at night, and I sleep on my left, so we aren’t facing one another. Plus, the bed here is king-sized, which helps us keep our distance under these circumstances. I hope I don’t get it, and I am making every effort to avoid doing so.

We do not expect this cold to be Covid or RSV. He has no apparent symptoms of either. So far, he has no cough, sore throat, or headache. These days, after the pandemic, it’s easy to surmise one may have something more severe than a simple cold. We are keeping a close eye on his symptoms.

Did he catch the cold from the sombrero? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We’ll never know for sure.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 27, 2013:

This photo was taken a few days ago with the sun in my eyes. It wasn’t until I downloaded it to my computer that I realized the two birds, oxpeckers, were on the impala’s back. Check out the babies sitting in the grass near their mom. For more photos, please click here.

We’re back online!…An unreal experience on the road in Ecuador

The condo has special lighting to create a mood, all operated digitally with the option of changing colors. We’re thrilled with the large refrigerator, dishwasher, range, and many amenities, except for a microwave. We are the first renters to occupy this holiday home.

Note: We’ll post a few photos of our condo and its grounds daily. Stay tuned for more. Thank you, reader/friends, for all your well wishes, love, and support during some challenging times.

We’re sitting on the comfy sectional in the beautiful great room of our new holiday home in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada. We love this place and couldn’t be more pleased with it and to finally be here. The lovely condo is fully equipped with almost everything we need to make this feel like “home” for the next 105 days.

Deciding not to post for two days wasn’t an easy decision. After the long day of travel before we departed Ecuador and our expected late arrival in Las Vegas, I didn’t feel like preparing a post while we waited for boarding. We were seated at the gate, and I couldn’t motivate myself to take out my rickety laptop and try to type when the screen would flop down with no way to support it.

We flew on Copa Airlines. The first short flight had entertainment screens, but the longer seven-hour flight did not. It was a long seven hours with nothing to keep us occupied. A baby behind me cried hysterically for over an hour, and the kid kept banging on my seat while on the dad’s lap. I only cared about getting to the US safely and ending the flight. The baby was a mere annoyance.

Then, on Friday, with only two hours of sleep, preparing a post was out of the question after we’d arrived at the condo at 3:00 am, which was 6:00 am to us. I never fell asleep until 4:00 am and awoke two hours later.

Yesterday, I was dragging more than ever. It wasn’t jet lag since the time difference wasn’t a big deal. Lack of sleep was the biggest problem. Tom was tired but slept a little longer and handled it better than me. We had a busy day ahead of us, and I knew it would be another long day with lots of walking.

The big TV monitor has DISH TV and lots of amenities. Our digital equipment is charging on the floor.

We started with breakfast at Denny’s, which was close to Costco, where we had to pick up my new laptop (which I am using now that is set up with all my files-very nice) and at Walmart, where we’d buy paper products, soaps, and some staples. We had sticker shock when the bill came for our breakfast. It was $46 with tax and tip. Wow! I guess we’re in the US now!

Before I get further into yesterday’s events, I’m anxious to share details of the harrowing event during that 3½ hour drive from Mirador San Jose to the Guayaquil airport. We started on reasonably good roads at 8:15 am as planned, and all was going well. Our flight wasn’t scheduled until 2:53 pm, so we had plenty of time and didn’t need to rush on the two-lane roads with many trucks and slow-moving vehicles. Tom didn’t speed.

When we were about halfway to Guayaquil, Tom mentioned there was a cop with flashing lights pulling him over. My heart sank. Oh no. He hadn’t done anything wrong, wasn’t speeding, and was following all the lines on the road, allowing passing at specific points.

Tom calmly rolled down the window. He was not asked to provide his driver’s license or his name. The cop used a translation app on his phone, which stated he’d passed two vehicles where it wasn’t allowed. This was not true. He didn’t hesitate to say the fine was US $190 (they use US currency in Ecuador).

Of course, we objected that he hadn’t done anything wrong, but the cop (with two others with him) held steady on the amount of cash we had to pay. We asked for a ticket. He said, “No ticket.” Pay the $190, or “they” will come to get you.” Oh, good grief. He was threatening jail.

There was no negotiating with him. Of course, this was a scam. They saw our vehicle loaded with luggage, knowing we were tourists heading to the airport and most likely would have cash on us. Thank goodness we did. We handed him $100 at one point, suggesting that was enough! This didn’t satisfy him. Those three cops would be splitting our $190.

We had no choice but to pay. There was no alternative. After we handed over the cash, I asked for a receipt to make the point that we knew it was a scam. No go. He wasn’t about to give us a receipt!

We spent about a half hour dealing with this. Tom carefully drove away, checking periodically to see if they were behind us. They weren’t. We both looked at each other as we took off and said, “Get me out of here!” Neither of us could wait to leave Ecuador.

The comfy velour sectional sofa is perfect for us. The owner, Zoltan, and his wife Agnes brought us a fluffy blanket for lounging.

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time for our flight. There was a 22-minute delay when the plane didn’t arrive at the gate. But about 15 minutes into it, we were able to board. Weird food served. Tom ate nothing for 36 hours until yesterday morning’s breakfast at Denny’s. I ate a few bites of chicken.

After breakfast, we headed to Walmart, where we spent over $300. Tom was desperate for a haircut, and we found a nearby Great Clips with a 20-minute wait. I was happy to wait in the car to rest my weary body. While waiting, I searched online to buy a clothes drying rack. There isn’t one here. When I found one, I got out my wallet for the credit card company and noticed my wallet wasn’t in the bag.

While we were having breakfast, my bag fell off the booth’s bench and ended upside down on the floor. I carefully scoured the floor to see if anything fell out. Nothing had. Then, while waiting for Tom, ready to make the purchase, I suspected my wallet had fallen out of the bag when it fell on the floor at Denny’s.

When Tom returned after his haircut 30 minutes later, we had no choice but to return to Denny’s to see if they found my wallet. It wasn’t there. Oh, no, I thought, what if someone found it and kept it? Worrying about this only increased my exhaustion when we went to Costco to pick up my new laptop and buy groceries. We didn’t buy any perishables at Walmart and needed meat and produce from Costco.

We are content with the fact there isn’t a dining room and prefer sitting at the counter for our meals.

As it turned out, my Fitbit showed we’d walked over three miles by the time we returned to the condo. Our unit is a long walk from the parking area to the condo. Shortly after we arrived, the owner of the condo, Zoltan, and his wife came with a few odds and ends for us to use. They are both so kind and thoughtful. The only item the unit is missing for our needs is a microwave. We’ll try to figure out how to live without a microwave, which we often use.

Much to our delight, my wallet was on the nightstand when we returned to the condo. In my tired state, I hadn’t realized I left it behind. Whew! That was a relief.

Tom had quite an ordeal getting all the groceries from the car to our distant unit. But he used a luggage cart that made the task considerably more manageable.

We didn’t prepare dinner last night. Tom bought an apple pie at Costco and was happy with a piece of that, and I ate a bowl of Greek yogurt and raspberries, which hit the spot. I spent most of the evening setting up my new laptop, and I’m completely done. I wanted to ensure I could use it this morning to prepare the post.

By 9:00 pm, I headed to bed, falling asleep shortly after that. Unfortunately, I awoke at 4:00 am and never went back to sleep. I feel fine today, and after uploading the post, I will finish unpacking after we watch the Minnesota Vikings game at 10:00 am this morning.

We are both content in this amazing location and living in this lovely area and good-sized, well-appointed condo. Ah, what a relief!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 16, 2013:

At first glance, these could be a fashion-forward pair of women’s black boots. Nope. They’re the hind legs of a warthog. Actually, all four legs have these spiky heels. This made us laugh. For more photos, please click here.

Two days and counting…The power came back on…We got lucky…

This was the adorable “cria,” alpaca that the owners named after me when Tom and I attended to her birth while they were away. They presented her to me on my birthday when they returned. Wow! What a delight!

When the power returned yesterday, 11  hours after it went out, we finally opened the refrigerator to see the status of the remaining food. We had defrosted beef tenderloin and fish, which I worried about the most. The meat and fish had been defrosted the prior day.

Much to our shock, everything in the refrigerator was still very cold. Even Tom’s leftover cubed watermelon was iced cold in the metal pan. The temperature on that fridge was set low, most likely because everything stayed cold for so long. We decided to eat our leftovers.

I made another batch of chow mein for Tom using the tenderloin, leftover green peppers, celery, fresh ginger, and garlic. We had enough spices left to make it flavorful, and Tom enjoyed it last night and will again tonight and tomorrow. I ate the fish, cole slaw, and broccoli. Tonight and tomorrow, I’ll make myself a ham and cheese omelet using the eight small eggs we have left. We’ll have used up all the remaining food except for a few condiments.

When the power returned, we were thrilled to be able to entertain ourselves by streaming videos, although my “on-its-last-leg” laptop is having a sound issue where the sound cuts in and out. Last night, while Tom and I were still in the living room and he was watching football games. I ended up watching a series on Hulu on my phone.

As I write this, the power has gone out again. We aren’t complaining this time. I had our last load of laundry in the clothes dryer. Surely, we hope, it will be restored in time for us to dry this last load. If not, we’ll hang it around the house until the power returns.

As mentioned above, I purchased a new laptop at Costco yesterday using the $215 balance on the shop card (gift card) we got from cruising in August. The Acer laptop with all of my preferred features was initially priced at $799, but after a $200 holiday discount, good until December 15, and using the shop card, our out-of-pocket cost was down to $384. I couldn’t place the order quickly enough.

During the checkout process, which wouldn’t allow me to use our VPN, their system picked up that I was purchasing in Ecuador, and I couldn’t complete the purchase without calling Costco for assistance. On their end, their system suspected fraud from a foreign country. Once I called, a highly competent rep helped me complete the process. I requested the computer be sent to the closest location to Lake Las Vegas, a mere 3.4 miles from the condo.

They will notify us by email when it has arrived for pickup, which could be as late as a week from now. If I close this laptop with its broken hinge, I may never be able to open it again, or after traveling, it may finally quit working. (I’ve saved all my folders on an external hard drive). If that’s the case, I will only be able to post using my phone, which is slow since I am a lousy typist on the phone, picking at the keys one at a time.

Unlike the younger generation, we cannot hammer out a text in seconds. We are single-digit pickers. However, I will continue to post each day. Since we leave on Thursday at 8:00 am, I will write the post on my phone during the 3½ hour drive to Guayaquil airport and upload it once we are checked in and have WiFi at the airport.

It was a relief to get the purchase resolved, and now my next focus is watching for the prescription drug I need arriving from Singapore before the end of the month. I will run out of the drug one week after we arrive, around December 20. If it doesn’t come by then, I’ll head to a Minute Clinic at a CVS pharmacy. I called to confirm they’d help me out, and they will. So, no worries there.

Instead of shopping for groceries at Costco, since it’s quite a hassle during the holiday season, I will order groceries online at Albertson’s Market, which is about 12 minutes from the condo. They have a promo with a $30 credit for ordering online and picking up the groceries at the door. Since we don’t know the procedure for receiving a grocery order at the condo, we jumped all over this promo.

I downloaded their app, and in the next day or so, I will prepare the order and then submit it the day before we arrive to be able to pick up our groceries the following day, December 15. That way, we won’t have to shop in another busy store. We’ll take our food back to the condo to unload it. Tom is thrilled with this plan since he doesn’t like waiting for me while I decide on purchases at the market. It’s a win-win.

That’s it for today, folks. Although the power was out, I could still write the text and save it on the offline app, Notepad, in case the power didn’t return. It did. We are fine.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 12, 2013:

Various groups of kudu males came to call throughout the day. For more photos, please click here.

Six days and counting…

When we had dinner in the bush in Kruger National Park in 2013, and Louise and Danie presented an exquisite Christmas event with fabulous food and decor, a praying mantis landed on an empty plate. Amazing!

This morning, I awoke with a smile on my face…in six days, we’ll be heading to Las Vegas to our 107-day booked condo in lovely Lake Las Vegas. After this most recent disappointment, my expectations are in check, but being close to stores, restaurants, family, and friends certainly contributes to a positive state of mind.

If the condo isn’t perfect, so be it. Knowing we can enjoy ourselves otherwise, we’ll make the best of this. A good bed, strong WiFi, and reasonably comfortable living room furniture, coupled with the property being in good condition, is all we need to make it work.

With excellent reviews for the condo, we feel at ease knowing many tourists found it complete with many amenities and plenty of kitchen supplies. Often, like here in Ecuador, the kitchen supplies are limited. But, when many travelers only spend three or four days in a holiday home, eating out for most meals, they have little use for kitchen gadgets.

For instance, we’ve been functioning with only one medium-sized glass bowl. Instead, we’ve used various sizes of pots as bowls, and it worked fine. There is no can opener, so the tuna and coconut cream we purchased had pull-top tabs for opening. I have my own three little paring knives, which have helped with all the daily chopping and dicing I do, and they come in handy.

We’ve used one sizeable sharp knife to cut meat and large vegetables. The only bowls for serving coleslaw and other vegetables are small-sized side dish bowls that are a part of the basic set of dishes. There is no roasting pan or cookie sheet. But, we’ve used the four various-sized pots with stainless steel handles that can go into the oven for roasting meat and chicken.

There is one medium-sized square Pyrex pan that we’ve used on occasion, but it is hard to wash, and we couldn’t find parchment paper at the market. Instead, we purchased two rolls of tin foil, the best quality they had. But it was impossible to get any of it off the roll since it was so flimsy. We’ve managed without tin foil.

Over the years, we’ve learned to live without many kitchen utensils and gadgets. In our old lives, we had every kitchen gadget you can imagine. It’s been quite an adjustment adapting to using what’s available. If there’s no large bowl at the condo, I may buy one as I did in Florida. That’s the one item I miss the most. I make a mess trying to stir ingredients in the small bowl and pots.

The bed here is comfortable, and so is the living room furniture. We’ve never dined at the dining room table since we prefer to eat at the granite center island, with two barstools.

Since our HDMI cord broke and the one here is rusted from the humidity and doesn’t work, we’ve each entertained ourselves at night by reading the news and watching videos on our laptops. The nights have passed quickly, and with only a handful of nights to go, it hasn’t been as boring as I anticipated.

Every so often, we stop what we’re doing to chat while sitting across from one another. I usually go upstairs to bed about an hour before Tom, where I’ll finish watching a show on my phone, respond to our reader’s email messages that I hadn’t gotten to during the day, or play games on my phone.

Both of us are now relaxed and will soon begin thinking about packing. As mentioned, we could be packed in an hour or two if necessary. There’s no rush.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 8, 2013:

Nothing like a little brotherly love. Zebras are very affectionate with one another. For more, please click here.

Last night’s stunning sunset…12 days and counting…

Sunsets don’t need an explanation.

The power just came back on after two hours. The sun is shining today, and it’s a little less humid.  The high will be 79F, 26C, a perfect weather day. But, at this point, we have no desire to use the pool. We tested the water, which was very cold and too cold for us. I have stopped using ice in my room-temperature water and have given up drinking anything but water throughout the day.

The Afib improved when I stopped guzzling ice-cold drinks all day. I’m not taking any chances plunging into an ice-cold pool. Apparently, the vagus nerve is instrumental in setting off bouts of Afib, and for some, including me, it’s considered a “trigger.”  Long ago, a doctor of Chinese Medicine who worked for me said drinking ice-cold beverages is bad for overall health. I never understood that until now.

For the past few days, I’ve been feeling really well. Taking one pill a day, as opposed to two, which is time-released, works for me. Besides occasionally getting sleepy, the side effects are diminishing each day. I can do this! Using the FDA-approved ECG on my Fitbit, my results have been perfect over the past few days. I simply perform the test on my Fitbit, refresh my program, and the results roll over to a free app I use from Stanford University’s Cardiology Department. From there, the result is analyzed by the app.

The app is called Qaly and can be downloaded to most devices. A more comprehensive use of the app includes a monthly fee of $30, whereby technicians at Stanford further read the results, providing a report. I tried the one-week free trial and then canceled it, since my results have been so good, I don’t require further analysis. If you are interested in more details on this, please write to the staff in the “contact details,” and they will provide more comprehensive details. This is useful for those with Afib.

The prevalence of Afib in the US is estimated to range from 2.7 to 6.1 million. I am not unique in having this issue. Many people never have surgery to correct it and can manage it with antiarrhythmic drugs and blood thinners, both of which I am taking. Untreated Afib can cause strokes if meds aren’t used.

Nonetheless, I look forward to our time in Nevada, leaving in only 12 days. I won’t be thinking about packing until a few days before we leave since we hardly unpacked our bags and with only a few trips back and forth to the two extra bedrooms where our suitcases are lying open, ready to receive the few items in the closets and cupboard. If we had to, we could pack in only a few hours, but as typical, we won’t be waiting until the last minute.

Also, I can’t wait to get a new laptop and finish with this fiasco I am having to use right now. We decided to go to Costco and buy the laptop rather than pay for shipping. We get in after midnight on December 15, when we’ll get some sleep, and then head to Costco in the morning for the laptop, food, and supplies, perhaps stopping for breakfast since we won’t have any food at the condo.

All we’ll bring with us for the morning is regular and decaf coffee and some powdered creamer in Ziplock bags (which we don’t usually use since real cream is better and healthier). We’ll be fine if we can have our coffee in the morning.

I am making roasted chicken breast for me and pork chops for Tom tonight. We are counting down the days that are left to figure out how long our food supply will last. Fortunately, the little store finally restocked their meat, fish, and chicken supply due to increased visitors to this area, and with that and Raphael, we’ll make it through easily.

We’ll give anything we have left to our lovely cleaner, Maria. She’s been so kind and helpful. She cleans for three hours each week for $20 and the tip we give her.

Enjoy your Saturday, wherever you may be, and know we are always thinking of all of you.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 2, 2013:

Today, ten years ago, we awoke in Marloth Park for the first time. We didn’t realize, until we arrived in Marloth Park, that baby zebras have fluffy hair and short bodies until seeing one up close and personal. Too cute! For more photos, please click here.

Fifteen days and counting…

We miss seeing bushbabies and hope to see them in the future. This one just finished a cup of yogurt we put out for the adorable creature.

We can’t believe how quickly time is passing. The days start early for us and typically end by 11:00 pm, sometimes at midnight for Tom. If I stay up too late, I have trouble falling asleep. I must try to fall asleep by 11:00, like last night when I didn’t nod off until close to 1:00 am for the second night in a row.

My nights are filled with dreams of my younger years, often occurring in hotels and resorts. Duh! No wonder. The antiarrhythmic meds I am on cause lots of brain activity at night.

However, since taking the heart meds recently, I have been sleeping through the night once I get to sleep, even if I fall asleep early, waking up surprised that I slept for so many hours. I was never a good sleeper.

My Fitbit usually reveals that I have slept seven to eight hours, which is comforting to know. I may not be exercising a lot right now since the AFib seems to be at bay when I don’t over-exercise. Instead, I get up from sitting every hour to walk around the house rather than sitting constantly, which is bad for anyone, let alone anyone with a heart condition.

Knowing I would run out of the antiarrhythmic drug on December 19, taking two pills per day, 12 hours apart, yesterday, I decided to take only one pill a day.

My online order from ProgressiveRx is expected to arrive in Nevada around December 29, one month from today. After dropping the morning dose yesterday, I suffered no significant ill effects and took one capsule at 7:00 pm. Off and on I had a little Afib during the day and looked forward to the evening dose, which really helps.

If Afib returns while doing this one pill-a-day regimen, I will have no choice but to return to two capsules a day and run out on December 19. The cardiologist here prescribed a different drug, which I can take, if necessary, to hold me over until the usual drug arrives at our mailing service. But I tried that in the past, and it didn’t work well.

Otherwise, even on one capsule, I feel okay but not perfect. I am hoping that I may not need surgery for a while as long as I get a heart ultrasound test every six months or so, which I plan to do, as long as I have no new symptoms.

Millions of people in the US live long and productive lives with mitral valve issues, only deciding on surgery if serious symptoms arise. We shall see how I do, but I won’t take any unnecessary chances.

In the interim, over the next 15 days, until we depart, we are doing a lot better. As always, we have developed a consistent and comforting routine for both of us, listening to interesting podcasts during the day, conducting research at other times, and enjoying some great shows to stream in the evenings after dinner.

We continue to discuss the possibility of continuing to travel at some point, but for now, health prevails. We still consider ourselves nomads since we won’t be establishing a permanent home, and at the very least, we plan to travel to the US and eventually return to South Africa for a three-month visit.

We hope you all are experiencing good health, which ultimately remains the most critical aspect of our lives.

Of course, be well and be happy.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 30, 2013:

No photo was posted on this travel date in 2013, but there was a story. For details, please click here.

My broken laptop…Here’s what we’ll do…

Warthog family. I miss them all.

My laptop is getting worse each day. I’m hoping it will last until we arrive in Nevada on December 15, departing on the 14th, and we can get to the Costco store in Henderson, Nevada, to purchase a new one. Based on the condition of the hinge that closes the lid, I think that once we try to close it, it won’t ever open again.

Before we leave here on December 14, I will load all my saved files on my desktop to a zip drive or our external hard drive. Thus, once I get a new Windows 11 laptop, I can simply load the files on the new device and be ready to go. It’s funny how, based on our travels and heavy use, something happens to my laptop every two years, and I have to replace it.

I can only imagine how bored our readers are, reading about yet another device going bad for one reason or another. This one broke when we had it on the floor in our cabin during the Galapagos cruise when the seas were so rough that we stayed at the dinner table as long as possible when the nausea was so unbearable that we both needed to lie down.

That was the only night Tom had a problem and puked into the trash can. That was the only time he suffered from seasickness, but I continued to suffer for nights to come. It was always worse at night since they didn’t move the boat during the day while he and the other passengers went on expeditions.

During the days when I stayed behind, there was much rocking and rolling while anchored. But I never felt sick while we weren’t out to sea. I stayed behind working on our daily posts and the endless flow of photos Tom had taken on the tours. That seems like such a long time ago, and yet it was only six weeks ago.

Nonetheless, when I tried to open my laptop after the first night of rough seas while we were on the move, I encountered this hinge problem. That morning, three or four of the staff members worked on it and managed to get it maneuvered back in place, allowing me to open and close it until it all fell apart about a week ago.

I’m holding it together long enough to order a new laptop from Costco using a $250 gift card, and we’ll pick it up at the Henderson location. Within 24 hours of our arrival in Nevada, I’ll have my new laptop, and a short time later, I’ll have it fully set up. While at Costco, we’ll buy enough groceries to get us through the first week or so. That’s a great plan, which I am actually looking forward to. Shopping at Costco is fun.

Since we’ll be in Nevada for 3½ months, we can easily stock up on oversized packages of toilet paper, paper towels, ziplock bags, food, and more. It will feel great to stock up on familiar items after our time in Educador, with limited products available for our way of eating.

Tom is having the low-carb mushroom burger scramble dish for dinner with rice, while I will have fish with cooked cabbage, broccoli, and green beans for both of us. Tom won’t eat cooked cabbage and broccoli. With Raphael coming by twice a week, we sure eat lots of veggies, which helps fill me up. Plus, Tom has been enjoying having watermelon with ham and cheese rollups at lunchtime.

That’s it for today, dear readers. Again, thank you for the ongoing email messages and comments on the post. You all mean the world to us.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 28, 2013:

Upon arrival in Mombasa, Kenya, we took this photo from the ferry as another ferry took off. Notice the crowds. Shortly, we’ll be on this ferry again in Alfred’s vehicle. For more photos, please click here.

Two days and counting and stuff to do…Final evening with Greg, Heather, Madighan and Miles at a fantastic Mexican restaurant…Two game day…

Heather and Greg at the Mexican restaurant last night in Chanhassen. We are so happy they are together and enjoying their loving relationship.

Yep, in two days, we are leaving the US after many collective months since last April when we left South Africa, traveled to Florida, then to Norway and Greenland via cruises, and ended up in Nevada and Minnesota to visit family and friends. Now, we head to Ecuador, South America, to the second-highest city in the world, Quito.

Yesterday, we called Alamo car rental to extend the rental by two days. When we talked to one rep, he said he’d handle it with an email confirmation for the extra charges. The email never arrived. Several hours later, we called again, and another rep stated we couldn’t extend it without coming to the airport to sign a new two-day contract. Hogwash!

We decided to return the car today when we checked prices and discovered it would be $295 for the two more days. Instead, this morning, Tom is running a few last-minute errands and will return the car, taking an Uber back to the hotel. When we leave on Wednesday, it will be easier and quicker at the airport when we’ll be dropped off by another Uber and avoid returning the car at that time.

Miles, 15, and Mad,14, two of Greg’s children, and our grandchildren.

Tonight, we’ll walk over to Pizza Luce, across the parking lot from the hotel, to meet Tammy, Tracy, and Vincent for one final get-together for dinner and trivia before we leave. This afternoon, TJ will stop by to get help from Tom on setting up his trail cam and to say goodbye. From that point on, we will have seen everyone we wanted to see to say goodbye and will be on our way on Wednesday morning.

Without a doubt, this was the best visit we’ve had since we began our travels. No one was sick or unavailable, and we could easily set up times together, making sure each family got our undivided attention. Between Tom’s siblings, our kids and grandkids, and friends, we had a wonderful time on every occasion.

Tom and Heather.

We spent a lot of money dining out and for other activities, but it was worth every last cent. Now, we can leave with peace of mind that we spent quality time with those we love. When will we return to the US? At this point, we have no idea. We will post the plan here when we do know, which may not be for some time.

Yesterday afternoon, we arrived at Greg’s home in Chaska to spend time with him, Heather, and the kids while watching the Minnesota Vikings football game. Again, they lost, which was disappointing but not surprising. We did our laundry during the game while Madighan and I worked on crocheting. I completed a winter scarf using every last bit of yarn.

A taco salad is the only entree Tom ever orders in Mexican restaurants. He scooped up the guacamole, which he doesn’t like, and gave it to me.

Mad said, “Grandma, I will think of you whenever I wear this!” I smiled from ear to ear, happy that it meant so much. I crocheted as fast as I could, recalling stitches from 50 years ago, the last time I crocheted when it was popular in the 1970s. During that era, crocheted clothing, purses, afghans, and pillows kept many of us busy with patterns and yarns.

Without a pattern, I used a simple stitch that my fingers remembered more than my brain. Actually, it was pretty fun, especially when it meant so much to Mad.

After the game ended, we all drove to a Mexican restaurant we’d visited in the past, Rey Azteca in Chanhassen, in our neighborhood. As we recall, the food was fresh and delicious. Every one of the six of us enjoyed the food, the ambiance, and the lively conversation. After dinner, we all said our goodbyes and Tom and I left to return to the hotel to watch the next Minnesota Twins game, already in the 5th inning. They won. We were thrilled.

After their entrees, Mad and Miles shared a Tres Leche cake drizzled with chocolate syrup. They gobbled it up.

I just received a notification from Alamo with the bill for the rental car, so Tom must already be on his way back from the airport in the Uber. I texted him on WhatsApp, and he said he’ll be here soon. We always miss one another, even when apart for short periods. How fortunate we are.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow and, most likely, even a post in the morning on our travel day since I think I can get something done before we depart.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, October 9, 2013:

This is a different angle from the photo already shown in an earlier post, but one that we saw in our first 90-minute drive, along with Anderson, our guide, as we waited for others to arrive. This giant 15-foot croc had captured an impala. With Anderson’s walkie-talkie, he was alerted when their plane landed, and we flew off in the little plane to the Maasai Mara. For more photos, please click here.