Making plans for England…Yesterday…a fun and varied day!…Photos of Komatipoort…

Rita and I each had this fantastic smoked trout salad at Stoep Cafe. I can’t wait to return to order it once again.

Yesterday, the plan was for Rita and me to go to lunch while Tom and Gerhard drove to Nelspruit to return the last rental car before we depart Marloth Park in 27 days. Yesterday, knowing that Rita was picking me up to go to lunch at 11:30, I was determined to get in as much walking before we headed out. I managed to do 6000 steps before Rita and Gerhard pulled into the driveway.

It was great for Tom to have company for the over three-hour trip, and of course, Rita and I enjoyed the quiet time together, when in a few weeks, they will be leaving Marloth Park for a while. They aren’t sure when they’ll return, but hopefully, we’ll see them sometime after we return in December.

Tom stopped at Mohammed Moussa shop to get his Cole Haan shoes repaired. The total cost was ZAR 80, US $5.26.

Initially, we’d planned to go to lunch in Malalane, but Rita changed her appointment, so we decided to head to Komati, which is half the distance. It’s an excellent little restaurant where we’ve had many breakfasts, but I’d never been there for lunch. We decided on lunch at Stoep Cafe, a favorite haunt of ours and other locals.

Kathy got us all excited about Stoep when she often stopped there for coffee and a light breakfast a few times a week. In 2013/2014 and again in 2018, Tom and I often had breakfast there before grocery shopping. But, this time around, he and I hadn’t been there at all.

The shoe repair guys sit outside the general store waiting for customers who may need repairs.

However, before Rita and Gerhard returned to Marloth Park on New Year’s Eve, Kathy and I often got together at Stoep for breakfast and lively chatter. Once Rita arrived, the three of us would go, and she and I continued the ritual once Kathy and Don returned to the US a few months ago. We all miss them terribly. We are fortunate to have such good friends all around.

The lunch continued longer than we’d expected, and finally, by 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs, we were back at the house. A short time later, Gerhard and Tom arrived in the same car we had rented earlier. Budget Car Rental was low on vehicles and based on our excellent pricing. Tom didn’t hesitate to re-rent the exact vehicle.

Another strip of shops with vegetable stands in the parking lot.

With much for Rita and Gerhard to do back at their house, as they prepared for friends from the US visiting in a few days, they took off. It was too hot to be standing in the kitchen prepping for a meal. With nothing chopped and diced for dinner and the awful heat, I suggested we go out to dinner at Giraffe Cafe, a short distance down the road, and Tom agreed.

Before we headed out the door, friends Linda and Ken called, and we wrapped up plans as to when we’ll be seeing them in England around the first of May when they return from visiting the tulips in Holland. Gee, we should do that someday! That sounds like something we’d love to do as well. Most of our friends are world travelers in one way or another. They may not be homeless like us, but they do get around the world!

There are countless vegetable stands on the side of the road.

By 4:30 pm, 1630 hrs, we reached Giraffe, running into a few locals we know and making our way to the bar where we chatted endlessly, sharing the details of our partial day apart and discussing plans for the future. Based on the information we’ve read online, it appears all of our cruises should sail as planned.

I ordered a small salad with grilled chicken, and Tom had the chicken schnitzel, which he’d ordered there in the past. The food isn’t as good as Jabula, nor is the atmosphere quite as lively. But, we had a pleasant evening and returned home to get into comfortable clothes and watch an episode of Billions on Showtime and “1883” (my new latest favorite show) on Paramount Plus on Amazon Prime,

Huge bags of onions are sold at cheap prices.

After a reasonably good night’s sleep, we were both ready to tackle another day. Time is flying so quickly right now; it’s astounding.

Yeah, the power just came back on! That certainly changes my attitude about walking today. At least I can turn on the air-con from time to time to cool off.

Many locals’ only source of income is from selling vegetables and fruit from local farms.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 24, 2021:

There were no photos on the post from one year ago today, but there was a video from Garage Logic, a podcast Tom has listened to for years on which he is mentioned every day! To listen to the video, we posted one year ago, please click this link. Now, one year later, Tom continues to be mentioned each day. They usually mention him toward the end of the podcast. If you’d like to hear more mentions of Tom, please click here.

Heimlich Maneuver on a lizard?…What???…

Oh, oh, Mr. Monitor Lizard picked up the rib bone intended for the warthogs! To see what transpired, please read below.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A bit blurry in the dark, this thick-tailed bushbaby was a first-time visitor to our garden.

Anytime we aren’t on a game drive in Kruger National Park, on a drive in Marloth Park, shopping in Komatipoort, or out with friends, we’re on the veranda watching, waiting, and observing a vast array of wildlife who come to call.

Note her long pink tongue inside the cup.  She devoured the contents in seconds.

Although we’re fast approaching the busy holiday season where wildlife will be either hiding out in the bush or parklands or “dining” at many of the oft unoccupied holiday rentals where holidaymakers provide them with both “good-for-them” foods or not-so-good-for-them foods, all of which they eat with the same aplomb.

Sure, human leftovers, chips (fries), sweets, potato chips, and tortilla chips may taste, and even marshmallows may taste good to a kudu or bushbuck. Still, many of these foods can be toxic and certainly don’t add to their nutritional well-being.
When we noticed Mr. Monitor Lizard coming out from the bush, we were surprised how much he ventured out. They are timid, usually living underground in tunnels they dig. He was hungry and on the hunt.

Nonetheless, many wildlife like the taste of such foods, and we may not see them for days, if not weeks.  Some holidaymakers have already arrived but certainly not as many as we’ll see in the next few weeks, with Christmas only 15 days from today.  

We didn’t know how to get eggs to him when each time we’ve approached in the past, he rapidly slithered away.

Knowing our visitors may be sparse, we’re totally engrossed in each visitor that continues to arrive as we stay on the veranda, rain or shine, days and nights. The power outages continue but not necessarily following the schedule posted by Eskom, the power company.

This warthog is named “Basket,” shortened from Tom calling him “basketballs.”  Get it?  He and the lizard seemed fine in each other’s space.

It rained again last night, which, combined with the rain over the prior few days, is starting to “green” the bush.  Today is very cool and comfortable with a strong breeze. We’re loving every moment, knowing cool weather is short-lived in Africa.

As we’ve sat here on the veranda, we’ve had a few new experiences we are excited to share today. One was the appearance of Mr. Monitor Lizard, who seldom makes comes out from his hovel to see us, and he offered us a special treat as shown in today’s photos.

For the first time, he approached the veranda, looking at us.  He didn’t seem to like pellets, so we tried to figure out what we could feed him.

The photos tell the story of his visit.  He was looking for food. If we approach him, he rapidly slithers away, so we had to figure out how to help him out without scaring him. 56Tom suggested we toss him some of the many eggs we always have on hand for the mongooses.

He was scanning the garden looking for possible food sources.

There was no way to get the eggs to him without breaking them. So we tossed him 10 eggs. As the shells broke, the contents remained in many shell fragments, and he devoured each morsel, including eating many of the nutrient-rich shells.

Over a period of several minutes, Tom tossed several eggs his way.  He seemed very pleased licking the eggs out of the broken shells.

With warthog Basket in the garden at the same time, earlier we’d tossed him some bones left from Tom’s rib dinner at Jabula. Here I go, saying we give them leftovers!!! Hypocritical?  No. 

The minerals in bones are useful to warthogs, and they’ll readily eat any bones we provide. However, they have no interest in any meat. By nature, they are herbivores but maybe in desperate situations, and they may consume carrion.

Every so often, he stopped eating the eggs and shells to scope his surroundings and safety.

When we saw the monitor lizard pick up the bone, we freaked out. How do you do the Heimlich maneuver to a lizard? What if he choked? Worried, we watched intently, not knowing what would happen. Miraculously, he swallowed it right down with enthusiasm and went back to eating the bits of eggs and shells.

He paused when he noticed the rib bone left from Tom’s dinner at Jabula on Saturday night.

We read the following online, giving us peace of mind after he wandered off:
“While most monitor lizards are carnivorous, eating eggs, smaller reptiles, fish, birds and small mammals, some also eat fruit and vegetation, depending on where they live.”  Obviously, they have the ability to digest bone if they eat birds and mammals.  

Later on, during the evening after dark, when the scheduled power outage didn’t occur, for the first time, we had a thick-tailed bushbaby eat every last drop of yogurt we placed on the bushbaby stand each night. The usual smaller bushbabies had yet to eat the contents of the little cup, and the much larger thick-tailed bushbaby devoured it in seconds.

And…he swallowed it right down! 

From this site: “The thick-tailed bushbaby is a nocturnal primate with child-like cries, which gave cause for the English vernacular name. This is probably due to its diet and larger body size; this is the most social of all known bushbabies.”

For the second time in one day, we discovered these two situations, both of which added so much to our ongoing experiences in the bush.  Surely, in these next 66 days, until we depart Marloth Park, more wonders will come our way.

Be well!  Be happy!

Photo from one year ago today, December 10, 2017:

Boulevard scene in Arica, Chile, while on a port of call during the cruise. For more photos, please click here.

It rained!…Glorious rain…More expected…Without rain, the wildlife starves…Five years ago today…

Appetizers of grilled prawns and Boerewors, a frequently served sausage of South Africa. Notice the dinner plates are upside down…to keep the bugs off of them. I failed to take more food photos.  We were too busy having fun!  For the link to this post, please click here.
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
Traffic jam on the paved road in Marloth Park.  Delightful!
Note:  Please excuse the poor quality of the photos we’ve included today from five years ago. At that point, we only had one camera, and the humidity caused condensation inside the lens.  There was nothing we could do until it finally dried out.
It’s been reported that it rained 60 mm (2.36 inches) in Marloth Park last night. This morning after the small amount of rain, we noticed a slight increase in the greenery in the bush.
It should have been raining during the spring season (which it didn’t), ending on December 22nd when summer begins. Had it rained during the commencement of the rainy season a few months ago, the bush would have been lush with food sources for the animals.
This late rain, should it continue, will help but won’t solve the problems related to the drought. With the hard impacted ground after the dry season, there may be many run-offs reducing the rainwater absorption into the soil. Thus, there are fewer sources of food supplies for the animals.
The candlelit place settings were befitting an elegant dinner. No paper plates here! All prepared for our group of 17 to perfection. The camera lens was humid on the inside resulting in these blotchy photos. For the link to this post, please click here.
With numerous notices on the various Marloth Park Facebook pages suggesting we all pitch in and feed the animals, we feel confident we’re already doing all we can. The constant stream of hungry animals fills the garden hour after hour while we’re frequently on our feet tossing food their way.
The most difficult animals to feed are the bushbucks and the duikers, who are often chased off by the more aggressive animals such as the warthogs, kudus, and wildebeest, who overpower them sending them running into the bush.
They wait patiently in the bush for their opportunity to eat while we keep a watchful eye for the perfect opportunity, which often may be an hour later when the others have departed. 
Danie in the apron on the left and Louise on the far right put on a fantastic dinner in the bush in Kruger National Park.
Sooner or later, the opportunity arises, and we place a few containers of pellets, lettuce, apples, and carrots at the bottom of the steps, their preferred spot to eat.
On top of it all, we’re always on the lookout for monkeys who we refuse to feed. Their ability to damage property and destroy interiors of houses when they manage to make their way indoors is not worth the risk.
Like most residents, we shoo them away when they appear looking for food. They are smart enough to forage for fruit and other food sources, often pilfered from garbage bags and other sources.
More new friends from the UK are at our table, Janet and Steve who joined us for dinner last night at Jabula with Rita and Gerhard. They are also seasoned world travelers with considerable experience in many countries in Africa.
Many now are carrying around their newborns. There are more monkeys and baboons in Marloth Park than you can imagine. They seem to thrive regardless of weather conditions.
I’m rushing to get today’s post uploaded before the next power outage. This morning Rita and Gerhard stopped by for breakfast, leaving only a short time ago, and I’m definitely behind schedule. Of course, as we did last night at Jabula Lodge with them and Janet and Steve, we had another fantastic time.
Currently, I’m working with Rita to introduce her to the low carb, high fat, moderate protein way of eating, and its fun sharing information face to face. She’s undoubtedly embracing the concept with enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, at this point, Lynne and Mick were leaving in a few days to return to the UK. But we saw them when we returned last February and will see them again soon in January.
Speaking of food…today’s photos were taken on a very humid night, five years ago today when Louise and Danie‘s hosted a very special bush braai in Kruger National Park, in the dark, with guards protecting the perimeter, as we dined on delicious foods they’d prepared for our group. It was a night we’ll never forget.
The significant part of that particular night is the friends we made then, that are still our friends today, a full five years later while we were traveling the world. We feel so fortunate and blessed to have made such friends in Marloth Park, contributing to our desire to return in 2020.
Tonight, there will be a power outage from 1900 to 2130 hours (7:00 to 9:30 pm). Thank goodness we’ve charged solar panel light when the sun was out a few days ago. A few days ago, we purchased this lamp to get us through the dark evenings during the power shedding.
The heat and humidity are still stifling even after the rain. Yesterday, the aircon in our bedroom died, and it won’t be repaired until tomorrow. Last night was tough, but we were grateful to have a fan. One more night of the fan, and by tomorrow, we’ll be back up and running (hopefully).
Tonight we’ll braai marinated pork tenderloins with vegetables, salad, and whatever refreshments we can muster from our still well-stocked bar. 
Have a great evening!
Photo from one year ago today, December 9, 2017:
Christmas tree in Colon Park in Arica, Chile, with St. Mark’s Cathedral (San Marcos)l in the background.  For more photos, please click here.

How to determine the heat index…Its hotter than the actual temperature indicates…

This short video of Little and Wildebeest Willie clearly illustrates how easy it is to become attached to these animals and deeply care for their well-being.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Bushbuck family comes to visit daily. They always stand at the foot of the veranda, steps away from other wildlife that “steal” their pellets and veg.

What is the heat index?  Here is the answer from this site:

“The heat index is a measure of how hot it feels when the effects of humidity are added to high temperature. To alert the public to the dangers of exposure to extended periods of heat and the added effects of humidity, a Heat Index table is used to correlate measured temperature and humidity into an apparent temperature. This website offers graduated heat maps showing this temperature.

What is the formula for calculating heat index?

The Heat Index is a calculated value based on air temperature and humidity. To calculate a specific value for a previous date, you will need to know the air temperature and humidity.
HI (Fahrenheit) = 42.379 + 2.04901523*T + 10.14333127*RH – 0.22475541*T*RH – 6.83783×10^-3*T^2 – 5.481717×10^-2*RH^2 + 1.22874×10^-3*T^2*RH+8.5282×10^-4*T*RH^2 – 1.99×10^-6*t^2*RH^2
Where T = air temperature in degrees Fahrenheit
RH = relative humidity
To use the heat index table below, find the temperature on the left of the chart. Read across until you reach the desired relative humidity. The number which appears at the intersection of the temperature and relative humidity is the Heat Index. Note that the Heat Index under direct sunlight will be eight °C higher than the number shown in the chart.
What is the discomfort index?
This index evaluates the impact of heat stress on the individual, considering the combined effect of temperature and humidity. The formula used by the SA Weather Service to calculate the discomfort index is:
Discomfort Index = (2 x T) + (RH/100 x T) + 24

T is the dry-bulb or air temperature in degrees Celsius
RH is the percent relative humidity
This index gives the following degrees of discomfort:
90-100 – very uncomfortable
100-110 – extremely uncomfortable
110 and more – hazardous to health
Since the relative humidity of the air can be calculated from the dry-bulb and wet-bulb temperatures, the formula can also be adapted to use the wet-bulb temperature instead of the relative humidity.

Based on this morning’s temperature of 36C (97F), with humidity at 45%, the heat index so far today is 41C (105.8).  

This afternoon we can expect temperatures to stabilize at 36C (97F) with humidity at an expected 55% with a heat index of 46C (114.5F)

Below is a heat index guide in Fahrenheit:

Below is a heat index guide in Celsius:

Related image

Of course, if we lived in the US or many other countries, we’d have total house air conditioning or, at the least, a few window units capable of cooling the living areas and bedrooms.

But, we’re not in the US or another country where aircon availability and use are common during extreme heat and humidity. Even last night, with the bedroom’s excellent unit on, it never quite cooled down enough, mainly when the outdoor temp hovered around 32C (90F).
With these wall units, it’s important not to lower the temperature too much, or the department can “freeze up.” Then, we’d have no air at all for the remainder of the night, which would be a much worse scenario than sleeping without a cover.

It’s easy to tell the wildlife is also feeling it.  We had no less than eight warthogs sitting in the cement pond at varying times of the day. The most challenging period for me was when the power went out from 1300 hours (1:00 pm) to 1530 hours (3:30 pm), the hottest time of the day.

Every so often during the day, when the heat is exhausting, I may spend 20 or 30 minutes in the bedroom with the aircon unit on (always turning it off and on while I’m in the room, never leaving it running when we’re not).  
Yesterday afternoon, when that option wasn’t possible during the power outage, those two and a half hours were by far the most uncomfortable I’ve experienced.  
Tom sat outdoors shirtless, which helped him. But, us girls…that’s another matter.  He says he felt much hotter when we were in Abu Dhabi in 2013, and the temperature was a dry 50C (122F).  
However, I’ll always remember it being extremely uncomfortable when we dressed to enter the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (the White Mosque). Here’s our photo from that date, and the link is located here.
Not my most flattering photo. Tom looks great!  We were standing in front of the architectural scale model. After we posed for this picture, a security guard rushed over, telling us we could not touch one another in the mosque. Of course, we complied.
Well, we could spend all day whining about the power outages, yesterday’s water outage (back on now), the heat, and humidity. Today, we’ll be a little brighter when and if the power is scheduled to go out (or even if the power doesn’t go out) at 1300 hours (1:00 pm) until 1530 hours (3:30 pm). The car’s aircon is spectacular.
We’ll jump in the red car and go for a drive in the park for two and a half hours.  Once we return to the house, we’ll shower (water providing) and dress for tonight’s dinner at Jabula Lodge & Restaurant (we never tire of this beautiful place) with Rita and Gerhard (we never tire of this lovely couple) who are returning from Germany today.  We’ll be thrilled to see them, as always.
Stay cool, or in many cases, stay warm, wherever you may be in this world.

Photo from one year ago today, December 8, 2017:

New friends Lisa and Barry invited us to dinner in the private wine room for one last night together on the ship.  They were disembarking the following day while we continued for another  15 nights. For more photos, please click here.

Late post today due to power outage during Costa Rica “red alert” tropical depression…Tropical storm Nate hits Costa Rica…

Although this area on the veranda where we sit most days has a roof over it, the cushions on the furniture are soaked after blowing around in the high winds.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Generally, pools have a system in place to avoid overflow due to heavy rains, which appears to be the case of the pool in the villa. But, unfortunately, it’s been raining non-stop for days!

At 12:30 am the power went out as Tropical Storm Nate made itself known to Costa Rica. It had been escalating over several days with heavy rains that prevented us from going out to shop.

We’d hoped to head out today, but it wasn’t possible with most stores closed due to power outages, mudslides, heavy rain, and relentless winds. As Tropical Storm Nate (soon to be Hurricane Nate) wreaks havoc in the Caribbean, Costa Rica quickly falls into the path of this storm.

This separate plunge pool becomes one with the main pool as the water level rose due to the pouring rain.

After the power went out, I awoke, aware the ceiling fan had stopped working and barely returned to sleep. Tom was the same, tossing and turning all night, often getting out of bed to check to make sure nothing was leaking into the house.

With this property newly remodeled in the past few years, everything seemed to be in order other than water leaking into the laundry room from an impossible-to-reach high window.

Fallen tree in the yard as a result of the storm.  We went outside with a golf umbrella to get this photo.

This morning Marian (property manager) called on my phone (loaded with a local SIM card) to see how we’re doing. After she and her husband AaD have lived here for 10 years, she explained they’d never seen a storm like this. They lived across the valley and had been without power since 9:30 last night. So at least our power outage hadn’t occurred until after we’d both gone to bed last night.

As always, during power outages, our biggest concern is the safety of our food in the refrigerator and freezer. But, lately, Tom had been storing extra ice in a large plastic bag at the bottom of the freezer. So, this morning, we loaded the large cooler with ice and the items in the fridge of the most concern. But, unfortunately, everything in the freezer was still frozen solid.

The tree behind this smaller tree toppled during the continuing tropical depression. We heard it fall earlier today.

Of course, our second most significant concern is being unable to post here. Luckily, I still had 60% of my phone’s battery left and would have been able to post a short blurb explaining the power outage and our inability to post.

As Tom and I sat in the living room chatting over recent worldwide events (a common source of conversation between us), the power came back on. Quickly we got to work taking care of the food, the wet pool towels we’d brought in from the veranda, the towels we’d used to mop up the floor in the laundry room, and our bath towels.

This photo can’t possibly illustrate how fast the rainwater is running down the slope of the driveway.

Generally, to save on wear and tear and costs for the owner, we use bath towels three times, leaving them to hang in the bathroom to dry for the next day’s use. However, recently, with the humidity at 90 to 100%, they wouldn’t dry. So, as a result, we’ve been washing them every day over these past few days.

The storm is expected to continue over the weekend. With shops closed, roads closed, and many mudslides, we’ll have to make do with the food we have on hand until it settles down enough for the shops to re-open.

A fallen banana tree also as a result of the storm.

For now, we’re hunkered down, safe indoors, and grateful we have power for the moment. However, it won’t surprise us if we have another outage over these next several days. So, if you don’t see us here at our usual time, please know we are thinking of you and be back online as soon as possible.

Have a dry, safe day filled with sunshine!

Photo from one year ago today, October 4, 2016:

A pig, pink and dirty, we encountered on a walk in Sumbersari, Bali. For more photos, please click here.

Tornado weather rolling through…Commotion, stress and pushing in line…Is this the US we remember?…

Hand-carved wood houses.

It’s not the people…It’s the lifestyle, the traffic, the number of people, and…the sense of urgency; time constraints, digital and Wi-Fi issues, fender benders, meetings, playdates, softball games, and the hard-working, overbooked lives of many Americans and others throughout the world. For us, it’s glaring while here in the USA.

We don’t fit in. I ask myself the question, “Did we ever fit in?”  Looking back over our past lives, we too got caught in the hamster wheel of life, perpetually trying to get through the activity of the moment to get to the next. 

Flower samples of blooms in Butchart Gardens with notes naming each variety.

Living in the moment was nearly impossible. Rushing, speeding, and eating in the car with greasy hands on the wheel as the result of consuming the less-than-desirable quality of fast food or what we perceived as more healthy carry out in an attempt to get us through another long, painstaking day.

In our old lives, we counted on both hands the number of people we knew taking anti-anxiety drugs. Now it’s even more.  I spotted this article today in the New York Times, which may be found here about the rampant use of the drug Xanax and antidepressants in adults and children. It’s worth reading this story.

More flower samples.

Now there’s a stress-relieving device called a “fidget spinner” for use by those who can’t sit quietly and reflect, read a book, watch a movie or relax. When hands and fingers go idle after clicking on keyboards and screens day and night, such a distraction is needed by many to keep their digits active.

Tens of millions of “fidget spinners” have been sold. See this article for details. A few days ago, I noticed Tom twiddling his thumbs (for the first time) while we sat in standstill traffic, surely an anxious response to the stressful road conditions. 

The stress was evident in the lines in his brow, the scowl on his face. Yet, after almost five years of feeling calm 98% of the time, he maintained his cool, avoiding his occasional “overly grumpy” demeanor that may arise on busy travel days.

It’s always fun to see local handcrafted works.

As for me and my usual “overly bubbly” (and at times annoying) demeanor, I’m holding my own. Spending time with the people we love is a welcomed buffer and stress reliever, although traveling to them takes its toll, particularly on Tom.

Since we arrived 16 days ago, on no less than 10 occasions, we’ve been asked, “When will you move back to Minnesota or even the US?” We hedge, anticipating a reaction that may not be positive when we respond with “It’s not in the cards.”

Invariably, they continue with, “What about when you physically cannot travel anymore?”  We always remind ourselves of the beautiful 90 plus-year-old couple we met at dinner on our first cruise in January 2013. They’d been traveling the world for decades and still had no plans to stop, to settle down. 

Handcrafted sculptures.

Health provided, that could be us. And, if health fails, there are plenty of countries throughout the world where we can get the healthcare we need, stay until we’ve improved, and perhaps eventually stay until we can continue. 

But why worry about that now? Worry is the single highest cause of stress which ultimately has an impact on health. We don’t worry about the future. We plan it. We embrace it. We dream of it. 

Most of all, every day, we strive to “live in the moment,” cherishing wherever we may be, whatever we may be doing. At the moment, we’re calmly situated in the hotel’s “living room,” sipping great coffee with “real” cream, watching weather reports and maps on TV, illustrating where the storms and tornado warnings are headed. 

Metal sea sculptures for sale at the gift shop in Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Today will be a quiet day for us, barring the continuing thunder.  Satisfied after having spent considerable time with family and friends this past week, we’re laying low, maybe heading out for a little shopping for jeans for Tom. With no sales tax on clothing in Minnesota, it makes sense to shop here instead of in Nevada.

We continue to replace most of our clothing with new shorts, jeans, tee shirts, shirts, and underwear to avoid the cost of shipping items in the next year or so. We’ll bring the items we’re replacing to the local Goodwill store.

The abundance of selections, colors, sizes can be daunting.  Yesterday, when I spent 45 minutes in Macy’s purchasing shirts and jeans, I left before I’d found everything on my list. The waiting for assistance, the line at the fitting room when all were full, the processing time for a single sale only reminded me of how adapted I’d been in my old life to all the chaos and commotion. Now? Not so much.

The shop was bustling with tourists.

We’ll continue to enjoy these remaining 26 days in Minnesota and then will be off to Nevada for three weeks for more traffic and commotion, softened by the joy of spending time with son Richard in Henderson and sister Susan in Las Vegas. 

Then, we’ll be on our way back to new and familiar remote locations; quiet countryside, a barren desert, desolate Antarctica, and the exquisite savannahs, plains, and bush in Africa. 

May your day be free of stress!

Photo from one year ago today, June 11, 2016: (Please see paragraph below photo caption)

In Bali, a fisherman on a tiny homemade raft most likely fishing for squid which is caught close to the shore. For more photos, please click here.
P.S. It was two years ago today our ship arrived in Sydney, Australia.  We were both horribly ill with the worse virus of our lives (caught on the ship), each with a fever and feeling dreadful.  We barely remember the three-hour flight from Sydney to Cairns and the excruciating wait at the rental car counter. How we ever managed to find the house in Trinity Beach baffles us to this day.  It took us three more weeks to recover, but we were thrilled to be settled in the lovely holiday home and beach community. None of life is exempt from stress brought on by circumstances that befall us all. Even our usual relatively stress-free life may become stressful from time to time.

Adaptation to life in Tasmania…Easier than many…More photos of downtown Penguin…Poppy Seed Strudel recipe…

Could it be tourists at the top of those rocks at the beach?

Compared to many places we’ve lived in over the past four years anymore, it’s easy here at Penguin, Tasmania. Sure, today it’s raining in buckets and we’ll stay indoors most of the day until 5:30 pm when we’ll head to a local social event which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post.

The Penguin Food & Veg stop.

We haven’t found a single insect in the house yet. The cool weather must be a factor which is typical year round. Now, as it approaches summer, we’re a bit surprised to find it as cold as it is. Here’s a chart of average weather in this immediate area, from this site:

Tabular view for temperature and precipitation per month in Penguin, Tasmania
Months Normal Warmest Coldest
January 21.1°C 13.2°C
February 22.1°C 13.6°C
March 20.8°C 12.6°C
April 18.2°C 10.8°C
May 15.3°C 8.7°C
June 12.9°C 6.7°C
July 12.3°C 5.9°C
August 13.0°C 6.4°C
September 14.2°C 7.6°C
October 15.8°C 8.8°C
November 17.7°C 10.4°C
December 19.2°C 11.8°C

*Temperatures are listed for Celsius. For example, the December’s high of 19.2°C is equal to 66°F and the low of 11.8°C is equal to 53°F.

Penguin Memorial Library. At the back of the library, there is an open-air reading area overlooking the ocean.

By examining this map of Tasmania its easy to see why its cold here based on the proximity of Tasmania to the Antarctic as shown on this map below:

Image result for map australia antarctica
Map of the southern part of Australia, in Tasmania, as indicated for Hobart and the Antarctic.

In 13 months we’ll be in Antarctica where, of course, it will be much colder than it is here requiring much heavier clothing than we have available. We’ll be renting outerwear through the cruise line which we’ll be wearing on frequent visits to ice floes via Zodiac boats. 

Another penguin statue.

New Zealand, where we lived from January 19, 2016 to April 15, 2016, was nowhere nearly as cool as here in Tasmania.  However, as shown in the above temperature chart, January will become warmer as it moves further into summer in this part of the world.

  However, as the temperature chart above shows, January will warm up over the summer in that part of the world.

Are we uncomfortable? No, not at all. Thank goodness for the warm shirts we purchased a few days ago, the heavy socks we have in our bags and the blankets we’re using as needed to stay warm indoors.

These items aren’t for sale. They were donated by locals for display purposes only.

The house has a multipurpose air con/heater in the lounge (living room), but we make every effort to avoid using extra electricity unless it’s an absolute necessity. So far, so good.

Next door to the Penguin Post Office is a café, the Letterbox. Notice Tom on the right wearing his new flannel shirt.

As an island, a sunny day in Tas (as the locals describe) can easily turn into a rainy day, which we experienced yesterday when we hung three loads of laundry on the outdoor clothesline. 

More penguin items donated by locals which also are “not for sale.”

Before we headed out for the afternoon when it had begun to drizzle, we took everything off the clothesline bringing all the wet clothing indoors to hang on a tiny free standing clothes rack. It’s still wet today on this humid day and may not dry until tomorrow. 

We’d seen this type of pine tree in Madeira, Portugal in 2014.

Yesterday, we headed to the neighboring town of Burnie with a population of 25,000 to stop at the Harvey Normal store to purchase a new power cord for one of our laptops. During the recent cruise the power cord died. We could either order one online or find one locally

Penguin statue.

Based on the fact these cords are in two parts, we could purchase an Australian plug in the power adapter and use only the part with the black box, continuing to use the same US plugin with our universal adapter. Once we leave Australia at the end of April, we’ll only be using US plugins for a while. 

The device was only slightly higher than it would have been ordering it at Amazon in the US. Priced at US $74, AU 99 at Harvey Norman in Burnie we avoided tax and shipping costs. With multiple plugin tips as a universal device this will work for us for these laptops and, as a backup for future laptops we’ll purchase when in the US.

The Madsen Hotel is owned by an exiled Prince of Laos.  More on this later.

After shopping at the Harvey Norman store, we headed to the Makers Mart, an architecturally interesting center in Burnie where artisans and contractors display their unique wares. Photos will be presented in a future post. It proved to be a unique environment we’re excited to share.

As for adaptation, we have experienced the lack of a baking product always readily available in the US. Since Tom had only gained a few pounds on the cruise and with his birthday and Christmas on the horizon, I offered to bake a special treat for him, one of his favorite Christmas baked goods, Polish Poppy Seed Bread.  (See the recipe below).

Penguin themed seesaw the local playground.

After visiting the largest Woolie’s store in the area and talking to the store manager, he explained he’d never heard of nor carried “canned poppy seed filling” and it it’s unlikely we’d find it anywhere. As a result, I had to forgo making this for Tom. 

Penguin outside the Penguin Barber Shop owned by Linda, Terry’s sister.

I asked Tom what he’d like as an alternative and to my surprise, he said, “Nothing. I’ll just have our usual food (meaning low carb, gluten free, grain, sugar and starch free foods). I don’t need sweets.” Of course, I’m thrilled with his response, always concerned for his health and well being.

Christmas wreath decorations in Penguin.

Today, as you can see we’ve posted the remainder of our photos from our walk through downtown Penguin. We’ll be back with more new photos tomorrow after tonight’s social event.

Beef marrow bone for sale in local grocery story. 

Here’s our recipe:

Polish Poppy Seed Bread (Strudel) Recipe
An Eastern European dessert table would invariably include something sweet made with poppy seeds, either ground or whole. This poppy seed strudel is made with a yeast dough and is known as makowiec (mah-KOH-vyets) in Polish. Canned poppy seed paste is available in the ethnic or baking aisle of most supermarkets. 

Makes 2 Sweet Polish Poppy Seed Breads
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours

       1 package active dry yeast
       2 cups warm milk
     8 cups all-purpose flour
     3/4 cup sugar
     1 teaspoon salt
       5 eggs
     4 ounces (1 stick) butter, melted
     3 (11-ounce) cans poppy seed filling
    4 cups powdered sugar
    1/4 cup 2% milk, starting with 1/4 cup milk until you have an easy to spread frosting
    1 tablespoon real vanilla


1.   In a small heatproof bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm milk.
2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and eggs. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups warm milk, butter and yeast mixture. With the paddle attachment, or by hand, beat until smooth. Dough will be sticky at this point.
3.  Scrape dough into a clean, greased bowl. Sprinkle the top with a little flour and cover. Let stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in size.
4.  Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a rectangle.
5.  Spread 1 can or half of the filling you made on each rectangle of dough and roll up like a jelly roll. Turn ends under so filling will not leak out.
6.  Place on a parchment-lined or greased pan, cover and let rise again until double in size.

 7.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush tops with additional melted butter. Bake   
     45 to 60 minutes or until strudels are golden brown.  Don’t overcook.

8.  Remove from oven and cool. When totally cooled, neatly frost with above frosting recipe or use canned white frosting if preferred.
We tripled the Poppy Seed Bread recipe three times, making five loaves extra large.  See here in this original post on Tom’s birthday in December, 2012.
Photo from one year ago today, December 8, 2015:

View of the pool and patio from the veranda at our vacation rental in Pacific Harbour, Fiji on the main island of Viti Levu where we stayed for one month over the holiday season. For more photos of this property, please click here.

Worst storm in our travels, yesterday in Bali…Flooding in the streets…Photos…

We haven’t seen a flood like this since we lived in Minnesota, USA, a lot of moons ago. We took this shot from the front of the villa.

“Sighting on the Beach in Bali”

A rainbow at the end of the storm.

During our four years of world travel, we’ve experienced a tremendous number of storms, winds and hurricane scares, all of which we survived unharmed and without serious consequences, unlike millions who are suffering in the eastern seaboard in the US, Haiti and many other islands in the Caribbean Sea.

We extend our deepest sympathies for the loss of loved ones, their homes and all their belongings. Most are uninsured and can only pray for ways to sustain their lives as their shelters, towns and villages are rebuilt. 

The road facing our villa was flooded during the storm but had retreated this morning.

With the toxic water supply after such catastrophes, the lack of food and medicine, the suffering lived by these lost souls can only be imagined in our worst nightmares. May the souls of the world’s genres come together to help bring some semblance of stability and security to their lives as soon as possible. We pray for the safety and well-being of these people.

Based on the latest online news report 13 died in the United States as a result of Hurricane Matthew with 900 deaths reported so far in Haiti.    The numbers keep increasing as more and more news comes in. Millions of people have no electricity with a lot of houses under water. Many view their personal belongings and the debris of their homes floating away.

View to the lawn from the kitchen window.

Nothing we have experienced over the past few years of traveling the world can be compared to the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew and other natural and human-inspired disasters. Our hearts break for the suffering of other people around the world.

But, as we continue to share the details of our lives in our daily posts, which under the above circumstances seem trivial and unimportant, nonetheless, with the utmost of respect, our lives and yours continue on. 

The details of our experiences seem to be the driving force to bring back our faithful readers day in and day out for both the exciting and surprising, the mundane. 

Another view of flooding on the road into the next door neighbor’s gate.

In fact, I often feel like we all enjoy the mundane. Everyday life, as such, for most of us is relatively mundane. We humans, more or less like animals, find great comfort in the familiarity of our routines. 

Judge us, you may, you constant-adventure-seekers… You are the exception to the rule. We admire you for your bravery and sense of wonder that takes you on one exciting trek after another, one life endangering adventure after another as you explore your surroundings with a passion that few of us know or fully understand. Go for it! Be as safe as you’re able! Share your stories and photos with us!

For the rest of us, we’re able to find excitement and adventure in other ways, based on our level of desire for challenge, our age, our limitations (at times, self imposed) and above all our fear.    We all have the right to choose where we fit into this realm.

Last night, the two Ketuts walked in bare feet in this rain flooded road to the villa to make our dinner, leaving their motorbikes elsewhere on higher ground.

Overall for us as world travelers, we’ve opted on the safer side. After all, we decided long ago that this adventure would be on our own terms, not what others may do or expect. We don’t feel we have to prove anything to anyone as to how brave and fearless we are, we have been and we may be in the future.

One needs only to be investing our archives to find endless risky experiences we’ve consistently embarked upon along the way with many more such adventures yet to come. It’s only been during these past four months we’ve been hindered by my recent spinal injury (on June 1st) which continues to improve each day.

As we share yesterday’s storm experience, it is in no way intended to imply we were in any danger or could possibly grasp the magnitude of the devastation to the lives of those having experienced Hurricane Matthew and other such heart wrenching disasters.

We’re here to report the mundane, the exciting and the adventures of our lives, of world travel whether its an interesting insect on the veranda, a beautiful flower blooming on the grounds or an angry buffalo in the river anxious to chase my husband at his earliest convenience. 

This monstrous beetle was hunkered down on the veranda during the storm.

We report it all here for our readers to decide (if in fact, deciding is relevant) which aspects of our lives appeals to them and which do not. We easily can decipher from our stats which topics seem to attract more readers as we strive to appeal to many readers at any given time. 

We appreciate each one of you whether you like certain topics or not.

For those of our regular readers, you well know, we’re only one day away from a new topic which may prove to be more appealing to your interests than the current day’s post.

At any time, please write to us if you like us to cover topics appealing to your senses. Although, we tend to shy away from highly controversial and politically charged topics on this site, we aren’t exempt from sharing some thoughts and opinions. Otherwise, our posts would read like a dictionary.

This morning we found this leach type creature in the house, after yesterday’s storm.

This site in not intended for us to spew our perhaps one-sided opinions on certain delicate topics. That’s not to say we’ve never espoused opinions on the healthful growing of produce and meat along with the efforts we make in hoping to maintain good health through what we perceive as good nutrition and quality of life. We have… And most likely will continue to do so as our travels carry on.

May your day bring about a lively conversation or a quip you’ve read or heard that holds your interest! Be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, October 9, 2015:

In Savusavu, Fiji, tourist information was available at the local police station. For more photos, please click here.

Hurricane Matthew…Natural disasters wreak havoc throughout the world…Inconveniences as opposed to danger…

Notice the buffalo in the back of this photo when we carefully strolled along the road where Tom had his buffalo experience.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Misty morning with river and sea views.

First, we would like to send our love and prayers for people experiencing the wrath of Hurricane Matthew.  We’ve heard from several friends in Florida and hope that they along with millions of others in many locations in Matthew’s path, stay safe along with their families, friends and homes.

A new home in the neighborhood.

Yesterday, we spotted numerous online stories of the inconvenience experienced by cruise passengers when their cruise was diverted to New York (instead of the Caribbean) as a result of the hurricane.

Many passengers tweeted about their frustrations when they ended up in New York without warm clothes and shoes. Certainly, we appreciate the inconvenience and disappointment in discovering their cruise has changed or been canceled, as has been the case, for many US eastern seaboard, Caribbean sailings scheduled over many days.

When we encounter gates such as this, our curiosity tempts us to explore what lies beyond. Respect for the owner’s privacy prevents us from further exploration.

The cruise lines have been working hard to find ways in which to compensate their passengers and many have offered reasonable compensatory packages. But, human nature prevails and many are irate.

Another property protected with a gate to discourage the curious.

Instead, we think of all the citizens of the many countries, islands, cities and states who’ve lost and will continue to lose much more than a cruise vacation. They run the risk of losing their lives when millions are unable to evacuate while making every effort to protect themselves and their loves ones.

I suppose it’s all relative. It’s easy to feel frustrated when plans change beyond our control and we’re left to the decisions of others to determine our next step. We have no doubt those passengers would have chosen their personal safety over so many days of sunbathing or shopping on a tropical island. 

This path was particularly tempting, but we didn’t go beyond the opened gate.

Not intending to be facetious in regard to the irate passengers, long ago we decided that regardless of any inconveniences, we’d always choose safety and well being over possible annoyances. 

We’ve been left waiting in less-than-safe airports for hours at a time when flights had been delayed or  canceled. We’ve experienced outrageous inconveniences going through security at various airports. We’ve encountered the endless power (and subsequent Wi-Fi) outages (including an outage only a few days ago). 

Many of these types of gates are kept locked.

We’ve had countless everyday items confiscated at security checkpoints, items difficult to replace in the upcoming location. Oh, we could go on and on. As frustrating as such situations may be at the time, we’ve always tried to remind ourselves that safety comes first. In doing so, we find ourselves diffusing some of the frustrations able to continue on with an alternate plan.

A food cart on the highway attracted several children after school.

Inconveniences?  Ah, they go with the territory. Traveling the world is wrought with frequent surprises we could never anticipate regardless of how prepared we may think we may be. We’re prone to check and recheck before each travel period and arriving at each new property.

Were we provided with a map and/or directions to find the property when many aren’t available in online maps? We spent hours in the middle of the night trying to find the property in Madeira  when our map wasn’t as specific as it could have been. Lesson learned.

Bridge over a river.

Is there a way for us to enter the property once we arrive? Is bottled water available upon entry if tap water is considered unsafe to drink? Is the Wi-Fi user name and password readily available?  Is the power turned on?  Who do we contact in an emergency?  It goes on and on.

We have no doubt any of the residents in the path of Hurricane Matthew would gladly trade places with the cruise passengers as they board up their homes and determine where, when, how and if they’ll escape the wrath of this massive storm.

Many markets such as this are found in every village.

Inconvenience, we can handle.  Loss of safety and well being is an entirely different matter. We pray for their safety.

May your day be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, October 7, 2015:

Badal, the neighbor Sewak’s dog, stopped by each night while we were having dinner in Fiji. We give him something good to eat, usually whatever meat we’d prepared for dinner.  For more details, please click here.

The excitement never ends…

Gede sent me his photos of a tornado in Java in January or February. (Impossible to enlarge due to poor resolution of mobile phone photo).
One of the pictures of Gede’s phone from the tornado above.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

A man on the beach picking up various items from the beach, placing them in this basket attached to his motorcycle.

Living in Bali is the perfect environment befitting our daily posts. Almost every day, there is something interesting before our eyes as we bask outside on the veranda, whether installed in the sun loungers or seated under the hut.

Most days after I’ve completed posting and Tom has finished the bulk of the day’s research for future travels, we get comfortable under the shade of the thatched roof cabana, the closest spot to the ocean on the veranda to cool off, dry off from the pool and get out of the sun. 

Yesterday, suddenly, the sky darkened as the winds rolled across the beach.    October is the rainest month in Bali. It’s rained the first two days of the month thus far.

As we’ve mentioned many times in past posts, we don’t spend more than 30 minutes a day in direct sunlight, sufficient for a good dose of vitamin D while providing enough of a tan base to protect us while walking on the beach and in the neighborhood. 

Neither of us uses sunscreen which we consider to be a toxic slurry of chemicals we’d prefer to avoid. This is not possible for everyone, especially children, who are too young to know about excessive sun exposure.

With a massive gust of wind, we heard an enormous bang from the neighboring window.

While we’re in the pool, we both wear baseball caps and sunglasses, keeping our bodies under the water from the neck. No sunburns are found here! The sun in Bali, so close to the equator, is unbearably hot likely to burn most within 20 to 30 minutes. At our recent resort stay, we noticed many tourists with painful sunburns.

During our recent stay in the resort, we noticed a lot of tourists with painful sunstrokes. 

Close-up of the fallen glass on the second floor porch.

Having been away from people for so long and not using my voice as frequently as I may have in the past and on cruises, I can only read aloud for about 40 minutes when my voice begins to sound hoarse. I guess the voice is comparable with any other part of the body, use it or lose it.

After putting down my phone (the book is on the Kindle app), we often chat about the book we’re reading, future travels and many other topics with our eyes peeled on the beach for possible sightings of interest.

Tom’s picture when he went around to see what happened during the high winds.

Yesterday, our first full day back from Lovina, we found ourselves entrenched in this familiar and highly pleasurable routine when suddenly the sky went dark with ominous looking clouds with excessively high winds whipping through the area. 

In a matter of seconds, we jumped up to head indoors, hearing an ear splitting crash of glass and metal in Egon’s house next door. Apparently, as shown in today’s photos, the wind was so powerful it broke one of the massive safety glass walls of the upper level veranda with the heavy duty glass crashing to the ground.

We have an identical glass wall in the second floor veranda of this villa as well. Only minutes earlier we’d been lounging on the verandas where this glass would have fallen had it occurred in this house.  Whew! Safari luck prevails, once again.

This photo illustrates how the blown out thick glass enclosure left an opening where the blinds were blowing in the now open space of the veranda.

Luckily, none of the staff at Egon’s villa was injured when the glass wall shattered to the ground.  Tom, anxious to take photos of the incident, grabbed the camera and hurried next door to take today’s shots while I stayed indoors at our villa under cover of safety. 

I was worried that he was outdoors during the storm anxiously awaiting his return to our villa. With what felt comparable to 60 mph winds almost blowing me over when I was outdoors, Tom took the photos and quickly returned thrilled he’d been able to see what had transpired beyond the vegetation blocking the view from our veranda.

Finally, we were both safely indoors while Tom immediately closed the wall of glass doors on the main floor while we hunkered down in the master bedroom where we could easily continue to watch what was happening outdoors.

The falling glass was scattered about the patio floor below.  Once the storm danger had passed, the staff went to work cleaning it up.

The rain didn’t fall violently as we’d expected. In a short time, the worst of the storm had passed, leaving a steady stream of rain in its wake. We remained indoors the remainder of the day and evening. Today, it is raining again.

After another fabulous dinner prepared by the two Ketut’s we meandered into the living room for the evening.

Gede had replaced the flat screen TV that was destroyed by the flood after the hot water heater’s broken pipe (located on the roof) a few days before we left for Lovina. 

Not surprisingly, again we had a working TV and sound system we could use with our HDMI cord to watch both Marco Polo and Narcos on Netflix. Great shows, by the way! Recently, Netflix had become available for international use. We jumped all over it signing up for the first month’s free service to see if we’d like it. Most likely, we’ll continue to service after the trial ends.

The blinds blew from the open space during the high winds.

We’re still using Graboid for recently aired series, although the signal in Bali is too weak to download a single episode. With these two services, we can watch most TV series and movies broadcast in the US and the UK. The combined cost for both of these services will be IDR 390,495, US $30 which is almost eight times less than what we paid for premium cable (and internet) in the US.  No complaining here.

Today, we’re on our own with the staff off for the day. As much as we enjoy quiet Sundays to ourselves, we never mind the presence of the staff who are with us only part of each of the remaining six days a week. Neither of us cares to eat breakfast or lunch, except when on cruises or at resorts, there’s no necessity for them to hang around the villa.

They arrive in the morning, prep for the evening’s meal, clean the villa and take an afternoon break returning by 4:00 pm to prepare dinner. Ribud, our kindly landscaping and pool guy, arrives each morning at 8:00 am, prepares our chaise lounges with fresh towels, cleans the cabana and veranda, cleans the beach in front of the villas and works on the pool and grounds. 

Tom quickly returned to our villa for safety during the storm.

He then stays next door through the remainder of the day, rushing over here in the event of rain to bring in the chaise cushions and towels indoors. If we need him for anything, he’s here in a flash. 

Gede pops in and out every few days to see if there’s anything he can provide. It’s a perfect scenario ensuring our privacy and fulfilling any desires we may have. We continue to be impressed with the attention to detail and their infinite care. We ask for very little but are given a lot.

We hope your day fulfills your needs.

Photo from one year ago, October 2, 2015:

One year ago today we posted this favorite photo we’d taken in Fiji. Look at those cute pink ears! We did our own squealing with delight seeing this little white pig. For more details, please click here.