Day #206 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Auto email issues resolved!…Romantic Lion Couple…Rated “R”…

It was a perfect morning. The Romantic Lion Couple in the Maasai Mara in 2013 appeared casual and at ease under the shade of this tree. But, the air was filled with emotional tension.

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The female lion occasionally opened an eye, checking out his next move.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013 while on safari, staying at Camp Olonana in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. For more on this date, please click here.

We’ll never forget the day we aptly named the Romantic Lion Couple while on safari in the Maasai Mara of the mating lion couple. When our guide, Anderson, spotted this female and male lion lounging under a tree at a distance through his high-powered binoculars, he knew exactly what was going on and drove like a “bat out of hell” to get there in time for us to watch the rarely seen event.

“She likes me. She likes me!” He looked at us as if seeking approval to move along.

We all waited patiently for an hour to get today’s repeated photos. It was amazing to see the cycle of life with these two majestic animals getting along so well, when often they are at odds with each other, often over food. Generally, in the wild, female lions hunt, and nearby male lions steal their food.

Was this a precursor to women notoriously being the cooks and men eating the food we shopped for and cooked? Of course, in today’s world, that has changed dramatically, for the better with men often cooking, and from what we understand becomes more and more prevalent in these times of more equality.

Although he appeared relaxed, he was well aware of the task at hand, politely awaiting the perfect opportunity.

Right, now on day #206 in lockdown, while longing to do our cooking, I’d be thrilled to cook a meal while Tom sat by and watched. He can steal my food anytime! But, for us, when preparing meals, he helps with the prep and does all the dishes. I love this arrangement and can’t wait for it to begin once again.

In the interim, I’m still working on the revisions on our almost 3000 past posts, one by one. Most days, I can complete one page of 20 posts out of a total of 150 pages. I am only on page 34 with 116 more pages left to do.

“I think it’s time to get this show on the road!”

Now that all five of the extended 2000 word posts are done, I can focus on the corrections to complete one page of 20 per day. At this rate, it will take approximately four more months for me to complete the task. A part of it has been enjoyable, rereading every post we’ve done while I search for errors to correct.

 We are actively engaged in mating before our eyes.

By no means is this an assurance that I didn’t miss some of the errors? But, it’s certainly a lot better than it was in the old Blogger format I was using instead of WordPress, which allows for proper line spacing and font construction. Also, I am correcting all the double spacing after a period for each sentence.

Afterward, he moved back to the tree in his usual spot, perhaps contemplating his next move.

During these past eight years, the use of double-spacing after a period has long been defined as unnecessary. Initially, this double spacing was established as necessary when typing on a typewriter. Old-timer that I am, I learned that old habit and didn’t start changing it until recently. I have no doubt. I am missing some of the corrections in this regard when editing each of the 3000 posts.

It takes about eight minutes of editing time per post resulting in almost three hours each day, beyond the time it takes to do the daily post plus stopping every ½ hour from walking in the corridors. These tasks keep me busy most of the day. What else do I have to do while in this hotel room? When I am done, I’ll be relieved and grateful I took the time for this daunting task.


May you have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 15, 2019:

We encountered the view of the Wye River in Wales on a drive in the area. For more photos, please click here.

Hello Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii!…An unexpected outing!…New photo of us in Hilo…

Here we are at Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo. Sam, our overly friendly taxi driver, took the photo.

It was tempting to get off the ship to go see the two houses we rented on the Big Island for the holidays with our family. But, we’ve decided to wait in order to be surprised.

The scenery along the shores of Hawaii is lovely.

The pier in Hilo is located in a highly industrial area and we’d have had to walk for miles to get to any points of interest. 

As we entered the Port of Hilo, Hawaii.

Also, we’ll be back on the Big Island for six weeks in less than two months, saving sightseeing to do with our family members when they start arriving on December 6th.

The last time we went to a Walmart, a store we never visited in our old lives, was in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico on January 6, 2013, when we got off the ship, the Celebrity Century, to purchase our first camera. Here’s Tom in front of the Hilo, Hawaii Walmart. See below as to how we ended up at this store, an entirely unplanned outing.

However, we decided to take the free shuttle into downtown Hilo. Well, of all things, we accidentally got on the bus going to Walmart! We couldn’t have laughed harder. 

Leis for sale in a refrigerated case at the Walmart store.

After spending $126 in Walmart, we weren’t laughing quite as hard. We purchased nuts, a couple of shirts, self tanning cream, shampoo, toothpaste and a few odds and ends.

Our ship is behind the Pacific Princess in the foreground.

Tom got “overly grumpy” when we had to buy a cloth bag to carry our purchases since Walmart in Hawaii doesn’t use plastic bags. I couldn’t have been more thrilled with their concern for the environment. 

Near the Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo.

After we made our purchases, we found our way to the waiting area for the free shuttle to return us and others to the ship. The expected wait time was 15 minutes at most. 

At the Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo.

As we waited while sitting on a bench, a friendly-looking taxi driver asked if we wanted a ride back to the pier.  Did we have food stuck in our teeth proving we were passengers of the latest cruise ship to arrive in Hilo?

I asked Sam, “How much?” 

Sam answered, “$12.”

I answered, “Na, too much!”

Sam answered, looking at the camera hanging from my shoulder, “How about $10 with a stop at a gorgeous site to take photos?”

The park was lovely.

We couldn’t have jumped up quicker, taking Sam up on his kindly offer. As soon as we got into his air-conditioned minivan, we all engaged in animated chatter as Sam drove us to the Liliuokalani Gardens, an exquisite park on the way back to the ship.

Oddly, Sam told us he lives on “Lyman Ave” in Hilo, pulling out his driver’s license to show us. Serendipity.  We’re hardly wanted to say goodbye to Sam after an outrageously fun time with him during the drive and at the gorgeous park. Its funny how the least expected situations turn into the most fun of all. 

An enchanting footbridge in the gardens.

Over the extended periods we’ll spend on each of three of the four islands we’ll have plenty of time to see everything that appeals to us. No paid excursion would have been more fun than our time with Sam.

As for Hilo, we searched for a bit of general information on the Hawaiian Islands and found the following. As time goes on, we’ll acquire knowledge that we’ll share with our readers as opposed to quoting other web sites. 

For now, we’re Hawaiian newbies and we prefer to be careful of that which we write until we become more knowledgeable over the next many months:

“The Hawaiian Islands (Hawaiian: Mokupuni o Hawai‘i) are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and undersea seamounts in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) from the island of Hawaiʻi in the south to northernmost Kure Atoll. Formerly the group was known to Europeans and Americans as the “Sandwich Islands“, a name chosen by James Cook in honor of the then First Lord of the Admiralty John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. The contemporary name is derived from the name of the main island, Hawaii Island, as a pars pro toto.
The US state of Hawaii occupies the archipelago almost in its entirety (including the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands), with the sole exception of Midway island, which is instead an unincorporated territory within the United States Minor Outlying Islands.
The Hawaiian Islands are the exposed peaks of a great undersea mountain range known as the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain, formed by volcanic activity over a hotspot in the Earth’s mantle. The islands are about 1,860 miles (3,000 km) from the nearest continent.

In these short few days in Hawaii, it’s odd for us to grasp that Hawaii is a part of the US, other than for its abundance of US products, services and of course, its economy. It appears comparable to other many other resorts/vacation/holiday island we’ve visited in other parts of the world.
 

Of course, we enjoy the easy availability of products and services from which we’ve been far removed for much of the past two years. Seeing the familiar products, chain restaurants, markets, and hotels is both refreshing and disappointing when we’ve found great pleasure is being detached from all the hype.
 
We’ll have ample time in the future to once again feel removed from the hustle and bustle of life in the US when again we take off for more remote locations in not too distant future.  
 
In the interim, we’ll enjoy every aspect of living in Hawaii, experiencing each of these  islands, each with its own unique persona. From what we saw on Tuesday in Honolulu, the prices may not be any higher than we experienced in the past locations.

With only five days and four nights until we disembark the ship, we have that wonderful feeling of not being disappointed that the cruise is ending, knowing that which lays ahead will be equally enjoyable.

                                          Photo from one year ago today, October 2, 2013:
 
None of our photos were posted on this date. However, we did post a story about “worrying” we loved to share with our readers who may have missed it. Please click here for details.

Hawaiian Islands, here we come…

Sunset from the Sky Lounge through the window glass.

By the time this post appears, we’ll be only hours away from a noon arrival to the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands.

We chose this cruise as a means of transportation for us to get to Hawaii rather than flying. Why not have a place to live with meals prepared, entertainment, and every amenities at our fingertips? Add the opportunity to
meet many wonderful people and it sure beats the commotion at the airport.

Another sunset from our balcony.

As a result of that reality, we don’t feel compelled to do what other passengers may be choosing to do with their time, trying to “pack it all in” on a once or twice a year (or more for many) vacation/holiday.

By the time we arrive at our final destination at our vacation home in Waikiki Beach on October 5th, it will have been 35 days since departing Harwich, UK to board Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas and nine days later on Celebrity’s Solstice (which we’re on now). Of those 35 days, we’ll have spent 26 days at sea, 3 days in Boston, and 6 days in Vancouver.

We love the easy life of cruising, the ability to choose to do exactly that which appeals to us in a time frame we find pleasing. Although we’ve stayed busy most days, we’ve also enjoyed quiet time relaxing, visiting with other guests and each other.

Lounges in the Sky Lounge for a catnap, if needed.  We don’t ever lay down or nap during the day. It’s a nice thought, just not for us.

Yes, the seas have been rough but, it’s finally settled down and we barely feel the movement of the ship. Yes, we’ve had constant WiFi issues using the ship’s poor signal but later today, we’ll be able to use our MiFi for
a clear signal for the bulk of the remaining days on the ship. 


Yes, we would have liked to sit by the pool but, when people grab all the chairs by 9:00 am which we’d rather not do, we figured we’ll have plenty of time to sun and fun soon enough. 

Over the remaining six days of the cruise, most passengers will be partaking in ship sponsored excursions.  Since we’ll have rental cars on Maui, Big Island, and Kauai, we’ve decided not to go on the excursions when we
can create our own road trips over the many months on the islands.

The Sky Lounge is located on the 14th deck at the bow of the ship, an ideal quiet spot for us while posting. We’ve attended a few parties in this area.

We’ve already booked an almost all-day private tour to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Oahu on October 13th
and surely others will follow. Oahu, a short 11-day stay is the only island where we won’t need a rental car with easy access to most venues and handy bus service outside our door.

That’s not to imply that we haven’t enjoyed many ship organized tours. We have immensely. They’re usually well planned, safe, and comprehensive. At times, the prices are reasonable. But, the 60-people-on-a-bus thing just doesn’t appeal to us. 

An art auction transpired in the Sky Lounge. Tom’s thrilled that we don’t own any walls” and can’t buy art on cruise ships.

As a result, we’ve resorted to smaller group tours of the same ship offered sites, often at a lower cost making the small group tours a no-brainer for us.

Over the next several days while most passengers are off the ship on excursions, we’ll be able to find chairs by the pool, relaxing at our leisure, knowing that our upcoming over seven months in Hawaii (10/5/2014 to 5/24/2015) will provide us with sufficient time to do everything we’d like to do, documenting every step along the way.
A photo of a painting at the art auction.
However, we will venture off the ship on our own into the various ports of call for exploration and photo-taking, all of which we’ll share with our readers over the next several days.


We’ll be back tomorrow morning with not only a better signal but, also some photos we’ll have taken of Honolulu, our first port of call in the islands, where ultimately, we’ll return to disembark on October
5th.


Stay tuned, dear loyal readers, it’s going to get exciting and colorful from here on!

                                        Photo from one year ago today, September 29, 2013:

A year ago, out to dinner in Diani Beach, Kenya. For details from that date, please click here.

Day 2, Boston…A thoughtful gesture from the hotel…Tom’s new laptop…Mini shopping spree!…Sad memories…

The generous gift sent to our hotel room by management of Four Points by Sheraton Norwood.

We apologize for the lack of photos today.  Many photos will be posted tomorrow.  Yesterday’s required shopping left me needing my hands free and thus, no additional photos. 

Yesterday morning, after meeting Kelli Boyer in catering at Four Points by Sheraton Norwood as she hosted morning coffee in the lobby we engaged in a delightful conversation. I felt as if I’d known her for a long time.

Later in the day after returning to our hotel room after a much needed and enjoyed shopping trip with Cousin Phyllis, I was pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful platter in our room containing fruit and cheese accompanied by a full bottle of Pinot Noir and Pellegrino. 

As a gift from Kelli and the hotel management, we couldn’t have felt more appreciative of the kind gesture. It’s always the little things in life that leave us feeling warm and fuzzy, often, the most simple gestures, with the most heartfelt of intentions.

Yesterday morning at 10 am we arrived at Costco in Dedham, MA, purchased a new membership when the old membership had expired long ago. Immediately, we dashed to the laptop department and were disappointed to find that they didn’t carry Acer laptops.

The options were few when Tom wanted to replace his cracked screen laptop with one with one terabyte with a lighted keyboard and Windows 8.1. With screams of protest by millions of Windows 8 users worldwide, Microsoft has reduced the installations of Windows 8 or 8.1 worldwide on new computers.

With no laptops in stock meeting his criteria, he had no choice but to purchase the HP display model. Neither of us have ever been motivated to buy a floor model of any product fearing, as most do, it would be inferior in some manner.

In this case, with little time or motivation to shop further, he decided to make the purchase for US $100 less than the already reduced US $599. After tech support worked on it for a while to bring it back to its factory settings, we perused the huge store, in awe of everything we saw. 

We felt like kids in a candy store on visual overload. With no room for additional weight or space in our luggage we only purchased a pack of four much-needed battery-powered toothbrushes, a shaver, and blades package for me that should last a year at US $29. (We can’t believe the cost of razor blades these days).

With women’s razor blades in short supply outside the US, as we moved from location to location I’ve had no choice but to purchased packages with a new shaver and one extra blade at grocery stores outside the US. It was impossible to ever find replacement blades for any of the razors I’ve purchased having to buy new razors every few months. Very confusing. 

After the US $585 purchase at Costco, we headed back to our hotel to drop off Tom and our purchases. He had no interest in shopping with Phyllis and I. She arrived at noon to pick me up for a shopping trip and lunch. 

The prior evening she had insisted on taking our laundry to her favorite laundress to have it washed, dried and folded. The bag was so heavy Tom carried it out to her car. 

When she arrived the next morning, the laundry was done at a meager cost of only US $23! We’d spent US $34 washing and drying a mere two loads in London while we sat and waited for almost two hours.  We were grateful Phyllis helped us. There’s simply not enough time in Boston to sit in a Laundromat.

As mentioned earlier I needed to purchase bras at Victoria’s Secret, a few lightweight cardigan type sweaters at Phyllis’s favorite outlet store, and toiletries from a Walgreen’s store. Three new bras later at US $148 (no photos necessary), two cardigans, and a shirt later, we headed to lunch. 

By 4:30 we were back at our hotel room where we saw the beautiful fruit, cheese, wine, and water tray sent by management as appreciation for our mention and quasi review in yesterday’s post.

Never having expectations of any type for posting excellent comments about venues, we were shocked and pleased. We nibbled on what we could sending Phyllis home with the remainder. 

Last night, exhausted from not enough sleep due to the many time changes over the last week sailing across the ocean, we had a casual mediocre dinner at Outback, returning to our hotel by 9 pm.

Today, we’ll pick up Phyllis at her home in Stoughton in time for me to help her with a few computer issues.  Then, we off to pick up Uncle Bernie so we can all head to the cemetery of our beloved family.

Of course, it’s raining.  It rained the day was Father was buried in October 1960. Regardless of the weather, we’re going. If we stood outside in the rain for 90 minutes in Versailles, France, we can stand in the rain at my Father and other family member’s gravesites.

With little time for taking photos in this past almost 48 hours in Boston, we wrap up this short post today. In less than one hour, we’re out the door once more.

Tomorrow, we’ll post the story of my Father’s tragic death with photos. It will be an emotional experience for me and for Tom, an experience of information gathering to enter into Ancestry.com. 

Perhaps today, the visit with 95-year-old Uncle Bernie may fill in some of the blank in my family history that has been impossible to find. Oddly, he has more of a passion for family history than I. Some love researching their family history and others are ambivalent about it.

I guess in generations to come, our family need only read this blog to discover more information than they’d ever want or need. Ah, would that any of us could read about our grandparent’s lives and world travels in the 1920s.

See you tomorrow, albeit with red-rimed eyes and a lump in my throat as my long-ago past is quickly brought into the forefront surely eliciting a sense of sorrow and loss, hopefully ending in a sense of discovery and peace.

                                        Photo from one year ago today, September 16, 2013:

We weren’t sure if this was a monkey or baboon in the window of the thatched roof of a neighboring house in Kenya, where we lived for three months, one year ago. For details of that date, please click here.

Moving around has a double meaning…A year ago…Inside of the 300-year-old stone house in Boveglio, Italy…

The sky changes minute by minute with the strong winds coming in from the sea.

The walk up the steep hill outside of our house is excruciating. Each time I go it’s a little easier, making it further. Yesterday, I traveled the furthest.

This new discovery from yesterday baffles me.  Any comments?

After sitting so much while in Morocco I’m working hard to get back into shape. Although we walked a lot while in Marrakech, it was never enough when the remainder of the time we were sitting doing no cooking, household tasks, or laundry.

The vine-covered wall across from our house on the steep road.

Now busy doing everything for ourselves, I find myself feeling lighter on the feet and energized. For me, it illustrates that moving around frequently has therapeutic benefits that seniors (and younger) definitely need when it’s easy to get lost in a book or online as the hours whiz past us.

This white cat hangs out by the “snack bar” at the top of the hill.

Without a doubt, I’m deriving the most benefit from the steep walk on the road not only from a physical perspective, but also from the beauty I discover along the way. I happily take photos on the way down to avoid disturbing the beneficial flow of endorphins on the painful way up.

The season for roses is nearing its end.

From what I can tell, this neighborhood is mostly occupied by over 40’s working people. There are few children. A few of the homes are owned, managed, and maintained by Gina and her family as vacation rentals most of which are occasionally rented for one week or two, seldom longer as Gina explained. We are the rare exception, staying for two and a half months.

Are these red lilies? The flower season is soon ending from what appears on the walks.

When I walk up and down the road, I walk past several locals, mostly men, working on houses along the way, some being remodeled, others being maintained. There are a few garages where cabinets and woodworking is occurring, a seeming common occupation of the local men, not so much the women.

Judite, our cleaning person, told me this morning that this is “pera abacata” which translates to avocado.

The only time I see women is when an older woman wearing a conservative flower printed dress and a headscarf also walking on the road carrying something from here to there. They look at me more out of curiosity than as a result of my invasion into their neighborhood. I always smile. They don’t always smile back but, from the glimmer in their eyes, I feel they mean to.

Not a clue.

The garbage truck guys always wave and smile as do the other small service truck drivers seeing to the needs of the area. As I walk past the little “snack bar” which is actually a bar serving alcohol during the day and night, there are always two or three guys standing outside, throwing some comments my way.

These must be bleeding hearts. 

I have no idea what they’re saying. I smile while continuing the trek up the hill, never turning my head to look.  Good grief, I’m not delusional enough to assume they’re flirting with me. After all, I’m too old to assume that.  For whatever reasons, they always look and comment which I take in my stride staying determined to stay focused on my mission…getting up the darned hill!

These blue, sometimes purple flowers grow wild in Madeira.

Overall, the people of Madeira are friendly. But, the language barrier always prevents one from determining as to their degree of friendliness. Nothing will ever compare to the people in South Africa with whom one can become close friends in a single night in the bar or over food.  We did our share.  We miss those people.

Grapes growing in a private garden.

After the walk each day, which takes only 25 minutes round trip and feeds into my passion for HIIT (high-intensity interval training), I feel energized and refreshed. 

These appear to be hydrangeas.

Once we leave here on July 31st, we’ll be staying in hotels with health clubs for a month so I can return to my former routine. Then, we’re on to two cruises with workout rooms for another month. When we live on the four islands in Hawaii there are workout rooms at the condos.  

Variations in color of the greenery.

I can’t explain how excited I am to return to the fitness routine that I’ve dearly missed over the past year, instead, doing makeshift at-home exercises with which I have trouble disciplining myself. Sound familiar?

Tom thinks this is a water tank atop this roof.

Five years older than Tom, I realize that staying strong and fit will determine how long we can continue to travel. That motivation alone drives me on, knowing that we still have so much more world to see. As much as we’ve done over the past year and a half, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Poppies growing in a pile of vines and rubble.

Speaking of icebergs, we’ll be in Iceland in less than three months hoping to see the Northern Lights. Gosh, I’d better keep walking up that hill with vigor. There’s so much ahead of us.

By the way, we managed to stop the produce guy a few minutes ago, buying two full shopping bags of fresh produce. Need I say that we’re thrilled?
_______________________________

Photo from one year ago today, June 19, 2013:

This was the larger of two bathrooms in our 300-year-old stone house in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy. Although we had many modern conveniences, the old house required adjusting to with its many steep steps and uneven halls and walkways which was definitely not appropriate for anyone who wasn’t surefooted. We paid special attention each time we walked from one room to another due to the uneven steps in doorways. For details of the date, please click here.