|This is a Pangolin, one of the most elusive animals on the planet, seen by very few. Perhaps, someday when we return to Africa, we’ll have a chance to see one. These animals are poached for their scales believed by certain cultures in Asia to have medicinal properties which, after intense scientific research, do not provide any benefit to health. And yet poachers kill these interesting animals in the anteater family for-profits compared to the senseless slaughter of rhinos and elephants for their tusks. It’s heartbreaking. Soon, they, too, will become extinct.|
When we first began planning our worldwide travels, we flinched over the cost of rental cars with all of the pumped-up fees, charges, and taxes. At the time, we anticipated it would feel weird not owning a car. Now, it’s second nature.
|The Dodo bird, extinct for over 350 years. Sadly, what’s next?|
The points we consider for each specific location, each time we book a rental car are simple:
1. Is taxi fare reasonably priced and is it readily available making renting a car unneccesary?
2. Will we feel trapped in a remote location without a car?
3. Are there many places we’d like to visit in a specific area making a rental car worthwhile?
4. Is the car large enough to fit our four suitcases, one duffel bag, one rolling cart, one laptop bag, and handbag?
5. How safe is driving (in regard to crime, not road conditions) in a specific country?
|This is the largest seed in the world from Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.|
For example, in Kenya, was safer to travel in affordable taxis than it was to drive on our own with the high rate of carjacking and theft, than in many other parts of the world.
|We saw live insects of this size while in Africa.|
In Belize, we used taxis. On an occasion, we rented a golf cart for a week, taking taxis the remainder of the time. The cost of a rental car for 30 days was more than US $3000,1809 pounds per month. The cost of a taxi to a grocery store or restaurant was US $5, 3 pounds each way. It was a no brainer for the two and a half months we spent in Placencia.
|Over 100 scientists work full time at London’s Natural History Museum.|
In Morocco, we could walk to most locations. The grocery shopping and cooking were done by Madame Zahra (I think of her often) and the few times we dined outside of the Medina and the souks, the cab fare was fairly reasonable. Also, there was no available parking where we lived in the souk.
|A scientist at work in the research area of the museum. What a fascinating field.|
In the remote Tuscan location of Boveglio, Italy we had no choice but to rent a car for the two and a half months we spent in the mountains.
|In the Charles Darwin wing of the Natural History Museum, there were many interesting displays of insects, butterflies, and small creatures.|
In South Africa, we had a rental car for a month, with Okee Dokee driving us everywhere for the remaining two months. No rental car could possibly replace the pleasure and laughter of riding with her day after day.
|Photos through the glass are less vivid.|
In that particular case, we chose to forgo the rental car simply since we loved being with Okee Dokee, constantly laughing as we bounced around on the bumpy roads in Marloth Park. It was an emotional decision when none of the above points fell into play.
After many car rental experiences, we’d yet to book rental cars for three of the four islands on which we’ll be living in Hawaii over a total period of seven months.
|This is an actual bee and its size as shown.|
Excluding the necessity of a car in Waikiki (Honolulu) for the first 11 days when everything is within walking distance, we knew we’d need cars in Maui for six weeks, the Big Island for six-plus weeks, and Kauai for four months.
|Insect displays in the Charles Darwin research area of the museum.|
Having budgeted for each of the three islands where we’ll need a rental car, both of us were worried that the actual cost would far exceed the amounts we budgeted. Yesterday, we finalized the bookings for each of the three islands, expecting the cost to average at approximately US $2000, 1206 pounds a month.
Hawaii is often considered one of the most expensive places to visit in the world when everything other than the fruits and nuts grown in the islands, must be imported as is the case on other islands throughout the world.
After reviewing many online sites for the best rates in Hawaii (which we’d browsed many times over the past few years), we were able to confirm rates for each of the islands as follows:
6 weeks Maui US $1,124, 678 pounds (economy car)
6 weeks Big Island US $1,526, 920 pounds (full-sized car)
17 weeks Kauai US $2,886, 1741 pounds (economy car)
Grand total – US $5,536, 3339 pounds
(over a period of 120 days at the US $46, 28 pounds, per day).
|There were numerous paintings of animals from artists throughout the world.|
We’re thrilled with these prices, expecting to spend thousands more, and relieved to have this piece out of the way at long last. Our flights between the four islands are the only items we’ve yet to book for Hawaii. With frequent flights between islands each day, we can easily wait to book the flights a month before departure in each case.
|Had it been 10 months from now, when we’ll be in Australia, we’d already have seen kangaroos! We can hardly wait!|
As soon as we upload today’s post, we’ll be heading out for our final trip to Bobo’s Bubbles to do the laundry. It will be a full two weeks until we can do our laundry again in Boston. In Madeira, I purchased what appears to be a bar of soap which in fact is a bar of laundry soap, used for handwashing. Surely, that will come in handy on the two cruises in September.
|In 10 months when we’ll be in Australia, we hope to see koala bears.|
Last night, we returned to Byron, a burger restaurant we’ve found to be good with reasonable portions. Although it was over US $50, 30 pounds for a burger and fries for Tom and a salad for me, the salad portion is ample leaving me feeling as if I’ve actually had a meal.
|This is a Genet which we saw in South Africa in the bush.|
When we see the price for a burger and fries is US $25, 15 pound, and a Cobb salad is also at US $25, 15 pounds, one can easily understand why we’re “chomping at the bit” to get on board the cruise and dine at our leisure without the added expense of having eaten out every meal for a month.
|The fossils from prehistoric times were interesting. But, we expected these as shown above were also manmade.|
It’s hard to believe we’re only two days from sail day. In many ways, it seems as if those past eight cruises were so long ago when the last cruise ended on June 16, 2013. Here we go, another transatlantic crossing. How exciting!
|In a way, it left us cold, seeing the manmade animals when we’d seen so many in the wild.|
Have a lovely weekend as summer winds down in the northern hemisphere and winter winds crank up in the southern hemisphere.
|The museum itself was worthy of note in its exquisite design.|
Photo from one year ago today, August 29, 2013:
As we busied ourselves getting ready to depart for Kenya and with ongoing WiFi issues in Boveglio Italy, we didn’t post on this date. However, we did a post on the following date. Please check back tomorrow.