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Island Life

    Island Life

    My Favorite Islands Around the World

    Just Call Me Island Girl

    Enjoying my time on Maui I’ve been thinking about all the island’s I have been blessed to visit. It’s a long list. My favorite islands around the world are usually remote and small. But I have also loved some larger, populated and sometimes touristy islands. We are doubtful we will travel international in 2021, but as soon as we can we will be heading to some of the world’s best islands. So many islands, so little time.

    Langkawi Malaysia
    Langkawi Malaysia

    Our sudden disruption to our 2020 Grand Adventure last spring due to the virus, eliminated our visit to many islands we have long desired to see; Malta, Guernsey, Jersey and the archipelogos of Finland. We spent seven unexpected weeks on the beautiful island of Cyprus, but in total lockdown and so nothing more than our tiny neighborhood in the village of Argaka. So each of these islands remain on our to visit list.

    Maui
    Maui

    Over the past five weeks we have been living on the island of Maui, and have just extended our stay another four weeks. So in 2020 we spent six weeks on Mauritius, seven weeks on Cyprus and will have a total of nine weeks on Maui. A total of 22 weeks on islands in 2020. It’s one of the few good things about 2020.

    Prince Edward Island Canada
    Prince Edward Island Canada

    So in today’s blog I thought I would share some of my favorite islands around the world, and a brief description of why they make my fav list. There are several other islands we have visited I don’t mention here…I had to narrow it down. But if you have ever considered traveling to any of these – here are my recommendations;

    Langkawi Malaysia

    • Visited in October 2019 for 26 days
    • Average Temperature 84 F
    • 25 miles long by 12 miles wide
    • Population 65,000
    • Best time to visit November -February
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • Quiet and super inexpensive. Beautiful, clean beaches, lots of restaurants and great sunsets. Grocery accessibility is average. Very friendly people.
    • Don’t miss sunset at Cenang Beach
    • Learn more
    Langkawi Malaysia
    Langkawi Malaysia

    Praslin Seychelles

    • Visited in May 2017 for 33 days
    • What we wrote
    • Average temperature 80 F
    • 15 miles long and 7 miles wide
    • Population 7500
    • Best time to visit April, May, October, November
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • Very quiet but also expensive. Beaches are nice but having a car at least part of the time is a must if you need to shop. Groceries are very expensive and produce is difficult to get. The people are quiet but nice and it is just beautiful. Boats available to visit other islands.
    • Don’t miss swimming at Gold Beach Anse Volbert-Côte D’Or,
    • Learn more
    Seychelle Islands
    Praslin Seychelles

    Antiparos Greece

    • Visited in October 2018 for 21 days
    • What we wrote
    • Average temperature 70 F
    • Size 23 mi diameter
    • Population 1190
    • Best time to visit April to October
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • In October Antiparos was really quiet as the season ends in September. But we had exceptional weather. Some restaurants and businesses in the tiny town were closed for the season but we found everything we needed at reasonable prices. Ferries available to surrounding islands.
    • Don’t miss hiking out to Panagia beach
    • Learn more
    Antiparos Greece
    Antiparos Greece

    Huraa Maldives

    • Visited in February 2018 for 21 days
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 85 F
    • Size 1 mile by 0.5 mile
    • Population 550
    • Best time to visit November to April
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • By far the tiniest island we have been on, this very low lying Maldivian island is actually an atoll, made up of coral. The weather was incredible and we had the most relaxing three weeks of our life here. Best one day snorkeling of my life off of Huraa. Very little to do, and nearly no shopping. Note that there is no alcohol on this Muslim island!
    • Don’t miss snorkeling at Sand Island
    • Learn more
    Huraa Maldives
    Huraa Maldives

    South Island New Zealand

    • Visited in February 2017 for three weeks
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 55 F
    • Size 150 X 500 miles (12th largest island in the world)
    • Population 1.3 million
    • Best time to visit December to May
    • Where we stayed – we rented a caravan and traveled around
    • New Zealand is downright amazing. We loved both the North and South Island and we would really love to go back and visit again. This is not a laying in the sun island. Rather it is an island for all things recreational: hiking, walking, cycling, bird watching and more. Absolutely stunning. And ridiculously expensive.
    • Don’t miss hiking the Abel Tasman Trail
    • Learn more
    South Island New Zealand
    South Island New Zealand

    Mackinac Island, Michigan USA

    • Visited twice in the late 1990’s
    • Average Temperature 60 F
    • Size 2 x 3 mile
    • Population 500
    • Best time to visit May through September
    • Where we stayed Hotel
    • It’s been a long time since I visited magical Mackinac and I sure would love to go again. It is so unique, especially in the USA, to find a place with no motor vehicles. Both times I was there in the summer with beautiful weather. Renting bikes and riding around the island is a highlight.
    • Don’t miss a romantic horse drawn carriage ride
    • Learn more
    Mackinac Island Michigan
    Mackinac Island Michigan USA (photo from Canva)

    Maui Hawaii USA

    • Visited more times than I can count, and currently spending nine weeks here
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 80 F
    • Size 25 x 50 miles
    • Population 145,000
    • Best time to visit Year Around
    • Where we stayed Condo
    • I’m lucky to count myself as one who has visited every Hawaiian Island that isn’t privately owned, and hands down Maui is the best. It is expensive but beyond that everything about it is perfect – the weather, the water, the beach, the food, the activities and the fact for people who live on the west coast of the USA, it’s really easy to get to.
    • Don’t miss whale watching for humpback whales in the winter months
    • Learn more
    Maui Hawaii USA
    Maui Hawaii USA

    Lombok and Bali Indonesia

    • Visited in March and April 2018 – two weeks on Bali and one week on Lombok
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 80 F
    • Size Bali 40 x 90 miles Lombok 50 x 50 miles
    • Population Bali 4.2 million Lombok 3.1 million
    • Best time to visit May through September
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • We loved our time on both of these beautiful islands. Bali is very popular with tourists for its beauty, beaches and vibe. Lombok on the other hand is a unique, tiny and non-touristy island where we spent six glorious days doing nothing but laying in a hammock.
    • Don’t miss an authentic Balinese Cultural performance in Ubud
    • Learn more
    Lombok Indonesia
    Lombok Indonesia

    Zanzibar Tanzania

    • Visited in September 2009 for five days
    • Average Temperature 90 F
    • Size 20 x 50 miles
    • Population 1.3 million
    • Best time to visit June through December
    • Where we stayed Lodge
    • I visited Zanzibar with my sister after spending a week on a safari in mainland Tanzania. It remains one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It is also the second worst sunburn I have got. The white sand beaches are amazing. The people are quiet and kind. The seafood delicious.
    • Don’t miss a ride in an authentic Zanzibar Dhow Boat
    • Learn more
    Zanzibar Tanzania
    Zanzibar Tanzania

    Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island)

    • Visited in January 2015 for six days
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 75 F
    • Size 7 x 15 miles
    • Population 5761
    • Best time to visit April to June or October to December
    • Where we stayed Lodge
    • Definitely one of the most interesting places I have ever been. This tiny island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is difficult to get to and expensive but worth it. We loved our time here learning about the Moai and the history of Rapa Nui. I highly recommend.
    • Don’t miss touring with an authorized tour guide to understand the amazing statues and history of this island
    • Learn more
    Rapanui Easter Island Chile
    Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Chile

    Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka

    • Visited in January 2018 for three weeks
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 81 F
    • Size 120 x 250 miles
    • Population 21.44 million
    • Best time to visit December to March
    • Where we stayed Airbnb
    • We did a five day tour with a guide around the major sites of Sri Lanka seeing some of the most amazing things including the astonishing Sigiriya ancient mountain fortress. Then we kicked back for more than two weeks in a tiny hut on the beach in Hikkadua, which ended up being “interesting” but super fun and the weather and the beach were perfect. The Sri Lankan people are some of the kindest on the planet.
    • Don’t miss Sigiriya Fortress one of the most incredible things I have ever seen
    • Learn more
    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka Sri Lanka

    Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    • Visited in May 2010 for one week
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 75 F
    • Size 50 x 80 miles (Isla Isabela, the largest of the archipelago)
    • Population 25,000
    • Best time to visit January to June
    • Where we stayed – we were on a small 12 person cruise
    • My first dip into my bucket list was this trip to the Galapagos Islands to celebrate my 50th birthday. Living on a boat for five nights we saw many islands and the most amazing collection of wildlife and sea life. We loved every minute of it and although it’s expensive, we recommend it to anyone!
    • Don’t miss swimming with sea lions
    • Learn more
    Galapogos Islands
    Wildlife is abundant on the Galapagos Islands

    Singapore, Singapore

    • Visited in February 2018 for three days
    • What we wrote
    • Average Temperature 81 F
    • Size 721.5 km
    • Population 5.6 million
    • Best time to visit February through May
    • We only had a couple of days in Singapore, the teeny island city/state that is one of the most expensive places in the world. It is also one of the cleanest and most colorful, particularly at night. I hope to return.
    • Don’t miss the Singapore Gardens by the Bay at night and the amazing Singapore Botanic Garden
    • Learn more
    Singapore
    Singapore Singapore

    Nantucket Island, Massachusetts USA

    • Visited in April 2002
    • Average Temperature 55 F
    • Size 5 x 12 miles
    • Population 11,229
    • Best time to visit May through October
    • We only had a couple of day on Nantucket but we were traveling with our young children at the time and it was a great little place for a family vacation. We were there in spring before the hoard of tourists descend in the summer and it was peaceful and beautiful and historic.
    • Don’t miss a Clam Bake and riding bikes around the island
    • Learn more
    Nantucket Island
    Nantucket Island USA (Photo from Canva)

    Prince Edward Island, Canada

    • Visited in July 2007
    • Average Temperature 50 F
    • Size 30 x 100 miles
    • Population 157,000
    • Best time to visit July and August
    • We drove up to the Maritimes from Boston and enjoyed the drive as much as the islands. Prince Edward Island was still at that time very quiet and we enjoyed riding bikes, eating lobster and learning about history.
    • Don’t miss searching for sea glass at Souris Beaches
    • Learn more
    Prince Edward Island Canada
    Prince Edward Island Canada

    Honshu Japan

    • Visited in 1999 for five weeks
    • Average temperature – Honshu is a big island with multiple climates but Tokyo average summer high is 80 F
    • Size 150 x 500 miles
    • Population 104 million (2nd most populous island after Java Indonesia)
    • Best time to visit – March to May and September to November
    • We spent five weeks exploring the island of Honshu. Our kids were little and it was a magical time for us as a family. Japan is one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world. I hope to go back some day.
    • Don’t miss Tokyo, Hiroshima and Osaka
    • Learn more
    Japan
    Honshu Japan (photo from Canva)

    San Juan Island, Washington USA

    • I have visited these islands many times as they are in the backyard of where I grew up
    • Average Temperature 55 F
    • Size – there are nine islands in varying sizes. The two largest are Orcas and San Juan
    • Population 6900
    • Best time to visit – Summer months
    • We have traveled to nearly all of the islands over my lifetime growing up in the Pacific Northwest. The islands are a great place for family camping or romantic getaways. Hiking, cycling and kayaking are popular.
    • Don’t miss getting up close and personal with the famous J-Pod of Orca Whales on a whale watching tour.
    • Learn More
    San Juan Islands USA
    San Juan Islands Washington USA (photo from Canva)

    And that’s our list! We hope you have been inspired to find your own “island time” adventure. You might enjoy this article about The 26 Largest Islands Around the World.

    We thank you for reading and for sharing our blog! You might enjoy our post about our favorite things on each Hawaiian Island.

    Also check out our YouTube video about Take Out Food on Maui.

    See this week’s top performing pin here.

    Maldives
    Island Life

    Maui Now – Open For Business

    Maui Musings

    Location: Maui USA

    Hawaii has strict Covid 19 regulations. Educate yourself before planning a trip. Learn more here.

    Since international travel is out of the question at the moment, we have been working on a plan to continue our Grand Adventure without leaving the USA. Hawaii of course was at the top of our list and when they began welcoming guests again on October 15th, we were on one of the first planes to land that day. Maui now – open for business.

    Maui
    View from my lanai

    To Travel or Not to Travel

    I can’t answer this question for anyone but myself. Nor should you judge me for my personal decisions. We, as highly skilled and practiced world travelers don’t take travel or the virus lightly. We have spent a lot of time considering what and how our future will look and how travel will continue to be a part of it.

    Maui
    Quiet beaches in Kapalua

    Maui, and other places like it, where you can spend 16 or more hours a day outdoors, and easily social distance even if dining in a restaurant, is the kind of destination we are looking for. And since we have been to Maui so many times, it was easy for us to plan and execute a five week visit to a place we know well.

    Maui Now – Open for Business

    It’s like someone flipped a switch. The lights are on and Maui is back in business.

    We arrived on October 15th to our 86 unit condo to find only two other units occupied. The first few days or even weeks it was so quiet. Beaches were empty, resorts were closed, very few stores and restaurants were open. Four weeks later, more than half of the 86 units are occupied. Nearly all the resorts are open. This week marked the opening of several major restaurants and attractions. In the coming weeks even more attractions will come back on line as Maui prepares for holiday crowds. Maui Now – Open for Business.

    Maui
    Shops at Wailea working to reopen

    Lahaina and other shopping areas are starting to reopen with more than half the stores restocking and welcoming visitors. All the stores are being very diligent about staff and visitors wearing masks – a mask law is in effect throughout Maui County.

    Maui
    Old Town Lahaina was hard it by the closure

    But not everything survived the seven month closure. Like many places around the USA, restaurants and shops have closed permanently. It was just too much.

    Social Distancing Easy

    Maui
    Hiking with my hubby

    Is it safe? For me, I probably wouldn’t choose to go to a luau, but I have felt very safe at the handful of restaurants (all locally owned) that we have visited and sat outside. I have felt very safe getting take-out too. Again, for me I probably would not choose to do a group snorkel tour, although they are in full-swing. But I feel safe golfing with my husband, hiking on nearly deserted trails, and running every morning in my neighborhood. I feel safe at the beach where it’s easy to distance. We actually have avoided the collective BBQ at our condo, only using it twice in a month, in an effort to not stand around with other people we don’t know. We usually have the pool to ourselves when we go there, as most people go to the beach instead.

    Maui
    One of the few restaurants we have been to, Sam Sato

    Gathering with Friends

    Maui
    Strolling in Lahaina with our friends Steve and Dori

    Completely unplanned but fun nonetheless, we happened to be here at the same time as several friends from back home. I have felt safe spending time with them in small groups. Each of them had to be tested before arriving, and each of them are practicing the same safe distancing and mask wearing rules we are. So we socialized with a hand full of dear friends and it made our visit all the more special.

    A Real Vacation and Taking a Break

    Maui
    Chilling

    Being here for a month (with one more week to go) has felt like a real vacation for me. More relaxing than many of the places we travel. Taking a social media break was a wonderful cleanse and I really needed that. I’m so glad I was able to plan and schedule many blogs and book reviews before leaving home – leaving me time to just be present here in Maui.

    Maui
    Little discoveries on my daily run

    We have spent a lot of time in the sun, although I have made a conscious effort to be more careful with my tanning (hard for me as my skin is a sun sponge). We have been just active enough and just lazy enough and just social enough and just the two of us enough to make it exactly right. Just enough as we head back to rain and dark and upcoming stress back home – where the Covid numbers are surging.

    Where Do We Go From Here

    Maui
    Blow hole at Kapalua

    We continue to work hard to stay healthy but of course who knows what the future holds. If Covid has taught me anything it’s that I am not in control. In fact I just read a line in a book that I loved – “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” That’s a quote from Anxious People by Fredrick Bachman. And ain’t that the truth. Making plans you have no idea if you can keep is the new way of life in the time of Covid.

    Maui
    Maui morning

    So we head home November 20th and prepare to be with our family for the holidays, deal with some medical issues and prepare the house and ourselves once again for a departure. Mid January we head to Palm Desert where we plan to spend two months, Arizona for another month and Utah for a few weeks after that before heading back to Washington State in May.

    These are our plans…hahahaha.

    The Grand Adventure, a bit of a kink in the road, but it goes on.

    We love it when you pin and share our blog. Aloha.

    See this week’s top performing pin here.

    Read our post My Favorite Thing to do on Each Hawaiian Island

    Learn more about Covid rules for visiting Hawaii here.

    Island Life

    Maui Musings

    On Island Time

    Location: Kihei Maui USA

    Here we are. Day ten already, Maui Musings on Island Time. So blessed to be here and feel safe and healthy here. Realizing now how hard hit this place is economically. I’m glad we didn’t cancel and can contribute in a little way to bringing it back to life. Here is our story, day ten.

    Getting Here Wasn’t Easy

    We came so close to canceling so many times. We didn’t want to lose any more travel money, and we had made these reservations so long ago…back in the days of carefree travel and no pandemics.

    Maui
    Our view

    Neither myself or my husband had received our negative test by the time we boarded the plane. On arrival my negative test was in my inbox. Arne was still waiting. In fact he would wait another 12 hours until it arrived. So Hawaii told him to go into quarantine and stay put. When his tests arrived he immediately uploaded it to the Hawaii website per all the instructions but it would be another 36 hours before he received his official release from quarantine. My advice would be NOT to come unless you can get the rapid test because the red tape seems to be taking a long time. We talked to a woman today who has been waiting four days…and she is ignoring quarantine.

    By the way when Arne received the email that he was free to leave quarantine we ran down the stairs and jumped in the ocean. A perfect celebration.

    Where We Are

    We call it the Lund Condo, owned by Arne’s uncle, at the Kihei Surfside, as far south as you can go in Kihei at the Wailea entrance. We have been here many times over the past 23 years. It’s a remarkable place and we are blessed to have access to it. The view is unsurpassed. In fact the unit had some major work done to it last February, and then everything shut down. So we are the first guests to enjoy all the new and beautiful tile work.

    Maui
    Maui rocks

    Since we have been here so many times, we know the area well and it feels like home turf. We are very sad to see one of our favorite restaurants next door has permanently closed. I know there are more too that didn’t survive the shut down.

    Even though we have been here many times, we have never stayed as long as we will stay this time. It will really feel like home by the time we say Aloha in late November.

    What’s Open What’s Not

    Since we were one of the very first visitors to arrive on opening day, the first two days the island was so quiet. Our condo which has 85 units only had one other occupied unit. The beach was empty.

    Maui
    Pool to ourselves

    Ten days later the condo now has about a dozen occupied units but the beach and pool are still lightly populated. When walking around most people are wearing a mask, but not at the beach where it is very easy to distance. Everyone is masked up inside the stores. But if I’m being honest here, visitors are more resolute with mask wearing than locals…so far.

    Maui
    Empty beach

    The large and fancy resorts near us in Wailea are all closed, with opening dates in early November. There is a beehive of activity at these resorts as the staff prepares the grounds and insides for guests. There have been no guests since March.

    Maui
    Grand Wailea Resort still closed

    Small restaurants are open, but most of the large restaurants are still closed. The famous Mama’s Fish House is scheduled to open November 6th. Old Lahaina Luau is scheduled to open November 20th. Today for the first time we saw some snorkel tours heading out from the harbor next to our condo. Slowly, slowly things will come back to life.

    Our Approach

    We have not been to any restaurants. We went to the grocery store on our first day and stocked up and went again today on day ten. We have been cooking and eating clean and healthy and delicious.

    Maui
    Golfing

    We have been running and doing yoga on our own each day…very easy to distance. In the past I have taken yoga classes here but this time I will continue my own practice to be safe and solo.

    Maui
    Hiking

    We took a hike where we saw only three other people. We went golfing and it was easy to distance. So far, we have just done a lot of things quiet and easy. Beach time, pool too. All distanced. Feeling safe and healthy. In fact, it’s really not any different than home…well except the weather. That’s a lot different.

    Maui
    Eating healthy at home – Taco Salad

    Socializing

    We have several friends on the island, some from back home and some who are here permanently. We plan to get together with them, in pairs so to keep it easy to distance. We hope to invite several couples over to watch the sunset with us here at the Kihei Surfside. It’s a great place and makes a perfect evening with friends…distanced of course.

    Social Media Purge

    Over the past ten days I have had great success staying off social media…it’s actually easier than I thought it would be. I’ve checked in a couple of times, but not every five minutes per usual, and it feels good to just take a break. My blog posts will continue to post automatically and I will check in from time to time.

    Maui
    The Mug

    Meanwhile, time for a gin and tonic I think. A little Aloha and down time is just what the doctor ordered. Maui Musings, on island time. Wish you were here….

    Mahalo!

    Learn more about Hawaii’s reopening here.

    Did you see our blog on Travel Friday My Favorite Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest?

    Island Life

    Message From Cyprus Edition Seven

    Weather has been good, but I just can’t shake this melancholy feeling. I guess it’s just going to be part of the process that I will need to address every day, including in this message from Cyprus.

    In an effort to stay creative and productive, I thought I would do something fun this week and give you our message from Cyprus on video! One good thing is it forces me to make myself presentable (shower? what’s a shower?) and it forces me to speak in full sentences, different than the grunts and grumbles used to correspond with my spouse.

    So before you click on the link below to my weekly update – and we have some good news to share – let me just give you a quick rundown on the numbers;

    Today is day 50 in Cyprus and day 46 in Quarantine/Lockdown

    Current cases in Cyprus 819 with 14 deaths. Numbers are leveling out.

    WE HAVE SOME EXCITING NEWS TO SHARE! Check out our video here.

    See ya all soon – back in the good ole USA.

    We love it when you share our blog! xxoo

    Island Life

    Message From Cyprus Edition Six

    This Week’s News

    Message from Cyprus

    Location: Argaka Cyprus

    We are still here! Hope you all are hanging in there…I gotta say, it’s kind of weird, but it’s starting to not feel all that strange…like this is just my life now. Living on this island but not being able to see any of it.

    The Numbers

    Cyprus Covid-19 Cases 760 Deaths 13

    Day 41 on Cyprus. Day 37 in Quarantine/Lockdown

    The strange thing about these numbers above is my perception of them. For instance…it took us 41 days to walk the Camino Francis…that was 37 days of walking and 4 rest days. But THAT actually seemed longer than the time I have been here. Why?

    Additionally, we spent 42 days on the Island of Mauritius. And THAT seemed longer than the time I have been here. Why?

    Cyprus
    Argaka Beach

    I think it’s because there is no end date for me to look at here. It’s just a never ending carousel of days. Around and around we go…

    Cyprus News

    Today is Orthodox Easter, the biggest holiday of the year in Cyprus. I’m sorry we are not able to participate in this celebration. I understand it is a very special four days. Everything of course was canceled…or postponed until further notice. I posted a blog on Friday all about the way this holiday is celebrated in Cyprus. Please find it here.

    Even though virus cases have continued to grow, wide spread testing has been available and many people are getting tested, which of course is affecting the numbers. There are still infractions being issued for those who break the curfew or are out with out their “permission slip”. We have settled into life with only leaving the house once a day. Sometimes when we are out on our run, we will make a quick pit-stop at the mini market down the street if we need bread or eggs or gin! But I believe these restriction are helping Cyprus – while back home it sounds like much of the population are ignoring the rules, going to Home Depot, walking along Tacoma’s waterfront etc.

    Cyprus
    Getting to know the locals in Cyprus

    The President of Cyprus and cabinet announced this week a four step plan to reopen the economy in early May. But the plan begins with very minor lessening of the restrictions, and we do not yet know if it will include opening the airport or even give us an opportunity to get outside our village.

    Mostly Good News

    I’m happy to share that Airbnb came through for us and has issued us a full refund for our Jerusalem house. They have been redeemed in my eyes. We have three more Airbnb’s currently reserved; Finland and France in June and New York City in December. We will wait and see what’s next.

    The flight we had booked from Malta to Belgrade via Istanbul has been canceled…but they are giving us credit towards a future flight. Not helpful.

    We have also negotiated to continue to stay here at Lemon Grove Villa with a week by week extension at the same rate per day ($69 USD). We are happy about that. If we do need to leave at the spur of the moment they will also issue us a refund. So no complaints there. All of the flights we have seen leave the island, have happened with only 24 hours notice. So we need to be ready at a moments notice.

    4am on Zoom with my book club

    I have leaped past my “feeling sorry for myself” state-of-mind and have had a very productive week. I’ve lost track of how many webinars I have participated in. This week I continued to revamp my Pinterest account, did a total rebranding of my Instagram and have spent hours learning Tailwind. This stuff is really interesting to me….I’m a marketing geek what can I say? I also loved having an hour and a half on Zoom with my Book Club, even at 4:00 am. That made me happy.

    I’m still having trouble reading though…and I’ve also had a couple nightmares and restless nights.

    Since we arrived I’ve been focused on teaching myself the cuisine of Cyprus, and hope to have a blog all about that in the weeks ahead. Hard to believe we have been here 41 days and not eaten in a single restaurant.

    I hope you all are finding your peace in all this mess and accepting how life has changed forever. Please stay well. Please stay positive. Please stay fabulous.

    Thanks for caring about us. We are doing fine. Thanks for continuing to support my blog. Love you all.

    Cyprus
    Island Life

    Message from Cyprus – Good News Bad News

    Lockdown in Cyprus Edition Four

    Location: Argaka Cyprus

    Lockdown in Cyprus. It’s day 26 on the island of Cyprus. Of our 26 days here only four of them we were free. March 14-24 in quarantine and March 24 to today in lockdown. Like the rest of the world, we wait. And then we wait some more. Here is the latest;

    Bad News

    On Thursday we participated in a live Facebook feed with the US Ambassador to Cyprus Judith Garber. There was no good news really, she just confirmed everything we already knew. No clear explanation as to why we received an email 10 days ago saying there might be a flight out for US citizens…??? There are no flights in the foreseeable future, even though we hear about stranded Americans in other countries getting out. Cyprus isn’t getting any assistance. By the way…how do you become an Ambassador? I would like that job.

    President Nicos Anastasiades has extended the airport closure until April 18th. I have zero confidence in this date…I expect it will be extended again. We wait.

    Cyprus
    Cyprus in Bloom

    This week lockdown in Cyprus tighter restrictions were put into effect for the stay at home order. We can now only leave the house once a day.

    We are in a dispute with Airbnb now over the $900 from Jerusalem cancellation. They are being nasty. So now we are being nasty back. We did get a credit for Malta but they reversed what they told us about Jerusalem. We wait.

    I had a really bad, teary-eyed day on Thursday. It seemed to me from comments I saw others were melting down too. It’s exactly like grieving – such a feeling of loss. I’m not a psychiatrist or mental health expert but I think this is normal to feel this way…we need to work through it and stay hopeful even when it seems there is little to be hopeful for.

    Cyprus
    Cyprus in Bloom

    I blame a bit of my melancholy on Thursday to the fact that, since I can only leave the house once a day, I didn’t run or work out. Instead we saved our once a day outing to go get some fresh produce at the grocery store. I know I feel better when I work out, and I am forcing myself to run and walk even when I feel tired and sorry for myself.

    The cases on the island continue to grow. As of today 430 with 13 deaths. From 3 cases the day we arrived (March 10) that’s 150 fold increase. We wait.

    Good News

    My husband is keeping my spirits up. While still being realistic about how grave this looks in the months and years ahead, he is always my rock. I just miss my kids so much. We wait.

    We learned that many US Citizens are having difficulty with the SMS system of asking permission to leave the house. Apparently if you are trying to do the request with a phone that does not have a Cyprus SIM it isn’t working. Another reason to always buy a local SIM when you travel rather than trying to use your home carrier’s international data plan.

    Cyprus
    Cyprus in Bloom

    The weather is improving and although still very windy here in this part of the island we are now looking at temps around 23c (mid 70’s f). We are no longer using the heat at night in the bedroom or the space heater in the living room. We are still using blankets on the couch when we read in the evening but it’s at least 15-20 degrees warmer than a month ago. I wore shorts for the first time this week. Maybe those sundresses will see the light of day soon. We wait.

    My goal is to need to turn on the AC before we leave. Arne’s goal is to run ten miles before we leave. Maybe me too.

    I had a wonderful Zoom Meeting with my book club…my first time using that application, followed by a Martini Zoom Party with the Martini Mamas back home. Tonight we plan to zoom with our boys. If I can get the hang of it I have a lot of people I would like to Zoom with.

    Blue dot is where Cyprus is

    Grocery stores are still well stocked and we are not wanting for anything in that area. I’m trying to teach myself some local Cypriot dishes. Our Airbnb hosts (who speak very minimal English) have been so wonderful…bringing us goodies and produce. If we have to be stuck this Airbnb is a good place to be stuck and we are grateful for that. We wish we had some jigsaw puzzles and movies in English though.

    We wait

    Waiting is not something this girl is good at….nor am I good at not controlling my situation. So everything in me is on high-alert during this lockdown in Cyprus. But I am resigned to this being long-term, and I am resigned to waiting.

    Sending you love.

    Read more Messages from Cyprus here.

    Please note we are still posting weekly book reviews on Wednesdays and Travel stories on Friday. We are grateful for your help in keeping our blog alive during this down time.

    Island Life

    Message from Cyprus

    Edition Three

    Location: Argaka, Cyprus

    Message from Cyprus Lockdown 2020 – Cyprus Day 22. Lockdown Day 8.

    Note: Since Wednesday is a regular blog day for Reading Wednesday, I hope you won’t be confused by this second blog. I’ve never posted two blogs in one day. Please see the Reading Wednesday blog here. Thanks.

    It’s feast or famine here with either a whole lot of nada going on or so much happening it’s overload and hard to keep up.

    Nada

    It’s been seven days since we received an email from the Cyprus Embassy telling us there may be a flight out for US Citizens within 48 hours. Since then we have heard absolutely nothing. I am getting much more information from other embassies around the globe than I am getting from Cyprus. No explanation on their website regarding their silence. Nada.

    HOWEVER tomorrow there is a live Facebook feed for US citizens with the US Ambassador to Cyprus. We will sit in on that and hopefully get some news. Check the My Fab Fifties FB page tomorrow (Thursday) to see if we learned anything.

    Overload

    Every morning I check the Cyprus Mail website for the latest information. On Tuesday further restriction to movement were put into place. Now we can only leave the house once a day, still using the SMS system and asking permission for one of the 8 categories. Which sucks because we have to choose do we go for a run today or do we go to the grocery store. They are also closing grocery stores on Sundays. Locals are really up in arms about all of this…one man laments what is he to do about walking his dogs on a day he needs to go to the store, pharmacy or doctor? Another crazy new rule is anyone who has tested positive and told to self-isolate will be forced to wear monitoring ankle bracelets so authorities can track their movement…just like a criminal.

    Nada

    I’m kinda pissed at Airbnb right now (and ya all know I’m a big fan) but after 22 days we still have not received our refund from Jerusalem that was promised to be sent within ten days. Additionally they aren’t communicating with us any longer. I’m sure they are overwhelmed but all I was looking for was a status for the delayed refund of nearly $900. They have just updated their website however, giving us an option to either get 50% cash back for our Airbnb in Malta or 100% in credit. We are taking the credit…and still waiting about Jerusalem.

    Overload

    The Cyprus Mail has the total number of cases on the island now at 232, despite the fact that last week all signs looked like it was leveling off at just under 200. No such luck. They are now considering loosening restrictions on Cypriots abroad who are trying to return home.

    Nada

    We would like to help local businesses, but the tiny village we are in has no restaurants doing take-out or curbside. We would need to go to the big city of Paphos for that an hour away. So unfortunately we have had zero chance to enjoy the local Cypriot cuisine from local restaurants. So glad we took the cooking class the first few days we were here…it may likley be the only thing we get to do on this beautiful island.

    Overload

    The exasperating news from the USA gives me a headache and I’m trying to train myself to not spend so much time looking at it. It’s grim and the politics of it all makes me sick. If only, if only, if only. Two months ago and things could have been so different – one month ago would have saved lives. It’s sad how many people will die and how many people still can’t see the forest through the trees.

    Nada

    My hands are tied as far as being able to help small businesses back home. Can’t really get take-out can I? I did however order a bunch of Easter yummies for delivery from Boehm’s Chocolates of Poulsbo, owned by a good friend of mine. It’s not much and I wish I could do more.

    Overload

    Spring is in full force here on the island and the pollen is in total overload and the symptom are kinda like Covid; eyes, throat, lethargic. Ugh. Too much.

    Nada

    Cyprus loves its holidays and TODAY is Cyprus National Day – a celebration of the day the war between Cyprus and Britain began in 1955 that eventually resulted in Cyprus Independence in 1959. But, no celebrations anywhere…churches are closed, parks, beaches and no one can gather. Party pooper. I’m interested to see what happens with Easter in this very religious country. Curiously Easter in Orthodox is not celebrated on the same day as everyone else. It’s celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon which in 2020 is April 19th.

    That’s It

    And so we sit tight. Few options but we are still healthy and comfortable. Our Airbnb hosts have been wonderful, continuing to deliver fresh produce and baked goods several times a week. It’s so quiet here…no airplanes and few cars…just the wind and the waves.

    Our original dates on Cyprus were supposed to be March 25-April 7. Our changed plans had us arrive on March 10 and our departure date remains unknown, it could be tomorrow…or it could be in June. Your guess is as good as mine.

    Stay tuned.

    See Message from Cyprus Edition One and Edition Two