Our Last Few Days in Monastir and the Start of Our Time Back in the US - Sept 2 - Oct 2, 2018


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October 2nd 2018
Published: October 3rd 2018
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We stayed another week in Monastir after our two day trips which gave us time to work on packing to head back to the US and get the boat ready to leave. We did make it to the market for one last time this season, but it was more for the atmosphere than it was for buying as we were actually working on getting rid of food on Tsamaya. The last time we went to the market Bob even stopped to look at the clothes which is definitely unusual for him. We found a shirt that time for him so figured we’d check again this week – no such luck, but still fun to go to see what is in season food-wise and check out the numerous items on sale as they also have a flea market here too.

As we were tourist this past week, we now concentrated on the packing. It may not sound like a big job, but think about doing it on a boat where anywhere you set up the suitcases to pack will be in the way of your every-day living activities. Couple that with tearing apart various storage areas that you have put things safely away that you now want to take back to the US either because you haven’t been using it on the boat but could see yourself using it back in the US OR taking back parts that need to be repaired on Tsamaya. Throw into the mix that you still need to make meals to use up the rest of your food (or as much as you can), defrost the freezer, and do the numerous other tasks on the list getting the boat ready to leave unattended. We also found out that there was an additional task here of going to the Customs Office to fill in more paperwork and pay 5 dinar (about $1.70) as we were leaving the boat in Tunisia with no one onboard. I also wanted to pay some of our marina bill to split up the expense on our credit card. I went to the office 4 times before I was actually successful – not sure what the problem was with the credit card machine, but it finally worked. In fact the marina said not to even worry about paying any of it before leaving – I told them I could understand their reasoning as
A Popular Local Dish - Chickpea SoupA Popular Local Dish - Chickpea SoupA Popular Local Dish - Chickpea Soup

served over bread & an egg on top
they have our boat as “hostage” so they know we will be back – they had a good chuckle over that!

We have been enjoying the company of fellow American cruisers, Kathy and Jim on SV Inishnee . They very kindly invited us over to their boat with the idea of not having to cook just before leaving for the US. Instead we all decided it would be nice to have a drink and socialize for a while on their boat and then head out to a local restaurant for dinner making it easy on everyone. When we were heading over to their boat we could tell there was a storm coming from the clouds, but we made it to their boat. After sitting out back for a while the wind started picking up and the rains came so went down below. It was interesting to not being on our boat during a storm and to watch it rock back and forth from a distance. The winds were averaging around 30-35 knots, but we saw gust up to 50! Fortunately there is quite a bit of room between boats in this marina, very different from those that we have been in Italy. With the space in between and the line of fenders on everyone’s boat, all were safe. We just hoped that the rains that we have been having will have stopped by the time we want to leave the boat with luggage on Friday. Jim and Kathy very kindly helped with that task as we had to lift 2 – 50 pound suitcases over the bow so they came over to see us off and between Bob and Jim that was accomplished– thanks so much! We have truly enjoyed their company while in Monastir and wish them well as they continue cruising.

Other cruisers we met here in Monastir headed back to their home country of Denmark a week earlier. We found out from them that they had the worst luck as it actually took them a whole week to get back due to delays, cancellations and terrible connections. Bob who is usually an optimist for some reason after hearing about their trip had bad premonitions about our trip, but I kept telling him that we were using a different airline and that it would work out. It wasn’t the best connections as we had to take 4 different flights, but one of us always has to be positive and I was crossing my fingers that I was right. Fortunately everything worked out like clockwork – only one delay making a connection tighter than we hoped but we (and our luggage) made it. It was a tiring trip as we had to leave the boat at 10:15 PM on Thursday to catch our taxi for the 2.5 hour trip to the airport, wait 2 hours for our flight and then head to Malta, on to London, then to Chicago and finally to Albany NY where we caught another taxi for a 30 minute ride to our vehicle and then a 30 minute drive home arriving at 11PM on Friday night (with a 5 hour time difference from Tunisia). Gee, writing about this makes me tired again!

It has been almost 4 weeks since we got back to the US - what have we been doing? First, with being back early enough to do some things outside Bob took advantage of the warmer temperatures to seal the driveway that we had put in last fall. We also worked on trimming trees, cleaning out some overgrown areas and
Scooters Are Common Modes of TransportationScooters Are Common Modes of TransportationScooters Are Common Modes of Transportation

amazing what they can carry on them
even built a small brick wall under the side porch. Anyone that knows us understands that we definitely love cats, just not when they use the dirt area under the porch as their litter box so hopefully that will stop the neighborhood cats. With the changes we made to the front room last time we were in the US with sheet rocking over a doorway we now need to change the siding on the outside as well. This means taking off the siding of the front porch and replacing it. We started taking off the siding as well as the porch ceiling which is in bad shape but not finished yet. That means we have to complete that before winter comes as well. We have been in touch with the contractor we used before and he will be coming back to finish some things he started before and to work on putting on a back porch.

Getting back to the US this early in the year we have had the bonus of enjoying fresh corn on the cob as well as apples fresh from the trees. When we first got back we had corn on the cob pretty much
A Few of the Local Shops in MonastirA Few of the Local Shops in MonastirA Few of the Local Shops in Monastir

and English signs at the clothing store
every night as it is a short season and it has been a few years since we had any – the simple things in life! A friend told me of a farm nearby that sells apples so tried them out and enjoyed their produce. That kept me busy for quite a few days as made plenty of applesauce, a couple of apple pies for the Thanksgiving holiday and even made a batch of apple butter – it sure made the house smell good.

One thing that Bob was definitely looking forward to was coming back to his woodshop. He had purchased a planer that was delivered while we were overseas so first project was to get that set up and running. Unfortunately when he was doing that the planer started sliding and Bob quickly reacted and grabbed for it so it didn’t hit the floor. Needless to say that didn’t happen without some pain afterwards. I knew it was bad when he decided to not work in the shop for a couple of days and wear a sling. Fortunately it only set him back for a few days and he was back at it again. About 2 weeks later
Our New Cover for the Helm Made in MonastirOur New Cover for the Helm Made in MonastirOur New Cover for the Helm Made in Monastir

great work - quick and inexpensive
he decided to sell a few of his machines and when a person was picking up a table saw they wheeled it out to his vehicle and somehow it started to slide and again Bob reached out and grabbed it with that same arm. This time he did more damage and was definitely hurting, this time he wanted to get to a Dr. so knew it was much worse. They took x-rays and decided nothing was broken, but they weren’t sure if he tore his bicep – they were hoping not, but sent him to a specialist which was a week later. Fortunately with his not using the arm for quite a few days again, it started to get some better, but he still couldn’t lift any weight at all (not even a dinner plate!) The orthopedic told him that he was very lucky as nothing was torn and that with time it should get back to normal after about a month which was music to his ears (and mine too!) He has been back working in his shop re-organizing, building cabinets and setting up a new location for his chop saw with a dust collection system. He sometimes pushes
Watching a Storm Coming & Seeing TsamayaWatching a Storm Coming & Seeing TsamayaWatching a Storm Coming & Seeing Tsamaya

from our friends boat riding out 25-40 knot winds
himself too much and his arm hurts, but luckily with a little rest it is better. He still can’t lift weight with it so now on to the physical therapist to get some exercises to do. He has definitely been upset with the set back as he wanted to get into other projects on the house, but we have to remember we have only been back a month so there is time. Another down side of the timing of this was that we had made plans to head out to where we used to live to see some of our friends there, but with Bob’s pain level at the time we decided it was best to cancel. We were disappointed that we had to do that, but will make plans again to get out there to see as many as we can.

I’ve been back doing some cooking for my Mom which I always enjoy as well as having some great visits with her. Recently the weather was nice so we took an enjoyable ride and ended up back at our house. Always nice when she visits as she is able to quickly point out what we have accomplished since the last time she was here – she reminds us of some things that we had forgotten making us feel that much better – thanks Mom!

When we came back this time we told ourselves that we were also going to take time to explore and enjoy the area that we are living in. To do that I keep an eye on the paper and check on line for various activities in the area. A library in the area has a Folklife Center with concerts each week so we went and attended one of the concerts which we really enjoyed. There was a Mexican restaurant nearby and with Bob having had cravings for Mexican food the last few months we stopped for a bite to eat – a nice treat. The Native American Festival held in Saratoga Springs was another event that interested us. It had numerous exhibits by Native artisans showing off their wares, Story Tellers providing riveting tales and many dancers in Traditional Regalia accompanied by musicians playing traditional instruments. The festival was designed to be of interest to both adults and children and they definitely pulled that off. They had numerous activities set up for
The Day After We Got Back - Corn On The Cob!The Day After We Got Back - Corn On The Cob!The Day After We Got Back - Corn On The Cob!

and later lots of apples - a great time to be back
the kids to participate in and the dancers at numerous times had dances where they encouraged people from the audience to join in. There were representatives from numerous tribes at the festival from the region, but they also had a dancer that joined them from the Sioux tribe in South Dakota as he was their invited guest. This particular dancer had a very intricate regalia that we were told he designed, created and maintains. His definitely stood out due to the complexity of it, but all of the dancers were impressive with the beadwork and detail that was incorporated into their traditional outfits as well. It was definitely a very pleasant way to spend a day to learn about the Native Americans in the area and enjoy the music and dancing.

We have been having quite a few days with rain and it has been getting cooler, but this past Sunday they were predicting better weather so we planned to head over to Vermont to see if they had any fall color yet as well as get out for a hike. We started our travels and it decided to rain some so we made a small change to our plans and went to the Southern Vermont Arts Center as we had read that they also have trails that start from there as well. With it spitting rain and very windy and cold we went into the Arts Center and enjoyed the exhibits. One of the buildings held artwork done by local artists and were for sale – a wonderful collection of talent was on display. Another of the buildings held a temporary exhibit that combined that of blown glasswork with NYC street art. It may sound like a strange combination but it definitely worked and was enjoyable.

When we finished the Art Center we stopped for lunch before heading over to Emerald Lake State Park which was only a short distance away. I had read that they had a few trails near the lake as well as on the hill behind with vistas overlooking the lake. We first walked in to see the lake, but in looking at our time as we got there later than we had hoped and the trail map we decided we would reverse course and head onto the “Vista” trail as that was a little longer and went up into the woods onto
Enjoyed the Native American Festival in SaratogaEnjoyed the Native American Festival in SaratogaEnjoyed the Native American Festival in Saratoga

here are some of the dancers and the drummers
higher elevation overlooking the lake. The map showed 3 viewpoints so with our daylight getting shorter we thought this would be the best choice. The trail was well marked and the map showed the topography of the land so decided to take the more gradual way up and come down the steeper part of the trail near the end of our hike. This way was also suppose to take us to the largest number of viewpoints so if we ran out of time we could cut the hike short. It was a very pleasant hike, but we never did find those viewpoints overlooking the lake – guess the forest has filled in some or the name of this trail (“Vista”) was given during the winter when there are no leaves on the trees! It would have been nice to have a better look at Emerald Lake, but that did not detract from the enjoyment of the day. Fortunately we completed the hike before the park closed and before it got completely dark.

It is hard to believe it is now the beginning of October, but at least with our return to the US in September we are able to
A Younger Dancer at the Native American FestivalA Younger Dancer at the Native American FestivalA Younger Dancer at the Native American Festival

but like all other teens spending time on the phone!
get a few more outside projects as well as hopefully a few more hikes in before the snow flies.


Additional photos below
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The Weather Was Warm Enough to Seal The DrivewayThe Weather Was Warm Enough to Seal The Driveway
The Weather Was Warm Enough to Seal The Driveway

Bob read plastic bags on the feet would help-it didn't!
Bob Laying Down Waiting for the Balloons To LaunchBob Laying Down Waiting for the Balloons To Launch
Bob Laying Down Waiting for the Balloons To Launch

sling due to injury to his shoulder/bicep
Just a Few of the Balloons At the FestivalJust a Few of the Balloons At the Festival
Just a Few of the Balloons At the Festival

the blue one was the first one up


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