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Hawaii Life

Palm Tree on One Foot Island

You’ll need a COVID-19 test if you want to say Mele Kalikimaka in Hawaii this year. If you don’t have a negative COVID-19 test in hand you’ll have to submit to a 14-day mandatory quarantine or the length of the trip whichever is shorter.

“We’re taking this added safety precaution now in response to the dramatically increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the continental United States and around the world. The health of our residents and visitors is our primary concern, especially as more people travel to Hawaiʻi to celebrate the holidays,” said Gov. Ige.

The new policy applies to domestic transpacific flights and international flights departing from locations in which the State of Hawaiʻi pre-testing programs are in place.

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Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park

We wanted to get out of the house and wanted to find as responsible a way of doing that as possible. We decided that we’d take a walk in the park, the Lowry Park and Zoo Tampa. The Zoo is divided up in to 6 sections that lend its self to a meandering walk through Asia, Florida, Africa, Wallaroo, and Primates. The audience of NKWT might want to skip Wallaroo the children’s oriented section of the zoo filled with rides and other amenities directed at youngsters.

Amanda and I are admittedly spoiled by growing up with the National Zoo in our backyard. The National Zoo is one of the best parks anywhere and is absolutely free. We went to the Zoo in Pittsburgh and that only cost $13 per person. So, the cost of a $40 per person to see some animals seems a very steep price.

The collection of animals was a little limited for us. We expected to see multiple versions of some animals. We saw some animals that we’d classify as “deer” and found only one on display.

The zoo was a great place for us to get out of the house too. But, a bit disappointing as far as variety goes. We are however grateful for all the work that Zoo Tampa does for species preservation and education.

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What’s Next…?

The world, we hope, will move on from the last four years. We’ve found it quite surreal the way the world, no we, the US retreated from the world. We hope that at this point, given the imminent change in leadership, we will return to a place of leadership in the world.

Arrivals Departures Signpost Shows Flights Airport And International Travel

We also agree with this statement from the U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.

“The American travel industry congratulates President-elect Joe Biden on his victory,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. “We applaud President-elect Biden’s objective of helping the industries most heavily impacted by the pandemic. The travel industry accounts for more than a third of overall U.S. unemployment, and policies to promote relief, recovery, and stimulus for travel businesses are integral to a U.S. economic turnaround.”

We know that the travel industry in the US is hurting, as it the industry everywhere. The biggest hurdle to the industry getting back on its feet is getting control of COVID-19. We are are sure that under an administration that actually recognizes that COVID-19 is a problem, and is killing people, and there ARE things we can do to prevent those deaths, and that will go a long way toward getting all of us traveling again.

We honestly hope with the change in administration and the eventual suppression of COVID-19 that America and Americans will be welcomed overseas once more.

So in the words of my favorite fictional president “What’s next?”

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U.S. Virgin Islands Sets the Standard for Travel in the Age of COVID-19

The Virgin Islands have seen thousands of visitors in the month since opening to tourist traffic. The department of tourism believes that the Travel Screening Portal to screen for COVID-19 and the established guidelines for visitors.

“The Travel Screening Portal has been a game-changer for us as it has given us the technological capability to prescreen and certify travelers before they arrive in the Territory, enhancing our ability to ensure that visitors and residents are asprotected as possible from COVID-19 infection,” stated Commissioner Boschulte,adding that the Department of Tourism is actively preparing for the launch ofan updated, upgraded Travel Screening Portal (version 2.0), an extension of its crisis communications plan to safeguard the public health reputation of the destination.

The current version of the Travel Screening Portal, which since its late July launch has processed close to 25,000 travelers, offers a user-friendly front-end system to walk travelers through the submission process, and a secure, state-of-the-art back-end system that allows administrators to seamlessly process submissions, and airport andseaport personnel to efficiently process travelers upon arrival. It also features mobile-optimized functionality. “

The technology undergirding the Travel Screening Portal has been designed to be the most user freindly possiable and allowing a faster mobile experience. The portal email generation system will also provide vital information to the passenger before traveling. The goal is that Artificial Intelligence will automate and increase the efficiency of the entire back-end process.

“The Department of Tourism is continuously balancing the need to promote safe and healthy travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands, while employing and deploying new and innovative technologies to carry out essential prescreening of all travelers. The healthof everyone in the Territory remains our highest priority,” noted the Commissioner, who lauded the strong communications, marketing and public relations efforts that are continuing to keep the U.S. Virgin Islands “top of mind” with travelers not only from the mainland United States, but around the world.


“Demand for travel to our islands continues on an upward trend, with inquiries and conversions to bookings encouraging, especially during this typically slow period of travel to the Caribbean. We are also pleased with the increased airlift scheduled for the coming months. We believe we have something very special to offer visitors, especially those who are seeking an escape from the pandemic lockdown that has all but crippled travel to many other destinations.”

The USVI Travel Screening Portal 2.0 is expected to launch in November, making it even easier for travelers to go through the necessary steps prior to traveling to theTerritory. 
The portal is available at www.usviupdate.com/travelportal.


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A Jurassic Park

We decided to get out of the house and remind ourselves of a time before COVID-19. A time before the politics of our government’s leaders made us want to hide under a rock. A time before humanity made a mess of things. We decided to go to the world of dinosaurs or more appropriately Dinosaur World.

The theme park doesn’t provide its thrills with rides but with a waking trail, “fossil dig”, museum, and game show; all dinosaur themed. You will find plant species that date from the time of the dinosaurs and well as native species with easily readable plaques that identify them and tell you about their attributes. You’ll also find plenty of shade covered places to sit and picnic, and remember to bring your own lunch because they don’t sell food on site.

The park is populated by 150 life-sized dinosaur sculptures set in a jungle setting giving you a sense of walking through a zoo in the Jurassic age. We really enjoyed our departure from our usual pandemic routine. The chance to go for a shady walk surrounded by dinos was exactly what we needed. The museum was pretty good too. The collection of fossils was one of the best we’ve seen at a private museum.

Fossilized Dino Eggs

The park does have some features closed and a covid policy. We’ll place it right here for you to take a look at.

COVID-19 UPDATE: 

10/01/20 UPDATE: The Dino Walk, the indoor museum, and the Dino Gem Excavation are open. At this time, we have determined that the safest option for all of our guests and employees is to keep our playgrounds and other hands-on activities closed. Masks are required to enter any of our indoor facilities. 

Also, remember safety first.

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Take Care of Yourself

Take Care of Yourself

We know this year hasn’t been easy, especially for those of us who like to explore the world and are now feeling trapped. We know from experience that if the world seems like it is spinning out of control you need to hold on to someone to make it stop. You should never feel that talking to a friend or a doctor isn’t an option. Amanda and I are lucky, we are each others best support, but we also know that we don’t have all the answers. A doctor or trained councilor is sometimes the best choice. You don’t have to go far to find that help either. The world is smaller, the ability to reach out is easier than it’s ever been. So, if you need someone to hold on to in order to slow that spinning don’t hesitate to reach out.

National Mental Health Alliance

The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET.
1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

Talk Space

Private On Demand Mental Health Care

Anime for Humanity

A genre based mental health group offering free services; even if you aren’t a fan of cartoons.

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Its “Getting” Better in the Bahamas

The archipelago nation we love, The Bahamas, is beginning to get back to normal. The mandatory quarantine for visitors they had previously instituted has been lifted. You now, as of November 1, only need to have a negative COVID-19 test to ender the country. We are not talking about the antibody test either, you need a COVID-19 RT-PCR (swab) test taken no more than seven days prior to travel.

The Bahamas

You will also need to take a rapid antigen test when you arrive and then again 4 days later. You will still need to quarantine during those 4 days and then once given the okay you can explore the island paradise.

Visitors and residents alike still need to follow the health regulation established by the Health Ministry, these include mandatory facial coverings ins all public spaces and social distancing.

We hope this means we can start exploring The Bahamas very soon especially as the the weather turns cooler in much of the united states.

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Nature’s Little Secrets Will Open Soon

The view from our deck at Guavaberry Spring Bay, BVI.

The territorial government of the (British) Virgin Islands has made it official the British Overseas Territory will open its borders to visitors on December 1.

The Government according to statements from the Premier, is optimistic and is vigorously preparing for the re-opening of the Territory to welcome back tourists among others.

Premier Fahie said, “The Territory has two full months to prepare and we as a people must get it right and we must get it done by all  working together, both the Government and  private sector.”

The Premier said that the Government intends to reopen the Territory in the safest way possible using science and technology as a guide.

“This next phase also comes with a risk factor, where if a case of COVID-19 gets into our Territory, then it can go through the whole community very quickly.  That is why we must use technology,” he said, adding, “The concentration must be to use the technology through a simulation prior, to demonstrate that the technology will complement the science to greatly assist us in re-opening in the safest way, humanly possible.”

The Premier did say that reopening doesn’t mean that they are sounding the all clear and that the residents of the Virgin Islands must do their part to suppress the spread of the virus.

He said, “Please note that we who are in the Virgin Islands must also play our part and play it well to ensure that we adhere to all approved social distancing measures. This will also reduce or eliminate any possible spread of the virus.”

Premier Fahie further added, “By each of us, from now, holding each other accountable thereby ensuring that we wear our masks, staying six feet apart, washing our hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds minimum, sanitizing, along with adhering to all other approved social measure protocol for us individually and for each business, we can successfully operate in this “New Regular” of the COVID-19 era.”

The Government of the Virgin Islands is using a phased approach to the Territory’s borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase 1 of the Controlled Border reentry process commenced on June 2 for Virgin Islands, Belongers, Naturalised citizens, and Permanent Residents.

Phase two of the reentry process which commenced on September 1 allowed for several new categories to be permitted into the Territory including Work Permit Holders; Existing Work Permit Exemption Holders; Residing Entry Permits such as Retirees and Homeowners; students of locally-based Medical Schools and the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College; persons employed by the Government of the Virgin Islands Bodies, Agencies, Boards and teachers whether public and private; Dependents of Belongers, Permanent Residents, Work Permit Holders and Work Permit Exemption Holders, persons desirous of conducting business in the Territory; and diplomats deemed as Business Visitors.

Phase 2 also allows for the entry of aviation crew, maritime crew, healthcare practitioners/medical staff, emergency maintenance, repair, and other technical personnel; and other essential specialized workers in the Territory for no longer than 5 days.

We are so happy to hear that the BVI’s are opening back up. You know from our writings how much we love the Virgin Islands as a whole. We’ve stayed in on Virgin Gorda in a cottage for a week and have sailed their waters.  We love the BVI and are very happy to have them welcome the world again.

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A Trip to the Beach that Made Me Feel Weird

I am the first to recognize that spending time at the beach and in the water is a version of therapy for Amanda.  So, with that in mind, I finally agreed to spend the morning at the beach. I knew she needed the time in her favorite refuge so it was hard to say no. We got there early and headed to the umbrella stand we like and found some chairs. Amanda went down to the water for a soak and I only ventured to about ankle deep. The hours past and the beach started to fill in and it finally dawned on me as to why the whole time we had been there I’d felt weird. No-masks. We may have walked from the car to our beach chairs with our masks on we took them off when we sat down and in the went in the water. I leave the house for work and spend the better part of the day wearing a face mask.  It felt weird to be out side of my car or the apartment with out one. The number of people also began to weird me out, the number of people who seemed to be acting like there was no public health crisis was unnerving.  The last six months have conditioned me on what to expect when leaving my home and being at the beach was a departure from that. I can’t even remember seeing people walking up and down the main drag of Clearwater Beach and not wearing masks. I honestly felt like we were on another planet.

I know Amanda will be disappointed by this but it will probably be until after Christmas before we return to the beach again due to the health crisis.

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Hitting a Wall

I honestly don’t know what to write about. The world we live in makes me want to travel more than ever to get away from, well, everything. The problem is we can’t run away. The world won’t let us. I can’t express how frustrating that is to me.  I know that it’s got to be frustrating to many of our readers as well. I’m struggling to find topics to tell you about. The full-time teaching job has had me exceptionally busy and exhausted. I need a break and Amanda desperately needs one as well.  The psychological toll this is taking on us is pretty rough. I know there are people that are having a rougher time of it than we are. We are both working and comfortable.

I’m only putting this rambling out there in a desperate attempt not to break our streak of publication weeks.

I sincerely apologize for not having more interesting things to say.

-Zeke