A huge update and change in plans!!!...

Locals hitching a ride to the local festival.
If we had a home during the corona-virus crisis and had been touring India, most likely we'd have ended the lengthy tour early and headed back to the US, purchasing a fair amount of toilet paper to hunker down for a while.

As world travelers without a home, if we have a need to hunker down, where might that be? If we return to the USA, we have no health insurance other than Medicare Part A and even if we signed up for Part B and a supplement we'd be stuck with it once we were on the move again.

Plus, returning to live in the US is not an option for us at this time, even with this looming virus. We're not about to "give up" this lifestyle which we recently embraced with gusto after last year's open-heart surgery and a long recovery.

But, now we have excellent, low co-pay health insurance through United Healthcare Global (Safe Trip) that we purchase every three months, good only outside of the US. This morning we purchased more coverage until the end of July when we'll renew for another 90 days at that time.  
Crowds of people on their way to a festival.
Yesterday, when Viking Cruise Line informed us the 29-day cruise we'd booked long ago has been canceled, we had to figure out what we'd do for the 29 days. So far we only had the one booking in Bath, England and a cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town next November. 

With the number of cases of the virus rapidly escalating in the UK and Europe, we decided against keeping the UK booking. The owner of the Bath house is arranging a full credit for us for the deposit that we paid, only one week ago.

The cruise line is refunding the full fare we'd already paid, which easily covers a good portion of our costs for the next 12 months. 

Guess where we'd headed, folks?

Yep, back to South Africa... to Marloth Park... to all of our animal and human friends and a vibrant social life. We'll arrive at Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport next Friday night, spend the night in a hotel and on Saturday morning make the hour-long drive to Marloth Park, where dear friends Louise and Danie will have a house waiting for us.
"Buffaloes are believed to have domesticated around 5000 years ago in the Indus Valley and thrive best in the areas of moderate rainfall as they require plenty of water for their daily bath.   Indian buffaloes are considered to be an important source of milk today. They yield nearly three times milk as cows. Interestingly, 47.22 million milch buffaloes produce 55 percent of milk which is more than half of the total milk produced in the country. Whereas, 57 million cows contribute only 45 percent of the total milk yield."
Of course, we'd love to get back into the Orange house, but that's booked until May 1. At that point, we'll move back in. In the interim, Louise will ensure we have great houses to stay in as we hop from house to house as she deems necessary for the remainder of March and all of April. We can live with this plan without hesitancy.

There hasn't been a single case of coronavirus in Marloth Park but of course, we'll continue with precautions as we have here in India; avoiding crowds; lots of handwashing, no handshaking and extra careful touching any surfaces or possibly infected areas. 

Yes, we're excited to be heading back. And no, there are no unrealistic expectations that South Africa will be safer than in any part of the world. But, Marloth Park is remote with fewer and fewer visitors coming to stay due to fears of travel right now.

No, we won't bore our readers with endless photos of warthogs. We'll strive to focus on the fascinating little things, interesting people stories and wildlife special moments. It will be an all-new angle for our time in Africa once again.
Buffalo movin' on down the road. "Buffaloes also called as Bubalus bublis belong to the family bovidae, sub-family bovinae, genus bubalis and species arni or the wild Indian buffalo. They are classified into river and swamp types. The present day domesticated buffaloes are the descendants of Bos arni found in North-Eastern parts of India especially in Assam and surrounding areas."
How long will we stay? As long as they'll have us, which our regular readers know is a tricky proposition. We'll do everything we can to stay as long as possible, even if we have to fly to other countries, stay for awhile and return.

As for the balance of our India tour? It's ending about 16 days earlier than planned. We didn't make this decision lightly. The tour company is giving us a partial refund which we're grateful for but, such cancellations such as this is happening all over the country of India, all over the world. 

Temples are closing. Sporting events have been canceled, public celebrations are fast coming to a halt, schools are closing, as is the case in most countries throughout the world. It's definitely a frightening time not only in regard to contracting the virus but also the awful impact on workers and economic conditions worldwide.

We carry on... All of us do, in an attempt to make the most of this dreadful time in history. We extend our love and prayers for each and every one of our family members, friends, and readers worldwide. 
Workers loading sugar cane onto a truck.
May you and those you love be safe, as you exercise every caution. Wash your hands! Use hot soapy water when possible. Don't cough or sneeze in anyone's face! Don't shake hands! Wear a mask if you are sick or stay indoors at all times.

Don't touch surfaces others have touched! Even an elevator or lift button; a grocery store trolley or the counter at the bank can carry the virus. When going to the doctor, dentist or any office, don't lean on the counter when checking in. If you need a handrail to walk up or down stairs, get someone you know to help you instead of touching the railing.

Make everything and everyone suspect, but in the interim, we somehow must do our best to find ways in which to enjoy life, enjoy people and cherish every moment we have of this precious life. God bless.
Photo from one year ago today, March 13, 2019:
With ample vegetation after many days and nights of soaking rain, the zebras still love pellets. For more photos, please click here.


Unknown said...

I love the warthogs, especially Little! Please continue to update us on their antics.

Unknown said...

Be safe and enjoy your time in Marloth Park as I know you will xx

Jessica said...

Unknown, thank you so much for your kind comments. We are grateful to have you following along with us.

Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom

Unknown said...

Once again, safe travels.

Jessica said...

Unknown, thank you for your thoughtful well wishes. We look forward to making our way to the next leg of our journey and be safely situated in the bush in South Africa while we wait out this dreadful time.

Warmest wishes to you and yours,
Jess & Tom

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