Part 2, the villa’s menu options…Food around the world…

Tom’s plate with Blue Fin tuna made with a tomato, lemongrass sauce, spicy vegetables with a side of coleslaw.

“Bali Sightings on the Beach”

Each day when the tide comes in before noon, the sea is as close as 10 meters to the edge of our pool. When it recedes, it leaves behind ocean refuse and trash. Each day but Sunday our pool and landscape guy, Ribud, cleans the beach in front of the house. Yesterday, (Sunday), we captured these three dogs playing after the tide had gone back out, leaving a muddy play area for dogs.
Yesterday, we enjoyed the quiet Sunday at home with the staff off for the day. I made the bed. Tom made coffee (as always) and did the dinner dishes. The only food prep necessary was to make the salad, heat the veggies and fish and we were good to go. Swimming in the pool and doing research while lounging  in the cabana, out of the scorching sun, has totally entertained us.
My plate with fish and veggies.
Of course, food made fresh that day is always the most desirable. The precooked tuna was a little dry after we reheated it in the microwave, but, we ate it anyway, happy to have a good meal without much effort. I think I’ll become spoiled with the thought of not cooking until July, only reheating a meal for Sundays when the staff is off.
The daily stir fried veggie platter laden with Balinese spices, is a dish we both love.

In a way, the heat, humidity and ants have made cooking less interesting for me over these past years of living on several tropical islands where these three factors are always to be expected. Add the difficulty of finding some ingredients we use in cooking “our way,” it makes the process even less appealing. 

Each day, the Ketuts present us with this itemized list of the cost of the ingredients to make  the meal(s).  The “petrol” at the bottom of the list is the daily cost of fuel for their motorbikes, IDR 10,000, US $.75.  For two meals for both Saturday and Sunday the total cost was IRD 185,000, US $13.87  Unreal, eh?
Over these past many moons of travel, we’ve talked to more and more people who prefer not to cook.  Either they’re busy while still working, often with young mouths to feed or, like me, simply have lost interest in spending long periods in the kitchen. 
Dinner menu, Page 1.
It’s no wonder prepared meals are readily available in the markets, along roadside stands (in many countries) and a wide variety of fast food and other dining establishments to suit the needs of most diners. Unfortunately, such meals aren’t an option for us, other than occasional pre-cooked organic chickens made without wheat, sugar or starch.
Dinner menu, Page 2.
My lack of interest provides me with little excuse not to cook. Our way of eating requires homemade meals while we’re living in most countries. I have no excuses. Always on a mission to spend as little time cooking as possible, when we’re preparing our meals, we have a few dozen options we tend to repeat over and over again.
Dinner menu, Page 3.
Here in the villa in Bali, it’s not a lot different for the cooks. In perusing Part 2 of the menu, posted today with choices of dinners and desserts, it’s easy to determine the options suitable for us are few. As a result, we’ve all been creative in designing the perfect meals. None of the desserts are adaptable.
Dinner menu, Page 4.
Thank goodness we purchased the mince (ground beef) that Gede picked up in Denpasar this past week or we’d be alternating chicken and fish, night after night. That could get boring for these two months. So far, it appears the only fresh fish available is Blue Fin tuna and small prawns.  Perhaps, there will be more variation in time.
Dinner menu, Page 5.
Today, Monday, we devised the menu for the week, although the two Ketuts don’t require that we do so. Monday and Tuesday, it will be chicken, veggies, salad; Wednesday and Thursday it will be hamburger patties with bacon, cheese, onion, salad and veggies; Friday and Saturday it will be prawns with veggies and salad; Sunday we’ll have our pre-made leftover ground beef dish which is in the freezer along with sides of veggies and salad. 
Dinner menu, Page 6.
In actuality, we’d be happy to repeat this weekly menu over and over. As long as the meals are befitting my way of eating, more variety is hardly necessary. The cooks seem fine with our repeats understanding the degree of limitations.
Dinner menu, Page 7.
There are no restaurants or resorts nearby and if there were, we doubt we’d be able to dine out when most Balinese meals contain lots of carbs, starches and sugar.
Dessert menu, Page 1.
Tom’s sunburned feet are healing and soon we’ll get out to take more varied photos and get more cash. In the interim, we’re having so much fun watching the activity on the beach in front of us and swimming in the pristine pool, we’re supremely content. 
Dessert menu, Page 2.
During these past few days, we’ve been busy applying for visas for our upcoming Mekong River cruise and booking many flights necessary over the next several months.
With the slow signal, this is a time consuming process.
Dessert menu, Page 3.
Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there. May your day be filled with love and wonderful surprises.
Photo from one year ago today, May 9, 2015:
View of the drive to the Kilauea Lighthouse in Kauai when it was closed on a Sunday. For more photos of this popular historic location, please click here.

Part 1, the villa’s menu options…Food around the world…

The two Kataks and Ribud (the pool and landscape guy) holding up the three kilo Blue Fin tuna for last night’s and tonight’s meal. After it was cleaned and filleted there were two huge portions which we’re sharing each night.  Such wonderful people!  Such fabulous fish!

“Bali Sightings of the Beach”

Crab trail and buffalo footprints in the sand.

Today is the first day we’ve been entirely alone in the villa. The staff hung around last Sunday to make sure we had everything we needed to settle in including a nice Sunday dinner. The fact they gave up their regular day off meant a lot to us. 

We could have easily figured out everything on our own as we often do when the owner, the manager, or other staff isn’t handy to show us “the ropes.” Somehow we always manage.

The two cleaned fillets.  Hard to imagine we could eat one of these between us, each of two nights, but after picking out bones, and the less than desirable darker flesh commonly found in fresh tuna, it was the perfect amount. Adding the fabulous vegetables and coleslaw, it makes a perfect meal. The cost of this fish was only IDR $145,000, US $10.85. There’s no cost for the cooks preparing our meals other than IDR $10,000, US $.75 daily for fuel for their motorbikes. We’ll provide tips at the end of our stay.

In a previous post, we mentioned, we wouldn’t be cooking until July 23rd when we settle into the house in Phuket, Thailand for almost six weeks. We were wrong. We’re on our own on Sundays going forward for the remaining seven weeks in Bali, this time around.

Breakfast menu, Page 1.

Actually, I don’t feel like cooking. As mentioned, the kitchen is the domain of the two Ketuts, not mine, and with the number of ants roaming around the counters, the less I prepare the better. Oh, I’m used to ants, even those crawling on me but they’re annoying when preparing food when all they want to do is crawl inside the dish I’m preparing.

As a result, yesterday I asked the two Ketuts to make the second portion of the fish and another plate of vegetables for us for tonight’s meal. Today, I’ll make a fresh batch of coleslaw which I can complete in less than 10 minutes, most of which time is spent fine slicing the cabbage. 

Breakfast menu, Page 2.

Last night, before the Ketuts left for the evening we gave them money for Monday and Tuesday’s roasted chicken and vegetable dinner. Each day before they arrive at the villa they visit the early morning markets where they purchase locally grown vegetables, meat, and fish. They bring us change or ask for more cash if they were short. Daily, they provide us with an itemized price list of items they’ve purchased.

If necessary, they stop at the tiny market for grocery items such as soaps and paper products. From what we’ve seen so far, these little markets also carry a wide array of “junk” snack foods that are purchased by tourists and locals alike. Obesity and type two diabetes are as prevalent in Bali and the mainland of Indonesia as in many other parts of the world.

The lunch menu, Page 1.

Yesterday, they visited the fish market and again picked up a huge Blue Fin tuna as shown in today’s main photo. After thoroughly cleaning and deboning it (mostly) we were left with two huge filets, enough for last night and tonight’s meal.

They’ve explained that most guests chose from the menu requesting three meals a day, each with two or three-course, all of which they prepare six days a week. With our one meal a day, they’re able to spend less time here in the villa with us, mostly cleaning in the mornings, leaving midday, and returning per our request at 4:00 pm to prepare dinner.

The lunch menu, Page 2.

We requested our dinner be ready at 5 pm each night, a little early for us.  In doing so, they can be out the door earlier to return home to their families. They clear the table after we’ve eaten, wash the dishes, bring in the chaise lounge cushions and beach towels and close the huge accordion glass doors for the evening before the rampage of mozzies begins. 

By 6:30 pm, we have the evening to ourselves. We avoid opening the exterior doors or stepping outside until after dark when the mozzies are less frenzied. There’s a nighttime security guard that sits on a chair all night a few doors from our villa, guarding the few villas along this narrow road. 

The lunch menu, Page 3.

Today, we’ve included a portion of the villa’s menu options from which we’d choose if we could eat the items listed. Tomorrow, we’ll show the dinner and dessert menus.  

Instead of choosing items on the menu, we pick and choose adaptations of the items offered, ensuring they don’t include any sugar, starches, or grains, all with minimal carbs. So far, it’s working when I’ve had no ill effects. 

The lunch menu, Page 4.

We thought it might be interesting to share Part 1 of 2 of the menu today and tomorrow for our “foodie” readers. For those of you with less interest in food, soon we’ll be back with more of “your type” of stories and photos.

The lunch menu, Page 5.

We want to thank all of our new readers we met on the most recent cruise (and past cruises, of course) for stopping by and checking us out. Our stats have indicated a huge increase in hits over the past several days. 

We’d love your input via comments at the end of each day’s post or, by email (see links to both of our email addresses on the top right side of any day’s post).

The lunch menu, Page 6.

As for our regular readers, wow! You continue to hang with us, many of who’s been with us since the beginning of 2012. Thank you for making us feel as if you’re right beside us, day after day, more friends than one could ever expect in a lifetime. The journey continues.

Happy Mother’s Day today for all the moms in this part of the world where it’s Sunday and again tomorrow for all the moms on the other side of the world where you’ll celebrate tomorrow.  May your day be as special as YOU!

Photo from one year ago today, May 8, 2015:

Beautiful purple flowers we encountered on a walk in Kauai. For more photos, please click here.  (Error correction from yesterday when I mistakenly posted this photo which was meant for today. A new photo for the appropriate date has been replaced on yesterday’s post. Click here to see the correction..

The maze like environmant of the souk…So confusing…Food around the world…

Yesterday, this was my meal at Le Jardin;  fillet of Dover sole with a spinach sauce made with a flour-less cream reduction sauce. In the center, is an array of cooked vegetables, including carrots, zucchini and eggplant. The chef prepared this meal for me after the server showed the him the restriction list on my phone. It was fabulous. Now, I can’t wait to have this again! See how tempting it is to return to favorite restaurant when I can order a dish as amazing as this?

Firstly, again thanks for the many well wishers, for my improving health.  Now with only one more day on Cipro, I am feeling completely well, having decided to continue and do the full five day regime.  All symptoms have subsided and I’m back to my energized self, chomping at the bit to get out and explore.

Tom ordered the same dish he’d had at Le Jardin the last time we visited, fearful he wouldn’t like other options. Next time, he’ll try a different dish.

Yesterday, we did exactly that!  Explore. On Friday, the holy day for those of the Muslim faith, many of the shops are closed in the souk. As a result, the narrow roads and passageways of the souk are relatively free of foot traffic. Since we aren’t interested in shopping, this is an ideal time for us to get around and explore the area and search for new restaurants to try.

During the long walk, as we searched for Le Jardin we discovered this interesting door in the Jemaa el Fna in the souk..

Here’s the dilemma. We’ve decided we can no longer dine at most Moroccan food restaurants. Having decided I will no longer eat raw vegetables after this dreadful illness there are few foods that I can eat in a Moroccan restaurants with any assurance that there will be none of the ingredients that I can’t have. Many dishes have flour, sugar, grains, fruit and starches, all which I must avoid.

Continuing on through the narrow roads, we looked for any familiar landmarks that would assist us in our search for Le Jardin.

A few days ago, Tom suggested I write about food too much. I agree that it is a frequent topic of conversation.  But, let’s face it, people usually travel for a few reasons other than to “get away from it all.” They travel for the shopping, the sights and for the food and wine. 

We thought we were close when a few weeks ago, we’d spotted these same two kittens playing at perhaps the same spot.
Many of the homeless cats hang out in pairs.

When travelers board a long flight, one of their first questions asked is, “Do we get a meal?” One of the major reasons travelers enjoy cruising is for the food, the “all you can eat” aspect, with many courses with an endless array of desserts. When travelers arrive at a new location, they immediately get to work to find out where to eat using the Internet, the concierge or by inquiring to other travelers.

From time to time we’ll see what appears to be a traditional home furnishings shop. 

We live in a “food” orientated society. Our holidays and celebrations consist of big meals with many desserts.  Sporting events appeal to many for the food and drinks that seem to go along the frenzy. A trip to a movie theatre results in a desire for popcorn, candy and drinks. 

Ever go to Las Vegas and not discuss a plan as to where to have the biggest and best buffets, maybe “comped” if one is a serious gambler, or to immediately return to a favorite haunt for a special dish?  Its our nature.

If we go back to the caveman/cavewomen, most likely the first thing they thought about upon wakening, is where and how they’ll get their next meal. In the animal world, we observed both on safari and in living in Marloth Park, that animals lives revolve around the constant hunt or forage for food.

What an interesting door!

Its in our DNA whether its out of the need to feed our bodies or for sheer pleasure. We can’t help but think and talk of our desires for food in various the forms in which we’ve become familiar. A huge part of traveling is the excitement of seeking the new food experiences, the new flavors.

Here we are in Morocco, dealing with my major food restrictions (which I don’t resent at all) and Tom’s picky taste buds, in one  of the “foodie” capitals in the world! Food is a major point of discussion in our lives perhaps in a slightly different manner than for most travelers.

A few decisions have been determined by my recent illness coupled with Tom’s taste buds:
1.  No more dining in Moroccan restaurants
2.  All dining is to be in French, Italian or other suitable international restaurants
3.  When dining in, Madame Zahra will make all meals without the traditional Moroccan spices which at this point, neither of us cares to eat.

Finally, we spotted the green sign at the top of this photo, assuring us at long last, that we were heading in the right direction.

Our lifelong taste preferences can be changed for a few days or even a few weeks. But, none of us, prefer to eat the strong flavors of another culture’s food for months. For example, I love Szechuan Chinese food. Could I eat it everyday for over two months? No. Could one eat foods with Italian spices everyday unless  you were Italian, used to eating those flavors at each meal? No.

Ingrained in all of us, are the tastes most familiar in our lives and from our upbringing. Deviating for a period of time is acceptable but, not so much for the long term.  When Madame Zahra made our meal on Thursday without spices other than salt and pepper, we both moaned in appreciation not only for her fine cooking but for the familiarity of the simple flavors.

With French spoken in Morocco by many of its citizens and the fair number of French restaurants, we’ll have no difficulty finding French restaurants. The bigger problem is, “finding” those in the souk, many of which appear to be tucked away.

The fresh organic produce offered for sale at Le Jardin.

Yesterday, we decided to do a “repeat” and go back to Le Jardin, a French restaurant offering a combination of Moroccan and French influenced options. Having dined there recently, greatly enjoying the food and the ambiance, we decided to return. 

The first time we’d dined at Le Jardin, we stumbled across it during one of our many walks through the maze-like souks. We thought searching and finding it on one of the many online map programs would make returning a breeze. We encountered a few problems. 

They didn’t appear in any of the map programs. The map on their website was confusing and when I tried to call them to email directions, there was no answer. When I tried sending an email to their posted address, it was returned. We were on our own.

Today, we’ll return to the same general area to dine at this French restaurant we stumbled across when looking for Le Jardin.

Tom has the best sense of direction of anyone I’ve ever known. When we left there weeks ago, he had no trouble finding our way back to our home. Time having passed with many outings in the souks, he wasn’t 100% certain as to the course to take.

Needless to say, we wandered around the souks for 45 minutes until we found Le Jardin. We’ve discovered it makes no sense to ask shop workers for directions.  Invariably, the salesperson drags us inside their shop or to another shop, hoping we’ll make purchases.  We’ve learned that we must figure it out on our own. I suppose the shop workers have grown tired of giving directions to confused tourists.

Yesterday, we had another excellent meal while enjoying the birds and turtles roaming freely in the courtyard.  Hence, a few of today’s photos.

Here is one of the two resident turtles at Le Jardin. The staff carefully maneuvers past them when serving guests. It was hard to believe how fast these turtles move. They moved so quickly that I had a hard time taking the photo.  he turtles are on a constant “crumb patrol” mission.

Today, we’ll venture out again to a French restaurant we found along the way yesterday. Again, the souk will be packed with tourists especially as Spring Break becomes relevant in many parts of the world. However, we’ve yet had to wait for a table at any dining establishment.

At Le Jardin we were given two larger maps that hopefully will assist us in the future. The hostess, speaking excellent English, explained that tourists have trouble finding their restaurant which is tucked away at an unexpected location.

Madame Zahra made us this Moroccan spice-free meal which wasn’t bland at all with her use of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. From left to right, starting at the bread for Tom; sautéed carrots,  chips (fries) for Tom, egg battered sautéed cauliflower (my favorite), sautéed fresh green beans and fried mashed potato puffs for Tom. In the center is the rooftop grilled chicken with both white and dark meat which works well for us; Tom likes the white meat while I prefer the dark. As always, there is more food than we can eat. But, homemade Moroccan cooking consists of many items. 

In two days, on Monday, we’ll go out on a day of sightseeing which we both anticipate with enthusiasm, ending the day at a new-to-us, upscale French restaurant. See… even sightseeing is laced with concerns about FOOD.

US conveniences…More houseguests coming…More food photos…

Tom has been enjoying the food in the US. Look at his breakfast at Bob Evans yesterday morning! He was so full; he didn’t have dinner.

For some odd reason, I feel lazy today. Perhaps, it’s a result of a lack of sleep. I awoke at 3:15 am and had an awful time getting back to sleep. Finally, around 5:00 am, I dozed off for another hour, and that was it for the day. Once up, showered, and dressed for the day, we embarked on our usual walk. Upon our return, I worked on this post before I eventually made scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon for breakfast.

Now, I am sitting on the leather loveseat in the living room while Tom works on his computer on the matching leather sofa. It’s all very comfortable. The house is cool since the owner told us we could leave the central aircon running day and night. It is preset for days at 78° and 72° at night.

I forgot to tell the waitress to cook my omelet in butter instead of gobs of oil. I didn’t enjoy it.

These preset temps are perfect for us. As it heats up as the summer progresses, we may have to change it. But, for now, it’s working well. Also, there are ceiling fans in the bedroom and living room which, when added to the aircon, provide additional cooling.

It’s so easy here. The clothes dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and big TV in the living room, where we can stream shows from my laptop using our HDMI cord, make life convenient. Having a chest of drawers for each of us and a large walk-in closet is a bonus. It’s nice being able to hang all of our clothes in the roomy closet, whereas in the past, in many holiday homes, we had small closets with only enough room to hang jackets.

The drive to Colony Plaza was pleasant riding in the golf cart. It’s the closest shopping area to us and takes about 15 minutes.

Many holiday homes have “cubbies” to keep clothes, but they tend to get messy when digging through them looking for something specific. The abundance of electric outlets we can use with our digital equipment is also a huge plus. Most often, in other countries, we’re using converters and adapters.

It’s easy dining out. The US is familiar with keto diets, and they have several options on the menus that can work for me. Also, it’s easy in the grocery stores to find most products we use for my way of eating. Plus, the wine options are many, and now that I can drink regular wine, it’s easy to choose a favorite at each location.

We entered two tunnels via golf cart to Colony Plaza, where we dropped off the packet of documents for the passport agent to complete our file and went to breakfast.

Right now, I am thoroughly enjoying William Hill North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon. I am not experiencing any Afib issues drinking a maximum of two glasses on any evening when we’re out and about. Once I got off the allergy meds, I haven’t had any signs of Afib, which has been an enormous relief. I check my blood pressure every few days and can see my pulse on my Fitbit at any time. Whew!

We heard from friends Lea Ann and Chuck, whom we met on a cruise from Sydney to Seattle in 2017 and hit it off the moment we met. They own a home in Florida over five hours from here. They will be staying with us for one night on June 19. They’ve been traveling extensively since we met, and it will be fun to hear about their travels.

Tom and I laugh that riding in the golf carts is similar to driving those noisy cars at Disneyland and Disney World.

We’ve all agreed to go out to dinner when Lea Ann and Chuck arrive since going to one of the restaurants in the unique town squares will be fun. This way, I won’t have to cook a big meal but will make a dessert when we return to the house. It will be lovely, we’re sure, as it’s been with all of the other houseguests we’ve had so far.

Today, we’re working on projects on our laptops. With the house cleaned yesterday, it’s a breeze today. All we had to do was make the bed, cook breakfast, and clean up afterward. Later today, we’ll freshen up and get ready to go out tonight. We’re heading to Brownwood Paddock Square around 4:00 pm for drinks and dinner, returning to the house while it’s still light outside.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 2, 2013:

No photos were posted on this date ten years ago. At that point in time, we weren’t as diligent in posting photos as we are now. A post was uploaded on this date. In a short period, you’ll see more photos in this feature. Please click here.

Our last visit to Kruger National Park, this time around…

Finally, one of the hippos exited the Sabie River in Kruger National Park.

With time flying by quickly toward our departure date on April 29, and finally, with the holidaymakers gone and crowds thinning out, we decided to head to Kruger National Park today when we awoke to perfect weather. The sun was shining with a few clouds, low humidity, and no rain predicted.

By 8:30 am, we were out the door and on our way to the Crocodile Bridge entrance, an easy 20-minute drive. Since the school holidays had ended on Tuesday, we expected to see few vehicles in the park but were surprised by the number of vehicles accumulating whenever there was a sighting of any wildlife.

Hippos are always fun to watch, but waiting for that open-mouth shot can mean hours of waiting. Tom isn’t patient enough to wait for such an event.

Our expectations were low to avoid disappointment, and we were wise with that state of mind. We didn’t experience a single outrageously exciting sighting, but we were content with what we saw, taking photos of simple and familiar scenes we’ve encountered many times in the past.

However, the drive was lovely, and the breakfast at Mugg & Bean was predictable, with its usual less-than-stellar service. We each ordered omelets, and Tom had his usual strawberry shake with two pieces of white toast (his one slice plus mine), the thinnest slices of bread we’d ever seen, to which he added butter and strawberry jam. I had decaf coffee with real cream. Again, our expectations weren’t high, and we weren’t disappointed.

This fish eagle posed for this photo.

After breakfast, we headed to Sunset Dam, where we encountered a few good sightings but nothing spectacular. So please bear with our less-than-exciting photos of scenes along the way during the four hours we spent in Kruger National Park.

Back at the house by 1:00 pm, 1300 hrs., we had only a few tasks on hand for the remainder of the day. I’d already made tonight’s salad before we left the house and had defrosted tonight’s chicken in the refrigerator overnight. At dinnertime, I will cook the chicken, to which we’ll add the salad and Tom’s white rice. After dinner, we’ll have a piece of the keto strawberry cake I made yesterday, which was delightful.

We encountered several zebras on the move.

Besides making the rest of dinner, I only had to do today’s post and update our expense reports after uploading the post. This evening’s time on the veranda will be comfortable with the temperature so tolerable. This morning, Nina and Natalie stopped by before we left, but nowhere was Norman in sight. We haven’t seen him since last Friday, although we saw that many photos had been posted on Facebook with his image.

The holidaymakers were feeding him something extraordinary to keep him away from the mundane healthy vegetables, fruit, and pellets we offer. Hopefully, later today, he’ll stop by. Many other animals have visited in the past 24 hours as the holidaymakers left Marloth Park.

The first wildlife we spotted was a solitary giraffe hidden behind a bush.

I haven’t started packing yet, feeling I don’t need to start making a mess until next week, although I have been paying a lot of attention to our food supply and analyzing items we’ll take and other items we’ll leave behind. I could pack everything in one day if I had to, but I always like to prepare well before our departure date.

Next week, I will begin. Tom only needs to pack his clothes and the digital equipment, while I will figure out what to take and what to leave in the totes for our return in 14 months. I am not stressed by this at all. I never get stressed about packing and unpacking. My only concern is that we remain within the airlines’ weight restrictions on any particular flight.

More Kruger photos will follow in days to come. That’s it for today, folks.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 12, 2022:

They brought me this when I asked for some grilled fish for dinner on the cruise. Chef Gordon Ramsay would have been horrified if he had been served such a dish. For more photos, please click here.

Happy Easter to those who observe the holiday….Happy Passover… and other holidays celebrated worldwide…

Happy Easter to all of our family, readers, and friends worldwide who celebrate Easter.

After a hectic morning, cooking for tonight’s Easter dinner for the two of us, embarking on a longer walk than usual, and doing a few loads of laundry on an outrageously humid day, I have run out of steam, and it’s only noon as I write here now. It’s the humidity that’s gotten to me when today the temperature will be a high of 92F, 33, but the dew point will be a ridiculous 79. See the comment below from the National Weather Service:

  1. “What dew point is uncomfortable?
General comfort levels USING DEW POINT that can be expected during the summer months: less than or equal to 55: dry and comfortable. between 55 and 65: becoming “sticky” with muggy evenings. greater than or equal to 65: lots of moisture in the air, becoming oppressive.”

2. “How high can the dew point go?

The dew point can never be higher than the air temperature. Similarly, as the air temperature rises and/or the dew point drops, the relative humidity decreases because the air is getting farther away from saturation.”
3. “What dew point is it hard to breathe?
66-70 is uncomfortable. 71-75 is oppressive. Higher than 76 is miserable.”

Thus, even if the temperature isn’t high, the dew point can make us miserable, as indicated above. Today is one of those days, and my inclination is to hide away in the bedroom with the fan and aircon running. But I won’t. I’ll stay out here on the veranda, hoping some of our wildlife friends will stop by.

With the holidaymakers here for Easter weekend, many aren’t leaving until tomorrow or Tuesday, so we may not see them until then. Good grief, it’s been two days since we’ve seen Norman and his family, and I have two bowls of “Norman’s lunch” waiting for his arrival, staying cool in the refrigerator. Certainly, Nina and Natalie are partaking of treats offered by the holidaymakers, which may or may not be appropriate for their digestive tracts.

Some human food may result in severe illness or be fatal to some animals, and we fear this is happening whenever the park is as busy as it is right now. Visitors aren’t educated about the well-being of the animals, or they don’t care, which is insufferable. To think of one of these precious creatures dying in the bush after eating mealie (corn) or other grain products is heartbreaking.

As for today being Easter, we decided to stay home, away from the crowds, and maintain our lovely peaceful existence on one of those days we aren’t being social with anyone but one another.

When searching online this morning about Easter, I stumbled across this site which has 20 Easter Traditions Worldwide that you may enjoy, which are lighthearted and not necessarily religious for those who don’t celebrate. We posted the first five of the 20 below, but if they interest you, click here to see the balance from Woman’s Day Magazine. (Not our photos. Getty Images).

easter traditions eating ham and deviled eggs
Getty Images

1. “Eating Ham and Deviled Eggs

The Easter Bunny isn’t the only one with a thing for eggs. Many people in America sit down around a dinner table laden with holiday favorites like ham and deviled eggs, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

Ham became a popular dinner choice years ago, mainly by default, since the pigs that went to slaughter in the fall would’ve had plenty of time to cure over those long winter months, making them ready for eating just as spring rolled around.

Similarly, deviled eggs are a popular choice because of the way eggs are used symbolically throughout the holiday as a symbol of rebirth.

easter traditions wearing easter bonnets
Getty Images

2. Wearing Easter Bonnets

Another Easter tradition in America is the donning of the Easter bonnet. This fancy hat became a popular addition to Sunday church attire because it represents a commitment to renewal when paired with new Easter clothes.

These head coverings are loosely tied with the end of Lent when they would be purchased assumably after a period of frugal financing where such luxuries were typically not purchased.

They’re also a great Easter craft for kids who want to DIY their way to a new holiday hat. In fact, at the height of their popularity in the 1990s, department stores would often sell kits for children, who would then enter their hats into a contest.

hot cross buns 
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3. Dining on Hot Cross Buns

In New Zealand and parts of Australia, hot cross buns are more than just a tune you must learn as a kid; they’re an Easter favorite. The island countries enjoy eating these dense treats on Easter during their meteorological fall.

Once you know that Easter comes right before their winter, it makes more sense that they’d be drawn to this bit of comfort food over the holiday.

easter traditions orthodox easter eggs

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4. Dyeing Easter Eggs Red

In Greece, those who celebrate Easter through the Orthodox church forego the typical mix of colors when it comes time to dye eggs, instead focusing on a singular shade: red.

The crimson-hued eggs are doubly symbolic since they use the eggs to represent rebirth and the color red for Jesus’ blood, marking the triumphant return of the son of God.

People can get creative with their red eggs, creating different shades, intricate designs, and more.

easter traditions bonfire

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5. Starting a Bonfire

In some parts of Europe, people will celebrate Easter by striking a match. In Northwestern European communities, it’s common to kick off a two-day celebration that begins on Sunday by starting a bonfire.

These fires are aptly named Easter Fires and were initially set to help chase the darkness of winter away. Over the years, they’ve become a fun way for community members to come together and celebrate the coming spring.

We have to imagine that they’ve kept their popularity over the years thanks to being the first big gathering following weeks of winter solitude.”

Again, click here to see the remaining 15 traditions from this article.
We wish all of you a Happy Easter. Happy Passover and blessings for all holidays being celebrated right now throughout the world.
Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 9, 2022:

Our balcony cabin on Celebrity Silhouette while still in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more photos, please click here.

No food police for Tom in the USA…

Those spice drops and the black licorice would be those I liked the least. Then again, the others aren’t very appetizing.

It’s not that I give Tom dirty looks when he chooses to eat unhealthy foods. He knows how I feel, and he’s adopted some healthy eating habits over the years.

But, when certain foods he can’t find when we’re living in certain countries, he can’t resist buying some of his favorites, like donuts and candy, which is the case while he is in the US right now.

It’s not that he’s out dining in restaurants eating unhealthy foods. His choices mostly revolve around certain snack foods, including candy and donuts. Mainly, the meals he eats are relatively healthy and nutritious. Whatever he consumes in these ten days away won’t harm him in the long run. He takes no medications and has no dietary restrictions.

Norman continues to stop by several times a day. It was fun for my sundowner guests to see him.

During our first conversation after he arrived in Minnesota, he said he stopped at a Fleet Farm store, his favorite spot to buy candy, none of which ever appealed to me at any point in my life, including childhood.

He loves jelly-type candies (not gummy candies), which he hasn’t found anywhere in Africa. A trip to Fleet Farm, a farm and supply store in Minnesota, has always been his favorite place to go for the candies, as shown in today’s main photo.

It’s been wonderful talking to him. Hearing his voice over the phone is odd since we are always together. It reminds me of many years ago when we spoke on the phone before we lived together.

Many impalas have been visiting.

Everything is going as planned in Minnesota. The wake and funeral are over, and the burial at Fort Snelling has yet to be scheduled, as far as I know. If the burial occurs after Tom is supposed to leave, he won’t stay and will return to the bush as planned.

If I think about it, being alone in the bush is quite an adventure. There are snakes, spiders, scorpions, and countless insects surrounding us. Add the eight lions hunting in our area, along with leopards, hyenas, and other potentially dangerous wild animals in Marloth Park, and a person living alone could easily become frightened.

This impala, we call Chevy, is often here.

Oddly, I am not afraid. The only apprehension I may have is human intervention. Occasionally, there are break-ins, burglaries, and violent crimes in Marloth Park. Our alarm system is tied to a local alarm company only minutes from here, which gives me peace of mind, but I never leave doors unlocked and unattended, even when I go to the bathroom.

I keep the keyfob in my jeans pocket and can hit the panic button in seconds. Hopefully, the loud blaring alarm would keep any potential predators at bay. In any case, I spend no time worrying, instead focusing on safety measures, which Tom and I observe when we are together.

Norman makes close eye contact with me when he’s here.

Yesterday afternoon, Dawn, Leon, and Louise stopped by for sundowners. I appreciated the companionship, and the four of us had an excellent time together. It meant the world to me that they came to visit.

To my lover… enjoy your candy and your remaining time in Minnesota with family, and know that I am looking forward to seeing you in six days.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 9, 2022:

Rapids near the bridge at the Sabie River. For more photos, please click here.

Busy chopping and dicing for Monday’s guests…Ethnic foods in South Africa…

Such an unusual looking animal.

Ethnic food is not particularly popular in this part of the world. Locals like their Pap and Sheba (see a photo here), meat on the braai, and starchy sides. For dessert, they like malva pudding and Melktart (milk tart). For more on South African desserts, please click here. Based on my way of eating, none of these traditional foods fit my way of eating, other than sauce-free meat on the braai.

There are few options for ethnic specialties here in Marloth Park, although Giraffe Restaurant offers sushi, attracting many visitors, including locals and tourists. It’s not that South Africans don’t have a taste for ethnic foods. Mostly, they do, and they seem to love trying new dishes.

A few zebras and a few giraffes came to call.

But, for a restaurant to make a go of it in Marloth Park, local cuisine is the way to go. Otherwise, an ethnic restaurant would have a hard time being successful enough to survive. Thus, when I started shopping for ingredients to make Leon’s favorite Asian dishes, Sweet and Sour Pork and Fried Rice (with Spicy Prawns with Asparagus for Dawn and me). It was tricky finding the ingredients necessary to make these Asian dishes. I ended up placing an order with an online Asian grocer in South Africa.

In my old life, one of my favorite meals to make was what was then referred to as Chinese food. Politically correct or not, it is no longer called Chinese food but Asian food, although I doubt Chinese people have stopped calling it Chinese food, based on the names of restaurants we’ve seen throughout the world in bigger cities.

Zebras were eating the remnants of the last lucerne delivery

Asian food is quite popular in Cape Town.  According to TripAdvisor, there are 74 entries for Chinese restaurants. See here for details. Surely, tourists who visit the beautiful big city seek out all types of ethnics food. But it’s not the case here in sleepy little Marloth Park and nearby Komatipoort.

This morning, I decided to tackle the fried rice, having chosen to make a huge batch. This way, we’ll be able to give Leon and Dawn a good supply “to go” and we’ll freeze single portions for Tom. This way, when we braai, or make other dishes, we can take out one container at a time to accompany his dinner instead of his usual plain buttered white rice.

A baby zebra nibbling on lucerne while resting.

Tomorrow, I’ll start chopping and dicing for the two remaining dishes we’ll cook on Monday. Our guests are planning to arrive around noon so we can enjoy relaxing time on the veranda. With everything cut and ready to stir, preparing the two remaining dishes won’t take long.

Today, we received another bale of lucerne. We scheduled another bale for Monday morning so our friends can enjoy watching the animals with us. We’re hoping all of our favorites will stop by and say “hello.”

We always love it when giraffes stop by.

I am still holding my own with the headache and facial pain. On Thursday, I had the headache return for a few hours but went away on its own. The facial pain is almost completely gone. I am practically holding my breath in hopes the pain won’t return.

Last night, we had an enjoyable evening and dinner at Jabula, as surely we will again tonight, hanging out with Leon and Dawn and other patrons, laughing and telling stories. His attitude is amazing.

On the move…

We just finished making the fried rice and once it cools, we’ll place it in containers to serve and to freeze. After standing in the kitchen for several hours, I am ready to get off of my feet and take a little rest with the fan on. Although the temperature isn’t high today at 81F, and 28C, the humidity is outrageous, and the dew point is tropical once again.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more. Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 29, 2021:

We purchased these giant cabbages for the kudus, bushbucks, and duikers, which love cabbage, for about US $0.70, ZAR 10.69 each. We tear off the leaves, break them in half and toss them their way. For more photos, please click here.

Happy 4th of July weekend to all of our readers and friends in the USA!!!…Food photos…A kudu anomaly…

When we first noticed this bump on this Big Daddy kudu’s face, we thought it might be a clump of vegetation. Check out his tongue in anticipation of pellets.

Almost ten years later, we still haven’t forgotten how much fun the 4th of July celebrations were when we lived in the US. We always had plans, whether it was a party at our house or a party at the home of friends or family members. It was always a festive celebration.

But, upon further inspection, we realized it wasn’t something he picked up in the bush. It was some type of growth between his eyes.

Now, living this life on the move, except for being in Minnesota visiting family on a few occasions over the past years, we’ve spent the fourth in many different parts of the world, as shown below:

  1. Boveglio, Italy (2013)
  2. Madeira, Portugal (2014)
  3. Trinity Beach, Australia (2015)
  4. Singapore (2016)
  5. Minnesota, USA (2017)
  6. Marloth Park, South Africa (2018)
  7. Connemara, Ireland (2019)
  8. Mumbai, India (2020)
  9. Minnesota, USA (2021)
  10. Marloth Park, South Africa (2022)

In 2012, on the 4th of July, we were still in Minnesota preparing to leave on our years-long journey, departing on October 31. The only times we celebrated were in the US in 2017 and again last year, 2021, when we returned to the US to get vaccinated and stayed for one month. On both occasions, we spent the holiday at my son Greg’s home with his wife Camille and our three grandchildren, Maisie, Miles, and Madighan.

Was this a future unicorn, we asked, “tongue in cheek?”

This week on the 4th of July, on Monday, we’ll be enjoying our daily lives in the bush without fireworks, US flags, a flag cake, and a wide array of delicious barbecued meat and side dishes. Instead, we’ll cook some meat on the braai, a big salad, rice for Tom, and green vegetables. We’ll remember the occasion but won’t make a fuss celebrating it.

Tom reminded me that in 2018, we celebrated the 4th of July at dear friends Kathy and Don’s lovely home overlooking the Crocodile River. We had a fantastic time, as shown in these photos from that post, found here.  Tom and I were the least dressed up for the occasion, unaware that the other guests, none of whom were Americans, enjoyed dressing up.

Could he be growing a third horn?

Should we be fortunate enough to share such a particular date with them again, we’ll dress accordingly next time. We do hope that time will come again for all of us. So much has changed these past few years that it’s hard to predict if time and circumstances will allow for repeated memorable occasions.

Last night, we went to Jabula Lodge and Restaurant for dinner as we always do on Fridays and once again had a fantastic time, along with great drinks and consistently excellent food, as shown in the photos below:

Tom’s Chicken Schnitzel, mushroom gravy, chips (fries), and creamed spinach. As always, it was delicious.
My Grilled Garlic Chicken Breast, three eggs fried in butter and pumpkin mash. It couldn’t have been better.

Today, we’re busy around the house, doing laundry, prepping food for the next few days, and organizing cupboards and closets. Storage space is at a minimum on the main floor of this house so being organized is a must. We have plenty of room for our clothes and personal supplies, but the kitchen, although a pleasing design, is short on cabinet space.

There are no above-counter cabinets. But, the windows overlooking the garden are well worth it. Non-perishable food storage is at a premium, so I’ve been organizing and consolidating to take advantage of every space.

We’ll never know for sure, but we’ll keep an eye out for him and see what develops.

But, there’s nothing like standing in the kitchen, chopping and dicing, and watching our wildlife friends putter about the garden in search of tasty morsels. When I’m chopping vegetables, we can toss out treats they love. This morning bushbuck Lilly and her daughter Lilac were waiting for the scraps from carrots, cabbage, and celery. We couldn’t toss the scraps out there quickly enough.

Today, we’ll enjoy time on the veranda. It’s warmed up a bit today and we can be outdoors without sweatshirts. Right now, at 12:30 pm, it is 75F, 24C, a perfect day. Tonight it will be as low as 49F, 9 C. As we discussed last night at Jabula, we have never turned the heating element in the aircon units to warm the bedroom. We’d rather bundle up in warm clothes and use lots of blankets to stay warm at night.

No, we don’t pay for electricity. It’s included in our rent. But, our goal is always to use as few available services as possible to save our property owners/managers added costs and consider our desire to leave as little of a footprint wherever we may be. It’s a small sacrifice, but we are so grateful to live this life; it’s the least we can do. The WiFi service in the house is unlimited.

For our family, friends, and reader/friends in the US, have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July weekend, and everyone else…have a blissful weekend.

Photo from one year ago today, July 2, 2021:

Mongoose and kudus in the side garden,  munching on treats we tossed their way. For more, please click here.

An outpouring of love from around the world…

This has been the best test kit we’ve used. They retail for about $25 at most worldwide pharmacies. To perform the test, you download an app, Navica, to your phone and a live rep will walk you through the test to ensure it’s done correctly. DO NOT OPEN THE BOX PRIOR TO FACE-TIMING WITH THE REP OR THE KIT WILL BE INVALIDATED.

We cannot express our appreciation for the response and outpouring of love after the Garage Logic podcast last Friday and now continuing with well-wishes for Tom after his Covid pneumonia diagnosis described in yesterday’s post here.

We have been so fortunate to receive such positive feedback from our readers. There have been only a few occasions where a reader may send us the equivalent of “hater” emails about our travels and life events. Why read about our story or the stories of others if one finds the content objectionable in one way or another?

However, those scenarios are far and few between. Instead, as we enter one phase of our world travels to another, many loyal readers write to us expressing their concern and prayers for our well-being. At times, there are more email messages than we can respond to.  We try to respond to each one, but we sincerely apologize if we’ve missed you.

With little else to do, we’ve been able to stay on top of it. But, now, with Tom’s busy medication schedule, it may become more difficult. On the free family calendar app we both use, Cozi Calendar, which may be found here, today I entered ten events regarding Tom’s medication dosing schedule, starting at 8:00 am and ending at 10:00 pm.

I am so grateful that I am feeling so much better. My only symptoms now are a loose cough, an occasional headache, and a stuffy nose from time to time. My energy level has returned, and I no longer feel tired and lethargic. Hopefully, Tom will reach this state of improvement soon. We both continue to test negative.

Today, we have to go out to get food for dinner. The Cub Foods, less than a mile away, has some chicken wild rice soup Tom finds he can eat. Otherwise, he has had little interest in food. I’ll find something for my dinner in the market as well. I don’t feel like cooking in the small kitchen, but surely, I’ll find something easy to put together.

Our grandson Miles is still testing positive for Covid. Next Sunday, we are scheduled to leave Minneapolis only five days from today. We have no idea if we’ll be able to see any of our family members before we depart Minnesota or if we’ll be able to see our son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, where we will be for one more week until we leave for South Africa on May 22nd.

It will be good to be back in South Africa in two weeks. Our new house will be ready for us, which we know Louise will have “perfect,” awaiting our arrival. She’s insisted on grocery shopping for us. How much of a list we’ll make is based on how Tom feels in two weeks. If he’s well, we’ll only ask Louise to get enough groceries to last for a few days, longer if necessary. If he’s better, we can head to Komatipoort to grocery shop.

We’d like to have Dr. Theo check us both after this big ordeal with Covid. His office is down the road from the Spar Market, and we’ll schedule appointments to coincide with our shopping trip. It will be lovely to get back into our usual routine of wildlife watching, taking photos, cooking fabulous meals on the braai, and eventually, socializing.

We’re looking forward to feeling well enough to sit on the veranda, sipping on sundowners, and watching “visitors” stop by to see if pellets are on the happy hour menu. Most assuredly, they will be.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 10, 2021:

Seeing the porcupines on the trail cam gives us a strong incentive to continue to check out the garden at night. For more photos, please click here.