Part 3…Photos and info about our temporary home in The Villages, Florida….Easy living in the US compared to life in many other countries…

The comfortable leather furniture in the lounge area. The house isn’t huge but has everything we could possibly need.

Finally, I am starting to feel better. Only out of the hospital for eight days, during which I didn’t sleep more than a few hours each day with all the noise and interruptions in ICU, and then the 35 hours journey, only four days later, I was exhausted. Last night, I slept through the night and feel much better today.

My Fitbit showed I slept straight through the night for eight hours and nine minutes, and I feel like a new person today. Then, of course, the Afib bout on the plane set me back after the six-hour ordeal. Since we arrived here four days ago, and after unpacking, organizing, grocery shopping, cooking meals, and doing the daily posts, I was wiped out by yesterday afternoon. I fell asleep several times during the day and evening.

The computer station is located in the third bedroom. The thoughtful owner has ordered a new computer which will be delivered and installed next Tuesday. That works for us! The computer wasn’t working for us to print documents.

Waking up today, I felt like a new person. As soon as I was showered and dressed, I asked Tom if he was up to going for a walk, and he was happy to do so. We were out the door in minutes for easy walking on the smooth pavement to the end of the road and then turning around. It wasn’t very far, but the round trip was a start as we’ll continue to walk each day.

When we returned, we made coffee and sat at the table on the lanai while planning the food for the arrival of friends Karen and Rich, who’ll be here next Friday. We plan to make a few Chinese stir-fry dishes which is an easy meal to make once all the chopping and dicing is done.

The third bedroom is set up as a den with a pull-out sofa and is where we store our empty luggage.

We must purchase groceries online in the future, as is the case for many residents. The golf carts don’t hold much, as mentioned, plus it’s a lot easier to have groceries delivered to the house than the time-consuming grocery shopping process.

We’d used Instacart a few days ago, but the shipping and delivery fees were high and didn’t make sense to us. Instead, we found Kroger with a monthly cost of $7.95 instead of over $30 in fees for Instacart plus a required $95 a-year membership. Plus, the first 30 days at Kroger are free.

The second bedroom is where our guests will stay. The full bathroom is only a few steps outside the bedroom door.

Result? We’ll pay Kroger a total of $15.90 in delivery fees for the remaining almost two months we’ll be here. This made sense to us. Plus, the prices at Kroger seemed lower than those we paid for Publix grocery delivery when many prices were marked up for delivery purposes.

We’ll plan to socialize and get out for dinner tomorrow and Saturday. Once our friends Karen and Rich leave, we’ll begin contacting the many people who contacted us that would like to meet us. Then, our even more active social life will begin. Surely, we’ll enjoy it.

Also, we’re especially enjoying all the conveniences we’re experiencing now. Not only is this house more well-equipped than any holiday home we’ve rented, but the simple convenience of temperature control during the day and night, throughout the house, the tap water we can drink, the massive inventory of household products available for our use and being able to watch local news are delightful.

The view from the entry to the kitchen and lounge. It’s all the room we need.

In holiday homes throughout the world, we never turn on the TV. But here, it’s fun to flick through channels and see what we’d like to watch while we’re busy working on our laptops. The WiFi is steady, the power stays on, and the weather is perfect. We spend several hours a day on the lanai, enjoying the nesting birds who’ve found a home in the perfectly trimmed bushes and shrubs.

No, there are no animals around. Today is trash pickup day, when all the residents leave their large, sturdy garbage bags at the end of their driveway. When we walked this morning, seeing all the garbage bags in driveways, we couldn’t believe that no animals would get into the bags. But, not a single bag had been ransacked for its contents. How unusual this is to us!

None of these differences encourage us to rethink our plans to visit remote locations and countries with fewer conveniences than we’re experiencing here. We didn’t plan our world travels under the premise that life would be easy. We planned to explore new horizons, which we hope to continue in times to come.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 4, 2013:

Palais de Longchamp in Marseilles, France, is not a palace but a tribute to the importance of the water supply in Marseilles. Please click here for historical significance. For more photos, please click here.

Change in a feature on our site starts today…Fun photos from the garden…Busy Sunday…

Zoom in to see this bushbuck, closest to the tree, jump in the air when she was startled by the new baby duiker, an offspring of Delilah and Derek, whom we’ve named Damian.

After years of posting “Photo from one year ago today….” beginning on March 24, 2014 (see the original post here), shown at the bottom of each post, we’ve decided to change that feature. We are changing that feature to the following: “Photo from ten years ago today…

Making this change may add a new perspective for new readers and also long-term readers who do not readily recall so long ago, just like us, when we may have to look up past posts to remember where we’ve been and what we’ve done during a specific period. Our neatly arranged archives at the right side of the page make this possible with a particular date or period in mind.

There’s our boy Norman back from a week’s hiatus to enjoy the holidaymaker’s food. Good to see you, Norman!

Tom has an extraordinary recall of long-ago events, almost to the day, whereby I recall names of people, places, and expenses back to the beginning. Between us, we can remember nearly all of our 10½ years of world travel. For our readers who may or may not have been following along for extended periods, this may help you reference places we’ve been that may appeal to your objectives for future travel.

Also, we must admit, it’s fun for us to look back day after day, ten years ago, as to what we were doing at the time. Have we changed our goals and objectives? How much have we adapted? Do we handle hurdles and challenges with more aplomb than we did in the past? It will be interesting for us to see as well.

Nina and Natalie continued to visit while Norman was away, but it was nice to see the family reunited.

This morning, we didn’t go for our usual walk. My legs felt heavy after a poor night’s sleep, and navigating all those rocks on the roads just didn’t motivate me today. I felt a little guilty not going but decided to do the walking in the house, ensuring I get in enough steps with so many tasks on hand today, such as three loads of laundry, dinner to make for two nights, some organizing in cupboards with packing in mind and so forth.

Today, it’s a pleasant enough day with lower humidity and tolerable heat. We had a rash of visitors this morning, but now, close to noon, it’s quiet again, as it often is mid-day when the animals find shady spots to hide from the scorching sun. Then, later in the day, as it cools down, they start coming by again, and we cherish every moment when they do.

We do not doubt our minds that Natalie is a girl. As she matures, she looks more and more like her mom Nina.

Last night, we had another fantastic evening at Jabula. We met a lovely new couple on my side, and Tom spoke to a friendly new local on his side as we sat at our usual center spots at the bar where Dawn and David always put up a “reserved” sign for us. We always appreciate this special attention, but customers occasionally come to drink earlier in the day and are still there when we arrive. In those cases, we take whatever other barstools are available and move over when the others leave.

Our dinners were delicious, as usual. Tom had the filet with mashed potatoes and gravy, and creamed spinach. I had the grilled chicken salad, which I have enjoyed each time over the past few months. The salad is so packed with fresh veggies and chicken that I don’t need salad dressing.

Is Norman considering mating with Nina again now that Natalie is growing up quickly?

On the side, l have an order of steamed vegetables, including cabbage, green beans, and spinach. It’s all such a treat. I could easily make such a meal for myself, but somehow it tastes best when someone else does the cooking. We enjoy eating out twice a week and will continue to do so at The Villages.

We worked on our budget for our upcoming time at The Villages in Florida. With the high costs of food at restaurants in the US, with expected 20% tips and taxes, we are budgeting US $200, ZAR 3604, per week for meals out. With over 100 restaurants in the complex, trying new establishments each time will be fun. But we all know how that goes. We’ll find a social place we love with good food and go there most often. For us, socialization is more important than food. How we eat fresh, properly cooked, and seasoned food easily pleases our palates.

Bossy and some family members visit daily. Danie says kudus are like big pigs; they eat constantly and will eat anything. We’ve seen them take a few nibbles of the mongoose’s paloney when we set it out for them.

There are numerous options in each category. However, I am looking forward to visiting a few Mexican restaurants, while Tom particularly enjoys Chinese restaurants. Also, Tom, who doesn’t care for fish, will be happy for us to go to several seafood establishments, many of which are in the area. He eats some shellfish, and, after all, we’ll be in Florida, where fish and seafood are plentiful, if not pricey.

I’m off to get the last load of laundry out of the washer to hang on the outdoor rack. The sun has popped out in the past 20 minutes, so I’m hoping everything will dry before the end of the day. Often, with the high humidity, Tom has to haul the rack indoors when little is dry after a full day outdoors. It will be weird that soon I’ll have an indoor clothes dryer, although I’ll continue to dry some delicate items outdoors to ensure they last longer.

That’s it for today, folks. You all mean the world to us!!! Thanks for following along with us.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 16, 2013:

This platter of fresh meats and lobster tail was presented to us on the Carnival Liberty before we made our menu selections. The entire dinner was a fixed price enabling us to choose any items on the menu. For more photos, please click here.

A huge savings after a phone call…Well worth the hour-long phone call…

Many mongooses stopped by for the new roll of paloney we purchased yesterday.

When Tom saw a mention on that our upcoming Azamara cruise on August 1, 2023, had a price reduction, he was determined to see if we could make use of the promotion. On September 3, 2021, we booked the cruise and wrote about it in detail in this post.

We were excited about this cruise since we’ve longed to go to Norway for the longest time, but all the cruises were so expensive we hesitated to book this 600-passenger Azamara cruise. At the time, while we were here in Marloth Park, we hoped this smaller ship would be less likely to have as many cases of Covid-19 by the time it sailed.

At the time of the booking, neither of us had tested positive for Covid-19, and we’d hoped we’d never would. As it turned out, as most of our readers know, we were infected on the Celebrity Silhouette, with 2886 passengers, hundreds of which became infected with Omicron during the cruise.

It was a tough time for both of us when we became ill for many months. Tom got Covid pneumonia, and I got long-haul Covid sinus issues that still linger today, ten months later, although it has improved considerably in the past two months. You’d think we’d be gun-shy about sailing again, but we are still traveling the world, and for us, part of that experience is sailing on cruise ships and other vessels.

Zebras come to call.

We, like many others, have decided to move on with our lives, whether we’re traveling or not. We can’t remain entrapped in fear and apprehension over getting infected, now three years after the onset of the pandemic. Gosh, it was about this time, three years ago, that our private tour of India was fast coming to a close due to sightseeing venues rapidly shutting down, and only days later, our ten-month stint in lockdown in a Mumbai hotel room began.

Well, at least the cruise to Norway didn’t get canceled, as with many previously booked cruises. We’ve been excited to embark on this itinerary which we’ll share again when we set sail on August 1, 2023, less than six months from now. Or, if interested, you can click on the above link, here again to see the full itinerary.

As mentioned in that post, the total cost for the cruise for the two of us was listed as follows:

“The total cost of this cruise for the two of us is US $16,275, ZAR 234,559 (based on today’s value of the rand). The cruise includes an upgraded balcony cabin on the Azamara Journey, tips, drinks, and WiFi for one device. Once we board, we’ll pay for WiFi for a second device. Shore excursions are extra.”

Over the past year or so since we booked this cruise, there have been several price drops. In each case, Tom has called Costco Travel, which always requires over an hour on hold, but he was able to get the price dropped each time. Through his determination and patience, the price has decreased considerably.

Stopping for a drink from the pool.

On Saturday, Tom discovered another price drop, but based on the time difference and Costco’s hours of operation, he didn’t call to request the new lower price until Monday afternoon, when he knew Costco and Azamara’s offices would both be open. In each case, the rep from Costco has to call the cruise line to provide us with a lower price.

I should mention, as I have previously, that these price reductions are not automatic. It is up to the passengers to keep checking prices and promotions and inform their cruise booking service that they’d like to take advantage of a lowered price, added perks, or upgrades. Tom is diligent in keeping track of possible changes, saving us thousands of dollars over the years.

Then, of course, we had multiple credits from cruises Azamara canceled due to the pandemic, which we rolled forward to future cruises. But, for today’s sake, I am only getting into the difference from the original price to the new reductions that occurred in the past 18 months.

So here are the totals for two passengers in a balcony cabin

Original Price: US $16,275, ZAR 234,559

New Price:      US $7,522.62, ZAR 137025.36

As it turns out, the accumulated credits leave us with a credit balance, which the cruise line is applying back to our credit card on file. We owe nothing when the final payment is due on March 20, 2023. This gives us peace of mind after losing quite a bit over the Seychelles fiasco.

Here are some of the perks we’ll receive on this cruise:

  $450 Costco Shop Card Costco Shop Card
  Azamara’s Sale $250 per person Shipboard Credit
  Azamara’s Early Booking $150 per person Shipboard Credit
 ***The amenities included above (including shipboard credit or Costco Shop Card) are assigned to this booking as of (02/13/2023). Any changes to price, cabin, category, sailing date, promo, etc., may result in a change of amenities.***
We’ll use US $800, ZAR 14382.10, and shipboard credits toward WiFI fees. A basic drink package and tips are included in the cruise fare. We’ll pay extra for any shore excursions, but often we choose to go on private, small-group tours arranged with other passengers to travel on vans, instead of the 40-passenger bus experience, which we don’t care to do.
That’s it for today, folks.
Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 15, 2022:

This is a Thick Neck. He hasn’t been coming around as much as he did before Gordy claimed his territory. We can distinguish Gordy and Thick Neck from TN’s thicker neck and Adam’s Apple on his throat. Zoom in to see this anomaly. For more photos, please click here.

Raining in buckets for over 48 hours…Crocodile Bridge flooded over…Roads closed…Hazardous driving…

Note: None of today’s photos of flooding are ours.

With over 229 mm, 9 inches, of rain in Marloth Park in the past 48 hours, it’s safer if we don’t go out. Many roads are impassable and closed, including the roads to Komatipoort and the road into Kruger National Park at the Crocodile Bridge, which according to reports, is entirely underwater.

The Crocodile River is flooding its banks, leaving many animals in distress. There were warnings this morning for those in Marloth Park to stay away from river roads and the fence between Marloth and Kruger, where many animals are trapped. Humans are warned to stay away to avoid stressing wildlife even more than they already are in dire situations.

Following is this article about the flooding, including photos of the Crocodile Bridge as shown below:

Hundreds of tourists in various camps in Kruger National Park won’t be able to leave, regardless of their travel plans. They won’t be able to go on game drives, use WiFi with numerous outages, and basically will be stuck in their tents or sitting around, only entertained by the companionship of others in the same situation. Unfortunately, wildlife sightings are limited in inclement weather such as this.

Most guests will start sundowners earlier in the day while commiserating over their plight. We feel lucky to be at our lovely bush house, undercover on the veranda’s roof, or safe indoors from any potential leaking. Many homes have thatched roofs, which are known to leak during storms such as this. We had a little water on the floor in the bathroom, but that’s it so far. Vusi mopped it up this morning, and it doesn’t seem to be leaking now.

Our WiFi is working, and of course, we have power, although load shedding continues today. It could be days before we can head to Komatipoort to shop. Instead, we’ve decided to get whatever we need from the little local shops for the next few days, but we won’t be venturing out today with the flooded potholes on the dirt roads.

According to the weather report, the rain may continue for days. Hopefully, by tomorrow evening, we’ll be able to make our way to Jabula for dinner. This is entirely predicated on how much more rain we have in the next 24 hours and how the roads are in Marloth Park.

We’ll be back tomorrow with updates on the floods and how we’re all holding up in Marloth Park and other nearby areas.

Be well.

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

On average, dung beetles can handle a dung ball 50 times their weight. For more photos, please click here.

Aren’t we “The Traveling Lymans?”…Yes! We still are!!!…Photos from five years ago today…

At lunch today, one of the chefs was preparing a beef and vegetable stir-fry outdoors. We all partook in the delicious offerings! It was a fantastic lunch! See the post here.

Every weekday Tom sends an article to the podcast Garage Logic, and they always mention Tom’s name. Joy Soucheray, the show’s main host, always refers to us as “The Traveling Lymans” with the link to our site. Tom has been sending in an article entitled, On This Date in Minnesota History,” which they share with their audience daily. Note; We were guests on the podcast on May 7, 2022. Please click here for the show.

One of their listeners recently wrote to the show and said, “The Lymans aren’t traveling. They’ve been in that one place (in Africa) for a long time.”

Joe chuckled and suggested they look at our site. We may have been staying in Africa for some time, but we have traveled worldwide. Thanks, Joe, for clarifying this with your listener.

It’s heartwarming to see how close they hang to one another. See the post here.


Yes, we have “stayed put” quite a bit over the past two years since we arrived here in January 2021, after ten months in lockdown in a hotel room in Mumbai, India, due to the pandemic, when Tom first began sending Joe the article five days a week.

If we look back over the past two years, we have traveled, just not as much as usual, mainly due to conditions worldwide which impacted our travel plans on several occasions. Here’s what we’d planned, many of which were changed or canceled beyond our control due to Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, and other reasons:

2020: Canceled cruise by the cruise line due to Covid-19, for 28 nights from Mumbai to London via the Suez Canal and the Meditteranean.

2020: Canceled by cruise line; 22-night cruise from Lisbon to Capetown along the west coast of Africa. We rebooked the cruise for 2021, but the cruise line changed the number of days and the itinerary and eventually canceled that cruise.

2021: Ten days before our departure for an extensive tour of Kenya, their borders were closed, and we had to cancel all of our plans, struggling to get our money back, which we eventually recovered.

Macaroni Penguins in Stromness, South Georgia, are known for the pasta-like plumage atop their heads. See the post here.


2021: Left for the US since we couldn’t get a Covid-19 vaccination in South Africa, which was only offered to citizens at the time.

2021: Traveled to Zambia and Botswana for a visa stamp and more safaris

2022: Canceled booked plans to attend friends Karen and Rich’s wedding in Florida but canceled due to an increase of Omicron in South Africa with concerns over us infecting them and wedding guests

2022: Traveled to Florida to embark on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton but got Covid-19; during the last two days of the cruise, required we quarantine on the ship and then again while we stayed in Southampton.

2022: Canceled cruise from Southampton to New York due to still testing positive for Covid-19.

2022: Once we tested negative, we booked a driver for a two-hour road trip from Southampton to Gatwick to board a new flight to Reykjavik, then on to Minnesota.

2022: Two cruise itineraries were significantly changed, which were scheduled to sail to the Black Sea, Russia, and Ukraine when the war broke out. We canceled the cruises when the cruise line didn’t lower their prices for the new, less costly itineraries to locations we’d already traveled to on past cruises.

2022: Traveled to Zambia and Botswana for a visa stamp and more safaris

2022: We had to cancel three back-to-back cruises booked for 42 nights, which due to new Covid restrictions, required applying for visas for some of the countries on the itinerary. These visa applications would require us to send our passports to the appropriate embassies, leaving us in South Africa for over a month without our passports in hand. This was too risky in light of unforeseen events that may require us to leave South Africa in a hurry. Also, many venues in South Africa require us to show our passports. What if a war broke out here, and we couldn’t leave?

2022: Three cruises scheduled for 2022 were canceled by the cruise lines due to Covid-19, sailing for 14 nights from Singapore with multiple Asia ports of call, ending up in Tokyo. We were scheduled to stay in Japan for two weeks to tour the country, followed by two more cruises; a 14-night cruise circumnavigating Japan (canceled by the cruise line due to Covid-19), scheduled for a stop on the east coast of Russia) and a 12-night cruise from Japan to Vancouver.

2022: We missed our booked cruise to Seychelles due to the failure of the Seychelles government to approve our entry applications in time to board the plane, in part our fault for not applying earlier and, in part theirs. We had 24 hours to leave South Africa due to our visas expiring. We missed the expensive cruise and lost our money.

2022: We flew to the US, our luggage was lost in Joburg, and we arrived in Minneapolis in snowy weather with no clothes, shoes, jackets, and only the clothes on our backs. Had to go shopping after no sleep during the 53-hour travel period.

2022: In December, we flew back to South Africa to our holiday home, knowing our newly stamped 90-day visas would run out on March 9. We had no interest in traveling back to the US or another distant country to acquire a new stamp. Currently working with a law firm in Cape Town, applying for a new 90-day extension which will end in June.

2023: In June, 4½ months from now, we are leaving South Africa for over a year to travel to the US to apply for new driver’s licenses in Nevada and visit family in Nevada and Minnesota. From there, we are traveling to South America for several exciting adventures.

The landscape is littered with remnants of the whaling history in the area. See the post here.

Commenters may say, “You aren’t “The Traveling Lymans” anymore. But we beg to differ. We still are…in our hearts…in our minds…and in reality and practical application.

On top of all of that, we lost thousands of dollars that were beyond our control. Is it any wonder we haven’t booked much lately? Nor have we been willing to book trips and cruises far in advance. It’s been a relief to spend time in the bush while we frequently try to figure out our next move.

This is one of the disinfecting solutions we must use to clean our ship-provided rubber boots to clean off any debris that may contaminate other areas. We also use rectangular buckets with long handles and scrub brushes to scrub the boots before walking through this solution. Tom continually cleans my boots for me. See the post here.

No, we have no regrets. Sure, as one reader wrote, we could buy an RV and travel the US without these hassles or settle somewhere and learn to be content with that lifestyle. But that’s not us. As we sit here this morning, surrounded by wildlife on a slightly cooler day after a fantastic breakfast on the veranda, we are grateful with our hearts full of memorable experiences that we’ve documented and shared with all of you.

After dropping us off back at the ship, a Zodiac boat heads out to collect more passengers after the expedition ends. See the post here.


Please enjoy today’s photos from five years ago to the day while we were in Antarctica. Life is full. Life is rich, and life continues to be an adventure.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 29, 2022:

Hal has been stopping by each day. Now, we see less of Broken Horn. Could Hal have scared him off and claimed his territory? Only time will tell. For more photos, please click here.

One last shopping trip…Why can’t we find this item?…Received all of our items from Amazon but one…

Penguin statue on the beach made of a penguin dressed in Christmas clothes and various locally inspired pins and decorations. From our post here on December 6, 2016, while living in Penguin, Tasmania, one of Tom’s favorite places in the world.

With Christmas shopping evident in every store we visited, we thought we’d better hurry and buy the one piece of luggage we needed to pack the clothing we purchased while here in Minnesota after having our bags lost from the fiasco we experienced on November 24, explained in detail in Part 1 this post and Part 2 in this post.

There was no way we’d get a big enough bag for under $100, so we headed to TJ Maxx in Bloomington, where they have quality brand-name luggage at reasonable prices. We also needed to buy a luggage tag when they are rarely included with the purchase of a bag.

We lucked out and found the perfect large suitcase in an obvious color and design that may prevent thieves from taking off with it. As I packed it, I wondered if we’d ever get this bag when we’ll arrive at Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger airport on Saturday, let alone our two missing bags from the fiasco on November 24.

This morning we packed the bag, and my carry-on bag, only leaving out clothes and shoes for tomorrow’s departure and toiletries in travel-approved sizes. This time, I packed pajamas and clean underwear in the same carry-on bag since we knew we would spend one night in the City Lodge airport hotel in Joburg to avoid driving in the dark to Marloth Park from Nelspruit on the dangerous N4 highway.

Everything we’d purchased easily fit into the suitcase and I have no doubt we’ll be within the weight limits. This time, we don’t have the portable scale to ensure that fact but based on the contents, I feel confident it will be fine.

The following day, on Saturday, we’ll fly to Nelspruit, collect the rental car at the airport and commence the 90-minute drive to Marloth Park, arriving around 2:00 or 3:00 pm. We’ll stop at Louise’s Marloth Park Info Centre to pick up the house key we left with her and then drive down the dirt road to our holiday house.

If we’re up to it, we’ll go to Jabula for dinner since we won’t have anything defrosted to make for dinner. Of course, with all the Stage 6 load shedding over the past several days, all of our meat in the freezer could have gone bad. Stage 6 is as follows:

  • 5:00 am to 9:30 am (4.5 hours)
  • 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm (4.5 hours)
  • 9:00 pm to 11:30 pm (2.5 hours)

This is a total of 11.5 hours without electricity in 24 hours. Also, there are severe issues with the reservoir based on chronic power outages. We may not have any water when arriving since our JoJo tank doesn’t pump water when the power is out for extended periods.

Oh well, TIA, “This is Africa,” and that is what we expect upon returning after two weeks away. The temperature will be tolerable at a high of 94F, 34C, and increasing in days to come. At least we have the inverter to run to the bedroom’s fan and lamp and the WiFi router. When we cook by Sunday, we can use the gas burners on the stove, lighting it with a lighter, and also use of the braai on the veranda.

We likely won’t grocery shop until next week after we access the power situation to determine what perishables will survive these long load-shedding periods.

Although two male lions were darted in Marloth Park a few weeks ago and moved to Kruger National Park, two females and cubs have been sighted in the park in the past few days. Warnings continue for diligence and caution when outdoors, walking to and from vehicles, and walking and biking only in daylight hours with added attention to one’s surroundings.

Juan, the snake handler we use, has issued warnings that many snakes have come out of hiding over the cooler winter months and to exercise extreme caution outdoors and indoors. Snakes often enter houses during the warm spring and summer months through open doors and thatch roofs, both of which we have.

Nonetheless, we are excited to return to the bush to see our animal and human friends and return to the lifestyle we so much cherish living in the bush.

On another note, we have been searching for thick neoprene Koozies to hold cold canned beverages and glasses. With the heat and humidity in MP. Koozies are an ideal solution to avoid cans and glasses sweating and drinks getting warm on hot and humid days and nights. The mistake we made was not ordering them from Amazon in time for delivery to our hotel.

We searched far and wide to find these neoprene thick-walled Koozies. Most likely, winter-time in Minnesota is not the best time to find these for sale.

We stopped at several stores in the past few days, hoping to find them. We couldn’t find them anywhere, and finally, we gave up trying. They do not sell thick-walled models in South Africa. We’ve searched everywhere online to no avail. And Amazon can’t send us items to South Africa due to high shipping costs and customs issues. It would take months for us to receive them. We’ll be returning to Minnesota next September and buying them at that time.

So that’s it, folks. We’ll do a short post tomorrow, and then we may not post again until Sunday since Saturday will be a hectic day. But, as always, we shall see how it goes, and if we can post sooner, we will. Often, I write the post on my phone on the plane and can complete it on the long drive back to Marloth Park. Thus, Saturday is a possibility.

We hope all of our readers/friends are enjoying preparations for the holiday season. Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 7, 2021:

Zoom in to note the difference in size between this massive elephant and the nearby male impala. For more photos, please click here.

Four days and counting…Saving more money on future cruises…Blood on the veranda…What could that be?…

We were shocked to see the blood on the veranda, but there was no evidence of its source.

We had a busy morning. We rushed off to the doctor at 9:15 am to get a few more prescriptions. This will be my third round of antibiotics for the acute sinusitis I got when I had Covid-19 in April. The other medications I am currently on have been adjusted, lowering some doses, and adding a nebulizer treatment. I tried to avoid taking more antibiotics but this needs to go away once and for all.

Once back at the house, Zef was here cleaning and changing the linen. There was a problem with the bathroom sink over the weekend and it was tricky trying to do six nasal flushing treatments a day in the bathroom sink when we knew it wouldn’t get fixed until Monday. We didn’t tell Louise about it until this morning since we didn’t want to disturb their short holiday in Mozambique. over the weekend.

We put a large bowl in the bathroom sink and used that each time I did the nasal treatments or washed our hands, dumping the water onto the shower floor and rinsing the bowl each time. That worked. TIA. This is Africa. Stuff happens. Then again, stuff happens wherever we’ve lived in the world, including back in the USA.

When Tom stepped onto the veranda this morning, he spotted this trail of blood with no indication of its source. There are a few leaves in the center but aren’t of importance.

The extra refrigerator we use that’s on the veranda died over the weekend. We emptied everything out and moved the items to the main refrigerator in the kitchen. I’m sure while we’re gone, Louise will arrange to have the refrigerator repaired since we use it often, especially when doing a two-week grocery run or having guests.

Tom is currently on his way to Komatipoort to get my prescriptions filled so we’ll be good to go on Thursday. Fortunately, he was willing to drive up and back on his own as he’d done last Friday for the same purpose. This enabled me to work on some projects around the house; folding laundry, prepping for dinner, and writing a schedule for all of the medications which require my attention every two hours.

I contacted Louise to send the link for our next three months’ rent due at the end of this month and immediately paid that, taking one more item off of the “to-do” list. Yesterday, I set up bill pay for upcoming credit card payments due in December in the event we have poor WiFi on the ship which we’re expecting. We entirely pay off our credit card balances each month unless we’ve charged a huge amount for a pricey cruise or trip, which we’ll pay over two months.

The animal (or human, for that matter) walked along the side of the house where the blood droplets continued.

Speaking of money, Tom discovered another price drop, a Black Friday special, on Cruise Critic, for our upcoming cruise next August. He called Costco Travel that evening and we received another price reduction of US $1100, ZAR 19175…plus an additional US $1000, ZAR 17432, cabin credit which added to our existing US $300 cabin credit, ZAR 5227 for a total of US $1300, ZAR 222652, that we can use for purchases of drinks, WiFi or purchases in the shops which are always fun for me when we have unused cabin credit. The cruise lines do not refund leftover cabin credit.

Our total benefit for that one call to Costco on November 18, resulted in us saving US $2100, ZAR 36588, less the reduction on the complimentary Costco gift card, which we can’t use until we get back to the states. The last such gift card we had, we used toward the purchase of this new Lenovo Windows 11 Ideapad Flex 5 which I am very happy with. Using a Chromebook, for all we do wasn’t ideal for me but works well for Tom.

A hornbill stopping by for some birdseed we place on the bushbaby ledge.

Of course, this price reduction reduced the amount of the gift card Costco provides for booking travel with them. Originally, before all the price reductions we’ve got on this cruise with credits for canceled cruises and price drops, we only owe US $2996, ZAR 52161 as compared to our original price for that cruise US $16275, ZAR 2834406.

It’s imperative that we stay on top of all of these posted price reductions. The cruise seller/agents don’t watch for the price drops on cruises. It’s up to us to keep an eye out and then ask for the benefit of the reductions and perks.

Earl stopped by last night for some pellets on the bench which he prefers to eating off of the ground.

This upcoming cruise in Seychelles didn’t offer any price reductions or perks. Once we set sail or at the end of the cruise, we’ll be posting the cruise fare and added expenses.

Today, the temperature and humidity are moderate and we’re quite comfortable which is a welcomed relief. There are many hours of load shedding but we are fine with that, as long as our inverter is working and provides WiFi, the ability to recharge our equipment, a fan in the bedroom, and the light from one lamp.

May you have a pleasant Monday! Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 21, 2021:

It was great to see this elephant from Amazing Kruger View restaurant while out to dinner with another couple the previous night. For more photos, please click here.

Where do we do laundry and hang it to dry?…What does our stove look like?…What do we use to grill meat?…

The portable clothes rack we use to hang laundry. It holds two loads, one white and one dark, which we do every three days.

A reader wrote a few days ago, asking to see photos of household items we frequently use, some similar to our old lives in the US and others not so much. Thus, I decided that from time to time, I would post a few photos of such items we deal with almost every day.

Since I was doing laundry today and the drying rack was up (Tom puts it up and takes it down each time we do laundry, so we don’t have to look at it when not in use), I thought today would be as good as any day to take a few photos and share them with our readers. Some may find this boring and unimportant.

When the new washer  on the left was installed a few months  ago, the old washer remained in its place. Recycling is tricky here for major appliances.

But, as world travelers, we’ve had to accustom ourselves to household items that may differ from what we used in our old lives. Doing laundry was at the top of our list of differences from our old lives for the following reasons:

  1. No hot water is available to the outdoor washer to keep costs down
  2. There is no clothes dryer. Without a dryer, some items end up wrinkled, which may not have been with the use of a dryer. I don’t iron, so I hang those items on hangers, smoothing the potential wrinkles with my hands.
  3. Hanging Clothes on a clothesline in Africa, may result in getting insect bites when close to the grass.
  4. Laundry pellets are less expensive here but don’t clean as well as Tide or other known brands
  5. The extreme humidity, at 82% right now, with a dew point of 72, and an overcast sky, prevents the clothes from drying for a few days. We have to bring the loaded rack indoors at night to avoid the risk of baboons tipping over the rack or taking some of the clothes, or flying away in high winds due to rainstorms.

    The clothesline in the garden which we don’t use other than for blankets and jeans. After having open-heart surgery I have difficulty raising my arms over my head. Tom hangs the heavy items.

As for the gas grill or braai, as it’s called in South Africa, they use propane tanks. Our gas grill was hooked up to the house’s gas supply in the US. Homes here in the bush have no gas piped to the house. Here are the differences:

  1. The water heater for the showers and bathroom sinks is pronounced “geezer,” spelled “geyser” in Afrikaans, a hot water storage tank with an electric heating element, to heat water for the showers and sinks.
  2. The gas for the stovetop and the gas for the braai has their own propane tanks. These tanks and their refills are included in our rent.
  3. If one of these tanks runs out, at times when we won’t contact Louise during off-hours. If we’re in the middle of cooking during “off hours,” Tom will swap out a tank from another source. Fortunately, we have a tank for the outdoor heater, and this is a good one to “borrow” until Vusi or Zef can bring us a newly filled tank. There’s nowhere to store extra tanks, and doing so may be a safety hazard.

Last week, when we were cooking Asian food for Leon and Dawn’s overnight visit, the stove ran out of gas in the middle of cooking. Fortunately, it was on a weekday during daylight hours, and within minutes after notifying Louise, Danie delivered a new tank to us and hooked it up.

The propane gas tank for the stovetop is located under the kitchen sink. The oven is electric.

As for the stovetop/oven, that’s very different from what we used in the past. As mentioned above, the stove top uses a propane tank, but the oven uses electricity. The differences are as follows:

  1. During load shedding, which has occurred daily lately, I have to plan to cook in the oven when the power is restored.
  2. When there is a non-load shedding outage, which happens pretty often, whatever I was cooking in the oven would then have to go onto the gas grill. I often do low-carb baking for us, and using the gas grill won’t work. At that point, I either have to toss what I was baking or see if I can finish it when the power is restored.
  3. Turning on the oven is more challenging than turning a dial. It requires pressing two buttons with two fingers and then turning on two dials, which took a lot of work to figure out when we first moved into this house. Louise came over and showed us how to do it. Go figure.
  4. Setting a timer for the oven is nearly impossible. After reading the instructions online, we gave up trying. Instead, we use my my Fitbit ‘s timer or the timer on my phone, for timing foods baking in the oven.
  5. Ovens’ temperatures are set in centigrade, not Fahrenheit.
The gas braai we often use to cook meat and poultry. Vusi or Zef clean it each time we use it.

I am adept at figuring out how to use household appliances, which is different from my past experiences. But, here and in many other countries, it’s more challenging than you’d think. We can often find instructions online, which are usually written in English.

After ten years of world travel, we’ve adapted to these differences, and when we are in the US, we are often in awe of how easy it is to use the conveniences we knew in the past. Nonetheless, we are grateful for what we have here.

Photo from one year ago today, November 6, 2021:

This is a new friend named Father Brown, a praying mantis. For more photos, please click here.

Today is our ten-year travel anniversary…

It was hard to believe we were there in 2013 at the Great Pyramids. See the post here.

When we received a notice from the provider that WiFi was out in the entirety of Marloth Park as of Sunday, I panicked, knowing I had to upload a short post and write a new post for today’s tenth anniversary.  There was no way I’d have time when our guests are arriving at noon today.

From our first anniversary in Kenya. I suppose I should have zoomed in as he did when taking mine. Look! You can see my shadow as I’m taking the photo. Too busy to edit photos right now! See the post here.

Mentioning my concern to Tom, he expressed the usual, “TIA, “This is Africa” and this is what happens here…no power, no water, no WiFi.”

Our first anniversary walking on the beach in Kenya on the Indian Ocean. Tom shot this appearing footless photo of me. Actually, I was wearing those ugly water shoes, grateful they were hidden in the surf. See the post here.

I nodded my head in acknowledgment. But I must admit I was frustrated thinking I wouldn’t be able to upload the tenth-anniversary post on the day of the anniversary, October 31. Thus, I decided to write the entire text offline on Sunday using Word and hoped that by today, I’d be able to load it into the WordPress editing section of our website.

Plumerias are often used in making leis. We spent our second anniversary in Maui, Hawaii. See the post here.

Initially, we’d planned for the anniversary post to include a new itinerary. But, after considerable research and a degree of uncertainty around what we’d like to do over the next few years, we have to forgo that thought which we’ll return to sometime in the future.

Inside the reception building, we asked a staff member to take our photo at Namale Resort & Spa in Fiji, as we celebrated our three year anniversary of traveling the world with a tour and lunch at the world renowned resort. See the post here. See the post here.

We know this…we’ll be here in Marloth Park, except for our upcoming trip to Seychelles on November 24, followed by the cruise of the islands beginning on November 26 until next June, one way or another. After the cruise, when we attempt to return to South Africa on December 4, we’ll hope to be able to receive a new 90-day visa stamp to  be able to stay.

Our ship is shown behind us off the top of the hotel on our fourth travel anniversary, See the post here.

This time, we are prepared if we aren’t allowed to re-enter the country when we get to Johannesburg. We’ll immediately book a flight back to the US and stay a few weeks visiting family in Minnesota, earlier than we’d intended.

October 31, 2017, our fifth anniversary of traveling the world, taken on the veranda at the villa in Atenas, Costa Rica. See our post here.

If we have to leave right away, even if they give us seven days to depart, we won’t bother to return to Marloth Park and, instead, leave from Joburg, arriving in Minnesota in cold weather with only summer clothes in our duffle bags. We’ll head to a discount store such as TJ Maxx and purchase jackets and a few cold-weather items to get us through the few weeks we’ll spend there.

After a few weeks, we’ll fly back to Marloth Park. By being in the US, our home country, we’ll be able to get another 90-day visa without an issue.

Saying goodbye, our final photo was taken this morning with Tom and Lois! It’s been a fabulous three weeks, we’ll always remember. It was our sixth travel anniversary. See the post here.

In any case, we’ll leave South Africa around June for our upcoming Azamara cruise on August 1, 2023, followed by another cruise a few days later, eventually returning to the US (Boston) on August 30. We have yet to decide where we’ll stay from June to August. We are still conducting research.

The New York skyline on a cloudy day, viewed from the ship on our seventh anniversary. See the post here.

It’s easy to see how so much is up in the air with the number of cruises canceled in the past few years. We hesitate to book too much since we’ve already lost a lot of money from pandemic-related cancellations.

Each morning, I listen to cruise podcasts, only to discover that some cruises require masks to be worn outside the cabin. As much as we’d like to believe the pandemic is over, it is not, based on behaviors on some cruise ships and some travel venues

Camels were walking along the beach along the Indian Ocean. During our eighth anniversary, we were in lockdown in Mumbai, India and had no new photos to share. See the post here.

We are not fearful of travel for that reason but face the pandemic’s impact on availability and pricing for ongoing journeys.

Once we leave here in June 2023, we won’t be keeping this house and will pack up entirely, leaving a few bins of kitchen items here with Louise in storage. Most likely, we won’t be returning to Marloth Park for nine months to a year, perhaps longer. We shall see.

The two of us, posted on our nine-year anniversary at Tom’s retirement party in 2012, about one week before we began our travels. See our post here.

The next country/continent visit will be South America. We still have several places we will visit, including Galapagos Islands, The Pantanal, and the Amazon River, both upper and lower regions. All of this will require cruising to some extent. We’re excited about these options.

Of course, good health is always the determining factor as to how much longer we’ll be able to travel. But for now, we’re feeling well and able to continue.

Photo of us at a cell phone store a few days ago, before our tenth travel anniversary. See the post here.

As for the past ten years, we have no regrets. Yes, we’ve experienced some ups and downs, but we’ve never questioned our decision to carry on. We’ve loved this life, its vast experiences, and the depth of the joy and love we experienced together and with the many people we’ve met along the way, let alone the vast array of wildlife and nature that have been blissfully bestowed upon us throughout the world.

We’ve considered doing a recap of each year, but that would be redundant. On many occasions, we’ve reiterated our travels, year after year, particularly when we were in lockdown in Mumbai, India for ten months in a hotel room. Instead, we’re posting some photos from prior anniversary years  and other dates from various locations including their links, which you may have already seen or not. If you have seen the photos, excuse our redundancy.

Yes, it’s been ten years, and we’ve aged in the process, but we are both grateful to be together and live this extraordinary life. Every day has tremendous meaning to us, and we joyfully continue to share it with our worldwide readers.

Thanks to many of our readers who’ve already extended our warmest wishes to us as this anniversary approached. Your kind words mean the world to us. Your continued readership and comments also mean the world to us. Ten years? Hard for us to believe. For those readers who’ve been with us since the beginning, we imagine its hard for you to believe its been ten years. Please keep reading. We’re not done yet!

Photo from one year ago today, October 31, 2021:

Selfie of us in India in February 2020, before lockdown, excited to be on our way to the palace and Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India. Little did we know what was ahead, at that point. For more, please click here.

Finally, Norman returned today…Streaming our favorite shows…

This is Marigold, resting comfortably in our garden. There were still uneaten pellets, but she was content to lounge rather than eat.

It’s Friday already. The week flew by in a blur. We haven’t done much since dinner at Marylin and Gary’s holiday rental on Monday evening other than research for future travels and “paperwork” and bookkeeping we needed to tackle. We’re hoping to go to Kruger National Park next week.

This annoying headache has made me not feel like doing much since we returned from our trip. On Monday, we’ll return to Doc Theo when he’ll up the dose of the medication I’m taking based on how I am feeling. There’s been no improvement yet, but I am on a low dose to see how I respond to the drug. Hopefully, a higher amount will cause the progress we’re seeking.

She’d look away from time to time when she heard a noise.

We’ll head to Jabula as we always do on Friday evenings. Although Rita and Gerhard don’t return until Monday, Lee has stayed at their holiday home while they are away. Tonight, Lee will join us at 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs., at the bar where we always sit until dinner, often ending up eating our meal at the bar as well. As you know, it’s an enjoyable ritual we repeat weekly.

This morning at 8:00 am, we called friends Kathy and Don, who live in Hawaii when they aren’t in Marloth Park, and had a great chat. They wanted to hear about our trip and visa situation, and we wanted to hear how they were doing. It’s always so wonderful to chat with them. Kathy and I stay in touch almost daily on WhatsApp. We are so fortunate to have such great friends all over the world.

Our boy Norman is always happy to see us and us, him.

While I was getting ready for the day, Tom popped his head into the bedroom to let me know Norman was in the garden. I couldn’t get dressed quickly enough to bolt outdoors to see his adorable face. When I called out his name while he was bent down eating pellets, his head snapped up to look at me. If a nyala could smile, Norman was smiling at me. It warmed my heart.

Hopefully, the drones will be gone after today, and all of our animal friends will return. We now have warthogs Mom and Babies who are almost fully grown. Also, bushbucks Tulip and Lilac are munching pellets in the side garden. It’s always a delight to see any of our bushbuck friends. They are so gentle and adorable.

We are always thrilled to see our favorite male bushbuck, Gordon Ramsey from the old house, whom we call Gordy.

This past week we’ve been streaming season eight of the series, The Blacklist. Wow! Has that show been exciting? Usually, after many seasons, some dramas lose their appeal when themes are repeated too frequently. But this show has ramped up to a fantastic eighth season. I looked online to see if there will be a season nine; much to our delight, it is showing in some countries.

Since we use a VPN, Express VPN (a virtual private network) set to the United States, we can watch Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming services available in the US. After researching and reading some articles about the show online, it appears season nine has been streaming from different countries, including India. After resetting the VPN to show we’re watching from India, we can watch season nine now instead of waiting until it’s released in the US.

Mom Tulip, who always visits with her daughter, Lilac.

We pay an annual fee for Express VPN of about US $99, ZAR 1714, plus the monthly or annual fees for the above streaming service. This unique service blocks the location from which we’re browsing online to show we’re coming through from the city/country we designate. Plus, it provided an added layer of security and a secure tunnel between us and the internet, protecting us from online snooping, interference, and censorship.

You can use this link from Express VPN for coupons, promotions, and free trial periods. We do not benefit from your membership but are happy to share this information with our readers. When we consider how much we spent on cable TV in the US and how much less we pay now for the above-combined services, the costs are about 70% less.

Noah is getting much bigger than his mom Nina as shown on the right.

It’s pleasant that at night when we’re done spending time outdoors, we can hunker down in the bedroom and stream a few episodes of our favorite shows before we’re ready to fall asleep. The trick is staying awake while watching when either of us has been known to nod off now and then.

Have a great weekend! We’ll be back tomorrow with more.

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

Frank and his family give us so much joy every day. For more photos, please click here.