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.

Three days and counting…We’ve accumulated too much “stuff!”…

This is Bossy’s baby who may be a boy with a lumpy structured forehead that will eventually have a full set of horns that last a lifetime.

I am busy sorting and packing, deciding what to leave behind for when we return, what to throw away, what to pack in our bags, and carry-on. Tom packs all of his clothes and digital equipment, and zillions of power cords. But, as always, which he prefers, he doesn’t start until the day before we leave.

Since I am the cook, I prefer to pack all the kitchen items we’re leaving behind since we aren’t taking any of those items with us. Also, Louise provided us with many household goods from her inventory,  and we are sorting and keeping those separate to return to her. It’s been a daunting task.

Bossy arrived with three young calves. She was on babysitting duty.

Usually, when we’re moving out of a holiday home, we only have to pack our clothes, toiletries, and equipment. But, this time, it feels like another time in my life, many moons ago, when moving from one house to another. Every cupboard, drawer, and cabinet in this house has our “stuff” in it.

It’s not as if we did a monthly run to Costco, loading up on inventory of household goods. But, over the 14 months, we’ve spent in this house, we accumulated enough to make packing more challenging this time. I have run out of room in the two plastic totes I borrowed from Louise, and she, too, is also out of empty containers. Soon, we are heading to the hardware store to see if we can find a few more bins.

Two youngsters were fussing over one another.

As for leftover food, we are in great shape. We will have used every frozen item and all meats by tomorrow night. Tuesday, we’re dining out with Louise and Danie on our last night. Tonight and tomorrow night, we’ll be eating grilled chicken breasts with sausages, green beans, rice (for Tom), and salad. We’re using all of our eggs and bacon. Since we don’t snack, we don’t have leftover chips and other snack bags to toss.

The few things left in the fridge, such as unopened butter, cheese, sour cream, and a few condiments, we’ll give to Zef and Vusi. Plus, I have accumulated a pile of clothing for their wives and daughters in good condition, which they may or may not be able to use.

It was tricky getting the three young kudus in one photo.

Shortly after returning from the local hardware store, unable to find any large plastic containers, Vusi showed up at the door with another large empty tote. Louise emptied it so we could use it. That’s her! She’s always thinking of everyone else. They are such great friends and the best property managers in the world. We know from experience!

We enjoy our wildlife friends in the garden even though it’s a school holiday and the park is packed with tourists. We couldn’t believe the number of tourists at the shops, the water park at the Bush Centre, and the restaurants. At these holiday times, we don’t often see many animals. But these boys and girls know, after 14 months, which “side their bread is buttered on.” Pellets are still offered in abundance.

Here’s all three of them together. Kudus are very social animals.

We have over two 40 kg, 88 pounds bags of pellets left to use before we go in three days. Certainly, we’ll have no trouble getting them tossed into the garden in the next few days.

Our flight from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport is at 6:30 pm, 1830 hrs, so we don’t have to leave here on Wednesday until about 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs, leaving us plenty of time to drive the problematic N4 highway, in the event of any unforeseen slowdowns.

Are we excited about our upcoming visit with Karen and Rich in Apollo Beach, Florida? Absolutely! We missed their wedding due to Omicron, and it will be fantastic to spend time with them at their oceanfront home. As for the two cruises, we’re very excited to be cruising again and surely will enjoy both Atlantic crossings on two very different ships.

Bossy and the three babies.

Then, of course, we’re excited to spend time with our adult kids, grandchildren, Tom’s siblings, and hopefully, my sister Julie (who may come from LA) in Minnesota and then off to Las Vegas/Henderson, Nevada, to see son Richard and his girlfriend. If time allows, we hope to see some of the many friends we left behind in 2012 when we began to travel.

Thanks to many of our readers who have written to wish us safe travels. Finally, you’ll be able to read and see photos of something other than wild animals in our garden! They never bore us, but they may have become “old news” to all of you.

We hope you have a pleasant Sunday. We’ll be back tomorrow with more!

Photo from one year ago today, March 20, 2021:

These three warthogs, whom we’ve named Bennie, Hennie, and Lennie, visit several times a day. But in the past several months we haven’t seen them together. For more photos, please click here.

Off to Nelspruit today for news on our visa extensions…

“Pig in a pond.” Little was having a spa day in the green algae.

In a little while, we’ll be heading to Nelspruit once again to collect the results from sealed envelopes to determine if our requests for visa extensions have been approved. Once again, the long and arduous drive is ahead of us. Knowing we had to leave early this morning prevented me from getting a good night’s sleep. I didn’t nod off until 2:00 am, awakening at 5:15.

I’m feeling raggedy today and will be happy to return to Marloth Park by noon with, hopefully, good news. So far, there’s no word on our April 8 cruise canceling. In a few more weeks, we’ll book our flight to Florida and begin thinking about sorting our stuff and starting to pack. We’ve been here almost 13 months. We were away for less than six weeks during that period, once to the US for a month to get vaccinated and another time to Zambia, getting new visa stamps in the process.

During these 13 months, on one occasion, President Cyril Ramaphosa extended foreign national’s visas for 90 days due to the pandemic, which certainly helped us. Today, we look forward to good news so we can stay until the end of March. That’s not very far away. If all goes well today, we could be leaving here in a little over six weeks.

Yesterday morning at Stoep Cafe, Rita and I ate one of these delicious veggie omelets.

Yesterday was another scorcher with high temps, high humidity, and subsequently, a high dew point. When we returned from Komati, put away all the groceries, and finished and uploaded the post, I was in no mood for cooking dinner. We decided to eat out.

We left the house about 5:15, heading to Bos Restaurant in the Bush Centre. But first, we had to stop at the Field Security Office to get a new battery for the house key fob they provide at the office across the parking lot from Bos. From there we went to Bos. But, after carefully reviewing their menu, I couldn’t find anything I could eat. Everything was soaked in sweet sauces.

What a funny-looking grasshopper!

There wasn’t a plain piece of fish or chicken to be had. We had one drink at the bar and left, driving the short distance to Giraffe Restaurant, where I knew they had a decent grilled chicken salad. Tom ordered the chicken schnitzel with chips (fries). The meal was good, the service excellent, and the ambiance was pleasant.

Although doors are always wide open at restaurants in Marloth Park, they keep their air-con on in hot weather, which seems to keep the establishment relatively comfortable on sweltering days and night. We ran into some people we knew, chatted for a bit, and then sat at a table and enjoyed our meal.

Hal with Siegfried and Roy in the background.

We are now back from Nelspruit. Our visa extensions were approved, giving us until April 30 to leave the country. We aren’t surprised it worked out this way. Had it not been for Omicron terrifying the world, we’d be in Florida today at Karen and Rich’s wedding. It was disappointing to have to change our plans. But now, we’re OK with the new plan, as much as we’d have preferred to be at their wedding.

Tonight will surely be a fun night at Jabula with eight of us for dinner at a big table on the veranda. It will be wonderful to catch up with old friends we haven’t seen since 2019.

I am wrapping it up a little short today. Although now much of a napper, I think a quick nap is on the agenda today. With the detour of my walking goals due to this morning’s trip to Nelspruit, I will still try to walk as much as possible before we leave for dinner later today.

Have a pleasant weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, February 11, 2021

A gray Lourie is checking out the action on the ground. For more photos, please click here.

Many photos from our fabulous Christmas Day dinner in the bush…

    The beautiful Christmas dinner table at Sindee and Bruce’s lovely home in the bush. Dawn was taking a photo of Sindee and the serving table, a short time later filled with great food.

Not having an idea of the type of dinner party at Sindee and Bruce’s home in the bush, we kept our expectations in check. We’d anticipated a buffet with guests sitting around the braai in the garden on chairs and benches with their plates of food on their laps.

A starter of prawns, sauce, and greens along with Christmas crackers with treats.

There were eleven of us, five of their family members, and six friends, including us. We were pleasantly surprised and delighted to see the beautiful table setting, adorned with gorgeous Christmas decorations including candles, miniature lights, crackers, colorful napkins, sparkling wine, along an array of crystal wine glasses. It couldn’t have been prettier.

There were many items on the menu that worked for me. I focused on meats and salads. I’d sliced avocados to go with the salad.

The six friends had brought various meats, salads, and side dishes. We’d brought the cooked, sliced prime rib and a large walnut, avocado lettuce salad. It was beautiful. The atmosphere and conversation were casual and engaging, and the hours flew by.

The meats included chicken, our prime rib, gammon (ham), and lamb, all delicious.

We rarely drink alcohol during the day, so I brought along my lowest alcohol-reduced wine with only 5% alcohol (when most wine is typically 13.5% to 14%). Tom brought a few cans of beer, and we sipped on our beverages throughout the day and early evening. We arrived at 11:30 and didn’t head for home until after 6:00 pm, 1800 hrs.

I couldn’t get enough of the lamb on the left in this photo. Tom doesn’t care for lamb, so I never make it.

Once back at our bush house, we put away all of our stuff, got into comfy clothes, and settled in for the evening. Later in the evening, Tom talked to his family members in the bedroom while I sat in the living room, talking to mine. It was beautiful to hear everyone’s voices, including our grandchildren.

Our dear friends and owners of Jabula, Dawn, and Leon.

While I was on my phone in the living room, I couldn’t help but notice hundreds of little bugs and ants all over the floor. At the moment, Tom is spraying the house while we are outdoors on the veranda, tossing pellets to Gordy (short for bushbuck Gordon Ramsey) and giant warthog One Tusk.

The animals aren’t as hungry as a month ago, with the bush now filled with lush green vegetation. They still stop by staring at us for some pellets out of habit. But, once we toss some their way, they eat slowly, often walking away with some pellets still on the ground. However, that’s not the case with warthogs. They’d eat until they burst if they had a chance. After all, they are pigs.

Sindee and Bruce’s two daughters, Mornay and Cyndy.

Today is a quiet day. Yesterday, as mentioned, I made an extra prime rib for us for tonight’s dinner. All we have to do for dinner is make Tom’s white rice and toss the salad with homemade salad dressing. I’m not big on reheating cooked beef, so we may eat it cold, which neither of us minds at all.

Over the years, I’ve tried various methods to warm cooked beef to maintain the level of doneness. But none of those methods seem to work to our liking, getting too well done in the process. We’d rather eat it cold than overdone.

Sindee and Bruce only married a few years, are a delightful couple, and so thoughtful to include us!

After dinner, we each have our cakes. As it turned out, Tom thoroughly enjoyed his German Chocolate birthday cake, saying it wasn’t dry after all. I don’t know if he’s saying this to make me happy. He’d do that rather than have me feel bad that the cake was dry.

Tom plate of desserts; lemon meringue pie and chocolate cherry milk tart. He went back for seconds. Not surprising.

We hope all of our readers/friends, and family members had a fantastic Christmas as we look forward to the upcoming end of this challenging year.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 26, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #276. The countryside in Tasmania certainly reminded us of New Zealand, where we stayed for three months in 2016. For more photos, please click here.

Rainy Sunday morning…Will our plans for the river be dashed?…A decision is made…

Wildebeests in the driveway near the rental car.

Who’s in the garden this morning?

  • 9 warthogs – inc. Little, Lonely Girl, and others
  • 12 bushbucks – inc. Thick Neck, Bad Leg,
  • 6 helmeted guinea-fowl
  • 1 kudu- inc. Medium Daddy
  • 3 hornbills – banging on the kitchen window for hours
  • 2 Frank and The Misses

With plans for river sightings with Rita and Gerhard today at 3:00 pm, a rainy morning may indicate that we won’t be heading out today. Anxious for new photos to share here, after a steady stream of regulars in the garden, day after day (which we love but our readers may not), we have been looking forward to seeing our friends again with an opportunity to take big game photos.

The wildlife tends to hunker down on rainy and windy days, so if we go, regardless of the weather, we may not see much action on the river today. However, right now and last night, we could hear lions Fluffy and Desi roaring in Lionspruit, which abuts the end of our back garden. We’ve listened to that roar over and over again, and it always makes us smile. What an exquisite sound!

Hornbills next to the veranda enjoying Frank’s seeds.

It’s not only the photos and videos we take that make this experience so delightful. The sounds, day and night, are thrilling and, at the same time, heartwarming; whether it’s birds or animals, it all sends a chill down our spines. So many of these sounds may be heard when viewing any of our videos, over and above my endless chatter describing the current scene in view.

Of course, our big concern is that our readers will become bored with photos of warthogs, bushbucks, and kudus and lose interest in our site. So we always strive to “shake it up,” but with the limitations for travel due to Covid-19, we’re fast running out of new and exciting photos.

Then again, I have been under the weather for almost three weeks, continuing to cough, and haven’t felt like doing much of anything other than sitting on the veranda watching our furry friends stop by for a warm “hello” and, of course, pellets, carrots, apples, and cabbage.

A dark-capped bulbul. Sorry for the blurry photo. They don’t stay still for a good shot.

Well, folks, maybe it will get more interesting coming up here in 23 days when we are finally leaving South Africa for about a little over three weeks to return to the US for several reasons; 1. to see our family members in Minnesota, Nevada ad Wisconsin; 2. to get the Covid-19 J & J  vaccine, which is readily available at many locations in the Twin Cities; and 3. to get that darned visa stamp we so much need, when our visas expire on June 30th.

It doesn’t seem realistic that SA President Cyril Ramaphosa will be extending visas for foreign nationals again in the next 24 days. He opened visas last time at the beginning of a month to June 30th, not at the end, as we need at this point. So it’s doubtful the dates will coincide with our needs.

Thus, yesterday afternoon, we began booking rental cars and hotels for our already-in-place flight from Johannesburg to Minneapolis on June 30th with Lufthansa Airlines. So all we have left to book is:

  1. A round trip flight from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger to Joburg
  2. A one-way flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas to visit son Richard
  3. A return flight from Las Vegas to Joburg

    Warthogs and mongoose get along well, paying little attention to one another.

We have yet to book the Las Vegas/Henderson hotel, which we’ll do today, planning on staying at the Green Valley Ranch Spa and Casino in Henderson, which is close to Richard‘s home. Unfortunately, we will be in Las Vegas during the hottest month of the year, so we won’t spend much time outdoors if we can help it.

As for visiting Tom’s dear sister, Sister Beth, a nun in a nursing home in Milwaukee, we will drive from Minneapolis, returning a few days later to fly to Las Vegas from there. We’ll see Sister Beth, and then Tom wants to visit a few cemeteries for his Ancestry stuff.

It will be a busy time, and we hope to take many photos along the way. But, of course, we’ll continue to post each day, even during the long travel days while on long layovers.

At this point, regardless of the visa scenario changing again for foreign nationals in South Africa, we’re committed to leaving Marloth Park on June 29th to begin the long journey to the US. We hope to get our J & J vaccine on July 2, which we plan to book before leaving here.

Also, the rain stopped, and the sun came out. It looks like we’ll be able to go to the river today, after all! We’ll be back with more tomorrow, including what we’ll be doing with our vacation home during our absence.

Have a fantastic Sunday!

Photo from one year ago today, June 6, 2020:

While in Campanaria, Madeira, Portugal, we heard the music coming from the fish guy’s truck and raced up the hill to meet him. He held up a tuna for us to inspect. It was smaller than some of the others, but this size was perfect. It weighed 7.7 kg, 17 pounds, and the cost was INR 2569, US $34. He cut them into portion-sized pieces, wrapping each piece individually. For more photos, please click here.

Today, is our 9 year anniversary of posting…Will we make it to the 10-year milestone?

This is where we’ll sleep tonight. We won’t even have to change the bedding when Zef and Vusi take care of everything tomorrow. We appreciate them too, as we do Louise and Danie, for always making everything perfect for us.

Today is the ninth anniversary of our first post being uploaded, which may be found at this link. It’s a little hard for us to wrap our brains around how much time has passed since we began posting. At that time, we infrequently wrote, only as often as three times a week at most. But, a year later, as reader interest grew, we began posting daily and have continued doing so as long as we had access to the internet.

Speaking of the internet, we have no WiFi at the moment. Load shedding is happening, and often WiFi goes out simultaneously.

Will we make it to the ten-year mark? We’re hoping so. Of course, it’s always predicated by our health a year from now. All we can do is continue to make every effort to stay as healthy as possible for as long as we can.

The view toward the braai from where we are seated now.

This morning we’ve moved into Louise and Danie‘s beautiful home while they are fumigating our house and living in one of their gorgeous rental properties with some of their visiting family members. It’s almost as if this is a mini one-day holiday for us, with different surroundings and the finest of amenities one would only find in such a luxury property. We are quite content, although we do enjoy our little house on Luiperd Street. (Translates to Leopard).

As we were packing to leave this morning, Little stopped by, sitting in his favorite spot next to my chair off the edge of the veranda, waiting for me to come outside to see him. Tom gave him some pellets while he waited while I was showering.

Last night, we cooked extra mozzarella stuffed, bacon-wrapped chicken breasts, enough for us for tonight’s dinner. All we’ll need to do is reheat the chicken and Tom’s white rice in their microwave. We didn’t want to make a big mess in Louise’s kitchen and decided leftovers would be fine.

Tonight we’ll sit at this lovely bar and enjoy sundowners in  Louise and Danie’s home.

Over the weekend, Louise and Danie visited Daisy’s Den to purchase some mite control spray. They discovered I’m not the only one who’s been suffering from dust mite allergies. Many residents of Marloth Park have been trying to figure out ways to eliminate these pesky, impossible-to-see insects. Even Louise’s arms were covered in itchy spots like mine.

In a way, it is comforting to know that I’m not the only one suffering from dust mite allergies. Of course, dust mites will no longer be a problem once the winter comes in a few months and temperatures cool. They increase in hot, humid climates. Today is a little cooler than yesterday at only 87F, 31C, with an expected high of 90F, 32C. Tomorrow will be hotter and more humid once again and continue throughout the remainder of the week.

Yesterday, Tom got to work on finding a good deal for a rental car for our next three months beginning the day we return to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport on April 14th. Since we don’t have a car of our own, with coverage for rental cars, we’ve been renting cars, one month at a time, when our credit cards offer complimentary insurance, good for only 30 days. Thus, when we’ve rented for three months, we have to make three separate contracts.

Tom is situated at the end of this big table on the veranda.

This time, based on higher rates in South Africa during Easter, we had difficulty finding fair pricing, month by month. By an odd bit of luck, he found a car through Thrifty at the airport for three months, including full insurance coverage for the entire period for US $1207, ZAR 17958, making our monthly rate US $402, ZAR 5981, as good a price as we could as for with the insurance is included. We usually select the smaller, less expensive cars, which work well for us.

Now that we have all the bookings we need for the next three-month period in South Africa, we have peace of mind and can rest easy except for our need for the Covid-19 vaccine. It appears that non-citizens of South Africa will not qualify for the vaccine. We’ll have to consider what our other options may be. We’ll need a new Covid-19 test before we leave for Kenya in 24 days, which we can get at the lab in Komatipoort a few days before we depart.

At the moment, the power and WiFi have resumed. It’s almost 1:00 pm, and as soon as we finish here, we’ll have the remainder of the day ahead of us to relax and do as we please, free of any pertinent paperwork or research for bookings. This is a first for a while. We’ll certainly take advantage of it.

Have a pleasant, peaceful day.

Photo from one year ago today, March 15, 2020:

This is the grass left from harvesting rice. Note the horns on these buffalos. Indian ricegrass is highly palatable to livestock and wildlife. It is a preferred feed for cattle, horses, and elk in all seasons. In spring, it is considered a preferred feed for sheep, deer, and antelope and a desirable feed for sheep, deer, and antelope in late fall and winter. For more photos, please click here.
Day #116 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Messages from readers make our days special!…Negative comments from readers?…

Day #116 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Messages from readers make our days special!…Negative comments from readers?…

Check out how many kudus we had in the garden on this date in 2018!

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 17, 2018, while in Marloth Park, South Africa. See the link here for more details.



Today’s post is, by no means, intended to “toot our own horn.” Instead, it’s about the kindness of people, of our readers, so many of whom have taken the time to write to us to provide support and encouragement.

That morning’s 17 kudus in the garden. See the above video for details.

I don’t often share the actual email messages we receive, but somehow the following message that arrived in my inbox yesterday (who’s name and email I’ve excluded, protecting her privacy) left us reeling with appreciation.


How well this reader understands our love for Marloth Park and the reasons we can’t wait to return someday when COVID-19 settles down. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to meet this couple in Marloth Park sometime in the future?

Wildebeest Willie and friends stopped by another night.

In her message, as shown below, she writes,” Thank you for the encouragement you bring to my life.” Our response is, “Thank you for the encouragement you bring to our lives.” Ironic.

Although not all are shown in this photo, we had six bushbucks in the garden at one time for the first time.

Here’s her message received in yesterday’s email:                                                                                                   
“Good morning Jessica

I have been following you for quite a while and today feel prompted to make contact.
I am so in awe of how well you are coping!!
My husband and I have lived in Cape Town all our lives and retired to Knysna for ten lovely years.

We decided to put stuff into storage a few years ago and explore South Africa after selling our home. It has been wonderful, and we discovered Marloth in our travels!! We spent several months there last year.

Giraffes came through the parklands next to us. On foot, we rushed to see them up close to take photos. But, dad wasn’t too happy with us with his young calf nearby.  We carefully backed away.
It truly is just the most amazing place. We found a passion which we share.
We had to come to Cape Town due to health reasons in Dec last year… with every intention of returning there. BUT by the time things got sorted, we went into lockdown, and we were stuck in Cape Town.
We are staying in a lovely home with all we could need but are just longing to get back to Marloth!!
Some days I feel so frustrated at the limits on our lives..especially socially and the boredom of every day, and then I read one of your posts and realize how blessed we are. Thank you for the encouragement you bring to my life.
Keep well. God bless you both.
Hope to meet you one day in Marloth.”
We knew better than to get too close.

Wow! This message couldn’t have meant more to us. I will write back to her today, asking her and her husband to read today’s post, so they see how much their message meant to us.

It was nearly dark when they visited.

In the future, especially during this quiet time of COVID-19 lockdown, we will be posting more comments we receive from our readers. We welcome any of you to write as well.

You may ask, do we receive negative comments? Much to our surprise and delight, we do not. It’s a rarity for a “hater” to write to us. I suppose if haters don’t like us or our site, they certainly have the option not to read the posts. 

A young zebra in the garden of a house on the river road.

We are working hard at staying positive under these difficult circumstances, and engaging in heated discussions is not conducive to our mental wellbeing at this time. Neither of us finds such discussions uplifting in any manner, especially when there is nothing we can say to change their minds or ours.

This must have been the above baby’s mom resting nearby.

On another note, I tried a different dinner option in the past few days after speaking with the head chef. He now prepares a delicious, spicy chicken curry for me, made without starch (potatoes, peas, etc.), sugar, or flour, and it is such a welcome change. 

Tom says the curry looks like cat puke, but it doesn’t bother me. I have no idea what cat puke tastes like, but this version of curry sure tastes good to me. Tonight, I will take a photo and share it tomorrow.

We spotted two rangers on the road with rifles. We assumed it had something to do with poachers.

“They” are saying if everyone wore a face mask, socially distanced, and washed their hands, in two months, the virus could be over. Let’s all strive for this goal! Please pass this post on to others, and hopefully, they will get on board with those of us making this commitment!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 17, 2019:

The view across Lough Pollaacapull is seen from the castle’s veranda at Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.

We made it to Mumbai…13 hours until we return to the airport…Broken suitcase dilemma…

While traveling on the historic Toy Train through the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains, the train stopped for a food break at this quaint station.

It’s Thursday, March 19th. In 14 hours, at 3:00 am, we’ll be picked up by a driver to return to the Mumbai Airport, which we left only hours ago. We barely slept last night after the late arrival at our hotel, and tonight after dinner, we’ll try to get some sleep before the 2:15 am wake-up call.

When we’d originally arrived in Mumbai, security at the airport had broken the zipper on our third checked bag. With no way to repair it, we left it behind, crammed with “stuff” for the hotel to hold for us until we returned. 
 

We couldn’t purchase a new bag until we arrived in Mumbai since we’d have to pay excess baggage fees to bring it with us. We’ve had no choice but to go out today to purchase a new bag. 

The first palace we visited on tour from the Maharajas Express was the City Palace, also known as the Shiv Niwas Palace.

The hotel manager told us some luggage shops are still open in the area in light of the Covid-19 fears, and soon we’ll get a tuk-tuk to take us to a few nearby luggage shops.

But first, we’ll see if we can locate a bag and the cost. We’d make an effort to unload most of our rupees, but now, if they don’t accept a credit card, we’ll also have to go to an ATM to pay for the bag. We don’t want to be left with rupees when we soon depart.

What an unusual seat!

The two flights from Madurai to Mumbai (via Chennai) were packed with face-masked travelers. We both wore masks throughout the flights for the first time, although we realized it’s not a 100% guarantee of safety from the virus.

We wiped down the armrests, tray table, and seat belt buckles with the Clorox wipes I’ve been carrying in a plastic bag. They sure have come in handy. Every hour or so, we used hand sanitizer and a few times, went to the bathroom, and washed our hands with soap and water. What more could we have done?

View of the city from the palace in Udaipur.

Once we have the new bag, we’ll need to repack to distribute the weight properly to comply with Kenya Airways baggage restrictions. They allow two-23 kg (50 pounds) bags each which we can manage easily once we have the new pack.

I can’t wait to have this new bag thing over with to allow a little time to relax before tonight and tomorrow’s big travel challenge. We’re still uncertain if we’ll be able to get into South Africa, let alone change planes in Nairobi, before we even arrive in SA.

Gold was often used in creating artifacts in palaces.

Update:  It’s now almost 2:00 pm, and we recently returned from a 20-minute tuk-tuk ride through traffic to a Luggage World store (go figure). We easily found a “Swiss (army knife people) 26” bag in bright yellow for IDR 7000, US $93.25. We prefer unusual colors in bags, making them easier to spot on the carousel. They accepted a credit card, and we didn’t have to go to an ATM.

We took everything out of the old supply bag, threw several items, and packed the new one, which now meets baggage regulations. Our other bags are packed for leaving in the middle of the night tonight after leaving out comfortable clothes and shoes for the long journey. 

At the nightly closing of the border ceremony between India and Pakistan, the Border Security Force members were aligned and ready to perform.

Whew! That was labor-intensive after only a few hours of sleep! The rest of the day, we can chill, avoiding any naps so we’ll be able to fall asleep after dinner. I’d intended to do the final expenses for our time in India, but I think I’ll save it for the 12-hour layover in Kenya, during which I’ll prepare and upload tomorrow’s post. 
Well, folks, the next time you hear from us (tomorrow), hopefully, will be from the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. And after that, may safari luck be with us, from Marloth Park, South Africa. If you first see a pig as the primary photo on March 22nd, you’ll know we’ve arrived!!!

The 108 foot Lord Hanuman at the Jakhoo Temple in Shimla.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Don’t touch surfaces. Stay far away from others, if you can. And somehow, enjoy this quiet time doing things you may have wanted to do for a long time but never had the time.

Thanks again for all of the good wishes. We’ll be thinking of all of you.

Photo from one year ago today, March 19, 2019:

Mom and three babies.  The fourth baby who’d been missing for several days never reappeared. For more photos, please click here.

Eight hour car ride from Shimla to Amritsar…No delusions, rose coloured glasses…

My spectacular dinner was made by the thoughtful chef at the Amritsar Ramada, where we’ll stay for three nights.

It was quite a day. Our good driver Prince drove perfectly on the treacherous roads as we made our way down the Himalayas. The traffic, the horn honking, the weaving in and out between cars, trucks, and motorbikes was quite a sight to see as well as many other stunning scenes along the way.

As we entered Amritsar after an eight-hour car ride.

India is known for its pollution, skinny stray dogs, and rundown structures as a part of life in many parts.

A herd of sheep moving on down the road.

Sure, we tend to sugarcoat these rampant realities with often rose-colored glasses in an attempt to paint a colorful view of our nonstop world travels. But what shall we do? Whinge about the fact we’ve yet to see a bright blue sky or a totally clear day? Hardly.

A historic building as we drove through crowded town after another.

This country of over 1.3 billion people belongs to its people, and they are proud and grateful for what they do have instead of what they don’t. We are humbled by their acceptance and kindness, not by everyone, but by most.

It’s easy to see how India had 1.3 billion people. They are everywhere, and little land is reserved for the countryside or farming.

And, what do we gain by exposing ourselves to these challenges? Exactly what we intended seven years and almost four months ago when we left Minnesota to explore the world.

Color is everywhere.

It was never about hedonistic pleasures pumping our veins with luxurious comforts. It was always about filling out hearts and minds with a new appreciation, a unique perspective of life outside the box we so freely occupied all of our lives.

Every area, every town is congested with people and “stuff.”

The meaning, the purpose, and the scope of our past experiences were limited to a tight circle around us. Today, it’s the world.

Shops are packed with colorful dresses worn by Hindu women.

Why, “they” may ask? Originally, curiosity. Now, this blissful opportunity has become about sharing this adventure with all of you, for those who traveled, for those who dreamed of travel, and for those who continue with their own goals of exploring the world.

People, cars and more shops.

Every day we plot, plan, and share the peculiarities, the nuances, the joys, and the challenges we encounter along the way. Not always pretty. Not always heartwarming and enchanting. But always, as real and concise as we can be from this long acquired perspective.

On a rare occasion did we encounter a more modern building.

Yes, in time, it will come to a close. In six days, I will be 72 years old with a precarious heart condition. Tom, five years younger, will only be able to haul the bags for so many years to come.

As we came down the mountains, we encountered snow.

But we’ll carry on, slipping on those rose-colored glasses from time to time to soften the blows of the many harsh realities we encounter in the world to share each perspective with all of you.

Dirty snow piled up on the side of the road.

We just returned from a fantastic dinner on Valentine’s night sans alcohol. No alcoholic beverages are served in Amritsar in the proximity of the golden temple, which we’ll see tomorrow morning with our new guide. We don’t mind forgoing happy hour for three nights to savor the local treasures of Amritsar.

Town after the town became a picturesque view as we wound our way down the mountains.

Tomorrow evening holds quite an adventure. We’ll share the following day.

Thank you, dear reader/friends, for your inspiration and your loyalty. You are always with us.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovers out there…

Recycling pleasures…Four days and counting…

On either side of the face are two hanging red-tipped pieces of skin. When the Helmeted Guinea-fowl moves about, these swing around as would a pair of dangling earrings. Ah, the beauty of the wild! A photo from six years ago today at this link.

When none of Tom’s sisters required a used computer, when they each had well-working devices of their own, their friend Jodi (and now ours) volunteered to take it off my hands rather than dropping it off at a recycling facility.

Subsequently, I reformatted the drive, and it’s now running like a brand new laptop. This may be more of a thrill for me than for Jodi! At noon, I’m heading over to Jodi’s park model to set it up for her.

Recycling any personal possessions provides a great sense of satisfaction for the donor and the recipient, not only for environmental reasons but also for the joy of transferring your treasured items to someone who will enjoy the use of the thing. 

Perhaps for sentimental reasons, it’s gratifying to know the recipient will carry on the legacy of a particular item that may have been a big part of the donor’s history. 

Whoa! My old laptop has been around the world! I’ve pounded out millions of words on that keyboard after using it since January 2015, when I purchased it while in Big Island, Hawaii, at a Costco store.

And I’ve uploaded 2725 posts (as of today), done so with our passion for the world, our ability to continue to travel, and the fantastic people and wildlife we’ve been blessed to meet along the way.

Of course, all remnants of the past have been deleted, and only a fresh palate remains. It’s not so much that I’ve been emotionally attached to it. More so, it symbolizes all the experiences we’ve gleaned along the way since we purchased it five years ago.

As we donate clothing to Goodwill, mainly when it was a favorite item, it makes us wonder who may one day own that item and hoping they will enjoy it as much as we did.

We live in a “throw-away society” described as follows: “The throwaway society” is a human society strongly influenced by consumerism. The term describes a critical view of overconsumption and excessive production of short-lived or disposable items over durable goods that can be repaired.”

We observe this throughout the world. It’s not exclusive only to the USA. Even in some of the most remote areas of the world, we’ve witnessed rampant disregard for our planet and its future.

Each of us has the opportunity to play a small role in passing on our used items that we’ve since replaced, especially when we take a little time to bring them up to a usable condition for the recipient. 

No, we aren’t perfect in this area, nor will we ever be. But we began to appreciate it more when in 2012, we sold or gave away everything we owned to travel the world. 

At this crucial time in our lives, we began to understand this concept of letting go of “stuff” we didn’t need and, hopefully, putting it into the hands of those who may.

Soon, we’ll begin packing. We’ve discovered we need further to lighten our load for the constant traveling in India. We’ll donate some items, and those we’ll need down the road, we’ll send to our mailing service to be held until we can use them again. 

Trying to figure out how to handle “stuff” is a fact of our peculiar lives. We do our best to do so in a manner that befits our appreciation of our world and the many gifts it has to offer…those we cannot hold in our hands but only in our hearts and minds.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 25, 2019:

We spotted a giraffe with two male impalas in Marloth Park. For more photos, please click here.