|Big Daddy Kudu by candlelight as darkness fell. Soon, we’ll be there once again.|
Today’s photos are from this date in 2018 while living in the bush in Marloth Park, South Africa. For more on the story, please click here.
We see this same gecko almost every day on this same tree area in front of the veranda. It appears to change colors from time to time.
The glow from booking plans to return to Marloth Park, South Africa, departing India on January 12, 2021, hasn’t diminished for me as I count down the days (Tom prefers not to count down). Right now, it’s 43 days until we depart in the middle of the night for the airport. May I say this with tongue in cheek?
- 3,715,200 seconds
- 61,920 minutes
- 1032 hours
- 43 days
- Six weeks and one day
Giraffe in the neighborhood. We never tire of seeing these beautiful animals.
Whew! It can’t go fast enough for either of us. There are few times in our eight years of world travel that we’ve wished for time to fly quickly. After all, when one gets to a “certain age,” we certainly want time to move slowly, but somehow it does not. Wishing or not, we seem to have no control over our perception of the creeping of time.
Besides the obvious, why are we so impatient after over eight months so far? There are a few reasons which we’ll share here today. I need to whine, whinge, complain a little, so please bear with me. If someone had told us that we had to spend even 43 days in a hotel room, with a worldwide pandemic raging around us, unable to risk going outdoors, literally stuck in an average-sized hotel room, only able to order room service and walk the corridors, I would have said, “No way!”
|A determined walk along the fence by the Crocodile River.|
But, here we are, and those 43 days loom over us like a very long time, especially right now, after eight months of doing this. Part of what has made the concept of these extremely challenging the next 43 days is that Indians have planned weddings for this period when COVID-19 lockdown restrictions impact the usual March through October season.
Subsequently, this hotel is packed with careless wedding guests with nary concerns about wearing face masks, social distancing, taking any other COVID-19 sensible precautions, and who smoke in the stairwell and their rooms in this non-smoking hotel. In reality, Tom and I should stop walking in the corridors now and not begin walking again until we arrive in South Africa.
|The Crocodile River after sunset.|
However, after working so diligently at my 5 miles, 8 km, in the corridors, each day, for all this time. If I stop now, I will lose all my vital conditioning in the next 43 days. I don’t walk to entertain myself. I walk to improve my cardiovascular health and avoid sitting in a chair for 16 hours a day.
It baffles me. When guests check-in here, they are explicitly informed there is a strict mask-wearing, other than when inside their rooms and the mandatory social distancing policy in this hotel, to protect themselves and other guests and the staff. Imagine how hard it has been for all employees who have slept here every night for many months, unable to leave the hotel to avoid infecting others from going out into the city or to their homes.
|A beam of light reflected off the camera at sunset on the river.|
Every half hour when I leave the room to walk, I encounter no less than six guests not wearing masks, often coming face to face with me when they storm outside their rooms without a mask. The staff has become very conscientious in wearing their masks properly, although we had to remind several of them to cover their noses early on.
We don’t allow the room service person in our room. The cleaner has to put on clean gloves before entering our space and keep a mask on while cleaning our room. Our cups and glasses must be washed before cleaning anything in our room. Previously, they’d wash the glasses after scrubbing the bathroom wearing the same gloves. We had to squawk about all of these for them to get it right.
|Mom and four piglets stop by several times a time.|
We’re tired of all of this. We’re tired of telling no less than 25 guests a day to put on a mask when we see them barging out of their rooms, often without even a mask in hand or heading to the elevators without a mask. I’m tired of complaining to the hotel managers. They, too, are frustrated. People don’t care.
We’re tired of guests staying in the room next to ours, never turning off their phone’s ring or vibration during the night, often waking us every 10 minutes. The two room’s beds back up to one another, and the walls aren’t soundproofed. We can hear everything.
|Bushbuck baby, maybe dad and mom often stopped by at the bottom of the steps for their pellets.|
We’re tired of the room on the other side of us with their door slamming all night long when the guests head to the stairwell to smoke at 2:00 am, 3:00 am, 4:00 am. We’re tired of the noisy wedding night where the entire hotel seems to vibrate from the loud music often until 4:30 am.
Gosh, please give me the sounds of the noisy hadeda birds (listen here) flying overhead at dusk, the exciting roar of a lion in the middle of the night, the insistent chirping of a hornbill pecking at the window for more seeds, or the hysterical sounds of warthogs snorting in the garden.
|Tom took this early morning photo of a wound on yet another warthog which appears to be healing. Warthogs are sturdy and hardy animals that often survive serious injury without any intervention by humans.|
Forty-three more days, forty-three more days…
Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2019:
|Chase, Susan’s adorable Yorkie. One year ago today, I saw my dear sister Susan, who’s since passed away. For more, please click here.|