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

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

“Bali Sightings on the Beach”

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

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

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

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

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

“Bali Sightings of the Beach”

Crab trail and buffalo footprints in the sand.

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

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

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

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

Breakfast menu, Page 1.

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

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

Breakfast menu, Page 2.

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

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

The lunch menu, Page 1.

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

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

The lunch menu, Page 2.

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

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

The lunch menu, Page 3.

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

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

The lunch menu, Page 4.

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

The lunch menu, Page 5.

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

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

The lunch menu, Page 6.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What an interesting door!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fresh organic produce offered for sale at Le Jardin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Four days and counting…The solution to our phone situation…Fabulous food!…

Rich was outside in the rain in the sideyard, preparing the chicken and ribs on the charcoal grill. He needed the umbrella.

The time has flown by. In only four days, we’re leaving for Fort Lauderdale early Friday morning and will arrive by noon, at which time we’ll check our bags, drop off the rental car at the airport, take a shuttle back to the cruise terminal and be on our way.

It’s been 29 months since we were last on a cruise when we sailed from Southampton, England, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on the same ship, the reverse transatlantic crossing we’re beginning on Friday. We had a great time then and hoped to do the same this time. We never mind a repeat of ocean crossings. They have many sea days with few ports of call, but we always have fun on sea days and when getting off the ship.

Tom hadn’t eaten baked beans in years. Along with the chicken and ribs, green beans, and salad, it was a perfect meal.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of shopping on Amazon for odds and ends since once we return to Marloth Park, we’ll be staying there for a year, leaving from time to time for visa stamps but won’t have access to Amazon.com. For the first time in a few years, I can restock some of my favorite products which aren’t available in South Africa at the shops or on their version of Amazon, Takealot.

After considerable research and consideration, we decided to replace my almost three-year-old Google Pixel 4XL with the newer Google Pixel 6 Pro. The old phone couldn’t hold a charge for very long, and like many other smartphones, the batteries cannot easily be replaced. This, of course, motivates users to purchase a newer model. They get you coming and going, don’t they?

The new phone arrived yesterday, and in less than an hour, I had everything transferred over to the new phone, including the Google Fi phone service with my existing phone number. This was important to us since many of our financial accounts and others are set up with my phone number.

Rich didn’t put sauce on the ribs or chicken, which allowed me to enjoy them as well.

As for the temporary suspension through Google about us using too much roaming data, we solved that issue as well. We will insert a South Africa SIM card, which we already purchased for the old phone that we’ll use for data when we are out and about. When at a holiday house, hotel, restaurant, and many other locations, we can use the free WiFi on the new phone.

Having three phones between us is cumbersome, but this was our best and most cost-effective solution. We’ll seldom carry the third phone with us. For example, if we go into Kruger, we need WiFi in the event of an emergency or when using MAPS when on the road, and satellite is not effective enough for updates on road conditions, stoppages, and potential dangers.

Most South Africans use SIM cards for calling, texting, and data on their phones. Also, the third phone will be highly effective during travel days. On a day-to-day basis, we won’t need to bring it with us when out and about in Marloth Park when most local establishments have free WiFi we’ll be able to use. It was an easy solution to avoid signing up for a spendy contact from the US.

These chicken legs were the best we’d ever had, meaty and cooked to perfection. Tom, who usually only eats chicken breasts, enjoyed the legs as well. I guess I’ll be making these for once we get settled again. I won’t be cooking again until the end of May when we return to South Africa.

We will always be able to use the new phone for texts and phone calls. Texts are free inside and outside the US. Calling outside the US is typically 20 cents a minute but free inside the US for country-wide calls.

I was able to transfer all of my apps over to the new phone. The old phone will still be able to use WiFi at any accessible location but won’t receive texts and phone calls unless someone knows the phone number associated with the SIM card we’ll install. It all may sound confusing, but it’s clear to us. Few of our readers will ever need to implement such a plan, but if you do, feel free to ask for assistance if required.

Today’s photos are those we took when Rich was making his fantastic barbecue chicken and ribs. What a fine dinner we had on Saturday, followed by a delicious pot roast Karen made on Sunday. No shortage of good food around here!

Have a super day enjoying good health and peace of mind!

Photo from one year ago today, April 4, 2021:

Our boy Tiny, lounging in the garden after eating lots of pellets. As big as he is, he can consume lots of pellets. Note the cute pose. That’s our boy! We never saw him again after returning from the US at the end of July. For more photos, please click here.

Lovely evening on the veranda with great friends, good food and Mother Nature…

It was 4:00 am when our regular genet appeared in the garden sitting atop of a rock observing these two female bushbucks.

The weather was ideal, the guests were cheerful and enthused to be at our bush home, and the food, wine, and conversation flowed with ease. Rita, Gerhard, Rita’s sister Petra and brother-in-law Fritz joined us at the table on the veranda for snacks with beverages at sundowner time, beginning at 4:30 pm, 1630 hrs, followed by dinner a few hours later.

All of us stuffed from dinner. After the main course, we waited for about an hour to serve dessert, the chocolate cake I’d made in the morning, with photos in yesterday’s post found here. The low-carb cake was delicious and another treat we appreciated after it was only recently that I’d baked a few cakes, having missed desserts for quite some time.

We turned on the music between dinner and dessert using our JBL Essential Bluetooth speaker, which sounds almost as good as any major sound system. We sent my phone around the table for each of us to say, “Hey Google, play _ _ _ _ _, on YouTube.”

Young kudu male stops by, standing on the veranda to get our attention. We tossed pellets out into the garden to avoid getting too close to those growing horns.

We’d each speak our favorite song on the phone, and it was fun to hear what each of us chose. There certainly was a wide array of music, in part cultural, with our four guests from Germany (although Rita and Gerhard have lived in the US for over 30 years). Tom and I each chose oldies, his more geared toward rock and roll and mine, from the disco period in the late 70s and early 80s. It was great fun.

At one point, Rita and Petra danced to a favorite song from their OctoberFest days. It was delightful to see their favorite cultural dance. Ironically, in yesterday’s post, I’d mentioned cultural dances we’ve observed and enjoyed worldwide over the years and most assuredly enjoy in years to come, health providing, and we’re able to continue.

This warthog stopped by who’d recently had an injury to his left wart. It could have happened in several incidents with other animals.

As always, after dinner, Tom insisted on handling all the dishes, requiring that he load and empty the dishes twice and wash a variety of pots and pans. It helped that we’d all carried the plates and dishes indoors, but, still, he had his hands full for a few hours after our guest left, slightly before 10:00 pm, 2200 hrs.

On and off, throughout the evening, we were entertained by many of our favorite wildlife visitors who weren’t put off at all by our loud banter and not too loud music. We are far from any other houses at our current location and are never concerned we’re disturbing neighbors.

Tom just finished his leftovers while I am munching on the leftover salad and vegetables, cooked green beans, and sugar snap peas. We’d made individual low-carb pot pies and had saved the thick lids used to cover the tin foil pans. After dinner, we passed around the lids and a pen so everyone could write their name on their corresponding leftovers and take them home for today’s lunch.

We just missed a good photo of this monitor lizard.

We won’t eat again until dinner tonight at Jabula, where the six of us will meet up for dinner, which will undoubtedly be another fun evening. We enjoy our busy social life, which will continue after Petra and Fritz return to Germany. Several other friends will be arriving in Marloth Park in the next few weeks, and the social activities will ramp up from here.

We’re pleased to share another sighting of our usual genet from our trail cam, as shown in the main photo. What a joy it has been to see our favorite nocturnal animals these past many weeks, as well as the frequent daytime visitors that continue to entertain and amaze us.

May you have a pleasant day, evening, and weekend.

Photo from one year ago today, January 22, 2021:

There are no less than three mating pairs of francolins in our garden. In a short time after our arrival to Marloth Park, we named this francolin Frank, along with his partner, The Misses. For more, please click here.

Hot! Hot! Hot!…Omicron on the rise in South Africa, and worldwide…

A dung beetle and his mate atop the ball of dung while he pushes with his back legs to move the ball along. What a fantastic sighting!

I am in the bedroom at almost noon with the air con and the fan on, trying to cool down. I spent over an hour in the kitchen preparing tonight’s dinner while it was 97F, 36C with outrageous high humidity. It will top 100F, 38C, or more on a bright sunny day in an hour or so.

With no air-con anywhere in the house except for the two bedrooms, it is the only place to hide away to cool off. I’d never tackle such a cooking challenge in this heat without air-con in my old life. It would have warranted a dinner out, for sure. But, in Marloth Park, many of the restaurants don’t have suitable cooling with doors always wide open, so there’s little relief to be found there.

Mongoose hanging around the edge of the veranda..

The dinner I’m preparing today requires a trip to the little local market to purchase mushrooms, lettuce, and tomatoes. We’ll have a low-carb dish called Low Carb Mushroom Burger Scramble, a favorite, although it presents as one-pan winter comfort food. But, this morning, I made two pans, one for each of us, enough to last for three dinners.

Thus, regardless of continuing heat, I won’t have to cook for the next few days, only making a salad and rice for Tom. That’s a good plan, especially since we’d like to go to Kruger in the next few days, once the temperature drops, which is expected by Tuesday or Wednesday before all the holidaymakers arrive for the Christmas holiday when Kruger will be packed.

We drove past a few giraffes while out exploring.

It is hard to spot much wildlife during ultra-hot days. Even our usual wildlife visitors to our garden are sparse on the hot days. This morning, several bushbucks, two sets of Mom and Piglets, and Broken Horn stopped by. But now, as the day wears on and the temperature rises, the only visitor we’re seeing is Frank and The Misses, who stop by once every three or four hours. They, like us, tend to stay undercover when it’s so hot.

After returning from the little market, they stood at the screen door to the veranda, looking inside the house, wondering where we’d gone. We always laugh when we see them there, walking back and forth impatiently from time to time. We love those birds! Who would think we’d adore these chicken-like creatures as much as we do?

Broken Horn is always welcomed in our garden.

A few minutes ago, Tom called out to me. The mongooses were here! Lately, they have been stopping by each day. We had bones left from Tom’s ribs from last night’s dinner at Jabula, which they always love and also paloney. Tom cut up the paloney into bite-sized pieces and tossed them into the garden, far enough apart to prevent them from fighting over the food.

Based on numerous reliable sources online, the variant Omicron is rising in South Africa, doubling every 2½ days. This is also occurring in many other parts of the world. It’s possible that soon, all cases of Covid-19 in South Africa will be Omicron. If that is factual, with lesser illness from this variant, this could be a good sign. We are hopeful but remain diligent in our efforts to stay healthy.

Giraffe’s legs and hooves are fascinating.

Today will be a quiet day for us. Most likely, we’ll spend the next few hours cooling off in the bedroom. By 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs, when the temperature begins to drop, we’ll head outdoors and enjoy a few hours on the veranda, although according to the weather report, it won’t get below 90F, 32C, until after 7:00 pm, 1900 hrs.

Tonight, we’ll hunker down in the cool of the bedroom, streaming a few shows such as Dexter, New Blood, and Yellowstone. We hope you have a pleasant Sunday during the holiday season and always.

Photo from one year ago today, December 12, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while we were in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #264. Just like that, the zebra was on the veranda at the Orange house in 2018. For more photos, please click here.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?…

Mongoose eating shrimp shells. They loved them, perhaps reminding them of eating crunchy scorpions.

Last night, as I stepped out of the car when arriving back at our house, from a delightful dinner at Jabula with Kathy and Don, I stepped in an anthill, or better yet, a termite hill, several of which surround the area of the carport and the garden. Over these past nine months, since we arrived in Marloth Park, Vusi and Zef have knocked them down, only to have them “grow” back within days.

Removing termite mounds is a pointless task, nor does it cause any issues in the house when there is no wood on the premises, only cement. We don’t get termites in the house. But, last night, when I accidentally stepped on the home of thousands of termites, I found myself feeling disappointed in myself for destroying a part of their home that now they must rebuild.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

This morning, when I sat with Tom at the table on the veranda, sipping my coffee, one of our usual bands of mongooses arrived, chirping their funny little sounds, wondering what’s for breakfast. I ran into the house and grabbed two bags from last night’s dinner, one with bones from Tom’s rib dinner and the other with prawn shells left from Kathy and Don’s meals.

Kathy didn’t keep the shells, but now I will encourage her to do so since she and Don always have the prawns at Jabula and get several mongoose bands in their back garden None of us knew mongoose would love shrimp shells and the attached stringy legs. It was fun to watch them squeal and squeak over them when we placed them on the ground, grabbing one at a time and running off into the bush to eat in privacy. It’s funny.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

This morning I went through the house, looking for any items sitting out over the winter months that may attract insects. It could be a flavored tube of lipstick, a moist rag left on the counter to dry, or a tiny bit of spilled sugar left when I made Tom’s blueberry muffins yesterday morning. It could be a morsel of food that missed the garbage can when I’ve been busy preparing food.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

I’ve begun to think about packing and going through the clothing I may decide to toss before we leave here in 39 days. We’ll leave several items behind with Louise to store for our return, 14 months later. But the question becomes, which clothes require washing again when they’ll sit for several months unattended in a large plastic tote? Will they be a breeding ground for spiders, snakes, or other creepy crawlers while we’re away?

Broken Horn stops by at least two times a day, checking out what’s on the menu.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

We never leave a dirty dish in the sink overnight. If we did, we’d awaken to find some nasty-looking critters in the sink or on the countertops. Any spills on the floor must be cleaned up immediately, or within an hour, the crumbs or fragments of food may be covered in ants. Where do they get inside? It’s hard to say.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

I just heard a fly buzzing around my head while I was inside the house. How did it get inside? My task for today will be to find that fly and escort it outside by quickly opening a window. They most likely enter from the veranda door that doesn’t close appropriately unless we lock it, which is annoying considering how much we go in and out all day and evening. We try to avoid using insect spray any more than necessary.

We keep most windows closed, day and night, in winter and summer, to avoid insects entering the house. It’s not that we’re afraid of them. They can keep us awake at night, buzzing about our heads and the bedroom. Who needs insect bites? I’ve had my share.

Where in the world would such thoughts enter my mind?

Such thoughts as these only enter my mind while we’re in Africa. When we arrive in the US once again, none of the above will be a consideration. There will be no termite mounds to navigate, no mongoose to feed, no insects to keep at bay, and no repellent to apply to all exposed skin three times a day, including bedtime.  We’ll be able to throw open the windows and screen doors without giving it a thought.

“It’s not easy taking a nap with my tusks in the way!” says The Imposter.

This is Africa. Those who choose to come to the continent are fully aware of the risks, the challenges, and the unusual occurrences perhaps not found in their home country. Amid all of these minor inconveniences, we’re returning in December 2022, during the busy Christmas season, in the heat of summer, when temperatures may rise to 45C, 113F, when snakes are prolific, and insects and creepy crawlers are a normal part of each day. Are we nuts? No, we love the bush.

Yes, we love the bush.

Be well, everyone!

Photo from one year ago today, September 12, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #173. Hesborn, our houseman in Kenya in 2013, stopped by Wednesday morning after a whole night of rain, showed us this carnivorous, stinging, dangerous creature with less than 100 legs yet is still referred to as a centipede. He warned us not to walk in the grass after rain. These not only walk but also are known to climb up bedposts. A sting from this ugly creature will require a trip to an emergency room. For more photos, please click here.

Las Vegas is unlike anywhere else in the world…What a city!…What a nightlife!…

It’s such fun to be staying at the beautiful Green Valley Ranch Resort & Spa in Henderson, Nevada, located across a highway from son Richard’s gated community. The lights, the luxury, the glamour, and the food are always over-the-top in this sparkling city of lights and addictive pleasures. Thank goodness, we don’t gamble. We both gave up giving money to casinos many moons ago.

We are thrilled with our lovely, well-appointed hotel room.

But, getting here yesterday was quite a challenge. We didn’t get to our hotel room until 1:00 am this morning, which was 3:00 am, based on Minnesota time. We were both anxious to get a good night’s sleep but awoke at our usual early time, close to 6:00 am. After less than  5 hours of sleep, we are surprised how energized we feel today.

There was ample space to open our bags and avoid unpacking which we preferred. We’ve become quite good at living out of a suitcase.

Not only will it be wonderful to see son Richard and his GF, but we’ll be able to pick up our mail with many items we’d purchased from Amazon, to refill our supplies, including two pairs of shoes and a few clothing items for me. Tomorrow, after uploading the day’s post, we’ll head to North Las Vegas to our mailing service to collect the many valuable items, including our new camera.

Unusual-looking cakes on display in the casino.

Of course, we’ll have to repack our bags to make everything fit, but Tom included one of our newer empty duffel bags in his suitcase that we’d purchased to go on the later canceled trip to Kenya months ago (due to Covid-19 lockdown) that required cloth duffel bags for the small airplane.

Taste-tempting treats for sale at the Lucky Penny Restaurant.

Yesterday’s trip from Milwaukee back to Minneapolis was a traffic nightmare. Our flight, scheduled for 9:20 pm (Minnesota time), seemed like a shoo-in when we left Sister Beth in the morning after our second visit, headed back to our hotel to pack, and we were on the road by 1:00 pm after requesting a late check-out.

Tom’s colossal ham steak, eggs, and hash browns breakfast. I gave him my fruit.

Traffic from Wisconsin to Minnesota on I-94 was at a standstill on several occasions.  We barely made it to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport within the required two hours. Once at the airport, check-in queues and baggage processing were long and slow, when curbside SkyCap check-in was no longer available due to Covid.

My breakfast of flourless egg-white wraps containing chicken, avocado, and cheese, topped with pickled onions. Delicious!

Going through security took another 25 minutes. Since I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, we’d hoped to eat at the airport. Many of the usual restaurants were closed due to Covid with lack of support staff. Buffalo Wild Wings was the only restaurant suitable for my eating, which had a long queue and was completed 40 minutes later.

As we entered the casino…

It was rush, rush, rush. We made it to our gate on time to find the Delta flight overbooked with offers of $500 gift cards for passengers willing to forfeit their seats. That wasn’t for us. We weren’t in the mood to wait for almost four hours for the next flight.

Due to touchless gambling, machines such as this don’t accept cash instead of using only pre-purchased cards.

But, the absolute chaos began in Las Vegas when we waited in a line of hundreds of people to take the shuttle to the car rental facility a few miles from the airport. It took another hour to be processed at Budget Car Rental, pushing our bags around when there were no luggage trolleys nearby. We never liked Las Vegas McCarran Airport for these and more reasons. From the time we landed until we reached our nearby hotel (10 minutes from the airport),  2½ had passed. Ridiculous.

Casinos are a playground for adults with every imaginable game of chance.

This morning, we bolted out of bed with a new attitude, showered and dressed in our lovely upscale hotel room, and headed to breakfast at the hotel’s casual restaurant, the Lucky Penny. Photos shown here today are delicious breakfast meals that convinced us that we don’t need to go any further for breakfast over the next few mornings until we leave for South Africa on Saturday.

Waterfalls are built into the walls of a restaurant.

This morning, “I got a text!” (as they say on Love Island, a goofy matchmaking series we’ve watched on a few occasions) from Richard to meet them for dinner at the Claim Jumper restaurant only two miles from here. We’re both looking forward to seeing them, after 20 months since the last time we were here, arriving on Thanksgiving afternoon when we later had Thanksgiving dinner with Richard at the same restaurant where we dined this morning, formerly called the Grand Cafe. Quite nice.

Enjoy our fun Las Vegas-type photos, and we’ll be back with more as the week progresses.

Have a fantastic Monday, everyone!

Photo from one year ago today, July 18, 2020:

One year ago today, I’d posted this photo on this date, which was day #117 in lockdown in Mumbai, India. Here’s what I’d purchased from a local vegetable truck in Boveglio, Italy, in  2013, for a total of Euro $4.09, US $5.33. Prices were better at the grocery store, but the freshness and convenience made it worth paying more. For more, please click here.

A 44-year ago memory…Great food and ambiance…

Our waiter took the family photo.

We had a fantastic time at Maynard’s in Excelsior on Lake Minnetonka last night with our son Greg’s family as we celebrated Camille’s birthday. The three grandchildren were there, and we all sat at a big round table for seven which allowed for easy conversation and laughter.

As was always typical for Maynard’s, the food was great, and the conversations all around were delightful. A few days earlier, Greg and I recalled July 4, 1977, when he and my other son Richard and I took out our first boat on Lake Minnetonka for the holiday experience.

It was fun to be here to celebrate Camille’s birthday with her complimentary ice cream sundae.

It was the first time I’d driven a boat, and the three of us took off from our boat slip in St. Alban’s Bay early in the morning with a plan to make our way across the vast lake, in and out of many bays, to end up at my friend Lynda’s lake house for a 4th of July party.

Our first foray with the boat on the lake that day was to make it the short distance from our slip at the marina to Maynard’s, then called T. Butcherblock’s, so the kids could feed the ducks. It was no later than 9:00 am. Once we arrived at T. Butcherblock’s docks, I somehow managed to dock the boat without banging into the wooden posts and then securely tied it down.

Tom, Miles, and Madighan are at the table.

We went inside the restaurant to ask for some stale bread for the ducks that typically swam around the dock, hoping that boaters and diners would toss some food their way. The restaurant staff gave us a bag of old bread, and we meandered back out to the dock to feed the ducks.

My boys, Richard and Greg, then ten and almost eight years old, were thrilled to feed the ducks but not too confident about going back out on the huge lake with their mother, an inexperienced boat driver at the time. I was 29 years old.

Maisie’s Asian salad.

Although I dinged the prop in shallow water, shortly after leaving T. Butcherblock’s, we somehow made it to Lynda’s house hours later, albeit slowly with the damaged support. Once at her house, I arranged to have the prop repaired, and we were soon able to get back out on the lake a few days later. It all worked out, and in those first few days, I learned a lot about boating.

Over the years, I became an experienced boater, upgrading to larger boats as the years passed. My kids spent many summers on the lake with me driving and gained confidence with my skills in time. It was an enjoyable time in our lives.

Tom’s walleye fish and chips. The walleye is a popular fish in the midwest.

Yesterday, being at Maynard’s brought back many memories, especially when Greg recalled that date, 44 years ago, and brought along a bag of stale bread for his kids and us to feed the ducks. After our enjoyable dinner indoors, we headed outside on the pier, packed with partygoers, boaters, and diners to make our way to the water, where numerous ducks and giant carp were awaiting our offerings.

At this point in my life, I wouldn’t normally condone feeding bread to fish and fowl. But, the family tradition was being relived not only for our grandchildren but also for Greg and me. Later, I sent Richard a text to tell him what we’d done, but “tongue in cheek,” he commented, “That wasn’t me.” I reminded him that, indeed, it was him as well. My sons are now 54 and almost 52 years old.

My Cobb salad.

Oh, my gosh…44 years ago. It seems like yesterday. I found myself saying this over and again, “I can’t believe it was 44 years ago!” After we were all done at the dock, we headed back through the restaurant and out the door to the parking lot, where we all hugged goodbye until we saw them again on Thursday evening, our last time together before we departed for Milwaukee and then on to Las Vegas.

Greg, Camille, the kids, and I will all go to the movies together on Thursday evening to see Black Widow. We will have to split up again to say our goodbyes. Tom will return to his sister’s Mary’s home for the usual Thursday night barbecue and catch up with me later in the evening.

Maisie sat next to me as we chatted endlessly.

Today, we made arrangements to see Sister Beth at the nursing home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Saturday and Sunday, after which we’ll head back to Minneapolis, directly to the airport for our flight to Las Vegas, Nevada, to see Richard. We’ll spend five days in Henderson, Nevada, and then on July 24th, we’ll begin the long trek back to South Africa.

As we fed the ducks, huge carp joined in on the action.

May your day be filled with pleasant experiences.

Photo from one year ago today, July 14, 2020:

Gina, our property manager in Madeira, Portugal, explained that the number of cloudy days we’d experienced while there in 2014 was unusual. For more photos, please click here.