Car rental woes…Video..Wildebeest fighting in the garden…What will we do in 26 days?…


Who’s in the garden this morning?

  • 2 warthogs – inc Little, Tiny, Lonely Girl, One Wart, Narrow
  • 4 bushbucks – inc. Thick Neck, Chewy, Bad Leg,
  •  4 kudus – Bossy, Notches, Mom and Baby
  • 1 wildebeest – inc. Broken Horn
  • 4 Frank and The Misses
  • 1 impala
We were worried for Broken Horn, who was being picked on by the three other wildebeests, including Crooked Face. Maybe now, that explains why he often visits alone instead of with “friends.”

It’s windy today. On windy days, many animals will hunker down, either fearful of the wind or anticipating further inclement weather. Does a sunny day like today reassure them that a rainstorm is not necessarily following the winds? Who’s to say how wildlife can determine upcoming temperature when we humans are not good at predicting coming storms with finite accuracy?

It’s still reasonably cool, but we remain outdoors on the veranda. The high today will be in the range of 60F, 15.6C, not considered cold in many parts of the world, but for us, after years of hot climates, it feels cold to us. Tonight, we’ll be dining at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant with Rita and Gerhard, most likely on the veranda, and will need to dress warmly. I suppose I’ll wear one of my two jackets and most likely, Tom will do the same.

Although the birdbath always has fresh water, some animals still prefer to drink from the pool.

I’m not totally over the recent sickness, still coughing and congested. Fortunately, I don’t feel too bad and don’t hesitate to go out tonight. We haven’t been to Jabula in two weeks, while I was too ill to go out. So it will be good to get out at long last.

This morning, we called Thrifty Car Rental in Nelspruit to ask if we could keep the rental car until June 30th when we either have to leave the country for our visa stamps or rent another vehicle for 90 days, if President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa provides an additional 90-day visa extension for foreign nationals.

A young kudu suckling in the bush.

The condition under which we can avoid returning the car on June 11th for an inspection, one of Thrifty’s goofy rules, is to take photos and videos of the interior, the odometer, and the car’s exterior, date stamped and send them to the manager in Nelspruit. If the manager approves the photos on that date, Tom won’t have to return the car until June 30th. That will save him half a day in both driving and time at the facility at the airport. Then, a week from today, we’ll take the photos and forward them to the manager. Hopefully, he’ll approve.

As our regular readers are aware, one of two scenarios has to transpire in 26 days. When Cyril extended visas last time, allowing us to stay until June 30th, the announcement wasn’t made until two days before our visa expiration date. If this happens again, we will be thrilled not to have to leave.

In any case, we will have to be prepared to leave South Africa on June 30th if the new extension is not issued and we have to high-tail out of here, fully packed. So we have made a decision, after weeks of contemplation and conversations, that if the visa extension is not issued, we will use our still-in-place flight to the US on June 30th.

It’s not unusual to see the hornbills eating Frank and Misses’ seeds and drinking their water while on the veranda.

We’ll stay for a total of approximately three weeks, including family visits in Minnesota, Wisconsin (Tom’s sister), and Nevada (son Richard). In the process, if we haven’t yet been vaccinated in South Africa, we will be immunized in Minnesota, since two weeks must pass after vaccination to be allowed to visit Tom’s sister in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who is currently in a nursing facility.

Regardless of this, we will have to completely pack up this house and move out on June 30th, allowing Louise to rent it to others while we’re gone. It makes no sense for us to pay for this house and hotels, meals, and car rentals in the US, which are expensive.

No doubt, it’s frustrating to have to entirely pack up this house toward the end of the month when we aren’t sure yet that we’ll be leaving until the visa announcement is made, if it is, at all. We are so organized and settled in here, I’m dreading the packing, but in reality, I could accomplish this in one day if I had to.

Two or three hornbills will loudly peck on the glass of the dining room window for hours. At times, they give up and go peck on the rental car windows. But, most likely, they are interacting with their reflection in the glass. It’s hilarious!

Days before the “big” packing, we’ll both pack bags with items we’ll need in the US. Then the packing of the balance will begin, including all our food, food supplies, toiletries, clothing, etc. Louise and Danie will store everything for us while we’re gone. We don’t see any other way to do this.

Last time, the visa extension occurred before we began packing, and then, when the visa extension announcement was made, we decided to stay. This time, we’ll be a little more proactive and get as much done ahead of time as possible. Of course, it will be easier for us to get the vaccine in the US, with many walk-in locations now available, even without an appointment.

No, I don’t like not knowing. I am a planner. But, in this case, this time, we may not have many options. We’d considered visiting other countries, but, bottom line…we need to get a vaccine. If we can get it here before June 30th, everything may change. But, it’s in our hands, hearts, and minds to decide what ultimately will be the best for us. We can decide, last minute, if we so choose.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, June 4, 2020:

Mumbai cyclone
This is the first such storm to hit Mumbai in over 100 years. Dark clouds hang over the city ahead of cyclone Nisarga making landfall in Mumbai. For more photos, please click here.

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