Day #258 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Yikes!…Snakes, scary insects, heat, power outages and thefts…!…

Twig snake, also known as a vine snake was on the railing at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant as we walked up the steps to the restaurant. “Twig snakes are among the few rear-fanged colubrids whose bite is highly venomous and potentially fatal. The venom is hemotoxic, and although its effects are very slow, and bites are rare, no antivenom has been developed, and several fatalities have occurred.”

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2018 when we were walking up the steps to dinner at Jabula Lodge & Restaurant in Marloth Park,  when a guest yelled out, “Look out! There’s a snake on the railing!” For that post, please click here.

By the time we arrive, (hopefully) in Marloth Park, it will have been 20 months since we departed South Africa in May 2019, when I was finally able to fly after heart surgery. It will have been long enough for us to put aside thoughts of encountering venomous snakes, insects, and the high temperatures in January which is summer in Africa. It can be as hot as 104F/40C or considerably higher from time to time.

Juan, a young and yet highly accomplished snake handler, captured the snake, placing it in this container and releasing it in Lionspruit where other captured venomous snakes are sent to live out their lives.

With air-con generally only available in the bedrooms in most bush houses and with our desire to be outdoors on the veranda all day long, waiting for wildlife to visit, it will be quite an adjustment from sitting in this cool, dark, temperature-controlled room for the prior 10 months (by the time we depart). I’m not complaining, just observing.

As mentioned in prior posts, we keep the darkening drapes in this hotel room closed all day with the lamps on, in order to keep the room cool throughout the day and night. Even the bright sunlight will require an adjustment after all this time, one we look forward to. In our prior two long stays in Marloth Park, in 2013/2014 and 2018/2019, on each occasion, we were there over the summer months and we fared well in the heat.

Young zebra in the garden.

I imagine we’ll do equally well once again. When we lived in the “Orange” house, I did ok after returning from the hospital after open-heart surgery at the tail end of February, lying on the sofa in the lounge room without any air-con.  If it became unbearable for a short period, Tom helped me maneuver to the bedroom for a break with the air-con on.

A day after I returned from the hospital, the power was out for a day. Danie brought over a generator for us to use. Bless their hearts, he and Louise were always thinking of us.

The frequent power outages were challenging at times. Eskom’s “load shedding,” when the power was turned off to reduce the grid load was especially annoying. That’s another story I won’t get into today, but it is a fact we must accept in returning to our otherwise favorite place in the world.

We wrote in 2018: “We’re treasuring every moment with the wildlife, knowing once the holiday-makers arrive, we’d have considerably fewer visitors until well into January.”

Also at times, there’s no water. And, of course, when the power is out, there is no WiFi. Now that we have our Google phones with built-in data hotspots, if necessary, we can use them during those periods. We won’t know if it will work in our location until we arrive.

Another precaution we must consider is the number of burglaries in the bush houses. Although the two entrance gates to Marloth Park are guarded, 24-hours a day, many burglaries transpire with losses of computers, phones, digital equipment, TVs, and other items. At no point, can we leave our laptops on the outdoor table if we run indoors to do something if one of us isn’t around to keep out a watchful eye.

When Little didn’t get my attention when he walked up the steps to the veranda, he knocked over this chair. Determined Little, trying to get my attention. It worked!

Last night, 12 hours ago, I saw this post on Facebook, “A lion has recently been seen on Butterfly Street towards Olifant.” From time to time, lions crawl under the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park to enter Marloth and may be heard and seen for days, if not weeks.

There’s plenty of food for lions in the park. When such a sighting is observed, everyone is notified through the various Facebook groups or email. It’s during these times that warnings are issued to avoid locals and guests from freely walking in the streets. Night-time curfews are instituted. Lions tend to hunt at night, but are often observed during daylight hours.

Of course, I made his antics worthwhile. I gave him pellets and ice-cold carrots on a very hot day.  He was so exhausted in the heat that he lay down to dine.

In those cases, I will have to consider where I’ll continue my regular walking routine each day. If necessary, I’ll walk indoors on the days when lions are spotted and outdoors for the remainder. The house we’ve booked appears to have a long driveway which I can walk many times each day to achieve my goal. Somehow, it will all work out.

You may ask, with all these potential issues, why in the world would we want to return? As our long-time readers know, the answer is easy, “Amid all of that, we love it there…the wildlife, the people, the access to Kruger National Park, the scenery and the simple pleasures of life in the bush,”

A praying mantis stopped by for a visit that morning. After he walked on the veranda table, he landed on Tom and then landed on me. Friendly little fellow.

Now, we wait, albeit as patiently as possible for the days to pass so we can once again return, in 38 days. Fingers crossed.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 6, 2019:

On this date in 2015, we were at the Arts Village in Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu, Fiji. For the year-ago story, please click here.

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