Flights booked to Dublin…Figuring out concerns for traveling right now…A little friend has returned…

Ken, Tom, and Don are having a good time, as usual.  We’ll all be together again soon before we leave.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Last year about this same time, our little friend, this female toad (or perhaps another), came to live on this light fixture.  For months, every night, she ate many flying insects to fatten up. We’d leave the light on for a while to ensure she’d have plenty of options. In the spring, a small male joined her on the fixture, and they stayed there together for a few weeks and left, not to be seen again until she’s returned this week.  Another cycle of life in the bush…

Yesterday afternoon we booked our flights from Nelspruit to Dublin. Of course, we opted for the flights with the shortest overall travel time, which was 16 hours and 40 minutes.

A waterbuck at the Crocodile River.

The most extended portion of the flight is from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Frankfurt, Germany, at 10 hours and 35 minutes on Lufthansa Airline. It was this portion of the flight that precipitated most of our concern.

In a perfect world, we both could have sat together and flown via “business class” seated together. But, this time, it was different based on our concern of my developing blood clots due to the cramped spaces in the economy with little leg room and opportunity to change positions.

Hippos in the Crocodile River.

Subsequently, we had to make a tough decision. Tom will fly coach class, and I’ll fly via business class which will allow more legroom and an opportunity to sleep in a flat position instead of sitting straight up in the usually uncomfortable coach class seats. 

Female lion on the prowl.

With the recent two leg surgeries on both legs, one surgery as recently as five weeks earlier (as of May 11th, our travel date), and 90 days since the coronary bypass surgery, my flying in business class was necessary, not construed by me as a luxury.  

After all these years of traveling, I have no qualms about flying coach, even on overnight flights. Neither of us does well sleeping in an upright position. We’ve done it several times, and we were no worse for the wear, other than being tired on arrival day from lack of sleep.  

A parade of elephants kicking up a lot of dust in Chobe National Park in Botswana.

In these circumstances, Tom may get two to three hours of sleep on the “red-eye,” while I felt lucky to sleep for an hour or so in most cases. But once we brushed our teeth in the morning, combed our hair, and tidied up a bit, generally, we did very well on the day of arrival.

Sunset over the Crocodile River.

We were surprised at how well we did the next day during these periods of little to no sleep. We could do this with relative ease in our youth, especially if we’d stayed up all night having a good time.

Flying is not a good time. Years ago, I recall it feeling more sophisticated and pleasurable with more legroom, more decent meals served, and more attention to detail for the passenger’s ultimate comfort, regardless of the class chosen for the flight.

These knobs on the head of giraffes are ossicones. Females have hair on them. Males have lost part of their hair from headbutting when vying for dominance.

Now it feels as if we’re sardines in a can, swimming in greasy swill amid germs, loud talking, kids kicking the back of our seats with no parental intervention, and frustrated and overworked flight attendants trying desperately not to “offend” anyone and to keep order in the cabin. Who knows what can break out at any moment soon to be uploaded to YouTube with millions of hits?

Two hornbills hang around our garden each day, most likely a mating pair. When they want seeds, they sure let us know.

Tom will fly coach in a row somewhere behind me, and from time to time, while I’m walking hourly as required by the doctor, we’ll touch base and say hello to see how the other is doing. When we finally get to Dublin, I’ll be glad to pick up luggage and the rental car to be on our way to the holiday rental, a several-hour drive from the airport.

Yesterday, we paid the final payment on the holiday home. Next, we’ll book a rental car for the almost three-month stay in Connemara. I can’t wait to walk in the front door of the holiday home, to see the ocean from every window, to relax once we unpack, buy some groceries and settle into our new home.

Handsome male impala.

At that point, we’ll begin our plan to further research Tom’s ancestry, one of the motivating factors in booking this period in Ireland. He’d hit a wall in the US using, going as far back as the 1840s. It will be fun to see what we can find while in Ireland.

Mongooses were standing at attention while awaiting eggs. Note the little “arm” holding onto the one in front. So cute!

Tomorrow, we’ll return to Doc Theo when he’ll re-bandage the left leg using the painful cream that prevented me from getting much sleep last night. A nap will be on the agenda today, or at least an attempt at rest, often unsuccessful.

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, April 24, 2018:

When we’d given up hope of seeing a parade of elephants, safari luck kicked in, and once again, we were gifted with these elephants crossing the road. We couldn’t believe the baby’s determined stride! For more Kruger photos, please click here.

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