We’re packed and ready to leave the hotel to return the rental car at Ace, take their shuttle to the airport, check our bags and begin the long wait until our flight at 2:00 pm. The first flight to Newark is easy, less than three hours,, but the typical five-hour layover is to be expected.
During the layover, we’ll have dinner at an airport restaurant and spend time on our laptops to kill time while we wait for the 16-hour flight to Johannesburg.
This morning, Louise and I texted back and forth on Whatsapp. Apparently, things are not good in Marloth Park right now. It’s very hot and humid, the power has been out for almost a day, and there’s no water from the reservoir due to the 11½ hours of load shedding each day. But now, the power is out due to some type of fault or damage to equipment, and they can’t get the power back on.
We feel bad for Louise. All of her houses are rented with dozens and dozens of guests for a golf tournament in Komatipoort and holidaymakers. Can you imagine the complaints from the holiday renters who don’t have power…or water. There’s no news on when both of these will be restored.
We hope things are resolved by the time we return in a few days, but as we always say, “TIA, This is Africa!” What do we expect? In any case, we’ll be fine. We’ll definitely have to throw away all of the perishables in the refrigerator but hopefully not everything in the freezer. When shopping next, we’ll only buy enough for a few days, knowing power outages are even worse during December.
With all the holidaymakers in the park, we don’t expect to see many animals in the garden when we return. But mostly, we can’t wait to see Norman and Nina’s new baby, born a few days after we left. No news yet on the gender of the baby, but we have a few names in mind, of course beginning with an “N.” Noah has wandered off in search of a mate for himself, but there are no other nyalas in Marloth Park other than their family of four. Wild animals generally do not mate with species other than their own.
Hopefully, the rangers can find another female to bring to the conservancy for Noah. We hope to hear this has been done at some point. He’s certainly entitled to having a mate, now that Norman and Nina are preoccupied with their new baby.
It was easy packing the new suitcase that had plenty of room, and we filled it to the brim. We have no way to weigh it and will wing it hoping it meets the maximum 23 kg. limit. Of course, we have no idea if our missing bags will be waiting for us when we get to Joburg or Nelspruit. Only time will tell.
Last night, we had dinner with Greg and granddaughter Madighan at Champps. We’d hoped to see the other grandkids one more time, but we managed to have some quality time with everyone while we were here.
This morning, I spoke to our friend Connie, whose husband and our dear friend Jeff passed away at our house in the bush, when they’d come to Marloth Park to fulfill Jeff’s dream of seeing Africa. We are so grateful he was able to fulfill that dream with us during the time he, Connie, and their adult daughter Lindsey were with us. It was good to hear her voice. Next time we come to Minnesota, we will make a point of getting together with Connie and Lindsey.
This unexpected trip to Minnesota was such a flurry of activity with the family, leaving little time to see friends. We’re hoping for better planning next time to make time to see some of our dear old friends, too.
Well, it’s time to load the one bag and our carry-on bags into the rental car and make our way to the car rental facility. We are dressed warmly but without jackets, since we don’t want to carry extra clothes through all the airports. I don’t know when we’ll write again. It could possibly not be until Sunday after we arrive on Saturday, in time to shower, change and hopefully head to Jabula for dinner. It will be nice to see our friends once again and to share the latest news with all of you.
Photo from one year ago today, December 8, 2021: