A delicious and entertaining dinner in Marloth Park…See “Sighting of the Day in the Bush”…Language barriers and adapting…

For the first time, last night at Jabula Restaurant, we saw a Thick-Tailed Bushbaby. These are huge compared to the tiny bushbabies, the “Lesser Bushbaby,” which we see each night on the little stand where we place the little cup of fruity yogurt.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

From this site: “Thick-tailed Bushbabies have caused alarm for many visitors to the wilderness areas of Africa with their child-like screams during the night with some visitors complaining of child abuse among staff members at lodges. The Afrikaans name for bushbabies is nagapies which mean small night apes.”

Last night’s dinner at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant couldn’t have been more fun.  Sitting at the bar, Tom having his usual brandy and Sprite Zero on the rocks while I had my new favorite low alcohol red wine I’ve been enjoying lately (South Africa’s Four Cousins Skinny Red).

The environment at Jabula Restaurant is comfortable and inviting. We usually dine outdoors on the veranda, but we had fun with owners Dawn and Leon last night. We ate sitting at the bar for the first time.

This wine tastes great (now that I’ve acquired a taste for it), and with its low alcohol, low carb content with reduced tannins, it doesn’t cause the potential for aftereffects some of us suffer from when consuming a few glasses of red wine in an evening.

We both perused Jabula‘s expansive menu for quite a while as we sat at the bar, chatting back and forth with Dawn, Leon, and their assistant Lyn. The bar was packed when we arrived, while the locals enthusiastically watched a rugby game on the flat-screen TV, which ended, unfortunately, with South Africa losing to moans and groans in the audience.

The bar at Jabula Restaurant where Dawn and Leon chat with their guests.  It was an enjoyable evening.

Suddenly, we heard a commotion on the veranda. Guests dining outdoors had spotted a Thick-Tailed Bushbaby on the thatched roof. We’d heard a lot about these huge bushbabies but had yet to see one in our “garden” at night. I couldn’t grab the camera quickly enough and was thrilled to get these photos in the dark of night.

Speaking of “garden,” I will stop using the word “yard” in our posts. Here in Marloth Park and South Africa, they don’t use the word “yard” or “backyard” about their lot included with their home. Also, in South Africa, they don’t call a piece of land a “lot.” It’s called a “stand.”

Tom ordered Eisbein, a fried pork knuckle that is unbelievably delicious (I always take a few bites of this monstrous item).  We brought the bone home for the warthogs. They don’t like the meat, just the bone. Tom splurged and ordered the “chips.” The food and ambiance were exceptional as always.

Henceforth, when writing our posts and in speaking with others locally, we’ll use the local verbiage as a “garden” instead of a “yard” and of a “stand” instead of a “lot.”  We try to fit in. 

It’s bad enough that the locals have to speak English when around us when most native Caucasian South Africans speak the Afrikaans language. It amazes us how well they speak English as a second language, even in conjugating verbs and understanding slang and euphemisms.

But then, he splurged further and ordered a giant plate of fried onion rings. I didn’t complain. He eats healthy meals when I cook and splurges when we dine out.

As a result, we need to make every effort to blend in, not only in our behavior and interests but also in our acceptance of words they’ve incorporated in their use of the English language.

When we return to the US for a visit in nine and a half months, we can re-do our language to fit into the expectations of conversing in our native language.  There are always adjustments such as these when we live in a country for several months.

My grilled chicken breast, steamed spinach, and carrots.

And such was the case last night at Jabula. The bar, filled with locals, chatting to other locals in their Afrikaans language, never made us feel “left out” of the conversation. On a dime, any one of them would quickly revert to speaking English for our benefit.

But, this is how it is here in Marloth Park, friendly, open, and easy to make friends with. I should qualify this and state that not all locals in Marloth Park are from South Africa. Many homeowners here in the park are from many other parts of the world, including the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and other parts of Europe.

Tom gave me his salad which we ordered without the feta cheese when I no longer eat dairy products.

The only Americans we’ve met in Marloth are friends Kathy and Don.  Kathy grew up in California like me, and Don was born and raised in Kenya. They have homes in other parts of the world, including Hawaii and South Africa, spending part of the year here. Other than the two of them, we’ve yet to meet anyone here from the US.

Today is another perfect weather day, sunny, comfortably warm. After we upload the post, we’ll head out to see what we can find, again, hoping to spot the lioness. It will undoubtedly be a good day.

May you have a good day as well.

Photo from one year ago today, June 24, 2017:

Last year on this date, Tom and son TJ hung out together at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, where TJ had his 1954 Buick Special on display next to his canopy set-up at the “Back to the 50’s” annual event.  For more photos, please click here.

Ten species visited us in one day…Check out who came to call….

These two zebra boys have now figured out it’s worth visiting us for some treats. We can hear the sounds of their hooves coming from the bush. They don’t like sharing with “Little Wart Face” (shown in the background) and can get very pushy with him and with Frank.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A single damaged feather from a guinea fowl I found on the ground.

The majority of the holidaymakers have left Marloth Park, returning to their homes in South Africa and many other parts of the world. Often, visitors come to Marloth Park for a mere three to five days. We can’t imagine how they can reap the benefits of being in this wonderland in that short period.

During the busy holiday season, wildlife may rarely wander into their yard or be seen on the roads in three to five days. They could come here and only see a few impalas, hornbills, and perhaps a kudu or two.

Male impalas showed up, which we don’t often see in the yard.
But, nothing compares to the activity residents of the park are experiencing now that the bulk of the tourists have left. Although this could be disputed and, I assure you, it’s a topic of conversation in the bush that wildlife may not wander into the yards of bush houses when so many humans are around.

Some tourists come to relax and unwind in this calming environment, staying up late on the verandas of their holiday homes, talking loudly, playing loud music, and drinking alcohol in excess. This type of noise is not appealing to wild animals. 
A forkl of kudus and a herd of impalas.
Other tourists come here to utilize whatever time they may be available to glean morsels of heaven found in this veritable paradise for animal lovers, sadly going away with having seen very little.

Even trips into Kruger, as we so well know, can be disappointing. There’s no guaranty one will see more than impalas and birds in a single day’s visit. Now that things have settled down here, we plan to go back to Kruger this week to see what we can find.
Several handsome impalas stopped by, which we seldom see in our yard.  More often, we see them on the sides of the road when driving through the park.

However, there’s no shortage of guaranteed entertainment right here on the veranda in the “Orange…More Than Just a Color” house we’ve rented for an extended period. If South Africa immigration allows, we’ll spend a year here until next February or March.

With the crowds thinned out and perhaps only 700 or so people living in the park right now, the wildlife is literally “pounding at our door” all day and evening. At times, we can barely keep up feeding them pellets, carrots, apples, and any raw vegetable scraps from our daily food prep.

Many helmeted guineafowls have become regular visitors.
Yesterday, we had ten different species visit us in one day, some multiple times, some in various groups as appropriately named in our above photos. As I busily prepared the food for Louise and Danie to join us for dinner,  I frequently stopped what I was doing to cut up apples and carrots for our animal friends.
We couldn’t believe our day when we had the following wildlife visit us in one day:
1.  Kudu
2.  Bushbuck
3.  Impala
4.  Warthog
5.  Mongoose
6.  Francolin
7.  Helmeted Guineafowl
8.  Zebra
9.  Duiker
Frank, our resident francolin, doesn’t miss a thing!  Sometimes, he brings his girlfriend, but most often, he’s alone hanging out with the other animals. Francolins are territorial, and he won’t hesitate to scare off a warthog or kudu.

Of course, we didn’t include the dozens of birds that flew into the yard throughout the day. The most we’d ever counted, including when we were here four years ago, was a total of eight. We love all birds but mention the guineafowl and Frank (francolin) since they rarely fly, spending their days walking about the bush and our yard.

Last night’s dinner was a big hit. How could it not be when we were with Louise and Danie? We so enjoy time spent together and never hesitate to arrange another perfect day or evening in each other’s company.

A band of mongoose comes by almost daily.  We feed them water mixed with raw scrambled eggs. Most likely, due to their presence, we won’t see too many snakes around here. 
The previous Sunday, we had a fabulous dinner and evening at Sandra and Paul’s home two doors down our road. The food was superb, and the companionship delightful. 

Whew! Our social life is astounding!  But, as typical here in the park, people come and go. Our friends Kathy and Don are gone now but should be returning in a few weeks. Ken and Linda are traveling and should be returning in a few months. Lynne and Mick won’t return until November. Janet and Steve have company from the UK, but we plan to see them soon.
And…here’s our girls…kudus, of course.
Even Louise and Danie will be gone for a week to visit family in Cape Town beginning on Friday. But, they’ll be back to continue to handle their very active holiday home rental and house building businesses. We’ll look forward to their return. 
Each night we put out the little cup of peach-flavored yogurt on the stand, and the bushbabies appear around 6:15 pm, just after darkness falls.

This doesn’t include all the other fine people we’ve met here who are permanent residents, all of whom we look forward to spending time with again soon. We can’t thank everyone enough to show our appreciation for including us in their busy lives. 

Where in the world is it like this? The only other place we’ve found so easy to make friends was in Kauai, Hawaii. Perhaps, someday we’ll return for another visit.

Duikers are extremely shy and seldom come near.
For now, we’re looking at our upcoming itinerary and any modifications we are considering. Today, we’ll be doing some planning and figuring out our best options for the future.

Have a great day enjoying your best options. Back at you soon! 
Photo from one year ago today, April 10, 2017:
This was a tile roof we spotted in Fairlight, Australia, one year ago.  For more photos, please click here.

At last…The elusive Bush Baby within feet of us…Cigars and seafood platters…

A Bush Baby eating a banana next to us last night as we dined outdoors at the Leopard Beach Resort. A small platform was set up for the Bush Babies loaded with bananas to encourage them to visit the guests while dining.
Although extremely shy, Bush Babies aren’t tame and are very cautious around scary-looking humans. Their bulgy eyes cause the flash to reflect off their eyeballs presenting this eerie look. Little did we know, when we selected our table close to the trees that we’d be as close as we could get to their natural habitat.
They use their “little hands” to firmly grasp their food.  They leap from tree to tree so quickly that we were unable to get a shot in flight or on a tree.  Once they hit the tree trunk, they hide, blending in with their surroundings. Unbelievably, we saw one of them leap backward from this stance to a tree, never once looking behind them. Oh, Mother Nature, thank you!

Mother Nature has been kind to us. We saw The Big Five in the first 10 hours on safari. We’ve seen monkeys and baboons in our yard.  We’ve heard the chorus of a thousand frogs singing in the night. We’ve been an eyewitness to many of the scary and not so scary insects in Kenya. 

We didn’t move. Holding the camera in my hand, with my elbows on the table, using no zoom, we got this shot. For a moment, I wondered if she/he would jump on the table and steal my lobster tail.

We’ve watched and heard the mating calls of dozens of birds we’d never seen or heard before each day as we live in our outdoor living room now that spring is in full bloom in this part of the world.

I could have reached out and touched this Bush Baby but we both sat motionless, allowing her/him to check out the food on our plates. With no bananas in sight, it quickly moved on.  We felt fortunate to take the shots we’ve shown here. They are fast!

But, two creatures have eluded us; the curious dung beetle that we missed while on safari, the search motivated by our safari mate David, and in our own area, the elusive Bush Baby, a shy, nocturnal animal that expertly leaps from tree to tree during the night, eliciting sounds unfamiliar to most human ears.

Ordering the seafood platter for two resulted in a fabulous meal we both enjoyed, each receiving our own huge platter.

Last night, as our “safari luck” will have it, while leisurely dining at the Leopard Beach Resort in Diana Beach, one of our wishes was fulfilled, the Bush Baby made an enthusiastic appearance; snap, snap, snap. Thank goodness I always take my camera wherever we may go!

Tom’s platter included white rice.  He ate everything on his plate, except he moved the calamari, cauliflower, and broccoli to my plate. 

Long ago, Tom and I decided we would not write negative reviews of local restaurants and resorts if they didn’t meet our expectations. There are other sites and other reviewers who may choose to do so. We both agreed that a facility can have an “off” day or night and it would be unkind to tarnish their reputation over one of those days.

The staff at the Leopard Beach Resort and Spa must have had one of those “off” evenings last night as we toured the facility, arriving at 6:00 pm, finally leaving at 10:00 pm,, after dinner and a few unintended mishaps.  We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.  Of course, the appearance of the Bush Babies made the dinner memorable in itself along with the excellent seafood dinner.

While at the bar, we noticed this cigar menu. Tom had hoped to order a Cuban cigar to enjoy in our outdoor living room, but for whatever reason, they were out. Not a cigar aficionado, he had no clue as to an alternative, so he passed.  (KES $1000 = US $11.76).

Their restaurant, The Chui Grill was excellent, the service impeccable, as our devoted waiter who ran circles around us to ensure a positive experience, which in fact, we had while dining, although the meal was expensive compared to the other resorts, KES $6389.30, US $75.13. 

With our new plan to dine out 3 times a week and, after careful calculations, this morning, of what we’ve spent on dining out thus far, as compared to our dining out budget, at this amount per time, we’ll remain within our projections. In reviewing the calendar, we’ll dine out 17 more times until it’s time to move on.

The grounds at Leopard Beach Resort were expansive, meticulously maintained, and well-staffed.

I seriously doubt we’ll spend this much since most of our dinners have averaged KES $4618.20, US $54.30, including beverages, taxes, and tips.  Taxi fare goes into the taxi budget of KES $85050, US $1000 which, at this point, we’ve spent under KES $25515, US $300. 

Based on the projected number of times we’ll use a taxi to grocery shop and dine out, we’ll be well under the budget, using the balance for the monthly tips for Hesborn, our houseman, and Jeremiah, our night guard. (There are day guards at the gate as well, day and night).

Once we add the tally of our final costs for the 3 months in Kenya we will share these with you, down to the penny.  From how it’s looking now, over halfway through, we’re rather pleased.

Today, after literally wiping out every morsel of food in our tiny fridge and cupboards, we’re heading out to grocery shop at 11:00 am with our usual driver, Alfred. 

With our new plan to eat out 3 times a week, we’ll grocery shop every 2 weeks as opposed to once a week purchasing only enough food to last for 8 days and water and snacks (mostly cheese and nuts) to last the full 2 weeks.

Gee…its fun calculating this stuff! I’m like a “pig in the mud” with an Excel spreadsheet!  Thank goodness.  Tom is not.

Note:  As for the dung beetle, we won’t see one in Kenya.  Hopefully, we’ll find one in South Africa while on safari in Kruger Park.  I assure you, within hours of our discovery, we’ll be posting our photos here.