Day #241 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…At this point, little things do matter…

We were thrilled to see the huge herd of cape buffaloes on the bank of the Crocodile River.

Today’s photos are from our post on this date in 2018 while living in a bush house in Marloth Park, South Africa. For more details, please click here.

In the realm of things, small incidences we encounter during this overly long stay in a hotel room may seem insignificant and even petty on our part. However, under these trying circumstances, it’s the small dependable things that keep us sane and centered as we strive to stay on an emotional even keel.

A female lion we spotted from Marloth Park’s fence.

Overall, both of us are in good spirits, able to laugh and to be playful. It’s even surprising to us that somehow we’re able to remain hopeful and relatively upbeat after all of this time. Our family, friends, and readers often write to us praising us for “holding it together” under these circumstances, which we appreciate.

But, we take no credit for their kind perception of us “being strong.” We merely are our usual selves always striving to stay positive in the worst of circumstances. The most difficult period during these 241 days has been the loss of my dear sister Susan on August 16, 2020.

Hippos basking in the sun at dusk on the Crocodile River in Kruger National Park.

Feeling such profound grief, while unable to seek the in-person love and support of family and friends made this a particularly difficult time. Tom, who also dearly loved Susan, held me together during the throes of the most imminent grief. I still think of her every day and expect to do so for the remainder of my life. Somehow, I got through the worst of it.

Over this period, I’ve suffered a few bouts of worrisome medical issues, all of which have since resolved, mainly due to my persistence and determination in refining my daily habits and way of eating, based on the fact that food options are extremely limited in our hotel which in itself has been a source of frustration for both of us.

This mom appears very lean after giving birth to this young calf.

If I hadn’t been trying to lose the weight I’d gained since recovering from heart surgery, I could have lost it anyway with the lack of food options and smaller portion sizes available. When I order salmon a few times each week, it can’t be more than four ounces, .11 kg, portions certainly not enough considering I don’t eat the usual side dishes. I need more protein than that in a meal.

Finally, I figured it out if I ordered two butter-fried eggs topped with a little Emmental cheese, four slices of bacon, and the small piece of salmon, I have an adequate amount of protein, which is also enough to fill me up but not too much to stop my weight loss which has gone nicely. (I only have a few more pounds to lose again fit into my jeans).

An elephant and hippos.

Yesterday, we both got our “hair in a bundle” when we noticed that after the cleaner was here, we had two partial toilet paper rolls on the two holders. Both were empty when the cleaner arrived. We’ve noticed that all the toilet paper on the cleaning carts are full-sized, individually paper-wrapped rolls.  Where did the two partial rolls come from?

We both freaked out. This was not the first time this happened. There was no way the two partial rolls came from any other source than leftovers from another hotel room, used in part by other guests. Yikes! Even without COVID-19, the thought of using other guest’s leftover/partially used toilet paper rolls totally sent us both into a frenzy.

Elephants and storks.

Immediately, we contacted the front desk (there’s no direct line to housekeeping) and requested a manager handle this promptly. A half-hour later a housekeeper manager arrived at our door apologizing profusely. When I asked if this was a normal procedure, giving guests other guest’s leftover toilet paper, he was horrified this happened, insisting it would never happen again. We’re tentatively assuming, it won’t.

It’s things like this, after all this time, along with inconsistencies in repeated meals served, that frustrate us the most. When we order the same meal over and over again, it’s different every time, in one way or another.

A waterbuck and Egyptian geese.

Here again, as Tom always says, “The only thing consistent is the inconsistency.”

So it goes. Small things.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 19, 2019:

While visiting family in the US, one year ago, we ran short on photos and posted older photos such as the above which was posted on November 19, 2013, from our visit to the Swahili Beach Resort for dinner at Diani Beach, Kenya. For the year-ago story, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

A dreamy drive in the neighborhood…Teeth and eyes…

Mr. & Mrs. Ostrich trotting down the road.  Moments later they took off on a fast run into the bush.  Ostriches can run up to 70 km (45 miles) per hour.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Tom found this small gecko in the guest bathroom.  We didn’t have a strainer so I fished it out with my hand where it promptly jumped to the floor and took off.  We often see geckos in the house.  They eat insects. 

Today, we’re off to the dentist to have our teeth cleaned followed by eye exams by the local optometrist.  Neither of us has had an eye exam in the past six years since we began traveling.  

Afterward, we’re returning to Spar for a few grocery items to fill in the blanks for Saturday’s Thanksgiving dinner party.  Once back at the house, I’ll begin preparing the pie crusts for the eight pumpkin pies I’ll be making.  

An ostrich in front of the house where we always find them.

Why make so many pies?  In our old lives, it was our tradition to give each couple who came for Thanksgiving dinner a pie to take home.  It’s fun to relive this tradition here in the bush.

A pair of giraffes, each munching on opposite sides of the road.

I’d started today’s post before we left for our two appointments each and additional grocery shopping.  We just returned and I’m rushing to get today’s post uploaded so late in the day.

“In the wild, giraffes almost never lie down because of vulnerability to predators. They usually sleep standing, sometimes sitting, and they give birth standing up. When giraffes sleep, they curl their necks and sleep for about five minutes at a time, sleeping no more than 30 minutes a day.”

We had such a great experience at our two appointments we’ll be sharing details in tomorrow’s post.  The costs for services and products in South Africa are astoundingly lower than what we’d paid in the US.  We’ll post details tomorrow.

The photos we’re posting today are a result of yesterday’s drive in Marloth Park.  With fewer holidaymakers in the park right now, we anticipated we’d see plenty of wildlife and we were right. 

This giraffe was sitting a short distance from the other giraffe as shown in the above photo.

Before we reached our favorite river viewing overlook areas we were lucky to encounter many of the animals shown in today’s photos except the waterbuck (take at the river) and the few photos from our garden.

This baby zebra was so young its coat still looked fluffy and wrinkly.

Generally, our almost daily drives last about two hours.  With the upcoming busy dinner party, we knew we wouldn’t have time to make the drive over the next several days. Yesterday, we took our time, enjoying every sighting along the way.

Taking our time, we chat along the way as we peruse street after street searching for something unique or even slightly out of the ordinary. Seeing giraffes lying down isn’t necessarily the most unusual sighting in nature but we were taken by the beauty of these two magnificent animals at rest.

“The waterbuck’s body odor is so bad that it deters predators.”  A male can weigh up to 260 kg (573 pounds).

Although we frequently see ostriches, we’re always in awe of the way they walk with their heads held high and their confident and prideful demeanor. We often wonder how Mother Nature (or God or whatever higher power you may believe) created this magnificent earth would have decided ostriches held a significant purpose in the ecosystem.

Mom and baby bushbuck by the pond and another baby standing in the garden.  Bushbucks only have one offspring per season.

Somehow each creature, whether venomous or not, whether seemingly useful or not or, if merely food in the food chain, holds a meaningful purpose in their lives, the lives of others, and ultimately in our lives.

For that very reason, is what inspired me to stick my hand into the toilet bowl to rescue the gecko and let her be free.  After a few minutes of vigorous hand washing, I was content to have saved the life of even one of the most common creatures in this land.

This young bushbuck always stays very close to her mom while others we’ve seen will wander off but not too far away.

Also, tomorrow we’ll share an exciting story about a black mamba snake, one of the most venomous snakes on the African continent.  Please check back.

Enjoy your day and evening!

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Photo from one year ago today, November 15, 2017:

Three in one…Green Parrots…Tom’s photo.  Love it!  For more photos please click here.

Tender moment in the morning…Plus, the harsh realities of the bush…

This morning Tom noticed Ms. Bushbuck climbing the steps to the veranda.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Amaryllis blooming in the garden. With summer approaching and hopefully more rain, we’ll see more flowers blooming in Marloth Park.

A week ago a resident of Marloth Park posted a comment about Scar Face, the injured warthog we’d been watching and feeding for several months.  He was stopping by each day for pellets and to drink from the cement pond.

We found it worthwhile to feed her on the steps after she’d climbed up since the other animals won’t be able to chase her away while she eats pellets.  Her idea, not ours.

After we left and returned from Zambia in August, we never saw him again.  We’d become attached to him and were fearful he may have been “put down” by the rangers or died from infections due to his injuries.

This morning, Tom stood next to Ms. Bushbuck to prevent kudus from stealing her share of pellets.

As much as we’d all like to believe the animals become “attached to us,” and will always return to see us, in reality that’s not always the case.  Often, in their world, finding food is their number one purpose in life (along with procreating), especially during this long dry season.


While we were gone for a week Scar Face may have decided to pursue another area in the bush and become comfortable finding available food sources, never returning to us.

Kudus were staring at Tom hoping for more pellets.  He’d already given them several of the yellow containers filled with pellets.

When the resident posted his photo and comments, we were relieved to discover that he, in fact, had survived his massive injury and was still thriving in the bush.  The fact that we couldn’t see him become less important in discovering he was still alive.

A pretty girl kudu with an oxpecker looking for more pellets.

We’re hoping for the same outcome for Wounded who visits frequently with his horrific injury to his eye and eye socket.  Most likely this injury incurred in the past week or two as the wound appears relatively fresh.

A face like this is hard to resist.

This morning when he stopped by we immediately fed him all the pellets he could eat, one little yellow container at a time.  After all, he is a pig and he needs to pace himself.  He is very shy although he’ll approach the veranda letting us know exactly what he needs.  He’s impossible to resist. 

This morning Wounded appeared in the garden looking for food.

We may never see Scar Face again or perhaps in our (hopefully) remaining three months in Marloth Park, we may see him again someday.  Know these injured animals often possess the strength and resilience to heal themselves is comforting.

It appears he may have lost his left eye in the battle.  Heartbreaking.

Yes, some injured animals in Marloth Park “qualify” to be rescued and healed for example by Wild & Free Rehabilitation who may be found at this link.  The costs for such medical care is managed through donations through the facility.  

While we were watching him, an oxpecker appeared and started pecking at his wound.

However, some animals, such as warthogs and impalas, don’t necessarily fall into the category of endangered status or are in reduced numbers in Marloth Park.  Sadly, when they are ill or injured they’re on their own.

After the oxpecker pecked at his wound, it started to bleed.

As we roll further into the week, I’ve begun carefully planning details for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner party on Saturday.  It’s one of those types of meals that not much can be prepared more than a day in advance.

Sadly, there is nothing that can be done.  It’s evident he’s been working on it by using mud to hopefully aid in the healing.  

At this point, I’ve begun working on cooking and processing the frozen pumpkin into the equivalent of canned pumpkin.  This is a slow process but by the end of today, I’ll have it all done.  We plan to make 10 pies, one per couple to take home, a few for dessert on Saturday and a few to have left for Tom.

I believe this is an invasive alien plant.

If time allows, I may make a few low carb pumpkin pies as well.  But, there’s plenty to do with our extensive menu which we’ll post on the day of the event.
Tomorrow morning we each have dental and eye exam appointments, after which we’ll head back to Spar to wrap up the final shopping for a few items we still need for Saturday.


We’ll be back tomorrow with more.  Please check back!

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Photo from one year ago today, November14, 2017:

A curious turtle scurried quickly toward us in Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.

Utility outages…The return of visitors to the garden…More stunning river sightings…

 
This is “Little” (short for “Little Wart Face”).  He visits almost daily.  He’d just returned from eating from the bale of hay left in the neighbor’s driveway when they departed after the weekend.  That’s why he has grass all over his snout.  He likes to cool off in the cement pond, sleep under the shade of a tree in our garden and climb the veranda steps seeking pellets.  What a guy!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Mr. Frog has been enjoying an array of insects most nights which are attracted to the light.  He appears to be getting rather plump.

Yesterday afternoon a water main broke close to Gate 2 in Marloth Park.  Subsequently, we had no water for about 12 hours.  Service returned in the middle of the night.


This morning we had a power outage but fortunately, it only lasted about 10 minutes.  When the power goes out, the wi-fi also goes out.  As always, we shut down our laptops and phones hoping for a return to service before too long.

We were so busy feeding the visitors last night, we hardly had time to make our dinner.  We couldn’t stop smiling.

When the power returned we were relieved.  I hope neither of these is an issue with our upcoming dinner party in four days.  It would be difficult to cook a big meal without water or power.


Yesterday, we read a post on Facebook by a homeowner that an area of Marloth Park was without water last December for 21 days.  That would certainly be inconvenient.  

Often warthogs from different “sounders” get into a scuffle over the pellets.

Last night we used a bucket of water from the swimming pool to flush the toilet. This would get old after a day or two.  Of course, the worst part would be when unable to take a shower.  It’s not as if there’s a local health club where one could go to take a shower.


After all, we’re in the bush in Africa and things just aren’t the same as they are in many countries throughout the world. And, although there are a number of adaptations one must make, coming from other countries, it isn’t really that rough.

There were one male and three female zebras in this “dazzle.”

Last night while brushing my teeth a large black bug fell off my head when I bent down to rinse my mouth (using bottled water, as always).  I didn’t scream or flinch.  I gently picked it up with a tissue and took it outside to deposit it into the garden.  Years ago I would have called Tom to help and did a bit of screaming.  No longer.

A young Big Daddy attempting to eat some greenery inside the fenced area in the garden.

It must have fallen into my hair while we sat outdoors last night reveling in the numbers of wildlife that came to call.  It wasn’t as if we had more than a dozen at any given time but more so that they kept coming and coming, hour after hour.


Recently, I ran into local friend Gail at the market and we giggled over how we never tire of the wildlife.  If anything, as time goes on, we become more and more interested in them, as we learn about them and as time goes by, learn more about the nuances of certain animals.

With just the two of us at Two Trees, Tom spotted this female lion.

As shown above, in our main photo, coming to know the peculiarities and habits of certain visitors only adds to the pleasure and significance of seeing them time after time.


Most days, we see at least one animal that is new to us.  Over this past nine months, we’ve been able to identify frequent visitors by certain markings, size of tusks, horns, and variations in stripe patterns.  Its now become easy for us to realize someone is new to us.

She may have been perusing the area for her next meal.

We welcome them all, familiar and new, with open arms to partake of our seemingly endless supply of pellets, carrots, apples, and pears which are all suitable foods for them.

A large bull elephant on the river bank.  Check out those tusks!

Today, after friend Kathy stops by and drops off some much-needed ingredients she picked up in the big city, for the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner party on Saturday (thank you, Kathy!), we’ll head out for our usual drive in the park to see what wonders Mother Nature may have in store for us.


It will be another good day in the neighborhood!  Hope you all experience the same!

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Photo from one year ago today, November 13, 2017:

Another of Tom’s excellent bird photos, two Green Parrots admiring each other.  For more photos, please click here.


What???…A leopard sighting on the Crocodile River?…Giraffes stopping for a drink…

Giraffes are constantly on guard for predators especially when its time to drink when they become vulnerable in a bending position.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

The convoluted photo is difficult to decipher at first.  Note the one kudu attempting to eat the seeds in the birdfeeder which she eventually accomplished.

While Tom was taking a short nap while I stayed at the table on the veranda finishing the daily post, I took a peek at the Marloth Park River Sightings page on Facebook to see if anyone had posted information regarding exciting sightings.

Alas, a frequent FB poster mentioned a leopard had been sighted 90 minutes earlier at the end of Swartwitpens where it meets the river road.  Now, such a sighting may result in disappointment if too much time has passed and the animal has moved on.

Giraffes often head to the river to drink.

I deliberated if I should awaken Tom but he never sleeps more than 20 minutes so I waited until he exited the bedroom to mention the sighting.  Within two minutes, we were in the little car and on our way.

Once we arrived at the location, we noticed only one other car at the location which could indicate the leopard was gone from view.  Fortunately, we met a lovely couple from Nelspruit who live part-time in Marloth Park, Estelle and Johan.  

We’d never have been able to spot the leopard without their help.  It’s a funny thing how people try to explain where to look to spot the animal of interest at the moment.  

Giraffes adopt a variety of stances to gain access to the water.

Nature has provided the most ideal camouflage for wildlife, often making it nearly impossible to see certain animals lying under trees or bushes from the distant fence at Marloth Park all the way across to the opposite side of the Crocodile River.

Rarely, when there any sighting friendly observers often assist others in finding the location of the animal.  It goes like this, “See the two green trees over there with a dry bush between them?  The lion is lying at the base of the tree on the left.”  This is usually what seems to be an accurate description.

There were four giraffes in this tower.

However, there are dozens of green trees and dry bushes across the river and even if one points in the correct direction carefully, the animal is often difficult to see.


Both Tom and I have noticed a difference in the way men describe where the animal is located as opposed to women.  When Tom and Lois were here, my Tom would provide a lengthy description explaining where the lion was located.  


On the other hand, when Lois described it, she did so with few words and often, I was more easily able to comprehend the few words as opposed to the lengthy detailed description.  

Stopping to check their surroundings.

We’ve noticed this phenomenon on other occasions when asking for assistance.  Regardless of what many people want to believe about the sexes thinking alike, its natural for women and men to have different perceptions and different responses.


We see this in nature as well by the varying behaviors of female and male animals that stop by.  For example, the male bushbucks are shy and constantly on guard whereby the females easily approach us without hesitation.

A lone hippo grazing by the river.

The male kudus with their big horns are bossy and determined whereby the females are more docile and quick to approach us.  I could go on and on regarding the varying behaviors of the sexes of wildlife after we’ve spent the past nine months observing them each and every day.


Its always a challenge, regardless of who is describing where the animal is located to be able to find it, focus the camera for such long distance resulting in a good photo.



Yesterday, at the river, I wasn’t ever able to spot the leopard but Tom did so in minutes after Johan described the location to him in several paragraphs.  I was stymied.  None the less, Tom was able to take the two very distant photos we’re sharing here today.  
It was only the spots that confirmed this was a leopard lounging under a tree a long distance from the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger.

We’re disappointed in the lack of clarity in the photo but this leopard may easily have been a good kilometer from us.  Our skill, nor our cameras were capable of obtaining better shots.


The clearer photos we’ve seen on Facebook of yesterday’s leopard sighting were acquired with long-range lenses which are too heavy and we’ll never be able to carry throughout the world with us.  

We waited patiently while chatting with a lovely couple we met at the fence, Johan and Estelle, who said they’ve been reading our site.

It’s one thing to have such a camera set-up at home and be able to use it now and then for special shots.  It’s another thing to have the heavy beast everywhere we go…totally impractical.


This morning we headed to Komatipoort to shop for Saturday’s upcoming Thanksgiving dinner party.  On the way to Spar, we stopped for breakfast at Stoep Cafe for another fine breakfast and idle chatter.


Now back at the house, everything is put away and we almost have everything we’ll need.  On Thursday, we’ll return for complete the balance of the shopping after our teeth cleaning and eye doctor appointments.


Have a spectacular day!

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Photo from one year ago today, November 12, 2017:

Tom took another excellent distant shot of a bird we couldn’t identify online. Costa Rica neighbor and bird enthusiast Charlie identified this bird as a Clay-colored Thrush or Yigüirro in Spanish.  For more photos, please click here.

Our social life continues…A friendly visitor in the restaurant…Nature can be both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time…

Tom at sunset as we dined with Rita and Gerhard at Ngwenya on buffet night.  Rita took this great photo so indicative of the peaceful and views from this excellent location.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Rita and I were captivated by a visitor who entered the restaurant, a friendly little dung beetle.  We both held him and felt the ticklish feel of his spiny legs moving rapidly in our hands.

Last night, Rita and Gerhard picked us up at 1630 hrs (4:30 pm) for sundowners on the veranda at Ngwenya overlooking the Crocodile River to be followed by the buffet dinner inside the restaurant after darkness fell.

We’ve so enjoyed spending time with new friends Rita and Gerhard who came to Marloth Park after reading our posts years ago.  Through our site, they found the holiday home they’ve rented and also found Louise to help them get situated.  They’ll be here in Marloth until February.  Hopefully, we’ll be here as well for more fun times together.

We have a lot in common with this lovely couple and the conversation flowed with ease, animation, and enthusiasm.  They, too, have traveled all over the world and have great stories to tell.  Our mutual love of nature and wildlife precipitates an endless flow of interesting conversation.

From quite a distance Tom spotted this elephant with an obvious problem with his left tusk.

This Sunday friends Kathy and Don return to Marloth Park and more social activities will ensue over these next few weeks.  Next Saturday is our Thanksgiving dinner celebration here at the orange house.

It was apparent this elephant’s left tusk has been damaged affecting the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that hold it in place.  We hoped he wasn’t in pain.

Today, I’m working on making the equivalent of canned pumpkin using lumpy frozen pumpkin.  I’ve processed the first two bags and I think it’s going to work well. 

Another view of the elephant with a damaged tusk.

As soon as I upload today’s post, I’ll prepare the homemade pumpkin pie spices using multiple spices.  There’s certainly no prepared pumpkin pie spice to be found anywhere in South Africa or even on the continent.  It’s a USA thing used for a specific USA holiday.  


From there, I’ll make the from-scratch pie crust, a favorite recipe from Martha Stewart, the best pie crust in the land.  If you’d like the recipe, please click here.  It’s a little time consuming but worth the extra effort.  

A black-winged stilt we spotted at Sunset Dam in Kruger.

For the first time in seven years, I purchased a bag of white flour and another bag of sugar.  I won’t be even tasting the pie so Tom will be on his own to determine if this pie will be worthy of making in number for our guests arriving for dinner on the 17th.


Tonight, Tom will dine on marinated pork chops on the braai while I have salmon steaks, along with roasted vegetables, mashed cauliflower, and salad.  And then, for dessert (a rare treat in this household) Tom will have a piece of the pumpkin pie.  He doesn’t care for Cool Whip (which isn’t available here) or whipped cream atop his pie.  Plain and simple, that’s how my guy likes it.

A crocodile made an appearance to check out his surroundings and possible food sources.

Back to last night, after our fine buffet dinner, a “visitor” walked into the main door of the restaurant, my favorite “bug” of all time, the fascinating dung beetle.  


He didn’t have his ball of dung with him or had yet to prepare it but as summer approaches, we’ll surely find plenty of these interesting creatures with their ball of dung in tow.  More on that later when we see one with his perfectly shaped ball and perhaps a wife running atop it as he pushes it along with his bag legs.

While I was indoors preparing dinner, Tom called me to hurry and come outside.  He’d taken these photos of Wounded with an oxpecker “working on” the severe injury near his left eye.

Rita and I held him in our hands.  I was so excited I could hardly hold the camera straight to take a decent photo.  That happens to me sometimes…my enthusiasm supersedes my ability to hold the camera steady.  


As I always say, I’m not a professional photographer.  I’m an enthusiastic photographer which sometimes results in my emotions getting in the way of the perfect shot.

Here again, is another example of the symbiosis between certain animals.  The oxpecker eats the maggots and decaying debris from his injury while he cooperates with the intrusion.

Also, included today are several photos took of our new friend and now frequent visitor “Wounded” who showed up about a week ago and now visits every day.  His obvious facial injury is heartbreaking but he wastes no time eating plenty of pellets and vegetables.


Wounded is very shy around other warthogs so we imagine he may have been wounded by another warthog in a fight for dominance or food.  We make a point of fussing over him whenever he arrives, hoping in time his injury will heal.  It’s too soon to tell if he was blinded in his eye from the injury.

Nature can be both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

What astounded us about yesterday’s visit by Wounded was when he walked into the garden he had an oxpecker, as shown in the photos, working on “cleaning out his wound.”  


The oxpecker may or may not be helpful when they may become too aggressive in clearing an injury from maggots or other insects, only making matters worse.  We can only hope Wounded starts to heal at some point soon. Such a grievous injury can result in a long and painful death.

Three giraffes stopping for a drink in the river.

Today is a warm sunny day, not too cool, not too hot.  Its comparable to what one may experience on a tropical island.  But, the bush is no tropical island.  And life happens for these creatures as shown in the above photo of an elephant with an injured tusk.  There’s nothing we can do but let nature take its course.


So for today, we’ll let nature take it’s course as we’re delighting in a number of visitors stopping by on this perfect day.  The pellets and veg are plentiful as is our enthusiasm in sharing it all.


Happy day!

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Photo from one year ago today, November 9, 2017:

A fiery-billed acara in Costa Rica says, “I’ve got mine!”  For more photos, please click here.

Four big boys near the river…Safari luck prevails…

The four lions had a destination in mind…a recent kill.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This kudu had an anomaly in her markings of dark circles around her eyes.

Having an opportunity to take photos of lions out in the open is rare and unexpected.  Yesterday morning on a whim we took off for the river road overlooking Crocodile River between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

They walked along the river embankment, single file but not too close to one another.

As we approached the “Two Trees” overlook, a regular spot for sighting lions and other big beasts across the river, we knew we were going to see lions as we approached a number vehicles in the parking lot.

Each of four male lions was obviously on a mission.

Prepared to stretch ourselves to spot a lion or two, often hidden under trees or between craggy rocks and ravines, we were shocked to easily see the four lions with the naked eye walking on the embankment out in the open.

It was a rarity to see them out in the open, like this.

We squealed with delight.  This easy sighting was truly a first.  Weather conditions were right, overcast and dark, and the lions weren’t hiding in the shade as we often discover.

They were moving at a good clip.  We had to change our location in order to continue seeing them.

Keeping in mind, its quite a distance from the fence to their location, maneuvered my way down a ridge to get as close as possible to the fence.  As mentioned in earlier posts, there are two fences one must navigate to get a clear shot into the park.

Finally, they reached the kill perhaps left behind by another lion.

One of the fences has barbed wire every 15 cm (6 inches) which requires caution when trying to use the wire as a guide to steady the camera for the distant shot.  Set further out from the barbed wire is the electrified fence which doesn’t present any risks based on its distance from the barbed wire.

It was difficult to ascertain exactly what animals had been killed.

I commend whoever designed the layout of the two fences.  It certainly allows amateur photographers like me to use the barbed wire fence as a temporary support to steady the camera.

It’s us amateur photographers that need all the help we can get in shooting distant photos, especially in cases like ours with less than ideal cameras and lenses.

The four lions didn’t stay at the kill for long.  It could have been decayed or already eaten.

As we took photo after photo, we were in awe of what lies before our eyes once again.  But, this time was special.  This time was unique.  We thought about Tom and Lois and how much they’d have loved seeing these four male lions in plain sight.  Hopefully, they’ve recovered from their long travel day(s) and will see this post sometime today.


Last night we had another delightful evening at Jabula Lodge, this time dining with new friends/readers Rita and Gerhard.  The conversation was lively and animated as Rita and I chatted like long lost friends and Gerhard and Tom did the same.

One by one they wandered off searching for other opportunities.

We’re excited they’ll be staying in Marloth until February minus a few weeks away for other plans and, we look forward to many more get-togethers with them.

This morning we’d hope to have breakfast at Steop Cafe when we had a few grocery items to pick up for tonight’s dinner at Spar in Komatipoort.  Alas, Steop Cafe is closed on Sunday, much to our surprise so we hurried through the market and returned home.

We couldn’t have been more thrilled for these out-in-the-open photo ops.

I’ve already prepared the dinner which only requires oven time an hour before we dine.  Tonight, now that it’s clear and sunny again, should be an excellent night on the veranda.  

Hopefully, many of our wildlife friends will stop by.  So far today, we’ve had visits from female and male bushbucks and some interesting birds but no one else.  The park is packed with visitors this weekend which once they begin to leave will increase the number of visitors we see in the garden.

May you have an excellent day and evening!

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Photo from one year ago today, November 4, 2017:

Tom’s early morning view of the moon setting in the horizon on Costa Rica, taken from the veranda.  For more photos, please click here.

A lioness and her kill….Camera issue resolved for now…

A lioness and her kudu kill on the bank of the Crocodile River.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This is some type of chameleon lizard that takes on the appearance in its surroundings, as in the case of the tree in this photo.  We’ve seen it in this same spot every day for the past week.

A few days ago while Tom & Lois were still here we made our usual drive to the river to search for sightings beyond Marloth Park’s fence into the Crocodile River in Kruger National Park.


Each time we find several cars lined up at either “Two Trees” or one of many lookout spots along the river road, we knew we were in for a treat.  Most often, the enthusiasm is generated by lion sightings, much more than for elephants, cape buffalo, giraffes and others.


This day was no exception.  Photography enthusiasts, both amateur and professional may be found at the fence striving for the perfect shot of what treasures lie beyond the limitations of the fence between the two parks.
We couldn’t believe our safari luck in getting these photos.
Recently, one of our two identical Canon Powershot cameras got soaked by an unopened bottle of red wine I had in a grocery bag.  Since I mostly drink low alcohol wine, I often bring my own bottle to a restaurant and pay a corkage fee which generally runs no more than ZAR 30 (US $2.09) for the entire bottle.

Recently Jabula Lodge and Restaurant had started carrying my favorite low alcohol red and white wines so when I brought the bottle of red, I never used my own bottle, instead respectfully ordering from their supply. 
At the end of the evening with the wine in my cloth grocery bag, I placed the camera inside the bag, not thinking anything of it.  Lo and behold, as we were getting ready to leave after another fine meal I placed the bag on the stone floor with a slight thud.
It was quite a sight to observe her bloody nose from eating her kill.
The thud was powerful enough to break the glass wine bottle and the contents poured all over the camera and the floor.  I wiped up as much as I could at the restaurant and worked on the camera further when we returned to the house, taking out the battery and SD card, hoping it would dry out.

With the upcoming exciting Kenya photography tour in February, I thought perhaps it was a sign I needed a more sophisticated camera.  Tom could continue to use the identical second model and I could learn to use whatever I could find.

Knowing the postal service is a nightmare in South Africa and not wanting to pay outrageous DHL five-day shipping and customs fees, my best hope was to find something suitable in South Africa.
Every so often, she’s stand to investigate her surroundings.
This proved to be hopeless.  None of the models I was interested in are available online here and there was no way we were willing to drive to Johannesburg (minimum five-hour drive each way) to purchase a new camera.

At one point, a few days ago I resigned myself to the fact that a new camera wasn’t in the cards for me at this time and I’d have to use the one we had left which is in fine condition.  

This would mean Tom wouldn’t have a camera to use during the Kenya trip or any other outings we’ll take to Kruger over these next months. I put the bad camera on the dresser in the bedroom figuring we’d have to dispose of it at a recycling facility before too long.
Was a male lion in the area that would steal her kill if he spotted it?
Yesterday, a few hours after Tom and Lois left, I decided to try, one more time (I’d already tried no less than 10 times) if I could get it to work.  I inserted a battery and SD card, fired it up and goodness sakes, it worked!

The end result?  I’m not going to purchase a more sophisticated camera until we get to the US in five months.  We’ll live with what we have in Kenya.  No doubt, this being a “photography tour” may leave us as the only people in the small tour group with a less than ideal camera for such an event.

But, I can’t worry about that.  I know we’ll end up with decent photos our worldwide readers will enjoy as they’ve frequently commented positively on our photos.  Sure, the photos can always be better and eventually, they will be as I gain more skill and eventually buy another camera.
Lois’s last time feeding the kudus yesterday morning before they departed.
The reality remains, our site is about the lives of two nomads traveling the world without a home, without storage, and without a place to call their own.  It’s not an arena to boast photographic skills and expertise.

Let’s face it. I have minimal photography skills and expertise. As much as I get a kick of out taking some decent photos, it’s just not my major love.  My love is sharing our story, year after year regardless of how exciting or uneventful our days and nights may be.
Thanks to all of our readers for hanging in there with us during this long period in Africa.  In a mere 110 days, three months, 18 days, we’ll be on our way to Kenya and won’t be staying in a vacation home until next May. Lots will transpire in the interim.

Have a fantastic weekend, living life to the fullest!

                  __________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, November 2, 2017:

Tom got this distant shot of the Montezuma Oropendola which is a New World tropical icterid bird. It is a resident breeder in the Caribbean coastal lowlands from southeastern Mexico to central Panama but is absent from El Salvador and southern Guatemala.  For more photos, please click here.

Croc shock!…Stunning Crocodile River sightings from Ngwenya…

One mean looking croc!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Last night’s sunset from Ngwenya Restaurant’s veranda overlooking the river.

At times, I almost don’t know where to begin to tell you about our past 24 hours which on most days is exactly what we share.  Sure, we may describe sightings and events that may have transpired on other days but overall, our goal is to divulge that which transpired most recently.

Elephants making their way toward the sparse water in the Crocodile River.

So, today, as I share the events of yesterday, I can’t help but smile over how Mother Nature (i.e. safari luck) continues to come our way wherever we may be in this utopia of wildlife, scenery, and nature.

What a breathtaking scene as they crossed the dry riverbed!

For example, last night’s photo of the sunset at Ngwenya was truly breathtaking.  So quickly, it vanishes into the horizon for darkness to fall and a single sentence spoken to each other or our friends and we’ve missed the entire event.

Moms, matriarch and several youngsters including a tiny baby made their way to the water.

It also was the case when yesterday, we decided to leave the house for Ngwenya at 1630 hours (4:30 pm) as opposed to our usual almost 5:00pm.  Had we lingered for 30 minutes, we’ve have missed most of today’s photos.  I suppose it’s all about timing and sheer coincidence.  

They kicked up a lot of dust as they made their way over the dry riverbed.

It’s certainly has nothing to do with any skill or innate perception on our part, except for the fact that we’re aware that sightings are better at certain times of day than others.

This baby couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old.

With only six days until Tom and Lois depart to return to the US and only three months and 25 days until we leave South Africa for Kenya (if a visa extension is provided), I’ve begun to feel a sense of loss over our eventual departure.  


When we leave on February 20th, should all go as hoped, we’ll be returning to South Africa on December 2, 2020, a mere one year, nine months and 12 days, arriving in Capetown by cruise where we’ll spend a few days and then head directly back to Marloth Park.

The mature elephants certainly protect the little ones.

But, so much can change between now and then.  The park could be different with less wildlife and changes could transpire that we can’t even conceive of at this point.  


Life is unpredictable.  So much is beyond our control.  Merely fantasizing as to how we’d like it to be and what it subsequently “will be” can be but a figment of our imagination.  The world is rapidly changing.  We are all changing as we age and no one can predict a few years from now.

Finally, they approached an area with easier access to the river.

In our “perfect world,” we’d still be traveling as we are.  We’ll have been to many more places, seen many more wonders and perhaps even finding ourselves loving other places as much as we’ve loved it here. 


We shall see.  Neither of us is caught up in any dreadful type of expectations. We roll with it as we go and strive to do our best to make our ongoing dreams comes to fruition.  There will never be a time that we’ll stop dreaming.

From quite a distance, we spotted a female lion.

Today, we had another exceptional experience when the four of us took quite a drive to see an authentic African village, an outstanding musical production and learns about the culture.  We’ll be sharing that story and photos tomorrow.


Please check back.  We have so much more.


Have a pleasant and peaceful evening.

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Photo from one year ago today, October 26, 2017:

Our dear friend Louise in Kauai Hawaii wrote to tell us this bird we spotted in the yard in Costa Rica was a Fiery-billed Aracari. What am an amazing bird!  For more photos, please click here.

Exquisite scenery from the Marloth Park side of the Crocodile River…Staying healthy, a must for this life!…

It was hard to believe we captured this scene close to sunset.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Notice the appearance of a face in the rocks near the top center of this photo.

It’s almost noon on Sunday and I’m getting a late start to today’s post. Recently, on a relatively strict diet to lose the weight I’d gained these past few years since my gastrointestinal problems began, I’m only 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds) away from my goal.  

A pair of retired generals, perhaps?

Once I reach that goal, I will post the details here including what I’ve been doing to lose weight which is difficult with my already strict way of eating, what I did and didn’t give up, my weight at the start and the final total weight loss.

Zebras were standing in a waterhole drinking and cooling off.

It’s been slow, averaging only a .45 kg (one pound) loss per week but I’m thrilled to be able to fit back into clothes I’ve dragged around the world for a few years hoping I’d fit in them once again.  

A mom and youngster grazing near the water’s edge.

Of course, now I’m stuck with many items that are way too big, which I’ll donate before we leave South Africa, whenever that may be.  In the interim Tom who’d also gained a few kilos is now gradually returning to his lowest weight which was when we were Belize almost six years ago.

This elephant was trying to figure out how to climb these steep rocks.  Eventually, she turned and took a different route.

We’re hell-bent on not carrying excess weight when our goal is to stay fit and healthy so we can continue traveling.  We’ve both found we feel our very best at the lower end of our weight ranges which like everyone, fluctuates from time to time.

Five giraffes at the river’s edge.

No, we’re not obsessed with the “numbers’ but we’re definitely determined to keep our lipids, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and weight at a level of optimum wellness for our ages.

Zebras coming down the steep hill to the Crocodile River.

No doubt, I’d had my share of medical ups and down these past several years.  But, now I see I need to pay more attention to wellness and less attention to the vulnerability of advancing age.  

The hot weather brought many animals down to the Crocodile River.

Fortunately, none of my issues had left me wanting to stop traveling.  At times, it was difficult to carry on but sheer love of our lifestyle has kept me motivated to forging ahead.  Now that I’m feeling so well I never forget to be grateful each and every day while continuing on the mission to maintain good health.

Giraffes rarely bend to the ground other than to drink.  They are vulnerable to predators in this position.

One’s mental health is equally important in this process and nothing could bring us more joy than the amazing relationship we share as we travel the world.  This extended stay in South Africa, hopefully lasting until February 20, 2019, when we fly to Kenya (providing we are able to get visa extensions) means we only have 150 days remaining until we leave.

A few male impalas and two giraffes which could be mom and youngster.

That remaining 150 days constitutes a total of four months and 28 days.  We both want to thank all of our worldwide readers for staying with us as we’ve continued to write and post photos of some fairly repetitive scenarios.

Giraffes heading back up the embankment while zebras languished in the water.

We present today’s photos with a little different perspective, not just animal photos per se but scenes with wildlife we’ve been fortunate to see while on the Marloth Park side of the fence, overlooking the Crocodile River, taken on the two outrageously hot days this past week.

A few of the zebras began to wander off while the others stayed behind.

Enjoy our photos and especially, enjoy YOUR day!

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Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2017:

Much of the produce at the Central Market in Atenas appears to be imported when it’s perfectly shaped and mostly clean.  At the feria, the Friday Atenas Farmer’s Market, the vegetables appear to have been “just picked” with excess leaves and insects still on them.  That’s the type of produce we prefer to buy.  For more photos, please click here.