One day and counting…Packing is almost done…

A Great White Heron stood in the water at Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park.

Note: Today’s photos are from a post on this date in 2018. For the post, please click here.

As of now, noon on Thursday, and we have a good handle on the packing. I just finished folding Tom’s shirts into a neat stack he’s putting into his suitcase. He is currently in the bedroom packing his clothes, shoes, and miscellaneous items.

Tomorrow morning after I do our last load of laundry, we’ll add the remaining items, including the clothes we are wearing now. By early afternoon, we should be completely packed and ready to go for the arrival of the shuttle company between 5:05 and 5:50 pm.

This was our friend Tusker. He was the sweetest guy who visits several times daily, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm). He was so comfortable that he often took a short nap.

Once we get settled at the airport, we’ll have dinner at one of the restaurants (not fast food) and relax until our red-eye boards around 9:30 pm for our 10:30 pm flight. I checked online, and Virgin Airlines has a slew of movies we haven’t seen, with few repeats from United and Delta, on which we’ve flown several times in the past few years.

Most likely, neither of us will sleep much on the flight, so we’ll spend most of the time playing games on our phones and watching movies, hopefully dozing occasionally.

We never tire of seeing these wondrous animals in Kruger and Marloth Parks.

This morning I made breakfast and got everything ready for tonight’s dinner of burgers, salad, and rice for Tom. We cooked bacon to top the burgers and sliced red onion. Tom will cook the burgers on the grill, and we’ll enjoy our final evening in this lovely property.

Last night, I received a message from the hotel in Edinburgh asking for payment. We had booked the reservation through Expedia on the premise that we’d pay for the hotel after we arrived. We’d never had this happen when the booking stated, “Pay at the hotel.” We didn’t want to spend time or effort disputing this, so I went ahead and paid for it.

A bloat of hippos at Sunset Dam.

I suppose they may have had a lot of cancellations in the past, especially during the pandemic and after, that prompted them to require this advance payment. They even stated in the email that they’d cancel our reservation if we didn’t pay now. Weird. But many things have been different since the pandemic, as we’ve witnessed repeatedly.

Tonight, Tom will check us in for our flight once we reach the 24 hours before. Apparently, Virgin Airlines doesn’t require prepayment for excess luggage until we check in at the airport, nor do they increase the fees if doing so at the airport. That’s one less thing to do now.

Crocs on the bank of Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park.

What do we have left to do? We’ll have to pack the toiletries we’ll be using in the morning while getting ready; Pack my pillow and a few items from the laundry we’ll do in the morning; Tidy up around the house, take the bedding off the bed, and toss towels in the laundry basket, and pack the cords (including the HDMI), chargers, and adapters from various spots in the house.

A few days ago, I signed up for travel insurance for both of us through United Health Care’s SafeTrip for a policy only lasting until we return to the US on August 31. The insurance doesn’t cover us while we’re in the US. We’re on our own until we leave again around October 12.

We’ll be back with one more post for tomorrow, and then, you may not hear from us until we arrive in Scotland on July 29th or 30th. Once we arrive, sleep will be most important, and getting ourselves into a regular schedule. Once we do so,  we’ll post right away.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 27, 2013:

Lisa, the owner. stapled most of the edges of this “mosquito” netting as screens for the windows. This kitchen window attracted many flies and bees, with frequent cooking going on each day. We will monitor it to ensure no gaps leave an opening for insects to enter. We removed the Ziplock bag to keep flies at bay, moving it to another screen-less window we often keep open. For more photos, please click here.

Ten things we don’t like about cruising…Funny warthog behavior…

A warthog named Busybody noticed the pellets we’d set on the railing for the kudus.

Each morning when I am getting ready for the day, I take my phone into the bathroom and listen to podcasts. Lately, with our interest in cruising, I have been listening to two podcasts; one is La Lido Loca, and two is Cruise News. The podcasters of both of these shows are highly knowledgeable, albeit a little goofy, and stay up to date on what’s going on in the cruise industry, including realistic and straightforward observations on the good and the bad of cruising.

Busybody made himself comfortable in the awkward position and devoured the pellets.

This morning, on La Lido Loca, the podcaster discussed ten things he hates about cruising which prompted today’s topic from our perspective, which may be different from his in some ways. Right now, we must admit, we’re a little apprehensive about cruising with constant changes in policies, pricing, and itineraries.

Untypical for warthogs, Busybody got up on his hind legs to reach the pellets.

Also, recently contracting Covid-19 on a cruise may have impacted our view of cruising, at least for the time being. Our recent cancellation of the 42-night triple back-to-back cruise left a bad taste in our mouths when we’d have had to snail mail our passports to a US company to get visas for various countries’ ports of call. This impossible situation gave us no alternative but to cancel the entire booking, losing more money in the process. We’re tired of losing money on cruises with policy changes, leading us to point #1.


  1. Cruise lines making changes regarding an itinerary, which may be beyond their control, such as the war in Ukraine but failing to provide full refunds for deposits and final payments.
  2. Cruise lines do not provide clear and concise visa requirements at the time of the booking.
  3. Inconsistent Covid-19 requirements and protocol. Poor treatment of infected passengers during their quarantine period in the cabin.
  4. Failure to compensate passengers for travel expenses when a cruise is canceled last minute. Travel insurance prices have increased since the pandemic, preventing many travelers from making a purchase.
  5. Mandatory tips added each day of the cruise. Why can’t passengers tip for good service at their discretion? How do we know how the mandatory tips are distributed? We have no problem tipping but employees should be paid sufficiently. We never remove the mandatory tips (which can be done). Some cruise lines include tips in the fare pricing as a perk, which is preferred.
  6. Constant promotion to passengers during the cruise to pay for additional services that aren’t included in the basic cruise fare.
  7. Outrageous WiFi fees for their poor quality connection. We need WiFi during cruises. We understand service may be slow at certain points. But, failure to upgrade their often antiquated systems and expect passengers to pay is frustrating.
  8. Pre-cruise long hold times on the phone when calling with questions. Slow response time from cruise lines when making email inquiries.
  9. Long waiting periods for refunds, when they are allowed
  10. Errors on bills. If we don’t check our TV bill daily, we miss incorrect charges. Customer service is good about reversing such charges when they are found. Passengers must take the responsibility for frequently checking their account charges.

When listening to the podcast today, he’d comment about things other passengers do that annoy him such as “cutting in line” and taking more food than they can eat in the buffet. We don’t pay much attention to what other cruisers are doing, finding most passengers to be friendly and likable and the staff who strive to provide excellent service.

Big Daddy said, “Where are those pellets waiting for me on this railing?” We gave him more, carefully staying back to avoid those massive horns.

We are more interested in how the cruise experience impacts our expectations of quality, seamless situations, safety, and financial equity.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 17, 2021:

Tom was not named after this grand uncle. This headstone is located at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Waukesha, Wisconsin. For more photos, please click here.