Preparing for the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner…A black mamba story unfolds…

 Here’s our previously shown video from the snake handling school 
we attended last March.
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
Our resident monitor lizard came out of his hovel for a drink from the cement pond.

Today is an outrageously busy day.  I started making the eight pumpkin pies early this morning and as I write, we’re just about ready to put the first few in the oven.  The oven only has one rack so I won’t be able to bake more than two or three pies at a time.


I made one low carb pie for Danie and Louise, who generally follow the banting (low carb) way of eating, as do many South Africans for various health reasons.  I didn’t make a low carb pie for me.  This time I will pass on a pie for myself based on the fact I’m still trying to lose the last few pounds on my diet and pumpkin pie, oh my, I could eat an entire pie in a day.  But, not these days.
 
There are many other items to prepare today with the balance to be completed tomorrow.  Thanksgiving dinner, although easy to prepare with recipes in my head, requires a tremendous amount of time to prepare.  

Also, Dawn and Leon (owners of Jabula Lodge & Restaurant) are coming for the dinner and bringing “take-away” containers so we can provide all of our guests with containers of leftovers for the next day along with their own pumpkin pie, another one of our traditions.  Everyone always enjoys leftover Thanksgiving dishes!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a turkey anywhere in this area.  Instead, we’re making one roasted stuffed chicken for each couple to enjoy as they’d like during the meal, taking home the remainder along with side dishes and their full-sized pumpkin pie.

Although there will only be 10 of us dining tomorrow evening I’m making enough for the equivalent of 20 people.  Then again, many of us Americans have made the festive meal for 20 or more people.

It would be a lot easier cooking today and tomorrow if it weren’t so hot.  Temperatures are expected to be a high of 38C (101F) or more including tomorrow.  With no AC in the kitchen area and having the oven on most of the day, it will surely be one hot sweaty day.
In March, at snake handling school, Chris, the snake handling trainer held this black mamba while Tom looked on.  For that post, please click here.

But, I’m not complaining.  This is a great group of people and we’re delighted to make this special traditional US meal which actually is celebrated in the US next Thursday, November 22.

We’d planned this date quite a while ago when we anticipated it might actually be the traditional “good-bye” party.  One way or another we’re hoping to stay until our scheduled flight to Kenya on February 20th if all goes well.  No word so far.

OK, enough about cooking.  On to our story about a black mamba that Louise shared with us a few days ago.  As for today’s photos (except for the “Sighting of the Day in the Bush” photo, we’d previously posted them in March.

However, based on today’s black mamba story, and my shortage of time we thought we’d repost these few previously shown photos and the links for these specific posts.

Recently, we’ve frequently mentioned our new friends, Rita and Gerhard, with whom we’ve been spending a lot of quality time.  World travelers themselves we find we have so much in common and we continually share our varied and interesting travel stories and more.

On Monday, this week, they left for a two-week visit to Germany to attend Gerhard’s brother’s 60th birthday party.  They’ll be returning before the end of this month.

Tom was handling a black mamba and did an excellent job although he’s not certain he’d want to do this in a real-life situation.

As mentioned in an earlier post, they’ve been living in the same house we rented when we first came to Marloth Park in December 2013, the house on Hornbill St. the house where a Mozambique spitting cobra fell from the ceiling of the veranda and landed within a few feet of Tom.  

He’s always classified that experience as the scariest of his life.  If you’d like to read that post, please click here for the photos of the venomous snake and story of what transpired on that fateful and memorable day.  

On Sunday, the day before their departure, Rita and Gerhard heard a plop on the floor of the veranda as we had on that fateful day in January 2014,  when they were sitting outside, as they do all day too, like us, waiting for wildlife to stop by.  This time the “plop” was a mouse perhaps being caught by the snake.

Although a black mamba doesn’t look that scary, a single bite can result in death within an hour, if not treated.

Rita and Gerhard were sitting on the veranda at that same Hornbill house where we’d lived, quietly enjoying the bush while reading, sipping cold beverages, without a care in the world.

Suddenly, they saw the snake, a black mamba.  Louise had given them a sheet with photos of various snakes in the event they’d have to identify one.  Here was their opportunity. They grabbed the sheet and were certain it was the outrageously venomous black mamba.


As I had done years ago, Rita couldn’t resist taking photos until the snake disappeared near the chimney.  What would be the point of calling the rangers if the snake was nowhere to be found?  They went about their day with a watchful eye knowing they were leaving the next morning for Germany.  

A video that Rita and Gerhard took of black mamba on the veranda.


On Tuesday, determined to get the darned thing out of that house, Louise contacted snake handler, Jaun, (20 something) who’d attended snake school with us.  He’s very active in the park conducting a tremendous number of services as an Honorary Ranger and all-around caring and good guy.

On Tuesday, he and Louise sat on the veranda waiting for the snake to appear so Jaun would capture it to return it to the wild.  By a stroke of luck after only a 10-minute wait, the black mamba made an appearance.

It was only 15 minutes later than Juan had captured the snake with his trusty snake grabber and his expert skill and placed it safely in a bucket with a lid.  The intent in capturing snakes is always to return them to the wild where they belong.  Mission accomplished, thanks to Louise‘s boundless determination and Juan’s excellent skills.

It sounded as if Rita and Gerhard stayed calm and under control when they spotted the snake which is vital to avoid agitating it resulting in an attack.  Black mambas can be very aggressive if provoked.

For residents of Marloth Park, here is Juan’s contact information.

So, there’s the snake story.  Most likely we won’t see too many snakes in this house.  Snakes generally don’t care to climb stairs up to a veranda when there’s plenty of fodder for them on ground level.  But, we always keep an eye out now that snake season has arrived with the warmer weather, especially at night when out and about.


We’d mentioned in yesterday’s post that we’d share the costs for the dentist and eye doctor appointments but we don’t have the final figures yet since Tom will choose his new eyeglasses next Thursday.  The optometrist didn’t have the style Tom prefer but he’ll be bringing several pairs from his other distant location for Tom to try.  Next Friday we’ll update this information.
Tonight, hot as it is and as busy as we’ve been, we’re heading to Jabula Lodge & Restaurant for dinner and relaxation.  Tomorrow will be another busy day but we’ll still be back with more.
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Photo from one year ago today, November 16, 2017:

Once again, Tom captured another fabulous bird from the veranda in Costa Rica while I was busy indoors making dinner.  This Yellow-tailed Oriole, although at quite a distance, was a treasure to behold.  For more photos, please click here.

Dentist and kangaroos…Another g’day in Australia!



The dental office is easy to find.  Its outside the main entrance to Smithfield Mall on the nearest to Woolworth’s  Grocery store.

Visiting a dentist has always been a dreaded experience for me.  As many of you, from time to time I had less than ideal experiences leaving an indelible mark on my psyche.  These experiences left me with a degree of dental phobia and/or dental anxiety which is more common than we can imagine.

As a matter of fact there is such a thing as the “Dental Anxiety Network” specifically for dentists to ensure they are well educated in dealing with anxious patients.

I’ll admit to becoming anxious when I have to have anything other than a cleaning which causes little apprehension.  Its the fillings, crowns and surgeries that incite a sense of fear.  Some reports state that as many of 80% of patients have some degree of dental phobia.

The professional, clean and organized dental office, 1300 Smiles at Smithfield Mall made us both feel at ease.

As a result I didn’t feel apprehensive when our intent for yesterday’s two appointments was singular:  clean our teeth, no x-rays.  With neither of us experiencing any pain or apparent difficulty with our teeth, we hoped for good results.

Both of our appointments transpired at exactly the same time, 1:00 pm on Thursday, with a plan to shop when done.  The dental clinic, 1300 Smiles, is located  in the Smithfield Mall around the corner  from the meat market, the produce mart, the pharmacy and the grocery store, definitely a convenient location for the four additional stops I needed to make when we were done at the dentist.

Much to my surprise the dentist, Dr. Neil McElvanna, did my cleaning as opposed to a dental hygienist which is the usual procedure in the US.  Most hygienists in the US (our only experience until now) provide excellent service often after many years of experience.



The treatment rooms were spotless and were equipped with the most up-to-date equipment from what we could determine.

After my painless procedure was completed with positive comments as to the condition of my teeth and gums after almost three years without a professional cleaning (we don’t recommend waiting this long), Dr. Neil and I had a chance to talk.

After inquiring as to our life of travel, we discussed the recent pointless slaughter of Cecil, the lion.  Dr. Neil, with tongue in cheek, commented, “Too bad he’s a dentist.”  I then commented, “Too bad he was from Minnesota from whence we came.”  Immediately, we had something, however sad, in common.

We proceeded to discuss my way of eating which may have a beneficial effect on dental health which he said was evident in my lack of periodontal disease.  Sure, I had a degree of plaque which he readily removed that no matter how often I cleaned my teeth, I couldn’t entirely eradicate.  But, I had no inflamed or swollen gums or areas of concern.

Lounging in the grass.

In the old life, both of us had to visit a periodontist on a few occasions.  That was while we were still consuming vast amounts of sugar in various forms.  However, our good results aren’t entirely a result of not having sugar floating around our mouths.  It’s also a result of the systemic production of stomach acids, good gut bacteria and general good health from consuming a healthy low carb, grain, starch and sugar free ketogenic diet for the past almost four years.  


Now, with a clean dental bill of health and the fact that we may not see another dentist until we arrive the US in 2017 we can rest easy that both our medical and dental exams provided us with peace of mind only adding to our enthusiasm as we continue on in our travels.

This adult kept watch while the others rested.  With only crocs as potential predators and the kangaroos keeping a distance from the ocean and rivers, the kangaroo population continues to grow in Australia.  Here are the estimated stats for the kangaroo population.  There are an estimated over 20 million kangaroos in Queensland according to these 2011 stats.

The shocker?  The cost for both of us was a mere AUD $196, USD $142.89, which is only AUD $98, USD $71.45 each.  We had refused x-rays which of course lowered the price.  Had either of us been experiencing any pain or discomfort, we’d have opted for the x-rays.  Why be exposed to radiation when there’s no need?

This young kangaroo looked sleepy and ready for a nap.

Over these past almost three years since our last cleaning we’ve done a few things that may have also contributed to the good results:

1.  Using Brush Picks by The Doctors after eating.  We keep these picks with us at all times.  We recently purchased several packs of these at the Alive Pharmacy at Smithfield Mall.
2.  Oil Pulling each day using unrefined, cold pressed, organic coconut oil, swishing for 20 minutes.
3.  We brush our teeth twice a day using non-fluoridated whitening toothpaste (brands vary throughout the world.  We don’t use fluoride when we can avoid it).
4.  We brush with the above toothpaste adding baking soda and hydrogen peroxide onto the brush.  These items are available worldwide.
5.  We used pulsing toothbrushes.  (We’d purchased a good sized supply on past visits to Costco but, these can be purchased at pharmacies and grocery stores throughout the world.

Kangaroo family lounging under the shade of a tree and a bench.

We stress that if there is evidence of periodontal disease, the above measures would be effective only after a course of professional treatment had been exercised. We don’t recommend seeing a dentist only once every three years.  In our old lives, we had our teeth cleaned every six months.

The thorough cleaning, the pleasant and professional dental office and the expert care of the dentist, Dr. Neil and his staff, left us with a “great taste in our mouths!”

Resting in the grass.

With our medical appointments behind us with good results we have a renewed sense of freedom.  Thanks to our readers for their encouragement and support in assisting us in making the decision to get these medical exams behind us.

Our efforts for ongoing health continue with exercise, healthy diet, dental care and a positive state of mind which, armed with this good news, is certainly enhanced.

Kangaroos are shy unless they’ve been in an area where they frequently interact with humans.  These are wild kangaroos resulting in photos taken from afar.

Tomorrow, we’ll continue with more photos from our trip to Port Douglas as we plan our next road trip.  Hummm…wonder where that will take us?

Happy end of week to all!

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Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2014:
We didn’t post on this travel date.  Back tomorrow with August 1, 2014!