What an undertaking!…Switching from Chromebook to Windows 11…

Tom’s dinner consisted of a fresh turkey club sandwich and chips (fries) when we dined once again in the Lucky Penny restaurant in the resort.

In the “old” days switching from one Windows computer to another was implemented by using a cable between the old and new computers. Some apps and data could be transferred wirelessly or using a flash drive or external hard drive as time progressed.

But now, after using a Chromebook for the past two-plus years, and storing all my saved files on the cloud, Google Drive, I need to rethink how I store and use the information we need to keep. I saved all my old files on an external hard drive and the cloud from the time I last used Windows in early 2020, but I don’t want to clutter this laptop with all those unnecessary files. This time, I am starting anew.

Our old posts and photos are stored online, so there’s no issue there. The old posts and included photos can easily be accessed via our archives. There is no need for me to save any of those offline. New bookings, photos, and financial information will be easier to access via files and folders saved on my desktop, which I missed with the Chromebook. There is no way to save folders on the desktop on a Chromebook, at least not by any means by which I was familiar.

Gosh, when I think of people who are not computer savvy and find it necessary to make a change such as this, it baffles me how they’d get through this process. Indeed, it would be daunting and overwhelming.  Then again, those who are very active on and offline already know how to do this stuff. For those who use email and Facebook and browse online, it could be relatively easy.

Tom’s daily breakfast in the Lucky Penny; eggs, hash browns, ham and toast with jelly. He’s certainly enjoying this big meal.

But, for those seeking to participate in advanced tasks, such as keeping detailed and accurate records for business and personal use, making such a change could be time-consuming and difficult. I am not finding it difficult. But, starting from scratch  it will take some time.

So far, as I’m preparing today’s post, I keep encountering the necessity of adding apps I use in preparing each day’s post, some of which are Google-related (Chromebook), not Microsoft-related (Windows). I have found it necessary to continue to use some Google features I like, such as Google Photos, Google Keep, and… I may keep using the Gmail app instead of Outlook. I was never a big fan of Outlook, even in the early days when I used it exclusively.

In any case, I won’t continue to bore our readers with this massive change after today’s mention. Each day, I’ll add more and more apps and files, and perhaps in the next week or so, I’ll have it done. I am looking forward to being done, although I must admit, I enjoy doing this for some odd reason.

As I prepare today’s post, I’m thrilled about how much easier it is to type. When I started working on this Lenovo Flex 5 yesterday afternoon, I automatically banged extra hard on the letter “L,” which motivated me to purchase a new laptop. Other keys and the spacebar required me to bang on the keys to get a result.

My breakfast of three egg white gluten free tortillas, with chicken, guacamole, salsa and onions. It is low carb and very delicious.

What a pleasure it is now. I can type easily, although I am learning to use a different keyboard with numerical keys on the far right that I didn’t have on the old Chromebook. Thus, I need to position my hands toward the left to avoid accidentally hitting numbers instead of letters. In no time at all, I’ll get used to this change.

How are we feeling today”? Tom says he is 75% to 80% better than a week ago. I am, too, but I am still experiencing a lot of congestion, a sinus-type headache, and a degree of lethargy. Although not a napper like Tom, I am getting well over eight hours of sleep each night, according to my Fitbit. It seems sleep is the most beneficial aspect for the recovery of Omicron. We tested positive four weeks ago today.

In four days, we’ll depart for South Africa on a two day journey, spending one night in Johannesburg to avoid driving on the dangerous Highway N4 at night. There have been countless car-jackings using a device called spiking which tear up a car’s tires and causes drivers to stop and get out of their vehicles. At that point, the drivers and passengers are often killed and robbed of their belongings. This is scary. There is no way we’d drive on that highway in the dark.

Well, folks, that’s it for today. Sorry for the lack of interesting photos. Neither of us feels up to looking for photos ops right now. We’ll have plenty of opportunities when we’ll be back in Marloth Park in less than a week.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 18, 2021:

Mongoose waited at the door for food before we’d even gone outside in the morning. For more photos, please click here.

Frustrating day attempting to resolve issues…

Last night we took this blurry photo of our visiting porcupine through the glass and the screen doors to the veranda. If we’d opened either door it would have run away.

It was hot and humid. The dew point was 73, and the temperature was 93F, 34C. It felt as if it was much higher due to the thick and stifling air. Knowing I still had to do the walking, I struggled to follow my usual routine throughout the day. I set the alarm on my phone to remind me to walk every 15 minutes.

On less hot days, I set the alarm for every 20 minutes. Cook, walk, do post, walk, do laundry, walk, feed animals, walk. But yesterday was different. I spent the entire day on the phone, on hold cumulatively for hours, trying to figure out a solution for our cellphone situation. When they put me on hold, I’d walk, stopping when they came back online.

It was hopeless with Google Fi. They are suspending our service due to overuse of roaming data and phone, on or about March 12, which is 30 days from their original notification letter. We leave here on or about March 24. Most likely, today we’ll book our flight and rental car.

What a rare occasion! Broken Horn and Hal sharing pellets! We were thrilled to see them getting along so well.

From March 12th until we enter the US, we will be without phone service, when Google Fi service may or may not be restored automatically. If it is, it’s not a solution for us. Once we leave the country on April 8 to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to the UK, the service may be suspended once again.

Our only option is to sign up for a service such as T-Mobile with their senior international plan, which requires we call them once a month to “reactivate our service.” The cost for such a plan will be a little more than we’re paying now, but their international data is unlimited, which would enable us to make calls on Whatsapp, Skype, or other such online calling services.

When I spent an hour on the phone with T-Mobile yesterday, I concluded this would be our best option. I set a notice on my calendar to call them once a month on, let’s say, the first of each month to ensure our international service continues seamlessly. This calling requirement is weird, but it will provide service worldwide.

This was the first time we’d ever seen them together. They even politely sniffed each other’s butts, not unlike dogs would do.

In the interim, next time we go to Komatipoort for groceries, we’ll purchase SIM cards for our phones and will be able to talk and text. However, all our accounts are set up to send us texts at our current phone number. We may or may not lose our phone numbers.

If the service is restored once on US soil, we can quickly get to a T-Mobile store to get their SIM cards installed (our phones can’t sign up remotely to T-Mobile’s network), and we will be able to keep our current phone numbers. If the service is not restored with Google Fi, we will lose our phone numbers and reset our new numbers into each online app that texts us to verify transactions.

During the gap from March 12th on, we will have to make sure we request verification through email, if possible, or enter the SIM card phone number into each account. This could take quite some time to complete and then would have to be redone once we are in the US, one way or another, whether we can use our old numbers or have new phone numbers. It’s all a lot of extra work.

This adorable male impala whom we’ve named Chevy has been stopping by frequently.

A thoughtful reader and world traveler wrote to us last night explaining she is using T-Mobile’s international plan and is working for them with a few adjustments here and there. Thanks for writing, Lisa. We appreciate your input. We always value our readers sharing solutions for similar situations we encounter and sharing our solutions in our posts.

I made it through the day, managing to get all the information we needed and get in all but 500 steps of my usual routine. Today, I will make up for it. On Sunday, the day of my birthday, I doubt I will be able to get in all the steps. Louise and Danie have a surprise for us for my birthday and are picking us up at 9:15 am. We don’t have a clue what it will be. Whatever it is, I’m sure we will like it. They know me very well.

I hope you have a fantastic day and evening!

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

Helmeted Guinea-fowl and their four chicks stop by daily for seeds. They are so shy it’s difficult to take a good photo when they don’t stay still for a moment. For more, please click here.

Day #126 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Our new website…Streaming issues…Our worst nightmare…

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

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 27, 2018, while in Marloth Park, South Africa. See the link here for more photos.
The process of re-doing our website and moving over almost 3000 historical posts from the archives is taking longer than we’d expected. But, we aren’t concerned when the developer stays in close touch with us, sending the links as it progresses day by day. We’ve been happy with their service, a company, coincidentally here in India.
This was our friend Tusker. He is the sweetest guy who comes to visit several times each day, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm). He was so comfortable he often stayed for a short nap.

As many of us are aware, India, in general, has some of the most skilled tech people in the world, and we were thrilled to use the services of a well-known company with rave reviews. We’ll post more information on this company once we go “live” with our new site sometime in the next 45 days. 

I’d anticipated this process would be stressful, but our skilled and calm developer has made it as painless as possible for me, quickly responding to changes and inquiries.

We never tired of seeing these wondrous animals, both in Kruger and in Marloth Parks.

We’ll give you, our readers, a heads-up when we know it will go live. The link will be the same, and thus, there will be nothing for you to do but to continue reading and commenting as you have over the past eight-plus years.

On another note, we’ve been grateful for the excellent WiFi connection we’ve had during the past 126 days in this hotel. But, as more and more businesses re-open in India, although cases of COVID-19 continue to rise rapidly, we’ve noticed a slowing of the connection from time to time.

Zebras were crossing the road in Kruger.

Don’t get me wrong. We appreciate being in this beautiful hotel with great food and service, especially with the conscientious efforts to protect all of us from the virus, requiring their staff to live on the premises, unable to leave for months at a time until they are given a two-week break.

(When a staff member returns from their time off, we are only served by those that have been in residence for at least two full weeks, continuing to ensure our safety).

A bloat of hippos at Sunset Dam in Kruger.

Our worst nightmares here would be (beyond exposure to COVID-19 or other health issues) that WiFi service would go down in Mumbai or the hotel. At that point, we’d lose our ability to continue to post, and equally important is our ability to stream shows from the internet to our HDMI cable to the flat-screen TV.

Last night, we had a taste of what that would be like when, for some odd reason, we were unable to stream on Netflix for the first time since we arrived on March 24, 2020.

OK, folks, here’s a new one for you…This is a “bask” of crocodiles!

We were watching season four of the beautiful historical series Reign when the signal dropped repeatedly. I started and re-started my laptop to no avail. For two hours, we continued to attempt to get the show to resume. 

Finally, the later it got, the signal improved. We have to consider the reality that as more time passes, the hotel has more and more guests, mostly business travelers, since this hotel is primarily geared toward business travelers.

As winter continues, there’s less and less green vegetation for the wildlife in Kruger and Marloth Park.

Some domestic flights have resumed in India, although as we’ve mentioned, international travel remains at a standstill. The added domestic travelers have certainly impacted the quality of the WiFi in the evening hours when most will be online. 

Hopefully, we won’t experience this issue in the future.

Stay safe and healthy!

Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2019:

A six-year-old photo was posted last year when our photo inventory for Ireland was lacking. Busy preparations surrounded the church in Campanario as workers rushed to get the decorations in place for Saturday’s religious festivities. For the post one year ago, please click here.

Finally, a new fitness watch and a bag…7 days and counting…

One year ago, we posted this photo we’d taken in 2013 while on a road trip. Bourke’s Luck Potholes was our favorite photo of the day on our three-day tour of the Panorama Route and Blyde River Canyon. See the original post here.

Yesterday, after completing the post, I headed out shopping. I don’t care to shop for anything other than groceries which I find quite enjoyable. Browsing through any department store makes me cringe. 

I wasn’t this way in my old life, but with my limited wardrobe over the past seven-plus years, knowing I have to toss something from my one suitcase of clothing to maintain the consistent flight approved weight if I purchase something new. This fact makes shopping less than fun.

Over the past three years, I have been using a blue cloth grocery bag as a means of carrying the necessary items with me when we’re going out for an extended period.

On shorter outings, I only bring lipstick to be stuffed into my or Tom’s pockets. (Many women’s pants don’t have pockets). Now that my flip-open RFID phone case has space for ID, cash, and credit cards, I no longer need a wallet.

Over the past three years, I’ve become tired of using the navy blue grocery bag. With the long and arduous upcoming flight to India, I reconsidered if I wanted to carry that blue bag one more time. I do not.

What I wanted to find was a cloth-type bag that can be squished enough to fit under the seat on an airplane and yet large enough to hold what I usually carry with me onto the plane: phone, camera, cosmetic bag, hairbrush, earpieces, and charging cords and a wide array of odds and ends.

(With this upcoming flight, we’ll need to bring along a few toiletries based on traveling for almost 30 hours, including an eight-hour layover. In checking information on British Airways, it appears they provide toothbrushes and toothpaste, our biggest concern).

As it turned out, I found the perfect item at TJ Maxx, a black Steve Madden padded, parachute material bag that zips with several pockets, all secure, leaving the contents relatively theft-proof. Sure, a thief could steal the entire bag off my arm, the reason I haven’t carried a prominent handbag all these years. This new bag is more of a carry-on type bag.

The next item I wanted was a fitness watch. I’d ordered one online in December, and it never arrived. I am now awaiting a refund. If I don’t see it come through in the next few days, I will contact the credit card company to remove the charge, especially since I have an email apologizing for their error in not sending out their product.

After the trip to TJ Maxx in Mesa (a 20-minute drive), I followed the road circled the mall to the Best Buy store. They had several models, but many included music and Amazon’s Alexa. 

Since Alexa doesn’t work in most countries, I saw no need to purchase the more expensive Fitbit Fitness watch. I selected the FitBit Charge 3 that suited my needs at a fixed price of $149. I’d shopped quite a bit online over the past week researching models and settled on this particular watch.

Yesterday, while wrapping up the completion of setting up Tom’s old laptop for my use, I also set up the watch itself and the app for the device on my phone and the computer. 

By dinner time, I had everything set up and was thrilled with the results. I love my new FitBit. Overnight, last night I downloaded all the photos from my old laptop onto our external hard drive, My Passport. 

Now, I can reformat the drive on my old laptop and offer it to Tom’s sisters if they’re interested. If not, we will recycle it at a proper facility, as mentioned.

Tom just left for the Mesa airport to pick up his sister Rita from South Dakota, staying with Margie for a week. It looks like some fun card playing is on the agenda! There will be nine of us, including Mary and Eugene’s son, Kevin, who’ll be leaving in three or four days.

Once Tom brings Rita to Margie’s home, we’ll pack up food for me and beverages for both of us. This morning Tom purchased a roasted chicken for me to bring today since they’ll all be having sandwiches and chips.

That’s all for today, folks. We’ll be back again tomorrow with more. 

Have a fantastic Wednesday!

Photo from one year ago today, January 22, 2019:

Basket, the Bully, was feeling sad after his right ear was nearly torn off in what must have been as a result of a fight he most likely provoked. We comforted him with pellets, apples, and carrots before he took his nap in the hay. For more photos, please click here.

Great time with Staci from Texas…Paperwork and haircut for Tom…8 days and counting…

Staci and I by the entrance to the Red, White & Brew restaurant. The wine and food were excellent, and the companionship was spectacular. Hopefully, we’ll meet up somewhere in the future.

Yesterday, Tom decided to drop me off and pick me up after dinner with friend/reader Staci from Texas. She and I had been communicating back and forth over the years, and it was such a delight to meet her face-to-face.

Tom drove me to the restaurant and picked me up when I called later. The packed restaurant (we arrived at 4:00 pm) had excellent food, wine, and service. As a result, I was able to enjoy some fantastic red wine with Staci. 

The conversation was delightfully varied as we each reveled in the opportunity to talk to one another in person. Also, it was remarkable to share in some “girl talk” often missing from conversations when Tom and I are gabbing with other couples.

We feel so grateful for all the beautiful people we’ve met due to our daily posts. Meeting them in person is a bonus. Now, as we’re about to carry on in our world travels, many readers are writing to us, wishing us well. 

We try to respond to each message, but please bear with us if we fail to do so due to the volume of email messages. Please know that we read every message we receive and, in most cases, respond within 24 hours.

Once we leave Arizona next Wednesday, heading to India, we’ll be traveling for almost two days to reach Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Then, on the train, a few days later, most likely, WiFi will be sketchy. 

By February 8th, after the Maharajas Express (train) ends, our 55-day tour begins, again with unpredictable WiFi. Please bear with us if we’re unable to post or reply to messages as we usually would.

However, we’re hoping to upload posts and photos, which, based on information online, looks like a good possibility. We’ll have to hurry to get it done when our days and nights will be so full. But, as always, we somehow find the time to stay in touch with all of you.

This morning we ventured out in the rain to OfficeMax to print, sign and scan a few documents to send back to the immigration attorney. Once completed, we found the closest Great Clips, where Tom had hoped to get a haircut. 

The place was so packed. The wait would have been at least one hour. Neither of us cared to wait that long. Tom looked online for other facilities only to be told the wait would be one or two hours.

Instead, he decided to show up early tomorrow morning, hoping to be their first appointment. I’ll stay behind and work on other projects, which are many at this point, with departure day looming.

Today will be low-key. I’ll run out for a few last-minute items. Tonight, we’ll dine in. I have completed the transfer of my data to Tom’s old laptop, and all is working well.

In rearranging the items on the start menu and the desktop, I have made Windows 10 work for me which I am using now as I prepare today’s post. I have a lighted keyboard, touchscreen, and one terabyte of storage, and all the features work. It feels good to use a faster machine after dealing with my slow, fast-fading laptop. 

We hope you have a meaningful and productive day and that all is well your way!

Photo from one year ago today, January 21, 2019:

On many occasions, we’ve seen several bushbabies on the stand. For more photos, please click here.

Defining our digital needs going forward…9 days and counting…

An Egyptian Goose on the far shore of the Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park. For more photos, please click here.

Tom purchased a Google Chromebook with an entirely new operating system. He was sick of Windows 10 on the Acer 15.6 laptop he’s been using for over a year. I understood his concerns.

Although I tried to help him figure out “workarounds” for the features he didn’t like, (as opposed to Windows 8.1, which he did like), unless a person is using the system day by day, it’s challenging to determine exactly what changes need to be made. Also, a part of this is about personal preferences.

His laptop was running very slow but otherwise seemed to be in good shape. My Acer 15.6 laptop (5 years old) has been showing signs of a possible crash at any time. (I’ve backed up everything, of course).

Our current plan was to purchase two new smaller (11.6) Chromebooks since neither of us cared for Windows 10, nor are we Apple people, and we appreciated the smaller, lighter size of Chromebooks.

Recently, we purchased one Chromebook with the plan to get it up and running before leaving Arizona. If we both liked it, we’d buy another for me this week. 

After setting up Tom’s compact-sized unit, I noticed several features (or lack thereof) that would make it difficult for me to keep records and to do the daily posts. It simply isn’t the most sophisticated device for my needs but works great for email, Facebook, Ancestry, web browsing, managing financial apps, and syncing with his Google phone.

After considerable discussion and the fact that I thought by “restoring” Tom’s laptop to basically “clean it up,” I could start using his with a clean slate. 

Of course, this was subject to its functioning as a new computer. Otherwise, we’d have no choice but to purchase a new Windows 10 laptop for me, which with all the features I need and want, could run $700 or $800.

After the all-day-long process of restoring his laptop and bringing it back to the original Windows 10 operating system, I started entering my information to determine if the restore brought it back to out-of-the-box condition. It did! I was thrilled.

Over the next several days, I will continue to set up my apps and transfer my files. Then, I will restore my old laptop to wipe everything out to see if one of Tom’s sisters can use it. If not, before we leave, we’ll take it to a computer recycling facility.

It will be a significant relief to have this behind us, adding to our peace of mind in leaving the US in a mere nine days. There’s yet much to do to be ready by a week from Wednesday on January 29th, but as always, we’ll get there.

I am looking forward to today’s 4:00 pm get-together with friend/reader Staci in Mesa.

Have a fantastic week!

Photo from one year ago today, January 20, 2019:

The hippo’s skin is gray to brownish-red with pink areas around their ears and under their chin. They have very few hairs on their body but do have stiff whiskers on their broad lips that feel like a broom and a small amount of fuzziness around the edges of their ears and on their tail. For more photos, please click here.

Setting up new laptop today…More tasks before departure…

Two years ago today, this scene at La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires particularly caught our eye. For more photos, please click here.

Today is another busy day. This morning we started transferring files from Tom’s current laptop to a flash drive which, once I am done here, I’ll begin loading his new Chromebook with his files.

We’re going to do it a little differently this time. He’s placed most of his essential files into online Dropbox. He’s had some issues with some of his files, creating problems when they’re transferred over. This time, we’ll go for simplicity and only transfer the bare minimum.

If we both like the new Samsung 12″ Chromebook, much smaller than our 15.6″ Acer’s with Windows, we’ll head back to Best Buy to purchase another identical or similar model for me. The weight differential is substantial enough that this transition to smaller, lighter laptops is a big plus for us.

Today we’ll spend the bulk of the day at Colleen and Gene’s house playing the card game Buck Euchre. This morning, Tom got out a deck of cards and re-introduced to me how to play the game. In only a few minutes, it all came back to me.

Years ago, he and I played this fun card game with my sister Susan while she lived with me when Tom and I were dating. It will be fun to play once again.

We’ll rotate playing the four-person game. In between my playing, I’ll work on Tom’s new laptop, getting everything set up and transferred to his liking. He’ll play the game while I’m working on the laptop. Then, I’ll step in and play for a while. 

Over the next several days, we’ll continue to work on other projects we have in the works as we prepare to leave the US in 13 days. We’d hoped to be able to spend time while we’re still in the US, booking properties to rent while in the UK and Europe this upcoming summer. 

But, as it turns out, we’ve decided to see if we’ll have some downtime while in India during our two months in the country. If not, we’ll book everything while we’re on the 29-night cruise before we arrive in the UK and Europe. 

We aren’t worried at all about getting this task completed on time. We have flexibility on dates, and in the worst case, we can always find a bed and breakfast or several hotels within the budget.

Tom just left to walk down to Colleen’s while I wrap this up. I need to stop at the rental office to print a return label for a belt we purchased at Amazon that didn’t fit Tom. Tomorrow, I’ll run it to the post office to return. This morning I ordered the replacement in his size. So many little things to do.

When we’re outside the US, we can’t do any returns, and generally, we’re meticulous in ordering the correct sizes and items that won’t require a return. We erred in this case and have to handle a return.

Off I go, folks. I’ll pack up the laptop and cord, my bottle of Crystal Light lemonade, and a few more items to take with me for card-playing day. 

Gee…I’m looking forward to sharing “BIGGER,” “BETTER,” and “MORE INTERESTING” events in our daily lives.

Stay tuned. We’re only a few weeks away from that transpiring!

May your day be pleasantly eventful and exciting!

Photo from one year ago today, January 16, 2019:

One year ago today, Little was lounging in the water in the cement pond. For more photos, please click here.

An enjoyable and accomplished 24 hours…

Tom and I and Jerry and Vicki. It was amazing to see them so many years later.

On January 20, 2015, we met Vicki and Jerry on Hanalei Beach in Kauai when we stopped to lounge in the sun by the sea a few days after we’d arrived in Kauai. 

They had the same idea, and a conversation ensued moments after we settled into our portable lawn chairs. Much to our disappointment, they were getting ready to leave Kauai. We wished we’d met them sooner, enabling the four of us to spend more time together.
And, yesterday, seeing them once again, five years later, we felt the same way. We only had an afternoon together, but hopefully, someday, we’ll meet up again and be able to languish into quality time together.

Yesterday’s plan was to meet at the Tonto Verde Golf Club’s restaurant for a 12:30 leisurely lunch. We left Apache Junction earlier than necessary as we often do in case there were delays on the freeway.

Tom and Jerry (ha!) both had the burger and fries at the outdoor golf club restaurant.

As it turned out the hour-long drive sailed by and we were able to stop for some photos along the way which we’ll share in tomorrow’s posts. One aspect of the drive we particularly enjoyed was the time we spent driving through the exquisite town of Fountain Hills, where my ex-husband lives. (No, we didn’t stop to see him).

The modern desert town centered around golf and stunning scenery were fascinating to see. The average townhouse price began at $700,000. Pricey but quite lovely to see. But, our drive to meet up with Vicki and Jerry was another 15 minutes further away so we continued on with an eye on the time.
 
We pulled into the golf club at 12:15 but in moments after getting out of the car and heading toward the restaurant, we were told by employees the restaurant was closed on Mondays. There was another nearby golf club so we jumped back into the car and headed there, only to discover dining was available to members only.
 
We headed back to Tonto Verde and decided to wait outdoors for Vicki and Jerry. Once we walked toward the door, we spotted them waiting for us. They too discovered the dilemma. Who knew a popular restaurant at a busy golf club would be closed on Mondays?
Vicki had the fish tacos. I had a tasty chicken caesar salad (minus croutons).

The next closest restaurant was only a 10-minute drive to a golf course that only offered outdoor dining. Hmmm…that was challenging. It was cold here, and none of us was dressed for outdoor dining. Jerry loaned me a warm vest and we selected a table.

The self-service food was good but the wind and cold weather were a distraction. As soon as we ate our meals, we left to go back toward Fountain Hills to a restaurant with indoor dining. 

We ordered beverages and engaged in lively conversation until finally, it was time for both couples to head back to our respective vacation homes before rush hour traffic hit. It was beautiful to be with Vicki and Jerry and no doubt, we’ll continue to stay in touch.

Back on the road with the traffic light for us while driving in the HOV lane, we decided to pass our exit back to our RV park and continue on the highway to pick up my pre-ordered case of organic wine awaiting us at Total Wine in Gilbert, Arizona.

Vicki, Jerry and me in January 2015. Click here for details from that date.

As we pulled into the parking lot we noticed a Best Buy store across the lot. We parked and walked to the store. Might we be so lucky as to buy a suitable laptop? 

Our plan has been to purchase one laptop to use for either of us who’s computer dies first. Our goals were simple…a quality machine with touchscreen, a high- end processing system and a Chrome operating system. Tom’s had his fill of Windows 10 convincing me I wouldn’t like it either. There was no way we’d go for that again.

We spent no less than an hour in the store. A knowledgeable rep helped us but had trouble locating our chosen unit until finally, we paid and checked out, locked the laptop and convertor for our HDMI cord in the car’s trunk, and walked again, in the cold weather to the Total Wine store.

By the time we returned to the RV park, it was 6:30 pm. We were still full from lunch and decided against dinner, instead snacking on some odds and ends we had on hand. The remainder of the evening was quiet and uneventful.

Tom and Jerry (ha!) hit it off!  We’d wished they’d been staying longer! Click here for details from that date.

Yesterday morning, before we left, the “cable guy” stopped by and replaced the poorly working router, leaving us with a significantly improved WiFi signal. Now we can stream shows, download videos, and perform our usual tasks. 

By 11:00 pm we went off to bed and both slept pretty well. This morning at 8:00 am we did three loads of laundry and grocery shopped for a few items. Now, I’m busy doing some light cooking and prep since the sisters and spouses are coming over at 4:00 pm for happy hour. 


Including food during these festive get-togethers isn’t necessary or expected but it’s fun for us to put a few things together when everyone arrives. They all have done the same when we’ve joined them.

Tomorrow, as mentioned more photos will follow. 

We hope you have a fabulous day filled with the wonders of the upcoming holiday season.

Photo from one year ago today, December 17, 2018:

six years ago, this was our first photo of a male and female dung beetle in action.  The female often sits atop the ball of dung while the male moves it along using his back feet while his front feet grasp the ground for stability. The female lays eggs in the ball so she tags along as he rolls and they search for an adequate hole in which to bury the ball. The ball is used as sustenance for both of them as well as the larvae. See this post here. For more details, please click here.

Late posting today…Busy time in Komatipoort and Lombobo…

“Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, if you like than you should have put a ring on it!”

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Mongoose are very clever little animals.  They stare at us to bring out some eggs which we often do.

OMG!  In a “notification” post I accidentally hit “Last posting today” when I meant to write “Late posting today!”  Good grief, that must have made those of you who read the short notification post wonder, ‘What the heck is going on?!!!”

No, this is not the last posting.  It’s a late posting.  It’s simply one more step the continuing documentation of our daily lives of world travel; some fascinating; some mundane; some educational; some adventurous and exciting and some, let’s face it, at times, totally uneventful.

We never tire of visits from Big Daddy kudus.

Today, was definitely not uneventful for us.  We’re back at the house at almost 2:00 pm and here I am just getting starting on today’s post.  Of course, I’m concerned about all of our readers throughout the world clicking on our link to still find yesterday’s post. 

Sorry for the inconvenience.  I’m typing as fast as my relatively uncoordinated fingers can fly across the keyboard in an attempt to explain why we’re changing the content of today’s story from that which we’d entered earlier today, discussing the issue of Bovine Tuberculosis in Marloth Park.

They are majestic animals, gentle and yet well aware of how powerful their big rack can be.

I must add that after this morning’s interactions with several wonderful people we received valuable information that changes our plan to post the Bovine TB story until we conduct further research which will be accomplished over the next week at the latest. 

This is a topic near and dear to our hearts based on our love and appreciation for the health and well-being of the wildlife in Marloth Park.  We’ll keep you updated on the progress of this upcoming story.

This male has been chasing after this female for weeks.

So here’s how the morning rolled out:  Tom’s laptop has been having monitor issues over the past few weeks after we’d returned from Zambia on the 18th.  Every so often, for no apparent reason at all, his monitor turns into a rainbow of colors and he’s unable to bring up his home screen.

Me, as somewhat of a geek, got to work trying to figure out a solution by utilizing online information some of which indicated it could be a loose ribbon cable.  Tom unscrewed all 18 tiny screws after we’d tried a number of suggestions, including a Windows 10 “system restore,” all to no avail.

These two young ladies stop by making intense eye contact, surely looking for pellets.

Opening the back of the laptop seemed a logical next step to see if we could tighten the loose cable.  No luck.  A total waste of time.  After several hours, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we needed to head to a tech store for help.  Ugh!  Usually, we’re able to resolve our own technological issues.  Not this time.

With Tom’s dentist appointment scheduled at 11:00 am with Dr. Luzaan Du Preez, one of the best dentists in the land, located in the little strip mall near Wimpy’s in the Spar Centre, we needed to stay mindful of the time. 

He needed two fillings replaced.  We’d decided to leave early to go to the market in Lebombo (10 minutes from Komatipoort) to purchase carrots and apples for the wildlife.  Before we walked out the door, we had an unexpected visitor, Kerstin, a new friend I’d spent a few hours with yesterday here in Marloth Park at her bush home.  

A banana farm the road on the way back from Komatipoort.

Kerstin had contacted me to get together to discuss our mutual world travel experiences when she’d seen a post on Facebook on the Marloth Park Honorary Rangers’ page a week ago when we’d done the story on alien invasive plants. (See this link for details). 

This morning Kristin delighted us with an unexpected visit but unfortunately, we were heading out the door when she arrived.  Surely, we’ll get together another time soon to continue our intriguing conversation.  She has quite an illustrious story of world travel.

In no time at all, we were on our way, first to the computer store, then to Lebombo, then to the dentist, then to the supermarket, then to the meat market and then, returning to Marloth Park, most likely a two-hour turnaround at most.

It’s always a pleasure to see one of our striped friends on the road.

At the computer shop, we were warmly greeted by staff member Samantha who immediately introduced us to Nico who looked at Tom’s laptop to inform us it wasn’t sensible to fix or replace the monitor.  Instead, he showed us yet another workaround which so far, since we returned to the house, seems to be working.  Tom merely has to press the screen with his fingers in a specific location and the screen returns in full.   


Nice people, thoughtful people, honest people.  What more could we ask for?  Where does one find service such as this?  If you need a computer repair anywhere near Marloth Park, Komatipoort and a number of surrounding towns, this is the place to go:

the TechSHOP
Office: 013 013 0310 / Fax: 0866 529 491
Shop 19, Komati Spar Centre
Rissik Street, Komatipoort
http://www.techshops.co.za


Arno Joubert

0722614324




Nico Joubert

0815782334

Yet, our visit to the Tech Shop wasn’t over.  As we packed up the laptop to head out the door, Arno stopped us saying he remembered us from “movie night” in the bush some months ago. A conversation ensued and somehow got around to the topic of Bovine Tuberculosis on which we’re hell-bent on getting our information “right” before we post the story.  He directed to Deidre who is the director of “Wild and Free” rescue, rehabilitate and rescue centre. 

Impalas are very shy around humans seldom visiting us in the yard.

He explained she’s currently involved with considerable research and study on Bovine TB and this was who we should see.  Once this post is uploaded, we’ll call Deidre and set up a time to meet with her at her facility and learn more about this important topic.

Once we were out the door of the Tech Shop, we were reeling from the kindness and consideration of people we’ve met along the way.  Off we went to Lebombo market where we purchased eggs for the mongoose, free-range eggs for us and carrots and apples, all at excellent prices.  Time was running short.  We headed to the dentist’s office.

Tom was taken in promptly for his appointment.  I joined him for a few minutes and then took off to grocery shop.  We’d parked the car close to the supermarket so once done shopping, I could put everything in the car and then walk the short distance to the dentist’s office which is coincidentally located next door to the Tech Shop.

Two males checking available treats.

While I’m grocery shopping, our dear friend Don (of Kathy and Don) approached me with a hearty hug and welcoming kiss.  They’d just returned a few days earlier from Pretoria and were excited to accept our invitation for homemade pizza at our house this upcoming Saturday night. 

Joining us will be Linda and Ken, our mutual dear friends from the UK who are returning to Marloth Park in the next few days.  I was thrilled to hear they all could make it but I was especially thrilled to discover this while at the supermarket in order to buy the items I’d need for the dinner party for six.

Well, wouldn’t you figure, Kathy had a dentist appointment, the same dentist, right after Tom’s appointment was completed at noon?  Another coincidence.  Moments later we spotted Kathy also shopping and the three of us engaged in delightful chatter.  When does one have such fun at the market.

Obviously, warthogs aren’t quite so shy near humans other than an occasional few.

By the time I’d gathered all the items to round out the upcoming meal, I loaded the groceries onto the check out counter, paid for the groceries and began walking toward to car to find Tom entering the market, done with his appointment and ready to load the car for me.  He was thrilled with the ease of his dentist appointment and was very relieved and cheerful.

After loading the car, Don found Tom in the parking lot and the two of them chatted enthusiastically.  Afterward, we drove the car across the lot to the meat market and made purchases to last for about 10 days.  After adding the bags of meats to the car, we ran into Kathy and Don again.  Her appointment was done and she too was thrilled with her first appointment with the good dentist.

They invited out for a drink at the bar at the golf course but with all the perishables in the car, we needed to be on our way.  We’re looking forward to seeing them all again on Saturday.

Male impala drinking from the cement pond in the yard.

Finally, we were on our way back to Marloth, anxious to put everything away while still reeling from the day’s interactions with the wonderful people we encountered along the way. 

Whether it was the sweet cashier at the market, the friendly meat market owner who helped with our order, the staff at the computer store or our friends adding a special touch to the day’s activities, it was a spectacular day. 

After years on the move often without nearby friends or at times, overly friendly shopkeepers, we appreciate every moment of kindness and generosity of spirit we stumble upon in our day-to-day lives.

Every evening the bushbabies entertain us.

No more than a minute after we returned, we had more visitors, this time of the wildlife kind.  We put down the grocery bags and immediately got pellets ready for our animal friends.

Tonight, we’ll cook a nice dinner and prepare the veranda for another blissful evening in the bush.  Is it any wonder we love it here in Marloth Park, here in South Africa…here on the African continent and here, on this planet?

May you love it wherever you may be!

__________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, May 30, 2017:

Our two new pieces of luggage in easy-to-spot colors.  Tom chose the purple while I chose this peachy color.  Each bag is expandable and lightweight with four double-wheel rollers. (As it turned out these bags are holding up well after one year’s use).  For more details, please click here.

Observance for fallen soldiers on Memorial Day in the US…Filling in the blanks…While the world spins around us…

We moved the bird feeder further from the veranda, which has attracted birds at last without our looming presence. Our prize of the day was this hornbill who stopped by for some seeds.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Nothing like a croc to pique one’s interest when wildlife spotting on the aptly named Crocodile River.

Today is Memorial Day in the US, a special day for observance for fallen soldiers in any wars as described here from this site:

Memorial Day
Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day.JPG
The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery are decorated by U.S. flags on Memorial Day weekend in 2008.
Official name Memorial Day
Observed by United States
Type National
Observances Remembrance of American soldiers who have died in military service
Date Last Monday in May
2017 date May 29
2018 date May 28
2019 date May 27
2020 date May 25
Frequency Annual
“Memorial Day or Decoration Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.[1] The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, will be held on May 28, 2018. The holiday was born on May 30 from 1868 to 1970. It marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day – Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving. In contrast, Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. It is also not to be confused with Armed Forces Day; a minor U.S. remembrance celebrated earlier in May, which specifically honors those currently serving in the U.S. military.”

We offer love and prayer for those who lost loved ones during wars, not only in the US but also worldwide. 

Although we are far from our home country, we still hold this special day in high regard for those who served our country.

Most on photo safaris long to see the “cats.” But sightings aren’t all that common. While in Kruger last week, we spotted this cheetah at quite a distance, too far for a good photo.

In the US, this is a national holiday where all public businesses and buildings are closed, yet many stores remain open for big spring sales of clothing and merchandise.  Most often, citizens celebrate by holding barbecues, picnics, and traveling to other locations to visit family members and friends.

Sometimes we scramble the eggs and place them in a bowl.  Tom sets a half dozen or so on the ground at other times, letting them figure out how they’re distributed. It’s funny to watch them pick up the egg and bang it on the ground or on a tree root to crack it.

Camping, boating, and fishing are common in many states during the three-day weekend, especially in our original home state of Minnesota. This is also when traffic accidents (and other incidences) are prevalent with the high volume of vehicles on the road.

May everyone observing this special day have a safe and stress-free experience while many take advantage of this time off work or school. One can never be too careful during these high-risk times.

This is a Hadada ibis. It’s a boisterous bird we hear overhead each night at dusk.

Here in South Africa, it’s another Monday. Last night’s massive rainstorm, miraculously without any power outages in Marloth Park, was a much-needed blessing for wildlife. Water holes, ponds, and rivers are replenished with much-needed sources for the wildlife and locals.

Even our small cement pond in the yard is replenished today from the heavy stream of rainwater last night.  This morning the sun is shining, although a bit overcast, and the birds are singing their unique tunes.

Between the helmeted guinea fowl, the dozens of mongoose, and much more, we can hardly keep up! 

We’ve had many visitors all morning, including kudus, guinea fowl, mongoose, and bushbucks, keeping us busy until a while ago when I needed to sit down to get to work on today’s post.

“Wildebeest live in large herds, composed of animals of both sex and their offspring. Life in the herd protects predators. The main predators of wildebeest are lions, hyenas, cheetahs, and African wild dogs. During mating season, breeding groups composed of around 150 animals will be created.”

This morning, we had a human visitor, our friend Kathy, who dropped off some grocery items we hadn’t been able to find at the Spar or other supermarkets in Komatipoort. 

She and her husband Don, both great friends of ours, just returned from their home in Pretoria. Thanks, Kathy, for shopping for us! She shopped for me in the much more well-equipped markets in this bigger city with a population of over 2 million.

“The heaviest land mammal has a weight up to 6 short tons (5.4 t), the African elephant. This enormous mammal measures approximately 24 feet (7.3 m), and eats 500 pounds (230 kg) of vegetation like grasses and leaves a day.”

We reimbursed Kathy for the expenditures, chatted for a bit, and she was on her way. Soon, we’ll be planning some social time together while they spend a few weeks back here in Marloth Park.

We were watching elephants from the Marloth Park side of the Crocodile River.

In an hour, we’ll be off to Komatipoort for my final doctor appointment for vaccinations. We’ll stop to purchase more pellets, visit the pharmacy for a few items and return to Marloth Park to spend the remainder of the afternoon on our usual drive searching for more wonders of this spectacular area.

To our friends, family, and readers in the US, have a safe Memorial Day and stay well and happy.

Photo from one year ago today, May 28, 2017:

It was raining in sheets in Minnesota during the drive back to our hotel around 8:00 pm, typical for this time of year. For more details, please click here.