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

A Great White Heron 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 at all 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 crossing the road in Kruger.

Don’t get me wrong. We appreciate being in this wonderful 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) is that WiFi service would go down in Mumbai, or in 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 wonderful historical series, Reign when the signal dropped over and over again. I started and re-started my laptop to no avail. For a period of two hours, we continued to attempt to get the show to resume. 


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

As winter continues there’s less and less green vegetation for the wildlife both 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 had an impact on the quality of the WiFi in the evening hours when most will be online. 


Hopefully, we won’t experience this issue going forward.


Stay safe and healthy!

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

A six-year-old photo posted last year when our photo inventory for Ireland was lacking. Busy preparations surrounding 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 definitely 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 type of 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 a 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 have a need for 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 actually 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 an obvious 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 from the company 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 that circled the mall to the Best Buy store. They had a number of models, but many that 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 as well as 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 who will be staying with Margie for a week. Now there will be nine of us, including Mary and Eugene’s son, Kevin who’ll be leaving in three or four days. It looks like some fun card playing is on the agenda!


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!

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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 picked 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.


The packed restaurant (we arrived at 4:00 pm) had excellent food, wine, and service. Tom drove me to the restaurant and picked me up when I called later. As a result, I was able to enjoy some excellent 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 special to be able 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 wonderful people we’ve met as a result of 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 if we failed to do so due to the volume of email messages, please bear with us. Please know that we read each and 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 normally would.


However, we’re hoping to be able to upload posts and photos which, based on information online, looks like a good possibility. We’ll have to scurry 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 been able to make Windows 10 work for me which I am using now as I prepare today’s post. It feels good to be able to use a faster machine after dealing with my slow, fast-fading laptop. I have a lighted keyboard, touchscreen and one terabyte of storage and all the features work. 


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

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

On many occasions, we’ve seen several bush babies 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 difficult 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 recent 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 prior to leaving Arizona. If we both liked it, we’d purchase another for me this week. 


After setting up Tom’s compact-sized unit, I noticed a number of 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 basically 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 do a restore on 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 big relief to have this behind us, adding to our peace of mind in leaving the US in a mere 9 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!

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

The hippo’s skin is a 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 important 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 me as to 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 prior to our arrival in the UK and Europe. 


We aren’t worried at all in 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 a number of 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. 


GeeI’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 interesting!

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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.

It was January 20, 2015, that 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 moments after we settled into our portable lawn chairs conversation ensued. Much to our disappointment, they were getting ready to leave Kauai. We wished we’d have 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 prices 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. Hummm…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 wonderful 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 trunk of the car 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!) really 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 greatly improved WiFi signal. Now we are able to stream shows, download videos and perform our usual tasks. 


By 11:00 pm we went off to bed and both slept fairly 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.

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

This was our first photo, six years ago, 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 without our looming presence has attracted birds at last.  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 peak 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 currently observed every year on the last Monday of May, will be held on May 28, 2018. The holiday was held 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, whereas 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 all over the world. 

Although we are far away 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 and yet many stores remain open for big spring sales of clothing and merchandise.  Most often citizens celebrate by holding barbecues, picnics and also traveling to other locations to visit family members and friends.

Sometimes we scramble the eggs and place them in a bowl.  At other times, Tom places a half dozen or so on the ground 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 a time 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 very noisy 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 little overcast and the birds are singing their special tunes.

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

We’ve had a plethora of visitors all morning including kudus, guinea fowl, mongoose and bushbucks keeping us busy up 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 provides protection against predators. 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.”

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

“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.

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, in search of 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:

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

Day 29…Cruise to South America…One Buenos Aires task accomplished aboard ship…Scary email about upcoming Antarctica cruise…

The end of this small island off the coast of Punta Del Este Uruguay looked unusual with the tall trees.

Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

View from the veranda of the town of Ushuaia, our favorite port of call on this cruise.

The time has flown quickly which is typical while cruising.  Seemingly, suddenly, it’s coming to an end.  In a mere 48 hours, we’ll be off the ship and on our way to our hotel in Buenos Aires.


We’ve hardly noticed that its Christmas time, although the ship is decorated in many areas.  Its time to get ourselves into the holiday spirit but over these past five years of travel, it seems to have alluded us to a degree with no home, no tree, no gifts, and no family, with whom to celebrate in person. 


Instead, we focus on the spiritual meaning of this time of the year and find our own unique ways to make it special for both of us.  Magically, as is the nature of the holiday season, opportunities present themselves and somehow we find our hearts filled with the merriment of the season in one way or another.  This year will be no exception.

Punta del Este is a popular summer holiday location.

Of course, there Tom’s birthday on the 23rd.  Although we don’t exchange gifts, we each find a way to make our birthdays memorable for one another.  This year will be no different as we settle into our boutique hotel in the Palermo area of Buenos Aires on the day of his birthday.

Last night, we eliminated one task we had planned for Buenos Aires when we used the balance of our cabin credit of US $210 to purchase another camera which was duty-free.  Yes, I’d have liked to upgrade to a higher quality camera but with the 21% VAT tax imposed on all purchases in Buenos Aires, we felt buying it duty-free on the ship made more sense economically.

A small uninhabited island off the coast of Punta del Este.

We purchased an identical camera to our current camera, a Canon Power Shot SX60 HS for several reasons:
1.  We’re both comfortable using it
2.  It takes great photos.
3.  We already have four batteries (the new purchase makes it five batteries) and, we have three battery chargers.  (We easily recall running out of batteries while on safari in the Masai Mara over four years ago.  This will never happen again)!
4.  The price online at Amazon was the same price we paid last night on the ship at US $429 but we avoided US sales tax, shipping costs, customs fees and VAT tax.  It was a no-brainer.
5.  With the remaining non-refundable cabin credit of US $210  to use toward the camera, we are left with a balance of US $229 on our cruise bill for this second leg.  This made sense to us.

With this task out of the way, we’re greatly relieved. Once the holidays end, we’ll tackle the remaining tasks; travel clinic for vaccination updates, new epi pens, and malaria pills; dentist for my tooth; and purchase a few toiletries for the Antarctica cruise.

View from the ship of yesterday’s port of call, Punta del Esta, Uruguay.

Speaking of the Antarctica cruise, yesterday we were shaken when we received an email from our rep at Vacations-to-Go, stating she received an email from Ponant stating they never received any of our vital documents (including passport copies, ID info, and medical documents) which we’d sent by email on November 3, 2017.

In searching through my “sent” email, I found the original message we’d sent that included everything they’d requested well within the range of their required dates. 


How did this happen?  Most assuredly, it was lost on their end.  With the ship’s poor Wi-Fi signal I ran into trouble trying to resend the 19 PDF pages.  After several attempts, I decided to send them in five small batches.  After patiently waiting for each one to “go,” we finally received confirmation from Ponant that they’d received everything.  Whew!  That could have been a nightmare!

Christmas display on deck 10.

Here again, we could kick ourselves for not confirming they received the documents once we sent them.  We should have learned our lesson when a few months ago the same thing happened when Railroad Retirement (for Medicare) said they hadn’t received Tom’s waiver of Part B.  At that time, we also had confirmation the document had been sent as required.  Again, we had to resend the document.


Oh, well.  I guess we live in a world where one must check and recheck, never making assumptions as to the efficiency of a variety of systems within our realm.  So it goes.


Today, our ship is docked in Montevideo, Uruguay and once we’ve uploaded today’s post we’ll be disembarking the ship to check out the big city.  Tomorrow, we write about our experiences along with sharing many photos we’ll take while during our visit.

Christmas display on deck 4 outside the Trellis restaurant.

Tomorrow, we’ll pack and begin sharing favorite photos from this cruise and prepare the “final expenses” to share on the 23rd.  If you’d like to see where we’ve traveled thus far in South America and, throughout the world, please click on the link under the map on the right side of our main page, under the photo of us in Petra, Jordan. 

It even shocks us when we see where we’ve been.  And, it shocks us, even more, when we realize how much more there is yet to see.  The world is a huge place and we’re happy all of you, our dear and loyal readers, are with us along the way.

Continue to enjoy your holiday festivities, if you celebrate this occasion and if you do not, enjoy your every day as if it was a holiday! 

_____________________________________________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, December 21, 2016:

The wind causes a rippled pattern on the white sand beach in Binalong Bay in Tasmania.  For more photos, please click here.

Tom’s excellent veranda photos…Purchasing a new laptop…A must before the next adventures…

An iguana basking in the sun.

Sightings on the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Tom’s photo from the veranda of this Flame-colored Tanager.

Over the next several days we’ll be posting Tom’s photos (at quite a distance)from where he was seated on the veranda while I was indoors ironing clothes.  He considered coming to get me but feared if he moved his gorgeous subjects would fly away.

Entrance sign to Zoo Ave (In this case “ave” refers to “aviary” in Spanish.

I was impressed by his photos and although a bit blurry from the long distance, many clearly defined the variety of feathered species landing in the vast amount of greenery surrounding this lovely Atenas property.

We’re looking forward to sharing the photos in our “Sightings on the Veranda in Costa Rica” section over the next several days.  As we wind down these remaining 12 days in Costa Rica, we’ll finish posting photos we’d yet to share from various sightseeing venues we visited during our over three-month stay in Atenas.

Map of all of the animal rescue areas at Zoo Ave in Alajuela.

With time rapidly wafting away, I knew the time had come for me to order a new laptop.  My current Acer laptop is definitely on its last leg after purchasing it while we were on the Big Island, Hawaii around Christmas-time in 2014, making it almost three years old.

It’s the longest I’ve had a laptop survive since the onset of our travels in 2012.  With Africa on the horizon, I’m reminded of the difficulty I had when I dropped my laptop in 2014 breaking the screen, making it entirely unusable.  Click on this link here for details.

Large turtle on a rock.

It was a frustrating trying to find a replacement in Nelspruit, South Africa resulting in my purchasing an inferior quality HP which had difficulty with the letter “t”.  I kept that awful piece of equipment until January 2015 after the family visit on the Big Island in Hawaii when I replaced it making a new purchase at the Costco store in Hilo.

Sunning and funning.

Many have asked why we don’t switch to Apple products and why we don’t use iPad or other tablets as opposed to clunky laptops often weighing in excess of 5 pounds (2.27 kg.).  With Tom’s sturdy backpack, he has no trouble lugging around both of our laptops.

It’s funny how most of us get stuck on name brand and features we’re simply not willing to forgo.  For both of us, they include a 15.6 touchscreen, HDMI outlet, one terabyte of storage, and a lighted keyboard.  Such specs aren’t always easy to find.

Turtles stretching their necks toward the warmth of the sun.

Now that all new PC products have Windows 10 operating systems, which neither of us favors as opposed to Windows 8, we found we have no choice but to adapt to this newer and often painstaking system. 

But, like Tom, who purchased his laptop from Amazon on our site in April 2017 which we had sent to us in Fairlight, Australia arriving on April 5th, 19 days prior to our departure on a cruise to the US, at an outrageous expense of US $400 (227,862) for the shipping costs alone.

Pelican lounging with turtles on a log in a pond.

To avoid a similar shipping expense and being reminded of the difficulty we had making a replacement purchase in South Africa, we decided to purchase a new laptop for me from Amazon now, having it shipped to our mailing service (free shipping with Prime).

Once it arrives on Monday, our mailing service will ship the laptop and our other supplies and clothing purchases for the Antarctica cruise and the lengthy period we’ll spend in Africa.  This way the entire contents can be insured and shipped to the hotel in Florida (where we’ll be for one night on November 22nd).  Since it won’t be international shipping (Nevada to Florida), we’re hoping it will arrive on time and intact.

It’s so much more meaningful to us to see birds in the wild as opposed to in cages such as this, although these birds apparently were rescued.

Once it arrives in Florida, I’ll have time during the 30-nights on the ship to transfer all my data and get everything set up. Since my current Acer product still works, we plan to keep it and bring it to Africa.  If the old laptop it holds up until February we’ll keep it and use it as a small TV screen, in the event we don’t have a TV in the vacation property which is often the case in Africa.

May your day be filled with sunshine and light.

                                          ___________________________________________

Photo from one year today, November 10, 2016:

View of the bridge from our veranda where navigation of the ship is conducted by the captain and his crew.  For more photos, please click here.