Immigration changed the rules again…Oops…Tom spilled iced tea on his laptop…Medical test results!!!…

A lone zebra stopped by, but a short time later, a few friends joined her.

Based on a new document posted in the past 24 hours, it appears that Home Affairs will allow visa extension candidates who filed before March 31, 2023, to stay in the country until December 31. I forwarded the new document to the attorney and will speak with her on Monday to verify the amendment to the last agreement stating we had to clear out by April 30.

Hopefully, they don’t make any further changes impacting our preferred departure dates, which are up in the air right now. What a relief this would be if this new document is accurate. We’ll report back here accordingly.

Tom spilled his entire mug of iced tea on his laptop a short time ago. It’s supposed to be water-resistant, so we’ll see how that goes in the next few hours. I looked online, and if necessary, he can replace it at and have a new one in four or five days. He’d be lost without it.

Zebras are heading down the driveway to continue on their pellet search.

Yesterday morning, we met with Doc Theo for Tom’s aortic aneurysm screening and blood test results, followed by his cardiac stress test. Theo was delighted to tell Tom he was in tip-top shape. His tests were all normal. He did fantastic on the stress test. Theo couldn’t believe how Tom was so young for his age, taking no medication and having no known medical conditions.

I was a little anxious as Tom was having his stress test on the treadmill. I hadn’t had any cardiac tests since the surgery four years ago. I knew that at some point I’d have to be tested but put it off, justifying it with the fact I’ve had no cardiac symptoms.

When Tom was done, after the glowing reports from Theo, Tom stepped out to the waiting room, knowing I’d be a little more anxious with him watching me perform the test. I was worried that since I had Covid-19 last April, suffering from the headache, facial pain, and allergies, I had been relatively inactive over the past year. I was fearful I wouldn’t be able to handle the required pace on the treadmill.

A few giraffes quickly moved through the garden.

Other than running around the house performing household tasks and cooking, I’ve spent the better part of each day sitting. It was hard to feel like exercising, although I tried many times when I had the darned headache and couldn’t seem to get motivated.

But, once I got going on the treadmill, all wired up for the EKG, comforted by Theo that he wouldn’t push me too hard, I took off and could keep up without an issue. He pressed me to do the test up to my maximum heart rate for my age. All the while, he kept reassuring me I was doing great and that the results printing on the machine were all looking perfectly normal.

When all was said and done, he gave me a clean bill of health. There wasn’t a single issue during the test or after during the cool-down period. I was pleased and so relieved! Theo said there was nothing on the printout that indicated I’d ever had heart surgery or had any issues at this time. Maybe I’ll be one of those lucky heart surgery patients that never need more surgery or stents down the road.

This Big Daddy stops by every day.

Tom is willing to walk with me twice a day, once in the morning and another in the afternoon. Theo suggested we both start exercising regularly to maintain our good health. This morning, we took our first walk out on the dirt road, watching for lions or any other wildlife who may be out and about. After I build stamina, most likely, we will do one long walk in the morning after breakfast and be done with it for the day. We’ll see how it goes.

Last night, we had a fabulous time at Jabula. David always reserves our two usual seats at the bar. Our food was perfect, and the Cheers-like bar occupied every barstool. We knew everyone there. That’s what makes it so much fun, but we always love meeting newcomers.

We were back home by 8:30 pm, 2030 hrs., bellies full, and we were ready to hunker down for the night. We watched a show, but I fell asleep at the end. After that short nap, I had trouble sleeping and was awake for a few hours. A nap may be on the agenda later today, before or after the second walk.

We are very grateful for the immigration news (if it doesn’t change again), the results of our medical tests, and to be enjoying our lives more than ever with this new peace of mind.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today,  April 1, 2022:

This was the first shot of one of the manatees in the warm waters by the Tampa Electric Company in Florida. For more photos, please click here.

Notice from attorneys…What???…Makes no sense…

Two hornbills take turns eating seeds from the feeder ledge.

Late yesterday, we received this letter from our attorney handling the visa extensions. It reads as follows:

We hope this finds you well.  

  1. “This email is to inform you of the attached Circular, which was published today.  
  2. The Circular as published does not appear to uniformly apply to all categories of applicants, nor is it clear with respect to the abandonment of applications on departure.
  3. Since the declaration of a national State of Disaster in 2020, various Directions, Directives, and Circulars have been published, often requiring careful interpretation of their language as applicable to individual circumstances.  In some instances, as in the current case, interpretation must be deferred until after we obtain specific clarifications from the DHA. 
  4. While we always invite all our clients to communicate with us directly should any query arise in terms of delays, their status and/or ability to travel out of SA rather than relying on hearsay and information distributed on social media and/or unverified sources we anticipate and acknowledge in advance that some questions will not be answerable by 31 March 2023.”

From there, the entire attached document from Home Affairs was included, which may be viewed by clicking the link below:

DHA Circular 29 March 2023

What we are supposed to do from here is vague. The question we have now is: Do we have to leave by April 30? Or can we stay until the day our extension may have been approved or longer? The answers are totally unclear. I copied and pasted the sections in question directly from the documents as follows:

“b) Applicants whose visa applications are still pending: Longterm visa holders (Work, Business, Study, Relative, and Accompany spouse) who form part of the 62692 visa backlog applications be granted a temporary extension until 31 December 2023 of the current visa status. Applicants are not allowed to engage in any activity other than what the visa conditions provide for. For those who wish to abandon their visa applications and depart from South Africa when able to do so, they should be allowed to exit at a port of entry before or on 31 December 2023 without being declared undesirable in terms of section 30(1)(h) the Immigration Act, read with regulation 27(3) of the Immigration Regulations. NonVisa exempted applicants who traveled out of the country with a receipt are required to apply for a visitor’s visa, which will allow them entry into the country to await the outcome of their visa extension. 

c) Short-term visa holders whose visa validity was issued for less than 90 days and who have not received their visa extension outcome by 31 March 2023 must please make the necessary arrangements to depart on or before 30 April 2023 to avoid being declared undesirable.”

Little Johnny is such an adorable young male bushbuck.

Leaving by April 30 creates unplanned added travel expenses along with any other issues relative to leaving early. Our rent and rental car are paid until June 8. It’s good that we haven’t prepaid any bookings yet and have been dragging our feet to see what happens before committing to anything.

So, all we do from here is wait to hear back from the law firm as to how this confusing situation applies to us and proceed from there. Whatever the outcome, we will figure out a plan that works for us. Sure, were could go to Scotland and wait it out until the cruise in August.

Little Johnny was standing by the veranda table, waiting for us to come outdoors.

But, we’ve found it to be so expensive there, we’d definitely be stretching our budget. Most tourists who go to the UK and Europe stay for short periods, not months. All we can do from here is “play it by ear” until we hear back from the law firm on their interpretation of these vague and uncertain requirements.

By no means are we stressed about this, but we would like to be able to know where we may be going 30 days from today if that’s the case. If we can stay until December, most likely, we’ll stay until July if Louise has a house for us. We won’t bother her with questions until we know exactly what we must do.

Lilac, of Tulip and Lilac, resting in the garden.

Today, I’m busy with laundry and prepping tonight’s dinner, along with both of us reviewing potential options once we know more about our timetable.

Tomorrow, we’re off to Komatipoort to Doc Theo for our cardiac stress tests. I’ll be glad when this is over, and hopefully, we both get good results, along with Tom’s test results.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 30, 2022:

Another beautiful sunny day in Florida! For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…A cultural day…A mixed bag of pleasure and red tape..

Sorry for late posting. Wifi issues.
Gede with his gracious parents.
“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”
Every evening when we dine at the large table facing the pool and the sea, at least two. Sometimes four buffalos pass on the beach. We’ve never watched buffalo while dining. It’s quite entertaining!

Who are we to say that obtaining a visa extension should be doable in one stop? We’re from a one-stop society.  You stop at a market, cash, or credit card and walk out the door with your groceries in hand. You visit a doctor and walk out the door with a prescription. Isn’t that what most of us throughout the world expect in our daily lives?

Expectations? They don’t apply when traveling the world as we do. Each country has its own manner of conducting business and we’re the captive audience stepping in line to comply whether we like it or not.

On our walk down the narrow road to visit Gede’s family home, he pointed out this temple where his family worships.

Yesterday we headed out with Gede at 9:00 am, wearing long pants, in the hot weather, as required when entering a government building in Indonesia. With our passports in hand with copies made (they keep our passports over the three-step/visit process over the five-day period), we were on our way.

As we’ve traveled the world over these past 43 months we’ve come to the conclusion regarding what we like and don’t like. We’ve discovered since our arrival in Bali that we’re not keen on long road trips unless we’re traveling for a specific final destination, not a round trip excursion. 

We walked down this road to Gede’s parent’s home.  In Bali, most citizens don’t own the land on which their home is located but they have the right to live there for life, paying taxes, and upkeep.

What does this mean? For us, it’s simple. We prefer a road trip that doesn’t require us to turn around and return to our original destination. We like new scenery. 

I suppose in part it’s due to the fact that we’re always searching for new photo ops and material for our posts.  Heading back and forth to the same location provides little stimulation and excitement when we’ve “been there, done that!”

The entrance gate to Gede’s family home includes his parent’s home and his brother’s separate home.

Sure, we’re “mental stimulation junkies.” Otherwise, we’d be living in a retirement condo in Scottsdale, Arizona, looking for the next coupon for seniors for breakfast at Denny’s.

As we review the types of activities that “trip our trigger” we both agree that local culture, history, wildlife, and other animals, vegetation, and exquisite scenery fall into the category of our deepest interests and hunger for life-changing experiences. 

The kitchen in Gede’s parent’s home.

Due to my physical limitations of a precariously delicate spine and neck, physical adventures don’t fall within that realm. We’ve accepted this reality embracing the things we can do as opposed to the things we can’t

How often we explain ourselves when others suggest we scuba dive or try white water rafting. Even snorkeling has its risks when a sudden movement could put a fast end to our travels.

The bed where Gede’s mom sleeps and rests, day and night.

Instead, we embrace the endless array of other types of “adventures” that stimulate our minds, leaving us with some of the best memories we could ever dream of carrying with us in our hearts as we continue on.

Thus, in essence, yesterday’s somewhat painstaking visit to the Immigration Office in Lovina Bali proved to be an unusual, albeit annoying, interesting experience that befell us. 

Gede’s brother’s home where they’re building a cement wall.

Complain? We could have. Tom’s bubbling annoyance was palpable. Mine was tempered by my usual “overly bubbly” mentality that all will work out in the end, which in itself could be annoying to him, although he keeps it to himself. How does one criticize a relatively optimistic cheerleader?

When we were turned away at the Lovina Immigration Office for missing copies (we had no idea these were required) of our airline reservations for our route out of Bali, we had one choice but to head to a local “Internet-shop” where I actually struggled bringing up our reservations to enable us to print the required copies. 

The computer was old with a version of Windows I hadn’t seen in decades and I had trouble using a mouse with my obvious lack of dexterity. Unable to get into Expedia, I found my way to Gmail, where I was finally able to dig up the tickets we’d received by email when we booked the reservations months ago. 

A bird in a cage at his brother’s home.

We printed multiple copies of the tickets at a total cost of IDR $10,000, US $.74. Where else could one buy anything for 74 cents? That even included my sweaty 15 minutes (sitting outside in the heat) on the old PC attempting to get my Gmail account to pop up.

While I was sweating on the computer, Tom and Gede were nearby while Tom was also sweating while busy filling out a double-sided questionnaire for each of us that we also had to complete and return to the immigration office after they returned from lunch at 1:00 pm.

This photo of Gede’s grandfather on the wall in his family home.

With almost an hour to kill before we could return, Gede suggested we stop and meet his parents who live nearby. He grew up in Lovina. We couldn’t have been more thrilled. This is the kind of experience that we treasure as opposed to a visit to a local tourist-jammed attraction.

Minutes later, we were walking down a narrow road to his parent’s home as Gede pointed out the homes occupied by a variety of his relatives.  n Bali, the locals tend to live together in clusters of individual homes. 

I took these photos without flash to illustrate the darkness of the living area in Gede’s family home.

We were a little concerned to barge in on their day unannounced. Gede’s mom is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and he had no doubt they’d be home and happy to greet us. As we entered the gates, his dad immediately approached us with a welcoming “hello” (the same English word used in the Balinese language) and a gracious bow with the meeting of his hands. We returned the same greeting as an added warmth washed over us. The grace of the Balinese people is breathtaking.

For us, it was an honor to be able to visit his parents, see where he grew up, and grasp a better understanding of life for the people of Bali. As Gede explained during the many hours in the car, in Bali, there are only rich and poor, nothing in between. The concept of a middle class is unheard of in Indonesia, particularly in Bali as we’ve seen on the many occasions we’ve been out and about.

On the narrow road, we walked to Gede’s family home in Lovina.

As it neared 1:00 pm, we headed out to return to the immigration office with heartfelt goodbyes and thank you’s.  Although his parents speak no English, the communication was clear, kind, humble people appreciating every moment of life, regardless of how tenuous it may be at times. It was a valuable reminder for us, especially on such a hot, humid, and at times, strenuous day.

Tomorrow morning, again leaving at 9:00 am, when we must return to the Lovina Immigration Office for Trip #2 once again we’ll post earlier than usual sharing the “rest of the story” and more sites we’ve seen in our full 9 to 5 travel days. Back to you soon.

Photo from one year ago today, May 24, 2015:

We posted this last video of the Laysan Albatross mating dance as we shared our final expenses for the four months we spent living on the Hawaiian island of Kauai as we prepared to leave for a cruise to Australia. For details, please click here.