A birthday celebration to remember…

Dawn, Leon, and Lyn set up a unique birthday table at Jabula for my birthday, including decorations and gifts. They are so thoughtful!

After a relatively quiet day, partially spent indoors to escape the mosquitoes, who hover over me, we lathered up with repellent from head to toe to venture out to an evening of festivities celebrating my birthday. It couldn’t have been more fun. As shown in the photo below, we started at Louise and Danie’s fabulous custom-made bar in their home for drinks and a delightful setup.

Louise had set up the bar with delicious starters appropriate for our way of eating, decorated with gifts, candlelight, flowers, and more.

Weeks ago, they presented me with an early birthday gift, as soon as the alcohol ban ended, with 11 bottles (all that was available in the liquor store at the time) my favorite light red wine, Four Cousins Skinny Red with only 8.5% alcohol. “The alcohol content of red wine usually falls between 12% and 15%, with an average of 13.5% ABV.”

The table was set beautifully for my birthday, but when the power went out, we had to move to the veranda off of the indoor part of the restaurant. Shortly later, Leon restored the power, and we stayed put on the veranda.

This lower alcohol content is perfect for me and was my favorite when we were here in 2018/2019. I was shocked by their generous gift, and we offered to pay them for it, but they flatly refused. It was for my birthday, they insisted! I have savored the wine very frugally and was relieved to find it available at the grocery store and the liquor store, now that supplies have been replenished since the ban ended. But, I still have many unopened bottles left. Thank you, Louise and Danie, for this generous gift!

Our dear friends Louise and Danie have a magical way of making every get-together special.

With the possibility of another alcohol ban in the future, tomorrow, when we head to Komatipoorrt to the dentist and shop, we’ll purchase a few more bottles for me, brandy for Tom, and a few other wines for visiting guests. Prices on locally grown wines are as much as 70% – 80% lower cost in South Africa than the same wines would be in the USA. It’s no wonder South Africans enjoy their wine, some of the best in the world.

Our first duiker visitor stopped by on my birthday. They are so tiny and delicate.

We’d made a reservation for Jabula at 6:00 pm but, the time at their bar flew by so quickly. It was well past 6:00 when we realized it was time to go. I sent Lyn a text message to say we were on our way. We each drove our vehicles to the restaurant for social distancing purposes and were seated appropriately at the table.

He couldn’t have been more adorable. “The common name “duiker” comes from the Afrikaans word duck, or Dutch duiken – both mean “to dive,” which refers to the practice of the animals to frequently dive into vegetation for cover. … The Ruwenzori duiker is generally considered to be a subspecies of the black-fronted duiker (C. nigrifrons).”

Contrary to our former visits to Jabula, we avoided the indoor bar area. We felt safe there with reasonable precautions taken by Dawn, Leon, Lyn, and the other staff. Having nibbled on the delicious starters at Louise and Danie’s home, I had little appetite. I ended up ordering the peri-peri chicken livers, a favorite dish of mine that fits into my way of eating.

A young male kudu sheltered in the shade to cool off in the heat.

On the other hand, Tom ordered his favorite barbecue baby back ribs, chips (fries), and a Greek salad (which he never ate). I gave him my bread that came along with the chicken livers, which he generously slathered with butter. He certainly deserved the treat with his health good and weight at the lowest in over seven years. Danie also had chicken livers, and since they eat the same as we do, he also gave Tom his bread.

A young female kudu did the same.

Not only did we thoroughly enjoy the lively conversation at our table, but people stopped by to say hello, including Dawn and Leon, who celebrated along with us. It couldn’t have been a more delightful evening. By 9:00 pm, we made our way down the dark stairway to the parking lot to head back to our place, appreciating the loud sounds of frogs croaking in the pond along the way.

Two zebras, playing on the road on our way to Jabula.

Adding to the evening’s festivities, six giraffes were blocking the road on our way back. Back at our house, we hunkered down for the remainder of the evening while I spent no less than two hours thanking friends and family for the birthday wishes. It meant so much to hear from our readers, family members, old and new friends, and Facebook friends. I am truly blessed. If I missed saying thank you, I apologize. I tried to contact every sender with a heartfelt thank you.

Here are five giraffes we spotted on the way to my birthday celebration. When we left Jabula hours later, six giraffes were blocking the road in the dark,  but with no street lights and not wanting to scare them with the flash, we didn’t take a photo. Thank you, giraffes, for adding to my birthday activities.

May your day be filled with comfort and appreciation for times to come in the future.

Photo from one year ago today, February 21, 2020:

This elderly weaver spent long days at the King of Brocade Textile Company in Varanasi, India, working at these looms. For more photos, please click here.