Today is the day our current visas expire…Ordering health insurance…A convenient free online shared calendar app…

This is Bossy, who is pregnant and contemplating a drink from the swimming pool. There are only small amounts of chlorine in pools here to prevent the wildlife from illness.

All we can do about our visas expiring today is wait until we hear from South Africa immigration that our visas have been extended. In the interim, we’ve decided not to worry. We filed for the extensions within the time frame they require, so we should be fine.

Tomorrow, coinciding with our visa expirations, our rental car is due to be returned by 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs. Tom will drive to Nelspruit without me. I don’t particularly appreciate driving through the gorge halfway through the trip. Tom has no problem going on his own, and I can easily busy myself while he’s gone for three-plus hours in the afternoon.

We’ve arranged for him to pick up another car at a different dealer. We had to do a lot of research to find another affordable rental car. Since the onset of the pandemic, rental car prices have gone through the roof. Every 90 days, when we need a different contract, we struggle to find cars at reasonable prices, even here in South Africa, where prices had previously been affordable when we arrived in 2018.

Her pregnant status is easy to determine from these photos. It will be fun to see her bring her little one to visit us in the future. The gestation period for a kudu is about 240 days.

Staying in any location for extended periods always presents some challenges. Not having a home, our own car, and the insurance that goes with such ownership, on top of the problems due to finding and securing good health insurance. Today, I’ll be renewing my policy with SafeTrip from United Health Care.

With Tom’s excellent health, we aren’t insuring him right now. Once we’re on the move again, especially when some cruises require proof of health insurance which includes emergency evacuation, which makes sense to have when cruising as seniors, we’ll both be insured.

The policy has a limit of US $50,000 due to my age. I purchased the policy today for me beginning tomorrow, ending on April 8, the day we sail away. A few days before the cruise, I’ll sign up both Tom and me for a new 90-day policy. I always post a notice on our combined Cozi Calendar, a free family calendar app available online to keep track of the expiration dates.

Bossy with a few impalas in the background vying for pellets.

If you’re interested in an easy-to-use, conveniently shared calendar for travel or day-to-day appointments, this app is ideal easier to use than those offered by other providers. Here’s the link for the free app. You can choose to pay a fee for a slightly more sophisticated version, but we’ve never needed to do so.

When I awoke at 5:30, I stayed in bed reading news until finally, at 7:00, I bolted out of bed, ready to tackle the day. I decided to make dinner with the leftover ingredients from Friday night’s dinner party. There was a good-sized ziplock bag of cut-up chicken breasts which I’d frozen on Friday.

Last night, after returning from dinner at Jabula with friends, I took the bag of the cubed-cooked chicken out of the freezer and put it into the refrigerator to find it fully defrosted this morning. With that and many leftover vegetables, I had enough ingredients to make three more low-carb pot pies. Tom will have one tonight and another tomorrow, while I’ll eat one tonight and have something different tomorrow, maybe tuna salad atop a big green salad that suits me just fine.

Impalas are quite shy around humans and scurry if we make the slightest sound or movement while they visit.

As for today, a lovely coolish day with tolerable humidity, I did three loads of laundry after prepping the meals and putting away all of the dry laundry on the rack. To increase my steps, I fold one item at a time and walk it to where the item belongs, Tom’s closet in our bedroom, my chest of drawers in the second bedroom, or towels in the kitchen. It’s amazing how many steps I can get in doing laundry this way. I make a point of walking with vigor to increase my heart rate.

That’s it for today, folks. We hope you have a delightful Sunday and a new week to come.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 23, 2021:

Love Bird's Nest
View of the veranda and pool at our house in the bush. For more, please click here.

Busy morning…Off to Komatipoort and back and back…

What a thrill it was to see this adorable dark impala at the entrance to the airport.

As I begin today’s post at 11:00 am, it is currently 102F, 39C, scorching for this early in the day. Oddly, at noon the temperature will begin to drop rapidly, as much as 30 degrees by dinnertime. Whew! That’s good news. Usually, the temperature drops like this result in severe weather. But, according to the weather report, which is reasonably accurate for South Africa, the chance of precipitation will be at a maximum of 30%, with a minimum of 10% throughout the remainder of the day.

This morning we headed to Komati (short for Komatipoort) to grocery shop. However, while we’re there, we thought I’d pop in and see Dr. Theo about the rash on my left leg that now has become very painful, although the blisters are healing. I want to make sure there’s no infection attributed to the pain.

The only time I’ve had a rash with pain was over three years ago when we first arrived, and I had shingles which Dr. Theo treated with particular medications. I had already had a vaccination for shingles but got it anyway. Sound familiar these days?

When I tried to get an appointment this morning to coordinate it with our grocery shopping trip, the calls wouldn’t go through to his office. I contacted Louise and asked her to try calling his office, but she couldn’t get through either. I decided it would be best if we showed up at his office to see if they could squeeze me in. He was the only doctor in the office this morning (out of their usual three), and the only time he could see me was at 12:30 pm. That was at 9:30.

We decided to go the Spar to shop, load up the car, drive the 25-minute drive back to Marloth Park, unload the groceries, and then head back at noon in time for the 12:30 appointment. That’s in 26 minutes from now, so I’ll keep banging away on the keyboard, knowing I’d never be finished by the time we have to leave.

Another view of this adorable dark impala, which is an anomaly, something we’ve never seen in the past.

We unloaded everything and put it away, sweating like pigs, in the high temperature in the kitchen while we attempted to put everything in its place, leaving us time for a few tasks before we headed out again. I managed to make a lovely salad for tonight’s dinner and only got this far until it was time to head out again.

I have the weather channel app on my phone, looking at it from time to time to see when the temps start dropping. In less than two hours, it’s supposed to drop down by 20 degrees. That certainly will make the rest of our day a breeze, no pun intended.

“Everything can change on a dime” as “they.” Part of the charm for us is that unpredictability, although this flows into the running of the government, the bureaucracy, and political issues. (No, I won’t get that here.) That’s what we like about Africa…nothing is predictable.

Yesterday, the drive to Nelspruit to take Kathy and Don to the airport went quickly, with the four of us chatting on the way. We hugged our biggest hugs and said goodbye, not knowing for sure when we’d see them again. Such close friends for both of us. We will miss them terribly. But then, there’s always Hawaii where they live, and it wouldn’t be that unusual for us to head there to see them at some point in the future.

They’ve even offered us to stay in one of their rental properties near them in Oahu. Of course, we love Hawaii, and we love them, all the more reason to visit before too long.

Oops, time to go. Be back to finish later on.

We’re back.  I am not surprised by Dr. Theo’s diagnosis. I have a combination of hives from allergy to dust mites, and on the back of my left leg only, I have shingles for the second time in three years. Apparently, as it heats up and chickenpox becomes prevalent, many people get shingles this time of year. I thought this is what I had, as mentioned above.

He gave me a prescription for a drug that should help in a few days, said to continue using calamine lotion, and of course to use the encasement mattress cover I ordered from Takealot yesterday. Within a week or two, I should be free of all the itching and pain. It’s helpful to know what is going on, freeing me from any worry or concern.

That’s all I have today. We’ve been too busy for me to take many photos. But, we got the above main photo yesterday at the Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport entrance, a dark-colored impala. We had seen this anomaly when we went to the airport to fly to the US in July, when it was much smaller. It was fun to see it again.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 18, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #240. This was Thanksgiving with friends at our place in 2018 while living in the Orange house. For more photos, please click here.

An adorable face and a 40-minute traffic jam in Kruger…A story unfolds..A sad visitor to the garden…

It’s a rarity for us to see impalas in the garden, but several stopped by to partake of pellets. No doubt, they are hungry this time of year, put aside their apprehension of humans, and came to call. This adorable girl was chewing pellets when I shot this photo. Too cute for words!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We are saddened to see who we now call “Wounded.” He was stabbed near his eye by another animal’s horn or tusk.

It was a rare occasion when a herd of impalas, one male, and 12 females, stopped by to see if we had something for them to eat. Of course, we did! It’s tough for the wildlife this time of year when the dry bush offers little sustenance for the hungry animals.

We were on a dirt road in Kruger making our way back to the Crocodile Bridge entrance to the park when we encountered this elephant blocking the road.

There’s a lot of controversy about feeding the wildlife in Marloth Park but most residents have a hard time resisting giving them the nutritional pellets (made from plant matter) when we see how hungry they are, especially before and in the early part of the rainy season.

We got as close as was safe.  He wasn’t about to move for us.

Well, the rainy season has begun, and we see tiny buds on the dry bushes and trees, knowing full well, in due time, leaves will blossom, and Marloth Park will be rich in healthful nutrition for the many herbivores and omnivores that dwell herein.

He was enjoying his meal of dry bushes and wasn’t about to move over for us.

Last night, it rained throughout the night, what seemed to be a good soaking rain, precisely what is needed now. Hopefully, this will continue to ensure a food-rich environment for the wildlife.

We didn’t hesitate to remain at a distance to ensure our safety while we waited patiently.

In some years past, many wildlife didn’t survive during droughts, but those in Marloth Park had a better chance of survival when residents and visitors faithfully fed the animals that came to call.  

While we waited patiently, we took the time to observe some of his features through the camera’s lens.

It has been a dedicated process for us, and I must add that we believe it has been the right thing to do, although some don’t always agree. We’ve been going through a 40 kg (88 pounds) bag of pellets every four to five days at the cost of about ZAR 223 (US $16) per bag.

We noticed as we waited, that he had a hole in his ear which could have been during a fight or damage from a tree or bush while grazing.

We easily rationalize this expenditure. If we lived in the US we’d be spending a lot more than ZAR 1395 (US $100) a month on some form of entertainment. (Gosh, while in the US, we went to one movie and spent ZAR 698 (US $50) for two tickets and snacks. That’s for two hours of entertainment.

The diameter of his foot was astounding.  An elephant’s foot can range from 40 to 50 cm (1.31 to 1.6 feet in length.  

This expenditure is for the great pleasure of feeding hungry animals and lasts for 16 hours every day. No comparison, is there? For us, the entertainment factor is a piece of the experience.  

We kept in mind that this is his terrain, and we respectfully waited to avoid upsetting his meal.

But, in the process, we learn so much and look forward to sharing it with all of our worldwide readers who may never be up close and personal with African wildlife.

The end of the elephant’s tail has hairs that act as a small brush, suitable for swatting flies, bees, and other insects.

So when the 13 impalas stopped by, we squealed with delight over the “honking” sound made by the females announcing their arrival and desire to be fed. It was enchanting.

Another elephant stayed away from the road while grazing.

In the process of enjoying them, I took today’s main photo, smiling all the while over their adorable and whimsical faces. Often, visitors dismiss the impalas since they are so abundant in the bush. But, we’ve both taken an affinity to their beauty and nature and truly appreciated their visit to our garden.

Can we even imagine the strength and weight of these massive feet?  An African bush elephant can weigh up to 6000 kg (13,228 pounds). The average automobile weighs 2268 kg (5000 pounds) for comparison. 

A few days ago, we continued our 40-minute delay in Kruger when an elephant blocked the dirt road preventing us from safely passing. Please read the captions under the included photos to see how the story unfolded before our eyes.  

Finally, after no less than 40 minutes, he crossed to the other side of the road as we watched hoping he’d move into the bush.

In today’s “Sighting of the Day in the Bush,” we’re sharing a sad photo of a warthog who’s had a severe injury to his eye. We can’t tell if he was blinded in the eye, but it’s easy to see he is suffering.  Because warthogs are in significant numbers in the bush, no efforts are made to treat them for illness or injury. This is a hard reality.

He’s come by each day for the past several days, and we freely feed him as much as he wants to, including fruits and carrots. Hopefully, over time he’ll heal and be able to live an entire life in the bush. Many of these animals are very resilient in healing on their own.

It was at this point that we were able to pass. But, the 40 minutes of observing was well worth the wait.

It’s raining off, and on today, so we’re staying put. After a stormy night’s sleep, a nap may be on the agenda.  I’m not good at dozing off during the day, but on a rare occasion, I drift off for 15 to 20 minutes, all that’s needed for either of us to feel revitalized.

That’s it for today, folks. Have an excellent day and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 7, 2017:

The adorable costumed girl waved when she spotted us with a camera at the Metrocentre Mall in Managua, Nicaragua. For more photos, please click here.