Tender moment in the morning…Plus, the harsh realities of the bush…

This morning Tom noticed Ms. Bushbuck climbing the steps to the veranda.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Amaryllis blooming in the garden. With summer approaching and hopefully more rain, we’ll see more flowers blooming in Marloth Park.

A week ago a resident of Marloth Park posted a comment about Scar Face, the injured warthog we’d been watching and feeding for several months.  He was stopping by each day for pellets and to drink from the cement pond.

We found it worthwhile to feed her on the steps after she’d climbed up since the other animals won’t be able to chase her away while she eats pellets.  Her idea, not ours.

After we left and returned from Zambia in August, we never saw him again.  We’d become attached to him and were fearful he may have been “put down” by the rangers or died from infections due to his injuries.

This morning, Tom stood next to Ms. Bushbuck to prevent kudus from stealing her share of pellets.

As much as we’d all like to believe the animals become “attached to us,” and will always return to see us, in reality that’s not always the case.  Often, in their world, finding food is their number one purpose in life (along with procreating), especially during this long dry season.


While we were gone for a week Scar Face may have decided to pursue another area in the bush and become comfortable finding available food sources, never returning to us.

Kudus were staring at Tom hoping for more pellets.  He’d already given them several of the yellow containers filled with pellets.

When the resident posted his photo and comments, we were relieved to discover that he, in fact, had survived his massive injury and was still thriving in the bush.  The fact that we couldn’t see him become less important in discovering he was still alive.

A pretty girl kudu with an oxpecker looking for more pellets.

We’re hoping for the same outcome for Wounded who visits frequently with his horrific injury to his eye and eye socket.  Most likely this injury incurred in the past week or two as the wound appears relatively fresh.

A face like this is hard to resist.

This morning when he stopped by we immediately fed him all the pellets he could eat, one little yellow container at a time.  After all, he is a pig and he needs to pace himself.  He is very shy although he’ll approach the veranda letting us know exactly what he needs.  He’s impossible to resist. 

This morning Wounded appeared in the garden looking for food.

We may never see Scar Face again or perhaps in our (hopefully) remaining three months in Marloth Park, we may see him again someday.  Know these injured animals often possess the strength and resilience to heal themselves is comforting.

It appears he may have lost his left eye in the battle.  Heartbreaking.

Yes, some injured animals in Marloth Park “qualify” to be rescued and healed for example by Wild & Free Rehabilitation who may be found at this link.  The costs for such medical care is managed through donations through the facility.  

While we were watching him, an oxpecker appeared and started pecking at his wound.

However, some animals, such as warthogs and impalas, don’t necessarily fall into the category of endangered status or are in reduced numbers in Marloth Park.  Sadly, when they are ill or injured they’re on their own.

After the oxpecker pecked at his wound, it started to bleed.

As we roll further into the week, I’ve begun carefully planning details for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner party on Saturday.  It’s one of those types of meals that not much can be prepared more than a day in advance.

Sadly, there is nothing that can be done.  It’s evident he’s been working on it by using mud to hopefully aid in the healing.  

At this point, I’ve begun working on cooking and processing the frozen pumpkin into the equivalent of canned pumpkin.  This is a slow process but by the end of today, I’ll have it all done.  We plan to make 10 pies, one per couple to take home, a few for dessert on Saturday and a few to have left for Tom.

I believe this is an invasive alien plant.

If time allows, I may make a few low carb pumpkin pies as well.  But, there’s plenty to do with our extensive menu which we’ll post on the day of the event.
Tomorrow morning we each have dental and eye exam appointments, after which we’ll head back to Spar to wrap up the final shopping for a few items we still need for Saturday.


We’ll be back tomorrow with more.  Please check back!

__________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, November14, 2017:

A curious turtle scurried quickly toward us in Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.

What happened to Scar Face?…The progression of his injury…If only love can help…

Scar Face’s right eye is above the injury but may have been affected.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Last night’s partial moon.

We have no delusions about life and death in the wild.  It’s all a part of nature.  Wild animals kill for food and seeing this occur while on safari the first few times is a heart wrenching experience for many.  We were no exception.
.
In time we came to accept the “pecking order” realizing that if one cares to embrace the bush, revels in the wild and participate in photo safaris, seeing these events is inevitable at one point or another.  


In actuality, witnessing such an event, although harsh, can be a life-changing experience as we mature and grow in our vast appreciation of the animal kingdom worldwide.

He stops by several times each day and we always feed him generously.  He needs food to help him heal.

In Marloth Park, there are few predators that hunt and kill the wildlife located within the park.  On occasion, there’s a sighting of a lion, a cheetah, wild dogs or hyenas.  It’s not unheard of for residents to occasionally spot a carcass in the park, left behind for the vultures next meal.


In the day to day existence living in the park, primarily it’s a happy place, filled with loving kudus, skittish duikers, gentle bushbucks and determined zebras, clomping through the bush with heavy hooves. easily alerting us to their arrival.

At the beginning of his injury, each day it looked worse than the prior day.  We were very worried.  He was so busy eating, we had a hard time taking photos.

Of course, there are dozens of other species we see weekly including the “small and smaller things” such as insects, lizards, mongoose, rodents, birds, rats, snakes and many more.  


As a result, we seldom have seen injuries and/or death of wild animals in Marloth Park.  Like I said, “it’s a happy place” for both grownups and children who can learn so much in this magical environment.

We were fearful of reporting his injury to the rangers.  See the reasons in the text.

But, when several weeks ago, a special warthog stopped by to see us, we were shocked by what we saw, the right side of his face had obviously been severely stabbed by either the antler of a large antelope such as a male kudu or wildebeest, during an altercation with another warthog or as he ran into a protruding branch of a tree when he was on the run.


We’ve seen how fast warthogs can run, upwards of 48 kilometers (30 miles) per hour.  We’ve also seen them dash through the yard at such high speeds when they become frightened, making it entirely possible for Scar Face to have run into a protruding branch.

At times, he was covered in mud.  Was that his way of attempting to heal the injury?

We’ll never know what happened to him to cause this horrific injury.  All we know is we didn’t want to report his injury to the Rangers, who when they’d see such a devastating injury may have decided euthanasia was the way to go. We had hope.  We didn’t report it.

At times, his good friend Mutton Chops come to visit with Scar Face.  They get along well when sharing the pellets.  (Previously posted photo).

If at any time, we’d seen him failing, unable to eat, lying in the yard and in great distress, of course, we’d have had no choice but to report it.  When he’s showed up in our yard several times a day looking for some quick and easy nourishment, we anticipated we’d made the right decision to “wait and watch.”  


Certain animals in Marloth Park, when injured or ill will be treated by volunteer medical professionals after which they’ll be returned to the wild.  Recently, a bushbuck’s leg was caught in a scare and had become infected.  The injured bushbuck was darted, treated and released.  

Was it actually improving a little, we wondered?

Unfortunately, warthogs, who multiple prolifically and are quite sturdy don’t fall into a category of a species that the Rangers and medical professionals feel are “worthy” of being treated.  Many warthogs are culled each year. Many are left to fend for themselves when illness or injury strikes or are euthanized if they can be found.


As the days passed, Scar Face began to look better and better.  Some days, his face was covered in thick mud which he must have been using to heal the serious wound.  Animals are amazing and many are intelligent enough to care for themselves and for one another using available resources in the wild.

It has been heartbreaking thinking he’s been in pain.

He’s come to visit every single day eating a massive number of pellets, apples and other vegetables and frequently drank from the cement pond in the yard.  He’d scratch his face on a tree.  There’s no doubt that as the wound began to heal, it became itchy.  


Danie told us that warthogs like to eat bones.  We cooked meats and saved all the bones for him.  He especially loves the bones, easily chewing them.  Warthogs are omnivores and not only graze on grasses, roots, and tubers but will eat dead animals encountered in the wild, although they won’t hunt for meat.

Now, the injury appears to be drying up and he seems more animated but extremely cautious around other animals other than a few friendly warthogs, like Mutton Chops and Little Wart Face (as opposed to big Wart Face who’s very grumpy).

Each time he stands in the dirt near the veranda staring at us, asking “What’s to eat today?’  We can’t help it as we both jump to our feet, scurry around gathering foods for him.  We stand on the edge of the veranda tossing food to him which he enthusiastically devours.


Now, as we see him looking so much better, we can only hope he’ll remain on the road to recovery.  No doubt, he’ll continue to return as we carefully and hopefully watch his recovery progress.  We’re thrilled, to say the least.

Then suddenly, two days ago, he started looking better with less oozing.

Tonight, friends Kathy and Don are coming for dinner.  With all the socializing we’d done with them four years ago and also since our return to the park, this will be the first time it will be just the four of us. We plan on an enjoyable evening.  


Tomorrow, at 4:00 pm, Okey Dokey, our dear friend and former driver in Marloth Park in 2013/2014 is coming with her husband and baby, whom we’ve yet to meet, for happy-hour along with Louise and Danie. We’ve stayed in touch all these years and are excited to see her and her family.  It will be a great weekend, for sure.


May your “May Day” weekend be busy with those whose company you especially enjoy!

______________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, April 29, 2017:

A tiny rowboat at the ready in the Isle of Pines in the South Pacific.  For more photos, please click here.

A most untimely mishap…Oh, good grief!…I’m injured!…Three days and counting…

Fancy chalk graffiti on the exterior of a cafe.

What can I say?  Regardless of where we may be in the world, we are subject to the risks of injury.  For all of you whether you’re in your home, backyard or out for a walk with the dog, no one is exempt from an occasional injury-inducing fall or stumble.

With my bad spine, a hereditary condition for which a low inflammation diet manages to keep the pain under control, my stability is not the best, even with considerable exercise and walking.  My spine is a fragile mess accounting for the reasons we don’t zip line, bungee jump, scuba dive and engage in similar types of activities.

Most often, we see pigeons walking on the ground or flying to crumbs left by humans, but seldom sitting in a tree.

However, it hasn’t kept us from living life to the fullest as we’ve traveled the world.  The only period of time I was unable to easily participate in some planned activities was when we were on the Mekong River cruise after I’d injured my spine in the pool in Bali, taking five months to heal.  We avoided the participate in all of the other tours.

Gosh, I don’t like to “whine” here but Tom suggested we continue to “tell it like it is” as we’ve done over and over again in this past over 2000 posts.  We try not to exclude realities of life that many can relate to as you read our daily journal.

Our reality, whether we like it or not, is that occasionally we’re sick or injured and sharing how we handle it is of the utmost importance to our readers, especially when we can’t jump into the car and run to “our doctor” (of which we have none) or a local urgent care center.  (Of course, we’d go to a hospital if we felt a situation was dangerous or life-threatening).

Tom doesn’t have a lollipop of cigarette in his mouth.  It’s an optical illusion based on something in the background.

We arrived in Buenos Aires on December 23rd.  We’ve walked more here than we’ve walked in any country during our last over five years of world travel, except perhaps in Paris and London (two weeks each) in 2014.   But, frequent walking in itself is no surefire means of preventing oneself from an obstacle-induced fall.

And, that’s what happened to me last night.  Wearing a different pair of shoes was my first mistake.  Each time we walked in Buenos Aires, I ‘ve worn a pair of ultra comfortable, good supporting, water shoes that I purchased in Minnesota during the family visit last summer.  I’ve never been so comfortable in a pair of shoes.

Last night, for a change of pace, I decided to wear a pair of white lace-up leather Keds. Big mistake.  The thin soles simply didn’t provide the degree of stability I needed to walk the uneven streets here in Palermo, wrought with broken tiles, potholes and massive inconsistent areas of uneven pavement. 

Not so busy corner in Recoleta where we walked on Monday.

My bad, I didn’t think of that when I wore the Keds last night for our walk to Diggs Restaurant (I guess we had Stefon Diggs, wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, on our minds).  I didn’t notice an issue with the shoes or I’d have been more careful.

Alas, I was looking around, instead of down at the pavement, and my foot hit a stone tile what was about 4″ higher than my last step and…boom!  I hit the ground, breaking the fall to my knees and elbows, particularly my left knee.  I was wearing jeans and the thick fabric prevented a break in the skin. But, oh…did it hurt. 

And, yes, my elbows and right wrist got dinged as well but nowhere near as bad as my left knee.  After composing myself with Tom lifting me off the ground, I was able to hobble along for the remainder of the few blocks to Diggs.  Immediately, I remember R-I-C-E;  rest, ice, compression and elevate.

Statue at Jardin Botanica:  Los Primeros Frios which translates to “first cold” in English.

Once we entered Diggs to find our favorite waiter ready to fuss over us, he brought me a plastic bag filled with ice, a bucket to hold it when taking a break from the icing, while I elevated my leg on the bench in the booth where we were seated. 

After dinner, which I struggled to eat, we slowly walked back the few blocks to the hotel since it made no sense to take a taxi for the short distance.  Plus, I wanted to see how I’d do walking. 

Once back in our room with a bucket of ice to make an ice pack using a ziplock bag, I raised my leg on pillows, covered with a few bath towels to keep the bed from getting wet while we proceeded to watch a few episodes of Shark Tank to get our minds off of it.

Hydrangeas.

Tom was (is) devastated and worried.  I was more concerned about him than I was my injury.  I can walk, albeit carefully, and the swelling is well under control with the rest, ice, compression, and elevation. 

Surprisingly, usually a side sleeper,  I slept well on my back with my leg elevated, after taking a Tylenol PM which helped with the discomfort and made me sleep through the night.  This morning, I found an Ace bandage in our medical supplies and wrapped the knee for the “compression” part of R-I-C-E finding it quite comforting.

Now, as we sit in the hotel lobby, I’m situated on a lounge-type chair with the knee wrapped and elevated. Once an hour, I unwrap the Ace bandage to do another 20-minute round of ice which I’ll continue throughout the day and night, rewrapping it in between icing it, all the while, keeping my leg elevated.

Peachy blooms.

I think it will be OK.  I have exactly five days to get better in order to be able to get off the ship in order to get on a Zodiak boat to the Falkland Islands (in Spanish, known as the Islas Malvinas).

In three days, we head to the airport around 3:15 am for the three and a half hour flight to Ushuaia.  Hopefully, by then I’ll have considerable improvement but will wear the Ace bandage while frequently getting up to move around.  Ice is only good for the first 48 to 72 hours, then heat is recommended.  We’ll see how it goes.

Sure, I’m frustrated and angry with myself for my clumsiness.  But, like all the trials and tribulations we all must bear from time to time, a positive attitude coupled with diligent care is all we can do.

Perfume-smelling flowers blooming from a tree.0

We still have a lot to do to prepare to leave although most of my packing is done.  Our hotel room is jammed with odds and ends to handle over these next few days.  Tom will pack today or tomorrow (he prefers to wait until the “end”) and we’ll weigh both of our bags to ensure we’re both within the baggage weight restrictions.

Tonight, we’ll walk to the closest of restaurants in the area, a burger joint that had a decent chicken Caesar salad for me with a burger and fries for Tom.  It will be fine.  It all will be just fine.

Have a safe and healthy day, week, month, and year!
                   __________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, January 20, 2017:

While at The Tench, the historical Penitentiary in Hobart, Tasmania we stopped by this courtroom located on the grounds.  The area was known as one of several penal colonies in Tasmania in the 1800’s.  For more photos of the Tench, please click here.

Medical issue kept under wraps until today…Time to come clean…More Singapore shopping photos…

Live crab.

It was only as a result of an extraordinary amount of pain relief from an anti inflammatory diet over these past five years that allowed us to begin to travel the world.

Chronic pain would make traveling to this degree unbearable and impractical.  Over these past five years I haven’t had back or neck pain since the steps collapsed under our feet in Belize on the night of our anniversary in March 2013 and I banged my delicate spine and neck on the broken wood. Here’s the link to awful event.

It was a full two months until I began to feel pain free again as the injuries finally healed.  From there, my strict adherence to living an anti inflammation lifestyle served me well until…

The grocery store has both local and western type foods.

About three weeks ago, while living in Bali and working out in the pool, I slipped and banged my neck and spine on the stone lip and edge of the steps leading in and out of the pool. 

At the time, I experienced a horrible pain in my spine but didn’t say a word to Tom to keep him from worrying.  But, I couldn’t keep my secret long when I began icing using our traveling icepack.  In telling Tom about the injury I dismissed the severity of the pain which escalated over a period of days.

OMG, I thought.  Will this be our undoing?  When will the pain subside?  After a few days of rest, I decided to continue gently walking in the pool, albeit more carefully, and walking about the house for five minutes every half hour in order to stay mobile.

Lots of fresh fish reasonably priced.

I deliberated over walking on the tile floors knowing stone floors are hard on the back but I had little interest in walking on the road or beach more than a few times a week to take more photos.  As for sightseeing, it wasn’t a remote possibility.  

I tried everything I knew from years of experience to relieve severe back and neck pain from making a homemade heat pack using a plastic bag with a damp heated-in-the-microwave cloth on the inside, to a series of very gentle stretches.  Nothing has seemed to help.

It all boiled down to time…enough time passing for the injury to heal with the hope I’ll return to my usual pain free existence.  Have we considered medical care?  We have. 


A vegetable cutting tool presentation at the market.

Although, certainly not in Bali with less than stellar medical care.  Also, knowing that major surgery is the only real long term option if the pain continues indefinitely, there’s no point in pursuing this option. What would they do anyway?   

Need I say that the harrowing five hour drive from West Bali to Denpasar was quite a challenge?  Ouch.

We’ve certainly had to curtail our activities in Singapore.  I’m grateful we’ve already handled two of the three visas we needed.  With our upcoming long flight to Hanoi in two days, I’m a bit apprehensive about sitting on the plane so long but I made it through the one hour shorter flight from Bali to Singapore and I’ll do the same for the upcoming flight. 

Tom was in line paying for cheese and nuts.

We get out as much as I feel I can and continue to take photos to share.  I’m saddened over the fact that we aren’t able to do some of the sightseeing we’d hoped in Singapore.  When one doesn’t have a home and lives in the “world,” recuperating from any medical issue is required wherever we may be at any given time, thus we may miss out on some opportunities.

Why didn’t we bring this up sooner?  I suppose it was my attempt to “tough it out” to avoid complaining.  I suppose any of us retirees have bad periods where we’re under the weather in one way or another.  Even the younger generation becomes ill from time to time.  Its a part of life.

With the sharing of our daily lives of travel we attempt to stay upbeat and positive in our posts.  Although, I must admit its been tricky over these past weeks. 

The mall aisles weren’t crowded since most visitors were eating.

We’re forging ahead with all of our plans over these next few months.  Its comforting to know we’ll have a six week restful hiatus at the house in Phuket beginning on July 22nd.  Hopefully, by then my recovery will be much further progressed.

That’s the scoop folks.  This morning, Sunday, once again we went out to breakfast and walked through Chinatown without the usual weekday crowds.  The walk was good and now we’re back at our hotel to rest until dinner.

We’ll be back tomorrow as we wind down to less than two days before departing Singapore to head to Hanoi.

____________________________________
 

Photo from one year ago today, July 3, 2015:

It was fun to take photos of wild cockatoos in Trinity Beach, Australia.  For more details, please click here.