My 70th birthday present, unwrapped and before my eyes…Nothing compares…

We’ve fallen in love with the female bushbuck who stops by for a visit almost every day. She doesn’t hesitate to eat from my hand and responds to my voice.
“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
This purple crested turaco or purple crested lourie stopped by for a visit yesterday. After waiting a while, we spotted a mate.

While swimming in the pool in Bali in October 2016, Tom presented me with an exciting gift for my 70th birthday, which was 16 months away. Here’s the post from that date.  

I had been longing to return to Africa one day but never expected it to be so soon. Tom felt this milestone birthday deserved something special, and besides, what can a guy buy his girl when her one clothing suitcase is filled to the brim with its allowable 23 kg (50 pounds)?

Forget jewelry; not safe to wear in some locations.  Forget a box of chocolates; she doesn’t consume sugar. Forget any clothing items; as mentioned above, there’s no room. Forget digital equipment; she already has everything she needs or wants. Forget a trip to a tropical climate; she already lives life on holiday, mostly in tropical climates. And, the list went on and on. 
“The purple-crested turaco (Tauraco porphyreolophus) is a species of bird in the Musophagidae family. It is the National Bird of the Kingdom of Swaziland. The crimson flight feathers of this and related turaco species are important in the ceremonial regalia of the Swazi royal family.”

Otherwise, he couldn’t think of a thing. If he’d asked me for suggestions, I’d have been at a loss. I have everything I could ever want. I never walk into a shop or store and wish I could make a purchase, not for a personal item nor a household item. 

I‘ve learned to “make do” with what I have. I am perfectly content as long as I can replenish my few cosmetic items that fit in a few ziplock bags and clothing and shoes as they wear out.

In our old lives, I had every kitchen gadget imaginable. Now, as long as I have two good knives, a paring knife, a large chopping knife, a few large bowls, and if possible, a mixer, a blender, or a coffee grinder, I can prepare any of our favorite meals.

So, when Tom told me we were returning to Africa after the Antarctica cruise we’d booked eight months earlier, I nearly wept with joy.  We’d never returned to any location we’d previously visited, except Bali for a second two-month stay when we took a two-month hiatus to head to Southeast Asia, visiting Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia with a cruise on the Mekong River.

“This bird has a purple-colored crest above a green head, a red ring around their eyes, and a black bill. The neck and chest are green and brown. The rest of the body is purple, with red flight feathers.”

We loved the second two-month stay in Bali and the first in the same exquisite holiday home in Sumbersari, a five-hour harrowing drive from the airport in Denpasar.

And now, back in Marloth Park with a plan to stay in Africa for 14 months, traveling in and out of South Africa with Marloth Park as somewhat of a base, we’ll visit many more exciting countries on the continent, which we’ll share in months to come.

The four years since we were last here went quickly, yet our memories of being here are so fresh in our minds. We recall every little nuance and almost every post we uploaded during those three short months. 

As we lounge on the veranda all day long, rain or shine, awaiting our next visitors, knowing full-well they will come as they have over these past nine days since our arrival, we’re at peace. For me, I feel like I am “home.” 

They live in moist woodland and evergreen forests. They eat mainly fruit.

This life here, albeit interlaced with certain challenges and discomforts, is truly where I belong. As a little girl, I dreamed of Africa, and to realize it took me 66 years to get here the first time and 70 years the second time, I am fulfilled.

And…when it’s time to go, I will accept it, hopefully with grace and ease, knowing a lifelong dream has been fulfilled, and it’s time to move on. Will we ever return? Who knows? Perhaps another four or more years will pass, and we’ll know we want to and are physically able to return. We’re good at planning two years out, but not much more than that.

Today will be a good day. This morning, I lay down the pellets on the soft dirt of the driveway after last night’s soaking rain, and within minutes, we had a female kudu, a male bushbuck, and a flock of helmeted guinea fowl. That was quite a treat! Before noon, friends Kathy and Linda unexpectedly stopped by to wish me a happy birthday.

This morning the bird, as shown here today, a purple crested turaco or purple crested lourie, stopped by the tree directly in front of us, displaying its beautiful plumage much too quickly for another photo. We’re grateful for the photos we captured yesterday afternoon.

Speaking of gratefulness, I must express my gratitude to my dear husband Tom. Without him and his never-ending desire to provide me with indescribable joy and fulfillment, life couldn’t possibly reach these heights. I never dreamed 70 years of age would be like this.

To all of our readers/friends/family…we thank you for traveling along with us.  We never imagined we’d have some many readers from all over the world. All of you mean the world to us, and your readership is a huge inspiration in every aspect of our travels. 

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

While at the pharmacy in Geeveston, we noticed this antique wagon atop the bakery/restaurant. For more photos, please click here.