Busy day…I’m not cut out for this…Happy Leap Year Day!…

We were on a private tour in Placencia, Belize, in 2013 to see manatees and wildlife in the area. It was a successful day. Gosh, we were tan!

We hadn’t done a thorough cleaning in almost two weeks other than tidying up after ourselves, wiping down countertops, and cleaning the bathrooms and the kitchen. Today, we’re doing the bedding while I’m catching up on the rest of the laundry that has accumulated over the past several days. Tom will vacuum and wash the floors tomorrow while I do everything else.

The bedding and dark clothing are in the laundry room’s dryer, and I’m washing the bathroom rugs in two batches in the washer in our unit. Tom was worried they’d fall apart and we’d have to replace them, but I assured him that bathroom rugs are intended to be washed, even these thick bathroom rugs. They came out of the washer in perfect condition. Tom’s mind was at ease.

What would one do if bathroom rugs weren’t washable…send them to a dry cleaner? Who uses a dry cleaner unless they are cleaning wool, business attire, and dressy clothes? In the over 11 years we’ve been traveling, we haven’t had anything dry-cleaned, and we’ve rarely seen a dry-cleaning store.

Even in our old lives, I rarely took any clothes to the dry cleaner once I retired and began wearing more casual attire. I used an excellent product, Dryel, that did a fantastic job. I don’t think that product still exists as I remember it. For the heck of it, I checked Kroger/Smith’s, and the product, as I knew it, wasn’t available in either location, although Amazon has a newer version. We live in a “wash and wear” world these days.

I am still spoiled after having such fine household help in South Africa which was included in our rent and will be again when we return in three months. Jef and Vusi do a fantastic job keeping everything clean five days a week, with weekends off. They would do our laundry, but we feel they do enough, so we wash our clothes and hang them on a portable rack to dry. All we’ve ever done there on the weekend is make the bed, clean up after cooking, and do laundry, if necessary.

It’s incredible how much cleaning is required, even in this two-bedroom condo with little traffic. But, much to our surprise, it gets very dusty. I read this tidbit today:

“There’s a common misconception that it’s mostly human skin. It’s not that it mainly ends up in the bath or shower. Two thirds of the dust in your house comes from outside, as dirt tracked in on your feet, and airborne particles like pollen and soot. The rest is mostly carpet fluff, clothes fibers, and pet hair.” 

That’s interesting. I always thought dust was from human shedding skin cells. We don’t have carpets or pets and are a long walk away from the outdoors. We keep all exterior doors and windows closed in this cool winter weather in the desert. I wonder where all the dust is coming from. In any case, it requires a lot of cleaning.

Once we arrive in Apache Junction, living in the park model near Tom’s sisters, we’ll probably be faced with paying $200 a week or more for cleaning. Having a cleaner only once or twice a month makes no sense since we’d have to clean in the weeks in between. We’ll most likely do our cleaning again; it gets dusty in the small space. Thank goodness we don’t have clutter and aren’t messy. That helps a lot.

Today is Leap Year Day. It doesn’t mean a whole lot to us, but some celebrate this date in a variety of ways. If you do so, have a good time!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, February 29, 2014:

There wasn’t a post ten years ago due to the fact it wasn’t a Leap Year at that time.

Leap year then and now…Travel day tomorrow…We’ll post during layover…More tiger photos coming!…

A gaur was crossing the road. “The gaur (/ɡaʊər/, Bos gaurus), also called the Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine. It is native to South and Southeast Asia and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986. The global population has been estimated at a maximum of 21,000 mature individuals by 2016. It declined by more than 70% during the last three generations and is extinct in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In well-protected areas, it is stable and rebuilding.”

It’s leap year day. I don’t have a “year ago photo” since there was no post on February 29th last year. But we’ve added a photo from the previous leap year four years ago, on February 29, 2016.

I recalled last year at the end of February like it was yesterday. I’d been home from the hospital for only three days, and my legs had yet to become infected but were very sore from the incisions from my ankle bones to about eight inches above my knees.

A pair of gaur, a rare sighting in the national parks, was a thrill to see.

I’d been walking around the house every hour or so, hoping to speed my recovery but sensing I was making little progress.

The pain was excessive, my breathing sketchy and inconsistent, my wounds so raw I didn’t dare shower, doing sponge baths instead fearing infecting myself with the less than clean water in Marloth Park, South Africa. It happened anyway.

A black eagle.

Even the smallest of tasks required hours of recovery. Tom did it all along with the help of our fantastic household staff, Zef, and Vusi who handled all the housework. I languished in my awful state of being, wondering if it would ever end.

And now, one year later, I am in India, getting up and dressed for the day to head out on safari twice a day, beginning at 5:30 am.
A sambar deer. “Sambar deer is found in almost every corner of India, But it is mainly found in central India. They can easily be spotted at Kanha, Corbett, Ranthambore, Bandhavgarh (we’ve been to three of the aforementioned national parks in India) Gir, Dudhwa, Manas, Kaziranga, and Sariska. Habitat: Sambar deer prefers marshy and wooded areas to live.”

It’s 10 hours a day of bouncing so hard in a safari Jeep that my FitBit measures 10’s of thousands of steps and hundreds of flights of stairs from the violent jostling about on rough roads.

I love it all. I am alive. And I am grateful every morning when I awaken to face yet another day, braced for adventure, braced for excitement, expecting the most but accepting when it’s less.
Young wild boar. “The wild boar (Sus scrofa), also known as the wild swine, Common wild pig, or simply wild pig) is a suid native to much of the Palearctic, as well as introduced numbers in the Americas and Southeast Asia. Human intervention has spread its distribution further, making the species one of the widest-ranging mammals in the world, as well as the most widely spread uniform. Its wide range, high numbers, and adaptability mean that it is classed as least concern by the IUCN, and it has become an invasive species in part of its introduced range. The animal probably originated in Southeast Asia during the Early Pleistocene and out-competed other suid species as it spread throughout the Old World.”

What’s next? Another month and a few days more of India, the vibrant rush of colors, and its equal passion for life.

I feel at home here in this culturally and diametrically diverse notion of life from what we knew in the past, embracing that which I know now, from that which I’ve learned from adversity.
Kanha Nation Park is truly beautiful with a wide range of types of scenery, all exquisite.

Everything happens for a reason. I was already in awe and grateful. But I asked what I needed to learn—had I yet a new level of appreciation to discover, yet to conquer?

I am still trying to figure this out. Surely during whatever time I have left in this world, it will come to me. I wait patiently. I know it will go, and I know I have enough time to bring it to fruition for some odd reason.
A sambar deer on the side of the road.

At the moment, I am sitting outdoors in the resort in Kanha National Park, in India, with the sounds of nature surrounding me, her magical arms holding me close to her heart.

It’s not perfect. Like life, it is flawed. But I open my arms and welcome her in knowing full well that therein lies the answers to the mystery of life we all so long to learn. I am at peace.

Just like in Africa, the antelopes and pigs hang out together.
Tomorrow at 4:30 am, we’ll embark on yet another six-hour drive to a distant airport to head to an all-day flight with layovers to Udaipur. I will complete tomorrow’s post during our 3 1/2 hour layover. We’ll prepare tomorrow’s post during the layover.

See you then, my friends. We’ll see you then.

Photo from the last leap year, four years ago on February 29, 2016:

View of Mount Taranaki from a walk in the neighborhood while we lived on the alpaca farm in New Plymouth, New Zealand. For more photos, please click here.