Summer solstice…The task has begun…Trying to recall every item in our missing bags…One video today…

It’s the first day of summer in Africa and other countries in the Southern Hemisphere.  Based on the hot weather this past month or more, one would think summer had already started here in the bush. When visitors come here from Cape Town, Johannesburg, or other big cities in South Africa they are often shocked by how much hotter it is here.

We’re often shocked by how cold it gets in Cape Town during the winter months. We hear visitors discuss the snow in the mountains and the chill in the city. It gets cool here in the winter which we always appreciate. Today is almost like a winter day with temps much lower at only 77F, 25C with humidity at 71%, and the dew point is 67, considered tropical. But, it feels good not to be sweating.

I’m seated at the dining room table with lots of “lost baggage” paperwork beside me with a clear view of the garden, just in case my favorites stop by. We had a busy morning but now midday, it’s settled down, and only a few visitors have stopped by. When sundowner time arrives, invariably, the animals wander out of the bush and parkland and come to see what we’re doing. It’s a delightful time of the day.

We both make a point of being done with tasks by 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs., each day so we can sip on our preferred beverages and enjoy idle chatter and the quiet solitude that bush so blissfully provides. But, tonight might be a little different. We need to list each item in each bag and submit it to Ethiopian Air for reimbursement if possible.

Today, I finally reached a rep, and they sent me a claim form that we asked Louise to print for us. Tom went to the busy Info Centre to pick up four copies of the form which, weirdly, have to be completed by hand, not online. How ridiculous is that? My handwriting is illegible and has been so for most of my life. Tom writes very slowly, but it’s possible to read what he’s written.

When we received the claim form I noticed their maximum payout is US $400 per bag. That doesn’t put a dent in the value of the items in those two bags. How frustrating. Now, we need to file a separate claim with our credit card company. We’ll see how that goes. The offer more reimbursement but the process is time-consuming and frustrating.

So this evening with the day’s tasks behind us, we’ll sit outdoors at the table on the veranda and begin compiling our lists of items in the lost bags. We’ve already shopped at the Bush Centre this morning for a few items from the meat market and the little grocery store. Now, we can make it until after Christmas for another run to Komatipoort to do the grocery shopping.

Since we’ll be at Jabula Friday and Saturday nights (Christmas Eve) we won’t have to cook anything until Christmas day. We’ve decided to make keto pizza for Tom with just the two of us, and I’ll have chicken breasts on the braai. I want to eat the pizza with him, but it’s just too fattening for me while I am doing so well losing weight. It tastes so good it’s impossible for me to eat only a tiny piece. I won’t even take a taste. To me, it’s as good as eating a gooey doughnut, an occasional treat I may have had in my old life before going keto in 2011.

Tom is currently at his lowest weight since we were in Belize in 2013. He has no health problems, is not pre-diabetic, and takes no meds. Right now, he is enjoying some treats I make for him and more when dining out. But, he avoids bread and desserts and doesn’t drink any sweet drinks.

Many times while we’re at the bar in Jabula, other patrons will offer to buy us each a “shot.” I’ve never done a shot in my life, and Tom isn’t interested in them either, regardless of what alcohol they may be. Neither of us cares to take such a quick intake of alcohol and potentially get drunk. We certainly don’t judge those who partake, but I doubt we ever will if we haven’t started doing them by now.

Surely on Christmas Eve, the drinks will flow, but we will both stick to our usual choices, not overdoing it, while sipping on our preferred beverages. Nonetheless, we’ll enjoy the merriment of the holiday season and the festivities. It’s a very special time in the bush.

My laptop’s battery is about to need a recharge, and I’ll need to plug it into the bedroom plugs near the one inverter-fed outlet by my bedside table. Several of our adapters were in the missing bags, and we now have a shortage of plug-in spots in the remainder of the house. Gosh, we lost a lot of stuff in those two bags!

We’ll be back with more tomorrow, folks. Have a fantastic day as many of you prepare for the holiday season.

Be well

Photo from one year ago today, December 21, 2021:

Wildebeests were resting near Verhami Dam in Kruger National Park. For more, please click here.

The missing bags saga continues…Totally frustrating…

It’s nice to see giraffes stop by. This morning there were nine of them!

I’ve concluded that airlines make handling lost bags so complicated that travelers give up and don’t process the claims for refunds. I am sitting here in 90% humidity, sweating from head to toe, and more frustrated than I’ve ever been trying to get results.

We had trouble with Ethiopian Air in the past when they canceled our flight and wouldn’t refund us. I won’t get into that story again, but it was a fiasco of endless phone calls and email messages without callbacks and no response. Finally, we reached out to our credit card company for a resolution, and they ultimately helped and got our money back. It looks as if we may have to go that route once again.

Fortunately, if we can produce receipts for each item in the bag, we may be able to be compensated for the lost items through our credit card on which we booked the flights using accumulated points. What a shame we’ve lost the points and the bags.

Generally, giraffes prefer not to bend down for food but have no choice when drinking water.

Yes, in the realm of things, it’s only “stuff” that we’ve learned over the years is of little importance, compared to health and well-being. But we’ve also learned that “time” is of the utmost importance as we age. Spending weeks searching online for receipts for clothing, shoes, and toiletry purchases will occupy a lot of time that we can never recover.

We’d rather have the bags back than any arbitrary amount we may be awarded for filing such a claim after doing all the work. Also, what if the bags are found during the period after we’ve done all the work and submitted the claim? I am asking our credit card company this question to see if they’d want us to invalidate the claim if the bags are returned to us by some miracle.

You can zoom in to see how many there were.

Right now, after spending no less than two hours on hold this morning, waiting for a callback, for the second morning in a row, from Ethiopian Air who promised to call back yesterday and never did and now made the same promise again that I will be hearing from them by noon, our time, which is 13 minutes from now. I am not hopeful we’ll receive the call.

Unfortunately, I had to use my Google Fi calling app to make these calls. The South Africa SIM card we have in an extra phone won’t let us stay on hold for an hour or more. The call cuts off within five or ten minutes, dropping the call. I gave up on using that phone days ago. Instead, we’re paying US $.20 per minute, ZAR 3.45 for each of these seemingly pointless calls.

Thank goodness for this blissful morning, albeit it was hot and humid when several animals stopped by. I hadn’t seen Norman, Nina, and their offspring since last week, but Tom welcomed them this morning while I was showering. I ended up giving “Norman’s lunch” to Tulip and Lilac this morning. Who knows when Norman will return with so much activity from tourists in the bush? It’s wild right now.

Lots of Big Daddies stopped by this morning.

Our Christmas plans are set, simple, and easy. Tom’s 70th birthday is on Friday, which we’ll celebrate with Louise and Danie on Friday night at Jabula. No gifts. No hoopla. Food, drinks, and great conversation. On Christmas Eve, we’ll return to Jabula for an early dinner and then go back home to watch a movie on the external hard drive. The WiFi isn’t working at night enabling us to stream any shows due to the number of visitors using the WiFi in the bush.

Tech Connect says they’re having issues due to load shedding. Hmm…could easily be a problem with no power for eight to eleven hours a day. There’s not a whole lot they can do. If this doesn’t improve after the holidaymakers leave, we may have to look into some other WiFi options since streaming is an enjoyable part of our evenings after we retire for the night.

Ah, look at me whining! We always promised to tell it like it is, didn’t we? We’re certainly doing that right now. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t have smiles on our faces during the holiday season and other times and are grateful for what we have, for each other, for the beautiful animals, and of course, for our amazing friends in the bush.

Nine giraffes stopped by this morning. What is there to complain about?

Happy Day.

Photo from one year ago today, December 20, 2021:

The elephant on the left is resting his trunk on his tusk. For more photos, please click here.