Part 1…Movie Night in The Villages with friends…

There are roughly 78 different villages within The Villages and growing. Villages range from 100 homes to 1550 homes (Duval is the largest with 1550). The Villages property area covers 32 square miles and is growing through recent small acquisitions. There are approximately 90 miles of golf cart paths.

When we left for the 6:00 pm movie at the Old Mill Playhouse at 5;15, planning on having plenty of time to get there, we programmed my phone on The Village’s driving app. While driving, we got sidetracked talking about the scenery and went the wrong way.

In no time at all, we corrected our position and arrived in plenty of time for the movie, entitled “Love Again,” which was without a doubt a “chick flick,” or more PC, rom-com, but both of us and our friends Linda and Burt thoroughly enjoyed it. It had been a long time since we watched a movie together in a movie theatre, and it was relaxing and fun.

As we drive through The Villages, we are amazed by all of the golf courses, golf country clubs, and golf carts. It is believed there are more than 70,000 golf carts in The Villages.

The theatre was fully packed with seniors. We’d arrived early enough to engage in lively chatter with Linda and Burt, who’d saved seats for us in the top row. We thought we might be too far back to see the movie, but it turned out perfectly, and next time we may sit there again.

These special movie nights occur on Thursdays but not every Thursday. Villagers Harry and Pauline are hosts and arrange the special nights for anyone who’d like to attend for the special $5 per person entrance fee. (the regular entrance fee is $9 for seniors).

As the largest golfing community in the nation, The Villages has 12 Championship Golf & Country Clubs and more than 40 Executive Golf Courses spread out throughout the community, with more currently being designed and constructed.

We had such a good time we plan to go again next Thursday evening but most likely will stay for dinner in the restaurant in the movie theatre, where hundreds of locals congregate to dine and listen to live entertainment. Last night, we wanted to return to the house to eat since we had some great leftovers after Linda and Burt joined us for dinner on Wednesday evening.

Once back at the house, we had a bite to eat, watched an episode of Dancing with the Stars, and wandered off to bed around 11:00 pm. For some odd reason, I had an awful time getting to sleep. Tom’s phone beeped with an announcement as I started to doze around midnight. I woke him to silence his phone. We try to avoid having that happen, but now and then, one of us forgets to turn on the “Do Not Disturb” button.

As we drove into the Sumter Landing area, we were again delighted to see the charming town square associated with that particular village.

Finally, around 1:30 am, I drifted off, but only after I took an aspirin. I don’t do this often, but for some goofy reason, one aspirin will help me fall asleep. My Fitbit shows I slept for six hours, not enough to feel energetic today.

This morning we didn’t go for our walk. The house’s maintenance guy came to install the new computer, which came with our rental and will enable us to get our passport documents printed to be submitted/mailed to the passport company in time for our June 20 online appointment. Once we have the appointment and all documents are in order, we’ll receive the new passports in 8 to 10 business days, leaving us plenty of time until our departure on July 29.

We drove around for several minutes until a car pulled out from a spot at the side of the Old Mill Playhouse, where we attended a movie with new friends Linda and Burt.

Our friends Carol and Mark arrive tomorrow around 2:00 pm. We’re planning a nice dinner and will spend the evening catching up after several years since we’ve seen Carol. We’ll enjoy the day and evening at the house since they will have been driving for several hours to get here from Boca Raton.

We plan to go to Brownwood Paddock Square on Sunday night for entertainment and dinner. This will be the first time we meet Mark, her significant other, and it will be great to get to know him. Once they’re here, we’ll select a restaurant we’d all enjoy. It will no doubt be a fun three days.

Today, we’re busy around the house while I’m doing laundry, chopping, and dicing for tomorrow night’s dinner; again, Cashew Broccoli Stir Fry with rice is an easy dinner we hope they’ll enjoy. That’s it for today, folks. We’ll be back with more photos tomorrow.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, May 19, 2013:

Due to a poor WiFI signal aboard the ship, we could not post photos on this date. For the post’s text, please click here.

“Movie in the Bush”…We booked appointments for J & J vaccines in Minneapolis!…Two days and counting…

Rita, Gerhard, and Tom were situated in our chairs, ready for the evening to commence.

Who’s in the garden this morning?

  • 10 warthogs – inc. Little, Tiny, Lonely Girl, Fred, and Ethel, and more
  • 9 bushbucks – inc. Chewy, Thick Neck, Torn EarSpikey, Stringy, Young Ms. Bushbuck, and others
  • 6 kudu – inc. Big Daddy, Bossy, and kids
  • 1 wildebeest – inc. Broken Horn
  • 29 helmeted guinea-fowl
  • 2 hornbills –
  • 2 Frank and The Misses
  • 21 mongoose

Yesterday afternoon, after hours of searching online for possible J & J vaccine appointments in Minnesota, hopefully within one day of our arrival, frustration set in. There were plenty of two-dose vaccine appointments available, but nothing definitive for the J & J, one dose.

I took this photo before the arrival of many of the movie-goers.

We’ll be in the US long enough to get the two-dose vaccine, if necessary. But, doing so will prevent us from visiting Tom’s sister, who’s in a nursing home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The facility won’t allow any visitors until 14 days have passed since their second dose. This wouldn’t work for us.

When the frustration set in after a few hours of research, I tried different keywords and, by a fluke, stumbled across the J & J vaccine being offered to travelers with a boarding pass, arriving or departing from MSP (Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport). I couldn’t book our appointments quickly enough. At 5:45 pm, 1745 hrs,  on July 1st, we are scheduled to get our vaccines at the airport before taking off in our rental car to our hotel. What a relief!

Thanks to many of our readers who wrote to us with suggestions, some knew about the airport vaccination program. Your assistance is much appreciated!

When we first arrived at Lisa’s property, at least six ostriches occupied the spaces where we’d set up our chairs.

For the third time since we came to Marloth Park in 2013, last night’s Movie Night in the Bush was another delightful experience. Lisa, who hosted the event with proceeds going to wildlife rescue, had a fantastic spread of food for the participants.

There were approximately 45 guests who each paid a paltry ZAR 120, US $8.48 for a dinner of pulled pork and pulled chicken with buns, coleslaw, and sliced pickles. Lisa, whom we know well,  was so thoughtful when she put aside a huge bowl of roasted pork for me without the sugary barbecue sauce. How thoughtful was that!  The meat was delicious.

Tom, Rita, and Gerhard enjoyed the entire meal as we all dined in our portable chairs a short distance from the movie screen, as shown in the photo below. We didn’t know many people in attendance but were happy to see those we’d met in the past.

Movie screen in the bush. What a fun event!

The Ghost in the Darkness movie was a historical piece that elicited several good and bad reviews. Instead of sitting there critiquing the movie, the four of us decided to have fun and enjoy it regardless of its reputation. After all, it was an Africa movie filmed here in South Africa, and it was fun to be watching it in the bush, with wild animals surrounding us and content movie-goers in the audience.

It was a cool night, and fortunately, we’d all brought along ample clothing to keep us warm. At one point, I was shivering a little even while bundled up in my airline blanket. It was warm during the day, and as typical in Africa, it cools down quite a bit in the evenings.

When we arrived, before darkness fell, the four of us got a kick out of the ostriches that surrounded us, appearing to want to get in on the action. They had to be shooed off to get out of our faces. Perhaps, they viewed all of us as potential sources of good “people food,” which, like other wild animals, is not suitable for them.

Finally, some of the ostriches were shooed away, but a few determined birds stayed behind.

By 8:00 pm, 2000 hours, the movie ended, and we said our goodbyes, including to Rita and Gerhard, who is embarking on a trip to the outskirts of Johannesburg for a course on off-roading with their new vehicle. We won’t see them again until we hopefully can return, as planned, at the end of July.

Tonight, at 8:00 pm, President Cyril Ramphosa will be speaking during what is referred to as a “Family Meeting” to address the nation regarding other lockdowns due to the massive increase in cases of Covid-19, especially in the Gauteng Province where Johannesburg is located. We are located in Mpumalanga Province. But, we will be in Joburg, staying overnight on June 30th.

Sunset in the bush on “Movie Night.”

Our primary concern is, “Will we be able to return to South Africa at the end of July?” For our friends, Louise and Danie, managing so many properties, and Dawn and Leon, as owners of Jabula Lodge and Restaurant, this speech could negatively impact their businesses if the new lockdown measures prevent travel to Marloth Park. They have already struggled so much in the past 18 months.

Now, as we wind down our time in Marloth Park, we are preoccupied with the necessary paperwork required due to Covid-19 for traveling. We have a health questionnaire to complete, and we’ll be good to go.

A photo I took of the movie in the first few minutes.

That’s it for today, folks. We will continue to post during our travel period, providing adequate WiFi services are available along the way.

Take care, everyone!

Photo from one year ago today, June 27, 2020:

It was business as usual, with Tom wearing a sarong as the required dress to enter the temple. He had a hard time managing the steps. He didn’t have the same experience as women who’ve worn long dresses, knowing when to hold up the hem for ease in walking. For more photos, please click here.