A reunion with an old friend with a new family…Issues revealed in getting into Kruger Park during holiday…

Adorable baby Danie with his loving and attentive mom, Okey Dokey. He never stopped smiling and laughing the entire time they were visiting.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Kudus are spectacular animals.  They are gentle and never hesitate to make eye contact. But, those huge antlers can be dangerous for both humans and other wildlife. We stay back when offering food and taking photos.

There are so many people in Marloth Park right now; we’re having trouble with the Internet. I tried downloading today’s photos but wasn’t able to do so for several hours. Now at almost 11:00 am, I’m still busy getting the post ready to upload.

The larger male of the Vervet monkeys troop sits in the tree next to the veranda where the bush baby house is located.

There are 12 national holidays in South Africa, resulting in Mondays as the official “off work” day. As for this current holiday, Tuesday is the official May Day holiday since it’s May 1st. This link will provide you with a list of the South African holidays.

We’ve heard that people are being turned away to enter Kruger National Park during this busy period. Only 600 people are allowed into each of the eleven entrance gates throughout the massive wildlife area. 

He sat there for quite a while, watching us. 

According to our visiting friends Okey Dokey and family, yesterday, people were being turned away without a pre-paid reservation. And even many of those visitors with “reservations” were left waiting for up to two hours to enter the gate. The extra cost for booking a reservation, over and above the usual entrance fees (prices vary), is ZAR 38 (US $3.07) per person.

Once inside, every sighting is observed by dozens of vehicles. Oh, good grief. This enormous natural environment is taken over by commercialism during the holiday, returning to its quiet and enriching status that usually takes one’s breath away.

Soon, he was distracted by the noise his troop-mates were making as they flew through the trees.

Of course, we aren’t going to the park again until well after the holiday when most tourists have left the area. That’s not to say there aren’t others like us who are renting holiday homes during the quieter seasons who will still be here. Hopefully, they, too, like us, attempt to blend in and become a part of this magical place. 

As we enter the cooler winter season, beginning on June 21st, tourism in the area will taper off due to lower temperatures. This morning, both of us were outside on the veranda by 6:30 am bundled up to stay warm. Now, four hours later, we’re back to shorts and tee shirts.

We tried for a better photo of this male bushbuck which is the darkest we’ve seen, but I was distracted with our company and never took the time for a good picture as darkest fell.

The cooler weather will not deter us from spending our days and nights outdoors.  We’ll add more layers of clothing to stay warm. It doesn’t get much below 10C (50F) during most winter months. But, after all of these years of warm weather (except for Antarctica), these temps might feel cold to us.

Before dusk, our dear friend, Okey Dokey, our driver here in Marloth Park four years ago, who remained a great friend these past years, visited us with her husband and baby, both named Dani, for snacks, wine, and beer. We’d never met the two Danis and adored them both.

His coloring was much darker, and he was considerably larger than other male bushbucks we’ve seen so far.

n. It was delightful to meet her two loved ones. It was as if we’d never missed a beat. How fortunate we are to have made such fine friends along the w A third Danie, of Louise and Danie, also joined us since they were also good friends with this extraordinary young woman.

We were sad to see them go. But, adorable little Danie, now almost eight months old, was ready for sleep after they spent a very long day in Kruger, as they explained above, regarding gaining entrance into the park.

I wish I’d taken better photos of our visitors, but sometimes, I’m just more interested in the people than the photos.  Louise is next to Okey Dokey, and Okey Dokey’s husband Danie is seated to Tom’s right.  Louise’s Danie and I were at the far end of the table.

Who knows how long it will be until we see them again? They’ve invited us to visit them at the “farm,” a five-hour drive from here. Perhaps, at some point during our remaining months in South Africa (immigration permitting), we’ll visit them.

Soon we’re off to the little market at Marlothi Centre for a few items for tonight’s dinner and more carrots and apples for our wildlife friends. It will be a quiet few days for us with no plans to travel any further than the little market,  as the holiday season continues through Tuesday.

We hope you have a quiet and pleasant day wherever you may be! 

Photo from one year ago today, April 30, 2017:

Image result for international date line map
Map of the world illustrating how the International Date Line affects each side of the line. One year ago, we crossed, and we had two May firsts. Please click here for details.

Celebrations in Costa Rica…Cultures National Day…

This reminded me of the “Tilt-A-Whirl” at Disneyland (in my youth).  Tom remembered it as a “Sit and Spin.”

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

The hummingbird feeder has started leaking terribly, bringing bees and flies. We’ve been washing the tile on the veranda a few times a day. Today, we tossed it but hope to find a new feeder next time we head to town.

On Monday, when we went to town, we were thrilled to see evidence of “Cultures National Day,” which is described as follows from this website:

“Cultures National Day was once “Dia de la Raza,” a day to commemorate the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and the subsequent spreading of Spanish culture in the Americas. However, since 1994, the holiday’s name has been “Dia de las Culturas” or “Day of the Cultures.” This is to recognize the place of multiple, highly diverse cultures in Costa Rica’s history.

Spanish, other European, African, Amerindian, and Asian cultural influences all contribute to modern Costa Rica. And all of these cultural influences are on full display during Cultures National Day.

We walked down this narrow sidewalk next to the booths from the holiday festivities to avoid fast-moving cars on the street.

But despite the name change, the day still also honors Christopher Columbus. Columbus visited the area twice on his voyages to the New World, and he even named the coast of modern Costa Rica well, “Costa Rica” (Rich Coast).

Car-type Merry-Go-Round for the little tykes.

There will be singing, dancing, eating, and various cultural celebrations throughout Costa Rica for days on end for Cultures National Day. But Limon Province, where Columbus once made landfall, is the center of the celebration.

A carnival is held there during the week leading up to October 12th. You will see colorful costumes, hear marching bands, see teams of dancers dance down the streets, and much more. It is undoubtedly a unique experience you will not soon forget.”

These long corn-type doughy things were being fried in hot oil.  It sure smelled good.

The celebration in Atenas is much smaller than in Limon Province. However, over the weekend, we could hear the sounds of drums and fireworks, which we hear many days each week, holiday or not. The Ticos (citizens of Costa Rica) certainly like to celebrate. Therefore, we often hear music, drums, fireworks, and various explosive sounds that leave a puff of smoke in the low-lying clouds.

Does anyone know what these are? 

Here’s a list of annual holidays in Costa Rica:

Public Holidays in Costa Rica

  • January 1: New Year Day
  • April 11: Juan Santa Maria Day
  • Good Thursday (Holy or Great Thursday, Thursday before Easter)
  • Good Friday (Holy or Great Friday, Friday before Easter)
  • May 1: Workers or Labor Day (May Day)
  • July 25: Guanacaste Day
  • August 2: Virgin of Los Angeles Day
  • August 15: Mother´s Day
  • September 15: Independence Day
  • October 12: Cultures National Day (Columbus Day)
  • December 25: Christmas Day
This vendor was frying pork skewers.
We were disappointed we hadn’t made an effort to attend the festivities on their Independence Day on September 15th. But with my continuing recovery and lack of a rental car, we decided to stay behind. Now, as I continue to improve, we can anticipate me becoming more active in the future. 
A carnival was set up for the kids with a variety of rides.
Today, we’re staying in, hoping to use the pool. Yesterday, the pool guy told us to wait three hours before going in the water due to chemicals he’d used, which wouldn’t be until 1:30 pm. By that time, the clouds had rolled in with thunder at a distance. So we opted to forgo the pool.
Cotton candy for sale at the food kiosk on the street.
In 10 days before we leave for Nicaragua, we plan to use all the frozen food in the freezer in the event of a power outage while we’re away for two nights. We’ll leave a container on a shelf in the freezer filled with frozen water with a coin on top of the ice.
More rides on the ground of the church.
If the penny is on the bottom of the container when we return, we’ll know the power had been out for some time, and we’ll dispose of all of the perishable items in the refrigerator. Tom had heard about this logical method some time ago, and it makes sense to us!
Have a blissful day!

Photo from one year ago today, October 18, 2016:

Handmade fishing boats at the shore, made of plastic tubing in front of our villa in Sumbersari Bali. Click here for more details.