Day #4, no water…No power?…We knew what to expect in Africa…

A young giraffe and a few zebras blocking the road on our way to Jabula.

Note: All of today’s photos were taken last evening while going to Jabula Lodge and Restaurant for our usual Friday night dinner out. It was such fun to see these fantastic animals blocking the road while all drivers waited patiently for them to pass. Tom and I both said simultaneously, “Where in the world do you see such a sight?” Nowhere that we know of. What a delight!

We had no delusions about what to expect coming to Africa. Our expectations were low, with poverty, crime, and corruption raging through many African countries, including South Africa. Most tourists come to South Africa to experience its wildlife and beauty and don’t stay long enough to get caught up in its downside.

Power, water, and WiFi outages are to be expected rather than viewed as an anomaly. The time spent by various providers to repair such issues can be far beyond what we may be used to in other countries. It’s unlike anything most of us have experienced in the past.

Everyone waited patiently for the animals to clear the road.

This morning as I first began preparing this post, the power went out. No water. No power. Of course, when the power goes out, so does the WiFi. I suggested to Tom that it would be an excellent time to drive to the pharmacy in Komatipoort. I needed a prescription for antibiotics filled when the tooth for which I’d had a root canal was still hurting from six weeks ago.

Yesterday, I contacted Dr. Singh, and he wrote me a prescription. I had initially refused antibiotics hoping it would heal on its own. I’d had enough antibiotics for my teeth in the past year or more. But, after six weeks, he said it was imperative. If the drugs don’t work after the five-day cycle, I’ll have to have the tooth pulled. It’s the last molar on the bottom right, and I suppose I won’t bother to get an implant when the missing tooth isn’t noticeable when I smile or talk.

We drove to Komati, got the prescription filled, and headed back home. All the while, we were wondering what we’d do for dinner tonight. The dishwasher is filled with dirty dishes, and with a single sink in the kitchen, even if we boiled water, it would be cumbersome trying to rinse everything.  I told Tom to forget it. It’s not worth the hassle. We’ll use paper plates or eat out until the water comes back on.

Several giraffes were waiting to make their next move while on the side of the road.

Speaking of dining out, last night we went to Jabula for dinner. The receptionist, Danienne, for Dr. Singh in Malalane, brought the prescription to me since she lives in Marloth Park and, like us, she loves going to Jabula on Friday nights. We thanked her profusely and bought her and her friend a drink.

We ended up dining at the bar we’ve done before when it’s just the two of us. Dawn and Leon were both there, and we had lots of fun with them and other guests while we sat at the bar. Arriving at 1700 hrs, 5:00 pm, by 2030 hrs, 8:30 pm, we were out the door and headed back home for a pleasant remainder of the evening, streaming a few episodes of Netflix series.

Neither of us was in the mood for a day and night without power, water and WiFi. So, this morning when we returned from Komati, around 11:00 am, the power was restored, which made us both very relieved. Now, at almost noon, we are so grateful to have power and WiFi that we aren’t fussing so much over the water.

If it were a nice day, we would have gone to Kruger. But it’s drizzling off and on, and we’ll stay put.  Gosh, it’s hard to believe we’ll be leaving South Africa two months from today to head back to the US once again. If you missed our story yesterday about why we are returning to the US for a short stint, please click here.

Every zebra has its unique markings, not unlike a fingerprint. Note the unique patterns around this zebra’s eyes.

A special thanks to many of our readers who have written to us in support of this tough decision, all of which was precipitated by the difficultly of travel throughout the world right now. Sure, it may be easier to travel for a one or two-week vacation, but with us frequently being on the move or even staying in one location for a few months, Covid-19 has undoubtedly put a damper on our desire to visit many countries.

Plus, news about restrictions and quarantine requirements seems to change daily. We are not interested in losing more money due to this pandemic than we already have, which is well into the thousands of dollars.  We’re still hoping our five scheduled cruises beginning at the end of February 2022 will set sail and allow us to continue on our world travel path and objectives. Only time will tell.

May your travel goals and objectives also be realized over the next year, when we all hope and pray for a better outcome than being experienced now.

Photo from one year ago today, August 21, 2020:

From the year-ago post while in lockdown in Mumbai, India, on day #151. One of many towers at Peterhof Fountain Park and Gardens in St. Petersburg, Russia. For more photos, please click here.

Finally, a decision…This news may shock you!!!…It shocks us!…Also, day #3, no water…

Frank, eating his seeds from the veranda railing where no warthogs or bushbucks will bother him.

It took a lot of research and conversations, but we finally decided where we’ll go when we need a new visa stamp by October 23, 2021. We’d considered many options, but most countries in Africa have poor Covid control, inaccurate tracking, millions of unvaccinated people, many requiring quarantine, and are still, in one form or another, in lockdown.

When we’d planned a trip to Kenya months ago last minute, we had to cancel our plans when a new lockdown was instituted, making it impossible for us to go. We lost quite a bit of money when certain aspects of that trip were non-refundable. Over the past 18 months, after canceling the balance of our tour of India, overall, we have lost several thousand dollars due to Covid-19.

This lone mongoose was staring at us, looking for paloney or eggs. Once we go inside to get them, she signals to all her friends, and suddenly dozens are waiting for the treats along with her.

We do not want to risk losing more money, with more possible cancelations, lockdowns, quarantines, and being subject to added exposure to the virus. After all, we got the J & J vaccine which apparently provides less efficacy than the other two-shot vaccines. Neither of us wants to take the risk of becoming ill in a country with poor medical care and infrastructure.

Perhaps we are overly cautious. But, when we keep hearing about people dying, even here in Marloth Park, many of whom were vaccinated, we came to the hard realization that we must return to the US for now. Yes, the cases in the US are increasing daily. But, if we did become ill, we feel we’d have the best chance while in the US instead of seeking medical care in such countries as Zambia, Kenya, or another African country.

As of yesterday, we booked our return flight to the US for October 21st, the best day for travel at the best possible pricing. This does not mean we are stopping our world travels. It simply means we will spend a total of four months in the US in Arizona and then Florida (for our friends Karen and Rich’s wedding). We’re surprised at ourselves for making this highly logical decision, not motivated at all by our usual desire for wanderlust.

Thick Neck/Bad Leg started eating the leftovers of Frank’s seeds after he’d wandered off.

Our first stop will be Phoenix, Arizona, where we will spend more time with some of Tom’s siblings. His sister Colleen, who won’t be coming to AZ this season due to her husband Gene’s health, has offered her place to us in Apache Junction. Yep, it’s back to a park model and RV park, but this time, it’s much larger than the one we rented two years ago. Photos will follow once we arrive.

But, staying in this location allows us to spend time with some of Tom’s sisters when they arrive in Apache Junction in November for the winter season. Tom is the youngest of the now remaining eight siblings after others have passed away. Originally, there were 11.

At this point, we have five cruises pending, the first setting sail in February 2022. If this and the other cruises don’t set sail, we will make a new plan to continue our world journey. At no point are we considering stopping our lives of world travel or stopping our daily posts. We need to take a breather during these terrible times of Covid-19.

Siegfried and Roy are back in close contact with the mongooses who don’t eat pellets.

If a booster for the J & J vaccine is instituted, potentially increasing our immunity while we are in the US for added protection and the purpose of future travels, we will most likely opt to participate. These are crazy times.

Our flight back to the US is booked, our stay at the wedding venue in Florida is booked, and we will use this time to enjoy ourselves and make the very best of the situation. Thanks to Tom’s sister Colleen for offering her place in Apache Junction, AZ, and also to friends Karen and Rich for inviting us to stay with them before and after their wedding. Good times are on the horizon, for sure.

Many of our friends in Marloth Park will be gone in November and won’t return until later in 2022. It will prove to be a good time for us to depart, returning once we know more about the future, the same position many of us are in at this time. We won’t travel to Minnesota in the winter months but will see everyone again when we return to the US again in May if that particular cruise sets sail.

Several kudus stopped by for pellets.

Now, for the harsh reality of today…it is day #3 without water. No showers, no clean dishes, no laundry being done, no easy toilet flushing. We wash our hands and bodies with bottled water, taking “sponge baths” each day. Thank goodness we have plenty of hand sanitizer, which we’re often using. We’re wearing the same clothes three days in a row to save on laundry accumulating, as we did while in lockdown in India, only changing into clean underwear daily.

At the slow pace of the repairs, we expect to be without water through the weekend or longer. They just found the parts for the repairs, and they are on their way, but it could be days until the repairs are completed.

Last night, it was easy when we spent the evening with Louise and Danie. Tonight, at 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs, we’ll head to Jabula for our usual Friday night dinner. Rita and Gerhard are still gone on their road trip to the Drakensberg Mountains, while Kathy, Don, Linda, and Ken are on safari at Sabi Sands in Kruger. We always enjoy time at Jabula, whether it’s just the two of us or with our friends.

May your day be filled with wise decisions. Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 20, 2020:

There was no post on this date one year ago when our new site was in the process of going “live,” and as typical during such transitions, we were unable to post.