Challenge at the grocery store…Adapting to food differences presents challenges…How much did we spend?

Aussies we met on the ship suggested we try kangaroo meat.  I haven’t convinced myself to try this yet.  Tom is definitely not interested.

For those of our readers who have little interest in food, the cost of food, the availability of food, and our ability to find foods appropriate to our way of eating, this post is not for you. Tomorrow, we’ll be back with more non-food related conversation.

Let’s face it, food is a big part of all of our lives. We may find pleasure in what we chose to eat. Food has the ability to provide us with good health. Some revel in the shopping and preparation of food. Food may accompany certain recreational occasions. Food and wine (or other drink of choice) may represent romance and celebrations.

We can’t escape from food, even if we want to. We have to eat to survive. We may choose to enjoy the process of figuring out our next meal or we can struggle with guilt and angst (or not) over a stop for fast food or other less than healthy pre-made and restaurant food. 

Ground beef is referred to as mince in Australia as we found in some other parts of the world such as in Africa, Italy and Portugal.

Some who prefer not to cook may have found excellent sources of pre-made or pre-cooked meals that fit both their survival and goal of good health. There are many who may choose ways of eating that have no rhyme or reason or may prefer a wide array of eating options to include: low carb, low fat, paleo, low carb, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan, and many more that have brought them to a point of good health. 

Wouldn’t all of us choose to eat in a manner that brings us good health, longevity and also a level of enjoyment in eating our chosen type of diet? For many younger people (and older as well), little thought is given to what they eat or the long-term consequences of their choices. That, too, becomes a choice in itself.

I’m not here to preach any particular manner of eating. If I’ve seemed to do so, as we’ve traveled the world, striving to maintain a level of health that will allow us to continue on for years to come, I apologize for “stuffing” you with our choices and opinions. The bottom line, what works for each of us?

You can easily enlarge this receipt to read the details of yesterday’s grocery shopping at Woolie’s. The AUD $227.57 for Woolie’s translates to US $175.86.  This total didn’t include the veggies at US $32.77, AUD $42.41, and Italian sausage at US $13.45, AUD  $17.40.

In the past few weeks, Tom has returned to my way of eating beginning back on the ship on the last few days when he’d had his fill of bread, sweets and starchy foods.  He’s since lost 15 pounds of belly fat. His shorts and pants now button easily. 

I look at him several times of day, in awe of the reduction in the size of his waistband, surely an indicator of future good health. Extreme amounts of belly fat has been proven, over and over again to have a bearing on health, well being and life span. 

I wouldn’t care about the appearance of a big belly if it was an indicator of good health. But, unfortunately, it is not. And nothing gives us both more joy than knowing that our continued good health is the primary reason we’ll have the opportunity to continue on our journey long into the future. It is only poor health or serious injury that will put an end to this life we live.

Fallen coconuts sprouting into what will eventually be coconut trees.

Yesterday, we headed to Woolie’s, a popular supermarket in Australia. Having visited a few other markets, we found that overall Woolie’s has the best selections. 

Over the past week, I’d made a list of several items we’d needed to purchase for meals that we particularly enjoy befitting our chosen diet that we’ve mentioned many times in these posts; one, our grain, starch, and sugar-free sausage, mushroom, onion, and olive pizza made with a cheese and egg crust and two, a staple for us, our “unwich,” a bread-free sandwich wrapped in parchment paper using large romaine lettuce leaves to hold it together. 

Here’s the link to our gluten-free pizza recipe.

Here’s the link to instructions and recipes for making our bread-less sandwiches.

We hadn’t had either of these meals in over a month and were looking forward to having them again, leaving leftovers for a few more meals. As I mentioned in the past, we have little room in the small fridge and freezer making it challenging to stock up for a week or more.

With metered wifi, we won’t be able to spend time online looking for names of plants and flowers. We saw this particular bloom in Hawaii but can’t recall the name of it. Any suggestions?

On our menu for the upcoming week, we’d planned for the following meals:
1.  3 nights:  Unwich, made fresh each night. The fresh deli meats only last four days before spoiling and thus it makes sense to have this for three nights
2.  3 nights:  Homemade pizza
3.  2 nights:  Homemade coconut chicken tenders
All of the above includes a side of vegetables and a salad, made fresh each day. This menu plan allows for eight dinners and few, if any, trips back to the market except for a few fresh veggies.

As I wandered through the market while Tom sat on a bench nearby ready to help me when I was done, I found myself at a loss when I couldn’t find many of the items necessary to make the above meals befitting my way of eating.

All of the pasta sauces necessary for making the pizza were loaded with sugar, starch, wheat and chemicals. At the deli, all but one type of the deli meats (a bland-looking ham) we typically use in making the sandwiches; roast beef, turkey, ham and salami had massive amounts of sugar, gluten and chemicals. 

Tropical flowers proliferate in tropical climates such as here in Trinity Beach in the northern part of Australia which is warmer year-round than many other parts of the continent. This is a bottle brush flower which we’d also seen in Kauai at the Princeville Botanical Gardens.

Deli meats should have no added sugar and less than one gram of carbohydrates per serving. Many of the meats were 5 carb grams per serving indicating large amounts of additives. Plain beef, pork, chicken, turkey have zero grams of carbs per serving.

After driving the deli guy crazy asking him to look up the ingredients in the meats, which appeared to be freshly-sliced meat, we discovered that the meats were filled with grains and sugars of varying types, none of which I could or would be willing to eat other than the bland ham. 

Since Tom doesn’t react to small amounts of sugar or gluten, I purchased the usual items for him. Would I not be able to have an unwich, one of my favorite items, while we live in Australia?

The only solution that would work for me was to make my sandwiches with cooked uncured streaky bacon, avocado, natural Jarlsburg cheese without additives, the gluten, the bland ham, spinach, lettuce, tomato and onion, an alternative that proved to be delicious.

We’d never seen anything quite like these growing fruit or pods as in this tree in the yard.  Any ideas?

As for the pizza that we’ll make in a few days, I will forgo the sauce, instead spreading a bit of our homemade ketchup (I made this the first few days we arrived), seasoned with Italian spices. This will ensure I won’t be consuming gluten, additives, or sugar. Luckily, I found free-range organic chicken without added hormones and won’t have any trouble making our coconut chicken tenders. 

I must admit I scoured the market attempting to find more appropriate items. We use a few pre-made products. A few nights ago, I used a bottle of what was referred to as “American” mustard that I’d purchased, never thinking to read the label. American mustard is usually made with mustard seeds, vinegar, salt, and water. 

When I squeezed a glob of the mustard onto my plate and dipped my gluten-free sausage into it, taking a bite I was shocked by the sweet taste. It was loaded with sugar, one portion including four grams of sugar compared to a teaspoon of sugar. I wiped the mustard off my plate, later tossing the squeeze bottle into the trash.

We’ve yet to use the pool when its been cloudy or raining most days since we arrived, including today.

In all, my disappointment is over the long list of ingredients in many foods which includes chemicals, grains, starches, and sugar that are entirely unnecessary in our diets. This is not an Australian thing. It is universal in many countries throughout the world many of which we visited over these past few years.

As a result, I’ll stick to my usual “food in its natural state” as best as I can while avoiding items loaded with ingredients unsuitable for my way of eating. I’m certainly looking forward to a repeat of last night’s unwich. Of course, Tom was content with his giant bread-free sandwich.

Otherwise, I was thrilled over the mostly organic vegetables we purchased at the indoor farmers market which when I washed at home, made me smile over the worms and bugs I encountered. The uneven sizes of the produce and the bugs assured me that few if any, chemicals were used in the growing process.

These lovely gladiolas are growing in the yard.

Finally, when I wasn’t able to find Italian sausage of any type in the market, I was ready to give up the idea of pizza entirely. Tom doesn’t care for pepperoni or other meats on pizza. After we paid for the veggies at the farmers market and Woolies, I headed to the nearby meat market in the mall. 

They not only had the Italian sausage but it was gluten and sugar-free. The butcher explained that a small amount of rice flour was used in the preparation to hold it together which is a very small amount, won’t have a negative impact on me especially with the small portion I’ll eat. Also, this meat market had all the grass-fed meat, both beef, and lamb, that we could possibly want during our three months in Trinity Beach. 

Included today are photos of the receipts for the meat market, Woolie’s, and the farmer’s market. Overall, we spent US $238.66, AUD $308.88, an amount with which we’re pleasantly surprised. That averages at US $29.83, AUD $38.61, keeping in mind this included paper products and a few non-food items as well.

Today, we’re off to the fitness center where I’ll sign up for a membership and do my first workout while Tom waits for me, reading his book. Later, we’ll take a drive to check out more scenery in the area. Tomorrow, weather providing, a road trip may be in order. It’s raining today.

Have a day filled with wonderful surprises!

                                              Photo from one year ago today, June 23, 2014:

The soccer world cup was in full swing and the citizens of Madeira were excited and engaged in the process.  For details for this date, please click here.

Off we go!…Final expenses for Kauai…Over budget in one category only…

Our final video of the Laysan Albatross.  Great for a huge chuckle. Nature is amazing!

Today, we fly away to Oahu to stay overnight at Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach. We used points we’d accumulated to pay for the hotel using the link on our site for

We chose this hotel when our intent was to be close to Cheeseburger in Paradise, our favorite Waikiki restaurant, and to have easy access to walking along the beach boulevard, Kalakaua Avenue.

Tom had wanted to have a photo with the car since we first noticed it in downtown Hanalei. Finally, during our last few days, we got it done.

Tomorrow around noon we’ll grab a taxi to take us the short distance to the pier in Honolulu, where our ship, Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas will be ready for boarding. Need I say, for the zillionth time, we’re kind of excited?

The final packing and cleaning of the condo are complete, and we’re all set to go. Check-out time is 10:00 am but our flight isn’t until 1:30 pm so we’ll take our time getting out the door when the cleaning people aren’t due to arrive until 10:30.

After the first half-hour, the clouds rolled in and it began to rain in the mountains.

Yesterday, I began calculating the final expenses to share here today. These calculations include every expense we’ve incurred in Kauai for a total of 128 days with the exception of clothing and supply purchases we’ve made during the lengthy stay.  Here they are:

Rent (128 nights):                           $ 9,000.00 (special rate for long term stay, web exposure)
Car Rental & Fuel:                              3,492.32
Airfare to and from Kauai:                     576.00
Tours & Entertainment:                         450.00
Dining in Restaurants:                           905.92
Groceries & Household Products:          5,679.79
Total Expenses:                            $20,104.03

Average Cost per Day:                  $     157.06
Average Cost per Month:              $  4,777.24

We are pleasantly surprised with the totals although we were over on the budgeted amount for groceries by $579.79 when originally we estimated food costs at $5100. (Tom says that we were only over budget by $4.52 each day. No big deal, right?)

Most of our food purchases include mostly organic vegetables (when available), grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, free-range organic chicken and butter and bake a few items with expensive coconut flour at $8.95 for 12 ounces and almond flour at $15 for 12 ounces. Of course, the extra costs for these added considerably to the totals.

A group of tourists from a couple of tour vans walked along the pier with the guy in the blue shirt singing and playing the ukulele. Most likely they were cruise passengers out on a day tour from Norwegian’s Pride of America.

As an alternative view of our food expenses, we never eat more than two meals per day and purchase no snacks or munching type foods other than quality cheeses, meats, and nuts.  

We use organic real cream in our coffee. We’ve fed the birds no less than $25 of raw nuts. We buy no canned or bottled sodas (other than Sprite Zero for Tom’s occasional cocktail) and we only drink iced tea. Also, we’ve replaced most of the staples we used during our stay that were on hand when we arrived including paper products and cleaning supplies.

The point in Hanalei with the shape of a dragon on the side facing us inspired the song “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

When you consider the above grocery bill, it averages $44.37 per day. Considering the quality of the food we’ve consumed, we find this total to be acceptable, especially when dining out wouldn’t guarantee food quality with an average cost of $68 including tip, for a meal at a casual local restaurant without cocktails, appetizers or desserts. 

If we’d eaten dinner out every night, we’d have spent another $3,024.64 and still had to purchase household goods and miscellaneous items for breakfast and snacks.  

If one lived in Kauai long term and enjoyed making quality meal, occasionally dining out, and visiting various sites, we estimate the monthly cost with a modest rent, food, dining out, and a car rental it could be approximately $4500 a month.

This was the view when we sat in our chairs in the sand.

We didn’t have to include the cost of the hotel in Poipu for my birthday when this room was also booked using a “free night.” However, we did include meals, fuel, and miscellaneous in the appropriate categories.

As I upload this post, within minutes, we’ll be running around checking every nook and crannies for any items we may have missed. We’ll place the door key back in the lockbox and be on our way.

We’ll be back tomorrow morning from the hotel in Oahu with an update on the flight, dinner in Honolulu, and an assessment of the hotel. If time allows and we get connected on the ship’s wifi, we may write a short blurb with a few photos of our first impressions aboard the ship. If not, we’ll be back on Monday morning with the scoop.

As the chick’s fluffy feathers fall away, the new feathers quickly fill in. We’d love to see as this progresses and will be able to do so by watching this live webcam from Cornell Labs.

Dear Readers, thanks for hanging in there with us all of these months. We realize at times, our stories were a stretch and perhaps a bit mundane. Let’s face it, daily life in itself isn’t always exciting and eventful. It was a long haul we may never repeat in one location. Also, it was a long stretch  coming up with stories and photos during the eight months in Hawaii.

Please stay tuned and look forward to new adventures to begin aboard ship for 18 nights, across the International Dateline, the equator and living in Australia beginning on June 11th.

Bye, bye, Birdie!  You’ve made it all the more wonderful!

Birdie sitting on the railing of the lanai trying to get us to bring out the nuts. How could we ever refuse when we heard this song?

Have a safe Memorial weekend!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, May 23, 2014:

The entire village of Campanario is built on the side of a mountain.  The roads are steep and winding like nothing we’d ever seen.  There were tunnels everywhere, older ones made with stone walls.  For more details on that date, please click here.

One more day until departure!…Saying goodbye to friends and wildlife…Last Kauai photos…Links to other Hawaiian Island photos and total expenses….

We seldom are able to get a photo of us together without imposing it on others. On occasion, when appropriate we’ll offer to take a photo of a couple or a family hoping they’ll also take ours.

Yesterday, at noon we put on our swimsuits and headed to the beach at Hanalei Bay to sit in our Costco chairs, one last time, gaze at the sea and walk on the pier. The sun was shining when we arrived and, not surprisingly, gone by the time we left. We took some photos and languished in the beauty surrounding us. We’ll share those photos tomorrow.

This green anole has begun shedding its skin. We were excited to see this at the overlook across the street.

The beach was quiet, perhaps due to the fact that permanent residents may have gone to the mainland or other islands for the upcoming Memorial weekend. Other than a few tour vans that arrived loaded with tourists, it was peaceful and quiet except for our own endless chatter on plans for the future. It was perfect!

This partnership that we’ve watched daily between Birdie and Ms. Birdie reminds us of the partnership we share, always looking out for one another. This is a favorite photo.

In a prior post, we’d mentioned that we’d share some favorite photos from the three other Hawaiian islands we’ve visited over these many months. For expediency, instead, we’ve listed the links to the final posts that include some of our favorite photos from each island. Plus, these links include the final expenses for each location. Please click here to view:

Big Island:

Tomorrow’s post will include the total expenses and final photos of our time in Kauai. Please check back.

Another exquisite view from the hilltop at Princeville Ranch.

Communicating with the many friends we made over the past several months while living in Kauai continues up over these past few days via email and in person. This afternoon, we’ll visit Richard and Elaine at their home to say goodbye and give them our two Costco lawn chairs that we certainly can’t take with us. Who better than Richard to inherit these chairs who will undoubtedly use them at upcoming Full Moon Parties?

An ocean view from the highest point at the Princeville Ranch when we toured the property with Curlie, the owner.

This evening, we’re meeting Alice and Travis for dinner at Hideaways across the road, giving us the opportunity to say goodbye to them in person. We’d planned to eat leftovers, but when Alice asked if we’d like to meet for dinner via Facebook messenger, we were thrilled to be able to see them one more time.

We’ve gotten a kick out of all the feral chickens, chicks and roosters found everywhere in Kauai.

Yesterday, our new next-door neighbors followed us to the neighborhood so we could show them the albatross families and take a few final photos. To our delight, we ended up taking a hysterical video that we’ll be posting tomorrow on our final Kauai post, along with an expense breakdown. If you’d like a good chuckle, make sure you watch that short video in its entirety.

There are an estimated 1100 Hawaiian Monk Seals left in the world. Having the opportunity to see this one was pure “safari luck.”

I’m mostly packed. Tom will pack later today. Now, we’re doing our final loads of laundry. Today, Tom decided we should wash all of his shirts so they’ll be hanging all over the condo to get the wrinkles out before he packs.

At times, the wildlife staff will fence off the Hawaiian Monk Seals to avoid curiosity seekers from getting too close. The morning Julie and I spotted this one, she/he was comfortably at peace, longing on the beach without a fence enclosing her/him.

Usually, each day we wash one load of clothing and towels. Once we board that ship, we’ll have to accumulate dirty clothes until the ship offers a deal on laundry, usually $30 for one grocery sized bag. This bag usually arrives after the first week. 

Another breathtaking sunset in Kauai.

It’ll be tricky waiting until that paper bag arrives when we have few clothes. In the interim, we’ll be washing underwear and swimsuits in the bathroom sink. We could have them done piece by piece, but at the ship’s cost of $5 for a single tee shirt, it makes no sense. Wearing most items more than once or twice will be necessary.  Then again, this is not unfamiliar to us.

View over Hanalei Bay.

Fortunately, our clothes never smell of body odor even if we wear the same item twice. Neither of us sweats that much and freshly showered a few times a day, in the morning and after the pool, our clothes stay fresh for a few days. 

Hanalei Wildlife Refuse.

The bigger problem is spilling food on our clothes, particularly Tom, who really doesn’t appear to be a messy diner. But, invariably he has coffee, iced tea, or food spots on the front of his shirts. I’m not exempt from this issue either.

This Jackfruit is known for its medicinal value. 

Packing and flying have a few nuances we have to consider, especially the no more than 3-ounce liquid rules.  Although the flight is less than 30 minutes to Oahu, all the rules still apply. Thus, we’ll pack our toiletries we’ll need overnight at the hotel and pack larger liquid containers in the suitcases which we don’t plan to open until we get to the ship.

I spotted this gorgeous rhododendron on the tour of the Princeville Botanical Garden.

Yesterday, I threw out my worn purse. It had heavy metal buckles. The only purses I have left are two tiny evening bags, one black, one beige, that I use on occasion when we go to dinner which I am planning to give away today. Otherwise, Tom carries my few items in his pockets. Why women’s clothing doesn’t have ample pockets baffles me.

This bottlebrush type of flower was a mystery to the tour guide and the owner of the Princeville Botanical Garden.

Instead of a purse in which to carry my small black cosmetic bags, a brush, and comb, my wallet and camera,  going forward I’ll be using the big yellow insulated Costco bag as a carry on which has multiple uses as a grocery bag or beach bag.

Another view of the Hanalei Wildlife Refuge. 

I can fit my purse stuff and the pill bag inside the Costco bag so it will appear that I have only one carry-on bag instead of two. Tom will carry one computer bag, a duffel bag, and the rolling cart. With this average of two items each, we’re good on all flights going forward. Minimize. It’s a way of life for us.

Could these orchids be more beautiful?

That’s it for today folks! We’ll be back tomorrow morning shortly before we depart for the airport. On Sunday, we’ll be posting in the morning from Honolulu as we wait for the appropriate time to grab a taxi and head to the pier. Yeah!

Happy Friday! Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2014:

Zooming in to quite a distance from our veranda in Madeira, we could see this man on his roof near the clothesline. Dryers are unheard of in many other countries. Once again we were hanging our clothes outdoors.  For details, please click here.

Transportation issues..Llttle pink car is no more…A driving video…Scroll down for the first posting of an elephant video we took in Kruer National Park…

A segment of our return drive from Blyde River Canyon on our way back to Marloth Park.

Renting a car for a one, two-week, or even a 30 day holiday is no big deal. Trying to rent a car for over 30 days is difficult unless one is willing to pay considerably more disproportionately. We’re not.

Wildflowers growing at the overlook on the Crocodile River.

Using online booking sites, including the major rental car company’s sites, while searching for the best rates we’ve found that any requested rental over 30 days, dramatically changes everything. 

Creek on the Panorama Route.

The rental car companies posted rates for under 30 days are fair. However, they have no interest in renting cars for those same great rates for longer than 30 days which presents an issue for us. The rate jumps exponentially once the 30 day period is over, often doubling.

We rented the little pink car for 30 days for US $519, ZAR $5526. To extend that rate was unappealing.  Extending the rental period resulted in daily rates in excess of US $30, ZAR $319. Many days, we don’t go out.

This Hyena peeked out of his den to check us out at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Hyenas chew on the bones of animals distributing small shreds to their offspring for the nutrients. When he went back inside we could easily hear the unnerving sounds of bone-crunching.

Our plan was to return the pink car last Saturday to Budget at the Mpumalanga/Nelspruit Airport on our return trip from Blyde River Canyon. We intended to pick up another car that we’d booked at another company also located at the airport, paying roughly US $1100, ZAR $11,713 for our remaining 41 days  (at that time) in Marloth Park. 

While heading out to dinner around 7:00 pm on Saturday after returning from Blyde River Canyon, Okee Dokee spotted this baby giraffe and mother.Notice the size differential in the mom on the right and the baby. The photo was taken in the dark resulting in the lack of clarity.

The original daily rate for the pink car was US $17.50, ZAR $186.34. The remaining 41-day contract for which we paid online was US $26.83, ZAR $285.68 per day. By paying this 65% increase we could avoid having to make another long trip back and forth to the airport when 30 additional days had passed. We’d decided to bite the bullet and pay it.

On Friday evening after dinner, our last night at the Blyde River Canyon Lodge, we received an email informing us that, although we’d already paid the entire balance in full, they were canceling our contract and refunding our money. They didn’t want the car “out that long.” Actually, they didn’t want the car “out that long at that price.” 

This close up is of a baby Warthog, less than two months old, illustrating how the warts have already grown on the face. Males have four warts on the face, females have two.  Notice the extra set of warts near his eyes indicating that this is a male.

There we were leaving in the morning for the long drive to the airport returning the pink car and receiving a message that we had no car for the return trip to Marloth Park from the airport, an hour and a half drive.

This young male, less than two months old, has already grown his tucks.

With our intention to stay calm, while figuring out solutions for any problems that arise, we tossed around a few options:

1. Re-rent the pink car at almost double the rate we’d originally paid keeping it until we returned to the airport to depart on February 28th.
2. Re-rent another car for another 30 days and pay the fees to extend it at the higher rates for the remaining 11 days.
3.  Re-rent another car for 30 days, returning it to the airport, get our past driver, Okee Dokee, to pick us up at the airport and drive us back to Marloth Park with no rental car for the remaining 11 days
4.  Don’t re-rent any car and have Okee Dokee pick us up at the airport, driving us several times a week for all of our outings over our remaining time in this area.

This young female has grown these feelers bristles to aid in burrowing into holes that warthogs use for protection by stealing holes from other animals.  The baby warthogs enter the holes head first.  A mature warthog, including moms with babies, enter the hole butt first allowing them to be prepared to attack if any potential predators try to enter.

The answer was readily available in the “math.” We calculated the cost of the driver three to four times a week, based on mileage rates and it proved to be 50% of what we’d pay for the rental car. For us, it was a no-brainer.

Do we feel trapped without a car?  Not at all. We can go anywhere we’d like easily contacting Okee Dokee by text. As a lifelong resident of this area, she too loves wildlife, readily stopping for photos. Plus, we thoroughly enjoy her companionship.

Tree frog hanging on the edge of the pool checking us out.  Look at those functional toes! Could this be a baby from the nests hanging over the pool?

She suggested we keep track of our outings and pay her in one fell swoop, at the end. I created a nifty page in Excel with her rates, dates, and locations that we choose to visit keeping track of the accumulating balance.  We’ll generously tip her excellent service at the end.

This car rental challenge would not be an issue if the rental facilities were nearby. We’d simply rent three cars for three 30-day periods at the best possible rates, dropping off the car and picking up another. That would have been easy.

The “Three Little Pigs” are getting big. Mom is standing off to the side while they all wait for us to throw out a few pellets. Of course, we complied. 

There was no way that we were interested in going back and forth to the airport many times when its a three-hour round trip, including the time it takes to process the rental. That’s three half days wasted. With the pleasure we experience daily, surrounded by wildlife while sitting on the veranda at our vacation home, every single day is precious.

With only 36 days remaining of our time in Marloth Park, we’re content with our decision. On February 28th, Okee Dokee will drive us to the Mpumalanga airport to begin the lengthy flight to Morocco. Last night, she dropped us off for dinner at the Serene Oasis restaurant located on the Crocodile River, picking us up a few hours later. With her, there’s no pressure to hurry, and no sense of feeling rushed.

The “Three Little Pigs” chased off this shy male warthog.  He decided to hide by the pool until they left to see if there would be any pellets left for him. He looked very worried.  Yes, we tossed him a batch once the “family” had departed.

Shortly, she’ll pick us up at noon to take us to Komatipoort for grocery shopping and Tom’s 12:30 haircut appointment while she patiently waits for us. Tom hasn’t had a haircut in three months which was halfway through our 89-day stay in Diani Beach, Kenya. 

This won’t be the first time we’ve been without “wheels” and surely won’t be the last. With special arrangements we’ve made with excellent drivers in Belize, Dubai, Kenya, South Africa, and more, we’ve managed to function well paying reasonable rates.

With the money we’ll have saved on car rentals in South Africa, factoring in our costs for a driver, it more than paid the entire cost of the three days we spent in Blyde River Canyon last week. 

  To see the detailed past story of this lone elephant that we encountered in Kruger Park last Wednesday, please click here.

It’s all in the planning, the adaptation, and the acceptance that our lives aren’t always as convenient as in our old lives. But, the adventure, the joy, and the fulfillment make it all worthwhile.