The long term commitment…

Tom’s dinner at a restaurant in Morocco in 2014. I can’t recall the meat, but there sure were a lot of chips (as fries are called in other countries).

If someone asked me if I could commit to writing an essay every day of the year, my answer would be, “No way.” The daily constraints of taking the time and attempting to be creative would be far beyond my level of consistency and dedication to such a repetitive event.

Well, here we are, in three days, on March 15, having done these posts daily, except for the first year, posting for the past 12 years. We began in 2012, before we started our travels, to share the experiences we had even before we embarked on our years-long journey.

We initially thought we might last a few years, maybe even five years, but we never anticipated we’d be in 2024 and still be homeless and traveling most of the time. The exception has been, lately, the necessary time we’ve been spending in the US to do paperwork and medical appointments.

Now, as that time in the US is creeping toward an end, with only about three months to wrap up this time, visiting family and these important other objectives.

When we recently discovered there would be a “Jubilee Celebration” for Tom’s sister, Sister Beth’s 70th year as a nun, we’d have been on our way to South Africa on June 15. Instead, we may leave a day or two later, not arriving in Marloth Park until June 18th.

This morning, Louise and I chatted back and forth on WhatsApp when I asked her if we could change our arrival and departure dates, assuming we’d get there by June 18th, give or take a day. Of course, Louise was happy to accommodate this change. So we can relax, not be concerned about our late arrival, and attend Sister Beth’s event.

But, soon enough, we’ll be moving on and, at that time, have more exciting posts to share with all of you. Many of our readers have written about how much they enjoy wildlife photos, and when we get there, we will be on a mission to share as many photos as possible, along with pictures of social events and local food.

As far as what we’ll do at the end of the 88 days in Marloth Park, at this point, we don’t have a clue. We’re waiting to find out the results of my cardiac ultrasound on March 27 to decide where we’ll go after we’re done in Africa. We’ll be very excited to make new plans if all goes well with the test.

Today, Tom will leave for an appointment at our bank to get several documents notarized and in the mail. He’ll take an Uber for the five-mile trip and should return a few hours later.

With the pizza gone, we’re making one of our favorite dinners, keto “unwiches,” which we haven’t had in a few months. We typically go through the litany of favorite meals, cycling through every two months, occasionally trying something new. I think most home cooks do the same, repeating the same favorite meals over and over again.

Have a fantastic Tuesday. See you tomorrow!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, March 12, 2014:

This photo was taken from a third-floor rooftop of a restaurant where we dined in the past week. For more photos, please click here.

Avocados, popular in South Africa…Finally found a solution to ripen them quickly…More trail cam sightings!

Here are the remaining eight small avocados from a bag of ten we purchased a few days ago.

Why would a travel-related site write about avocados? I could say that regardless of where we live, we have to eat. But, in this case, it’s more about cultural interests, agriculture, and the diet of those who prefer to eat certain nutritious foods. Avocados are among this group in South Africa.

Certain food items are impossible to find as we’ve traveled the world. If they are available, they are costly and often difficult to ripen. In many cases, I’ve left avocados on the counter, hoping they’d soften in a few days, only to be disappointed when they don’t ripen at all or are tough and tasteless when they do soften sufficiently to cut and eat.

We’re always thrilled to see the porcupine photos the following day.

South Africa is 12th in the world in avocado production s indicated on this site, as listed below:

“Statistics of Avocado Production

The export estimate for the 2019 season from March to October is 14.5 million of 4 kg cartons, which amounts to 58 000 tons. Derek Donkin, CEO of the South African Subtropical Growers’ Association (Subtrop), estimates that the total crop of 2019 will be 110 000 tonnes. This includes local, export, and fruit sold for processing into an avocado puree and oil.

Future production of avocados in South Africa is expected to grow with an additional 1000 ha – 1500 ha to be planted annually for at least the next five years from 2019 onwards. Exports should exceed 20 million cartons at this growth rate and will expand as long as the industry grows.

Is this a young porcupine with undeveloped quills?

The bulk of new plantings in South Africa is the black-skinned Hass and Hass-type avocados. New green-skinned avocados are aimed at either the early or late local market.

The informative ‘Avocado Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2019-2024’ report estimates an increase in avocado consumption in China. Already in 2017, China imported 22% more than the previous year. China imports avocados mainly from Chile, Mexico, and Peru, all three countries having beneficial terms of trade with China.

World Production of Avocados

Approximately 76% of avocados are produced in the Americas, 11% in Africa, 9% in Asia, and 2% in both Europe and the South Pacific. Mexico is the world’s biggest producer of avocados, with an approximation of 1.5 million tonnes out of global production of 3.2 million tonnes as of 2018.

Tom was standing in the doorway to the veranda when he spotted the genet.

South America, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina are the large producers of avocados, with Peru exporting 60% of South America’s volume. Colombia’s plantings are growing faster than South Africa’s, with 1 500 to 2 000 ha planted each year. Colombia has also become the largest exporter of Hass avocados in the world.

In Africa, avocado producers include South Africa at 120 000 tonnes; Kenya produces an estimation of 80 000 tonnes, Tanzania and Zimbabwe each has 5 000 tonnes, and newcomer Mozambique is at 1 000 tonnes.

Other countries producing avocados include the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, Mauritius, Madeira, the Canary Islands, southern Spain, and southern France, as well as Sicily, Crete, Israel, and Egypt.

South Africa’s Avocado Exports

Between 45 and 50% of South Africa’s avocados are exported, and 10 – 15% is processed into oil and pulp. The rest is sold locally. The main importing countries of South African avocados are Europe – particularly the Netherlands, France and Spain, the UK, and the Baltic states at 95%. Small volumes are exported to Africa, the Middle East, and Hong Kong.

Is this genet going to become a regular visitor to our garden at night? Most likely, it will, especially when we put out some meat.

South African industries and government are negotiating market access to the USA, mainland China, and Japan. Currently, strict phytosanitary requirements limit access to these markets. Peru, as another southern hemisphere producer, is South Africa’s most serious competitor, both in volume and timing, for the supply of avocados into northern hemisphere markets.”

As a result of how prolific avocados are in South Africa, I often buy a bag of small avocados, the Haas dark skin variety. I have had nothing but a good experience every time. The typical cost for the bag of ten small avocados is usually under US $5.00, ZAR 77.

When purchasing one of these bags, all of them are hard and unripened. I always plan to ensure they are soft and ready to eat when I buy them. In a perfect world, I have one of these small-sized avocados in my salad each night, but I have to plan to accomplish this based on when we shop and when we’re dining at home.

One day, a few months ago, I placed two avos on the window sill. They weren’t in direct sunlight, but it’s warmer there. By the way, I never refrigerate avos unless I’ve only eaten half and plan to have the other half the next day. Avo lovers know so well that they don’t keep well after peeling. They are ready to eat within 36 hours of placing the small avos on the window sill. I always have sufficient ripe avos and never waste by this process.

Years ago, I read that if you store a portion of the avo with the pit in a sealed container, it will keep for a few days. Although I rarely leave half of these small avos, I’ve tried this, and it seems to work well for 24 hours when refrigerated.

As for nutrition, avocados are ideal for my way of eating, as indicated below:

“Mini Avocados contain 4g total carbs, 1g net carbs, 8g fat, 1g protein, and 80 calories.” What is a “net carb?” Some low-carb/keto enthusiasts deduct fiber from the total carbs. I tend to count the total carbs rather than subtract the fiber since it’s easy to overeat the number of carbs you’ve chosen to consume each day when counting this way.
I recall paying as much US $2.99, ZAR 46, for one large avo. Sure, on occasion, when I’d make guacamole for a party, I could find ample ripe avos at the market. However, making a good-sized batch of guac can require as many as ten large avocados. That was one pricey dip!
This morning for breakfast, I had one of those ripe little avocados with a one-ounce chunk of cheddar cheese, a slice of gluten-free deli chicken meat with a dollop of homemade salad dressing for dipping. What a treat!. Of course, Tom doesn’t care for avocados and never eats them alone or in a dish.
As for today, at 3:30, we’re meeting Rita, Gerhard, Petra, Fritz, Louise, and Danie outside their office to be picked up by a guide in a safari vehicle as we head out to Kruger National Park on safari, ending in “dinner in the bush,” all to celebrate Rita’s birthday! Today, we’ll wear our “bugs away” clothing in the open vehicle hoping to deter the mozzies from biting.
Tomorrow, we will be back with photos of today’s adventure, hopefully with plenty of photos to share, including photos of the food from our bush dinner.
Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 14, 2021:

Within minutes of arriving back in Marloth Park, we were gifted with this amazing sight. Love these! For more, please click here.