Happy hour on the sand dunes with ride on a camel cart and entertainment…

We were being pulled on a cart up the steep hill to the sand dunes for an exciting happy hour with entertainment.

We’ve been posting highlights of a few of our activities on the excursions we made away from the Maharajas Express train each day, all of which have been included in our train fare.

Comfortably seated on fluffy cushions on the sand, we enjoyed free-flowing beverages and snacks.

We have so much more to share that doesn’t include dining and entertainment. We’ve visited no less than a dozen forts, palaces, and sights of historic significance.

Tom captured this sunset while we were out at the sand dunes.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough hours in the day for us to tackle those more comprehensive stories to coordinate with the hundreds of photos we’re accumulating.

We were bundled up in warm clothing and blankets provided at the venue. Several bonfires scattered around the area helped keep us warm.

By the time we return to the train each day, it’s so late, we simply don’t have time to compile the research, check facts and present the kind of story we’d like to concerning these many historical areas of interest.

We were entertained by traditional Indian dancing and musicians.

With only two days remaining until the train journey ends when we’ll spend three nights Delhi, we’ll work on these new stories of the many exciting venues we encountered while traveling on the train from Mumbai to Delhi.

Plus, during the upcoming 55-night tour we will have a little downtime here and there and we’ll surely catch up during these periods. At that time, we will have the opportunity to present detailed information on the various places we’ve visited.
At this point in the ceremonial festivities, she stood on a bed of nails and continued her dance.

In most cases, when cruising, we may miss going out on a port of call or two,  especially, if it’s a location we’ve already visited in the past and also, since most tours can cost hundreds of dollars, we may avoid partaking.

The Maharajas Express includes major tours each day in the original train fare and then there are additional tours, referred to as “optional” tours at other times with varying fees for each.

As darkness fell another dancer performed a ritual Hindu dance.
These optional tours would be going on right now, as I’m sitting here in the bar with Tom while he’s conducting research and I’m preparing today’s post. Once completed, we’ll head to our cabin to freshen up for dinner with perhaps a stop back in the bar for a cocktail and more lively chatter with other guests.

It’s hard to believe this part of our journey ends in 48 hours but with the big and long tour yet to come, we continue to be excited about India. We’re comfortable here. Its colorful people are warm and friendly and its culture is undoubtedly also colorful in countless ways.
Some of the passengers on the train joined in on the dancing. We sat back and watched the show.

The smog hasn’t been as bad as we expected. The traffic, although heavy and a bit treacherous, is not much worse than any major city in the US. People aren’t wearing face masks with fear of Coronavirus as we’d anticipated. 

Yes, there are sacred cows walking in the streets along with goats, horses, camels and an endless array of stray dogs. Yes, there are endless areas of horrific poverty where citizens live without electricity and running water. But, we’ve seen these circumstances in one country after another.

Upon returning to our cabin around 10:00 pm, we discovered this pretty “towel” display presented by our attentive and thoughtful cabin attendant, Surender.

No longer do we experience “culture shock.” After almost 7½ years of world travel, we’re no longer shocked by the realities of life which unfold before our eyes. Instead, we embrace the differences and revel in the ways in which people of the world make a life for themselves and their families.

We continue to be in awe and grateful for the experiences before us, never forgetting for a moment how fortunate we are.

Have a fabulous day and evening and we’ll see you soon with more. 

Photo from one year ago today, February 6, 2019:
Sorry, there was no post one year ago today as we waited to figure out my medical situation. 

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!…A new year, a new decade, a new beginning…

On this date in 2013, this foot-long insect on the wall by the bathroom door in the master bedroom made us cringe. Tom as always, disposed of it outdoors, but of course, didn’t kill it. Sleep didn’t come easy the remainder of that night, fearing that the rains of the prior few days may have brought more of these ugly things indoors. For more photos from that date, please click here.

Many times, in the past seven years, we’ve chronicled our year in review on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. In tomorrow’s post, we’ll list where we’ve traveled in 2019 with snippets of what transpired during those travels. 

As our readers know so well, this has been a tough year for us when on February 12th I had triple coronary bypass surgery with many complications. We won’t get into all of that. 

We’ve said enough and appreciate the patience of our readers who saw us through that difficult time and stayed with us, continuing to read our daily posts. That month I only uploaded 16 posts when I was unable to prepare posts during the first two weeks after surgery. 

In tomorrow’s post, we‘ll breeze by that period when in May we were “on the move” once again, albeit with a certain amount of trepidation and fear.

Instead, now, we look to the future with hope and optimism that we’ll be able to continue on for years to come. But, we’ve both decided over the past few months that we cannot and will not dwell on fear or apprehension of what could happen. 

We could all get caught up in this state of mind, even those in great health. None of us know what the future holds and we can only do our best to maintain good health and a good attitude which ultimately may be instrumental in our quality of life and longevity.

Most of us can look back at our prior year and recall various circumstances causing us to worry and be concerned for ourselves, our loved ones, our circumstances. No one is exempt.

And, most of us choose to move forward, learn from our experiences, good and bad, and continue on the path we’ve chosen for our lives or in some cases choose a new path as we had done over seven years ago. It changed everything.

Rather than New Year’s resolutions, we find it helpful to look back over the past year to determine what we have learned, changes we have made and the changes we need to make going forward. 

It’s highly individual and we cannot imply or suggest that any of our readers/friends follow such a path. But, we find a sense of comfort moving into the New Year knowing we are doing the best we can to maintain a quality of life that brings us both joy and contentment. 

That being said, we wish each and every one of our readers a meaningful and purposeful New Year that fulfills your needs and wishes and brings you joy and contentment as well.

Happy New Year!


Photo from one year ago, December 31, 2019:

Adorable giraffe at rest in Marloth Park. For more photos, please click here for more photos.

Prepping for Tom’s birthday dinner…Here’s the menu…

Photo of the beautiful Crocodile River taken from Marloth Park on this date in 2013. For more, please click here.

Tomorrow’s birthday dinner for Tom is the first big meal I’ve made for guests in over 10 months. When deciding on the menu for his birthday dinner tomorrow, I found it necessary to consider several factors: one, the limited space in the kitchen; two, that the various dishes are easy to prepare; Tom’s taste preferences (along with our guests); and limited space for serving a variety of side dishes.

While at the market last weekend, we noticed good prices on New York Strip steaks. They looked meaty with little visible fat and although the portions are big, everyone can take a “doggy bag” home if they’d like.

We purchased two packages of five steaks each and separated the seven we’d need for the meal, keeping three for the two of us at some point in the future and freezing all of them. Steak on its own may not be all that exciting for some so we also purchased a bag of jumbo butterflied prawns. 

Each plate will have a steak and prawns. Thus, the menu rolled out as follows:

  • New York Strip steaks, cooked to order on the grill
  • Jumbo garlic broiled butterflied prawns
  • Baked potatoes with sour cream and fresh chives
  • Asian green beans with light spices, bacon, sauteed garlic, and onion
  • Sauteed Portabello mushrooms
  • Par 30 Salad: a delicious tossed salad from a recipe, in our old lives, from a restaurant on at a nearby golf course. Romaine lettuce, green onions, bacon, slivered almonds tossed in a slightly sweet and tangy homemade dressing
  • Garlic bread, topped with fresh garlic and Parmesan cheese
  • Tom’s favorite lemon cake, infused with vanilla pudding, crushed pineapple and topped with Cool Whip
The items on this menu that work for me is the steak, prawns, green beans, mushrooms, and salad. This is an ideal meal for me and hopefully for everyone else.

We’ll dine by 4:00 or 4:30 pm due to a Vikings game which will be on TV starting at 6:15 pm. All of us, from Minnesota, will watch the game. We have enough chairs and seating to make this work for the seven of us. 

Most likely, I’ll serve the cake at half time or sooner, when everyone’s ready for the final course. I’ve always loved this cake so I have to remind myself not to lick my fingers or take a single taste.

I decided against serving any snacks or appetizers before the meal when all it does is make everyone full before the meal is served. It’s disappointing for the cook to find guests already full before the main meal is served. And, it’s hard for the guests who wish they had “room” to eat the main meal. 

Today, we took off for the Safeway market for a few last-minute items while our laundry was drying. We were back in time by a few minutes before it was done. Returning back to the house, we put all the laundry away and I started chopping and dicing for tomorrow’s meal.

Soon, we’ll juice all the lemons for tomorrow’s Lemon Drop Martinis. We picked all the lemons from Mary and Eugene’s lemon tree in front of their property. Colleen provided a bottle of Sapphire Gin and a bottle of Absolute Vodka to use for the martinis.

After our 3:00 pm main meal today: roast chicken, salad and rice (for Tom) he’ll vacuum all the floors and I’ll wash them. This morning I did some cleaning so we’ll be all set by the end of the day as I continue to work on the above side dishes. I’ve already finished the green beans and will continue to chop and dice for the salad.

First thing in the morning, I’ll make the cake, marinated the steaks, prep the prawns, potatoes, and garlic bread. I’m doing as much as I can today to ensure tomorrow is easy.

Hopefully, the day will be as warm and sunny as it is today with a high of 72F (22C).  May you have a warm and sunny day as you plan and prepare for the holiday season.
Photo from one year ago today, December 22, 2018:
The baby bushbuck took cover behind mom when she wasn’t sure what to do when she saw us. For more photos, please click here.

A lunch for 10 in a Mexican restaurant…What a fabulous time we all had!

We’ve had such a fantastic weekend celebrating Don’s birthday while staying at their gorgeous home in Pretoria.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Kudus came to call on Friday morning before we left for Pretoria.

As soon as we upload today’s post around 10:00 am, we’re on our way back to Marloth Park, planning to arrive around 1500 hours, (3:00 pm).  We’ll unpack, start a load of laundry and decide what to do for dinner.

How sweet!  Tom and Don sharing a sip of a Margarita!
Most likely we’ll dine at home if our food in the freezer survived the 17-hour power outage. The food in the chest freezer will be fine but we’ll see how the items in the refrigerator survived.  Luckily, we didn’t leave much in the refrigerator or its side by side freezer.
Don’s weekend birthday celebration continued through Sunday at Salsa Mexican Grill.

We considered dining out tonight but Jabula is closed for three days and, not surprisingly, I’d like to stay home to see our animal friends, should they be returning to see us.  

Our party of 10 consisted of (from left to right) Kathy, Linda, Tom,  Don, Keith, Ken, Cynthia, Robin and Karen with me taking the photo.

The holiday season isn’t officially over until a few more weeks but many will have already left with school starting again today.  Colleges don’t reconvene for the new school year (after summer holidays) until around February 1st here in South Africa and some college students may still be vacationing here in Marloth Park.  We’ll see how it goes.

Kathy had a chicken burrito. My mouth was watering when I saw this (former) favorite.

We’ve had a wonderful three days at Kathy and Don’s gorgeous home with the two of them and their friends and family.  It was a pleasure to see Linda and Ken who’ll be coming to Marloth Park next Monday to spend a week with us.  There again, more good times are on the horizon.

Linda and Ken shared this tasty looking plate of nachos with cheese and guacamole.

Plus, next Monday is Rita’s birthday party at our house.  On the return drive to Marloth Park, I’ll be planning the menu and grocery list for the items we’ll purchase this upcoming week for the special day. 

Tom, who doesn’t like beans and spicy sauces opted for these three mini burritos with cheese, chicken, beef, and pork.  Don shared a piece of his quesadilla with him.

As for yesterday, we had another outstanding day when 10 of us dined at an authentic Mexican Restaurant, Salsa Mexican Grill, located in Kyalami Corner Mall.  There are 11 locations of this superb restaurant with information on their website.  

Keith’s seafood tostadas with a side of stuffed avocado.

Not only was the food hot, fresh and thoughtfully prepared and delicious,  the presentations, service, and ambiance was as authentic as any Mexican restaurant we’ve experienced anywhere in the world.  The food was “designed” with the California “flavor” so well known in the USA.

Don’s giant quesadilla looked delicious.

This was especially appealing for us having always enjoyed dining on Mexican dishes.  Tom’s taste buds are picky but he was able to find something great that fit his desires.  Everyone else at our table thoroughly enjoyed their chosen meals.

This was my over-the-top chicken salad with roasted fajita vegetables, cucumbers, grilled onions, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, and seasoned chicken.  I’m going to try to duplicate this salad one day soon.

The menu is special.  We’re handed pens to tick off the boxes of the items and/or ingredients we’d preferred and place our names at the top of the page.  The food arrived perfectly prepared for our choices and even the bill came with a breakdown of the names showing who ordered which dishes and the cost.  

Tom was having a great time with “the boys” at one end of the table.

The service was exceptional, including the fuss the servers made over Don’s birthday which only added to the festivities.  Once again, this lovely group of people engaged in uproarious laughter and interesting conversation.  

We all were served shooters, hosted by owner Tony.  Tom drank mine.  I’ve never done a “shot” in my life.

The drinks flowed as the participants savored the interesting drink menu options.  I stuck with plain sugar-free tonic water since I prefer not to drink wine during the day.

We didn’t get back to Kathy and Don’s home until around 1630 (4:30 pm) and at that point, none of us could imagine eating dinner.  But, around 1900 hours (7:00 pm) we all pitched in and made an excellent dinner of pork chops on the braai, potato salad, green beans, cooked spinach and salad with avocado and dined at their formal dining room.

We chatted with the owner Tony, who ensured we had an extraordinary time.  Dining at this fantastic restaurant is well worth a drive if you’re anywhere near the Johannesburg’/Pretoria area or passing through on the highway.  Here’s their link.

We’re grateful to Kathy and Don for hosting us so graciously.  It was incredibly easy for the four of us being together and the addition of the friends and family only added to our excellent weekend.

Next time you’ll hear from us, we’ll be back in Marloth Park with only 38 days remaining until we leave Marloth Park.  We’ll treasure each and every remaining moment we spend in the park, savoring the beauty of the bush, our wildlife friends and of course, our human friends as well.

Be well.  Be happy.


Photo from one year ago today, January 7, 2018:

A decorative pond with a statue at a botanical garden, Jardin Botanico. in Buenos Aires. For more photos, please click here.

Fantastic days and nights in Pretoria…

Tom and I hid in the bedroom and once the others arrived, we suddenly appeared surprising everyone.  In the background is Keith (Don’s brother) and Ken, with Don and Linda in the centre and Robin and Karen in the foreground.  It was a fun surprise.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Two hippos we spotted when visiting Rita and Gerhard’s temporary condo at Ngwenya on Thursday evening.

The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity and socializing.  It couldn’t have been more fun.  Kathy and Don are perfect easy-going hosts and every moment with them and friends has been an over-the-top experience.

For the first time since we can remember, we’ve slept in twin beds which are comfortable with exceptional bedding.  We actually got some much-needed sleep last night after a fun-filled day for Don’s birthday.

In attendance were Karen, Keith’s daughter and his adult granddaughter Robin (Don’s niece and grandniece, respectfully),  friends Linda and Ken who’ll be staying with us in Marloth Park for a week beginning on the 14th, and Don’s brother Keith and the four of us for a total of nine. 

The lovely table setting on Kathy and Don’s veranda.

The birthday party began at noon for a birthday lunch and continued well into the evening.  By 2100 hours (9:00 pm), the others left and we stayed up chatting with Kathy and Don in their comfortable living room until we all drifted off to bed.

Kathy had prepared a delicious lunch of prawns on the braai, chicken wings and chicken pieces, potato salad, and an outstanding avocado lettuce salad.  With plenty of leftovers, in the evening we finished off the remaining food.

The champagne and drinks flowed with ease and the conversations around that table on the veranda was a mix of somewhat controversial subjects and world travel experiences.  It was fun watching and hearing Tom and Robin’s hands flying as animated voices expressed their views on many topics.

The beautiful pool in Kathy and Don’s garden.

Linda and I chatted enthusiastically anticipating their upcoming visit and later after she and Ken left to tend to their dog at their home about 40 minutes away,  Keith and I got in a huddle and chatted for hours. 

This morning, I was up, showered and dressed for the day by 7:00 am and Tom slept in a little longer which is unusual for him.  Kathy and I took off for Click’s Pharmacy this morning when I needed a few cosmetic items I hadn’t been able to find in Komatipoort.

Soon, we’re taking off for a bit of sightseeing and then at 1300 hours (1:00 pm), we’re heading to a Mexican restaurant a 30-minute drive from here.  The entire group, the nine of us are meeting for lunch. 

View from their top floor veranda.

We haven’t been to a Mexican restaurant since we were in the US in 2017.  We’re both looking forward to savoring Mexican food, much of which I can eat such as the meat, veggies, and guacamole.

Tonight, we’ll dine at the house again and tomorrow morning, we’ll be returning to Marloth Park.  It’s been a fast and fun several days and yet, we look forward to returning to Marloth Park.  We’ve seen on Facebook, there were some fires in the park and power outages.  

May your Sunday be filled with good friends and good food!

Photo from one year ago today, January 6, 2018:

There were no photos posted one year ago when we described the upcoming cruise on which we sail on March 24, 2019, from Santiago, Chile.  Instead, we posted the itinerary as shown below:

San Antonio, Chile to San Diego, California
15 nights departing March 24, 2019, on Celebrity’s Celebrity Eclipse
Our price:  ZAR 
54252.98 ($3,885.68 tips included) 
(Prices listed here are for both of us included taxes and port fees)

Date Port Arrive Depart
Sunday, March 24 Santiago (San Antonio), Chile 9:00pm

Monday, March 25 La Serena, Chile 10:00am 6:00pm

Tuesday, March 26 At Sea

Wednesday, March 27 At Sea

Thursday, March 28 Lima (Callao), Peru 7:00am 5:00pm

Friday, March 29 At Sea

Saturday, March 30 Manta, Ecuador 10:00am 6:00pm

Sunday, March 31 At Sea

Monday, April 1 Puntarenas, Costa Rica 7:00am 4:00pm

Tuesday, April 2 At Sea

Wednesday, April 3 Huatulco, Mexico 10:00am 8:00pm

Thursday, April 4 At Sea

Friday, April 5 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 9:00am 5:00pm

Saturday, April 6 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 9:00am 5:00pm

Sunday, April 7 At Sea

Monday, April 8 San Diego, CA 7:00am

What??? We’re where? …Five hour road trip?…

Don, on his birthday, knocking lemons off the tree in their yard for us to take back to Marloth Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Zebra butts on the side of the road when we left Marloth Park yesterday morning.

It’s odd that as world travelers we don’t care for long road trips. What can we say? Tom despises traffic which causes him considerable angst and stress.

For us, driving long distances even for a day doesn’t hold much appeal.  Sure, we often embark on many shorter trips to investigate various points of interest but all day trips inspire us to fly as an alternative.

Tom, at dinner at MooMoo Restaurant at the Brooklyn Mall.

When last Saturday night with the nine of be boo boous at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant Don suggested we drive from Marloth Park to his and Kathy’s home Pretoria for his 66th birthday party, I looked across the big table and said to Tom, ‘Want to go to Don’s birthday party in Pretoria next weekend.”

I looked to Kathy hoping she was fine with Don extending the invitation before he discussed it with her.  She was smiling from ear-to-ear, making us feel at ease knowing this was a good idea for her as well.

My already-tasted fabulous filet mignon, cooked rare, with roasted vegetables and a small side salad.

Tom, engaged in lively conversation with his talking hands flailing about, stopped chattering long enough to look at me and state an emphatic “Yes!” without hesitation. 

That night on the way back to our bush house I asked him if it was OK about the long drive.  Our friendship with Kathy and Don was motivation enough for him to make the long drive.

Interior of MooMoo Restaurant.

We left the house at 10:20 am and arrived at the security gate to their house at 1640 hours, (4:40 pm) and they warmly greeted us as they opened the large metal gate.

Their home is absolutely stunning, exactly as they expected.  The grounds, the décor, and the ambiance is warm and inviting.  Tomorrow, we’ll be posting photos of their house here in Pretoria which happens to currently be listed for sale.  Of course, we’ll include the link for the price and the listing information. 

The name of this shooter is a “Soweto Toilet.”  Tom gulped it down in one fell swoop.

Kathy and Don own a gorgeous bush home in Marloth Park, overlooking the Crocodile  River and several homes in Oahu, Hawaii. By selling this house, it provides them with an opportunity to spend more time in Marloth Park and Hawaii.

Being here at their modern, gorgeously decorated home in a lovely suburban area reminds us of being in the USA.  There are few insects, there’s no dust covering every surface, the temperature is less humid and considerably cooler and the availability of shopping and services is overwhelming.

Tom reaching to grab lemons off of the tree.

Last night, we headed to the Brooklyn Mall for dinner at the popular restaurant MooMoo for a fantastic meal. We all ordered delectable steaks, cooked to perfection with interesting and delicious side dishes.  

It proved to be a great evening.  After returning to their home after dinner, we congregated in their beautiful bar area for more lively chatter and nightcaps.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect afternoon and evening.

We’d intended to drive back to Marloth Park on Sunday morning but Kathy and Don asked us to stay until Monday. So tomorrow, Sunday, they will show us some of their favorite sites in the big city.  

Kathy’s birdhouses.  Without the wildlife in Marloth Park, Kathy spends time feeding many birds that visit the garden.

We enthusiastically agreed to stay and Monday morning we’ll head back to Marloth Park, thrilled for the time we’ll have had with Kathy and Don and excited to return to see our wildlife and human friends who’ll hopefully be returning to our garden. 

Today is Don’s birthday party and friends Linda, Ken and Don’s brother Keith have no idea we’re here.  Seeing them will constitute a fun surprise for the birthday party when we all so much enjoy their friendship as well.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back, as mentioned above with photos of Kathy and Don’s beautiful home and details.  Please stop by once again.

Happy day to all!


Photo from one year ago today, January 5, 2018:

Tom ordered a barbecue pork sandwich at La Panera Rosa in Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina which came with three onion rings.  It was as dry as it looked.  For more photos, please click here.

Fabulous goodbye-for-awhile birthday party in the bush…An appreciated addition to the veranda…

This space heater will keep up warm as we spend each night outdoors during the cool winter nights.  See the details in the story. 

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A hornbill sitting in the top section of the bird feeder. From this site: “Most are arboreal birds, but the large ground hornbills (Bucorvus), as their name implies, are terrestrial birds of open savanna. Of the 24 species found in Africa, 13 are birds of the more open woodlands and savanna, and some occur even in highly arid environments; the remaining species are found in dense forests.”

I had promised food photos from last night but I’m failing to live up to my promise.  We just had too much fun and, other then the few we’ve included here today, I was just too busy and engaged in the festivities to think about taking many photos.  Sorry about that!

Aloe Vera is known to be one of the most healing plants on the planet.  They grow wild here in the bush.  We took this photo yesterday at the brick overlook in Marloth Park on the Crocodile River when we drove around the park looking for the lions.

None the less, here’s the menu from the birthday dinner, overall, an all-American feast:

  • Cheese sticks
  • Moist less-fat biltong (amazing jerky found in South Africa)
  • Marinated grilled pork chops on the braai
  • Marinated grilled pork tenderloin on the braai
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Sweet corn cooked on the braai
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • “Par 30 Salad” (a recipe from our old lives given to me by a chef at a golf club)
  • Ciabatta garlic bread, dusted with Parmesan cheese and broiled to a light brown
  • Homemade gluten-free apple crisp served warm and topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream
Our guests, Kathy and Don and Linda and Ken arrived with heavy coats, not knowing we had the heater.  It kept all of us comfortable all evening.

Actually, this was an easy dinner to make.  The only time-consuming items were peeling the apples for the apple crisp and then peeling the potatoes.  I hadn’t made either of these items in seven years since I began my way of eating. 

Instead of birthday cake for Kathy’s birthday, I made gluten-free apple crisp, served warm and topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.  I didn’t eat it due to the sugar content but everyone said it was delicious. 

My potato peeler that travels with us finally bit the dust and the one in the kitchen was equally dull.  Thus, I had to use a paring knife which was slow and cumbersome.  In my old life, I had an electric peeler that worked fabulously.  But, this isn’t my old life and the trade-offs are worth it. 

This past week on the 4th of July was Ken’s birthday, yesterday was Kathy’s and on the 16th is Linda’s.  We celebrated all the birthdays with champagne, gifts, and merriment.

Last night, Ken walked out to the pond and took this photo of the noisy frog we’ve been hearing each night.  It’s actually very small as shown while it’s leaning on a leaf, next to a Helmeted Guinea Fowl feather.

It was a fantastic evening for all.  All the food came out as we’d hoped and the drinks flowed, starting with Pina Colada’s, then to champagne (sparking brut) and then to each of our own preferred wine and cocktails.  I drank my usual low-alcohol red wine and Tom had his usual brandy and Sprite Zero.

Tom backing away from the band of mongoose after he sets down the bowl of eggs.

In Marloth Park, it’s a tradition that dinner guests bring their own preferred beverages such as wine, beer or liquor.  It’s a great tradition since it keeps the cost and convenience of entertaining within reach for everyone.  In some cases, hosts will start the evening with a special celebratory beverage such as the Long Island Ice Teas, at Kathy and Don’s home on the 4th of July.

At times, we have dozens in the yard.  Yesterday, there were only about 25 mongooses clamoring around the bowl of raw eggs.

I don’t consume any mixed beverages of any type (due to sugar) nor was I able to eat anything on the above menu except for the pork and roasted vegetables.  The remainder had too many carbs or included dairy, not befitting my diet.  I didn’t mind a bit.  As the proverbial hostess, I always love seeing our guests enjoy our offerings.

Let’s backtrack a bit.  Earlier in the day while on our daily drive in search of the lions currently in the park, I had an idea about the cold nights we’ve been experiencing on the veranda.  There’s no way we want to have to be indoors in the evenings.  What if we could find some type of space heater or outdoor heater?  After all, winter has only just begun and it’s very cool at night.

Even after the bowl is empty they continue to lick the bowl trying to get the very last drop of the eggs.

We stopped at a few places while we were out yesterday but couldn’t find a thing that would work for us last night and going forward, certainly not in Marloth Park shops.  With the busy day, there wasn’t enough time to drive to Komatipoort or Malelane to see what we could find.

We resigned ourselves that our dinner party would require warm jackets once the sun was set around 17:30 (5:30 pm).  As we often do when we have questions I sent Louise a message asking where she’d recommend we go on Monday to purchase some type of outdoor heater.

We were busy inside the house preparing for last night’s dinner party.  But, we knew the mongooses had arrived by the high pitched cackling and squeals.  Tom always drops a few un-cracked raw eggs on the ground to keep them around while we make up the bowl of six to eight eggs (depending on the size of the “band”).

Within seconds, she replied, “Hahaha, I’ve got one for you.  Just wait and see.”
“What???” I asked in a state of total shock.

Within ten minutes, Zef and Vusi showed up in the “buckie” (truck) with one of those fabulous gas heaters seen in some outdoor restaurants on a chilly night as shown in today’s main photo.  We had a bottle of gas on hand and in a manner of minutes, it was all set up and ready to use. 

How did we get so lucky to have Louise and Danie as our friends and our “landlords?”  Their kindness, attention-to-detail, and generosity are like none we’ve seen anywhere in the world. 

Oh, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had nothing but wonderful landlords over these past years of world travel, many of whom we still stay in touch.  But, these two?  Over-the-top, all the way around.  If you’re looking for a property to rent or build in Marloth Park, these are the people to see.  The friendship and socializing with them is such a bonus, we’ll always treasure.

The heater kept us all warm and comfortable and tonight while we dine on leftovers, we’ll be right here on the veranda as we are now, lapping up every moment of life in the bush.

Have a spectacular weekend wherever you may be!


Photo from one year ago today, July 7, 2017:
There was no post on July 7th, the date we flew from Minnesota to Nevada where we spent three weeks with son Richard at his home in Henderson.  More will follow.

An Easter egg hunt for grown-ups…Last night’s fun and games at Kathy and Don’s home in the bush…

Tom’s other prize for winning the trivia game, this gorgeous giant chocolate Easter egg filled with more chocolate treats (see below).  He’ll be eating this on his own.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

When the party was getting started a wildebeest stopped by for a bite to eat.

I don’t recall we’ve ever had such a consistently busy social life.  In our old lives, it was typical for us to socialize with friends once every one or two weeks.  But, here in Marloth Park, we’re having such a great time with our variety of friends, at least a few times each week.

Don was explaining, in his usual articulate way, how the “game” will be played.
We’re yet to turn down invitations when we know we’ll always have a great time not only with the special friends that have included us but with their other friends who are also in attendance.  Each week, we meet more and more people. 

There were 12 of us at the party.  At this point, Don was explaining the details about the Easter Egg hunt and the after dinner Easter related trivia game.

No doubt, traveling to other countries in the future won’t be as easy when we’re missing these meaningful interactions.  Although, this time here in Africa will certainly inspire us to reach out more to make friends wherever we go.

Kathy, Jill, and Sandy listened as Don explained the rules.

Oftentimes, we meet people who are on a holiday/vacation who seldom reach out to make new friends with a busy agenda of things to do and places to see.  The exception to this is on cruises when we’ve made some outstanding friendships that will always be close to our hearts.

One egg was hidden in this floating hippo in the pool.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we’ll see many of the friends we’ve made on cruises in person, with busy work lives, retirement functions and activities they’ve generated in their home states, cities and countries. 

We found only eight of the 60 eggs hidden in the yard.  Others found much more than us. It was the first time either of us had ever participated in a hunt.  In our old lives, we were always hiding them for our kids and grandkids to discover, not finding them ourselves.

We’ve been blessed to stay in touch with many of the friends we’ve made along the way.  In the past day, we’ve heard from several friends we’ve met on cruises with whom we’ve often stayed in touch for years.  How magical is that?

A small section of Kathy and Don’s beautiful yard.

Then, of course, there are our friends from our old lives with whom we stay in touch on Facebook, Messenger and Skype whom we hope to see again in person when we return to Minnesota in 2019 for another family visit, (in about one year from now).

We love this kudu statue in their yard, appearing to be munching on the leaves of a tree.

As for last night’s party…it couldn’t have been more enjoyable.  Kathy and Don certainly know how to throw a dinner party, often surrounding some type of theme, with great food, drinks, decor, and ambiance.  We feel so fortunate to be included and look forward to reciprocating with dinner at our place soon.

One of the guests found all of these!

Upon the prompt arrival of their 10 guests, we immediately got to the business at hand of Don explaining the “rules” who shortly after, sent us on a frenzy in the yard, searching for eggs.  Don had to cut his instructions short when Kathy noticed that Vervet monkeys were finding the eggs and eating them!  What a hoot it was seeing the monkeys in the tree eating the candy eggs!

With the camera in hand, looking for photo ops I managed to find half of the eight eggs we collectively gathered though not nearly as many as others.  It was such fun!

Adorable decorations were placed throughout their home.

After counting and recording our finds, to be used in the tally of the score of a trivia game after dinner, we all made our drinks and made our way up the two flights of stairs to their third floor veranda to what Kathy calls “pu pu’s” an expression used in Hawaii (they have homes in Oahu) which refers to pre-dinner appetizers or starters.

The huge dining table on their third-floor veranda was beautifully set for the occasion.

The evening flowed with ease and by dark, we were all seated at their enormous dining table, plates filled with great food, wine glasses topped off and delightful, humorous dinner table conversation.

View of the Crocodile River (we need more rain!) from Kathy and Don’s third-floor veranda.

After dinner, we played Don’s clever Easter themed game and wouldn’t you know, Tom won with the highest accumulated points for the hunt and the answers to the questions.  He’s always been good at trivia type games, often beating me and everyone else at the table.

He won the bottle of champagne (for me) and the candy (for him). He’s already dug into some chocolates this morning, mentioning he got somewhat of a “high” from eating candy on an empty stomach after all these years of low carb, sugar-free way of eating.  Hummm…what does that say?  I’ll be glad when it’s gone.

I guess Tom will be on a chocolate frenzy for days.  He loves this stuff.  Then back to healthy eating!

Today, we’re heading out for a drive in the park and to stop at the little market in Marlothi center for mushrooms for tonight’s dinner.  Oddly, with a limited supply of produce at the tiny market, they usually have fresh mushrooms after their mid-day delivery of produce.

Up at 6:00 am, I started cooking chicken and sausages and chopping and dicing for tonight’s Low Carb Chicken Sausage Casserole, one of our many favorite meals.  It takes a bit of work to make this dish but I make enough to last three nights.  We always savor it to the very last bite along with fresh green beans with onions and bacon and cabbage salad.

Tom is such a good trivia player he ended up winning the game we played at the dinner table.  The prizes included the giant candy-filled Easter Egg shown in the above photos and this bottle of Champagne which we’ll save to drink when Kathy and Don come to dinner in the near future.

Tonight, we’ll put out the yogurt for the bush babies, set up the spotlight, the camera, and tripod and settle into another fabulous evening in the bush.

May you have a fabulous day and evening as well!


Photo from one year ago today, April 3, 2017:

While we were living in Fairlight, Australia our new friend, a kookaburra stopped by for bits of meat he’d eat from my hand and was already responding to my voice.  For more photos, please click here.

Halfway through our Marloth Park rental….Another dinner party for six…Back to my old ways?…

From this site“Flapping the ears can express excitement and joy. In turn, the beating of the ears on the skin can be heard. This sound causes other elephants to prick up their ears and to get in contact with the first elephant.  In hot weather, elephants use their ears primarily to cool down.”  We suspect it was cooling down with temps well into 40C (90F) on the day we took this photo.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This female kudu was comfortable eating carrots out of my hand.

This evening we’re having dinner guests only a few days prior to the two couples, Janet and Steve and Lynne and Mick, each takes off for their respective homes in the UK, staying for several months.  We’ll look forward to their return!

In the interim, Kathy and Don are returning to Marloth Park in a week and we’ll certainly enjoy spending time with them while they’re staying at their lovely home in Marloth Park.  Linda and Ken will return in June or thereabouts and we look forward to seeing them soon.

This is how it goes for many homeowners in Marloth Park, primarily based in other parts of the world, returning for one, two or three-month stints a few times a year.

The first thing we look for when driving along the river is elephants.

Many South Africans have homes in other parts of the country, also returning to Marloth as their part-time holiday home.  Few rent homes, like us.  Most own two or more homes, traveling back and forth between their various properties.

That life never appealed to us.  We’ve wanted to be free to travel to wherever we may choose, at any given time.  Did we contemplate having a home here, considering how much we love it?  Perhaps for one second. 

But then, the thought wafted away when we realize we’re most fulfilled continuing on this path of life-on-the-move,  one that works magically for who we are and who’ve we’ve become over these past years.  Why change what’s working so well and for which we’re ultimately fulfilled and happy?

We spotted this elephant from the overlook shelter along the river a few days ago

In the interim, Louise informed us, if we’d like we can stay in this same house, named “Orange…More than Just a Colour” for our entire remaining year until we board a ship one year from today, March 24, 2019, leaving for the US for another family visit. 

We had a choice to stay in this house or move to another house.  But, we like the house enough to stay another year, if Louise and the owners will have us.  We’ve offered to move out for certain periods, if they find other renters willing to pay more.  We can move on a dime!  Louise assures us that’s unlikely.

How do we feel about staying in one property for such an extended period?  Surprisingly, quite good.  Many of the animals have already come to know us and will continue to do so as time marches on.  The house is comfortable (we only use the main floor) and has literally everything we can possibly need.

Could this be a courting male and female?

Then, as we plan visits to other countries in Africa over this upcoming year, we’ll have a place to leave our stuff, packing only what we’ll need for the specific trip.  This gives us peace of mind and makes these side trips considerably easier.

This morning, up and at ’em early I started chopping and dicing for tonight’s dinner party.  Yesterday afternoon, I also did a little prep, making the remainder of today low key and easy. 

Entertaining in this lifestyle is very different from our former lives.  I used to put so much pressure on myself, planning elaborate meals and setting an elaborate table, often for many guests.

We often wonder about a lone elephant.  Is it a male that has been ejected from the family who now has to make his own way in life, finding a mate, to later be off on his own once again.

In this life, I plan easy homemade meals that don’t require endless hours of standing in the kitchen.  There’s no need to make vast numbers of appetizers, side dishes, and desserts.  No one here seems interested in desserts so I don’t bake as I would have years ago.

The best part is I don’t feel bad about cooking less elaborate meals.  I’ve changed so much over these past years, no longer striving to be the consummate hostess, finding simple delicious meals is ideal in the bush, whether made in a pot or on the braai (barbecue).

The only thing I miss is linen napkins.  The paper napkins sold in the area are small and flimsy.  Nothing is nicer than a cloth napkin for guests.  I guess I have to let that go. 

Waterbucks at the Crocodile River. 

Soon, we’ll jump in the new little blue car and head to the local market to buy more paper napkins, bringing the camera with us as always, perhaps seeing “someone” special along the way.

It’s a good life here.  There’s absolutely nothing that has disappointed us during these past six weeks since our arrival.  Often, when people “return” they’re expectations are so high they cannot be fulfilled.  For us, Marloth Park is more exciting than it was four years ago.

Maybe we’re wiser, more tolerant, and with fewer expectations after what we’ve learned during these past years.  We don’t fuss over the heat, the bugs and the days when few visitors stop by.  Its all a part of living in the bush in this very special place, unlike any other, anywhere in the world.  We’re grateful.

May your day find you feeling grateful and fulfilled.


Photo from one year ago today, March 24, 2017:

A rare moment of a blue sky with rainy cloudy skies day after day since we’d arrived in Fairlight almost two weeks earlier.  For more Australia photos, please click here. It was four year ago today, on March 2, 2014, that we began posting this feature, “Photo from one year ago today.” 

Birthday party photos…Oh, what a night!…

We’ll always remember this birthday as a special event for both of us; celebrated life, health, our experiences and the fine friends we’ve made along the way.

 “Sighting of the Day in the Bush

Colorful face shot of a helmeted guinea fowl, many of whom are frequent visitors to our bush house.

It’s after 12:00 pm and I’m just getting started on today’s post.  There were a few diversions this morning keeping me from getting a timely start.  One delay was due to my sleeping in until 8:00 am after a long stretch of wakefulness during the night.  I guess it was the two glasses of red wine I drank during my birthday party. 

Secondly, I had complicated computer problems this morning (won’t bore you with the details) when I sat down at the big outdoor table to begin the post.  After a few hours of working on it, attempting to stay calm, I created somewhat of a workaround hopefully lasting until I fire up my new, yet unused laptop. 

I‘ve been trying to use this three-plus-year-old Acer laptop until it’s on its last leg and it appears that day may be imminent. Based on all the jousting around in our travels and excessive use, I’m surprised its lasted as long as it has.

Dawn had decorated the table beautifully for the party.  Thanks, Dawn!  By the time we were all seated it was dark, cozy and romantic.

The second distraction was when our housekeeper Martha, who lives in a tiny house on the property, asked if we could help fix her TV.  We walked to her little place and played with the remote, attempting to get a signal.  Finally, we got it working and the dear woman hugged us with gratitude. 

We could only imagine how hard it would be for her to be without TV during her free time.  Although she works for us and a few other properties for Louise and Danie, she has idle time that could be lonely and difficult without the ability to watch her favorite shows.

The third distraction was to run to the little market in Marloth to see if we could find mushrooms for a dish I’m making tonight.  The mushrooms are an integral ingredient in the recipe and it just wouldn’t be the same without them. 

We were thrilled with the “cake of the world!”  Janine even made the two representations of Tom and me totally by hand.  Wow!

We didn’t feel like driving all the way to Komatipoort for mushrooms since we really didn’t need to do any other grocery shopping right now.  The round trip drive is over an hour and certainly not worth it for only one item.

There are two superette type markets in Marloth Park, one with about 30% more inventory than the other.  Alas, we headed to the larger of the two and found fresh mushrooms.  That was surprising!

Back at the house, I settled into my usual spot on the veranda to finally get started on today’s post about last night’s birthday party. A few visitors stopped and again I was distracted from the task at hand.  Oh, well, here we are now, pushing 3:00 pm and anxious to share last night’s event.

Closeup of Tom and I in fondant standing atop the world!  So fun!

Tom and I arrived at Jabula shortly before 6:00 pm where we met with Jannine, the cake lady, her husband Vincent and their two kids while they waited for us in the rain tucked under an overhang. They’d arrived earlier than planned and fortunately, we’d done the same.

Although it was pouring rain when we arrived, they’d already carried the cake up the steep stairs to the restaurant.  As soon as we stepped into the bar and spotted the cake we both smiled from ear to ear.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

As shown in our photos, the cake was actually made round into the shape of the world with each of the continents added utilizing fondant.  The two little characters she’d made to represent us couldn’t have been more adorable and befitting. 

Kathy, me, Tom, Lynne and Danie at the end of the table.

What a talent!  Known as the “cake lady” in these parts, Jannine can be reached through Vincent’s email here should you live in Marloth Park or nearby and would like a unique and delicious cake.

We paid for our cake, reasonably priced at US $56.54 (ZAR $650) and hugged them both for their attention to detail and for delivering the cake to Jabula. Shortly after Jannine and Vincent left, our guests began to arrive.  We mingled around the bar until it was time to be seated.

Dawn, the co-owner of Jabula with husband Leon, set an exquisite table for our group and had the plastic-encased menus printed with the selections as well as the photo of us sipping champagne on the Zodiac boat only weeks ago in Antarctica. (See photo below). It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Linda, Mick, and Louise with Ken and Don standing.

The evening flowed with lively upbeat conversation, not only about the commonality we all share in our love for Marloth Park but also many other interesting topics.  The time flew so quickly, when it was time to go, we felt as if we hadn’t had quite enough of this wonderful group of people.

The specially printed menu added a nice touch.

The food was exceptional.  We hosted the meal and both red and white wine served during the meal.  Afterward, I cut the cake which tempted me to lick my fingers but I didn’t taste a drop.  

I’d thought about making an appropriate cake for me but I really didn’t feel a need for it.  I try to avoid getting back into a taste for sweet foods which I’ve all but conquered over these past few years.

I’d asked our guests not to bring gifts but they couldn’t seem to avoid doing so.  When doesn’t a girl love a 50 pound (23 kg) bag of pellets, a bag of almond flour, bars of scented soaps, and a bottle of fine South African wine in a lovely African cloth holder beside all the lovely cards and messages? 

A few of the guys had “espetada” which is well-seasoned meat of a hanging skewer.  Gee, I might try this sometime but I always have the same meal at Jabula; peri peri chicken livers with a Greek salad.

A heartfelt thanks to all of our friends for knowing exactly what I’d love, none of which I’ll have to add to my luggage next time we fly away, after blissfully using up all of the items.

Back at our inviting holiday home, referred to as “Orange…More than Just a Color” I checked my computer to find more birthday wishes than I’d ever seen in the past; from our readers, our Facebook friends, our family, and friends.  I must say I was reeling from the love I felt from all over the world. 

After the dinner plates were cleared the cake was delivered to the table.  Thanks, Kathy for bringing the candles!

Thank you with all of my heart for making the 70th birthday one I’ll always remember, not for the celebration of the “number” but for the people who made it so special. 


Photo from one year ago today, February 21, 2017:

Views of the Huon River in Tasmania.  For more photos, please click here.