Our packing is in the works. All I have left is to pack a few more clothing items, shoes, toiletries, and medications. Tomorrow, Tom will finish all his packing for our Thursday afternoon departure. Our flight from Nelspruit to Johannesburg isn’t until 6:30 pm, after which we have an almost four-hour layover until the overnight flight to Addis Ababa. Then, we’ll have another long layover until we finally arrive in Seychelles after a total of 19 hours of total travel time.
It will be a long trip, like most flights we’ve taken when leaving the African continent. There’s no quick and easy exit off this continent, except for a few non-stop flights here and there. I wish we could sleep better on planes, but neither of us seems to be able to sleep for more than an hour; as it turns out, this trip to Seychelles consists of three short flights, none over five hours. Most of the time will be spent waiting in airports which are especially challenging with no place to nod off.
If I were feeling better, I’d undoubtedly be more excited about this trip, although this morning, I awoke without a headache which is encouraging. But I don’t want to expect the sinusitis to go away this early in this new regime. We’ll see how it rolls out over the next several days. It’s the price we pay for this lifestyle we live.
This morning, at 11:00, Tom and I are going to the local spa owned by Patience and her husband, named Doctor, where I have gone many times for pedicures. But, much to my surprise, this time, Tom is also having a pedicure for the first time in his life! Of course, mine will take longer with the polish application, which he won’t have.
Tom was inspired by Leon, who’d recently joined Dawn on a pedicure appointment, and he told Tom it was pretty nice. Coming from another guy seemed more significant than if I’d suggested it. So, when I booked my appointment, Tom said, “Get one for me, too!” I couldn’t believe it but was thrilled he would join me as we’d both have our services simultaneously.
When we return, I’ll finish this post, upload it and get back to work on my packing, which is a little more complicated than usual, considering the possibility that we won’t be let back into South Africa, there is always a chance when we go on a visa run. This last time we traveled from Zambia, I surmised that the immigration officer made notes of our frequent stays in their system.
If a flag is raised when we try to re-enter, it’s possible we’d be turned away and have to fly to the US immediately. We are hopeful that we won’t run into any issues and can return to Marloth Park on December 4, as planned. We are looking forward to spending a festive holiday season in the bush as we have on three different years in the past.
Ah, sad news about little Hoppy. We assume she passed away when she struggled to breathe when she was here with her mom and two siblings on Sunday. She lay in a little bed of lucerne, gasping for air, unable to nurse or eat pellets. Last night, her mom and two siblings arrived at sunset but no Hoppy. We knew her days were numbered.
Then, we knew. Her little body is left in an unknown location for the predatory creatures and vultures to devour. So sad. It broke our hearts to see this little life fade away. We can only imagine what her mom thought when suddenly she only had two piglets instead of three. We often underestimate animals’ sorrow when they lose a loved one.
This behavior is readily evidenced in the emotions of elephants, ranked #4 in intellect. Pigs are ranked #7 in the 2022 rankings on this site. There are varied opinions on the top 10 most intelligent animals on the planet on many sites. But this particular site mentions:
“Pigs just barely edged out dogs for our list of the ten most intelligent animals. While dogs have intelligence comparable to toddlers, pigs operate at a much higher IQ level. They can understand the concept of reflection at only six weeks old; it takes human children several months to comprehend.
Pigs also have approximately 20 different sounds that they use to communicate, and mother pigs sing to their children while feeding. Pigs respond to emotion and even show empathy when appropriate, an extremely rare trait in the animal kingdom. Other pig facts can be found on this page.”
The intellect of pigs has been a huge factor in my interest in them over these past years we’ve spent in the bush. Relating to them daily makes it easy to see how smart they really are. It’s easy to see the emotion on their faces, and last night, Hoppy’s mom looked forlorn.
Life in the bush…it’s always interesting. It’s always unusual.
Photo from one year ago today, November 22, 2021: