A wild start to day…All is under control now!…

Mom and baby elephant munching on the vegetation. We shot this photo from the veranda of the Mugg & Bean Restaurant in Lower Sabie in Kruger National Park.

With Louise and Danie coming tonight for sundowners and dinner, when the power went off before 8:00 am this morning, of course, I started thinking of how I’d prepare the food without the use of the electric oven. Everything I’d planned to make was to be cooked in the oven.

As soon as we were up and about, Tom ran out to purchase four bags of ice. When he returned I loaded up the chill box layering it with the perishables from the refrigerator, the items for tonight’s meal, and layered them in the unopened bags of ice, hoping the chill would last longer.

Baby elephant playing with another elephant in the Sabie River.

Also, I placed one bag of ice in a large metal bowl on a shelf in the refrigerator. This has worked well for us in the past as long as the ice stays frozen. I noticed the freezer was doing fine when I had to take out an item and it could conceivably keep the foods frozen for many hours to come.

I considered how I’d cook the main items we’d planned for the meal on the braai, as opposed to the oven, when some dishes simply cook better in the oven than on a grill, with a more consistent and even temperature. The braai would have been my only option and I contemplated the fact that everything wouldn’t be quite as well prepared as I’d planned. Plus, with three main dishes cooking on the grill at once, Tom would hardly have had time to socialize when he was busy tending to the food.

Elephants love to swim, using their trunks as snorkels. They are prolific swimmers.

Fortunately, the WiFi kept working during the outage. Most often it goes out within an hour or two of an outage since the towers run on batteries that don’t last long without electricity. I contemplated whether or not to post today when it was entirely possible, we’d have no connection in no time at all.

Much to our delight, while drinking our coffee while seated at the big table on the veranda, made with hot water that Tom heated on the side burner of the braai, the power popped back on. The way we know it’s back on is due to the fact Tom always turns on the outdoor fan. When the power returns, the fan starts running.

Elephants climbing out of the Sabie River in Kruger National Park.

Immediately, I got to work prepping the meal, warming the oven for the first item of slow-cooked smoked baby back ribs, and prepped the bacon-wrapped, Emmental stuffed chicken breasts. We’ll cook the jumbo prawns when they arrive. With a few side dishes, we’ll be good to go.

Now, while I’m cooling off in the bedroom with a little air-con after sweating profusely in the high humidity, I am preparing today’s post, sharing more photos from Kruger National Park. We can’t wait to return to the park and will do so next week. Our plan is to embark on a self-drive every week, especially on sunny days.

Elephants on the move.

Although it’s the weekend and our visitor count is usually lower than during the week, today was a good start to the day. We’ve had several visitors so far and look forward to more as the day progresses. Once I complete and upload today’s post, I’ll get back to work on prepping for tonight.

I don’t enjoy cooking as much as I did in years past, but we certainly love having guests for sundowners, starters, and dinner. In part, I think my diminished interest in cooking is due to the fact I don’t have all the cooking gadgets and serving pieces I had in my old life. Also, it’s often very hot and humid, like today, and sweating in the kitchen has an impact on my level of enjoyment. I suppose that’s to be expected.

Elephants crossing the paved road in Kruger National Park taken through the car’s windshield.

This morning, I spilled a little liquid from the bags of prawns onto the kitchen floor. Immediately, I wiped it up with hot soapy water. Less than 20 minutes later, while I was here in the bedroom cooling off, I could hear Tom busy in the kitchen, spraying with Doom and sweeping.

Apparently, my little spill attracted hundreds of ants from outside, who crawled under the front door to the spot on the floor where I’d spilled. When I asked him what happened, he explained about the hundreds of ants he killed and removed. I apologized for not cleaning the spot well enough, but he didn’t seem at all concerned.

Another Mom and Baby in the bush

This is the bush. It’s hot. It’s humid. And insects of many types are found inside the house daily. The power goes out regularly. The water stops flowing from time to time as it did last week. For many, these annoyances and inconveniences would be unbearable. For us, they are fair and reasonable trade-offs for the things that we do love.

Last night I jumped out of bed when some creepy crawler was walking on my neck. I got up, flicked it off, and then, shrugged it off, content I didn’t get bit. It’s the way it is. The bush. Nature’s paradise. What more could we ask for?

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 10, 2020:

Birdie, contemplating his day. For more photos, please click here.

Cyclone Eloise making her mark…No power for over a day…Inverter keeping our equipment alive…

Last night, two bushbucks stopped by during the storm. I took the photos using the flash since we had no lights to illuminate the garden.

This morning around 9:00 am the WiFi signal was restored. The power had been out since 5:30 am Sunday morning. It’s now midday on Monday. The inverter has been working well to keep our phones and laptops charged, but can’t really be used for much else to avoid it running out of power. That helps us considerably.

Ah, Cyclone Eloise keeps pounding us with torrential rains and occasional thunder, but fortunately with only occasional gusts of high winds. We heated water for coffee/tea this morning on the gas braai on the side burner. Last night, we ordered takeaway dinner from Jabula when it was raining too hard to cook bacon and eggs on the grill, all the food we had left.

The eyes of the two bushbucks showing in the dark.

We’ll probably do the same tonight since there’s no way we can grocery shop today when the roads to Komatipoort may be flooded. If we have to do takeaway for a week, we will. Jabula’s food is great and Tom loved his ribs, chips (fries), salad, with a small loaf of white bread while I had a double order of the starter, spicy peri-peri chicken livers.

There are other restaurants in Marloth Park, offering takeaway, which we may try since we don’t want to get into the rut we were in during those 10 months in the hotel in Mumbai, eating the same meals over and over again. However, owners Dawn and Leon know exactly how to have my food made to comply with my way of eating. That can’t be assured from other restaurants.

Three warthogs ventured out in the inclement weather. We tossed them a big load of pellets for their efforts in coming out in this weather.

Last night, during the pelting rain, we had only a few visitors: two male bushbucks stopped by when the rain let up for a while, and then we saw “Mom and Babies” who scrambled to get every last pellet we tossed their way. During daylight hours, when the worst of the rain had yet to hit from Eloise, we only saw Frank, The Misses, and The Chicks, and the hornbill mating pair still busy with their nest in the hijacked bushbaby house.

Photo taking has been at a minimum the past few days, so we are sharing a few recent shots from last night and those taken over the past week or so. I considered doing a video of the pounding rain, but the brunt of it occurred during the night when the winds were much worse. I didn’t consider it sensible to head outside during that situation.

Mongoose contemplating how she will crack the egg. She banged it on the cement.

Today, it is very cool which is refreshing, although the humidity is quite high. It’s currently 74F, 23C which is comfortable, the lowest we’ve experienced since our arrival. This is only temporary, due to the cyclone. Once that ends, surely the high summer heat will return, often as high as 104F, 40C, or more.

Louise and Danie offered to bring us their generator to keep the fridge and freezer cool and allow for air-con at night. But, we’ve already lost the few items we had left in the refrigerator and if the power doesn’t return soon, the bag of chicken wings and containers of bacon in the freezer will also soon be lost. As long as we have WiFi to entertain us and serve our posting, and communication needs, we’re fine.

Mongoose enjoying the contents of an egg we offered.

You may ask, “How the heck are we putting up with this, after all, we’ve been through?”

Hey, today is day #12 of our 14-day self-imposed quarantine and we didn’t get Covid-19 from the 59-hour journey from Mumbai to Nelspruit. We’re grateful. We’re thrilled! What’s to complain about? Soon, this power thing will subside, although not entirely, when load shedding will resume.

Soon, we’ll be able to cautiously grocery shop and stop in a pharmacy for a few items for the first time in a year!!! Soon, we’ll be able to shop at the Biltong shop in Komatipoort to buy that fantastic South Africa jerky, the best we’ve had in the world. Soon, we’ll have an opportunity to visit with some of our friends, old and new, who will and have maintained social distancing and mask-wearing with diligence since Covid-19 arrived in Marloth Park a few months ago.

Dad Hornbill considering his nest-building options.

Soon, we’ll be able to use the electric stove, turn on fans as needed, and use the electric water kettle. Soon, I’ll be able to use the rented treadmill again that obviously isn’t working without power. One thing we’ve learned after 10 months in that hotel room is patience. It was only that level of patience that allowed us to eventually get here. We wait patiently.

Oops, I had to take a break to toss birdseed into the garden. Frank, The Misses, The Chicks, and Auntie just stopped by. They make a cute little chirping sound when they eat the seeds. It is delightful.

A forkl of kudus in the garden, and of course, a warthog in the photo. They never miss a photo op.

Another oops, we had to come indoors when the wind picked up during the downpour to prevent our equipment from getting wet. Life in the bush.

Wow! By the time I was about to upload this post, our power was restored. We don’t know for how long, but we’ll enjoy it while we have it! Time to go work out on the treadmill while I can.

Happy day.

Photo from one year ago today, January 25, 2020:

Ironically, similar to a new photo we posted a few days ago. Here is a photo from seven years ago today at this link. On either side of the face are two hanging red-tipped hanging pieces of skin. When the Helmeted Guinea-fowl moves, these swing around like a pair of dangling earrings. Ah, the beauty of the wild! For last year’s post, please click here.

Power outage due to Cyclone Eloise…We’re figuring it out…

Please note: Due to a power outage and poor WiFi signal we are unable to upload photos until power and WiFi are restored.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, it was highly likely that power would be out today and it is. It went out sometime early this morning when I was awakened by the temperature climbing in the bedroom without the air-con running. Louise sent a message this morning to inform us it wasn’t “load shedding” but a power outage due to last night’s rains and Eskom has yet to come out to work on it.

Why the power goes out from the rain, when there’s little wind baffles me. But with the poor infrastructure here, anything seems to be instrumental in the power going off, often for hours, if not for days at a time, under certain mysterious conditions. There’s no point in attempting to analyze the reasons. It is what it is.

Right now, I am using my phone as a hotspot, utilizing Google Fi data service. We only use it for short bursts such as circumstances, such as today when the power and tower aren’t working for the house’s WiFi. It’s pricey and only warrants use during these situations. Thus, the number of photos in today’s post will be limited.

At least now, we have the inverter to help us for a period of time, but that runs on batteries and if power isn’t restored soon enough, that will stop working. For now, we can charge our laptops and phones, but the WiFi isn’t working. That’s most likely due to the system at the tower being down due to the power outage.

At the moment, as I’d done last weekend during load shedding, I am writing the text for today’s post using the offline app, “text” which I can save to upload later on when the power is restored and then add the photos I’d planned for today. Cyclone Eloise is beginning to impact South Africa, but we aren’t able to see how seriously without a connection.

Instead, we can continue to sit at the big table on the veranda and do it the “old fashioned” way, watch the weather before our eyes. Right now, it rains intermittently with occasional big gusts of wind rustling through the trees. The only visitors we’ve had this morning have been a half dozen helmeted guinea-fowl who came and “peck, peck, pecked” the seeds we’ve been tossing out for (francolin) Frank, his family and friends, and our nesting pair of hornbills who’ve taken over the bushbaby house in a tree at the edge of the veranda.

During past stays in Marloth Park, we’d noticed we didn’t get many visitors during rainstorms. I truly believe many of the animals seek shelter when the rain, wind, thunder, and lightning frighten them. Oops, I spoke too soon. I just looked up to find Frank, The Misses and The Chicks have stopped by for some seeds. We tossed out several handfuls of seeds and they are making happy little chirps as they peck at the seeds. It’s quite endearing, actually.

Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, this inconvenience causes us little concern compared to our experience of the past 10 months. We are outdoors, we don’t feel confined and we have nature at our disposal when the timing is right. Fortunately, we don’t have much food on hand to spoil in the refrigerator and freezer.

We’d hope to head out to shop tomorrow in Komatipoort but until the threat of Eloise is over, it makes no sense to fill the fridge with food that could ultimately spoil. Tonight for dinner, we’ll make bacon and cheesy scrambled eggs on the grill which has a side burner since we are all out of meat, other than frozen chicken wings, which may spoil if the power doesn’t return by this evening.

Some may say, “Why didn’t we go to a well-established tropical island renting a beachfront property and be able to relax in comfort?” We understand this mentality and for many, that would be an ideal scenario. But, for us, “rough and tumble” types that we are, we feel right at home with some inconveniences when the tradeoffs are well worth the occasional trouble.

We’d love to go to Kruger National Park soon, but all the facilities are closed due to Covid-19 and now, this storm. There would be nowhere to stop for a bathroom break.. We’re hoping soon enough, activity in Kruger will be restored and we’ll purchase an annual pass and visit as often as we’d like.

There’s not much on the agenda today in light of these current developments. However, when and if the weather improves we may see our wildlife friends in abundance.

Have a safe and healthy day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 24, 2020:

Almost ready to leave Arizona, while visiting some of Tom’s siblings,  here are his four sisters (two weren’t able to travel to Arizona). From left to right (back row); Colleen, Tom, Mary Ellen with Rita, and Margie (front row). For the story one year ago, please click here.

Power outage today…

A Great White Heron was standing in the water at Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This is our friend Tusker.  He is the sweetest guy who comes to visit several times each day, particularly after 1600 hours (4:00 pm).  He’s so comfortable here he often lies down for a short nap.

While midway through making one of our favorite low-carb meals, and before I started working on today’s post, the power went out at 0945 hours (9:45 am). We weren’t too concerned when most often, it comes back on within a few hours. 

Tom read a “paper” book we borrowed from friends Lynne and Mick about the history of Marloth Park while I’m typed the text on the offline app for our site on my phone, which I often use during power outages.

We never get tired of seeing these wondrous animals, both in Kruger and in Marloth Parks.
Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to plug in my phone when I got up this morning, and the battery was almost dead. I typed fast and furiously to be prepared when and if the power came back on today.

Power outages are common in Africa, as are other areas of the infrastructure. For example, we had a package shipped from the US on May 28th, almost two months.  Due to a strike, it’s been stuck in Pretoria since June 6th.
Zebras were crossing the road in Kruger.

We check package tracking and often call to no avail. Yesterday, I was told the “network was down” and to call back again. I called again, and there was no answer.

But, as everyone always says…this is Africa, and we can’t expect such services to be comparable to that in the US and other more developed countries in the world.

A bloat of hippos at Sunset Dam.
Expectations must be kept in check. Our friend Kathy (and Don), while home alone at one of their other homes in Pretoria, South Africa, was without power from last Friday until late Sunday. She couldn’t leave when the electronic gate wouldn’t open without power. We could only hope that type of scenario doesn’t happen here. 
From this site: “Hippos can stay underwater for up to 5 minutes without coming up for air, according to National Geographic. When they sleep in the water, their bodies automatically bob up to the top of the water so that they can take a breath, and then they sink back to the bottom. Hippos’ eyes and nostrils are on top of their head. This allows them to breathe and look around while the rest of their body is submerged. “

We’d grocery shopped yesterday, and the extra freezer is full of meats and other items. The refrigerator is all fully stocked. If the power didn’t come back on, we’d be out a lot of money.

OK, folks, here’s a new one for you…This is a “bask” of crocodiles!

I finished making most of the meal and quickly opened and closed the refrigerator door putting everything perishable inside. We decided the best course of action was to embark on one of our usual drives through Marloth Park, hoping the power would come back on while we were gone. 

We returned several hours later, and we have power. That’s why today’s post is so late. We had an eventful drive, including spotting two lions on the river and other wildlife, and yet, we’re happy to be back at the house with power.
Another “bask” of crocs at Sunset Dam.

No doubt, we’ll have another good night in our blissful surroundings, grateful for even the little things; a good home-cooked meal, lots of visitors to the garden, and of course, having power back on.

Three giraffes at a distance in Kruger National Park.

Tonight, clear skies providing, we’ll be able to see the entire total eclipse of the “blood moon,” which is only fully viewable in certain parts of the world,  South Africa included. It should be a good night!

As winter continues, there’s less and less green vegetation for the wildlife in Kruger and Marloth Park.

Hopefully, wherever you may be, tonight, you’ll get a glimpse of this special moon!

Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2017:

Too distant for close-up photos, we spotted these two Cormorants sitting on a rock in a pond at the Henderson (Nevada) Bird Viewing Preserve. For more photos, please click here.

We’re here!…Power is back on after 10 hours…We’re off to the big city…More Atenas Friday Farmers Market…

When this sweet and friendly butcher at the Farmers Market spotted me with the camera, he willingly posed! The people of Costa Rica are approachable and warm.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

A breathtaking ridge of low-lying clouds.

Two things are of most concern to us when there’s a power outage; one, that our food in the refrigerator and freezer will spoil, and two, the prospect of boredom at night in the dark.

Check out the size of those bananas!

We can easily entertain ourselves during the day by playing cards, chatting, sunning and swimming in the pool.  But, once darkness falls, life without power is daunting.  Our phone batteries are usually dead by dark, and thus we’re unable to read online books, and our laptops may only have enough juice to watch one to two downloaded shows or one movie.

Last night would have been incredibly annoying in the dark had the power not come back on at 1:00 pm yesterday. As it turned out, my laptop, which contains all of the downloaded shows, was dead when I attempted to fire it up when the power returned.

Some vendors offered handmade crafts.

Somehow, on Saturday night, the plug-in came loose, totally draining the battery. We wouldn’t have been able to watch a thing or…to transfer a show to Tom’s laptop. Thank goodness we got the power back yesterday.

These handmade shoes were beautifully made.

In the realm of things, none of it’s a big deal. We could be like the folks dealing with floods and devastation after massive Hurricane Harvey over these past days. Who are we to complain?

Then again, with us humans, it’s all relative. We each live in our moment in time, and although we may feel empathy for those less fortunate, we do tend to get caught up in our own “dilemma of the moment.”

Handmade candles.

Besides the 10-hour power outage on Sunday and the resulting lack of WiFi, which doesn’t work without power, the three sinks in the kitchen had begun leaking on Saturday night to the point where we can no longer use them. Julio is coming today to make the repairs.

These perfectly shaped tomatoes may have been imported, which we’ve discovered is not unusual at markets throughout the world. Instead, we purchase a big bag of uneven, less perfect tomatoes, as shown below.

Luckily, we already had last night’s meal prepared, which required reheating the meat for our taco salads.  No worries there.  We’d have managed even without power when the gas range still worked, power or not.

On Saturday, when we went to Supremercade Coopeatenas, we waited at the outdoor cafe for the rental car #1 guy to pick up the car at 10:00 am after our five-day rental. (This morning at 8:30 am, taxi driver Henry picks us up to get rental car #2 near the San Jose airport).

These are the tomatoes we purchased.

While we waited, we met a lovely couple Pat and Jim, from the US, who owns a home nearby but happen to be returning to the US this week for an extended stay. Gosh, it was fun chatting with them. Their five years of experience living in Atenas were helpful to us. 

They even followed us into the market to show us where to find whole cream and unsweetened coconut milk. Yeah! The cream wasn’t located in a refrigerator section but instead was on a dry shelf in a shelf-stable container. The coconut milk was situated in the liquor section near the rum. Oh, I get it.  In three and a half months, we’d never have found those two much-needed items.

There are many apple orchards in the area.

While checking out, we met another lovely person, Sarah, who wrote down her phone number and whom we’ll call for a get-together in a few weeks. Her husband had just had surgery and needed a few weeks to recover before socializing. Most certainly, we’ll make contact.

Gorgeous flowers for that special occasion.

After the visits with the ex-pats, we purchased several kilos of organic chicken breasts and pork chops when the market was having its special Saturday sale. We filled our insulated bags to the brim, grabbed a taxi in front of the market, and were back to our villa a little after midnight.

We purchased six heads of this lettuce for our big daily salads.

With no car over the weekend until we pick up the rental this morning, we felt a bit stranded on Sunday, exacerbated by the lack of electricity. If we’d had wheels, we could have gone into town to buy bags of ice to keep the food cold. 

Instead, we dumped all the ice from the ice maker into a large cooler and added all the perishables from the refrigerator. Everything survived, and the frozen meats in the freezer stayed frozen. 

More locally grown fruit.

I’d prepared a short post yesterday to inform our readers that we weren’t able to post. I’d considered doing the post in the afternoon. Still, after changing my usual morning posting routine, I decided against it and took the rest to re-organize after the power outage and get caught up on a few tasks.

Now that we’ll have a car, we have many exciting tours on the horizon. Please stay in touch as we continue to share them with all of you.

Have a wonderful day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 28, 2016:

The elaborate sign at the entrance to the Muay Thai Kickboxing facility down the road from us. Many nights we can hear the activity. For more photos, please click here.

No power, no Wi-Fi, plumbing problems.

What a day! At 3:00 am, the power when out. Nine hours later still no power or Wi-Fi. Three kitchen sinks leaking. Food in fridge rapidly defrosting after a huge grocery shopping. No car until tomorrow.
Thus, no regular post today. We are currently using phone SIM for this short notice.
Already swam in pool, played GIN and keeping cheerful. If power returns later today we’ll be back.
If no power tomorrow, we’re still taking off to San Jose to pick up the rental car at 8:30 and will post as soon as power and WiFi return.
Happy day!

Fiji time…Fiji life…Subject to change on a moment’s notice…Great service continues…

A drive along the highway on a sunny day makes all the difference in the world in our desire to get out.

Yesterday, when the power hadn’t gone off by 9 am, when it was scheduled for 8 am, we were wondering what was going on. I’d hurried through completing the post and automatically scheduled it to go live at our usual time or thereabouts. There was a possibility we wouldn’t be able to get online during the outage.

As the two fans continued to whir we were optimistic, hoping they’d changed their minds on doing the necessary electrical work in Savusavu. Determined to figure it out one way or another, I searched online and found the power company’s scheduled maintenance.

Our power wasn’t scheduled to go out until today, not yesterday and the hours of the outage have lessened from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm to 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, not quite so bad. In any case, we had an extra day to make ice in our four trays, half of which we’ll put into the refrigerator to keep those items cool and the other half, for our iced tea.

When we discovered this, we decided to call Ratnesh to see if he’d taken us sightseeing for the entire afternoon.  That way, we’d be in AC comfort in the heat and humidity and enjoy being out in the countryside and not dealing with the “no power” situation.

A nursing pig with six piglets.

It’s been pouring rain since the middle of the night and soon, if it doesn’t stop, I’ll call to tell him we don’t want to go in the rain. Our photos don’t come out well and its just not fun for us to be riding in the rain for hours. 

Activities on this side of the island are primarily geared toward the scuba diver and those who sail. Since we engage in neither, sightseeing has been at a minimum. 

Also, it rained or been cloudy approximately 60% of the time since our arrival. Without a car of our own, with the steep road requiring a four-wheel drive, we haven’t been out nearly as much as we had in Trinity Beach, Australia or other locations. 

With Ratnesh often busy with other guests, the pickings have been slim. Other taxi drivers refuse to tackle the drive on the uneven dirt road up this mountain. We don’t blame them. Its quite a challenge and could easily damage a non-four wheel drive vehicle. 

There are numerous shacks such as this along the highway which may have been homes decades ago.

The one time Rasnesh couldn’t pick us up and sent another driver to collect us, it took 20 minutes for the driver to maneuver his way up the hill, backing up and trying over and over again. He was very frustrated but we stayed supportive and calm.  We haven’t wanted to repeat that experience.

Midday yesterday, I started making Tom’s usual snack of bacon and sautéed Hamouli cheese as shown in a photo a few days ago.  He has this snack most days, never seeming to tire of the same thing over and again. 

With the power still on, no problem. While the bacon cooked in the microwave, I had the stove going with a pan of ghee heated to the perfect temperature to brown the cheese. Suddenly, the gas stove was off.  It ran out of gas. 

With Junior off over the weekend, we contacted Mario. He was out for a few hours. No sooner than he returned, he brought us a small propane tank to hold us over until Monday when he could bring us a larger tank. He’s been “Johnny on the spot” whenever we’ve had an issue responding as quickly as possible. Mario is a problem solver and we’d been thrilled with the great service here.

Of course, we won’t hesitate to provide a good review when we leave. Although, there have been challenges, Mario has never failed to address them promptly and efficiently. For those seeking a stay in an affordable vacation home, able to cook their own meals and enjoy a beautiful and peaceful setting this property is ideal. 

The lushness of the bright green hills have been enhanced by the frequent rains.

Sure, there may be issues staying in an affordable property, those one may not experience staying in a hotel. If luxury is desired for a honeymoon or special celebration a hotel would be more desirable. But, for the traveler seeking a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle and an affordable location, this is ideal. 

Most hotels in Savusavu are at least USD $200, FJD $431 per night with others considerably higher. One can stay here in this resort for half this amount or less, as we negotiated for our long term stay.

At times, we hesitate to quote our rental amount when due to the long term commitment, we often negotiate a lower price the owner would never consider for a one or two week stay. However, on the last day of a stay in each location, we post our expenses by category. That post will be available on December 6th, the day we leave for Viti Levu, a mere 13 days from today.

Hopefully, the rain will stop and our noon pick up scheduled with Ratnesh for today will still be on. If not, we’ll call him and cancel by 9 or 10 pm, freeing him up for other fares. Once again, we’ll play it by ear, a common occurrence when living on a tropical island.

I’m uploading today’s post early today at 8:50 am, Fiji time. Speaking of Fiji time, we still have power.  Hmmm…

Happy day!

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

While living in Maui, we could walk outside our condo to the shore to watch the sea turtles when they visited most late afternoons. For more details, please click here.

Waiting for the power to go out soon…Spending money of what?…A heartbreaking event in Marloth Park…

While our driver, Okee Dokee was away for part of December, 2013, we rented this pink car.  Parked in the driveway of our vacation home in Marloth Park it didn’t deter the “visitors” from stopping by each day.  Warthogs were my favorite visitors especially when two moms (the second mom and one other baby is not shown here in this photo) and seven baby warthogs came to call every day.  For more details, please click here.

With “Fiji time” the power could go out sooner or later.  One never knows.  The scheduled shut down is expected at 8 am, ending at 6 pm.  We’re as prepared as we can be. 

We have plenty of ice to soon place into plastic bags which will go inside two insulated bags and extra ice to place in the refrigerator hoping to keep those items cool after the fridge portion was out of commission for 24 hours a few days ago.

I slept fitfully.  After “refreshing” my Windows 8.1 laptop a few days ago, there were over 300 updates that came through from Microsoft which took hours to upload.  When I saw the message come up as I began to shut down last night, I decided I’d better let them run rather than wait until today when they’d use up power once the electricity is out. 

Wanting to ensure they uploaded correctly, I wasn’t able to fall asleep until it was done and I could shut it off.  My “shut down” is still having issues which requires two restarts. 

I’ve tried everything to correct it but it won’t resolve, even with software fixes I downloaded in the past few days specifically for this problem.  I guess I’ll live with it when everything else is running smoothly now after the refresh.  Before we know it, as always, we’ll end up purchasing new laptops when traveling as we do seems to have an impact on their survival.

As the prices have reduced considerably for touchscreen technology which we both like to use, we don’t flinch at the prospect of purchasing new equipment every few years, especially as the features and technology continues to change. 

Photo from our yard in December, 2013.  Hundreds of these beautiful impalas are being culled in Marloth Patk at this time.

We don’t flinch at the cost for replacement supplies including cameras, laptops, Internet devices, and other digital equipment when we don’t spend money on gardening, household maintenance, clothes shopping, dining out and other “living in one place” related expenses.

At the present we have items accumulating at our mailing service with supplies we need to replenish to arrive in our next shipment in New Zealand sometime in January. 

These items include any digital equipment we’d like to replace (still deciding), underwear, a few favorite toiletry items we can’t find outside the US; tee shirts; liquid sweetener for my coffee, hot tea and muffins; Crystal Light ice tea packets (enough to last for a year) and a few other items that surely will come to mind over the next month as we accumulate the upcoming shipment.

Another item that kept my mind spinning overnight was an article I stumbled upon last night about the culling of 487 wildlife in Marloth Park due to a lack of adequate vegetation in the “veld” (the bush) to sustain the animals.  We can only imagine the heartbreak of our friends and other residents in Marloth Park as they await this sorrowful process to be end.

Here’s an article from a local newspaper in Mpumalanga, South Africa:

“Culling in Marloth Park, Mpumalanga, resumed on Monday night after recent attempts to have the game captured and relocated failed.

The majority of residents say they are happy possible inconveniences to residents and disruption to animals are being kept to a minimum. The operations are carried out after 6pm to restrict exposure to both residents and holiday goers, Lowvelder reported.

“The poor state of Marloth Park’s veld is sufficient reason for property owners to realise that there is no other option than to cull the animals. However, most of these concerns have been put to rest since the culling is taking place at night,” a property owner remarked.

The planned total of animals to be culled is 487 for impala, eight for wildebeest and 10 for warthog.

Time is an issue, as the permit to conduct this is only valid for 30 days. In addition, only 35 animals can be culled at a time, this being the quota the abattoir can handle a day.

The office of the provincial State Veterinary Services confirmed that carcasses had been transported to the Morrisdale Abattoir, which is located out of the red-line area on the Jeppe’s Reef road.

The former contract holder of culling in Marloth Park, Jasper Aitcheson, said: “Since Marloth Park is situated within the red-line area, the threat of TB is high and strict protocols need to be followed.”

An animal is shot in the head and bled out before attempting to transport the carcass to the abattoir. The feet and head are checked at the abattoir, and depending on ailments, a strict protocol will be followed, as per health regulations. After this, the meat is cut off the bone. The feet, head, intestines as well as the bones are to be sent back to Marloth Park, where it is taken to the so-called Vultures Restaurant in Lionspruit for scavengers to consume it.”

Photo take from our second floor veranda in Marloth Park.  The thought of giraffes being culled in heartbreaking.  Note the full cheeks from munching on the trees.  Now with vegetation at a minimum culling was the chosen option.

My heart especially hurts for the 10 warthogs who especially became our friends and frequent visitors while we spent three months living in the amazing wildlife reserve.  Upon reading further I discovered that even giraffes would be included in this sad event. 

I realize culling is a part of life required to leave food sources for those that remain.  But, it’s sad nonetheless.  Today, I’ll write to several of our friends in the park. Many of the animals have become an integral part of living in Marloth Park and the loss will be dearly felt.

All of God’s creatures, both human and animal, are treasured gifts to our planet and as world events unfold the loss of human life remains heartbreaking. For those of us deeply connected to the animal kingdom we only add the sorrow of loss of wildlife as well, to our already aching hearts.

The inconvenience we experience without power for one day is nothing.  The loss of food in our refrigerator is nothing.  A remedied toothache or aching neck is nothing. 

We strive to continually remain grateful and fulfilled for the gift of each day we’ve been given, for each experience we gather along the way, both past and present, as we continue on in this journey.

Two weeks from today, we’ll fly in the little plane once again to make our way to 28 more days on the main island of Fiji, viti Luvu.  Beyond that, a new adventure begins as we make our way to New Zealand, Singapore, Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and many more over the next 12 months.

All of our love to our friends in Marloth Park and throughout the world!



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

One year ago while living in Maalea Beach, Maui, we took a few videos of professional coconut tree trimmers climbing up coconut palms to remove excess leaves and coconuts to prevent injury to the residents below.  For photos and details, please click here.

Our power is out today…

If it comes back in time before we head out to dinner tonight, we’ll certainly post as planned. If not, we’ll be back tomorrow (hopefully).

This is the fifth time the power has gone out in the past few weeks, usually lasting three to five hours. We shall see what transpires today.

Hope to be back later today!