Pig on the porch…Pig in the parlor…Warthog “Little” comes to call…

This is “Little” entering the parlor looking for the bags of pellets!  Funny!
Little decided to check out the inside of the house.  I was in the kitchen chopping vegetables when he entered and looked up to see this!  We both couldn’t stop laughing.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Adorable young duiker has become more at ease approaching the veranda for pellets.  As the smallest in the antelope family, they are often the last to be able to eat when the larger animals chase them off.  Whenever we see them alone, we make sure they have plenty on their own.

As our long-time readers are well aware, I love pigs.  They are intelligent and readily make eye contact with deep expression and, they appear to have an excellent memory:
Pigs are actually considered the fifth-most intelligent animal in the world—even more intelligent than dogs—and are capable of playing video games with more focus and success than chimps! They also have excellent object-location memory.”

Yesterday, Little gingerly climbed the several steps up to the veranda, looking for pellets.

We can’t underestimate their ability to interact with us, not unlike a dog or other domesticated animal.  No doubt, warthogs are not domesticated and nor are we purporting they should be especially warthogs who thrive of a life in the wild foraging for food, mating and raising piglets to adulthood.

Once he was situated, we brought him some fruit and veg.

With the recent visits of the mom and four piglets, we’ve witnessed a loving and attentive mother, concerned for the well-being of her young, to the point of putting her own life at risk.  We’ve watched her chase off bigger and stronger male warthogs to ensure her piglets get in on the pellet action.

I sat quietly in the chair next to him, wanting to make him feel at ease.

But today’s story is about Little, a warthog who’s been visiting us for the past six months.  His gentle soul and good nature with other animals while sharing pellets has astounded us, making him hold a special place in our hearts.

This was yesterday afternoon after he’d climbed the steps to the veranda.  He ate some pellets and left.  But today, was an entirely new scenario as shown in our video and photos.

When we first saw him enter the cement pond a few months ago, he endeared himself to us further.  He splashes around in the tiny pond cooling off on a very hot day, often putting his face underwater while taking a big gulp of the water we keep clean. Well, as clean as you can keep a pond clean that a pig swims in.  Our pond is emptied and cleaned once a week. 

Little doesn’t care for lettuce but likes pellets, carrots, apples, and pears.

Since that time, he’s visited many times on hot days to do the same.  He easily knows his name and looks up at us when we call him.  His expressions are of great interest and curiosity.  We have no doubt he is the same when he visits other bush homes in Marloth Park.

What originally inspired me in 2012, to convince Tom, we needed to come to Marloth Park was a photo Louise had on her website of a pig, napping in front of a fireplace in a bush home.  

Today, he was determined when he climbed the steps, feeling more at “home.” He’s come up the steps to the veranda a few times in the past weeks but now, it’s been two consecutive days.  Maybe this will become a regular part of his almost daily visits.

That single photo inspired me so much, I literally had to plead with Tom to “step outside the box” in our upcoming travels and stay in this wildlife conservancy for at least three months.  

As warthogs do, he was on his knees eating.  They have long snouts so nature provided tough knee pads to allow them to scoot around on the knees gathering morsels of food.

Coincidentally, we arrived in Marloth Park on December 2, 2013, five years ago today.  See that post here.  Our first official visitor at the Hornbill house was a warthog as shown in this photo below.

At the Hornbill house less than a half hour after we arrived, this warthog stopped by to welcome us to the neighborhood.  He was our first official visitor.  For all we know, we’ve seen this warthog during these past many months since our return.  They may live as long as 17 years.

Returning to Marloth Park this past February, my greatest enthusiasm surrounded the opportunity to interact with these funny creatures once again.  And, have we ever.  There are many warthogs we recognize and who know us as the generous pellet providers.  

When the pellets are consumed, he waits patiently for more.  Although, a few times, he nudged me with his nose.

Sure, they visit for the food.  We have no delusions that the single biggest motivator for them, including Little, is to regularly return to our garden.  But, in our heart of hearts, we see their continuing interest in us, curious to as to what us humans are all about and possibly gleaning some form of emotional attachment similar to that we experience from dogs.

There’s always time in his busy schedule for a pellet break.

This morning, when Little wandered into the house, this behavior confirmed his curiosity which made us swoon with laughter.  And yes, his powerful sense of smell directed him to bags of pellets resting again the wall in the parlor.  

Little is not so little.  Hee may weigh up to 136 kg, (300 pounds).

Had we left him to his own resources we are certain he’d have torn open the bags and had himself the feast of a lifetime.  We cut the video short and sent him back outdoors.  He didn’t go easily.  This doesn’t imply he was aggressive.  He was not.

Little contemplating a nap after his big meal.

But, he hesitated to leave and we had to toss some pellets to the garden to encourage him to make his way back down the steps for one last bowl of pellets until we cut him off…not for good…but for a “Little” while until he returns again.

We can’t stop smiling.  Personally, I’m in “pig heaven” today reeling from the wonderful experience.

May your day leave you reeling with wonderfulness! 

__________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, December 2, 2017:

Tom is getting to be quite the photographer.  But, when I compliment him he says, “Even a stopped watch is correct twice a day!”  He’s too modest! For more photos, please click here.

Oh, oh…Frequent power outages scheduled for December…A challenge in our lives…

We didn’t see much on the river yesterday but we were thrilled with our other sightings, including this young zebra and mom.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This is our boy Wildebeest Willie, who stops by most afternoons for pellets and several naps.  He waits for other wildlife to appear then gets up to join in on the pellet frenzy.  He isn’t interested in carrots, celery tops, apples or pears.  He responds enthusiastically to his name and most likely responds to names other residents have given him.  Smart guy, that Willie!

It was a shocker yesterday when there was a notice on Marloth Park’s Facebook page about power company Eskom’s scheduled power outages, referred to as “load shedding.” 


What is load shedding?  Here’s a description from Eskom’s website here:


“As South Africa’s primary electricity supplier, Eskom’s mandate is to ensure the security of supply to service the South African economy and society.


Eskom, therefore, generates, transports and distributes electricity – and this is managed predominantly by Eskom for the entire country; however, Eskom only directly supplies more than 5 million households which means that most of us are supplied by municipalities.
At all times there must be sufficient supply to meet demand, but electricity demand is not consistent because of:

  • peak periods when demand is higher
  • and continuous growth in the number of customers requiring electricity services.

This means that the power system requires constant and prudent management of supply to meet demand but, today, Eskom faces the challenge of a constrained power system that will affect us until substantial new power capacity is available. In the meantime, to meet demand, our older power stations and infrastructure are being used to full capacity. In addition, routine and necessary maintenance of plant and infrastructure are carefully scheduled to limit compromising supply capacity during periods of high demand. We have also strengthened the distribution network to reduce the incidence of localized outages when the power trips because of overload in local areas such as suburbs.


Localized outages should not be confused with load shedding. Local outages can occur when there is either a technical fault in the transmission or distribution network, or when electrical equipment has been tampered with such as theft of cables, or when there is an overload of the local system because of irregular high usage due to electricity theft as well as normal faults.

Five years ago we saw ostriches at this bush house and they continue to visit almost every day.  The owner is able to walk freely among them and distribute pellets.  We’ve yet to have an ostrich at the Orange house but had one at the Hornbill house in 2014.

Load shedding, or load reduction, is done countrywide as a controlled option to respond to unplanned events to protect the electric power system from a total blackout. While we generally use the word blackout loosely to mean “no lights” in our local area, a country-wide blackout has much more serious consequences, which can occur when there is too much demand and too little supply, bringing the power system into an imbalance – tripping the power system in its entirety.


Many countries and cities in other parts of the world have experienced complete blackouts. To re-start their system, they are able to tap into a power system from a neighbor which can take a few hours or days, but we have to rely on ourselves to start the system from scratch – energizing one power plant at a time and one section of the country at a time. It could take up to two weeks to restore full power, which would have a severe impact on our country! This is why we use load shedding, or load reduction, to effectively manage our power system and assist in protecting it from such an event.”

This is one of the chicks we’ve been following for the past several months. They certainly have grown. One of their amazing attributes of the ostrich is the fact that they will grow to adulthood in 18 months. They weigh about 1kg when born and in the space of 18 months grow to an incredible size of about 140kg. The female ostrich will start laying eggs when she is about two years old.

There’s nothing we can do.  This is the way it is and will be especially over the busy holiday month of December.  The holidaymakers will begin arriving this upcoming week and it will be relentless throughout the entire month of December and part of January.


When reviewing the schedule for outages, we realize in many ways this will be a challenge for our daily needs as well as that of other residents and tourists in Marloth Park.  Our biggest concern it being able to upload our posts with new photos daily. 

Of course, we found them on Volstruis St. which means ostrich in Afrikaans, where they are often found.

We’d like to assure all of our readers, that regardless of this difficult schedule, we will continue to post each and every day.  The exception will be in the event of a total power outage lasting more than a day.  

Here’s the proud mom still fussing over her growing brood.

Thus, if you do not see a post by the end of any 24-hour period, you can be assured we have no power and cannot do a thing until the power is restored.  At first, we were shocked and disappointed.


But now, after reviewing the schedule, we’ve discussed ways in which we’ll make it work.  For us, lousy sleepers that we are, the hardest times will be on hot nights when we won’t be able to use a fan or aircon.  The windows have no screens so we’ll be in the equivalent of a “hot box” during the two to three-hour outage.

Here’s the family all together; mom, dad, and growing chicks.

For example, here are the scheduled power outages for us in Stage 2 over the next week:


Sat, 01 Dec
07:00 – 09:30                                         2.5 hours
15:00 – 17:30  (3:00 pm to 5:30 pm)      2.5 hours       TOTAL OUTAGES IN 24 HOURS – 7.5 HOURS
23:00 – 01:30  (11:00 pm to 1:30 am)    2.5 hours
Sun, 02 Dec
Mon, 03 Dec
Tue, 04 Dec
Wed, 05 Dec
Thu, 06 Dec
Fri, 07 Dec

The load shedding schedule varies by week when many of the outages will be during dinner time from 1700 to 1930 hours (5:00 pm to 7:30 pm).  Last night was the first evening we experienced this particular schedule.  

For the first time yesterday, we spotted giraffes at a particular overlook we often visit, but rarely see any wildlife, on the Marloth Park side of the fence.

Knowing in advance, while the power was still on, we prepared everything we needed for our dinner.  We usually start pulling the dinner together around 1830 (6:30 pm) with ease with lights on.  Last night we got everything out and ready to prepare while it was still light (it gets dark about 30-minutes later).  We ate  by candlelight.  


However, the hardest part for us at this time of day is not the meal.  We’ll manage that just fine.  It’s the fact that it’s our prime wildlife viewing time from the veranda when our evenings are so special, is from 1700 hours (5:00 PM) to 2100 hours (9:00 pm).

We’re always in awe of giraffes, especially those in the neighborhood.

The remaining schedule includes outages for most of these hours in 2.5-hour increments.  This changes everything.  We won’t be able to see a thing.  This is a big disappointment for us and our lifestyle.


There is nothing we can do but adapt to this situation to the best of our ability.  Next Thursday, when we go to Komatipoort to shop, we’ll stop at the hardware store to see if we can locate a good solar powered light we can see the garden at night.  

We spotted five giraffes in this area, including a youngster.

As it turns out the power issues during the prime evening hours don’t begin until December 9th.  This will work out well if we can find a solution.  In reality, this is always the case, finding solutions to situations we find discomforting.


Traveling the world isn’t always convenient.  It isn’t always comfortable as we’ve seen by the outrageous over 40C (104F) heat we’ve had with much hotter temps ahead of us.  


It wasn’t easy when I was attacked by pepper ticks from walking in the bush at the river resulting in over 100 awful bites lasting for over a month, requiring medical intervention and a 12-day course of cortisone (only three days of meds remaining – situation greatly improved) when I’ve hardly been able to sleep as a side effect of the drug.

For the time being to avoid getting more tick bites, I’ve taken photos from the car while on the daily drive in the park.  I only get out where I don’t have to walk through the bush to get to the fence in order to avoid taking photos of the fence. These gorgeous waterbucks males typically weigh from 198–262 kg (437–578 lb) and females 161–214 kg (355–472 lb).

We never have to ask ourselves, “Is it worth it?”
Without a doubt, we rest easy in the knowledge that we love this life we’ve chosen, even with its ups and downs.  No life is free from challenges, medical concerns, inconveniences and for us, immigration issue.


We carry on with joy, love and happiness that somehow supersedes the hardships, knowing full well, this is what and where we’re meant to be…in the world.

Happy day!

________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, December 1, 2017:

Slurpy mouthed iguana posing for a photo at the park in Manta, Ecuador as seen one year ago today.  For more photos, please click here.

We made it to Zambia…Settling in for another week…

The matriarch blasts a sound, “Come on kids, back up the hill.  Playtime is over.”

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Mom and baby making their way back up the hill, as they follow the matriarch who’d signaled it was time to go.

Around 4:30 am I awoke with a start.  Something was off.  It took a few minutes for me to realize the power was out.  I checked my new phone to see we didn’t have wi-fi which goes down when the power is out.

Driving down a dirt road, we spotted this male ostrich fluffing his feathers in this pile of bush debris.  At one point, he spread his wings and did some mating ritual-type dancing.
Oh, no, I thought, we’re getting up at 6:00 am and there won’t be hot water for showers or lights to put ourselves together for today’s trip to Zambia for our second visa-stamp exit from South Africa in the past six months.

When he noticed us at a distance, he stood up to watch what we were going to do.

As many of our readers are well aware, South Africa only allows US citizens a visa for 90 days in their country. The laws dictate that we cannot exit and re-enter from any of the many countries bordering South Africa.  Plus, if we fly in and out of Johannesburg, the hub, we may not be able to get back in.

The cape buffalos don’t seem to mind the presence of the elephants.

Subsequently, our safest bet has been to fly from the tiny airport in Nelspruit (an over one hour drive from Marloth Park), fly to the only country to which that particular airport flies non-stop without stopping in Johannesburg, where immigration laws are considerably more stringent.  


Our fingers are crossed this will work out again (and one more time in November) when we return from Zambia on August 23rd through the Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger airport.  

A massive matriarch elephant with a herd of cape buffalos.

Now that I’ve explained this necessity one more time (sorry to our readers who’ve heard this many times), our immediate concern this morning was getting ready to leave with no power.  The house was dark when we got out of bed.  

More cape buffalos and an elephant, two of the Big Five in one scene.

Determined to shower even if it was in cold water, I was shocked to discover some hot water remained in the pipes, long enough for me to take a quick shower and for Tom to do the same.

Tossing mud and water to stay cool on a very hot day.

Somehow, using a flashlight and a small hand mirror, I was able to get myself looking presentable enough to tackle the day.  About 30 minutes before we left to begin the drive, the power came back on, giving us time to recharge our digital equipment, pack it up and be on our way.


The drive to the airport during which we encounter road construction took 90 minutes this time but we arrived in plenty of time for our 11:35 am flight.  From there, everything went smoothly.

Lessons in rough play.

Our driver from Chris Tours, Steve was waiting for us at the curb with a sign with my name and he whisked us off to the Protea Hotel Livingstone with a stop at an ATM for cash, Zambian kwacha, and a quick trip to a pharmacy.  

A mom and a maturing offspring.

Tom felt like a cold or hayfever was coming on and he needed a nasal spray and antihistamine, just in case.  Once we checked into the hotel and got situated in our lovely hotel room, he seems to be doing better.  We have no time for colds and being sick!


Last time we stayed at this same hotel, we had a second-floor room with no elevator in the complex.  This time, upon our request, we’re located on the main floor close to everything.  Perfect.

This one-tusk elephant was sitting down in the vegetation.

Tonight, we’ll head to our favorite restaurant in Livingstone, Cafe Zambezi, as we’re both contemplating the fabulous food we enjoyed last time we were here, a mere three months ago.


Tomorrow, we’ll explore the town of Livingstone which we hadn’t done much last time we were here.  We were too busy with the tours we’d arranged at the time.  

More elephants on the bank of the Crocodile River in Marloth Park.

Now with only two days and one overnight booked to go to Chobe National Park and stay at the Chobe Safari Lodge, we’ll have more free time to check out the historic town, known for its gateway to Victoria Falls.  Last time we visited the falls from both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides which resulted in a full day.


Thanks to Louise and Danie for stopping by for a “sundowner” last night and the treasured handmade gift of a jar of 90% dark chocolate covered coffee beans.  What a treat when the sweet tooth hits after dinner!  Such good friends!

Truly a large parade of elephants on the river.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with new photos of Zambia we’ll be sharing along the way.  Today, we’re finishing posting a few Marloth Park photos we’d taken earlier in the week.  Our posts over this next week will be uploading at varying times of the day based on tours we’re planning.  But, there will be a new post daily.


May your day be filled with new adventures, big and small, regardless of where you may be.

___________________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, August 16, 2017:

We’d been anxious to get photos of unusual frogs in Costa Rica, especially the colorful species.  That will have to wait until we get out soon. We’d yet to see a colorful frog at the villa.  But, this plain frog attached to Henry’s left rear bumper satisfied me for now.  Check out those toes!  For more, please click here.

Its a better day…Yesterday can easily be forgotten…Power outage adding to the frustration level…

This scary looking carving is located on the iron fence of the house next door.

 “Sightings on the Beach in Bali”


We did a double take when we saw these two young guys walking their inner tube type boats along the beach.  Later, we saw them fishing from these tiny watercraft.

Let’s face it, living in less developed countries presents issues many don’t find in their home country.  We accepted this reality long ago when the first country in which we lived outside the US, Belize in Central America, formerly known as British Honduras, taught us that lesson hard and fast.
Its not as if we expected a life of world travel to be as easy as life in the US.  We knew there’d be challenges and sacrifices and we’ve faced them with as much grace and dignity as we’ve been able.

The house next door to us is at the end of this narrow road of this private villa neighborhood.

Sure, we’ve whined a bit and sure, we still cringe when there’s flies on our food as we dine (in excess amounts over these past few days) and, sure, we gave each other “the look” when the power went out shortly after dinner last night.  You know, the look that says, “Here we go again.”

But we didn’t say much about it.  Instead, we made a plan. The two Kataks found candles but no candle holders.  We opted for saucers.  There were no flashlights or torches, in the house, no screens on the bedroom windows if the outage lasted through the night as we’d be without AC or a fan to keep us cool.

We easily both recall living in Kenya almost three years ago (for a full three months) when there was no AC and the power would often be out all night.  It happened over and over again.  We had no living room, only a veranda where we sat in the dark by candlelight, bugs swarming around us until we gave up and went to bed to the protection of the mosquitos netting. We survived. 

Spikey branches on this flowering plant.

Not only did we survive, we became tougher, more resilient, more tolerant.  But all of that doesn’t mean the sting of a fly bite or other insect or, the heat of a breeze-less night doesn’t impact our comfort level.  We’re human, after all.

In part, the frustration level during outages revolves around the fact that we don’t know how long it will last.  Will it be hours?…days?  What about the food in the refrigerator spoiling?  What about being out of touch without Skype or a working phone when the wifi signal is also non-existent during a power outage?  (We’ve yet to find a SIM card for our phones in this remote location).

Pretty flowers growing along the wall lining the neighborhood.

What about a medical emergency?  The next door neighbor died 18 months ago when he couldn’t get to a proper hospital in time for treatment when he was having a heart attack.  The doctor “was out” not returning for several hours.  He lay on a gurney and passed away without treatment. (Tomorrow, when we head to Negara, we’ll find a SIM card).

The two Kataks left after bringing us the candles, saucers and matches.  At least we’d already had dinner.  At least, my laptop was fully charged and we could watch shows until the battery died.  At least, we had already cooled down the bedroom a little for after dinner lounging where we now go to relax in the evening, free from the flies and mozzies. 

Hindu statue along the wall in the neighborhood.

Luckily, it wasn’t a all night affair.  A few hours later, shortly before total darkness, the power came back on.  “Whew,” we both said simultaneously.  We’ve said this many times in the past.  And, we have no doubt, we’ll say it many times in the future, not only here in Bali but in many other countries along the way.

Now, as we bat off about half as many flies as yesterday, with a clear blue sky, power back on and the humidity a touch lower, we look forward to the later part of the morning when the sun and the day reduces the flies dive bombing antics and once again we can experience another sunny day in Paradise.

May your day be sunny and bright!

______________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, May 13, 2015:

The morning view from our lanai in Kauai as it rained off and on.  We were counting off the day until our departure after a blissful four month stay.  For more details, please click here.

Nuances of life in a developing country…Managing tech issues…

Tom was engrossed in watching the ski movie on the projection screen in Baka Blues bar/restaurant in the Arts Village.

With another power outage last night shortly after dinner continuing well into the night after we’d gone to be, we lay there feeling hot and sticky with no cooling fan to lighten the air’s thickness, counting how many days we’ve been without electricity.
 
We’ll have spent a total of 119 days living on two islands in Fiji since arriving by prop plane on September 8, 2015 and soon to depart on January 4, 2016, only one week from today.

Running through all the days and nights we spent without power in Vanua Levu and now again in Viti Levu, in all we counted 11 days of our time in this developing country.

In the past I’ve tactlessly referred to a few countries as “third world” and for that I apologize to all the citizens of many countries for using this archaic expression.

In today’s world the term “developing” country is more appropriate in describing countries that may not have access to funds to provide the utmost in  consistent, reliable utility and wifi services with Fiji falling into that category.



There were few diners at Baka Blues in Arts Village at our early arrival time.

Fiji, in its desire and intent in providing free medical care, good schools, and low taxes finds itself forfeiting some other aspects to life in their country; good roads, programs for the elderly and certain assistance programs often found in other parts of the world in more “developed” countries, resulting in higher tax rates and cost of living.

I won’t get into the political climate of Fiji or other countries.  Bottom line, the power has gone out on 11 different days since our arrival…10% of the time.  We experienced a similar situation while living in Kenya a few years ago, frequent power outages at times lasting for over 24 hours.

Then again, living in the US, we experienced a few days of power outages every few years as a result of downed power lines from intense spring and summer storms, resulting in our eventual purchase of a gas powered generator wired to the whole house.  Those reasons for the outages may be different although they were nonetheless annoying and inconvenient.

My biggest concern is always the food in the refrigerator and…the power not being restored in time to salvage our entire cold food supply.  Secondly, our concerns for running down the batteries on our phones and laptops to the point where we can no longer read or entertain ourselves, instead sitting in the dark twiddling our thumbs, is not pleasing by any means.

The lack of fans to keep the air moving is the next concern when often the heat and humidity have contributed to the power outage when those with air con are running their units and others, like us, running multiple floor and ceiling fans constantly.


Most diners don’t head out to bar/restaurants until later in the evening.  It was quiet while we were there around 6:45 pm.

Of course, we’ve been thrilled to have screens in this more modern house in Pacific Harbour, a rarity in most developing countries.  The locals seem to become immune to the bites of the mozzies and more comfortable allowing a wide array of insects and other creatures free access into their homes when leaving doors wide open. 

We’re not quite there yet and may never be. For us, its the mozzies more than other creatures that prevents us from leaving doors and windows without screens open all day to allow for more air flow.

When the power returned during the night, we were thrilled.  We’ve learned to prepare before going to bed when the power is out; unplug the TV so it doesn’t come back on with the power; turn off lights and fans in living areas and turn on the fans in the bedroom to avoid the necessity of getting out of bed if the power is restored during the night.

There was that.  Then, over the past several days, my Windows 8.1 touchscreen laptop, purchased in Hawaii last year, developed some issues.  I won’t bore our less-interested-in-technology readers as to the extent of the issues which were wide in scope. 

The only solution was to “refresh” my PC which always results in a loss of many apps and downloaded programs I use (such as MS Office) with the necessity of spending an entire day to restore these programs and apps. 

Tom enjoyed his fries and onions rings but said the beef had a spicy flavor he didn’t care for.  We were in a restaurant that had a Cajun flavor most likely resulting in the use of a grill seasoned with the spices which he doesn’t like.  No fault of the restaurant.

Over these years I’ve sweat bullets when either of us had what may have proven to be irreparable computer issues. Now, with more experience in repairing issues and with the experience of purchasing a new (inferior brand) laptop  a few years ago in South Africa (I’d dropped and broke the screen making it unusable), I take these issues in stride.  No longer do my palms sweat and no longer does my heart race while attempting to figure out a solution.

Using a cloud service to store all of our important files and documents and with our external two terabyte hard drive which we use frequently to back up our data, the bigger concern revolves around where and how to purchase a replacement if necessary.

If a new computer is to be shipped to us, there’s no way to avoid paying customs fees or such potential fees when exiting the country.  In any case, yesterday, before the power went out, I was able to restore my laptop to 95% efficiency leaving only one touchscreen issue preventing me from performing the frequently used right to left hand gesture swipe.

Need I say, I looked online for hours to find a solution for this remaining issue.  Either the suggestions didn’t work or were impractical for my system.  I even contacted Acer, the manufacturer and “spoke” to one of their tech reps via a chat, requesting a solution to no avail.  She said, “Do a refresh of the system,” which I’d already done.

I’ve decided to live with the remaining issues instead implementing a few extra clicks to perform a similar task, with a “workaround” for the rest.  It will do for now.  When we’ll be able to purchase new equipment remains a mystery at this point, most likely waiting until its absolutely a must resulting in our paying customs and shipping fees for a replacement for one, if not both of us.


My salad was fabulous with smoky flavored chicken and extra hard boiled eggs.  There was no dressing on the menu that worked for me so I ordered a side of sour cream, usually a good alternative.

On the agenda today?  It’s been raining 11 days in a row, soaking bursts, making walking and going out unappealing.  The laundry I washed and hung two days ago is still damp.  I may have to bring it indoors to hang it around the house, hoping it will soon dry from the airflow of the fans. 

Life in the tropics as we’ve known it over this past year including a tremendous number of rainy days, coupled with many days without power, leaves us feeling good about the next leg of our journey; easy days cruising; cool, sunny and less humid 89 days in New Zealand; and then off to another tropical climate in Bali which by April, we’ll be ready to enjoy once again.

__________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, December 28, 2014:

This was one of our favorite photos while in the Big Island.  The entire family took an evening trip to Mount Kilauea to see the erupting volcano and we captured this shot more by a fluke than anything.  It was exciting for our kids and grandkids to see an erupting volcano with us.  Who has ever had an opportunity to see an erupting volcano in a lifetime?  For more volcano photos, please click here.

Patience prevailed on a challenging day!

Ratnesh stopped along the highway to show us this lily pond.

We realize all of our readers must be tired of hearing about our wifi issues. Hopefully, by the end of today, we’re hoping to have working Internet.  Right now, as I’ve done over the past several days, I’m using “Internet sharing” off of the Vodaphone Fiji SIM card installed in Tom’s phone in order to upload our posts.

The SIM card expires tomorrow and we still have 28 unused gigs we’ll lose when the data is only usable for 30 days. The signal was too weak to use much of the 30 gigs we purchased when we arrived. Tomorrow, we’ll “top off” the card with less data than the original purchase. 

Using wifi in this manner results in the slowest connection I’ve experience since 1991 when it took hours to connect to the Internet via a land line.  Yesterday, it took 30 minutes to load each of a few photos.

In late 1991, in the early Internet days, Tom and I each had a desktop computer.  We’d play one of the first games offered online, Netplay.  It took eight hours to download the game and it required a re-install many times when it would crash.  We’d leave the computers on all night attempting to re-install it, often finding it wasn’t done in the morning.

On Monday, the phone company was supposed to come here to resolve our issues.  Their truck broke down.  Then they were scheduled again for Tuesday.  Alas, at 9 am yesterday, the power went out. There’s no way the phone company could work on providing us service without power.


Badal stops by every night while we’re having dinner.  We give him something good to eat, usually meat off of our plates. This photo was taken a few days ago when oddly he arrived earlier than usual, just before sunset, enabling me to take photo. 

We didn’t realize the power had gone out until about 30 minutes later when we tried to turn on the overhead fan and it wouldn’t start.  Checking a few outlets, we realized what had happened.  A short time later, Junior popped in to tell us the power would be out most of the day.  They were working on the lines.
Oh.  No power and no wifi.  That’s makes for a fun filled day.  We though about calling Ratnesh for a day’s outing but if the power returned, the phone company could arrive and we needed to be here.

Quickly, we dimmed the brightness settings on our laptops and phones to a point of being barely readable, checking how much time we had left on the batteries on each, planning our day accordingly, mixed amongst playing Gin, playing games, reading book on our laptops and phones. 

We couldn’t open the refrigerator to start preparing the salad for dinner, not wanting any of the coolness to escape, although we did so a few times for iced tea and ice.

We began planning the evening should the power not return before dark.  We had a delicious leftover entrée we could easily heat in a pan on the stove with some side dishes already made to accompany. When the power was out a weeks ago Shalote had brought us candles and matches so we could easily light the gas stove to reheat the meal.  At 4 pm, I made my tea as usual, heating the water in a pot on the stove as opposed to using the electric teapot.

If we left enough juice in my computer we could watch one or two videos we’d saved from Graboid.  If we left enough juice on our phones we could read after dinner after watching the few videos.

At certain points, we discussed how the roads could have been anywhere in the world such as in this photo.

By 2 pm, we were almost out of juice, phones down to 20%, laptops not lagging far behind.  If the power didn’t return it would be Gin only by candlelight, no books, no games, no mindless drivel.  My laptop and Tom’s phone were nearly depleted of power from using his phone to prepare and upload the post which hogs data and energy.

Being together 24/7 doesn’t leave us hours of idle chatter over the events of our day to share with one another.  Although, throughout the day, we somehow found ourselves chatting over endless topics we may not have discussed most recently.

At 4 pm, Junior stopped by again to let us know if the power returned before 4:30 the phone company would still come out to work on the signal.  Otherwise, they’d come out first thing today. 

Well, 4:30 came and went…no power.  At 5 pm, almost to the minute when the electric company employee’s shift ends, the power returned.  We still had no wifi, other than the weak signal returning on Tom’s phone as it began to recharge. 

We’ve learned to keep all of our electronics fully charged at all times for this very purpose.  Had we not done so, we’d have run out of juice much earlier and those hours of solitaire on our laptops, whiled the time away…sort of.


Beach view.  Seldom have we’ve seen people on the beaches.

We didn’t complain to Mario or Junior.  We didn’t complain to one another in an effort to keep each other’s spirits up.  In these cases, its always comforting to know if the power will return before dark.  But, one never does.

This isn’t comparable to living in one’s home when the power is out at night.  We’d have gone down to the basement with an enormous flashlight, gathered our trusty Coleman battery and gas lanterns and been set for the night.  We’d even have had the opportunity to power up the generator we had for such occasions, returning the refrigerator to full operation along with many lights and other appliances.

During the day, we could have cleaned cupboards, rearranged dresser drawers and busied ourselves in certain household tasks.  In this life, we have no basement with lanterns or battery or gas operated devices to light the night.  We had no shelves to rearrange and we don’t have a dresser with drawers, just a few shelves in a closet without hanging space. 

We had two tall skinny candles without candle holders and a book of matches.  We’d do the “melt some wax into a plate and set the candle into it” thing and we’d have light.

This is the life we’ve chosen.  And, sometimes, it’s not convenient.  And sometimes, its annoying.  And yes, sometimes we do complain.  After all, simply because we’ve changed the roof over our heads, and the country in which we’re living, we’re still human and subject to frustrations, just like everyone else.

It was a beautiful day to be out.  Hopefully, tomorrow’s outing will be equally sunny when today is overcast and windy.

We’re still us and although we’re more tolerant than in our old lives, our feathers do get ruffled from time to time.

So, while the power was out, I went on an ant killing rampage.  Using the remaining hot water and soap, I washed everything where I saw a single ant, the exterior of the refrigerator, the cabinet door fronts, the wood counter tops, the stove tops where they were marching in a straight line looking for a sloppy morsel I may have left behind. 

By 5 pm, on the nose, the power returned.  The fact that we still had no wifi was incidental at that point.  We’d be able to enjoy our evening, have a nice dinner, watch our two remaining shows, an episode of Shark Tank and another episode of season two of Scandal (without a good wifi signal we haven’t been able to download movies and TV shows).

As always, Badal, Sewak’s dog, arrived at our door at 6:30 for a bite to eat which we freely offered and, we had a lovely meal, smiling and giggling over the excitement of the returned power, being together and our good fortune, good health and a roof over our heads.

Today, we wait even more patiently for the phone company to fix our issues but for now with power, we’re fine.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?

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Photo from one year ago, October 7, 2014:

Sunset photo we took standing on the shore of Waikiki Beach, one year ago.  For more details, please click here.