Another busy day on the horizon…Memorial dinner party tonight…Booking, booking and more booking…

Tomorrow, we’ll be busy listing Tom’s railroad memorabilia online for sale, including about 12 of these commemorative plates.

Last night, our plans with Madighan were dashed due to potential strep throat and flu. Neither of us could afford to get sick with plans to leave here in 20 days. Also, Tom is still on antibiotics and Prednisone, and getting sick on top of his awful cough would only worsen matters.

Instead, we’ll pick a date next week to get together and celebrate. Today, at 4:00 pm, we are heading to our friend Connie’s home for dinner at her home on Lake Minnetonka to commemorate her husband Jeff’s passing at our holiday home in Marloth Park one year ago today. It’s hard to believe that was a year ago. It seems so much longer.

After a while, we’ll go to the nearby liquor store and buy a bottle of wine to bring to Connie’s. We always feel it is essential to bring something when invited for dinner at a friend’s home. In South Africa, we only needed to bring our drinks, mix, ice, and possibly meat to cook on the braai. That tradition is not common in the US.

This morning, we spent almost two hours researching flights from Quito to Manta, a hotel for one night in Manta since we didn’t want to drive to the holiday home in the dark, and a rental car for three separate months. Tom will have to return to the airport twice while we’re at the house to get another vehicle.

As it turned out, each of the three rental car periods had much better pricing using three different companies rather than trying to book a car for the entire time at the house from October 24 to January 8. Plus, the rates had almost doubled over the Christmas holiday season.

As a result, Tom will have to make the one-hour drive from the holiday home to Manta twice during our stay; most likely, I will go with him each time to shop at the bigger grocery stores. I anticipate the remote location where we’ll stay won’t have any major grocery stores nearby.

Since our flight from Quito to Manta doesn’t arrive until after 8:00 pm, we planned to stay one night in Manta so that we can more easily find our way to the property in the morning. Also, it will allow us to do some food shopping in Manta before we head to the house.

No doubt, the small car won’t have a lot of room for lots of groceries, but at least we’ll be able to squeeze enough for a few days while we figure everything out from the house. Moving into a new remote location requires extensive research to see what’s available in the area.

In the worst case, we can buy coffee, cream, and staples for the first week. A few restaurants are near the house in case we have to eat out for several days. This part of our travels is fun for us when we find the best solutions for our needs while we’re there.

There weren’t a lot of options for flights from Quito to Manta. There were prices listed for half of what we ended up paying for the one-way flight, but those prices didn’t include any carry-on bags or checked bags. At the higher prices of $99 each, instead of $59, we saved over $200 for baggage fees. It made a lot of sense to go that way.

We found a highly-rated, inexpensive hotel near the airport so we wouldn’t have to drive far in the dark in unknown territory, which included breakfast. We’ll get up early, have coffee and breakfast at the hotel, and be on our way, as we mentioned, looking for a supermarket on the way.

It’s all becoming a reality now as we pin down our plans. Once settled in Ecuador, we researched where we wanted to go. Do we go to Brazil and Bolivia to the Pantanal or plan a cruise on the upper Amazon? Or both? Time will tell. Of course, this is all based on how we’re feeling at the time due to a few recent health concerns.

At 3:30 today, we’ll head out to the memorial dinner party at Connie’s for surely what will be a good experience.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 21, 2013:

Moonbeams over the Indian Ocean last night at the Blue Marlin Restaurant in Kenya, reflecting off the ocean and lighting the sand. Tiny sand crabs were scurrying about at our feet as we stood in the sand. For more photos, please click here.

Social whirlwind during our remaining two weeks in the bush…A great evening with friends…

A barren tree in the middle of the S130 in Kruger created an exciting scene.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Two yellow-billed storks and one cattle egret at the far end of Sunset Dam in Kruger.

This morning, we calculated exactly how many meals we’ll have to cook during our remaining two weeks in Marloth Park. Considering the contents of the chest freezer, we’ll only be cooking dinner eight more nights. We won’t need to purchase more protein sources.

As mentioned in an earlier post, Kathy and Don are giving us a going-away party next Friday, February 8th at their riverfront home in Marloth Park. It will be a sit-down dinner party for 12, the maximum number they can fit at their big table on their third-floor veranda overlooking the Crocodile River.

Wildebeest and her calf in Kruger.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t invite everyone we’ve come to know and love in the park, so we chose those friends with whom we’ve become closest. Sadly, Rita and Gerhard won’t be attending the party.  

They had to leave to return to the US in a hurry due to the sudden passing of a dear friend.  They don’t intend to return anytime soon. We miss them already. But, Rita and I have stayed in close touch, and we have no doubt we’ll be together again, perhaps as early as in the next six months.

Zebras were grazing on new growth from recent rains.

Also, next week on Tuesday, Kathy is hosting my pedicure at a local spa/resort. Linda will join us, after which we’ll all have lunch at the resort. It’s been so long since I’ve had a girls-only event. This will surely be quite an enjoyable event.  

I haven’t had a professional pedicure in at least 10 years. I rarely afford myself such a luxury when generally it just isn’t that important to me. But doing this with the girls will make it very special and memorable.

Four male cape buffalo were lounging at the river’s edge.

Next Wednesday is Leon’s birthday which we’ll attend at Jabula as we had for Dawn’s birthday on Tuesday evening, adding one more event to the social calendar.

On top of that, we’ll dine at Jabula the next two Saturdays, this upcoming on our own and the following with Kathy, Don, Linda, and Ken for our final time together.

Family crossing the paved road.

We plan to dine out one more time in the next few weeks, plus spend our last night, Wednesday, February 13th, in the bush at Jabula, avoiding the cooking and clean-up at the house.  

The following morning we’ll drive to Nelspruit, where we’ll spend one night at the Protea Hotel near the airport for our early morning flight on the 15th to Nairobi, Kenya.

A bull elephant we stopped to observe, hoping for a better photo.

Yesterday, we made a reservation at a highly rated restaurant, Orange (coincidentally, like the name of this holiday home), where we’ll dine that evening on Valentine’s Day.  

We informed the restaurant we’ll be writing a review and look forward to an excellent experience. Currently, this restaurant is listed as #1 out of 89 restaurants in Nelspruit on Tripadvisor.  We’ll write our review here shortly after that and also at TripAdvisor.

He moved into a clearing, and we noticed he was standing with his back legs crossed.

As for last night, we joined Uschi and Evan at their home for sundowners. As it turned out, Uschi had put together a few trays of fabulous appetizers, all of which I could eat.  

We’d intended to stay for only an hour or two but ended up not leaving until 2130 hours (9:30)! The friendship and conversation were utterly delightful, and most assuredly, they’ll be at the party and staying in touch down the road.  

Our dear friends Evan and Uschi, on their veranda last night.

The meal we’d left to be cooked went uneaten, but tonight we’ll have the easy dinner. I’ve made a salad and prepared vegetables after we just returned from shopping in Komatipoort.

Enjoy some of our remaining photos from Monday’s foray into Kruger. Tomorrow, we’ll be back with all new photos and more.

Uschi with us at the veranda table.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 31, 2018:

View of the sea from Grytviken, South Georgia, Antarctica.  Please click here for more photos.

Two delightfully fun social nights in a row…

Louise and Danie joined us for dinner last night at Kambaku, the popular restaurant at the golf course in Komatipoort, as we celebrated their belated birthdays.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A troop of baboons on the road in Kruger National Park.

Last night, to celebrate Louise and Danie‘s belated birthdays, only days apart, we were finally able to get together for dinner at Kambuku Golf Course in Komatipoort for a leisurely happy hour and dinner.  

Louise has been busy handling her many holiday rentals in Marloth Park, and with Danie‘s construction projects in the works, coupled with our busy last few weekends, it was hard to pin down a good time that worked for all of us.

We didn’t mean to wear matching BugsAway shirts, but it just worked out that way.

We love spending time with this thoughtful, fun, and kind couple filled with local wisdom and knowledge about the bush and South Africa’s history. It’s easy to find ourselves entrenched in the engaging conversation each time we all get together.

The view of the Crocodile River at dusk from the veranda at Kambaku.

Add plenty of laughter and stories to tell among the four of us. Being with them results in one memorable experience after another. How did we get so lucky to have such fine friends in Marloth Park?

Tom had two Margaritas while the three of us drank wine. I always bring along a bottle of my favorite low alcohol/low tannins red wine to willingly pay a corkage fee. 

Lisa’s rescue bushbabies are doing well living in her closet.  Soon, all but one who is permanently disabled will be able to return to the wild.  This little one was hanging onto the door hinge as I took this photo.

At Kambaku, the corkage fee is ZAR 85 (US $6.40) for bringing in the bottle of wine. It’s so worth it to avoid the effects red wine can have on me after not having any alcohol for over 20 years. This way, I can have a few glasses with no ill effects. 

From this site: “Bushbabies are also known as galagos. Bushbabies are small primates that live in Africa and have thick fur, long tails, big ears, and huge, round eyes. Their huge eyes allow them to see in the dark. They get their name because of the loud noises they sometimes make that sound like crying, shrieking babies.”

My wine of choice is Four Cousins Skinny Red, a brand produced in South Africa for which I’ve acquired a taste. Sure, I like the taste of other dry red wines, but health is always of my utmost concern.

The dinner was good, the evening spectacular. The three of us had tasty chicken dishes while Tom has the ribs, and we were all satisfied with our fresh and well-prepared meals. This was the first time since our arrival over five months ago that we dined outside of Marloth Park, where we’ve enjoyed dining and supporting the local establishments.

At night, the healthier of the bushbabies head out of Lisa’s bedroom window to explore the nighttime world, preparing them for eventual release. They return early each morning to sit on Lisa’s head while she’s sleeping.

This is often the case for locals who prefer not to drive at night on the unlit roads to Komatipoort. Generally, it is safe to do so, but we hear about “incidences” prompting a degree of concern from time to time.

By 10:00 pm, we were all sitting at the big table on our veranda, enjoying the last minutes of our enjoyable evening together. Of course, we look forward to many more such evenings with the two of them during our remaining seven months in Marloth Park.

Lisa generously allows the little creature to sleep in her closet.  Nocturnal animals sleep during daylight hours.

On Thursday evening, Tom dropped me off at Lisa’s home to engage in a little “girl time” with her and Deidre, both from Wild & Free Wildlife Rehailitation. As it turned out, our fun get-together was more about wildlife and the joys we all experience living in this unique environment than general “girl” chitchat. 

But now, living this life, there’s no conversation more appealing than sharing our personal stories of life in the bush. Plus, the dedication these special women have to care for rescued animals is beyond reproach. 

Could these faces be any cuter? Lisa, from Wild & Free, devotes a tremendous amount of attention, love, and devotion to caring for rescued bushbabies, always with the intent of releasing them into the wild as soon as they are able.

Earlier, in February, we’d done a story with photos about the bushbabies that may be found here, and later, in June, we prepared two posts about Deidre’s rescue center in Hectorspruit in this and this second post.

Later on, Tom picked me up, visited with Lisa and Deidre for a few minutes, and we were on our way back to our veranda and the upcoming evening’s activities. Due to the number of tourists in the park, the visitor visits have lessened considerably.

This morning, other than a few birds, the only visitors were several gangly baboons trying to eat the seeds out of our birdfeeder. Subsequently, Tom took it down since we’re leaving soon to attend the Marloth Park CPF Fireman’s Fundraiser and drive around the park. Off we go! Lions were sighted this morning.

Have a spectacular day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 14, 2017:

The Lymans
‘One year ago today, our story was published in the Chanhassen Villager newspaper in Minnesota about our world travels.  For the full story, please click here.

Busy morning…Off to a brunch at Frikkie’s Dam, in Lionspruit in the African bush…

Although they all had their backs to us, we were thrilled to see these elephants through the fence between Marloth Park and Kruger National Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

“Have you got one more bite for me?” asks Mr. Kudu as he began to walk away.

It’s 9:50 am Sunday, and in 70 minutes, we have to be out the door to head to Frikkie’s Dam in Lionspruit for brunch in the bush with Louise, Danie, and a group of their friends, most of whom we’ve yet to meet.

I prepared a brunch egg casserole (low carb, of course) which goes into the oven in 10 minutes and will bake for about an hour. When done, we’ll tightly wrap in foil and bath towels to keep warm until we arrive at the destination.

Several were off to the side on their own, which may have been part of the herd.

It’s a rare occasion I have only 70 minutes to prepare a post, but not knowing what time we’d return, I was determined to get it done before leaving at 11:00 am.

There’s never a time we’re not excited to see elephants.

There could have been more time to get things done this morning if I’d dragged myself out of bed a little earlier than 7:30, but after a fitful night, I struggled to get up, showered, and dressed for the day.

By the time I entered the kitchen at 8:00, I had got busy preparing the dish, chopping and dicing onions, garlic, and mushrooms to saute in a buttered skillet. 

There were about a dozen elephants at the Crocodile River from our vantage point.

You know how mornings may go…one getting distracted by a variety of tasks around the house; I washed a small load of laundry, set out dishes and flatware for tonight’s dinner, and put away dishes Tom had washed that I’d used in the food prep.

We waited quite a while for this hippo to turn around for a better photo, but they were busy munching on the grass.

Then, I packed a bag with forks, spatula, paper plates, paper towels, bottled water, etc., that we needed to bring along to serve our solitary dish at the outdoor brunch in Lionspruit, the wildlife conservancy located within the borders of Marloth Park. 

Indeed Louise and Danie have been preparing food for hours, and yet they just stopped by to drop off a pass for us to use to get into Lionspruit. They’re always thinking of us. They didn’t want us to cook anything saying they’d have plenty for us. But, good grief, I had to contribute something!

The elephant on the left appeared much larger than the other.  She must have been the matriarch.

Then, of course, we had two female kudus stop by distracting me for another 20 minutes or more. Yesterday, I’d cut up tons of veggies for them and wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to provide them with a nutritious breakfast. They hung around for another half hour, looking wondering if we’d come up with more.

But, I wanted to save some of the veggies for later when we return for the evening while waiting for Scar-Face to show up. We haven’t seen him in two days and we became a little concerned. 

Their peaceful grazing and the way they honor one another is a sight to behold.

Last night at dinner at Jabula with Kathy and Don and their friends Jill and Beau, we all discussed the fact that we’d only seen wildlife yesterday morning but none in the afternoon. 

That seems the case most weekends when there are more visitors in the park, more traffic, and more noise, keeping some of the wildlife undercover in the bush. Maybe we don’t need to worry about Scar Face.

After the drive along the river, we decided to stop by and see the house on Hornbill that we rented four years ago. 

We had an excellent evening at Jabula. Dawn and Leon, owners and friends of the best restaurant around, always fuss over all of us, making the extra evening special. Of course, the food is consistently exceptional. Tom had the ribs and chips (fries), and I had grilled chicken breast with creamed spinach (no flour added). We brought home the bones for Scar Face in a doggie bag. 

Last night, dear friend Don told us his story of spotting a leopard in Marloth Park on his daily walk. I must admit we were jealous. That would be quite a sighting!  Perhaps, one day soon, we’ll spot it too.

It brought back a lot of beautiful memories of our first time living in the bush. Now, here at the “Orange…More than Just a Colour” we’re building new memories.

We apologize for today’s less-than-perfect photos and short story. The images were taken at a distance our camera cannot easily handle, nor can I, without the tripod with me. Let us start taking it with us when we go for our almost daily drives in the park.

We’ll be back tomorrow to review the news regarding the earthquakes and erupting Mount Kilauea on the Big Island in Hawaii. We were there in 2014/2015 when we had the unbelievable opportunity to see lava flowing when our family visited for Christmas. The lava was flowing toward the town of Pahoa where our holiday rentals were located on the sea.  More on that tomorrow with links and photos from our original story.

Have a peaceful and fulfilling day, dear readers!

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

One year ago today, we arrived back in the USA via the Big Island, Hawaii, as we continued on the cruise.  For more details, please click here.

What?…Pirates of Penzance in the bush…Entertainment galore!…

The play was about, to begin with, Don on the left and Ken on the right.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

After Josiah cleaned the pond in the yard, removing all the water and replacing it with freshwater, the animals have come regularly to drink, as is the case for this male impala.

What does the play the Pirates of Penzance have to do with Marloth Park? Last night, quite a bit, when our hosts Kathy and Don put on a taste-tempting spread for 13 of us, while Don and Ken performed their second annual theatrical performance for friends in Marloth Park.

The MP (Marloth Park) players present the Pirates of Penzance.

Their beautiful expansive home in the bush, overlooking the Crocodile River, looked as inviting as we recalled from our many previous visits four years ago. With a third-floor veranda with sprawling views of the river, high enough to deter mozzies, we all settled in at the arranged seating to enjoy the performance by our two brave thespians. It couldn’t have been more fun!

Don’s hysterical toilet plunger wooden leg had us roaring with laughter.

Here are a few details on this classic comedy production from this site:

“The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera’s official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on 31 December 1879, where the show was well-received by both audiences and critics.[1] Its London debut was on 3 April 1880, at the Opera Comique, where it ran for 363 performances, having already played successfully for more than three months in New York.
The story concerns Frederic, who has completed his 21st year and is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. However, Frederic soon learns that he was born on the 29th of February, so technically, he has a birthday only once each leap year. His indenture specifies that he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his “twenty-first birthday,” meaning that he must serve another 63 years. Bound by his sense of duty, Frederic’s only solace is that Mabel agrees to wait for him faithfully.
Pirates were the fifth Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration and introduced the much-parodied “Major-General’s Song.” The opera was performed for over a century by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in Britain and by many other opera companies and repertory companies worldwide. Modernized productions include Joseph Papp‘s 1981 Broadway production, which ran for 787 performances, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, and spawning many imitations and a 1983 film adaptation. Pirates remain popular today, taking their place along with The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore as one of the most frequently played Gilbert and Sullivan operas.”
They’d learned their lines and were ready to begin.
Don and Ken spared nothing in their gallant attempt to mimic the authenticity of this popular opera. From their homemade and clever attire to their accents, gestures, and acting abilities, without a doubt, these two could easily have been suitable for the “real deal” in major theatre in any big city throughout the world.
They’d even memorized a plethora of lines from the original production, leaving us all in awe of the time they must have spent in preparation. And yet, for such a small group, they never faltered in their enthusiasm and expertise in presenting the results of their hard work and obvious talent.
Don got the authenticity of the pirate down pat with a few clever handmade modifications.
We laughed, howled, and cheered, even exacting the often longed-for standing ovation sought by many live performers. Tom and I both felt honored to be among these fine friends with whom we find we have so much in common…less the thespian skills, of course.
After the performance ended, the food prep on the braai began. We were all seated at their huge table in no time, drinking wine and beer and continually toasting to the festivities, which continued throughout the evening.
Ken was sharp in his performance and also exhibited fine acting skills.
The platters of finely prepared meats, vegetables, and sides made it simple for me to dine with everyone else. The only items I avoided were the roasted potato dish and dessert. The rest worked out perfectly, and I appreciated our host’s thoughtfulness in preparing the food, avoiding starch, sugar, and grains. 
They had a hard time keeping a straight face on several occasions, and we laughed along with them.
We all stayed at the big table until finally, we started collecting our chill boxes with our remaining beer and wine. Linda and Ken are off on Sunday to Australia to visit family and embark on a cruise, so we won’t see them again for several months when they return to Marloth Park again. 
But, you get the drift.  Ken was standing behind Don, using his hands as if they were Don’s.  This was particularly hysterical! It was dark, and I was so entrenched in the activities I failed to adjust the camera settings for better photos in the dark.
Kathy and Don are heading to their other home in Pretoria, South Africa, to work on some projects, hopefully returning soon. Lynne and Mick will be around until March 31st, so we plan to spend time with them. Soon, we’ll see friends Hettie and Piet when they return to Marloth in the next few weeks.
The performance ended after about 30-minutes, and we cheered and clapped, ending in a standing ovation.

And, of course, Louise and Danie, with whom we’ll be tonight at yet another unique and exciting event in the bush, which we’ll be sharing in tomorrow’s post.

After the performance and the meats were being cooked on the braai, we mingled, chatting in small groups while snacking on appetizers.
Thanks to all of our readers/friends who “stay with us” on this seemingly never-ending journey as we not only thrive in our surroundings but also embrace the friendships we’ve made with all of our friends in Marloth Park. Thanks to all of our Marloth Park friends for including us in their social circle.
After the meal, the ritual “drinking from a shoe’ commenced, but we graciously declined to participate in drinking from Micheal’s shoe.  From this site:  “Drinking from a shoe has historically been performed as both a bringer of good fortune and as a hazing punishment. Drinking champagne from a lady’s slipper became a symbol of decadence in the early 20th century. Drinking beer out of one’s own shoe is a ritual sometimes undertaken at parties and events in Australia, where it is referred to as a “shoey.”[Australian MotoGP rider Jack Miller celebrated his first premier class victory by drinking champagne out of his shoe, at the Dutch circuit of Assen, on 26 June 2016. Since then, Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, another Australian, has also performed shoeys on the podium.”
May your day be rich in friendship and love.
Photo from one year ago today, February 24, 2017:
Wild vegetation growing along the riverbank in the Huon Valley, Tasmania. We were leaving in four days when we posted this photo.  For more details, please click here.