Most likely, Tuesday evenings dinner out with friends, Lynne and Mick and Janet and Steve was the last time we gathered with local friends in Marloth Park, except for dinner on Friday night at Jabula with Dawn and Leon, owners of the beautiful establishment, with whom we’ve become good friends over the years.
Dawn and I had our pedicures done at our favorite local spa here in the park while Tom and Leon got together at Jabula to do “guy talk.” I rode back to Jabula with Dawn to find Tom and Leon enjoying uninterrupted guy time when we were done. I joined in on the conversation while Dawn went about some work for the restaurant. It was a pleasant start to the day.
It’s hard to say goodbye to everyone we’ve come to know and love since we first began coming to Marloth Park in 2013, the only place in the world to which we continually return. If someone had asked us years ago if we’d be willing to live without power and water at least several times a month and the occasional failure of WiFi, we would have emphatically stated a resounding “NO!!!”
But, here we are after over a year of load shedding, most months, with several days without water, and still, we’re coming back for more, a mere nine months from now.
If someone asked if we could spend our days in 100 F, 36C heat with no air-con except in the bedroom, spending daylight hours in the sweltering heat and humidity, we would have again said a resounding, “NO WAY!!! But, here we are in the hot, sticky, tropical climate of summer in Africa, spending our days dripping in sweat, rarely whining over the annoyances and discomforts typical of living in the rugged bush. Who knew that would appeal to us to this degree?
If some asked if we could live with insects, mozzies, and the constant prospect of a snake popping up out of nowhere, we would have flatly refused to visit such a place. But, here we are, 14 months later with all of this, and we’ve been quite content as we were on all of the other occasions we’ve lived in Marloth Park over the past nine years.
Whether its spending time with the fantastic friends we’ve made or reveling in the exquisite nature of the bush, we’ve genuinely become bush people, not so much in the cruder sense, but in the mind of those who come to Africa and become entrenched in its magic.
It’s not easy to leave, even now, when we are excited about the prospects of the next few months, visiting friends in Florida, family in Minnesota and Nevada, and of course, embarking on two very different types of cruises; one, the first transatlantic on a Celebrity ship, familiar to us in its ambiance, style, food, entertainment, and people and two; sailing back across the Atlantic Ocean on a more formal British cruise line, Cunard on the famous Queen Mary 2. What an adventure after these past few years of relative confinement!
Surely, we’ll miss the animals. And there’s undoubted, a slight hesitation knowing when we return it will be to a different house, a few kilometers from here, where those animals we’ve come to know and love may never find us again such as Little, Broken Horn, Hal, Gordy, Thick Neck, Bossy, The Imposter, Holey Moley, Frank, and The Misses, Chevy, Mom and Babies, Lori and Barbara, One Tusk, Bad Eye, One Wart, Wounded, and the list goes on and on.
We may never see them again. But, new relationships with these fantastic beasts will develop in our new location, and we’ll have names for all of them in no time at all.
Many of our human friends won’t be here when we return in December. Some prefer to stay away during the heat and humidity of the summer months with all the above challenges as mentioned above. We can only play it by ear and see who can return.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those who celebrate and special birthday wishes to RL!
Photo from one year ago today, March 17, 2021: