12 hour power outage due to a big storm…Hot today…103F, 39.3C…

This is a new friend, named Father Brown, a praying mantis.

Last night, while dining on the veranda at Jabula with Kathy and Don, we were wrapped up in lively conversation when a storm rolled in. Dawn and her staff immediately went into action to bring everyone inside, including tables and chairs, to ensure there was room inside for everyone who’d been dining outdoors.

Lightning and thunder followed during the pouring rain. They were already operating on generator power since load shedding was happening, which began at 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs. By the time we got home, the power was out. The house and bedroom were probably around 90F, 32C, too hot to sleep with the hot temperatures.

Broken Horn is trying to stay in the shade while we get the pellets. It’s awfully hot for them as well.

Somehow we knew it was more than load shedding, especially when the power never returned after the usual 2½ hour outage. Luckily, we have the inverter, which can run one fan in the bedroom, charge our phones and laptops, and maintain a WiFi signal.

It’s a rarity to see the bushbucks lying down, but it’s so hot today. They are seeking comfort in the bit of shade in our garden. This is Stringy.

But, we were mainly concerned about the US $214, ZAR 3219, we’d spent on groceries yesterday. How long would everything keep fresh in the refrigerator? When it didn’t come back on by 10:00 pm, 2200 hrs, we filled the big metal bowl with ice and set it inside the fridge, which was packed with dairy products, tons of fresh vegetables, and a massive package of ground beef I’d planned to use today to make meatloaf, enough to last for a few days.

We moved the ground beef to the freezer atop a few rows of ice cube trays and hoped for the best. I struggled to stay asleep in the heat during the night when thinking about the food in the fridge, hoping we wouldn’t lose much. This morning, after  12 hours, the power returned, much to our delight.

Medium Spikey, trying to rest in the shade.

We checked the fridge and the freezer, and most of the food was still cold. The meat in the freezer hadn’t defrosted, nor had the hamburger frozen overnight. But it was cold to the touch, and I feel confident using it today. Early this morning, I put together all the ingredients for the meatloaf I’m making for tonight, to be cooked on the braai, to avoid heating the house any more than it already is. Also, I made low carb, no sugar ketchup to go along with the meatloaf.

Two bushbucks were lying in the shade in the garden.

The meat is in the fridge, ready to be cooked at 3:00 pm, 1500 hrs,  along with a big salad, fresh steamed green beans, broccoli, and white rice we’ll prepare for Tom 30 minutes before everything else is done.

With the food prep out of the way, I can relax the remainder of the day, except for doing laundry and exercises. When I say relax, I mean, I’ll hide away in the bedroom with the fan on high while I get back to work on the corrections. At the rate I am going now, I should finish this tedious task in four to five days!

Meet Gordon Ramsey. He likes to dig in the dirt with his horns, looking to dig up roots to eat.

Many animals are stopping by, even in this excessive heat. Most are drinking the fresh water in the birdbath. We’ve been chilling cabbage and carrots to serve to them. At the moment, the mongooses are here, enjoying Tom’s rib bones and Kathy’s prawn shells from last night’s dinner. Broken Horn is munching on pellets and carrots. He doesn’t care for cabbage, nor do the warthogs, which enable everyone to have a little something they like without sharing too much.

These prawns with heads which Kathy doesn’t care to eat, make an excellent treat for the mongoose. This pile will soon be gone.

Right now, it’s hot and sunny, but rain is expected in a few hours. Clouds must be rolling in. The temperature is expected to drop considerably, hopefully cooling us and the wildlife a little on this hot, humid day in the bush. But, in any case, we’re good. There are always workarounds during power outages, and over the years we’ve spent in Marloth Park, we have learned to make the best of the situation, especially when we’re blissfully distracted by our wildlife and human friends.

Happy day to all.

Photo from one year ago today, November 6, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #228. The grocery store in Savusavu, Fiji, where we shop for a few items each week. There was only one aisle with food. The other two aisles consisted of cleaning supplies, Christmas decorations, and Diwali fireworks. For more photos, please click here.

No power…No WiFi…It was a long, hot night…

This is a monitor lizard that Tom spotted while driving. It happened so quickly, I had to take the photo through the windshield.

Although the inverter in the house allows a fan to work in our bedroom, it was a hot night and we had little sleep. There had been a short moderate-intensity rain storm around 10:00 pm (2200 hours). It doesn’t take much for the power to go out here. The WiFi towers revert to their battery power to keep the WiFi signal going, but after an hour or so, that too will run out of juice leaving all of us without internet access.

According to a message Louise got from Eskom, supposedly all will be restored sometime this morning, which could be in the next two hours as I write offline waiting for it to return. If that’s the case, we’ll have been without power or Wifi for 12 or 14 hours. In the realm of things, that’s not too long. But, in the middle of the night when the heat and humidity are high and sleep is elusive, it seems like an eternity.

Right now, at 10:30 am, it’s hot and humid on the veranda. I can feel my clothes sticking to me. I stay more covered than most to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. I usually wear Capri-length jeans, heavy-duty white socks, and a closely fitted tee-shirt, all of which prevents me from any bites other than on the exposed skin on my arms, face, and neck. I use Tabard DEET repellent around the clock on any exposed skin.

Playful zebras on the side of the road.

Last night, with no air-con due to the power outage, a few mosquitoes were buzzing around me all night. I was bitten no less than 10 times when I was unwilling to cover myself with a sheet due to the heat. I usually wear one of Tom’s tee shirts to bed since I don’t have any summer-type pajamas.

I ordered a few such items that will arrive in the package we’ll have sent to us on Monday. I know. We promised ourselves we wouldn’t order stuff from the US and have it shipped to us, but we had a few replacement credit cards (due to fraud) at our mailing service and decided we may as well order whatever else we needed. My Fitbit band broke a few days ago and I’ve since ordered a new Fitbit with even more features.

A zebra crossing the road.

This morning at 8:00, Tom headed to the little market in Marloth Park to purchase four bags of ice for our perishables until the power returned. Wouldn’t you know, we grocery shopped yesterday and the refrigerator was stocked full of items? I don’t know yet if anything was spoiled, but will be extra careful when restocking the refrigerator from the cool box where we placed the food and two bags of ice. We placed two more bags of ice in a metal bowl in the refrigerator, which cooled it down considerably while we waited.

Ironically, as I write here now, the power has been restored and moments later, so has the WiFi. Whew! What a relief. Tom turned on the fan on the veranda and aimed it directly at me. The breeze helps substantially. While Vusi was busy washing floors, we made our way to the bedroom with the air-con on, hoping to cool off for a bit. Another much-appreciated relief!!

We don’t have many zebras visit us. Seeing them when out and about is a treat.

Before Vusi arrived, I’d decided to make a pan of our favorite egg casserole with cheese and bacon and get it into the oven to bake before it gets even hotter during the day. It’s odd, but electric ovens here cook more slowly than in some other countries. We always have to plan ahead when baking anything in the oven.

Tonight, Tom will have pork chops on the braai while I have two small chicken breasts. Tom will have his chops with white rice and we’ll both have some of the delicious egg casserole as a side dish. Neither of us cared for any breakfast this morning after the fitful night so a nice Friday night dinner on the veranda will be enjoyed. Later, this afternoon it will cool down and we’ll be fine sitting outdoors, watching our wildlife friends stop by for a visit.

A male impala posed for a photo. Such handsome animals.

Sorry for the mundane post. I’m too hot and tired to be creative today. But, thanks for stopping by anyway!

Have a peaceful day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 19, 2020:

View of the city from the palace in Udaipur. For more photos, please click here.

Are killer bees next?…We survived Cyclone Nisarga unscathed…Photos of damage in Mumbai…

Mumbai cyclone
This is the first such storm to hit Mumbai in over 100 years. Dark clouds hang over the city ahead of cyclone Nisarga making landfall in Mumbai.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

Today’s photos are a result of damage caused by Cyclone Nisarga from this site.

Neither of us had experienced a cyclone/hurricane in our lives. Living in Minnesota, we had plenty of experience with severe storms, and on occasion, tornadoes. But, a cyclone was a new experience, and we had no idea what to expect. 

Mumbai cyclone
The FedEx MD-11 plane skids off the runway while landing during heavy rain as severe cyclonic storm Nisarga made landfall at Mumbai Airport.

Fortunately, (and sadly) there was only one fatality when it could have been many more. As it turned out, Mumbai planned well, and many lives were saved by evacuating thousands of residents and getting fishing boats docked at the shore rather than out to sea.

The damage from high winds and flooding was substantial, but overall the city survived well. Our hotel didn’t incur any apparent wear from what we could determine.

Mumbai cyclone
Sea waves strike at a slum near the Arabian sea as cyclone Nisarga makes its landfall on the city’s outskirts in Mumbai.

During the worst of the storm, we stayed hunkered down in our room, never having the necessity of waiting it out in the corridors. I continued my hourly walks, which allowed me to look out a few windows at the ends of the corridors to see the roofs and parts of buildings flying in the wind.

We are grateful and sad for those who suffered and were disrupted during the storm, especially Covid-19 patients who had to be moved from makeshift tents and outdoor facilities. One can’t imagine their terror when being moved while they were suffering from the devastating effects of the virus.

Mumbai cyclone
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) shows NDRF personnel clearing fallen trees from a road in Alibag town of Raigad district following cyclone Nisarga landfall on India’s western coast. Cyclone Nisarga ripped roofs off homes in a coastal village near Mumbai after officials ordered offices and factories to shut and told people to stay home, reversing a move to ease a coronavirus lockdown in the Indian megacity.

This morning, my son Richard texted (tongue in cheek), “Will it be killer bees next?”  I wrote back, “Maybe it will be a meteor rushing toward Earth, or Godzilla roaming the streets, or even Sharknado with sharks flying all over the city of Mumbai?”

We say this to inject a little lightness into this otherwise challenging situation. I guess I’ve spent too much time watching “disaster” movies, and now real life is even more frightening than such movies as “Contagion.”

Mumbai cyclonesA family was looking for shelter during rainfall ahead of Cyclone Nisarga’s expected landfall in Navi Mumbai. Heartbreaking.

It’s still raining very hard, and we still can hear thunder as we’re sitting safely ensconced in our comfy chairs with the darkening drapes closed with lamps on in the room. Most days, we’ve kept the drapes closed to keep the room cooler, but in the past few days, we’ve done so to provide some protection from the wall of glass if high winds caused any issues.

We watched the movie “Rocketman,” entertaining us for a few hours during the day and at night, we’ve been binge-watching two TV series; the Scottish show, “Dr. Finlay” and the 60-episode Australian show, “A Place to Call Home” on Acorn TV on Amazon Prime, a genuinely addictive show we’ve found exceptionally entertaining.

Mumbai cyclone
A corporation worker works to clear an uprooted tree that fell on the road during Cyclone Nisarga at Juinagar in Navi Mumbai.

Right now, anything we can do to “get out of our heads” for a few hours each day is worthwhile. As mentioned, at 3:00 pm, we start streaming our favorite shows.

We pause the shows once an hour for my corridor walks, donning a face mask, putting my shoes back on, and carrying my phone with a headset to listen to podcasts to make the walking time pass more quickly. The latest time of the day I embark on the walk is 6:00 pm. Some days, I can finish earlier once I log ten walks for a total of 2 miles, 3.2 km. 
Mumbai cyclone
Vehicles get damaged by uprooted trees due to strong winds after cyclone Nisarga at Sanpada in Navi Mumbai.

Each time I head out the door, I attempt to walk faster than the last time rather than increase the distance. Keeping track of my stats on the Fitbit, I’d purchased in the US has also been a good diversion.

Much to my surprise, Tom has also been exercising by climbing the stairs in the stairwell near our room. He does this each day while our space is being cleaned. It’s good to see him up and moving around instead of sitting in one spot day and night.

Mumbai 15
Damaged billboards due to strong winds triggered by Cyclone Nisarga, at Bandra Reclamation in Mumbai.

Today, we’re back to our usual routine, now that the worst of the cyclonic storm is moving through with minor damage. 

Yesterday, we read a news story that South Africa won’t open its international travel borders until February 2021. Oh.

Mumbai cyclone
People scramble to enter a truck during an evacuation of a slum on the Arabian sea coast in Mumbai on Wednesday, as Cyclone Nisarga makes landfall.

Have as pleasant a day as you can as we all continue to make our way through this pandemic.

Photo from one year ago today, June 4, 2019:

Front door view from this property we’d booked one year ago, from August 23, 2019, to September 6, 2019.  The cost for 14 nights is Euro 2125, US $2395.96, which averages to Euro 151.75, US $171.14. This amount is higher than we’d usually pay, but we’ve balanced the budget by choosing varying prices on all four properties.  For the listing on this cottage, please click here. For more details from this post, please click here.

Battening down the hatches…Cyclone Nisarga is on her way to Mumbai within the hour…

Nisarga Cyclone Live Tracking: Know The Current Location of Cyclone, Get Movement Alerts
This morning’s weather map of the anticipated course of Cyclone Nisagra. As you can see, Mumbai is located on the map in the dark green area indicated as the cyclone’s path.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site in a few months, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you.

It’s morning in Mumbai, June 3, 2020. Cyclone (hurricane) Nisarga is expected to make landfall in Mumbai in the next few hours. There’s nothing we can do other than to stay put in our hotel room, away from the full wall of glass windows, heading out to the corridor if it becomes dangerous to our safety.

At this point, with varying news reports online, each stating different information, we have no idea about the specifics other than what we feel is accurate on IndiaToday TV news.

There hasn’t been a cyclone of this magnitude in Mumbai in 129 years. However, it appears they’ve evacuated almost 100,000 people living in high-risk areas where their homes consist of tents, huts, and lean-to-type properties. As a result, disaster control may not have the necessary experience in handling this type of disaster. 

This leaves millions of citizens in danger who reside in less sturdy buildings whose roofs and entire properties may be subject to the ravages of this untimely disaster.

Covid-19 patients in tents and less secure properties have been relocated to areas with generators to ensure ventilators and other mechanical life-support systems are protected by using generators.

Last night, we called the reception staff to inquire if the hotel is protected with generators. Like most major hotels, they assured us we would have a continuous power source if the local infrastructure fails during the storm and after that.

However, there is no guarantee that WiFi will continue if local towers are felled during high winds, expected as high as 125 km, 78 miles per hour, or more, with definitive speculations unknown at this time.

Last night, after we’d gone to bed while watching the news, we got up at midnight and packed, in the event we’d have to evacuate in a hurry. We doubt this is a possibility. 

On the fourth floor of this large 334 room hotel, we’re anticipating we’ll be safe. However, we’re relatively close to the Arabian Sea, from where Cyclone Nisarga is rapidly gaining speed and intensity.

On the news at the moment is a video of the thousands of fishing boat owners getting into the sea to secure their boats further, covering them with makeshift tarps and coverings. This is their livelihood. Losing their boats to this storm will only be yet another disaster after Covid-19 has left so many low-income families suffering.

We’re not adding any online news reports to today’s post when each publication is vastly different from others, except for the following, seeming factual information from this site which doesn’t allow me to copy and paste their story.

Instead, as we watch the TV news, we feel well informed as to the progression of the storm. The area most at risk where the “eye” of the cyclone will hit is Alihab, a mere 90 km, 56 miles from the center of Mumbai. The cyclone itself is over 125 km, 78 miles wide. 

Thus, if the cyclone eye hits its exact anticipated target of Alibab, a suburb of Mumbai, this area will be significantly impacted. As we know of hurricanes, cyclones, and storms, their path can change at any point.

As I upload today’s post shortly after 12:00 pm., we’ve begun to feel the beginnings of the storm. In an hour or more from now, the full brunt of the storm will reveal itself. It’s raining heavily at the moment, but the winds are yet to come.

If you don’t see a post from us over the next several days, please know that we’ll be back online as soon as we are able.

Prayers for all the people of India and the world, on this frightening day, during these frightening times in our lives.

Photo from one year ago today, June 3, 2019:

What an adorable Poll Dorset lamb on the property on the farm we rented in Devon, England, one year ago. Please click here for more details.

One by one…They return to their homes…Visit to Lava Tree Park…We begin to return to our wanderlust lifestyle…

This sign served as a valuable warning to keep us and others from exploring beyond this point when we visited Lava Tree Park yesterday.

As Tammy, Tracy and Vincent head back to Minnesota today, we are reminded of how quickly the time flew.  Now, only daughter-in-law, Camille and granddaughter, Madighan remain in Big Island for another week during which we’ll spend together at the beach, the park or strolling along the boulevard in the village of Pahoa.

Lava Tree Park has been closed to the public due to the risk of lava fissures creating vast openings in the ground. In August, Hurricane Iselle ravaged the Big Island leaving this and other parks closed due to risks from fallen trees and resulting lava shifts. We visited yesterday with Tammy and family going as far as we could stay safely within the marked areas.

Today, we’ve already begun the process of moving back into the house next door that Tom refers to as the “birdhouse” (so it looks from the aerial photos). This house is also situated in close proximity to the raging surf, the spray from the surf, and the roaring sounds. We’ll be as content as we were in the “birdhouse” prior to December 20th when we moved into the house next door to accommodate our family’s arrival.

A crevice area that was fenced off to protect visitors. This crevice was very deep.

Although we’re only moving next door, we still have sheets, towels, and more laundry to do plus the packing required as for any move. Packing neatly isn’t an issue right now. We only require that the clothes fit into our luggage and we can close our bags. Once we leave the Big Island in 13 days, we’ll be more diligent in regard to packing neatly.

Another roped off crevice in the park.

A huge storm is brewing in the islands over the next 24 hours, expected to hit the Big Island tonight or tomorrow morning. As a result, we’ll stay put hopefully not pounded with rain while we move next door.

Big Island is all about the lava as shown in these drawings.

This morning I packed my clothing and later today, I’ll begin the process of packing all that we have scattered about this big four-bedroom house, mainly in the master bedroom, en suite bath, and kitchen. I’ll be relieved when we’re done and situated, perhaps stopping to take a breath and realize that most of them are gone, back to the frozen tundra of Minnesota, now with temperatures below zero.

Map of Lava Tree Park original walking path.  We were restricted from venturing any further than the “You Are Here” designated area on this map.

Oh, how right it was that we left such a cold place, definitely not a good settling point for seniors. The risk of falling on ice and snow, hazardous driving conditions, and shoveling and snow blowing simply doesn’t make for an ideal scenario for the aging population. Plus, being cooped up during the long winter as a retiree never appealed to us.

Sign on display at the park.

Yes, we are warm weather people, following the sun wherever we may go with a few exceptions into the future, as we seek to fulfill our dreams of a few cold-weather wildlife expeditions. 

A picnic area in Lava Tree Park was desolate. 

I’m a little out of sorts today. As the storm brews, the air is outrageously humid and I can’t seem to shake this sticky feeling. We awoke before 6:00 am this morning to say goodbye to Tammy, Tracy, and Vincent. Showered, dressed, and ready for the day by 6:30 am, we have a long day of work ahead of us. 

Hibiscus, hearty flower that they are, continue to grow in the desolate park.

Soon, we’ll be settled and at peace, as we spend our final 13 days on the Big Island, amid an upcoming storm, the lava flow, and us two old-timers looking forward to the next phase of life as we carry on our worldwide travels.

Downed trees and shrubs in Lava Tree Park continue to flourish.

Also, thanks to our many readers who graciously inquired as to my dear sister’s health. She left the hospital yesterday and is recovering nicely at home. Son Richard’s shoulder injury is on the mend. We enjoyed a lengthy chat yesterday.

The highlight of living in these two neighboring houses has been the raging of the wild surf.
While lounging in the chairs, one is kept cool by the spray from the waves.
A huge surf pounded the shore yesterday.

We’ll be back tomorrow from the “birdhouse” with more good news to share. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed this lovely house but look forward to being settled once again.

Be well and have a safe first Saturday in 2015!

                                            Photo from one year ago today, January 2, 2014:

We left an egg outside for the mongoose who’s families often surrounded our house. We were happy to see one of them enjoy it. For details, please click here.