It’s a new day and a new dawn…

Wildebeests in the driveway. They eventually headed to the back garden for pellets,

To awaken this morning with considerably less pain in my mouth, I texted Kathy and said I could go with her and Rita to coffee at Stoep Cafe and later shop at Spar Supermarket. Last night, in awful pain, I’d written to her saying I doubted I’d be able to go since today when we needed to head back to Malalane to see Dr. Singh. Last night, the pain in the socket was awful.

As soon as I awoke this morning, I was excited when the Advil and Tylenol (Paracetamol) I’d taken before bed had worn off, and I was in minimal pain this morning. I jumped out of bed, letting Kathy know I would go with them after all. I showered and dressed for the day and tidied up the house, folded the laundry from the rack, and settled down with my laptop to start today’s post. I took one Tylenol to get me through the morning with the “girls,” which once it kicks in, I am almost pain-free for a few hours.

A photo from a few months ago when everything was green and giraffes were walking along the paved road in Marloth Park. My photo-taking appeared in the rearview mirror.

It helps to start the post before heading out, so when I return and put away all the groceries, it won’t take me too long to finish and work on the corrections. I am now down to 42 pages of 20 posts, attempting to do one page per day. There’s no way I’ll be done by the time we leave in one month. But I’ll only have about 10 or 12 pages of 20 posts left when we arrive in Arizona, taking less than two weeks to complete.

Once completed, I’ll take a short break and then begin doing the three significant stories for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), something I have to do once a year going forward. I’ll do one a week and then be done, after which my afternoons will be free at last. What a great feeling that will be, after over a year of corrections on over 3400 posts and the time I’d spent in India working on the new site!

Torn Ear is such an adorable boy, even with his healed left ear injury.

With only one month left until we depart for the US, it’s time to start thinking about packing. We will go one big plastic tote with clothes we won’t need until we return 14 months later. In reality, since I need so many new items, it may not make sense to leave much behind. Once we start packing, we will know.

I just returned from the trip to Komatipoort with Kathy and Rita. We had a great time at Stoep Cafe while they had breakfast, and I had decaf coffee with the “crema” and real cream. What a treat! I didn’t eat for two reasons; one, I wasn’t hungry, and I always strive to avoid eating when not hungry: and two, there was no way I could rinse out my mouth after eating, which I do now, to clear any food particles from the sore tooth socket. I know, TMI, but it’s essential to do when recovering from an extraction.

Although the nearby birdbath was a better option with clean water, Tom adds daily. A mongoose was drinking from the pool. There’s not a lot of chlorine in the splash pools in the park since animals often drink from them. We never use the pool.

With two weeks of groceries needed, Tom suggested he’d come to Komati to pick me up after shopping so Kathy and Rita wouldn’t have to wait for me. This only made sense since Rita didn’t need any groceries and Kathy only needed a few items. I felt rushed and concerned about them waiting for me when it usually takes about 40 minutes to shop for two weeks. It proved to be a perfect plan.

Only minutes after I left the market with my trolley filled to the brim, Tom was there and loaded the boot of the little car with our bounty, and off we went back to Marloth Park. We had everything put away in no time at all, and I could get back to today’s post and hopefully get it uploaded before too long.

A mongoose was contemplating her next move, taken a few months ago when the grass was green.

When we returned, several bushbucks were waiting for us as well as no less than 20 mongooses peering into the veranda door, wondering where we’d gone. We had some treats for them, resulting in a funny story we’ll share with photos in tomorrow’s post.

I cleaned three bunches of celery, saving all the ends and leaves for the bushbucks. They love the crispy and moist celery tops and will enthusiastically devour the batches we’ll toss out every few hours or so. When we clean vegetables, we share the miscellaneous stems and pieces with the animals providing them with much-needed nutrients. Of course, we always check to ensure nothing we toss is toxic for them and that the veggie scraps are cut to size and are easily digestible for them.

Tonight, we’ll stay in. We have several fun social gatherings planned for the upcoming week and weekend, which we’ll share as they occur. May you have a lovely week!

Photo from one year ago today, September 20, 2020:

Ironically, after Friday’s story on our first visit by a giraffe since we arrived here in January 2021, this photo popped up from the post one year ago, while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #180, On a Thursday morning in Marloth Park in 2013, as I stepped outside onto the veranda, camera in hand, this was the first thing I saw. Quietly alerting Tom, who was still inside the house, he rushed out to witness this same sight. And then, in minutes, they were everywhere, a dozen total. No words can describe our joy. For more, click here.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride…A leopard in the palace…

The locals are doing their laundry in Lake Pichola, but no laundry soap is allowed. Nor are fishing and private boats permitted on the lake.

It would be possible to upload 20 posts with the information and photos available after yesterday’s fantastic tour in Udaipur, India. We visited places, rode in wild congested traffic in fast, expertly driven tuk-tuks (two motorized passenger rickshaws) to get Shiv Niwas Palace to dine in a fabulous nearby restaurant with exceptional food and service.

A structure on the grounds of Shiv Niwas Palace also known as the City Palace.

But before going further, we must provide an overview of what transpired yesterday to explain a change in the arranged itinerary (through the Maharajas Express train).

Tom listened to our tour guide and provided headsets with the five-star Taj Lake Palace in the background.

After a lovely breakfast on the train by 10:00 am, we wandered to our company-owned, assigned bus #2, of two, that follows the route of the train always to be available for passenger tours to various arranged venues from the several train stations where we stop along the route from Mumbai to Delhi.

The Maharajas Express provided us with many gifts, including scarves and hats.

In air-conditioned comfort in the luxury buses, the ride to the first venue of the day in Udaipur was pleasant and uneventful. We pulled into the guarded gates of the City Palace, also known as Shiv Niwas Palace. We headed to a veranda overlooking the famous artificial (1362) Lake Pichola for photo-taking and detailed storytelling by our guide.

Side view of the City Palace as our boat wafted past.

We’re posting several of those photos today with more following as time allows. About 40 minutes later, the 70 train passengers boarded a flat bottomed boat wearing mandatory life jackets for what proved to be about an hour-long boat tour of Lake Pichola.

Descendants of royalty still live in the Shiv Niwas Palace 

When the first segment of the boat ride ended, our guide explained the much-anticipated lunch venue in the City Palace would have to be moved to another restaurant. The reason?

The palace began being built in 1559 and is always under construction and renovation yet today.

A leopard had entered the palace overnight and had been seen in an area close to the original restaurant in an area that had been cordoned off to protect visitors as well as the leopard.

In recent times, the lake was bone dry during periods of little rain, as shown by watermarks.

Rangers had been called with hopes of tranquilizing and relocating the leopard back to the nearby mountain from whence it had come. Unfortunately, we never had an opportunity to see the leopard, nor did we hear if they had been safely relocated.

A shrine was built between the walls of the palace.

Subsequently, very last minute, the lunch venue was changed to another restaurant on the opposite side of the palace, which was way too far to walk, nor would buses be able to maneuver in the congested, traffic-laden area.

Lake Pichola was man-made in 1362.

After the boat ride, we all meandered to a nearby street within the confines of the palace to be driven by tuk-tuks for what ultimately proved to be an adventurous, heart-pounding 20-minute ride through the worst traffic one can imagine.

As is tradition, a bride and groom have photos taken before their wedding.

My favorite ride as a kid was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, most like long gone from the park but memorable for those of us who remember this ride. Nonetheless, it was the wild ride of our lives. We both giggled over the excitement of it all, which reminded me of my childhood living in California and visiting Disneyland quite often.

Another stunning palace overlooking the lake.

The sights, the sounds, and the smells as we whipped through the city streets were a senses overload. The cows wandering through the streets, the smile on the faces of the adorable children as they waved to us, the shops, the street food, the endless array of motorbikes, the tiny tuk-tuk type trucks, and the people, all was a part of this glorious experience.

Jag Mandir Palace.

Tom couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as our driver rapidly darted in and out of traffic and tight spaces, unlike any ride we’ve ever experienced. We felt like little kids having the time of our lives.

We spotted a few green parrots on the grounds of Jag Mandir.

The lunch as the fantastic restaurant was an indescribable buffet of Indian foods like none other with many items I could eat. The head chef walked me through the buffet line, pointing to the safe things for my way of eating. Once back at our table of eight, I was in pure heaven eating the spicy and flavorful foods.

The tuk-tuks were lined up and ready to take us to the opposite side of the palace, which required a 20-minute wild ride through narrow streets and outrageous traffic.

On the other hand, Tom only had a few bites, claiming he was saving room for another great dinner on the train. But I knew him better. He politely tasted a few items, but these spicy items were not his “cup of tea.”

A cow and her calf were scavaging for food on the city street.

And, later on, we did have a fabulous dinner with Chef John Stone, preparing yet another memorable meal for me, often stopping at our table, hands pressed together in a gracious Hindu bow, seeking the knowledge that I was pleased.  I was.

Colorful shops lined the streets, many offering a variety of textiles and Pashmina scarves.

Tom even ate lamb last night, the first time I’d ever seen him do so, finishing every last bite. This morning I only had a bowl of plain yogurt since I was still full from yesterday’s eating frenzy.

Busy streets on which we scooted through traffic.

Tomorrow’s post will share some historical facts about the palaces and the fort we visited. There isn’t enough time to go through all of that today since soon lunch will be served, after which we’re heading out on another extensive tour which will include “dinner on the town.”

We were awaiting the name of the restaurant where we dined on delicious Indian food. We’ll add it later.

Need I say? Yep, we’re enjoying every moment of this marvelous adventure, and, undoubtedly, we’re loving India. We’ll be back with more…

Be well

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

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A hippo and a cattle egret have symbiosis in their relationship. For more photos, please click here.