Power outage during Valentine’s dinner…What’s happening with the cruising industry?…

Tree frog foam nest hanging over the pool, made by a female frog during the night.

Yesterday, we heard that power was out at Gate 1 due to necessary repairs due to vandalism and theft of significant parts at a substation. This happens frequently. Fortunately, since our area is considered Gate 2, we weren’t without power for 12 hours. However, as mentioned in a past post, the power used to pump the water supply fails when the power is out.

Luckily, by the time we were getting ready to go to Jabula for Valentine’s dinner, the water had returned, and Tom was able to take a shower. I had showered early in the morning before the water turned to a trickle.

Adult pigs and piglets in the garden. Bossy is standing in the bush, waiting for the pigs to leave.

When we arrived at  Jabula, the power outage was evident. Lyn and David set up battery-operated lights. We were able to sit at the bar as usual, which we always enjoyed. We decided to eat dinner at the bar around 6:30 pm, 1830 hrs, rather than go out onto the veranda at a table. It was still hot and humid without a breeze and felt cooler inside, even when the air-con wasn’t on due to the outage.

In no time at all, we forgot about the outage and had fun chatting with each other and other locals as they arrived for the evening. There were three seating times resulting in a steady flow of guests. It always amazes us how many people we’ve come to know, or at least recognize when they came in. The exchanges were always enthusiastic and friendly on both sides.

Little was in his usual spot eating pellets at the same time each day, usually around 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs.

Yesterday, we started looking at potential flights to Tampa, Florida. We decided to wait to book anything until we are closer to the date we’ll be leaving. It’s still possible the transatlantic cruise will cancel, and we don’t want to risk losing any portion of the cost of the airfare. We’ve already lost enough from non-refundable cancellations due to the pandemic.

The cruise on April 8 is a repositioning cruise which is described as follows:

“A repositioning cruise is a cruise in which the embarkation port and the disembarkation port are different. This is a less common type of cruise; in most cruises, the ship’s final destination is the same as the starting point. Some cruise ships relocate due to change in season or economic conditions.”

Bossy was posing for a photo.

The cruise industry has lost billions of dollars since the onset of the pandemic. Anything can change on a dime, including cancellations of cruises for which passengers have arranged and paid for flights, transportation, hotels, and holiday homes.

Some of the cruise lines are offering future credits for lost airfare if the passengers booked the air travel through them when a cruise is canceled at the last minute.

For example, if our cruise from Istanbul was canceled after we were already there, we’d be in a pickle. We’ve been to Istanbul in the past and have no interest in staying there for weeks, let alone a month. If we spend the two months in the UK from the end of April until the end of June when we must fly to Istanbul, it’s possible the cruise could be canceled at the last minute. We’d end up in Istanbul without plans and losing our airfare from the UK.

Regardless of how much things seem to be settling down since Omicron hit, there still is a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the travel industry. We are anxious to get “back out there” and hope our future plans will stay in place.

Have a great day!

Photo from one year ago today, February 13, 2021:

Here was mom and Lori and Barbara when they were piglets. This mom has three new piglets, and Lori and Barbara often hang out with her mom and three half-siblings. Of course, they could be full siblings if mom mated with the same male warthog. For more, please click here.

No power!…No Water!…Our road washed out…Huge storm with 100+ mm, 4″ rain during the night…Crazy night!…

  • A handsome male duiker in the garden.

This morning this message was on Facebook regarding access to our house:

“Good morning.
“Spruit”* in Bird: washed away the road. Impassible.
Eagle: VERY bad: no sedans can drive there.
Keep safe.”

*Definition of spruit:: a small, often dry tributary stream in southern Africa.
Bird and Eagle are the two roads that provide access to our house. I guess we won’t be going anywhere today. We needed to go to the little market for lettuce for our taco salads. But with the meat in the fridge and the power out, it will be spoiled by dinnertime, and we won’t dare to eat it.
Tom put the metal bowl filled with ice in the refrigerator during the night. The ice will be a good indicator that the fridge’s contents will be safe to eat. The freezer should keep the contents frozen for a few days. With the storm’s intensity, we could be out of power for days. But, as we always say, TIA, This is Africa, and occurrences such as this are common.
When the power is out, the pumps for the water supply don’t function. Subsequently, the only water we have right now is left in the house’s lines. Miraculously, I was able to take a quick shower this morning. Soon, Tom will bring buckets of water from the pool to the bathrooms in the house to flush the toilets.
Duikers, the smallest of the antelopes in South Africa, are very shy and don’t come close to the house.
Of course, we use bottled water in a water machine for drinking water. The water is included in our rent. We do not purchase small bottles of water. Why use all those plastic bottles?
The electric inverter provides us with WiFi, able to supply power to the router. Without that, we’d have no access to the Internet. The inverter will run out in less than a day. If we could go out, let’s say, and go to Kruger, we could turn off the inverter and save the remaining power to use later. But, with the road washed out, that’s not possible.
The little rental car won’t make it on the washed-out road. Besides, the Crocodile Bridge may also be covered in water and debris, preventing access to Kruger National Park, even if we could go. As a result of all of this, we’ll stay put and wait it out, until the power returns, until the water returns, and until the road dries out sufficiently to pass.
Stringy and Gordy, preferring not to get close to one another. Bushbucks are solitary animals and rarely travel in pairs or more.
With all the rain, the only wildlife we’ve seen so far today is a few bushbucks, Spikey and Gordy, and Barbara, Lori, their mom, and the two piglets and a female duiker, who all came for some pellets this morning. It will be a quiet day.
We can only imagine how frustrating it is for holidaymakers who are still in the park on what may be their only annual vacation. For us, it’s a lot easier.
This morning, Rita and Gerhard invited us for breakfast at Stoep Cafe in Komatipoort. If we had been able to go with them, they’d have had to pick us up in the big four-wheeled truck. But, after being awake the majority of the night with little sleep, we were still in bed at 8:00 am. By 8:30, we got up to begin our day.
We hope you have a pleasant day!

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

This photo was posted one-year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #287. A Marwari horse with curly ears at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India. For more photos, please click here.

Day #2, no water…After all, this is Africa..

A Go-Away bird was sitting at the birdbath for a drink.

Whether it’s no water, no power, or no WiFi, this is the “nature of the beast” (no pun intended).  The infrastructure is delicate. Theft of cables, copper, and various parts for running the water system in Marloth Park is the culprit. Yesterday, we were informed of a theft at the water station.

This morning I signed up for a WhatsApp group for updates, and here’s the most recent, as of a few minutes ago:

“Eskom (the electric company) has reported another theft at the Fig Tree substation near Masibekela. Copper blades were stolen last night around 2300 hrs (11:00 pm). The power supply has been restored. However, low voltage is still being experienced. Water supply is affected due to the low voltage. Eskom is attending the matter urgently.”

Another Go-Away bird is ready to drink from the bottom portion of the birdbath.

Another post from WhatsApp::

“This will happen when power is off. Ideal for perpetrators.”

The question in my mind is, “How are these perpetrators being allowed into Marloth Park to commit such crimes? A lot of controversies exist in regards to the security at the entrance gate.” But, to avoid an unpleasant back and forth with locals, I won’t get into this.

After all, we are just visitors here and not property owners. We have no say in what transpires in the park. Many people are actively involved and work hard in an attempt to avoid such situations. But, again, “This is Africa,” and not everything goes as one would like. Preventing crime is a complex process in this area and other parts of South Africa.

Lots of mongooses wondering what is on the menu today: Paloney? Eggs? Leftover meat?

But, it’s not exclusive to South Africa or Africa itself when we hear about crime throughout the world, including our own USA. The bottom line is, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”  Nowhere in the world is exempt from awful people who commit crimes upon fellow humans, animals, and property.

Today, we have no water pressure at all. Early yesterday morning, while we still had some water, I had put a load of laundry in the washer. When the water stopped running, we now had a load of dark clothes, soaking wet in the washing machine with no way to rinse or spin them. The washer doesn’t have separate settings for these features alone. If the water isn’t restored today, we’ll have to remove all the clothes and wring them out by hand, hang them to dry, and rewash them at a later date.

As for showering, no such luck, this morning, I did a  “sponge bath” using bottled water warmed in the teapot. That worked out well. Tom’s hair is another issue. Without a shower, he looks like the “nutty professor.”

Siegfried and Roy cuddled on a cool morning.

After last night’s dinner, we had dirty dishes sitting in the dishwasher. This morning, Zef used pool water to wash the floors, a daily must-do with all the dust from the animals in the garden. We’re still using pool water to flush the toilets. That also works out well.

Thank goodness we have electricity. No water and no power is quite the nightmare. We are very grateful to have power and WiFi. We can cook, but we can’t clean up after ourselves. We’ve heard stories of water outages in Marloth Park that lasted for weeks. Hopefully, this time won’t be such a case. Two or three days are tolerable. Longer becomes exceedingly annoying.

At 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs, we’re heading to Louise and Danie’s to drop off the money we owe for pellets and stay for a little social time. That will be a nice break!

Have a spectacular day!

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

There were no photos posted one year ago today while our new site was going live, and the “to be expected” temporary issues prevented us from doing so.

No water, day 3…

Three go-away birds at the birdbath. The grey go-away-bird (Crinifer concolor), also known as grey lourie, grey loerie, or kwêvoël, is a bold and common bird of the southern Afrotropics. They are present in arid to moist, open woodlands and thorn savanna, especially near-surface water.

Who’s in the garden this morning?

  • 14 warthogs – inc. Fred, and Ethyl, Little (he stayed for hours), Benny, Henny, Lenny, and Penny
  • 11 bushbucks – inc. Chewy and Thick Neck and others
  • 1 wildebeest – Broken Horn
  • 7 kudus – inc. Little Daddy, Bossy, and Notches
  • Frank and The Misses

Now, it’s getting a little tricky without water. We’ve got the toilet flushing covered using pool water to flush. For sponge baths, we use a small bowl of bottled water and a bar of soap. To wash our hands and wash dishes, we use a bowl of hot water with dishwashing soap. But, it’s interesting to see how many times a day we usually use tap water, although we don’t drink it or use it in cooking.

A warthog drinking from the birdbath. Some are having difficulty drinking if their tusks are too large. But, Tiny, with huge tasks, managed to take a drink, slurping all the while.

I suppose the most challenging part is not showering. Louise offered Khaya Umdani house for us to go shower. It has a tank with its water supply.  But hauling clean clothes and bathing supplies doesn’t appeal to me while still recovering from my recent virus (not Covid). So we’ll keep doing the sponge baths for now.

I’ve changed today’s late afternoon sundowner location with Rita and Gerhard from the river to our veranda. It’s cool, cloudy and by later afternoon, the weather may not be conducive for sitting by the river where it’s cooler. But, they didn’t mind at all. It will be the first time we’ve seen them in 10 days. It will be wonderful to socialize after so long.

Mongoose and warthog mom with babies in the garden. Mongoose doesn’t eat pellets, so no sharing is required.

We have felt like hermits these past two weeks, staying in, not going out to dinner, and avoiding our friends, not feeling up to it, but not wanting to infect anyone. I am surprised Tom didn’t catch it from me with our constant proximity. But he’s always had a better immune system than me.

Today is a lazy day. We can’t do laundry without water, and cooking is challenging without water. So today, I am making slow-cooked baby back ribs in the oven, seasoned but sauce-free, for tonight’s dinner. Most likely, our sundowner time will end by dark or shortly after that. Then, we’ll have a quiet evening to dine and watch a few shows.

A female kudu in front of a Big Daddy and, of course, a warthog standing by.

Under normal circumstances, it would have been likely we’d have invited Rita and Gerhard for dinner. But, I am still not feeling 100%, and we don’t have water for doing dishes, we’ll plan that for another day. We’d heard stories in the past about residents in Marloth Park being without water for five days.

When we heard that, we were aghast at the prospect of such a dilemma. But, here we are well into the third day, and the possibility of it going five days is not as unlikely as we perceived in the past. Yesterday, for a short period, we were also without power and WiFi.

As tough and resilient as we may have been in our world travels, with many harrowing situations, I don’t think we’d quickly adapt to no services; no power, no electricity, and no water. That’s not our thing. That would be called “camping,” and we don’t do much of that.

These four wildebeest like to hang out in the driveway, near the car. Go figure.

When the power and WiFi returned, it made us appreciate only being without water, after all. A short time ago, Louise sent me a message to inform us that there will be load shedding tonight, from 11:00 pm to 1:30 am. Fortunately, that’s a time of less importance since we are usually just about ready to drift off to sleep.

The fact load shedding is resuming will mean that we’ll be without power and subsequently without WiFi in other more critical hours of the day. They go hand-in-hand. It’s the nature of the beast. This is Africa. The infrastructure is unstable. We knew this “going in” back in 2013, and it hasn’t improved much in the past eight years.

For us, it’s all about trade-offs. Africa is in our blood. We can leave…but it always draws us back in. We choose this life, and we decide to accept the challenges we encounter along the way, in the best ways we can.

Have a fantastic day.

Photo from one year ago today, June 1, 2020:

Beautiful flowers grow freely everywhere in Madeira, Portugal. For more, please click here.