Part 1 (of three parts)…Month by month, emotional and memorable events from our world travels in 2023…

It was a great time celebrating my 75th birthday in February at Tamborina Restaurant in Komatipoort with Dawn and Leon, before our party five days later.

We haven’t always done our “Year in Review.” I’ve hesitated to do it each year because I’m unwilling to take the extra time necessary to go back over each month’s post and list the significant aspects of each month. Often we have plans at that time and spending extra hours hasn’t appealed to me. Often, I am busy preparing a special meal to celebrate the occasion.

This year,  with our two-day GrubHub Chinese dinner order for tonight and tomorrow night, I have no excuse. We planned to clean the house today, but with Tom still not feeling well and after his late night when he had to return the rental car to swap it out for another at 1:00 am this morning, I have no plans for today other than to head to the fitness center to work out around 2:00 pm.

Last night, when Tom left for the airport, I started coughing, wondering if I caught whatever cold he had the past three days. But when I got up this morning, I felt better and haven’t coughed since. Maybe I dodged a bullet and won’t get sick.

My plan for today’s post is to list each month, describing where we were at the time, with a photo we’d posted during that month with a link to go with it of our favorite experiences. Of course, if you’re interested in more details of any specific month, please peruse the archives on the right side of our home page and click any date. So here we go, beginning with January, 2023:

January 2023 – Marloth Park, South Africa

Octomom’s eight piglets, four of them her own, Lollie’s three, and another she adopted that she found alone in our garden. See the story below and the post here.

When we moved into the Ratel house in May 2022, after a cruise while we were still recovering from COVID-19, we came to know a number of animals that frequently visited our garden. One of our favorites, besides Norman and his family, was Lollie, a female warthog who decided our garden was her permanent home. Each morning and night, she parked herself near the veranda and occasionally wandered away for a few hours during the day. to roll around in a mud hole or search for food. We fed her plenty of pellets, carrots, and apples, but warthogs require a lot of food.

One day, we noticed she wasn’t there when we first wandered outdoors, and we didn’t see her for three days and nights. On the fourth day, she arrived with three piglets she birthed in her time away and couldn’t have been more proud to show them off to us. We fussed over all of them. Knowing she was feeding those little ones, we fed her plenty of food while the piglets were too young for pellets.

After about a week passed, we noticed something was hanging out of her backside. I took a photo and sent it to a ranger, only to discover it was most likely the afterbirth that she hadn’t released. Jaco explained that she would become infected and die if the afterbirth didn’t drop out. Each day, she looked weaker and weaker, and finally, about a week later, she arrived on her own without the piglets. She was dying and couldn’t care for them. We were heartbroken.  A few days later, the piglets arrived without her, and we knew then that she had passed away.

There were the three little pigs, squealing for their mom. They were hungry and too young to fend for themselves. Immediately, I called Deidre, Wild and Free Rehabilitation’s director, and asked her how we could feed the young piglets. At that point, they were about three weeks old. She explained we could start giving them pellets and bits of fruit and vegetables. Plus, we put out a shallow bowl of fresh water for them each day. The likelihood of them surviving at such a young age was remote but we were determined to try and save them.

A few days later, another mom with four piglets arrived in the garden with her young at the same time as Lollie’s orphaned three piglets. Miracle of all miracles, over the next few days, we saw she had adopted Lollie’s three piglets, and she was nursing them along with her four.  What a joy it was to see this miracle of nature.

A few days later, we spotted a lone piglet leaning up against a tree, crying and looking lost and forlorn. This same mom also adopted this eighth piglet. At this point, we named the mom Octomom, and in no time at all she responded to her name. On our last day in Marloth Park in April 2023, they were all in our garden, as if to say goodbye. What a beautiful experience we were gifted to have unfolded before our eyes.

February 2023 – Marloth Park, South Africa

Here we are with Doc Theo, who saved my life, and his lovely wife, Myrtah, on my 75th birthday in the bush. We were so happy they came to my party along with the other two doctors in the practice, Doc Mel and Doc Philip, and their lovely wives.

It couldn’t have been more exciting than to share my 75th birthday in the bush with many of our friends who attended my party hosted and catered by our dear friends Louise at Danie at their lovely Khaya Umdani house. See the post here for photos of the exquisite food and guests.

In January, we created a guest list and sent out invitations via WhatsApp. Every person we invited joined us on my special day. The party was held on February 25, and my birthday was on February 20th. But we wanted to hold the party on a weekend when Doc Theo, his associates, and their wives could attend rather than on a weekday. It worked out well for all of the attendees.

We had a fantastic time and laughed out loud when a male kudu stopped by to nibble on the starters (appetizers). The party didn’t end until almost 2:00 am. It was an evening I will always cherish and remember. The food, the friends and the ambiance couldn’t have been more perfect.

March 2023 – Marloth Park, South Africa

Tom’s brother Jerry and his lovely wife Lee, his favorite Norwegian. Jerry passed away in March, and Tom left the bush to fly to Minneapolis, US, for the funeral and to be with family. See the post here.

Tom’s eldest brother (by 24 years), Jerome, 94, also known as Jerry, passed away on March 1st. Tom immediately decided to fly to Minneapolis for the funeral and spend time with his family. It was my first time alone in the bush, but friends gathered around to ensure I wasn’t bored or lonely without him.

Jerome was totally blind, and shortly after we left for our world travels, he listened to our posts daily. using his “talking” computer. He always said that we “were his eyes as we traveled the world,” and it meant so much to know he was following along with us. It was a sad day when he passed. In 2013, his beloved wife Lee, passed away. In his resilience and strength, Jerry managed to live for ten years after losing Lee, in the family home. He was quite a special man.

I never felt fearful of being alone at the house. I kept the emergency button on the keyring on my nightstand at night and by my side during daylight hours. He was gone for two weeks, and it was wonderful to have him return. When we’ve returned to the US since Jerry’s passing, we always feel a sense of loss, knowing he is no longer there.

Over the past years of world travel, I lost my dear sister Susan while we were in lockdown in India for ten months, and then Tom lost Jerome. Our hearts were and still are heavy after each of us lost a sibling as we traveled. Sadly, I wasn’t able to return to the US when Susan passed due to our lockdown status in India and when the international airport was closed.

April 2023 – Marloth Park, South Africa and The Villages, Florida

Tom and Danie were in a huddle chatting up a storm, as always, at our going away party in the bush. See the post here.

At the end of April, our friends Dawn and Leon, owners of Jabula, hosted a going-away party for us. It was a fantastic party. We’ve become like most South Africans; we all love a good party, and most parties when friends get together are fantastic. Much to my disappointment, it was a few days later that I experienced the first bout of Afib and ended up in the hospital in Nelspruit for three nights, having lots of tests to determine the cause, which, at that time, was never determined.

Only four days before our flight to the US to stay in a lovely house in The Villages, Florida, was I released from the hospital feeling better but very weak. I don’t know how I managed to pack, but I somehow got through it. On the 15-hour flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta, Georgia, I had another bout of Afib that lasted for hours. To avoid worrying Tom, who was seated a few rows behind me, I waited it out, and finally, it stopped, and I was able to sleep a little.

While we spent almost three months in Florida, we had a wonderful time. Many of our friends came to visit, some staying overnight. Every Friday and Saturday night, we took off in the golf cart and went out to one of the village squares to enjoy dinner in a few excellent restaurants we found.

During the first four months of the year, we didn’t travel much, other than the above-mentioned occasions. We thoroughly enjoyed the first third of 2023 and looked forward to more travels to come, which will be shared in the next two posts on December 31 and January 1, 2024.

Please stay tuned for more.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 30, 2013:

Kudu closeup was taken while I stood directly before him, behind the veranda railing. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…2020…A new year…a new decade…Our travels, a year in review…

At the New Year’s Eve party a few nights ago.

Today’s post is late. Since this morning, we have been distracted when we met our new neighbors who moved into the unit behind us. Coincidentally, they are also from Minnesota, and it was fun sharing stories with the two of them.

View of hotels along the beach from the ship on our way back to the US in Nassau, the Bahamas from this post.

No doubt, we’ll see them both again soon. The socialization at the park is over the top. No less than three or four evenings a week, we get together with family and new friends to chat, laugh, and share stories.

Socializing is different here than it is on a cruise ship when most passengers are frequent travelers from all over the world. All the seniors (55+) we’ve met thus far are from all over the US, many from the Midwest and other cold climate locations.

Out to dinner With dear friends Karen and Rich for a “thank you for hosting us at your home” at Gianni’s Restaurant in Wayzata, Minnesota. For more from this post, please click here.

A few nights ago, we met a lovely couple from Arkansas while standing in line for the New Year’s Eve party, where winter climates are temperate. However, the draw of this simple life is appealing to seniors from all over the country.

And now, as we have rolled into the New Year, with more and more people coming here to stay for the winter, no doubt we’ll meet more residents, and like the couple we met this morning, those staying in a rental unit such as ours.

Tom won the last game, Bingo Coverall, winning $200 when we were out to lunch with Karen and Rich, where bingo is played at a bar on Saturdays mornings only. He looks tired from little sleep from coughing all night while in Minnesota. For this post, please click here.

For the remainder of the year, Today’s photos were all while we have been in the US since November 8, 2019, almost two months ago. Being in the US during this time has been great, seeing family and friends.

Now we’re gearing up to leave the US again and most likely won’t return for another two years. We have many worlds left to see and look forward to the next leg of our journey.

As mentioned yesterday, 2019 was the most challenging of our seven years of world travel. We’ll never forget what we went through, but we take the memories with us and hopefully have learned from our experiences as we move into the future.

Our next stop was Nevada, where I had the opportunity to visit my sister Susan. This is her pup, Chase, an adorable little guy. See the post here.

Sure, there’s a bit of trepidation in the future. Will we be close to competent medical care? Are the risks of future issues with my health going to hold us back in any way? We could easily make ourselves stressed contemplating these raw facts.

However, we choose to free our minds from stress and to focus on the good fortune we’ve had in discovering my heart issues in time to avert a possible life-changing event and, of course, our ability to continue.

Tonight, we’ll lay low and enjoy our delicious leftovers from last night’s successful dinner party. The sisters and brothers-in-law came to our house around 3:30 pm and stayed until close to 9:00 pm. 

It was wonderful to meet up with old friends Jerry and Vicki. It was amazing to see them so many years later when we’d met in Kauai in 2015. For this post, please click here.

As often the case, the conversation was filled with stories of experiences they all shared about their years of growing up in a large family. They are quite an entertaining group. 

We’re attending another party at 3:00 pm on Saturday by the fire pit. It’s warmed up a bit, and when the sun is shining, it’s pretty comfortable being outdoors. Tom is picking up Margie at the Mesa airport on Saturday. It will be great to have her back with the six of us.

Have a wonderful day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 2, 2018:

Last year on this date, we posted “year in review” with this photo of two female rhinos on the trail of a nearby male. See this link here for more from the date this photo was taken. Click here for the year-ago post.

Part 1…2020…A new year…a new decade…Our travels, a year in review…

In Devon on a farm, Tom had the unusual experience of shepherding 150 lambs. For that post, please click here.

Since we’ve posted so many photos from Africa, we’ve decided not to post favorite photos from 2019 that include our time in Africa. Our readers have seen them over and over again. We appreciate your patience and interest.

While in Ireland, we got a good shot of this pair of cows, most likely a mom and baby, from this post.

Instead, today (with more to follow tomorrow), as mentioned in yesterday’s post (click here), we’ll review where we’ve traveled over the last 12 months. Based on the fact my open heart surgery was in February, and we weren’t able to do much during the remaining three months we spent in Marloth park while I recovered thus, the dates are as follows:

January to May – Marloth Park, South Africa 
May to August – Connemara, Ireland (three months)
August – Flight to Amsterdam, where we spent two nights
August – September – Baltic Cruise – 12 nights
September to October – Stayed in four locations in the UK: Falmouth, Witheridge, Devon, England and, Chepstow, Wales, two of which included living in the English countryside on working farms.
October – Drove to Southampton, England, where we spent two nights and then boarded a ship for a 15-night cruise to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
November to December – Minneapolis, Minnesota, the USA to visit family (3 weeks)
November to December – Henderson/Las Vegas, Nevada, the USA to visit family (11 nights)
December – Apache Junction, Arizona, USA – the balance of December has been spent visiting family (Tom’s sisters and spouses)

While in Amsterdam wished we could post the identity of all of these great highlights on our canal boat tour, but it wasn’t possible as the boat moved along. For this post, please click here.
  • Number of Flights: 5 
  • Number of Cruises: 2 
  • Number of Vacation Home Rentals: 7
  • Number of nights in hotels: 4
  • Number of nights spent with family or friends: 32 (with friend Karen in Minnesota and son Richard in Henderson)
  • Number of Rental Cars: 5 
The luxury in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg was indescribable. See the post here.

Considering the awful condition I was in until October, unable to walk from the surgeries and dreadful medications I later stopped taking. Then the dreadful virus we both caught on the cruise back to the US traveled quite a bit.

In Tiverton, Devon, these birds reminded us of the Helmeted Guinea-fowl we had in our garden in Marloth Park. For this post, please click here.

Now that we are both feeling well, we’re finally able to relax and focus our time with Tom’s family members and preparing for our upcoming trip to India in a mere four weeks from today.

In some ways, it was a good year. In other ways, it was frightening and disheartening. As the year ended last night at midnight, when we stood on the dance floor at the party here at the resort and shared a long kiss, we couldn’t help but smile for the New Year to come. 

This is the view from our veranda in Falmouth, England. For this post, please click here.

No, we can’t dismiss what we’ve been through this past year, but we can and have embraced a feeling of gratefulness and good fortune, to have made our way through a challenging time.

In the rain on the farm in Witheridge, Tom was using the wheelbarrow to bring the wood to Pond Cottage. See the post here.

The party last night was fine. We could have done a few nuances without, such as eating prime rib (which was good) with a plastic fork and knife. But, the people were relatively friendly, and the two of us had a good time together as always. 

Friends Linda and Ken from South Africa came to visit us while we were in Chepstow, Wales. Here’s a photo of the four of us, and here’s the post from that date.

We couldn’t resist staying until the stroke of midnight to hear and sing the traditional song, Auld Lang Syne. Oddly, one of the participants on the dance floor collapsed right at midnight. Shortly after the song ended, an ambulance came to take the poor woman to the hospital. We never heard what had transpired.

The tabletop is a plain white blank canvas, making such colorful presentations possible while we dined on the ship experiencing Le Lewtit Chef a digital dining experience. For that post, please click here.

Back at our park model (as they are called) by 12:15, we unloaded our bag of beverages and went off to bed. We both slept reasonably well,,, awakening to a new year, a new decade, and a new journey we’ll continue with joy in our hearts.

Today, we’re making dinner for the family: baby back ribs, mashed garlic potatoes, sweet corn, dinner rolls, salad, and dessert. Based on time constraints, we’ll continue this post tomorrow. Please check back.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Photo from one year ago today, January 1, 2019:

This is a two-year-old Rock Hopper Penguin on New Island in the Falkland Islands,,, yet to grow his full plumage when we visited Antarctica. Last year on this date, we posted favorite photos from 2018.Last year on this date, we posted favorite photos from 2018.Last year on this date, we posted favorite photos from 2018. Please click here for more photos.

Part 3…2018, “Year in Review” with favorite photos…They’re back!!!…Six years ago today…Itinerary re-post from one year ago.

We were so excited to see the kudus and other wildlife returning to our garden as the holiday crowds dissipated.  

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

One of our two favorite frogs took up residence in this cute little decorative basket near the pool on the veranda.

This morning, two bushbucks, one duiker, five zebras, and three warthogs stopped by simultaneously.Last night before the pelting rain began, 12 kudus and three warthogs stopped by for a snack. We couldn’t toss the pellets quickly enough.  

Notice the pellet crumbs on her nose.  Often, there are lots of crumbs in the enormous bags of pellets. Most wildlife is happy to lap up the crumbs if we place them on the tile steps. See more here at this link.

We’re so excited the animals have begun to return to our garden. After all, that’s why we’re here, the wildlife and the people. They’re all wonderful and have made this past year fly by in a flurry of activity.

We couldn’t believe our eyes when we spotted this elephant digging a hole to access water in the ground below. Please take a moment to watch our video at the top of the page. See this link here for more.

The now working aircon in our main floor bedroom provided us with a good night’s sleep along with the fact the power stayed on for the past 36 hours. Add the fact that today, for the first time in days, the temperature is cool and comfortable at 21C (70F) and surprisingly doesn’t feel as humid as it had over the past several days. What a welcomed relief!

Louise and Danie joined us for dinner that night at Kambaku, the popular restaurant at the golf course in Komatipoort, as we celebrated their belated birthdays. We couldn’t be more grateful for all they’ve done for us.  See this link here for more.

Today, we’ll complete this three-part series of 2018, “Year in Review,” and return tomorrow with our regular posts and all new photos as we see more and more wildlife each day as the holidaymakers have begun to drift away.

Our photo of the blood moon was taken on July 27, 2018.  See this link here for more.

Holiday times are different in South Africa than in many other countries. In the US, kids return to school the first day after New Year’s Day. But here, the return to school varies from public to private schools but maybe as late as the middle of January. This fact determines when many of the holidaymakers leave Marloth Park.

Not a night passes without an opportunity to watch these adorable bushbabies enjoy the yogurt we place on their little stand. See this link here for more.

However, as we’ve seen from the gradual return of the wildlife to our garden, many may have left right after New Year’s Day. At this point, we’ll see how it transpires over the next week or two.

What an animal!  We feel fortunate to have been able to get lion photos. See this link for more.

This morning when Tom was reviewing past posts, he mentioned it was precisely six years ago today that we boarded our first cruise. See here for the link. (At that time, we didn’t post many photos and didn’t post daily). In 80 days, we’ll be boarding our 24th cruise in Santiago, Chile, ending in San Diego, California.  

Mom and baby love.  See this link here for more.

It’s even hard for us to believe how many cruises we’ve experienced in this short period, and other than a four-day back-to-back cruise in 2013 in the Mediterranean, we’ve loved every one of them.  

Every piece of art at WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery was representative of Zambian culture. See this link here for more.

The four-day cruise was during spring break and was crowded with highly inebriated, loud, demanding, and pushing and shoving passengers. It couldn’t have ended quickly enough for us.  

We were excited to get a view of the leopard’s face after waiting for a considerable period while Samson, our guide in Chobe National Paek in Botswana, kept moving the vehicle for better shots. Upon careful inspection of this photo, you can see the pads of the feet of her kill in the tree near her head. See this link here for more.

Below included in our “one year ago today” feature, we posted the itinerary we’d included on today’s date in 2018. Certain aspects of our itinerary have changed, including the first year that has since passed. As we add more bookings in the next few months, we’ll be updating the itinerary and posting it here.  

Based on our position in the line-up of vehicles in Kruger, our photo-taking advantage was limited. See this link here for more.

As the years have passed, we don’t feel the sense of urgency to fill in the blanks and extend the itinerary beyond two years. It’s less about being lazy and more about feeling comfortable that all of it will work out as we go along.

Stunning female lion – as a part of the Ridiculous Nine, we spotted in a game drive in Marloth Park with friends Lois and Tom, who visited for three weeks. See this link here for more.

Tonight, we’ll be visiting Rita and Gerhard at their second condo at Ngwenya where they’re staying until tomorrow. Then, much to their delight, they’re moving back to the Hornbill house where they lived the first month they were here and will stay until sometime in March when they’ll be leaving Marloth Park.

After a highly successful game drive in Kruger, Tom, Lois, Kerry (our guide), me, and Tom. See this link here for more.

We’re hoping to see them in the New Year when they’ll come to visit us in Ireland during our three-month stay beginning in May. We’re also looking forward to Kathy and Don visiting us in Ireland as well.  How fortunate we are to have made such fine friends.

We encountered this stunning scene of zebras and wildebeest from the fence at Marloth Park. One reason zebras and wildebeests hang out is that they love to eat the taller grass and wildebeest the shorter grass – it’s a type of symbiosis. There is no competition regarding food. Also, wildebeests have a better sense of hearing, while zebras can see very well. It’s always great to have an ally to warn of any impending danger.  Another reason is zebras and wildebeest prefer to be in the open savannahs…the concept of safety in numbers comes into play.  See this link here for more.

Then upcoming on January 14, friends Linda and Ken will stay here with us for a week. They arrive from Johannesburg on the day that we’re having a birthday dinner party for Rita. We are grateful to have such good friends.

We’ve so enjoyed spending time with new friends Rita and Gerhard who came to Marloth Park after reading our posts years ago. They found the holiday home they’ve rented through our site and found Louise to help them get situated. They’ll be here in Marloth until March.
We look forward to many more exciting times together.  See this link here for more.

That’s it for today, folks. We’ll be back with more tomorrow. 

May you find your day to be fulfilling and meaningful!

Photo from one year ago today, January 3, 2018:

One year ago today, we posted the upcoming itinerary that included a total of 852 days, which is now down to 486 days since the first year of this itinerary has passed. Since that date, we’ve had a few modifications which we’ll include next time we update and post the itinerary. For details, please click here.

 Buenos Aires, AR – Prodeo Hotel 
 1/2/2018 -1/23/2018 
 Ushuaia, AR – Ushuaia, AR – Antarctica Cruise 
 1/23/2018 – 2/8/2018 
 Buenos Aires, AR – Prodeo Hotel 
 2/8/2018 – 2/10/2018 
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Bush home selected
2/11/2018 – 5/11/2018
  Zambezi River Cruise – Victoria Falls 
5/11/2018 – 5/19/2018
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent a bush home
5/19/2018 – 8/16/2018
 Uganda – See gorillas and the “Cradle of Mankind.” 
8/16/2018 – 8/23/2018
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent a bush home
 8/23/2018 -11/20/2018 
 Mozambique, Africa (get visa stamped) 
 11/20/2018 -11/21/2018 
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent a bush home
 11/21/2019 – 2/17/2019 
 Valparaiso, Chile – Rent vacation home or hotel
 2/17/2019 – 3/24/2019 
 Cruise – San Antonio, Chile – San Diego 
 3/24/2019 – 4/8/2019 
 San Diego, CA – Fly to Minneapolis, MN – Family visit
 4/8/2019 – 4/21/2019 
 Cruise – Fort Lauderdale, FL- Dublin, Ire (1-day hotel stay) 
 4/21/2019 – 5/6/2019 
 Ireland – Rent country house – Research Tom’s ancestry 
 5/6/2019 – 8/1/2019 
 Amsterdam, NLD – Hotel stay 
 8/1/2019 – 8/11/2019 
 Cruise, Baltic – Amsterdam, NLD – Amsterdam, NLD 
 8/11/2019 – 8/23/2019 
 England – Rent country home
 8/23/2019 – 10/24/2019 
 Southampton, UK – Fort Lauderdale, FL
  10/24/2019 – 11/8/2019 
 Henderson/Las Vegas, NV – Los Angeles, CA -Scottsdale, AZ 
 11/8/2019 – 12/3/2019 
 Ecuador – Galapagos – Rent vacation homes on islands
 12/3/2019 – 3/1/2020 
 Peru – Machu Picchu – Rent vacation homes, visit site 
 3/1/2020 –  3/31/2020 
 The Pantanal/Amazon River Cruise – Brazil (2 cruises)
 3/31/2020 – 4/30/2020 
 Number of days  

Part 2…2018, “Year in Review” with favorite photos…An important decision has been made…

Two female rhinos on the trail of a nearby male.  See this link here for more.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

On Monday, we were hopeful when we had 13 kudus in the garden, thinking perhaps the traffic in Marloth Park was thinning out. Today, we’ve had several kudus, bushbucks, and the warthog mom and four babies.

Yesterday was another hot and humid day, leaving us soaked in sweat throughout the day. Today, it continues. Luckily, the power didn’t go out, and we slept in one of the upstairs bedrooms with a working aircon.

Linda, me and Kathy.  It was these two thoughtful friends that took me to lunch on my birthday four years ago. Now, we’ll all be together again to celebrate my 70th. Wow! See this link here for more.

We’re hopeful the repair guy will come today and repair the aircon in our main floor bedroom, where we have a dust-mite-free mattress, pillows, and covers. The bed upstairs is double, and although we’ve slept in double beds throughout the world, a queen-sized bed is much more comfortable, especially when we both tend to hog the center of the mattress.

Ken, Tom and Don making big faces for the camera!  See this link here for more.

We’re looking forward to aircon comfort in our main floor bedroom, hopefully, available by this evening. From there, we hope the power stays on as it has for the past 24 hours.

We’ll always remember this birthday as a special event for both of us; celebrated life, health, our experiences, and the fine friends we’ve made along the way. See this link here for more.

This morning, it rained. A nice soaking rain was needed in the bush at this point. We were discussing the frustration many holidaymakers felt after coming to the bush with lots of expectations, only to be sorely disappointed by some events that transpired.

While in Kruger, we spotted a rhino mom and her baby, born this season and still closely attached to the mother. See this link here for more.

It’s been boiling, humid and there have been more power outages than we can count.  Kruger National Park has been difficult to enter, with the crowds going as far as making reservations for a fee to enter. Once inside, they’ve had to deal with all the vehicles blocking the roads during a sighting.

This was a “tower” or “journey” of the eight giraffes who made their way to the only paved road in Marloth. Note the eighth giraffe is to the far right in this photo. See this link here for more.

On top of that, there has been less wildlife visiting the properties over the past several weeks due to the added number of people and vehicles in Marloth Park, certainly adding to the frustrations.

When “capturing” the Black Mamba, it is imperative to immobilize the head close to the ground and raise the tail. Tom managed to do this while desperately attempting to escape during his snake-handling experience at Snake School. The Black Mamba is the fastest snake on the planet. See this link here for more.

As we often drive around Marloth Park for two-hour periods, almost every day, we see few animals in the gardens of holiday homes, other than an occasional kudu or warthog.  

At a distance, they saw Dad coming their way.  The chick’s pace picked up the moment she spotted him. Look at the far end of the dirt road to see him coming!  His feathers are dark. See this link here for more.

We can only imagine the frustration of the holidaymakers dealing with these issues and property owners and managers dealing with the renter’s demands as a result of their frustrations.  It hasn’t been an easy situation. Some tourists have left earlier than they’d planned.

 I awoke Tom when this thing was walking on me.  With the light from my phone, I saw it and must admit, a little scream escaped my lips as I shooed it off my shoulder. Yucky! Look at those spiky legs! Tom captured it in this plastic container and released it outside.  See this link here for more.

Today, we continue on with Part 2…2018, “Year in Review.” In yesterday’s post, found here, we covered our cruise to Antarctica and the many stunning photos we captured along the way. It was exciting for us, once again, to review each post for favorite photos to share in the post.

This was a common sight in Marloth Park a holiday weekend in April. It’s packed with tourists sitting in the back of a “bakkie” which is Afrikaans for “pickup truck.” Very dangerous. See this link here for more.

Today, we’re including photos and links from the first half of the year up to and including June 2018. Tomorrow, we’ll add Part 3 which, with so many photos, we found to be necessary.

Adorable baby Danie with his loving and attentive mom, Okey Dokey, our friend and driver from 2013 when she and her husband and baby came to visit.  He never stopped smiling and laughing the entire time they were staying.  See this link here for more.

Of course, we want to “save” some favorite photos to share on the last few days of our one-year stay in Marloth Park, including all the year’s expenses which we’ll include on the previous day, February 14, 2019. On that date, we’ll depart the park to spend the night in a hotel in Nelspruit, close to the airport for our early morning flight to Kenya.

This gorgeous feta, onion, and lettuce salad served by dear friends Louise and Danie when they invited us for dinner were enhanced with edible flowers, indicative of the attention to detail and creativity these two fine hosts possess. See this link here for more.

We made a critical decision in the past few days. We will return to Capetown, South Africa, via a cruise on December 2, 2020. However, we’ll fly to Namibia from there to spend three months and then return to Marloth Park.  

Alas, we arrived in Zambia to see the magical splendor of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Later that day we also went to Zimbabwe to see the falls from that country. See this link here for more.

By then, the holiday season in Marloth will have passed, and we can avoid or at least diminish some of our frustrations during the holiday season. No doubt, Namibia will have some challenges, but we’ll have an entirely different set of expectations of our own.

None of the six of us or our guide Alfred could believe our eyes as we watched this male elephant build his mud pool in Chobe National Park. We’ve seen a lot of elephants in Africa, but this was a rare sighting for us. See this link here for more.

As for yesterday and today’s photos, many of our long-term readers certainly have seen them in past posts. However, we always have a new influx of readers and encourage them to click on the links we’ve provided along the way.

Crocs can replace each of their 80 teeth up to 50 times in their 35 to 75-year lifespan. Check out those teeth on a croc we spotted while on the Zambezi River cruise. See this link here for more.

It’s been a fantastic year, as we mentioned in yesterday’s post, and we continued to smile when we reviewed the year’s posts and saw all that we’ve accomplished and experienced along the way.

The harsh realities of the bush; here is a Bovine Tuberculosis infected kudu we spotted only the day after we were educated on this dreadful disease impacting mainly kudus in Marloth Park. See this link here for more.

And, there’s so much more yet to come in the New Year. Please stay with us as we continue on our exciting world journey.

This video will remain as one of our favorites in years to come, clearly illustrating the intelligence of elephants during a human intervention in “their world.”  Watch and you’ll see why.  See this link here for more.

Have a spectacular second day of the New Year!

Photo from one year ago today, January 2, 2018:

We set up the tripod to take this photo of us in Costa Rica on October 31, 2017, the fifth anniversary of our world travels, which was posted in Part 2, our 2017 “Year in Review.” For more, please click here.

Part 1…2018, “Year in Review” with favorite photos…

It was fun to hold up our US flag on the ice floe in Antarctica. See the link here for more.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Perhaps the holidaymakers are beginning to leave the park when yesterday we had no less than 20 kudus stop by throughout the day, including this adorable young male.

This has been one of the best years of my life. The adventures were many, the challenges endless, and the opportunity to see parts of the world we only dreamt of.

A one or two-year-old Rock Hopper Penguin on New Island in the Falkland Islands has yet to grow his full plumage. See this link for more.

Tom always says, “The best year of my life is yet to come.” OK, I’ll go along with that premise as well.  

  Closer view of King Penguin with a chick.  See this link here for more.

But, how in the world can we possibly top this past year visiting Argentina, Antarctica, spending a year in Marloth Park, and twice traveling to Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe…Chobe River, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls, and cruising on the Zambezi River?  (More photos will follow in Part 2 tomorrow).

Tom certainly got it right when he captured this Black Browed Albatross chick with what appears to be a smile. See this link here for more.

Today, our photos focus on our Antarctica cruise, surely one of the highlights of both of our lives.  We left Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 23, 2018, to head to Ushuaia, Argentina, the most southerly city in the world, to board the ship, the Ponant Le Soleal.

It was stunning to see all these Albatross atop these pods in their massive nesting grounds.

When the cruise ended on February 8, 2019, we returned to Palermo for two more days before we flew to Marloth Park on February 11, 2018, to begin this year-long stay, ending on February 14, 2019, in a mere 44 days.

This elephant seal on Steeple Jason Island didn’t care for our photo-taking antics. See the link here for more.

Going from the cold and ice of Antarctica to the heat and dust of Africa was quite an experience in itself. But, in no time at all, we adapted to our new life for the year to come. And, it’s been a great year we’ll always treasure.

This is unreal…the Black Browed Albatross on Steeple Jason Island remove tall grass from these massive “pod-like” structures, adding mud and vegetation to make it a free-standing pod on which they can nest. Here’s a young chick making a little noise while atop their elevated nest.  That’s amazing!  See the link here for more.

By far, that cruise was the most expensive cruise or venue we’ve experienced in our six-plus years of world travel. It proved to be well worth the expense, and we have no regrets. We doubt we’ll embark on such a costly expedition in years to come.,

Standing among the King Penguins was an experience we’ll always remember. See this link here for more.

Last night we brought in the New Year at Royal Kruger Lodge, a four-star safari resort and spa here in Marloth Park. Our host, Flo, and JJ did an exceptional job at making us feel welcomed. We have been to several social events with Flo and JJ over the past year and found them a great couple, with three children, a teenage daughter, a son, and a college-age daughter, all of whom attended the party.

This has got to be one of our favorite Antarctic photos, a Chinstrap Penguin lying on the rocks for a short rest with what looks like a winsome smile on his face. See this link here for more.

Louise and Danie, longtime close friends of theirs, ensured we had an invitation, along with Rita and Gerhard. We couldn’t have had a more enjoyable New Year’s Eve.

We had to keep our distance from this delicate structure which would be a disaster for us in the small boat, where it to collapse near us. See this link here for more.

Also, we knew several other guests in attendance of the party of 30 to 40 guests, staged poolside, at their stunning property, surely one of the most beautiful resorts/game lodges in Marloth Park.

There we were, sitting on a Zodiac boat in Pleneau Bay sipping on French champagne. Was that ever fun!  See this link here for more.

We returned to the house at 1:00 am but didn’t fall asleep until after 2:00 am.  Fortunately, we both managed to get some sleep even without working the aircon, which hopefully will be repaired in days to come. Also, we were thrilled to find we had power and could at least use the portable fan.

Both of us are raising a glass in celebration of this special occasion. The ship’s staff created an ice bar on a small ice floe.  We used the Zodiac boat to arrive at the floe, all set for French champagne. See the link here for more.

Today, we’ll lay low and have a nice dinner on the veranda, hoping we’ll see as many visitors as we did yesterday before we left for the party close to 1900 hours (7:00 pm).  

Both of us are holding the “I crossed the Polar Circle” sign.  See this link here for more.

We had no less than 20 kudus stop by; Little and his best friend; warthog friends Mike and Joe;  numerous bushbucks, and female and male duikers. Even Frank and the Mrs. made an appearance. We hadn’t seen either of them in over a week. I suppose holiday traffic has an impact on francolins (birds).

A face only a mother could love. See this link here for more of our favorite photos from the  Antarctica cruise.

We’re wishing every one of our worldwide readers has an exceptional New Year, filled with the riches of life that even money can’t buy, the joys of nature and our surroundings, free for the taking, fulfilling in many ways.

Happy New Year to each of YOU!

Photo from one year ago today, January 1, 2018:

Us, one year ago, at the boutique hotel in Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, where we awaited the Antarctica cruise was beginning on January 23, 2018. For more details, please click here.


Part 1…Our year in review…Photos of us…Happy New Year to all!…Photos from last night’s celebration in Buenos Aires…

Us, last night on New Year’s Eve 2017.

There are a few things we’d like to mention as we begin today’s post. One, we aren’t able to post the entire year’s photos of us in review due to Wi-Fi issues with so many people online in the hotel right now. 

Our second concern is that yesterday we’d promised to post our new itinerary for the future but, for those same reasons and the need for us to pin down a few more ideas on this topic, which we’ll do today and tomorrow, we won’t be posting it until January 3rd. Sorry about that!

Margaret and Con, our new friends from the UK, joined us for dinner in the dining room at the wonderful Prodeo Hotel in Palermo, Buenos Aires. See more New Year’s Eve photos below.

Also, in our year in review photos, we did not include photos of our family during the six-week Minnesota visit. To see those photos, please visit our archives on the right side of the main page under the Amazon link, where it reads “Previous Posts.” There were so many photos it wasn’t easy to pick and choose. The dates to search are from the end of May 2017 to July 6, 2017.

Cute, boys and their cars!  Tom and a 1962 Ford Galaxy 500 in Franklin, Tasmania.

Tom and I had grocery shopped yesterday to purchase food and drinks for the evening’s activities which we were sharing with Margaret and Con in the hotel’s dining room (with the owner’s permission) since the items on their menu didn’t comply with my way of eating.

Since it would be a long night until midnight to welcome the New Year, we decided to meet in the hotel’s dining room at 8:30 pm with the food and drinks that Tom and I set up shortly before Margaret and Con arrived.

We were happy to have photos of Bob, our dear friend, and the landlord in Fairlight, Australia, in 2017. Sydney is in the background.

We’d planned on meats, cheeses, nuts, bread, and crackers (for them) as appetizers, followed up by roasted chicken and salad later on. We never got to the roasted chicken and salad after eating so many appetizers. 

Christina, a new friend we made aboard the ship, hung out with us on silent disco night while her fiance slept. 

Tonight, we meet again, this time at 7:00 pm, eat the balance of our food and hang out for more delightful conversation. The time to midnight flew quickly, and before we knew it, Linda and Bill stopped by our table to invite the four of us to join their group of friends on the rooftop for the fireworks display.

Tom was standing by the king on the giant hand-carved chess set at Butchart Gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Of course, the four of us were thrilled by the invitations as we made our way up to Michael’s penthouse apartment on the fourth level. Michael is a full-time resident of Argentina and conducts his business from here.  The family is from New Jersey in the USA, with homes in multiple locations.

My friend Chere with me when we had our Minnesota Readers Get-together. Chere and
I have stayed in very close touch during these years of travel.

The display was breathtaking during the 40 minutes we spent on the rooftop. I haven’t taken many fireworks photos, so I was challenged a bit with the settings in the dark, which I’d failed to do in advance with such short notice. As a result, I didn’t get many great photos.

Our waiter took this photo of us on our 26th anniversary of the day we met in Minnesota at this exact location, now a different restaurant.

After the display, the four of us returned to our table in the dining room to finish our many bottles of red wine.  When I occasionally consume red wine (local Malbec is popular here), I usually don’t have more than one glass. 

Colorful fireworks display in Buenos Aires on New Year’s Eve.

Last night, while caught up in the flurry of the fun activity over the evening, I actually drank three glasses.  Ouch. I’m sure feeling it today. I suppose it’s a typical red wine hangover. I guzzled down my mug of turmeric tea following by copious glasses of bottled water.

Big splash of light.

An hour ago, I headed up to our room to eat a few slices of cheddar cheese we have in our tiny fridge. Later today, a nap will be in order. We never got to bed until 2:00 am, reminiscent of many nights on the most recent cruise when we were having “too much fun.”

Fireworks were on display in many areas of the city, and we were in a perfect spot for viewing them, along with Margaret, Con, Linda, Bill, and their and Michael’s friends.

Tonight, I’ll drink water instead of wine, and hopefully, we’ll get to bed a little earlier. One thing I’ve always known about a hangover, nothing like a good night’s sleep to cure it. This doesn’t mean I won’t have a single glass of Malbec while out to dinner over these next three weeks until we fly to Ushuaia.

Linda and Bill, owners of the hotel, invited us up to son Michael’s penthouse to watch the fireworks at midnight. What a spectacular view and display!

So…how was your New Year’s Eve? We’d love to hear from you, either by email or posting on the “comments” section at the end of the post.  We wish the very best to every one of our worldwide readers and again thank all of you for making 2017 very special. Love and hugs always!

Photo from one year ago today, January 1, 2017:

The photo we posted last New Year’s Day of a local deli we frequented in Penguin, Tasmania. For more photos, please click here.

New Year’s Eve is tomorrow…Where did the time go?..How do we celebrate now?

Yesterday while on a walk, we spotted this White Faced Heron.

Early this morning it dawned on me that tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.  With no big plans to celebrate, except for an event on New Year’s night (more on that later), we’ll spend the usual celebratory night at “home.” 

Perhaps, we’ll celebrate with a glass of wine on the veranda, (if the skies clear) and do as many do throughout the world, have a quiet evening at home often heading to bed before the stroke of midnight. 

Leftover from Halloween?

Its not very exciting but Penguin only has a few bars with most locals celebrating at private gatherings or, as the case for many, not celebrating at all.  Rolling into the new calendar year is not necessarily an event of significance to many throughout the world when many nationalities have their own particular calendar:

New Year’s Eve:
In both the Gregorian calendar, currently used in the United States, and the Julian calendar, which was used until 1752 in the British colonies, the last day of the year is December 31st.”

Masses of yellow daisies grow along the road.

Here is an interesting link as to when and how each country throughout the world celebrates their interpretation of the beginning of the New Year. Many  countries celebrate both their own spiritually based acknowledgement of the New Year and also the New Year those of us in Australia, the US, parts of Europe and other countries have adopted over the centuries as indicated in the above quote.

In our old lives, each year we enthusiastically celebrated New Year’s Eve with a theme based party at our home.  For days, I’d prepare a wide array of foods for the party and decorate our home befitting the theme based occasion. 

Fluffy yellow blooms.

One year we did a “tacky 70’s” theme party.  Along with our guests we dressed in bellbottoms, flower printed silky shirts and chunky heeled shoes while disco music blared in the background.  For the food, I made 70’s type of appetizers while we encouraged guests to bring their favorite 70’s type foods.

From cookie cutout baloney sandwiches to pickled eggs to homemade White Castle burgers to gruyere cheese fondue with chunks of baguettes for dipping, we had every imaginable dish as a result of a huge turnout.  For a list of 70’s type foods, please click here at this great site.

These flowers are so dark they’re almost black.  We’d seen these in new Zealand as well.

Our last such New Year’s Eve party occurred in 1999 with the fears of something awful occurring as the New Year rolled over to the year 2000.  For the first time, we had a poor turnout especially with the icy and snowy weather.  It was that year we decided we’d most likely discontinue the huge New Year’s Eve house parties. 

From there, on several occasions, we got together with friends and neighbors or stayed at home keeping the festivities low key.  This time of year in Minnesota was often bitter cold.  The idea of heading out on the icy roads with the potential of drunk drivers spinning out on the highway didn’t hold much appeal.

Wishing well planter in side yard of neighboring home.

I suppose in part for many, aging in itself is reason enough to lose interest in celebrating New Year’s Eve, whether we acknowledge it or not.  No longer is the idea of drinking copious amounts of liquor well into the night as appealing as it was in our younger days.

With few friends in this area, its unlikely we’ll do anything more than enjoy one more pleasant evening together, feeling blessed and grateful for the quality of our lives, for those we love and for each other.

Rocky beach on a cloudy day walk.

Moments ago, Tom mentioned it was two months ago today that we left Bali on a “red eye” flight arriving in Sydney spending one night in a hotel.  The following day we boarded the 33 night cruise circumventing the Australian continent.  Wow!  How the time flies! 

As for where we were one year ago please check below for our “Photo from one year ago today, December 30, 2015.”  Please have a safe and happy end of the year.


Photo from one year ago today, December 30, 2015:

When we walked through the Pacific Harbour, Fiji neighborhood, one year ago, we crossed this river.  For more photos please click here.