One year ago today, we were finally able to leave the hotel in Mumbai, India, where we spent a few days short of 10 months in lockdown at the Marriott hotel due to Covid-19 to fly to South Africa. Several days earlier, we’d made arrangements but expected the flight to be canceled. It was not, and we made it as far as Dubai on January 11, 2021, as described in this post.
Without a doubt, with Covid-19 in the air; it was scary flying for so long. From the Mumbai airport to Marloth Park, it was 59 hours. We remember that day as if it was yesterday. We were so happy to be here, in this house, with this fantastic garden, backing up to Lionspruit, the exhaustion we felt after 2½ days of travel was incidental.
In a matter of a few days of rest, good food, and sleep, we were feeling great and settled in, thanks to Louise‘s help, dinner at Jabula, and our uncanny ability to adapt to time zone, and long travel days reasonably easily. In no time at all, animals came to visit us. Most exciting was the day that Little appeared, shortly after we arrived, tearing a hole in the screen trying to get into the house.
We hadn’t seen Little in over two years at that point, and the fact he found us so far from the Orange house where we lived in 2018/2019, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. He visits almost every day, except during this busy now-ending holiday season. Soon, he’ll be back to his old routine of stopping by around 4:00 pm, 1600 hrs, daily.
At this point, we’re busy getting all the documents the law firm needs, and undoubtedly, it’s been a hassle. We carried a small portable printer and scanner when we first began traveling. But those days are long gone. Both weren’t of the quality of desktop models, and neither lasted more than a few years. Besides, they were bulky, although travel-size, and added a few kilos to our luggage weight.
When we need to prepare documents for visas or other reasons; it is a real pain in the you-know-what. There is a post office here in Marloth Park that does printing and scanning for a fee, but their hours aren’t always convenient, and we could end up waiting for quite a while with other customers in the shop.
Louise has an excellent printer and scanner which we use. But, lately, with the busy holiday season, we haven’t felt comfortable pestering her so much, although she is always happy to oblige.
So I got all the necessary documents together, and some of them weren’t acceptable. Our passport pages couldn’t be adequately scanned on a camera, so we had to run back to Louise to do these. Plus, the immigration department wouldn’t accept airline tickets for our eventual departure without the Expedia (or other vendors) logo on the tickets. It’s impossible to make a PDF of an Expedia ticket for whatever reason. I ended up having to take a screenshot to comply.
Then, yesterday, the law firm couldn’t get South Africa’s immigration system to accept any of our credit cards to pay the additional processing fees. I called our credit card companies, spending almost an hour on the phone, to find out nothing was wrong with our cards, which I knew would be the case. It’s a South Africa VSF immigration department issue. Hopefully, today, that will be resolved on their end. Otherwise, I don’t know what they/we will do.
At this point, other than the payments as stated above, we’ve done our part, and they should have everything they need to complete our extension applications. It’s frustrating, to say the least. We’re glad we didn’t attempt to do this ourselves. It would have been even more cumbersome.
On another note, last night, after returning from picking up Rita’s sister, Petra, and her husband Fritz, at the airport in Johannesburg, Gerhard called and said he had a “perishable” treat for Tom. He and Fritz came over to hand Tom two boxes of Krispy Kream glazed donuts. He couldn’t have been more thrilled. With six donuts in total, Tom ate three last night and the remaining three with his coffee this morning.
Soon, we’re heading to Komatipoort to shop.
Have a wonderful day!
Photo from one year ago today, January 11, 2020:
I was wearing my N-99 mask, face shield, and gloves continuously during the entire 2½ days of travel from Mumbai, India, to Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport. The post may be found here.