Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Who Would Have Thought

Anyone who knows Mark will know that he is not a coffee drinker. In fact up until I started working full time with him in 2012 if he had one cup of coffee every three or four years it was a lot and it would be on a really cold day. He may or may not have had a coffee when they used to go on breakfast runs years ago - more than likely he would have had Milo or Hot Chocolate, both of which he does drink but not that often. Fast forward Winter 2012 and he almost drank cup for cup of coffee with me during the day at work and then come Summer, he wouldn't drink any coffee. This year he started drinking Nescafe Cappuccinos at work and at home - my bad influence. I am happy to say that since my seven day detox this month I have had two cups of Nescafe Cappucino and both have made me feel sick so I haven't bought any and my normal coffee drinking has reduced to one or two cups a day, some days I don't even drink coffee - I drink lots of Chamomile; Ginger and Green Tea.

I have NEVER EVER seen Mark drink a cup of tea then one day one of our staff members really messed up totally and Mark lost it, but so badly that I thought he was going to have an aneurysm, his vein in his temple was bulging and throbbing. I was so frightened I made him have a cup of chamomile tea because I really thought he would drop down dead. I don't know what worked, but his bulging vein stopped throbbing and the matter was resolved before the client found out. That was the first cup of tea I had ever seen him drink and I think he drank it only because he saw how worried I was.

Recently we decided to get our affairs in order, you can read all about it over here and Mark contacted his insurance broker and it has been a process of sorting out policies and getting policies. I call it commission for his broker. At any rate, Mark's blood pressure was very high when the nurse came to do a mini medical on him and at the same time he realised he needs to get fit and lose weight and he went on an apple and grape diet - we know how that turned out. In the end, I told him that he is an adult, he won't go to the doctor to check his blood pressure, won't stop eating junk and lots of cool drinks and neither Chad nor I will be pushing him in a wheelchair when he has a stroke, There is one thing dying of a heart attack and a totally different scenario having a stroke and being paralysed and can't talk etc.

Our eating habits are far from good, but we are now trying to have healthy options and every morning I make him a cup of warm lemon water, I also have lemon water and at night after supper we have green tea. Mark hates reading research even online, but I copied some info on benefits of Green Tea and Hot Lemon and sent it via WhatsApp and he happily drinks both now. I absolutely hate Green Tea and he loves it - who would have thought Mark would become a tea lover. I love all teas, or most teas I should say, but not Green Tea.

This morning we ran out of lemons, which means I never went and picked any off the tree so there were none and when Mark was about to leave for work he came to the kitchen and said no lemon today - he was quite disappointed so I replied lemons don't pick themselves. He had another Medical today, loosely translated to his broker really needs commission as there is no need to change Mark's policies. It was a proper Medical done by a doctor and I also use that word very loosely, she came to work with her nurse and did a full medical and his blood pressure is back to normal - yay to green tea says, Mark. I still think he should go check his blood pressure at his doctor. He was quite disappointed when I said that we have run out of green tea and I didn't feel like stopping off at Woolworths after work and said, but it keeps my blood pressure down. I found some in the cupboard, a different brand, but I am sure it will be OK, it hasn't expired or anything. I don't know if it is the green tea that has lowered his blood pressure or if it is a combination of things or maybe he was just very stressed that day, but he needs to monitor it.

I am happy to say that I went to a physician yesterday to have a full medical and stress ECG for insurance. My GP doesn't do stress ECG's and I refused to go to one of these medical centers as I don't know who I may encounter there so I went to a physician that I have been to before and I am as healthy as can be. everything was normal and he told me to stop taking the Glucophage for a month and then go and do a finger prick test and if it is normal then I mustn't take them anymore. he said the term pre-diabetic is a term that is used to widely for a range of things and he is certain I am Insulin intolerant and not pre-diabetic and changing my diet would have stabilized my sugar levels. He also said that Glucophage causes bloating and nausea and stomach problems - explains a lot. I think my GP over prescribes and my sugar levels were probably sky high because of the amount of sugar I was eating in place of smoking.

I am not sure how long Mark's blood pressure and weight will go down because he is now drinking Glaceau Vitamin Water and the more I tell him that it is NOT healthy and just sugar water, the more he argues that it is healthy and has no sugar in it. Now I get the fight about hidden sugars and salt in foods and drinks - the uninformed and ignorant like Mark who don't know what the hidden sugars and salts are called and don't listen.

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Chad's Big Day

So many of Chad's life events and happy events have been marred by tears; grief and sadness. Sometimes and often times it has been Chad that has made the day miserable - birthdays especially. They have been days filled with anger and tears and sadness and I was not letting his Matric Dance be ruined by any tears; grief and sadness on my part. Chad was looking forward to his Matric Dance with such excitement, more so than his 18th birthday. In fact, the only thing that really mattered when it came to his 18th birthday was that he could get his license and be independent. His Matric farewell was planned with excitement and precision and I was giving him his day. In the end, nothing went according to his list or his partner's list but they both looked so beautiful. I won't lie when I saw them I had a huge lump in my throat and a loud sob escaped my voice when I said hello and told them how beautiful they looked. I asked Chad if I could put photos on my blog and I would respect his decision if he says no and he said I mustn't ask him I must ask J. He knows I won't because my very public blog has to remain anonymous and unknown. Chad doesn't mind me blogging about him as long as no one he knows finds out about it. I told him that I might make a private Pinterest board or permission-based blog post of the photos so that only people I know can see the photos.

I didn't take photos whilst he was getting ready. I left work early to help him get ready and after all his lists and plans after collecting the flowers for their partners, he and his friend ended up playing computer games at the friend's house and then Chad left his flowers behind and had to go back and fetch them. He was fetching J first then fetching T and his girlfriend, so he needed the flowers. He also bought her a pretty silver chain and earrings. In my rush to leave work early, somehow I did not press pay when I did the wages and the more Mark was saying that I never did the wages the angrier I was getting because I knew I did do them. I had to go on the bank to check and I hadn't done them and the time it took to speak to Mark on the phone a hundred times and check the bank took up all my photo taking time whilst Chad was in the shower. I was supposed to Google how to do a bowtie, but that was the easiest part it just clipped like a bra strap. The shirt and cufflinks were the issue. The shirt sleeves had buttons and then another two buttonholes on each sleeve and no buttons. Chad was all dressed and the sleeves looked oddly long and he said it was strange that the sleeves fitted perfectly when he tried them on at his fitting. His pants were a bit loose, but I rushed out in the morning to buy a belt and with a belt the pants were fine. We struggled a bit with the shirt sleeves and then the penny dropped. I was right in being confused about the "missing" buttons and I figured out that the sleeve cuff gets folded over and the cufflinks go through like that. Mark does not wear smart shirts and cufflinks so I had no idea how they worked. Chad then rushed off to collect his young lady and gave me one second to take a photo with the sun shining in my eyes and the photo was a mess. I still had to pay the wages and get ready.

The plan was that instead of getting there at 5.30 his group were arriving at 5.45, because they were doing pre-drinks and photos. Mark arrived home before I even showered and by 5 I was not even dressed and he was bitching and moaning that we would never get there on time - even though we had a long discussion the night before with Chad about getting there at 5.45 instead of 5.30. I was almost done and I heard the traffic report that there was an accident on the main road that we were travelling on - the road from hell that is busy and bumper to bumper at the best of times. I sent Chad a message to say there was an accident on the road. They left at the same time as us but were 7 km's further away. I checked Google Now on my phone and it gave three different ways to get to the venue and Mark went the way that would take the longest. He did not believe that Google Now was accurate and said the way that my phone said was the shortest would be gridlocked because it is a single road and everyone goes home that way and at least we were moving. Ha not for long we were gridlocked and not moving just fighting the whole way there with Mark going on and on about how I could think of leaving at 5.15 when we had to be there at 5.30. If I told him a hundred times that the plan was to get there fashionably late it was not enough.  He goes on like a stuck record and said we were holding up the works - like we are so special they will stop their tight schedule for us. I didn't want to phone or message Chad because he was driving and he would also be stuck in traffic because he was further away when he left. Just then he sent a message and asked if we were there because they were stuck in bad traffic. In the end, we pulled up right behind him and parked next to him. His friend directed him the back way - the way Mark refused to go so it worked out well that we arrived at the same time. I missed my whole photo opportunity of them driving up and getting out the car - nevermind that the two girls sat at the back of the car and T in the front with Chad because he had to give directions. Chad didn't seem to think there was a problem with J sitting in the back. Shame she also did not get to have her nails and makeup done, because when she collected her dress they gave her a dress two sizes too big and they had to drive across town to go and change it. I don't think she had any makeup on, but she is naturally pretty and doesn't need makeup at all.

The other kids in their group arrived 40 minutes after Chad and they went the same way that we did which proved to Mark that my Google Now app was accurate. Some kids only arrived after 7 that night - the kids who came in limo's arrived so late. Chad wanted to go in a limo or party bus, but his group didn't want to and said it was too expensive. So Chad and T went with their partners in Chad's car and the others came with their parents and then they used Uber for the rest of the night. They were very impressed with Uber. It was expensive going from the Matric Dance to the after party and in the end it would have been cheaper splitting the costs in a party bus. T's girlfriend left he phone in the one Uber car and they met the driver somewhere on Saturday morning and she got her phone back - that would never have happened in a meter taxi - not necessarily because the meter taxi drivers are not honest, but how would you ever trace which car you were in and how would the driver trace his passengers.

The after party was a flop as they normally are so they just went to the after party after party, but it was a waste of a Uber trip. Chad sent me a couple of messages to let me know where he was and that he was OK during the course of the night/early morning. I was surprised but so happy that he did and so proud that he did. We dropped his car off at about 9 on Saturday morning and he wasn't hung over at all. J was not going to go to the after party and we were so relieved, she told Chad that her dad said she had to come home after the actual dance and he would be fetching her. We also told her to phone us if her dad or brother didn't fetch her and we would take her home. In the end, she did go to the after party and stayed over at the after party after party and her dad was OK with her staying over. I think maybe she was worried that she would not get on with  the other girls who she did not know - they go to different schools, but she did get on with them and was having too much fun to go home.

Now the fun is over and it is time for exams - prelims start on Monday.

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Friday, 21 August 2015

My Rebel With A List

Tomorrow is THE big night, finally. Today Chad came to the conclusion that he just may be OCD. He makes lists and hates it if things do not go according to his lists. Chad has been known to study his exam timetable with great enthusiasm - not his school work but then get to school convinced he is writing English when in fact it is say, Business - true story. He does however like things listed and in order. He has had his whole dance plans listed in sequence down to making sure his car is filled with petrol. As usual the universe decided otherwise and it started with the school saying that they may NOT take the day off today. Chad was furious because most of his plans involved being off today. Needless to say, he did not go to school today even after I received a text (all the parents did) yesterday stating that all students had to be at school. His friend's parents must be horrified that we ignored the instruction and let Chad stay home. I am encouraging his rebellious character - I know that, I rebelled and I know even if I forced him to go to school he would have bunked and I would rather know where he is than think he is at school when he is far from it. He ended up having to collect his friend's suit; collect the money last night and sign for the suit, because his parents made him go to school. I wasn't joking in this post when I said the sitcom 'The Middle" is based on our lives. Chad's report was lying in his car for about two weeks - I got to see it yesterday and it is a standing joke that I don't parent him anymore. Watch The Middle - I am Frankie and Chad is Axel and we have that same relationship as Frankie and Axel and school work and school in general and I are a mix up of all The Middle kids and Frankie.

On a more serious and less "not parenting" note, I think the school is very unfair firstly choosing to have a dance on a Friday night and getting to the venue by 5.30 on a Friday evening on one of the busiest roads in Johannesburg. It is bumper to bumper traffic at the best of times and if there is load-shedding or power cuts (makes no difference what they are called, no electricity is no electricity) it could take more than 2 hours to get the 15 km's down that road. Then to only give the kids one day off to prepare, but next week they are on study leave. They could go to school next week and  all the important work they were supposed to do today, do next week. Chad is mobile and does not need me to drive him around so how do the other parents manage who have to work and get everything done in one day when they only have that one day. We have to go for cocktails and photos for an hour so we have to be there. I spent the morning at work doing my nails. How many people can say to their bosses that they are doing their nails first and will do work later? I did and still screwed up my nails and have to now redo them. I always end up with more on my hands than on my nails so I have to do my nails the day before because it takes that long to get the unsteady mess cleaned up. I should have gone to a salon to have my nails done, but really it is only an hour and I don't have time to sit at salons.

I am pretty worried about Chad rebelling and not going to school today but honestly if they expect parents to take off work on a Friday then they can give extra time off at school or have the dance on a Saturday. The next plan to unravel was the dentist. He had a dentist appointment today and there was no power so that did not happen, but I was angry because they said I didn't make an appointment is he at the right dentist?  I was just so fed up I complained to the dentist, because making the appointment with the receptionist was like pulling hen's teeth and then dealing with her today over the phone I just could not do it. He is going tomorrow at 9 - it is just for a clean and polish so not major.

The plan tomorrow is that he picks up YL (the young lady) who lives half way to the venue then come all the way back to fetch his friend and partner, then go all the way in the opposite direction, past the school to another friend for pre-drinks. I think it is a bad idea with traffic and all. YL will only be ready after 4 and Chad was going to pick her up at 3.30, he is not even drinking so I think he should leave the pre-drinks and give her more time to get ready. We have to take his car home from the venue so guess who went for a driving lesson in his car just now. I cannot just get in a strange car and drive it and my son does not want us rocking up in my Getz, so we are going in the BMW and bringing his car home. His car is easier to drive than the BMW so I am told and I have never driven the BMW. After the dance, they are going to friend's mother's friend's house to change into their after party clothes and to keep the expensive suits and dresses safe.It is close to the venue and then they will Uber to the after party and then back to the pre-drinks house.

We went to fill Chad's car with petrol for my driving lesson and I am so happy that Chad has decided not to get drunk at the dance or the after party. He wants to remember the night and not be remembered for the stupid things he will do if he is drunk. I am really proud of his mature responsible outlook. It is rather stressful for us because he is responsible for YL. It is not her dance and she is younger than the others and we would hate for Chad to get drunk and something happens to her - he has to look out for her. We then have to take his car to him at the after party after party on Saturday morning, where they are sleeping over, whatever is left of the night. They have clothes at that house too and obviously all these parties cost money so that is added to the budget no one warns you about

I don't think I will post any photos on my blog only photos of Chad on his own if there are any of him on his own. I don't believe I have the right to post photos of other kids on my blog and imagine someone recognises her or the dress. Chad would be furious. Even blocking out her face will ruin the picture and the dress will be recognisable. I may post photos and make the post private or permission-based. Just now Chad was reading over my shoulder and I blocked my screen and he said what are you doing that for when you put it on a public platform. True that!!

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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Social Media And Wildlife

Mark and I were discussing whether it was a bad idea to post sightings of wildlife on Social Media. He thought it was a bad idea and I was in two minds. One it is encouraged to post sightings on the Facebook Page of the Reserve because it is good for marketing - it is free advertising and marketing. Two - you have no idea who can find your pictures on Social Media and it could be advertising for p0@chers. I came to the conclusion that p0@chers are aware that there are high-risk animals in the Kruger Park and other reserves anyway. They probably know more about the animals whereabouts than the actual staff working at the reserves. I did, however, agree that posting sightings as we see them was a very bad idea, because whether you have location enabled or not, there are ways and means of locating images - the downside of Social Media. I am going to post what we saw on my blog and what may appear to be typos are in fact intentional. I make so many typos that a few intentional ones won't even be noticed. I am sure if you are reading this as a blogger, you will know that some search terms that come up in your analytics makes you wonder at the type of person reading your blog and why on earth what they searched lead them to your blog. I have even considered closing my blog or make it permission-based for a couple of reasons, one being the search terms leading them to my blog. So I definitely do not want p0@chers reading my blog and hopefully my intentional typos will prevent that.

We booked a game drive when we arrived at the reserve.The game drives are R150.00 a person which really is not bad at all. The morning and afternoon drives were all fully booked so we booked an evening drive. A weekend was not long enough to appreciate and enjoy everything the bush has to offer and considering we arrived late on Friday and had to vacate the lodge by 10 on Sunday morning, we only had Saturday to experience everything. A long weekend is not even long enough. We did try to book a place for Mark's birthday in October, but his birthday is smack bang in the middle of school holidays, which suits us if we were going to convince Chad to come with, but at the same time doesn't suit us because it is peak season and already fully booked. The game drive was a pick up which means they come to your lodge and collect you and you don't have to drive down to reception. Walking is not an option because you are not allowed to walk around at night. I thought we should be ready by 6.15pm if the drive starts at 6.30pm. We ate early and then Mr impatient punctuality decided we should drive down at 6.24 because maybe we miss the game drive. The reception is only a couple of meters away from the lodges and when we arrived the place was dark and deserted, which made Mr impatient think that we had missed the game drive. There was, however, a game viewing vehicle there and as we stopped the Game Ranger came from around the other side. He was a bit confused because he was told it was a pickup, so we had to explain that Mark was still stuck in the fast paced Johannesburg zone and not the laid back it may never happen bushveld zone.

We were the only ones going on the game drive which was pretty cool for us because I don't like people all up in my personal space and being cramped in a viewing vehicle with an obnoxious person could be rather irritating and stressful. I don't think it was cool for the reserve or our game ranger John, because the more guests the more tips he will get, but Mark gave him a R200.00 tip so he didn't do too badly. He was a young kid of 22, very mature and polite and knowledgable. We thought he was between 25 and 30. He is passionate about wildlife and wanted to be a game ranger all his life and studied Game Ranging and a bunch of other courses and his knowledge and passion was evident on the game drive. The first thing we saw was a chameleon - I think every night drive no matter where, you will see a chameleon. It is like it is strategically placed there so at least you can say you saw something if the rest of the wildlife decides to hide away.

Mark's dream job is to work on a game farm/reserve and it is a wonder we saw any animals he was chatting so much. With all that chatting he surprisingly managed to spot a rh!n0 - there were, in fact, three of them. We stopped and just watched them for about 10 minutes. They were calmly grazing without a care in the world - so exposed to evil dangerous people. I cannot understand how anyone can shoot a majestic creature like that and then butcher it. I don't know how anyone can shoot any animal. If you can justify shooting an elephant; lion; rhino; buck whatever animal for fun, you can justify shooting a human being and look at cases of femicide and familicide, 90% of those men are hunters. OK there is the argument that 90% of hunters don't murder and 90% of murderers don't hunt and I also know it is very hypocritical of me to say that because I eat meat and a cow and a pig; lamb and chicken have as much right to live as a lion and a rhino and elephant. I am not arguing that point, I just cannot justify getting pleasure at shooting something so majestic and I am working on my meat eating and really would love to stop eating meat; chicken and fish. My photos are such bad quality, but I battle to see at night, even with my many pairs of glasses and contact lenses and refuse to wear varifocals but may reconsider after battling with my camera in the pitch dark of the night.

The rule of the reserve and the Kruger Park is that no animal is compromised or stressed out by a game vehicle or guests. Only the game ranger is allowed to have a flashlight/torch and no animal may be blinded by the flashlight. It is understandable without a doubt because you don't want to turn the bushveld into a discotheque in Hillbrow with lights flashing all over the place. It was only Mark and I in the game viewing vehicle but imagine a fully booked vehicle with chatter and lights all over the place. Our game ranger did give enough time to quickly take a photo, but we were told at the start of the drive when he goes through all the rules that if we come across elephant we don't stop and we don't shine the light at them, because they don't like it and we don't want them attacking us or compromising them in any way... and we saw elephant. Three of them, it was like our morning three were following us or us them or they just like to stay in groups of three. We moved on very quickly from them especially considering that one looked right at us.

We also saw the usual buck of different species and saw a herd of Waterbuck - they are stunning. I didn't take pictures of them or the other buck. We then went down to a hippo dam and sat watching the hippos for about 20 minutes. I finally got to see my hippo. There were so many hippo - yawning and playing and sleeping - so relaxed. They are so cute - and not forgetting very dangerous, but I got to see my hippo after all. I won't lie I kept imagining one sneaking up on us from behind but seems they were all in the water and content to stay there. On our way back to camp, we saw a hare running wildly and then stopped on the edge of the bush long enough to take a photo. We also saw the rh!n0 on the way back, they had walked about a kilometer from where we had first seen them. The game drive was very informative and enjoyable and was just over 2 hours long.

We had such a lovely weekend and if you missed my other posts you can find them here and here and here. These posts were written as part of my personal life journey and I was not asked to review the lodge or the reserve and writing these posts had nothing to do with the payment or agreement. Everything in these posts is my honest opinion of Mjejane; the African bush; the lodge and the Kruger National Park and no one involved even knows about the existence of my blog. My blog still is and will hopefully forever remain a tiny unknown speck of anonymity in the greater pond of the online world.

How stunning is the bathroom in the picture above? An inside shower with sliding doors to an outside shower. Probably the best outside shower I have ever seen. Mark and I both agreed that the roads to drive on to see wildlife in the reserve are very limited and they could open more roads. The staff members are all very friendly and helpful, but what was lacking and what they should have is a staff member taking you to your lodge, checking everything with you and not just leaving you to find your own way to the lodge. The lodges are serviced and also have a dishwasher so you don't have to spend the weekend washing dishes and cleaning. We also felt that the lodges were too close to each other and normal conversation from guests in other lodges infringed on the quiet enjoyment of guests in other lodges.

We were going to wake up early and go down to the hide to see what animals came down to drink water at sunrise, but we overslept and when we did go down at about 9 just before we left we just saw birds; a buck and lots of eyes in the water - I thought they were hippo, Mark said they were crocs. Probably both because hippo and crocs, strangely enough, live in harmony mutually respecting each other. The weekend was good for us, because we have always had different dreams - me pulling towards the ocean and Mark the bush and this weekend made me realise that the ocean no matter where it is, will always be busy. The only difference in lifestyle compared to Johannesburg would be the ocean, but the busy rat race will always be there whereas the bush will always have a sense of tranquility even during high peak busy periods. Chad says no matter where we go we always say we want to move to the place and it is true, we do and that is because everywhere is better than Johannesburg. We have taken a small tentative step towards our future that does not include living in Johannesburg. We just have to get Chad through his studies and on his own two feet, which more than likely will result in him living in a different country to us, which will be devastating, but something I have to accept as there is no way I will hold him back from his dreams and aspirations through emotional manipulation or any other means.

I am really glad Mark persisted and insisted that we get our weekend away... it was totally worth it even though not having Chad with us and having him driving around the streets of Johannesburg was a huge worry it was still an amazing weekend.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Red Wine And African Skies

There is nothing that says Red Wine like the African Bush. I am not a wine drinker at all, but there is nothing more relaxing than watching the African bushveld whilst sipping on a glass of Merlot. After our walk down to the river, we popped into the shop on the reserve. We were not expecting much but needed some sort of spice or herbs or salt for our meat. I also forgot to bring sugar and sweeteners. The shop had the basics but everything we needed we managed to get. We bought sachets of spices and they had quite a variety and we bought sugar and then I saw the red wine - something else I had wanted to buy to take with that I didn't so we bought a bottle of Rose and Merlot and Mark bought some Hunters. The resort also has Spa treatments - they come to your lodge to do the treatments, we didn't book any treatments. They also have free WiFi where you can set up your laptop and work or if you don't have a laptop you can use their computers. There is also a pool table.

We had a little visitor at our table as we were getting ready to go out for a drive.

We went down to the hide to see if we could see any animals. We drove there although you can walk around you are warned that you should walk with caution and never run. Walking around at night time is not allowed. We sat at the hide for ages seeing nothing but wild geese on the other side of the Crocodile river

Then we saw the eyes - lots and lots of eyes peeping out the water as they floated down the river, we were debating about whether they were crocodiles or hippos. They were crocs and massive ones too. The river was teeming with crocodiles. They were either floating in the water or lying on the banks sunning themselves when we suddenly heard a thrashing sound and saw water flashing and a croc disappear - I think a wild goose became croc lunch. He disappeared under the water and we did not see him come up again. It is crazy that people actually cross the crocodile river illegally from Mozambique to come to the land of milk and honey. Never mind that the milk has soured and the honey gone rancid, they still risk their lives crossing a river full of crocs and hippos that you can barely see just under the surface.

I heard sounds that were definitely coming from a Hippo and all I wanted was to see a Hippo, but no such luck. We went for a drive and saw a family of Warthog/Bush Pig at the River Lodge - who can blame them - hiding away from Predators with juicy grass and plants to eat. We also saw a lonely buck and a couple of monkeys and then went out into the reserve. The one negative with the reserve is that there is basically one road that you can drive on to see animals and that is the one road that leads in and out of the resort areas.

We also saw the most beautiful Lilac Breasted Roller... yes we are those people who stop and look at birds whilst others are looking for the Big Five. Birds became a comfort to me after Clint died - well as comforting as anything could be  at a time when nothing was comforting and getting out of bed in the mornings was almost impossible. Feeding the wild birds and just watching their antics got me through many days and that is how my love and fascination for wild birds started. Feeding them was filling a need; an empty space that I needed filling.

We then drove into a herd of Buffalo and there were enough of them. There was a Game Viewing Vehicle that went past us and a Buffalo decided it was not going past and blocked the road - see pic here. We reversed and went on the other road. Imagine a Getz and a Buffalo.

We bumped into our three elephants again - perhaps they were not the same three because the ones we saw in the morning were in the actual Kruger Park and these three were in the Mjejane Reserve.

We then went back to our lodge and started a fire to get our meat cooked early before our game drive at 6.30. I asked Mark how crazy it was that I was not interested in going out to eat and just wanted to make food and sit outside and enjoy it. So unlike me because I hate cooking at the best of times. He could not believe it either. I will not hesitate if there is a chance to get out of cooking and this weekend I just wanted to cook and relax.

Our Game Drive next....

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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Feeling The Stress And Worry Melt Into The Surrounding Bush

I don't like people all up in my personal space and when we woke up on Saturday morning refreshed from a good night's sleep, Mark and I both agreed that having 8 people or even 6 would have reduced the lodge into a small little chalet with everyone on top of each other and we were glad it was just us. I had enough of that when we used to camp and our campsite always became the communal area. Obviously having Chad there and even a friend would have been better, but not anyone else. I would have been stressing over people damaging stuff, leaving marks on the table or breaking stuff. As it was Mark and the table in the kitchen were like bees and honey and I was constantly grabbing glasses just as he was about to put them on the table. That is a bit of exaggeration because I was not stressed one bit, but Mark did have a crazy attraction to the table. As we sat down for dinner the night we arrived the stress of the past few weeks just melted away.

Stranger things have not happened in our lifetime. Mark wanted to go to the restaurant at the Mjejane River Lodge for breakfast and I insisted that we make breakfast, because we were trying to eat healthy foods and we brought all this food with. To be honest bacon and eggs are far from healthy but a breakfast buffet that could have muffins and croissants and danishes would have been far less healthy and very tempting. I am normally the first to rather go out to eat than cook.  We had been sitting on the patio upstairs watching the birds in the tree on the other side of the tiny fence talking about how easy it would be for a leopard to climb up the tree and be on our balcony in seconds, because the branches of the tree in the Kruger Park came right onto our balcony. Whilst I was still sleeping Mark sat on the upstairs balcony and saw some buck. The only animals I had seen were the Wildebeest; Zebra and buck when we had entered Mjejane Game Reserve and thought it was highly unlikely that anything but a buck would come near the fence, but entertained Mark's imagination none the less.

Whilst I was showering and getting dressed, Mark made us bacon and eggs and Woolies Low GI Health Bread. I took this photo of my breakfast because it looked so good, put my phone down and started eating. Mark was on my left and tucking into his food and I was facing left talking to him. Something drew my attention to the right and there was this elephant you could barely see about 50 metres away. It was so exciting to see an elephant even though you could barely see it. It was  even more crazy that I was the one who saw it because I am the least observant person ever. I don't notice things at all. It made me wonder why I was so insistent on making breakfast and not going to a restaurant for breakfast and what made me look across to the right when I was facing left.

Three other elephants joined the first one and we could hear how they were breaking down trees. Next thing one came ambling down to a manmade watering hole right by the fence that had no water in it. It looked like he was coming straight for us and he knew there should have been water in the watering hole. We have since found out that they are no longer allowed to fill up the watering hole and although it seems cruel I guess it does affect the law of nature. I won't lie it was exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time watching the elephant getting closer and closer. We ran upstairs to watch from the upstairs balcony and obviously we were just that much safer if the elephant decided to walk right over the tiny fence - being electrified would not have deterred the elephant. Each lodge has a tiny plunge pool and what was stopping the elephant from coming to drink water out of the pool when he realised the watering hole was empty. He didn't obviously and just wandered back to the others.

After our exciting encounter with a wild elephant, we went for a walk to the restaurant, where I had a coffee and Mark had a Passion Fruit and lemonade as we watched the bird life along the crocodile river.

Mjejane Lifestyle is a premier reserve and the only residential estate that has a private bridge into the Kruger Park. The River Lodge is the commercial resort, the bush lodge where we stayed is a shared block and there are private stands and lodges.

We didn't go into Kruger - it is a 20km drive to the Malelane Gate and only 4x4's and SUV's can cross the bridge. Of all the cars Mark has he chooses my little Getz to go away in and we often go away in it if we go for the weekend because it is so much lighter on fuel. I don't think we missed out on anything by not going into the Kruger Park and we saw three of the big 5 and we were only there for a day, but more of what we saw in my next post.

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