Monthly Archives: November 2014

Boulders Beach, outside of Cape Town, South Africa

There are so many beautiful beaches in the Cape Town – some are known for their surfing and surfing lessons, others for their ambiance.  Boulders Beach is known for its thriving colony of African Penguins.  They are also called jack ass penguins because they have a donkey like braying call.  Perhaps I’m on a penguin quest but after seeing penguins in New Zealand last year, I felt that I needed to see the African penguin.

The drive to Boulders Beach is spectacular.  You’ll find this beach is nestled in a sheltered cove between Simon’s Town and Cape Point.  You have to stop in both of these areas.

P1010857

This colony of penguins began in 1982 and began nesting at Boulders Beach.  From that pair in 1982, there are now about 2,000 penguins.  There are two area in which you can see the penguins outside of Simons Town.  Boulders Beach and Foxy Beach are the places that visitors and locals go to see the penguins.  We were told to go to Boulders Beach where the penguin interaction is really quite incredible. There is a specific secluded area of the beach that we were told to go to.  Essentially you can be the only person with like a dozen penguins just like huddled around you looking at you from 4 feet away. It’s no zoo it’s just a beach with penguins. It’s really pretty amazing. The secluded areas are a lot more accessible for low tide which is something to consider if you do this.  What you do is to go past the signs for Penguins and take the next left turn where there is a sign for Boulders Beach.  You park your car and then walk to the admission booth.  After you pay your money you have a choice – either follow the sign for the beach or follow the sign for the boardwalk to the penguin viewing area.  If you follow the sign to the boardwalk, bring your receipt showing that you paid.  Blogger Hubby and our son, his wife and baby went toward the beach. Now these are huge granite boulders that you can crawl through, squeeze through and just continue walking back to the direction of Simons Town (to the left of the beach).

P1010858

P1010860

P1010864

You will end up on a beach where you may find (or not) penguins walking around.  Remember these are wild animals and I would not get closer than 4 feet.  You may have an opportunity to be on the beach alone with the penguins.  I will say when our family went, they only saw a handful on penguins.

I, on the other hand, decided not to crawl through the boulders and to stay on the boardwalk.  If you look closely as you are walking to the viewing area you’ll see penguins as well as large plastic jugs laying on their sides which are  nesting boxes.  I came to an area where I had to show my receipt that I paid at the other admission booth and was allowed in.  I went to the viewing are and there, on this sandy beach, were many penguins.  They were walking on the sand, walking toward the water, jumping in and swimming.  I couldn’t believe how many penguins were there.

P1010875

P1010870

P1010884

If you don’t want to have the option of the beach or the boardwalk and know that you want just the boardwalk, then turn off the road where you see the signs for the penguins, which is Foxy Beach.

Hope you enjoy some of our pictures from Boulders Beach and the African penguins.

Advertisements

Used Redbird at Target Today

Today was a chilly day and Blogger Hubby and I decided to go to our local winery – Veritas Winery – for a tasting.  We are wine club members where we get three bottles of wine, at a discount, four times a year.  We don’t have a choice which wines we receive but it is a chance for us to try different wines that we would not ordinarily try. Another perk of being a wine club member is that you and a guest do not have to pay for the wine tasting.  We do try and take advantage of that special perk.

veritas

On the way to the winery is Target.  I needed to upload some photographs for our family wall and thought this would be a good time to do it since we would be passing within 1/4 of the Target.   We picked up our photographs next to the customer service center; in fact, the clerk was working both counters.  I though this would be a good time to ask her if this store, which doesn’t sell the Redbird, would reload them for me.  She wasn’t familiar with them and called her manager over.  He was familiar and instructed her how to reload them.  Seems that I need to load some money on them via my credit card as we went on a little shopping spree today.  Additionally, I need to replenish some of the miles that we have been using this past year and by loading money onto my Redbird from my credit card, we’ll be adding some more miles to our accounts.

target

We actually went through the register at Target three times and each time we paid with our Redbird  We saved 5% of the total bill.  We had ordered photographs to frame of our family.  Cha ching – saved 5%.  We bought some toys for our grandchildren to stay at our house so they would have something to play with – cha ching, saved another 5% off an already sale price.  Went to find other gifts for the grands and found what we were looking for however, it was mismarked.  Had a large sign over it with a lower price – about 20% less than it should have been.  The clerk walked us up to a registered at the front and she checked us out using the lower price and of course I whipped out my Redbird and saved another 5% off a mistaken price.  Cha Ching, Cha Ching, Cha Ching.

Winner of Target Prepaid Debit Card – Mike is the winner of the Target Prepaid Debit card.  He wrote “I’m definitely going to add this to my MS portfolio. Thanks!”  Congratulations to Mike.  I sent you and email asking for your asking to mail you the card.  You have 48 hours to respond otherwise I have Random.org choose another winner.

American Express Small Business Saturday – a Boom to your Wallet, Nov. 29th

Around Thanksgiving time, those of us shopping for holiday gifts know about the deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday (my personal favorite) and for the past four years the Saturday after Thanksgiving is known as Small Business Saturday.

black friday

cyber monday

Small Business Saturday began in 2010 by American Express to encourage us to remember our local merchants and their brick and mortar stores when shopping for holiday gifts.  Each year that they have sponsored it, those of us who have synched our credit cards to the American Express offer, have received a credit on our bill when we shopped these local merchants.

small business saturday

This year you will get a $10 statement credit  after spending  $10 or more in a single transaction (must be in store and not online) at any qualifying merchant on Small Business Saturday.

Not every small business takes part in Small Business Saturday.  American Express does charge the merchants the highest in fees.  To be sure that your merchant does participate, make sure you go here after you register your card:

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 12.11.28 PM

To use this, “erase” the New York when it comes up on the screen and add in your zip code.  You’ll see top recommendations but you can also choose dining, shopping, services, etc.  When I went to dining, I found 10 pages of restaurants that I could purchase gift cards for and then get a statement credit.  That’s my plan for Small Business Saturday.

Register your card on November 16th by going to this link.  I’d do it sooner than later as they limit the number of registrations.

You can link ALL of your American Express cards.  I’m told that even your Bluebird card could be linked though not your Target Redbird).  If you have an American Express Hilton card, you can link that.  The same with the SPG American Express card.

As I mentioned earlier, we plan on buying restaurant gift cards, get the credit and then eat out during 2015 – sounds like a winning plan to me.

What will you be purchasing on Small Business Saturday?

Target RedCard PrePaid Debit – the New Points Game in Town

We all loved the American Express BlueBird card when we could get the Vanilla Reloads at CVS but when CVS would no longer allow the purchase of the Vanilla Reloads with a credit card, many people put their Bluebird card away unless you were one of the lucky ones that had a source of VR’s near you at a different store.

Now Target and American Express has come up with a great alternative to the Bluebird – the RedCard PrePaid Debit affectionately known at the Red Bird.  This is the third type of RedCard that AmEx and Target have collaborated on and you want to make sure you get the correct one.  You want to get this card:

Screen shot 2014-10-21 at 4.46.56 PM

This will be a temporary card that you’ll receive at the store and you’ll need to pay $5 for it though in some stores that fee is being waived.  It is being tested at a few Targets around the country so you most likely will not find it at your store unless you live in a test market.  I just purchased one in Richmond, Virginia – no fee but I did load $5 on the one that I purchased for a friend of mine.

At the register the clerk will ask you to input  your social security number into the machine but some people have found that they have a “fat finger” when it comes to adding in their number in the store.  While I am not advocating it, if you want to get some RedBirds for others, that fat finger may come in handy.  Don’t be surprised if the sales register clerk scans your drivers license – this is normal.   At the register, you can load $500 on this temporary, unregistered  card.  Once it is registered, you can load a total of $1500.

When you get home you’ll need to register it online and you need to make sure you have your correct social security number.  It is one per person like the Bluebird is and you cannot have either a Bluebird or a Serve – both issued by AmEx.  You can buy a Redbird but before you register it, you must  cancel your Bluebird or Serve.

To find a store near you, click here and go to the second question where you will click on another link to find a drop down menu to find your state.  Look at the locations in the test markets, see if you have any friends that are who can pick one up for you if you are not near one yourself.  If you have the card, you can still load it at a Target near you even though you can’t purchase one at your local Target.

Another great benefit of having the card is that it gives you a 5% discount when you make  purchases at Target and pay with your Prepaid debit card.

The Redbird has a $5000 monthly load and a $2500 daily load when you use your credit card although you can only load it $1000 per transaction.  If you wanted the full $2500 per day then you would need to go through the registers twice.

Like the Bluebird, you can withdraw money from your Redbird when you use an ATM.  To use it at an ATM fee free – go to an All Point network for a list of locations that have this ATM network.   I wouldn’t recommend withdrawing more than 80% of your funds this way though I hardly ever withdraw money. I usually use it to pay my bills.   We all want to be careful not to have any of our accounts shut down.  Use it to purchase items at stores, at an ATM and bill paying and you’ll be fine.

Some of you newbies may wonder why this is such great news.  Let me explain for you.  When you sign up for some of the credit cards that come with great bonus as far as points/miles, you generally have a minimum spend that you must do prior to receiving the points.  By using your credit card to load money on your Redbird, you will be meeting that minimum spend.   It’s simple – you can load money at the register with your credit card.  Cha-ching, I hear the points accumulating in my mental points register.  Like the Bluebird you can pay your bills with the Redbird.  Imagine getting points for paying your rent, mortgage, anything that you generally cannot pay with a credit card.  You can even pay your credit card that you used to load money onto your Redbird!  Which account do you need to get more points?

To get you started on your Redbird, I will award one Redbird loaded with $20 to a lucky reader.  You must leave a comment on this post as to how you would use your Redbird – for  the discount at Target, for the points to use for a future trip….any type of comment.  Contest will end on Sunday, November 16th at 9:00 PM.  The card will be mailed out later that week (as soon as I go to a location that sells them).

 

Photo Essay of Kruger National Park

I hope you enjoy these photos that I took during our recent safari in Kruger National Park:

P1000966

Warthog greeted us at the Paul Kruger Gate

P1010054

Lions on the road made us wonder if we would get to Satara Rest Camp before the gate closed (we did).

P1010315

We learned the difference between white rhinos and black rhinos – these are white rhinos

P1020680

Magnificent elephants in their natural surroundings.

P1010023

This male kudu has such unique markings on his face – almost like war paint.  Love the length of his horns as well.

P1010304

An endangered Saddle Billed Stork – it stood about 5 feet tall!

SA_2014-675-Edit

What a cute little monkey

P1010667

A pride of lions took down this Cape Buffalo and was able to finish him off in about 5 hours.  Hyenas ate the bones.

SA_2014-252-Edit

If you can notice, the white stripes held a brown stripe in this species of zebras.

P1010621

Profile of three lions

P1010033

This is how close we were to so many animals – loved seeing the many giraffes.

P1010101

We saw many beautiful birds – particularly this one – the lilac breasted roller

P1010444

Caught this elephant mid stream.  Looks like he is balancing a ball.

P1010651

Such a stately and beautiful animal.

P1010223

We saw several bones around the Kruger as well.

P1010637

Very, very early in the morning at Camp Shawu