Dentist and kangaroos…Another g’day in Australia!



The dental office is easy to find.  Its outside the main entrance to Smithfield Mall on the nearest to Woolworth’s  Grocery store.

Visiting a dentist has always been a dreaded experience for me.  As many of you, from time to time I had less than ideal experiences leaving an indelible mark on my psyche.  These experiences left me with a degree of dental phobia and/or dental anxiety which is more common than we can imagine.

As a matter of fact there is such a thing as the “Dental Anxiety Network” specifically for dentists to ensure they are well educated in dealing with anxious patients.

I’ll admit to becoming anxious when I have to have anything other than a cleaning which causes little apprehension.  Its the fillings, crowns and surgeries that incite a sense of fear.  Some reports state that as many of 80% of patients have some degree of dental phobia.

The professional, clean and organized dental office, 1300 Smiles at Smithfield Mall made us both feel at ease.

As a result I didn’t feel apprehensive when our intent for yesterday’s two appointments was singular:  clean our teeth, no x-rays.  With neither of us experiencing any pain or apparent difficulty with our teeth, we hoped for good results.

Both of our appointments transpired at exactly the same time, 1:00 pm on Thursday, with a plan to shop when done.  The dental clinic, 1300 Smiles, is located  in the Smithfield Mall around the corner  from the meat market, the produce mart, the pharmacy and the grocery store, definitely a convenient location for the four additional stops I needed to make when we were done at the dentist.

Much to my surprise the dentist, Dr. Neil McElvanna, did my cleaning as opposed to a dental hygienist which is the usual procedure in the US.  Most hygienists in the US (our only experience until now) provide excellent service often after many years of experience.



The treatment rooms were spotless and were equipped with the most up-to-date equipment from what we could determine.

After my painless procedure was completed with positive comments as to the condition of my teeth and gums after almost three years without a professional cleaning (we don’t recommend waiting this long), Dr. Neil and I had a chance to talk.

After inquiring as to our life of travel, we discussed the recent pointless slaughter of Cecil, the lion.  Dr. Neil, with tongue in cheek, commented, “Too bad he’s a dentist.”  I then commented, “Too bad he was from Minnesota from whence we came.”  Immediately, we had something, however sad, in common.

We proceeded to discuss my way of eating which may have a beneficial effect on dental health which he said was evident in my lack of periodontal disease.  Sure, I had a degree of plaque which he readily removed that no matter how often I cleaned my teeth, I couldn’t entirely eradicate.  But, I had no inflamed or swollen gums or areas of concern.

Lounging in the grass.

In the old life, both of us had to visit a periodontist on a few occasions.  That was while we were still consuming vast amounts of sugar in various forms.  However, our good results aren’t entirely a result of not having sugar floating around our mouths.  It’s also a result of the systemic production of stomach acids, good gut bacteria and general good health from consuming a healthy low carb, grain, starch and sugar free ketogenic diet for the past almost four years.  


Now, with a clean dental bill of health and the fact that we may not see another dentist until we arrive the US in 2017 we can rest easy that both our medical and dental exams provided us with peace of mind only adding to our enthusiasm as we continue on in our travels.

This adult kept watch while the others rested.  With only crocs as potential predators and the kangaroos keeping a distance from the ocean and rivers, the kangaroo population continues to grow in Australia.  Here are the estimated stats for the kangaroo population.  There are an estimated over 20 million kangaroos in Queensland according to these 2011 stats.

The shocker?  The cost for both of us was a mere AUD $196, USD $142.89, which is only AUD $98, USD $71.45 each.  We had refused x-rays which of course lowered the price.  Had either of us been experiencing any pain or discomfort, we’d have opted for the x-rays.  Why be exposed to radiation when there’s no need?

This young kangaroo looked sleepy and ready for a nap.

Over these past almost three years since our last cleaning we’ve done a few things that may have also contributed to the good results:

1.  Using Brush Picks by The Doctors after eating.  We keep these picks with us at all times.  We recently purchased several packs of these at the Alive Pharmacy at Smithfield Mall.
2.  Oil Pulling each day using unrefined, cold pressed, organic coconut oil, swishing for 20 minutes.
3.  We brush our teeth twice a day using non-fluoridated whitening toothpaste (brands vary throughout the world.  We don’t use fluoride when we can avoid it).
4.  We brush with the above toothpaste adding baking soda and hydrogen peroxide onto the brush.  These items are available worldwide.
5.  We used pulsing toothbrushes.  (We’d purchased a good sized supply on past visits to Costco but, these can be purchased at pharmacies and grocery stores throughout the world.

Kangaroo family lounging under the shade of a tree and a bench.

We stress that if there is evidence of periodontal disease, the above measures would be effective only after a course of professional treatment had been exercised. We don’t recommend seeing a dentist only once every three years.  In our old lives, we had our teeth cleaned every six months.

The thorough cleaning, the pleasant and professional dental office and the expert care of the dentist, Dr. Neil and his staff, left us with a “great taste in our mouths!”

Resting in the grass.

With our medical appointments behind us with good results we have a renewed sense of freedom.  Thanks to our readers for their encouragement and support in assisting us in making the decision to get these medical exams behind us.

Our efforts for ongoing health continue with exercise, healthy diet, dental care and a positive state of mind which, armed with this good news, is certainly enhanced.

Kangaroos are shy unless they’ve been in an area where they frequently interact with humans.  These are wild kangaroos resulting in photos taken from afar.

Tomorrow, we’ll continue with more photos from our trip to Port Douglas as we plan our next road trip.  Hummm…wonder where that will take us?

Happy end of week to all!

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Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2014:
We didn’t post on this travel date.  Back tomorrow with August 1, 2014!

Part 2…Road trip…Port Douglas…Lots to share after a perfect day…Photos shown in progression…Cecil, the slaughtered lion…One of our lion photos..



A number of visitors were lounging in this beach park in Port Douglas.

As we toured the town of Port Douglas we were amazed at how easy is was to navigate the many points of interest. Although the downtown area was packed with tourists it had a laid back unhurried feel uncommon in tourist beach towns.

The main street, Macrossan Street, in Port Douglas consisted of one store, shop and restaurant after another.

Whether we wandered the quaint streets or walked the Four Mile Beach we always felt safe and comfortable.  The only fear was going into the water where stingers lurked in abundance awaiting their next brush against human skin to leave their indelible mark. 

Taking photos was easy on the sunny day.

We surmised that the possibility of being stung by one of many of a variety of stingers keeps swimmers out of the water at all of the pristine beaches we’ve visited over these many weeks. 

More shopping continued on Wharf Street.

We noticed that there are no vendors lining the beaches in Queensland scrambling in an attempt to sell their wares.  Either there are laws regarding this or, we are in an area of less poverty than many other areas of the world we’ve visited in the past. 

There are almost 100 restaurants in Port Douglas.

Its become familiar to us to being approached by locals trying to encourage us to purchase their handmade crafts and local trinkets.  With no room in our luggage and no home to eventually use or store such products, buying anything doesn’t fit into the realm of our lives. 

Many of the restaurants are huge and elaborate attracting the most finicky of diners.

Without question, we certainly appreciate the diligence and hard work of those vendors throughout the world.  But, for us, practicality must prevail.

As we wandered on foot a beach area, we spotted the historic Court House and museum.  Unfortunately, it was closed or we’d have loved to go inside.

As we wandered the main streets in Port Douglas, we realized that no matter how much “sightseeing” we do, we don’t fit into the typical tourist category.  Walking past the shops we chuckled over how unlikely it is that we’d purchase any of the clothing, bags, shoes and household goods.


Tom was admiring the trees at the beach park.

And, the many charming beachfront restaurants didn’t appeal to our senses either when we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that dining in restaurants in Australia may not be possible for me. 

An unusual tree with a portion of its root system above ground.

Checking out every posted menu as we walked, we further confirmed this fact.  Most of the meats offered on the menus are coated in sauces and battered in a manner that doesn’t work for me.  The side dishes are starchy and often tinged with sugar. 

Its winter in Australia and  we don’t see as many of flowers as there are in the spring.

The thought of spending US $22, AUD $30 for a unseasoned slab of barramundi and a plain lettuce salad doesn’t appeal to me when we can go to our favorite fish market and purchase barramundi for under US $5, AUD $9 a serving, seasoned by us to perfection, with a side of sautéed veggies, a salad with homemade dressing and a coconut flour muffin slathered with grass fed butter.

We wandered about this beautiful beach park.

When dining in restaurants we have the concern of the food having been cooked in the same pan as those items I cannot have.  The risk of contamination is high.  Nor do we expect restaurant cooks and chefs to make special accommodations for me with the use of their cookware.

The views from every direction were breathtaking.

Sure, we’d love to visit a fabulous beach area and sit down for meal.  But, we always remember that we wouldn’t be traveling the world if it weren’t for my strict low carb, grain free, starch free, sugar free and chemical free way of eating that brought me to exquisite good health after years of suffering. 

A buoy to mark low water.

If Tom would like to dine out, I’m happy to join him and order that plain steak or fish and plain salad with nary a complaint.  Surprisingly, after all of this time Tom doesn’t feel shortchanged.  Perhaps, that is why he loves cruising. 


The tide was low giving us an entirely different perspective of the beach.

While on a cruise, Tom can order anything he  wants without concern or worry when the ship’s chefs manage to make everything work for me as they do for many other passengers with special diets.

There are many beaches that are covered with rock but, overall the beaches we’ve seen are sandy.

Without shopping, without dining out, without spending on pricey tourist attractions we happily find an entire world of wonder that we easily appreciate and cherish for its natural and unique beauty. 

This enormous Banyan Tree reminded us of the tree across the street from our condo in Honolulu.

In our old lives of seldom traveling we’d often spend considerable time at the hotel, the pool, the hotel’s beach, a wide array of local restaurants and visiting a few choice attractions popular in the area.  This gave us a limited perspective of the area.

Possibly, a memorial for a beloved individual lost to the sea in this location.

Now, we live in an area shopping in their shops, cooking their locally grown foods, meeting the locals, wandering through their farmer’s markets and most of all visiting those special places that Mother Nature created for us to respect and…for us to appreciate with love and care.

For this, we are grateful and for this, Port Douglas never let us down. 



From this view, we were seated in white chairs facing the ocean, left from a recent wedding.  It was a perfect spot for a wedding.

It was these rose petals on the ground that made us realize that a recent edding had been held in this spot.

On Cecil the lion: We can’t avoid addressing the recent heartbreaking slaughter of Cecil, the lion, in Zimbabwe, Africa.  Rather than rant our personal views which our many worldwide readers can easily imagine, we share this well written tribute by Simon Espley to Cecil on my personal favorite website, Africa Geographic:

“While that rich American dentist and the hunting industry at large scramble for excuses and justifications for their actions, your rivals will already have killed your cubs and settled into your territory. Yes, those weak ones who could not challenge you now run your kingdom.   – See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/rip-cecil-lion-king/#sthash.KHlfCBVR.dpuf

You, Cecil, are the reason I am a proud African. Your spirit, your grace and your courage epitomise my Africa. You are the reason my team and I do what we do.
I am so sorry that you had to endure 40 painful hours with an arrow lodged in your body, that you were then shot, beheaded and skinned – turned into a trophy for a man whose only understanding of Africa is that our laws cannot protect you from his money.

 I am sorry that more was not done to protect you and I am outraged that you and your kind are seen not as kings, but as commodities.  On a selfish level I am sorry because I will never see you with my own eyes.

RIP big guy, and know that many of us humans DO care, and we are trying, desperately, to fight for you and yours.
A luta continua!”  (translated:  the fight goes on)


Last photograph of Cecil with his pack friend Jericho (standing) a month before he was killed
Last known photo of Cecil (lying down) and Jericho who both protected their 25 cubs.  Now, with Cecil gone, Jericho may not be able to protect those cubs on his own, resulting in their death.  (We borrowed this photo from the UK Telegraph).
We took this photo as one of many lion photos that we had the gift of seeing in the Masai Mara in October, 2013 while on a photo safari.  This experience forever changed our hearts and minds with love and appreciation of these magnificent beings. For more photos and details of our safari which we spread over many posts, please begin by clicking here and continuing on from there.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 30, 2014:

Our last night in Madeira, Portugal as we’d begin the trip to Paris in the morning.  It was a memorable two and a half months but, as always, we were ready to continue on.  For that final post with some of our favorite photos, please click here.






Road trip…Port Douglas…Lots to share after a perfect day…Photos shown in progression…

Every beach along the way has it own personality.  They may all look like sand, rock and water but we find each one to have it own unique scenery.

Since arriving in Trinity Beach on June 11th, its been in our minds after many recommendations from Aussies we met on the most recent cruise that a visit to Port Douglas was definitely worthwhile.

We had traveled part of the way toward Port Douglas several weeks ago, posting photos.  Thus, we began taking photos after that point to avoid repeats.

We couldn’t agree more. After uploading yesterday’s post I was particularly interested in heading out on this must-do outing.  On a whim, I suggested to Tom that we make the trip at long last.

Some beaches have massive expanses of sand and other have less sand and more rocky shorelines.

In minutes, we were heading out the door with a container of iced tea,  our mugs, extra camera batteries which we always keep charged, binoculars, the hot spot and unlocked phone ready to use for navigation if we needed it in a pinch which we never did.

Up until yesterday we’d only seen a few people on the beach such as in this photo.  However in days to come, we’ll be sharing surprising photos of a packed beach.

We always take along our small insulated bag just in case we stop for perishable items we may find along the way. Although we didn’t purchase a thing other than fuel, we came home to leftovers and time for a quick few hands of GIN before dinner.

We saw Double Island in the background.

It was a perfect day, returning with almost 200 photos most of which I’ve already perused, deleting those we didn’t need to keep.  Its always challenging determining which photos we’ll chose to post.  As usual we’ll decide as we post over the next several days.

This beach was covered with rock and wild vegetation.

The coastline drive from Trinity Beach to Port Douglas consists of many areas of very steep winding mountain roads.  If rushing, one could make the trip in a period of shortly over an hour moving as fast as the posted kilometer signs or, as we did over a considerably longer period by often stopping to admire the scenery and take endless photos.

We had to travel quite a distance to no longer see Double Island which we can see from our veranda with Scout Island to the far right.

We were in no rush.  Our goal was to see as much as we could and return on the steep winding highway before dark.  When we returned home before dark we were pleased for a great day out and also for one more desirable experience in visiting this area of Queensland. 

The sand is so fine on the beaches that after taking a few photos, I have to gently wipe the miniature grains off of the lens.

The drive along the Coral Sea was beautiful on a mostly sunny day.  As typical in this ocean climate, the sun was in and out all day long.  We’ve yet to experience a day that remains sunny without an intermittent cloud cover throughout the day.

Today’s and future day’s photos will be posted in the order we took them.

Here’s some information we borrowed from this online site about Port Douglas:

“Port Douglas is a town in Far North Queensland, Australia, approximately 70 km (40 mi) north of Cairns. Its permanent population was 3,205 at the time of the 2011 census.  The town’s population can often double, however, with the influx of tourists during the peak tourism season May–September. The town is named in honour of former Premier of Queensland, John Douglas. Port Douglas developed quickly based on the mining industry. Other parts of the area were established with timber cutting occurring in the area surrounding the Daintree River and with settlement starting to occur on lots around the Mossman River by 1880.

Previous names for the town included Terrigal, Island Point, Port Owen and Salisbury. The town is situated adjacent to two World Heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.

The Port Douglas township was established in 1877 after the discovery of gold at Hodgkinson River by James Venture Mulligan. Port Douglas Post Office opened on 1 September 1877.  It grew quickly, and at its peak Port Douglas had a population of 12,000 and 27 hotels. With the construction of the Mulligan Highway it serviced towns as far away as Herberton.

When the Kuranda Railway from Cairns to Kuranda was completed in 1891, the importance of Port Douglas dwindled along with its population. A cyclone in 1911 which demolished all but two buildings in the town also had a significant impact. At its nadir in 1960 the town, by then little more than a fishing village, had a population of 100.

On 4 September 2006, entertainer a.k.a. “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin died at Batt Reef, off Port Douglas, after a stingray barb went through his chest into his heart while Irwin and his crew were filming a documentary called The Ocean’s Deadliest.[10] Irwin was filmed snorkeling directly above the stingray when it lashed him with its tail, embedding its toxic barb. Irwin died almost immediately. This event was widely reported both in Australia and overseas.[11]

In 2012, Port Douglas was the pole position for a Total Solar Eclipse. This phenomenon took place at 6:38 am on 14 November 2012. The total eclipse was visible from approximately Innisfail in the south to Cedar Bay National Park in the North. Port Douglas was right in its path. Thousands travelled to Port Douglas to see the event.”

Many beaches offer shady spots for those preferring to be out of the sun.  And yet, we seldom see people of the beaches as in this case of this pristine Ellis Beach.

Unquestionably, Port Douglas is an ideal tourist town.  We drove past numerous fabulous resort, hotels including some which were quaint and tucked away in the forest while others were lined up along the main roads for quick and easy access to restaurants, shops and attractions.

We were looking forward to seeing the renowned Four Mile Beach, a major attraction in Port Douglas.

The downtown area which we’ll share in photos over the next several days was lined with shops, dining establishments, tourist planning centers and travel agencies many of which were on Macrossan Street and Wharf Street.  A shopping enthusiast could easily spend days wandering up and down the main street in downtown Port Douglas.

When we spotted the sign for this resort, we decided to drive in off of the highway to see it.

The waterfront, pier and marina were stops we thoroughly enjoyed stopping and easily parking to get out and explore.  Most likely, we parked no less than a dozen times to get out of the car to check out the scenery.  We saw as much in one day as many tourists may have seen over a period of days. 

The grounds at the entrance to Thula Beach Nature Reserve weren’t used for any purpose, only kept up for viewing

We decided against visiting any of the fee based tourist attractions.  The crowds, the queues, the waiting, and the cost kept our interests focused on perusing the naturally beautiful scenery that Port Douglas has to offer which as you’ll see are many. 

We couldn’t resist this view as we entered the grounds of Thula Nature Reserve to check it out.

We’d researched online as we always do to ensure we’d hit the highlights that appealed to us which you’ll see here beginning today.  There wasn’t a single venue we wanted to see that we hadn’t

Back on the highway, we were close to entering the Port Douglas area.

We have a few more road trips in mind over our remaining time in Trinity Beach.  Currently on day 48 of 88 days, we’re beyond halfway of our time in this area.  With many booked upcoming cruises sailing the perimeter of the continent, we’ll have plenty of additional opportunities to visit many of the highlights of Australia we’ll surely have missed along the way.

Through the car’s windshield, we spotted one of the first resorts in Port Douglas.  We had arrived!  We’ll be back tomorrow with lots more.

Please stop back tomorrow for more photos from our road trip to Port Douglas, its wonderful town and more.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 29, 2014:

We’d made an error in posting the correct one-year-ago-date a few days ago.  Please click here for the correct post from one years ago today as we wrapped up our time in Madeira. 


We left Minnesota 1000 days ago…One year ago…Final costs of 77 days on the island of Madeira…

This flower appears to have the face of a fluffy white lamb.  Notice the eyes and nose.  We didn’t see this until after we uploaded our many photos from our visit to the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

Today is 1000 days since we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012 to begin our new lives, our worldwide adventures, our foray into the unknown.  We’d marked the calendar that long ago for the 1000th day, at the time unsure if we’d ever reach it.  (Some time ago, we mentioned posting our 1000th post which is different.  We began posting seven months before we left so these are two distinct dates).

We had no clue when we posted today’s reminder for the 1000th day if we’d tire of traveling, find our health prevented continuing on or if we found it financially impossible based on costs and inflation throughout the world.  None of these concerns have impeded the joyful continuance of our travels.


On the return drive from Cairns, we stopped to check out this roadside stand.  We didn’t purchase anything when they only had fruit.

We are as enthusiastic in this life now as we were 1000 days ago.  The fear is gone with knowledge and experience in its place. We truly feel like experienced travelers and yet, we still have so much more to learn, to see, to explore. 

Many of our readers have been with us since the beginning and we commend you for your loyalty, diligence and input.  What a gift we receive everyday in knowing you are there!

We’d driven by this Farm Market many times on our way back and forth to Cairns, deciding it was time to stop to check it out.

Is it possible to imagine that some mornings I load my laptop, connect to the internet and start the app I use to upload this site without a clue as to what to put down in words and photos?

Can you imagine that some mornings when I study the folder on my desktop entitled “photos to post” that there’s only a mishmash of unrelated photos I’ve yet to upload for lack of relevancy to a particular other batch of photos?


Their meat case was filled with many pre-seasoned and pre-coated with flour and breadcrumbs, none of which work for us.  But we did purchased a few bacon, chicken and spinach wrapped chicken breasts.

Do I panic?  Not at all.  Do I say to myself, “Gee…I wish I didn’t have to do this every day?”  Not at all.  My little brain goes to work either from morning conversation between Tom and I, a tidbit on the news or at times a light bulb moment popping bright within my field of vision.

Sure, the day could come when the slate is blank and literally not a word, a thought, an urge or a nuance will waft through my head to reach my fingers on the keyboard, which are usually itching to be in action.  That could happen.  In reality, some day, this will happen.  But, its not today.


We hadn’t seen cherries in a long time.  Some veg is organic and others are not which is not evident by signs posted.

Can you imagine that the photo file is nearly empty and we don’t feel like going out on a sightseeing expedition?  That’s a relatively common occurrence.  Why wouldn’t it be?  Do any of us have enough “share worthy” information combined with photos to share every day of our lives?  Hardly.

Neither of us are into “selfies” which eliminates an entire category of photo taking.  Nor, am I continually updating my Facebook page with the “photo of the day or moment.” 

This package of crocodile is AUD $15, USD $10.91.  Next time we stop by that store, I think we’ll try buy one of these and try it.

On Facebook, I tend to post a photo of an inanimate subject that I find interesting such as in today’s photo at the top of this page that I “saved” from the Cairns Botanic Gardens” to post. 


We aren’t quite ready to try eating kangaroo and these sausages contained sugar and wheat.


The main photo was my favorite from the gardens tour day, saved in the same manner that one may save that last tender morsel on their plate to eat as the very last bite…a reward at the end for our patience?

There’s a lot of things we could do today.  Sylvie and Andy purchased chaise lounges which they placed next to the pool so we could lounge there for our dose of Vitamin D, as opposed to sitting in a chair on the veranda.  We couldn’t be more pleased with the kind and caring attention they’ve given to our needs and wants.  Today, we could lounge by the pool for awhile.


Tom put his hand out to show illustrate the size of this huge sweet potato.

We could take a drive to a new area further from Trinity Beach to return with hundreds of new photos which could see us through days of posting or, we could make several short trips to unseen spots in the area, although we seem to have already thoroughly scoured the immediate area.

Don’t get me wrong.  We love getting out and taking photos.  Its getting us out the door that is always the challenge when its so easy to do nothing, one of our favorite pastimes.  And doing nothing is not really doing nothing.  We seem to be busy all day even when we stay home with the intent of doing “nothing.”


We purchased some of the bacon in the rear middle of this case.  Once cooked we realized that the rind was still attached and we had to pull it off like a long leather boot shoelace.  Otherwise, the bacon was nitrate free and delicious.  As shown, many of the items for sale are pre-seasoned and coated.

I can imagine that many of our retiree readers totally get what we’re saying here today.  Life doesn’t always consist of busy, meaningful and active days filled with new discoveries and revelations.  And, many otherwise quiet days end up a flurry of activity.

So, we’ll see what the day brings.  I imagine that tomorrow when you stop by, you’ll see something new and shown for the very first time as we do each and every day. 

Ibis are commonly seen birds in Australia.

Happy day to all of you whether you stay in, head out on a walk or on an adventure.  It all matters.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2014:

As we were fast approaching departing Madeira, we posted all of our final expenses as we do when getting ready to leave each country.  For details of those expenses, please click here.

Wrapping up the Cairns Botanic Garden…What dare we say we’ll share next? A long ago host and hostess…

 
We’d seen these gorgeous orchids in our neighborhood in Kauai, Hawaii and found them as equally breathtaking in Australia.  Many of the plants, trees and flowers are similar in both areas due to the tropical climate.

We’re always amazed by the number of readers that visit us each day. Who are you?  How did you find us?  We don’t do a lot of outside advertising and promotion other than an occasional blurb or story on another site that may also have a fair share of readers.

We’re hoping that the technical names of all of these flowers weren’t as important as seeing their beauty in our photos.  Our slow and costly wifi connection doesn’t allow for intense data hogging searches.

We both wondered if the readers of the past 24 hours 25% increase  was due to our multi-day story about the Cairns Botanic Gardens which may have attracted a few more readers our way.  But after typing a search in Google we didn’t pop up on the first page.

Tom loves to read signs wherever we may visit.

Who knows what brings all of you here?  In reality 1118 in 24 hours is nothing compared to millions that view an entertaining video in one day.  Then again, we’re not a one-shot wonder.  We’re the steady, dependable blog writers who appear each day, rain or shine, in sickness and in health and even on the often painstaking travel days.

Roundabouts are popular on the roads here in Australia.  We didn’t expect to find one in the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

All we can say is that we appreciate the consistent readership, comments and email, all of which makes the what-could-be a lonely trail of traveling without our  thousands and thousands of readers from all over the world traveling with us each and every year, especially now as we’ll soon enter our fourth year on the move. 

Many areas in the gardens were wild and seeming to be unattended, letting nature take its course.  This creek bed was dry.

If Tom and I were bored with one another, which we’re not (emphatically), the audience would be a desperate means of communication with the outside world.  The fact that we adore each other’s companionship only adds to the joy of our daily experiences from the adventurous to the mundane. 

We’ve yet to see a Cassowary in the wild.  But, when we do, we now feel more educated based on reading this sign, which Tom drew to my attention.

It feels as if we’re having one fabulous dinner party minus all the cooking and cleanup.  The expense, on the other hand, we bear with what we hope is aplomb. 

Our self tour ended at the visitors center which was an interesting architecturally design series of building with a gift shop, various displays and a restaurant.

In our old lives, for those of you who aren’t aware, we were the proverbial host and hostess, often having “company” for dinners, brunches and barbecues on the lawn.  Those days are long behind us now but we remember them fondly for all the fun and laughter.

The buildings were designed with a lots of glass creating an unusual look.

After all of our guests went home, we both stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, washing and drying every last dish and glass we couldn’t fit into the two dishwashers which even those, we emptied before heading to bed.  We washed the floors and often started a load of laundry filled with the linen napkins and tablecloths.  No, we didn’t stay up to dry and later iron the napkins.

As we entered the visitors center we spotted this python under glass.

To make a point, we were somewhat focused on being the efficient and yet playful host and hostess having a good time from the first slice of a shallot to begin the cooking, to the moment we finally wandered off to bed, smiles on our faces for an enjoyable time seemingly had by all.

Close up of grouchy looking python face.

Do we miss that life?  Of course, we miss the people, the family gatherings and the multitude of friends from many walks of life that magically seemed to get along marvelously when we entertained the larger groups. 

Pretty in pink.

In the same way one may have a amazing memory of a wild roller coaster ride, one doesn’t long to ride a roller coaster every day.  Its the multitude of memories we hold close to our hearts.  But, that doesn’t mean we’re hankering for 100 people to come for dinner…or for the more difficult, dinner party at the holidays for 12 guests which inspired us to a more complex menu and table setting.

This brown and yellow flower caught our eye once again as we neared the exit.  This is a Acantraceae from Central America.  We don’t recall seeing these in Central America. 

Life is full of trade offs.  We traded one life for this life.  Is this a better life?  For both of us, it is.  We certainly don’t miss working every day (duh!) or the many responsibilities of the life we lived, that most people live, many happy and fulfilled.  And, its not to say we weren’t happy and fulfilled.  We were like most of you…somedays? yes…somedays? no.  That how life is. 

Sure, we miss the people.  That’s the only price we’ve paid.  But they, like us have adjusted to our being gone and hopefully, love us anyway.  People retire and move away. 

What a an interesting and comprehensive experience at the Cairns Botanic Gardens.  It was well worth the visit with a surprising free admission.

Other retirees that have moved from the frozen tundra of Minnesota  moved to a warmer climate may see their families once a year.  We see them every two years.  We are readily available by phone and Skype (free for them, mostly free for us) and love speaking to them and seeing their faces.  We chat with them via Facebook and email.  Communication is not lost by distance.  Its only lost by the heart.


Here we are.  Its Monday near noon in Trinity Beach, Australia.  Its about 80F, 27C, the humidity is 68%.  The sun is shining.  We’re healthy.  Our house is clean.  We have a fabulous dinner planned.  And later today, we’ll head out for more photos ops to share here with all of you, our readers, our friends.

Thank you.  Thank you so much for traveling along with us.  You mean the world to us!

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Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2014:

This was my entire pile of clothes to be packed one year ago which remains about )the same size today.  Although I’ve purchased a number of items this past year, I tossed all the old worn clothing to replace the weight of the new items. For details as we prepared to depart the island of Madeira, Portugal, please click here.

More Cairns Botanic Garden photos…Quiet day on the home front…Lots of steps?

A beautiful bouquet already made by nature.

After yesterday’s workout and finally completing the post around 1:15 pm my day had gone haywire.  Most days I’m done by noon and we can go about our day of either shopping, sightseeing, or hanging out at home.

Lipstick bamboo.

With the late start, I found myself running around like a Tasmanian Devil (hope to see more of these someday soon) in ten different directions at once.  With laundry to do, dinner to make, Tom’s blood test results (they were perfect) to scan and tidbits of organizing here and there, my day was full.

These must be a treat for the many birds at the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

Tom had a hankering for our bread-less sandwich. But none of that for me here in Australia.  All the meats are processed as opposed to sliced real meat we’ve been able to buy in some countries. Also, all the meats were filled with gluten and sugar. 

Orange puffs.

Tom doesn’t care if he eats small amounts of sugar or gluten nor does he react to the perils of gluten and sugar in lunch meats so I opted for a salad with bacon, avo (Aussie slang), cheese, celery, lots of cos (romaine) lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and chicken chunks, my favorite salad.

We saw these Sausage Trees in Kruger National Park in South Africa.  These pods are huge.

Based on the fact that I was making two totally different dinners, I spent a considerable time chopping, dicing, and slicing for both of our meals.  Plus, I got this crazy desire to make a new recipe for Low Carb Blueberry Coconut Muffins with less than two carb grams each.

Some creek beds were dry.

Although I don’t eat fruit due to the high sugar content, berries are relatively low in carbs in small portions and I can easily handle the five berries in a single muffin.  It was the first time I’d made the recipe and they were moist and delicious. 

Moments later we saw this waterfall.

If you’d like the recipe please email me.  It is written and prepared to go.  If you want to replace the sweetener with real sugar, feel free to do so, but the carbs will increase exponentially making it an entirely different muffin, although it will still be moist and delicious.

According to a friend/reader, this is a Prickly Pear. 

By the time I was done in the kitchen, the laundry was done and put away, the muffins were cooling undercover (lots of flies here) and we were able to sit down and play cards until dinner.

Gecko on a rock at the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

Each day I wear a FitBit which keeps track of my steps and other pertinent health information.  I’m only interested in the number of steps I do each day.  When we’re staying home, I can’t seem to top 5000 steps in a day. 

Tom was busy inspecting this huge tree.

This place isn’t big enough with no steps to run up and down and, it’s impossible to go for a walk when the driveway is too steep to get down on foot.  With no parking allowed on the road and the fact that we can’t block the driveway for the owner’s comings and goings, walking in the neighborhood isn’t practical.

Pink beauty.

Instead, we amp up the walking and subsequent steps when we’re out and about.  No matter what they say, managing 10,000 steps at home in a day is outrageous unless one goes for long walks. 

Even the smallest flowers are lovely.

We only manage to do this three or so times a week when we visit a good location suitable for walking. Add in my HIIT workout and Tom patiently waits for me in the car while reading a book, that’s about as good as it gets for us.

The Flecker Garden was laid out in a manner that aided in seeing everything possible with ease.

In a way, I think walking is overrated as a means of fitness.  Getting up and moving around seems to be more important for us than sitting all day.  Doing the resistance and burst training seems to work well for me, adding greatly to my strength and stamina. 

We see tons of people walking who don’t appear to be very fit, especially on cruises.  That’s not to say that we’re highly fit.  We’d probably both flunk fitness tests.  With our bad shoulders, neither of us can do a single pull-up or push-up.

Easy to navigate walkways and occasional steps led to a different level in the gardens.


By the time we had dinner, I was ready to wind down.  We like to watch a fun show during dinner each night. I know.  “They,” whoever they are, say one shouldn’t eat and watch a show. Who cares what “they” say?  We’re discovering “they” were wrong on many points regarding our health and well being. 

We enjoy dining and watching a show.  It’s almost comparable to having popcorn at the movie theatre which we don’t do anymore (not because of the movie, but, due to the fact that we don’t eat popcorn) watching an entertaining show makes the meal seem as if it’s a social event.  We do talk and make comments to one another.  It’s kind of like a fun date.

This was one of my favorites.

Over the past several months, we watched all seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy, disappointed when it ended.  Now, we’re doing Breaking Bad, well into season three, another show filled with gore that may not be appropriate for dining.  Tom always cringes when they show a character puking while we’re eating.  He’s gagged a few times.  It makes me laugh.  He keeps watching.

We watch one episode a night and without commercials, it only lasts for about 45 minutes, perfect timing for dinner.  Once we’re done, he does the dishes and then the remainder of our relaxing evening continues. 

In reality, our lives are simple and uncomplicated except for managing bookings, financial details, and travel days.  The remainder of our days are spent just like yours except for the excessive amount of sightseeing we may do at times.  We didn’t do much of that in our old lives.  Do you?

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Photo from one year ago today, July 26, 2014:

The quaint village of Campanarios was preparing for the annual “Festa do Santíssimo Sagramento,” a religious celebration during which most of the village participated.  For details and more photos, please click here.

Yesterday’s extraordinary visit to Cairns …A full afternoon…A great day…



The colors in this bloom were unlike any we’ve seen.

We apologize for today’s late posting.  It was time for me to workout and the fitness center is only open from 8 am to 11 am on Saturdays and we needed to get on the road.  Plus, I was behind managing the many photos from yesterday’s outing. 

Bright yellow and brown blooming flower.  We’ve seldom seen brown in flowers.

With the sun shining when we returned it was also time to soak up 30 minutes of Vitamin D.  I had started the post as soon as I was up and dressed but left it unfinished with so many photos to download from yesterday’s outing.

We can’t quite reads the name of this on the included sign.

After completing yesterday’s post, we decided to head out on a sunny day to check out the Cairns Botanic Garden.  In most countries such garden are named “botanical” gardens.  In Australia, like many other countries/continents we find that many words and expressions are different than our familiar US words and expressions. 

These red berries accompany a darker almost black berry.

Not surprisingly I’ve found myself using some of the Australian words and expressions.  How quickly one could change their manner of the use of their native language.  In many ways, the easy to understand words and expressions are rather logical here in Australia, even the shortened words such as “veg” for veggies or vegetables.

These were common in Hawaii.

In a future post, we’ll share some of these words and manners of speech.  At the moment, I’m accumulating a list that we’ll share most of which are charming and humorous. 

Part of the grounds were blocked off for the construction of a new conservatory.

Whether its named botanic or botanical, we decided to visit the venue in Cairns we’d read so much about these past seven weeks.  Easy to find with well marked signs on Highway 1 into the city of Cairns, past the airport we were a little confused as to which “car park” we’d take. 

The Silk Floss tree we’d seen in Kauai.

As we drove along the huge expanse of the grounds which includes: Flecker Garden, Visitor Centre, Centenary Lakes, Rainforest Boardwalk, Australia’s Gondwanan Heritage Garden and Mount Whitfield Conservation Park, we managed to snag a free street parking spot close to the entrance of Flecker Garden.


The purpose of these spikes is to protect the tree from destruction by possible intruders.  These has gorgeous blooms during the summer months.  Its winter here now.

For most tourists and local visitors, Flecker Garden holds the majority of the interest.  Many other areas are designated for serious hikers with steep trails and mountains not intended for those less than experienced and fit hikers. 
However, Flecker Garden provided us with a perfect perspective of Australian vegetation and even a bit of wildlife we’ll share here over the next few days as we post some of our best photos.

Although many of these plants and trees grow in Hawaii as well as Australia, most of them originated on other islands throughout the world.

When we visit an attraction such as this, we’re always torn over whether it’s necessary to identify each of the items in each photo we post.  Often, we’re able to name most of the subjects of our photos.  However, yesterday’s tour of Flecker Garden made it difficult.


The bright orange of these vines stood out among the greenery.

With the growth of many of the wide variety of plants and trees, the originally placed signs with were often ambiguous as to which plant or tree the sign was intended to identify.


Heliconia. Wow!


As a result, only some of our photos will be identified.  Otherwise, we’d be spending days searching online for the names of each plant.  With the high cost of wifi at this time, it makes little sense.  If any of our readers would like to provide input, feel free to do so via email or a comment at the end of the post and we’ll happily update the photo with the proper name.

Snake Cactus.

We often wonder if the technical names of plants and scrubs really matter to our readers when in essence, we’re not a botanical website.  We are world travelers sharing our wide array of experiences of many aspects in a certain area and by no mean profess to be an expert in any of these areas.

Close up, Snake Cactus.


As we wandered about the vast grounds of Flecker Garden, we found ourselves reveling in the many new and unusual plants and also smiling over others we’d seen in other tropical areas of the world, primarily in Hawaii on the four islands in which we lived over a period of eight months.

Once we entered the main entrance to Flecker Garden we were reminded that there was no entrance fee (we’d seen this fact online).  This was a first.  Of the many botanical gardens we’ve visited throughout the world, there was always an entrance fee which we’d gladly have paid. 

Unusual red bloom without a sign identifying it.

In some areas of the world, our visit to gardens has been “hosted” based on the fact that we’d be providing additional marketing exposure via our online photos and promotion.  Not having the responsibility of creating stories as a more professional piece, we were more at ease as we wandered through the gardens, thinking only of what would appeal to our garden enthusiast readers and our own personal tastes.

Cascading pale yellow flowers.

Tom doesn’t love visiting gardens.  As a matter of fact, he’d just as soon not visit them at all.  However, as shown a week or so ago of us visiting a military museum, we compromise, attempting to show tolerance along with a degree of enthusiasm when we’re dragged along on a less than interesting sightseeing expedition.


Extra long stamen of a lily.

Considering that 80% of our sightseeing appeals to both of our tastes and interests, these compromises are merely an exercise in attempting to offer ourselves and our readers a wide array of what each country has to offer. 

This flower was blooming on the Flame Tree.

We realize that we tend to stay away from many of the most popular tourist attractions when crowds, traffic, parking issues and expense are factors for us.  Plus, out intent in traveling the world was never about hitting all of the “hot spots” but, instead about immersing ourselves in “living” in an area and experiencing life as close as possible to that of the locals.

The Australian Brushturkey, also called the Scrub Turkey or Bush Turkey freely roamed around the gardens. These turkeys are not closely related to American turkeys.  Click here for more details.

It is this type of experience that brings us the most joy and fulfillment in our travels as explained in the post a few days ago when we discussed living life as the “accidental tourist” as shown in this post, in case you missed it.

Over the next few days, we’ll continue sharing many of the exquisite discoveries we made the Cairns Botanic Garden and hope that you too will find them interesting and worthy of a peek.

May your weekend be filled with that which brings you much joy!

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Photo from one year ago today, July 25, 2014:
 
One year ago, it was only five days until departure from the island of  Madeira after a highly enjoyable two and a half months in the lovely home in Canmpanario overlooking the sea in an ideal contemporary house.  Although little English was spoken in our area we found a way to communicate with the locals.  For details as we wound down the last few days in Madeira, please click here.

The news follows us…We can run but can’t hide…

 
The surrounding mountains reminds us of Kauai although its very different here than in Hawaii.

We watch the news almost every day now that we have a TV.  Once we arrive in Fiji in early September for four months on two different islands, we won’t have a TV.  The only news we’ll be able to access is online from that point forward.  Unsure as to the quality of the wifi, its questionable.


We walked out onto a very short pier for a slightly better view of the beach.

We haven’t had TV in a number of past locations and we’ve managed fine without it.  After all, its only news and documentaries we care to watch, aside from at the moment Australia’s version of Dancing with the Stars that started last Sunday and in a few days, Australia’s version of The Bachelor.


A long stretch of uninhabited beach in Cairns.

We’re not too proud to admit we do enjoy these types of mindless drivel from time to time.  Seven days a week, we spend the entire morning researching and preparing for our daily post.  A bit of mindless drivel in the evening is a welcome break from our lives of travel including writing, researching and photo and the accompanying challenges and level of planning and concentration required to live such a life.

Oh, we love our lives and particularly enjoy the diversity of our lives; learning new information about the world around us, visiting venues in our current place of residence, meeting new people with perhaps a different manner of speaking and communicating their hopes, dreams and views and, the constant search for anything of interest that may appear in the lens of our camera and into our hearts.


A huge tree along the Cairns Esplanade.  Looking online, I couldn’t find the name of this tree but soon we’ll visit the Cairns Botanic Garden (yes, botanic, not botanical) and I’ll update this photo with the correct name.  Any suggestions out there?

We spend a period of time some days doing nothing of significance.  I’ve gone as far as downloading a few mindless drivel jelly-type games on my phone. I can easily wile away an entire hour of news or a documentary on the TV in the background while playing either of these silly games, paying total attention to both.


Cloudy day at the beach in Cairns at low tide.

Recently, Tom and I have begun playing the card game Gin again after a long respite when I was winning so often he got bored and even angry at times, once throwing his cards across the room.  I laughed.  We quit playing.  Now, when back home, we play each afternoon around 4 pm, my preferred tea time.


Its always interesting to visit beaches at low tide when as more birds wander about the sand in search of tasty morsels.

Actually, now the winning seems to be more evenly distributed and the challenge has improved for both of us resulting in the playing being more fun.  No card throwing.  No swearing.  Plenty of laughing.


We walked along the Cairns Esplanade encountering an occasional jogger or bicyclist.

After we busied ourselves with sightseeing, planned or unplanned, we hunker down to the now familiar “home” for the time being and do what most people do when not out and about…a bunch of nothing…a series of repetitive, familiar comforting tasks and forms of entertainment which we gravitate toward during idle time.


We hadn’t seen this species prior to the visit to the Cairns Esplanade.  After considerable research we found they are Silver Gulls.

As we watch the news trying to figure out what’s happening in the world, we discover little.  Once in awhile the US Today Show pops up on the guide which we’ll watch with curiosity as to what is going on in the US and are often disappointed to see that so much of the news revolves around the rampant sensationalism of Hollywood and its celebrities.



It appears these birds are Silver Gulls, common near the sea in Australia with their pink feet and beaks.

Also, we’re amazed by the constant bashing and criticism of other well known individuals throughout the world for their human-like flaws and foibles.  When did any of us become so perfect that we so easily bash others?


The park at the Cairns Esplanade was quiet with few visitors on the cloudy day.

I particularly cringe over the constant promotion of ways of eating and foods that continue to make the world unhealthy and unfit including the ongoing promotion (by the food industry) of a low fat, high carb diet.  Ah, I won’t get out the soapbox that I continue to haul all over the world with us.

Are we missing something wrapped up in our own little world?  Based on what we’ve seen lately on a smattering of US news, we aren’t.  We both have news apps on our phones and laptops that we reference daily.  Our intent was never to be totally isolated from that which is transpiring in the world around us.

We’ve certainly seen our share of palm and coconut trees this past year.

Today and yesterday on Australian news we continue to hear about the disharmony between Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj and now, enters Katy Perry and her opinions.  Surprisingly or perhaps not, the Australia news, so far away from Hollywood and the US entertainment industry are also caught up in reporting the scuttlebutt.


This unexplained orange sculpture is along the path on the Cairns Esplanade.  Any comments from our Aussie readers as to the story of this sculpture?

Yesterday, at the market, I noticed the magazines at checkout;  Kim’s baby bump, Tom Cruise’s new movie and Bar Raphael’s wedding plans.  Oh, good grief.  Give me a break.  I want to hear about Stephen Hawking’s plan to discover life on another planet, the newly discovered Earth 2.0 or, what is really happening in the world and how the current horrors are being addressed.

In boils down to this simple fact:  One can run but can’t hide.  No matter how far away we travel, its still there.  Although, I must admit that when we lived in Kenya without a TV, we didn’t have a clue what was going on and we didn’t miss a thing. 


Cute name for a restaurant in Cairns.

Instead, our news for the day in Kenya centered around when the power was going out again, were we really safe at the grocery store surrounded by armed guards and 24 hour security at our home or…how many poisonous centipedes inside the house can Tom squash under his shoe in one day?  Its all relative.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 24, 2014:

As we ventured out on a road trip with only seven days until departure from Madeira we continued to revel in the beautiful scenery.  For details from that date, please click here.

An accidental tourist…The key to our best adventures…Mangrove Boardwalk…

It was a dreary and cloud covered day, not the best day for entering a rainforest like environment. We entered anyway.

Years ago, I watched an excellent movie entitled, The Accidental Tourist with William Hurt, Geena Davis and Kathleen Turner.  It was a quirky movie adapted from the book with the same name by Anne Tyler.  The movie, produced in 1988, generated rave reviews for which Geena Davis received an Academy Award

The vast marsh area was relatively barren before entering the boardwalk.

The name of the movie has stuck in my brain over the years and surfaced when we began sightseeing throughout the world over these past almost three years.  The accidental tourist…that’s us.  Why is that so?

We never saw another person the entire time we walked through the saltmarsh.  It was a little eerie entering on this dreary day.

As it turns out, our favorite sightseeing experiences are those we stumble upon as opposed to planning in advance.  Whether its a beach, a desert, a flock of birds or an interesting neighborhood, when we happen to encounter a photo worthy scene, its often by “accident.”

You can zoom in to read any of these signs.

So was the case a few days ago when returning from the Cairns Central mall when Tom unintentionally turned down a road leading to the airport where a sign prohibited him from making a left turn to the main highway back to Trinity Beach.

Once inside the long narrow boardwalk took us deeper and deeper into the marsh.

This happens from time to time.  How can we possibly anticipate every left or right turn as being acceptable on an unknown road when we don’t have wifi on our phones with no cell contracts?

As it turned out it being low tide gave us an opportunity to see the unusual tree roots which at times are under water.

We map ourselves the old way.  We either take a photo of a map with turn by turn directions before we leave home or commit the directions to memory which here in the Cairns area is easy to do.  There are only a few main roads leading to everything.

Notice these little holes that creatures quickly ran in and out of as we passed.

Thus, if we explore without a plan in mind and most often we do, we’re “winging it.”  Thus, the term accidental tourist certainly comes into play when we frequently discover an area we may never have found otherwise.  Tom’s superb sense of direction always prevents us from getting lost.

When we lived in Belize, we toured a mangrove area by boat and explored the rainforest.

Plus, a person could drive the entire perimeter of the continent of Australia without a map and never get lost.  Following the coastline itself continues for an estimated over 12,700 kilometers, 7891 miles.  Click here to see a video by a scientist explaining how difficult it is to determine Australia’s or any other coastline’s measurements. 

In certain spots the holes were larger.

As a result, whenever we drive to a specific location we find ourselves veering off the beaten path on the return drive hoping to stumble upon something amazing we may have never planned and mapped to see.  That’s the essence of what makes our travels all the more exciting.

The more we continued on the boardwalk, the denser the tree became.

If any of our readers review our previous over 1000 posts, it would be apparent that many of the highlights of our experiences have been as a result of being the “accidental tourist,” perhaps not in the manner as implied by the book and subsequent movie but, instead by the interpretation of the words in themselves.

The fact that these trees survive living in saltwater for part of the season is interesting to us.

As Tom turned down the above mentioned road that led to the airport with no apparent exit for turning around, we both expected that in moments we’d arrive at either the departure or arrivals levels. 

Tangled root systems proliferate in this environment.

Of course, I never complain about Tom having to make such an unexpected turn.  I don’t drive the car leaving me with little right to comment about possible wrong turns.  Nor would I want to when I, too, am scanning the area for potential points of interest we may have otherwise missed.

We never thought much about these types of areas.  Seeing this firsthand gave us a new perspective.

There we were on the airport road and suddenly a small parking lot appeared to the right, a spot where we could possibly turn around to avoid driving into the airport complex.  As we pulled in to the “car park” a sign read, “Parking for Mangrove Boardwalk visitors only.”  Our interest was peaked.  What’s a Mangrove Boardwalk?

Wouldn’t this be a logical spot for crocs to hang out?  If one appeared, we were up high enough to avoid being eaten (after I’d take a photo, of course).

Getting out of the car we moved in to read the posted signs to discover that the Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk is a scenic, easy to navigate path through a dense saltmarsh and marshlands.  To quote from the site:

We scoured the banks of the creek hoping to spot wildlife.

“The Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk is a special place to learn about tropical Australian mangroves and saltmarsh. Visitors can learn about a broad range of species, and some of the key functional attributes of these tidal wetland systems. The walk has two distinct parts, heading either north or south into closed mangrove forests from the carpark situated adjacent to a small saltmarsh and saltpan area.

Water from the creeks remained in some areas of the saltmarsh.

The northern boardwalk extends to Little Barron Creek where viewing platforms are provided at the creekside. About half way along the walk, a canopy tower offers a view across the tree tops. This section of the walk returns in a circuit to the carpark. Signs are placed along the boardwalk to provide information on the many ways that plants and animals have adapted to this interesting environment.

The southern boardwalk offers a slightly different experience and explores a number of different types of mangrove forests. This section terminates at a canopy tower near the mouth of Swampy Creek. Signs along this section provide information on the productivity of mangrove forests.

It was odd and somewhat eerie, never seeing other people.

The boardwalk was opened on the 27 February 1988 by Dr JT Baker, OBE, PhD, FRACI, Director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. It was constructed by the Cairns City Council on land made available by the Cairns Port Authority. Construction was supported by the Cairns Bicentennial Community Committee, with the assistance of dedicated employees who constructed the boardwalk, working closely with the Cairns Port Authority, the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Location Details


  • Distance/length: Two sections: north 0.8 km, and south 1.2 km

  • Location: Just off the road to the Cairns Airport.

  • Walking Time: 30 and 40 mins, respectively.

  • Address: Airport Avenue, Cairns.

  • Directions: Directions as if going to the Cairns International Airport, look for signs to Mangrove Boardwalk when nearing the airport.

  • Contact: For more information: Cairns City Council, Cairns

We wondered if these little sticks popping out of the ground were remains of downed trees or future trees growing in the salty ground.

Walking through this unusual area was both eerie and interesting at the same time.  The raised wooden walkway was in excellent condition and easy to walk, although too narrow for us to walk side by side.  I led the way while Tom followed behind reminding me not to fall off a few times.  I never felt as if I’d fall off the one meter wide boardwalk without a railing. Then again, he’s always looking out for me.

It wasn’t far down to the ground from the boardwalk.

As we continued on, the mosquitos started to congregate around my repellent free legs causing me to stop on occasion to swat them off.  It wasn’t until the next morning that the bites began to itch which still continues today.  Alas, I could have refused to enter this heavily forested area.  But, being who I am, I was determined to go and never complain.


This complex cluster of tree roots was hard to miss.

At one point, it felts as if the boardwalk would never end and perhaps we’d get lost. I suggested to Tom that we may have to turn around and go back the way we came when there were no signs posted with map of the boardwalk once inside the path.

We stopped to read each sign along the way.

Tom said, “Let’s keep going.  The path will come back around to the beginning.”

I didn’t take the time to read this sign when close to the water, the mosquitos were on a frenzy.

We continued on and alas, in time, we eventually found the path that circled around the entire perimeter returning us to the beginning.  It was quite an interesting and unusual walk unlike any other than we’d done in the past, except for a few tours on which we embarked into various rainforests in a few countries.

Another large muddy creek, a habitat for wildlife.

The only wildlife we encountered was birds none of which we were able to take photos and also, the most peculiar little creatures that rapidly ran in and out the holes in the ground at low tide when they heard us coming, again never able to get a good look at them, let alone take a photo.  We assumed they must have been some miniature type of marine life.


Finally, we were back at the beginning.  Although I enjoyed seeing this most peculiar area, I was thrilled to get back into the car away from the mosquitos.  Once inside I noticed a stick roll-on repellent I’d left in the car.  Next time we explore, I’ll bring it along, using it as needed.

When the walk ended, we commented over how often we find such interesting spots to explore and that truly our favorite experiences are often those we encounter as “accidental tourists.”

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Photo from one year ago today, July 23, 2014:
 
Scenery over the island of Madeira was breathtaking every day.  Our time was winding down and we began to think ahead in this year ago post. Please click here for details.
 

A diverse and unexpected day out and about…Problems with men’s shirts…Many new photos coming!

It was easy to find the shopping center in Cairns with only a few turn required off the main highway into town.

Yesterday morning, after uploading the post and in an impromptu manner I suggested to Tom that we head to Cairns, the closest big city for a visit to the largest shopping mall within hundreds of miles/kilometers.

We’ve giggled when we’ve seen signs mentioning Australia’s biggest “stocktake” sales, an expression that is definitely Aussie.

We each needed a few items, none of which we’d ever be able to find in the next many months after leaving Australia.  We’d never be able to find our short list in Fiji and receiving packages is the island is outrageous after estimates we received from our mailing service.

Tom needed a new white dress shirt for formal nights on the many upcoming cruises.  Often there are as many as three formal nights on a 14 day cruise.  On longer cruises there may be as many as five formal nights.

In the US, a similar store is called “Bed, Bath and Beyond.”

We’ve learned that we both can get by dressing “business casual,” him in a long sleeved white dress shirt (no tie or jacket) with black pants with his more dressy Cole Haan shoes and me, in a long skirt with any of my tops belted or with a scarf and a bit of costume jewelry. 


Tom asked me not to take any photos of him wearing this same shirt from the previous day.  But, I do laundry every day and he wore this shirt again while trying to wear out a few shirts before tackling the less used stack of tee shirts tucked away in his luggage.  He eyeballed the old fashioned candy in this store, not buying a thing.

Once we’re seated at a shared table with eight to twelve other cruise passengers and have an opportunity to explain our limited luggage, they rest assured we aren’t totally uncouth as they dine with us many wearing their evening gowns and tuxedos. 


After all these cruises (11 so far) we don’t feel uncomfortable in our more casual attire.  However, having a few items to enhance our attire is crucial to feeling acceptably dressed.  For Tom, a proper fitting white shirt is essential.

We noticed a number of these tax preparer kiosks at the shopping malls.  The Australian tax year end June 30th and returns are filed by October 31st.  If a taxpayers uses a registered tax preparer they may apply for an extension which it appears most of these people have done.

The problem with that is the fact that now that his weight is down within 10 pounds of his lowest, once aboard the ship he’s unable to resist the carbs and sugary foods and he usually starts gaining weight on the very first day, no matter how much we walk the decks.  Within a few days his white dress shirt begins to fit tighter and tighter each day until finally it doesn’t fit at all.

The mall is as huge as any we’d visited in the US (except for the Mall of America in Minnesota) including a multiplex movie theatre, food court and undercover parking ramp, referred to as a “car park” in Australia, not a parking lot.

Oh sure, he could curtail his eating.  But, if my way of eating wasn’t necessary for my survival, I’d have no will power on a cruise ship.  Maintaining one’s weight isn’t enough of a motivator to avoid those tempting desserts, appetizers, poolside burgers and fries and ice cream cones in unlimited amounts. 

In my old life, before eating this way, I’d never been on a cruise ship to experience the temptations of unlimited appealing foods.  Although I’ve always been relatively slim, I was always “watching” my weight, occasionally falling prey to sweet temptations. 

Peering over a railing to view a huge book sale.

Now, its no temptation at all when it comes to my health.  It isn’t even about self control.  Its about quality of life.  We wouldn’t be traveling the world if I started eating one of my past favorites, doughnuts, as shown in one of today’s photos.  Doughnuts, pastries, cookies, cakes, pies…in my old life I loved it all frequently baking and struggling to resist excess amounts.

For a Tuesday midday, the mall was very busy as shown here.

Back to the white shirt.  The one Tom had been wearing on the the past few cruises no longer works.  If he lost the last 10 pounds, it would fit perfectly.  It will never work one more time on a cruise. 

The problem in finding him a long sleeved dress shirt is a problem many men have today which may include a smaller neck size, shoulder width and sleeve length and yet possessing a bit of fluff around the middle. 

Before we know it we’ll be in Thailand to experience authentic Thai food firsthand.

I’m not complaining about the fluff.  My only concern is in regard to how that fluff may effect health in the long run.  The same goes for women.  Had I not been on this strict way of eating, I’d certainly have fallen into that same belly fat condition.  Its an age related dilemma that few are exempt from after 60 years of age.

Tom is always shocked by the prices at McDonald’s but its been a long time since he made a purchase.  Price have changed over these past years since we’ve been gone from the US.

Yesterday around noon, when we entered the lavish shopping mall in Cairns,  Cairns Central, finding a new shirt for Tom was highest on our priority list.  We’d seen online that Myer, a department store where we’d most likely find a wide selection of dress shirts.

After perusing many racks and noticing that most of the white dress shirts were marked “slim fit” we were ready to walk out until finally a lovely sales women was available to assist us.  In Australia, sizing is different than we were used to and honestly, we weren’t sure what size would actually work with his shorter sleeve length and smaller shoulder measurements.

Considering that a double sized burger is AUD $9.70, the US price of $7.21 doesn’t seem that high to me.  Is that higher than in the US?

The trusty saleswoman shipped out a tape measure, quickly checked his measurements arriving at a size that would work for him all the way around.  I was skeptical but kept my mouth shut as he tried on a shirt in the Aussie size of 43/86.  Go figure.  We’d never have figured this out on our own.

Hungry Jack in Australia is actually the same as Burger King in the US.

In a matter of minutes, we were walking out the door with a perfectly well fitted shirt with room for “cruise food,” in a carefree fabric that was considered wrinkle free and yet has a quality designer feel. 

At a meager USD $37.08, AUD $49.95, for the fine shirt, we were couldn’t have been more pleased.  He’d easily have been willing to pay twice as much for such a great fit. I suggested he purchase two identical shirts at this price but, weight restrictions always prevail in any of our purchase decisions.

These prices appear considerably less than McDonalds.

At that point we were off to look for a the few items on my short list…how shall I diplomatically say “undergarments,” simply put, panties.  (What a weird word to put in writing!)  I only share this tidbit of information as part of our travel experience.

This donut shop reminded us of Dunkin’ Donuts in the US.

Us girls (and guys) always have a preference for a particular fabric and style.  The last time I purchased panties (ouch) was when Okee Dokee and I headed to Komatipoort in South Africa to a women’s shop in February 2014.  Click here to see that post. 

I purchased eight pairs in South Africa in varying fabrics, none of which will survive one more washing.  The bra I purchased at that time, later ended in a donation pile when it itched while wearing.  Tom suggested commando.  I declined.  No women my age goes commando unless they’ve “forgotten” to include these when dressing.  I’m not there yet!

My mouth watered checking out these donuts.  Tom had little interest in them since he doesn’t like the frosted or sugar coated types.  I’d have eaten any of these in my old life.

As we perused the shops in the vast mall we stumbled upon a shop, Body Cairns, that caught my eye.  My eyes flitted over the wide array of workout wear and also, a table of panties not unlike one would find in a Victoria’s Secret store in the US.  I purchased five pairs and, two Capri length workout/leggings that are perfect for everyday wear as well as trips to the fitness center. 

Here’s Tom’s new long sleeved white dress shirt for which he paid USD $37.08, AUD $49.95.

After paying USD $59.31, AUD $79.90 for all seven items I was pleasantly surprised by the quality, selection and prices, although a little confused by the sizing.  A friendly young women assisted me encouraging me to try on the leggings which I did, happy with the fit.

Purchases completed, we decided to wander through the remainder of the mall, checking out the stores and the food court.  Although I encouraged Tom to have lunch, there was nothing he felt like ordering after his big breakfast at home.  In any case, it was fun to see the shops and fast food restaurants popular in Australia.

Here are my seven item priced at AUD $79.90, USD $59.31.

After leaving the mall, we drove around Cairns on a self directed sightseeing tour for the remainder of the afternoon enjoying every moment even on the cloudy day.  We’ll share more photos over the next few days including a totally unexpected and somewhat peculiar find in tomorrow’s post.

Thanks to so many of our reader friends who wrote to us via comments and email to wish us well with the good health reports.  Your interest in our well being means the world to us!
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Photo from one year ago today,  July 22, 2014:

One year ago, we posted photos of the morphology of the banana tree with progressives photos of a bloom .  Please click here to see these photos.