A fun interlude with “kapuna” with bingo and games…One year ago, raining in the house…

The unassuming exterior of the Princeville Community Center located near the Princeville Shopping Center, across the street from the Princeville Library.

As senior citizens, we’ve certainly taken advantage of discounts and a variety of opportunities afforded only to the aging population throughout the world. 

By the time we arrived exactly at 10:45, most of the seats were already filled. We’d better get into the groove of the “arriving early syndrome” so popular with seniors.

It may be in the form of discount movie tickets, 5% off on some cruise fares with an AARP card (which we have), 5% off groceries on Thursdays here in Kauai at the local Foodland store, or as many seniors are aware, discounts at various dining establishments at certain times or days of the week.

Many had their plates full of the goodies prepared by the volunteers and some guests.

As a matter of fact, Hawaii has numerous discounts and benefits for seniors, perhaps in consideration of the higher cost of living than on the mainland. Also, we’ve found, that with the high population of seniors living in Hawaii many activities for seniors are organized and well-executed. (For demographics on seniors living in the Hawaiian Islands, please click here).

The party room is air-conditioned and comfortable.

Kapuna is the Hawaiian word for grandparents or elders who are revered and held in high esteem by the Hawaiian people.

As we’ve aged these past few years we’ve tended to become friends with many who are much younger than us, by circumstance rather than preferences. But, here in Princeville, almost every part-time or permanent resident is over 60 years old. 

It was obvious that a lot of work had gone into the preparation of the pu pu’s.

The only younger people we’ve met are friends or relatives of the older population and tourists passing through for the myriad adventures Kauai has to offer, many high risk and dangerous for many seniors as we’ve recently discovered on some serious hikes we’ve taken, none of which are inspiring us to return.

The three plates of quiche were quite a hit. 

Yesterday morning at 10:45, we attended a free senior St. Patrick’s Day party at the Princeville at Hanalei Community Center which was introduced to us by friend Richard who’d saved a local newspaper article for us announcing the details of the event. Thanks again, Richard, our personal social director.

Me and my three bingo cards. Toward the end of the various bingo games, after I’d won, Tom took over one of my cards when he noticed I wasn’t properly tending to them due to my short attention span.

Anticipating that the majority of the attendees would be considerably older than our 67 and 62 respectively, we were surprised when at least half were our ages or a few years younger. 

“Do I have B 11?”

We brought along our pu pu to share and were pleased to see a table filled with beautifully prepared entrees and desserts. Tom tried some of the desserts and won several peppermint patty type candies which he devoured with gusto. I didn’t eat a thing instead, busying myself taking photos and visiting with our table mate, Barbara, a lovely woman from Germany who’s lived in the islands for years.

“How about an O 72?”

I won bingo once when I used three (free) cards winning a much-needed Pier One green plastic wine glass which my sister will use when she visits in a few days. The other guests were exceedingly friendly as were the volunteers and hostess Cristina and of course, the bingo caller whose name I never heard among the loud roar of the crowd of about 40 participants.

“Ah, I didn’t win but my wife did.  I’m happy!”

Less than a two-hour event, we departed shortly after 12:00 pm, with a handout of the next party for spring that occurs on April 14th at the same time and location. Without a doubt, we’ll surely attend the next party not so much for the food and games but for the opportunity to meet people and to feel a part of a community for the remaining period we’re on the island.

My winning card, the letter “H.”

For local seniors and visitors who find themselves feeling a desire to mingle, make new friends, and discover an easy, no cost means of inclusion in the community, involvement in these events is ideal. 

I was thrilled to win this wineglass from Pier One when there’s a shortage at our condo which will come in handy when Julie arrives tomorrow night. 

Also, if you know of a senior who may benefit from “getting out” and socializing, feel free to bring them to an event. The center asks that participants call or email that they plan to attend. 

When we weren’t certain we’d be done posting in time to attend, we hadn’t reserved our spots and were welcomed with open arms. Bringing a pu pu to share is not required since volunteers prepare most of the food while others like us brought a dish to share.

The party was winding down after the last game.  Tom helped with the folding of the tables and chairs while I chatted with other participants.

The community center has numerous other activities appealing to all ages which can be found on their website under the calendar posted. Their phone number is: (808) 826-6687 or inquiries may be made by email: info@princevillecommunity.com

Have a happy hump day for those of you still working. See, you too can look forward to retirement for more than one reason.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, March 11, 2014:

It rained inside the riad in Marrakech with the open central courtyard. When we maneuvered from room to room we walked along the edges to avoid getting wet. For details on that date, please click here.

Just booked cruise #6…

Planning our itinerary so far in advance has prompted questions from our friends, family, and readers.  Why book so far ahead? There are reasons for planning ahead: 

1. Favorable Rental Rates: Booking vacation rentals utilizing some type of contract between the parties; us and the property owner/manager, for a predetermined price, allows for a “locked-in” rental amount without consideration for inflation. One would assume the benefit is all ours, but in reality, this greatly benefits the property owner as well.  
Should the economy continue to dive (as anticipated), it could result in a decline in travel. With a contract, a deposit, and a commitment from us for no less than one month and for as long as four months, the owner is provided a modicum of peace of mind knowing their property is rented in the future to responsible, mature travelers.
2. Favorable Cruise Pricing: Our cruise agency and it’s amazing cruise agent, Joaquin Contreras, not only provide for discounted cruises, membership discounts (such as AARP, military, organizations), and past customer discounts. As I’d mentioned in a previous post, they guarantee the lowest prices up to 90 days prior to sailing. Thus, if we book a cruise for 2014, if and when the price goes down, we get the benefit of the lower amount. To avoid their customers waiting until the last minute to book cruises, this benefit ceases at the 90 days from the sail date.   
Yes, we could wait to book cruises until they offer the lowest possible pricing during the last 30-90 days, perhaps saving a few hundred dollars. However, as we carefully peruse the 1000’s of cruises posted on their website, we notice many cruises are sold out. We’d prefer the peace of mind knowing that we have avoided airports, luggage restrictions, bad airlines, long overnight travel, and jet lag, an annoying consideration that is all but eliminated in the gradual course of a cruise.
3.  Using Cruising as a Mode of Transportation: We will need to book no more than three flights for the 926 days we have planned thus far. If we could avoid these flights by cruising, we would. The difficult, if not impossible locations to reach by cruises are:   
a.  Kenya (due to piracy in the seas) 
b.  South Africa (still awaiting cruises to be posted for 2014)
c.  Madeira (a remote island 1200 miles from Lisbon, Portugal for which there used to be a weekly ferry.  Cruise ships only come to Madeira at certain times of the year) 
Today, we booked our 6th cruise. When we arrive in Barcelona on May 1, 2013, our plan included getting off the ship hauling all of our “stuff” and take a cab to the port of the ferry line to get us over to the island of Mallorca for our pre-planned one month’s visit. We would have spent hours awaiting the next ferry and hours traveling by ferry to the island.  

A few days ago a new cruise was posted. The ship on which we will arrive in Barcelona, Spain, The Norwegian Epic, a repositioning cruise, will leave for a four-night cruise, stopping off in Mallorca the second to last day. The cruise line has agreed to “drop us off” at Mallorca and continue on without us.  

Today we booked our same cabin on the same ship that brought us to Barcelona, Spain, allowing us to continue on to our next destination. Of course, there is an additional cost, around $1100 for both of us, in the same cabin with a balcony. This is called a “back to back.” 

The cost of the ferry would have been around $300 plus food for both of us. What are we getting for our additional $800? Room and board on a fabulous ship for three additional nights, great food, beautiful seas, and romantic walks along the promenade with my honey.  

Adding the cost of the combined fifteen days of cruising from Miami to Barcelona and then, Barcelona to Mallorca, our average cost is $205.97 per night (for both of us) including taxes, port taxes, meals, and entertainment (tips are extra). In looking online for the rates at a local Holiday Inn, 20 minutes away, mid-range, the cost with taxes would be $147.70 per night not including meals and entertainment.  

Now tell me, which sounds more appealing???