Day #280 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Visa extensions done!…12 days and counting…

Tom’s burger in a restaurant in Palermo, Buenos Aires, with ham, eggs, cheese, and beef plus, fried potatoes.

Today’s photos are from this date, December 30, 2017, while staying in Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina over the holidays in a boutique hotel, awaiting our upcoming cruise to Antarctica, sailing on January 24, 2018. For more on the post, please click here.

It was only three years ago, we arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Tom’s birthday, December 23, 2017, to begin the one-month wait to fly to Ushuaia, Argentina to board our upcoming 18-day cruise on Ponant’s Le Boreal. We’d booked that particular cruise after searching for weeks to find a cruise meeting our major criteria; being able to disembark the ship while in Antarctica to board the 10-person Zodiac boats to fully embrace the true Antarctica experience, up close and personal.

This is where we dined one night, San Serrano Deli & Drinks.

The cost was outrageous for our budget, over US $36,000, INR 2,637,995 but as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, we felt it was worth it. We paid it off over many months, so by the time we sailed, it was paid in full and the only other expenses were those on our cabin bill. WiFi, all meals, drinks, and tours were included in the cruise fare, resulting in few expenses subsequent to sailing.

However, that one-month in the tiny boutique hotel in Buenos Aires presented some challenges of its own, none of which we couldn’t handle with ease. An included continental breakfast consisting of boiled eggs, deli meats, cheese, fruit, pastries, coffee, and tea got us through the day. With no restaurant in the hotel, each evening, we headed out on foot to find yet another spot for dinner.

Guest started filtering in when it was hot outdoors, although many patrons dined at tables near the busy street.

Due to the fact we prefer to dine by 7:00 pm, our restaurant choices were limited to a degree. Many restaurants didn’t open until 9:00 pm or later. We prefer not to dine so late, especially as early risers having the small breakfast to hold us through the day since we prefer not to eat lunch, resulting in way too much food. With our low carb/keto way of eating, we’re never hungry until the early evening.

That month in the hotel was challenging in some ways, particularly around Christmas and New Year’s. Most restaurants were closed on Christmas Eve and day and also on New Year’s Day. We diligently searched for dinner options for us for those three evenings, but there were none. We weren’t willing to walk the streets at night in the dark which didn’t seem safe or sensible.

We stretched our necks to read this menu on the wall. After a while, a server brought us menus.

Subsequently, we ended up purchasing a wide array of deli meats, canned tuna, and a variety of cheeses to eat at the little table and chairs in the Jacuzzi area in our hotel room. In the end, it all worked out well. We enjoyed a few drinks at the hotel bar (no food available) as we laughed over the irony. We were the only guests in the hotel at Christmas!

We made it through the holidays, looking forward to the upcoming cruise, often laughing over our peculiar situation. That was one long month. But, it was nothing compared to the 10 months we’ll have spent in this hotel. At least there, we were able to go out each day and evening to explore the interesting area, often walking for many miles.

You couldn’t pay me to eat this grilled chicken salad with grilled tomatoes. I need some beef!

As for today, we’re settled down, hoping our new flight will continue to stay in place as it has in the past 48 hours. With only 12 days until we depart, now on January 11th, we’re getting all of “our ducks in a row.” The hotel manager has booked a different lab for our Covid-19 tests on January 10th when the company we’d booked didn’t respond to email inquiries or answer their phone. I sent an email canceling the first company and feel comfortable that the second company booked by the hotel will suit our needs.

Yesterday, after uploading our hurried post, we began the painstaking process of filing for an extension of our now-expired  Indian visas. Whew! What a cumbersome process! The website stated it would take approximately 14 days for approval. Our applications were posted on the 13th day.

Sullivan’s Irish Pub, on a corner in the neighborhood.

If by the time we’re ready to leave, we don’t have the extensions, we’ll have the hotel print the documents and email verification that we did in fact apply. Hopefully, the immigration department at the airport will accept those records at the airport as we depart.

What are our odds of actually being able to leave for South Africa? At this point, it feels as if 50% is fair speculation. We have made a decision that we will not stay in India if we are turned away at the airport. We’ll find another flight to some other country while at the airport and head out. Since everything changes day by day, at this point, we can’t commit as to where this will be.

One of many historic buildings we’d see each time we headed down Gorriti road.

Today, I will start going through luggage to see how I can lighten the load. Tom doesn’t usually care to pack his bag until a day or two before we depart. That’s fine with me.

May you have a good day as we all wind down this dreadful year. Be well.

Photo from one year ago on December 30, 2019:

Painting on the wall outside a sushi restaurant in Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina on this date in 2017. For the year-ago post, please click here

Tom’s latest haircut…A new look and…A new smartphone purchase in South Africa…

Tom’s excellent new haircut.  She cut his hair this time as opposed to using the electric clippers.  Cost with a tip?  ZAR 130, US $9.35 (includes tip).  Wow!  I love the beard!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A band of mongoose stopped by for raw scrambled eggs. Note green dish in the right center of the photo.

When Tom grew a beard in Bali, he quickly became frustrated with it when he said it was “scratchy” on the pillowcase when he was trying to sleep. As light sleepers, any type of distraction can prevent a good night’s sleep.


Recently, when he hadn’t shaved for a day or two I raved about the stubble, he decided to give it another try.  So far, so good.  We all enjoy seeing our beloved significant other with a new look from time to time, don’t we?

I can’t say I shake it up much, living this lifestyle but as I continue to work on my weight loss, albeit slowly but successfully, that’s all the new look he’s getting out of me. 

Tom’s wild hair before the haircut.

Later, I’ll disclose how much I’ve lost and how I’ve done it.  It may be another two months until I reach my goal.  I’m only losing about .5 kg (one pound) a week at this point although I never “cheat.”

Yesterday, we decided to head to Komatipoort a little early and left before I’d finished the day’s post as mentioned in yesterday’s post.  On the way to Spar Center, we stopped at the Pep Cell Phone Store first to no avail.  There wasn’t a single phone in that store that appealed to me.

Realizing I probably wouldn’t keep a new phone for more than a year or so, the price was a major consideration.  As it turned out, I left the Vodacom store a few doors from the market with one of the most expensive phones in the inventory price at ZAR $2500, US $179.86.

Within an hour another band of mongoose came by for eggs or…was it the same group that was here earlier?  These animals and others are very tricky in making us think they are a new batch of visitors!

Of course, there’s no required contract when buying “unlocked” phones to which one can add two separate SIM cards, one for voice, another for data.  Once I selected the phone I wanted as shown in the photo, the salesperson put my existing voice SIM card in the new phone and I was ready to pay.

Not unexpectedly, their credit card machine didn’t work (this happened years ago at this same location when we tried to buy data) so Tom headed to the neighboring bank’s ATM for the cash. 


In the interim, the store’s tech guy showed up and got the handheld credit card processing device to finally process my credit card purchase.  We can always use the extra Tom got from the ATM, so it was no big deal.

My new smartphone purchased yesterday at the Vodacom store in Komatipoort.

Actually, this happens a lot here.  After all, this is Africa, not the USA and services don’t always work as expected, seamlessly and without complications.  Networks are often down, electricity is often down and packages don’t arrive as anticipated.

Our package containing hundreds of dollars of supplies, shipped from the US on May 28th has yet to arrive.  Dear Louise has taken over the daunting task of getting the package sent to Marloth Park. 

The postal service has acknowledged it has arrived in Pretoria after successfully going through customs.  We’ve called no less than 10 times seeking an answer.  But the language barrier has been an obstacle that seems to have impeded the conversations when we did manage to get someone on the line.  We’ll see how it rolls out, posting the results here.

Last night, our next door neighbors, staying in the house for two, stopped by for happy hour.  We had a great time with Lydia and her son Jody from Amsterdam.

When we returned to the house, we put away the groceries after which I finished and uploaded the day’s post.  I was anxious to get my new phone up and running with all my favorite apps.

The process went as smoothly as I hoped and within a few hours, the new phone was loaded with all my information and apps.  Although I rarely make a phone call on the smartphone, I usually use it for the same types of mindless drivel most people do. It was a relief to have this handled.

Last night, tourists from Amsterdam who are renting the house next door, joined us for sundowners on our veranda.  With the outdoor heater on low, we were able to stay comfortable at the big table.  We had a great time with Lydia and Jordy and have already connected in Facebook.

There’s a tinge of green developing in the bush after on and off drizzling over the past few days.  This little bit of rain can be so beneficial for the grazing wildlife.

Tonight, we’re invited to dinner at friend’s Uschi and Evan’s home.  We have no doubt this will be another enjoyable evening in the bush.  Still, the wildlife visitor count is low and we’re looking forward to Monday when the tourist traffic thins out and our animals friends return to our garden.

Have a fabulous summer weekend for some and winter weekend for those of us in this side of the world!

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Photo from one year ago today, August 10, 2017:

One year ago today we booked the Protea Hotel in Buenos Aires where we stayed while awaiting the cruise to Antarctica.  The nightly rate included this breakfast.  We ate the eggs, cheese and meats only, no cereals, milk, pastries or fruit.  For more details, please click here.

Off we go!…Busy day getting ready for our return to Africa…Final Expenses two nights in Buenos Aires…And, a new video of Elephant Seals as well as more new Antarctica photos…

 Elephant Seals doing some serious power lounging in Grytviken, South Georgia, Antarctica.  Check this out for a bit of humor.

Yesterday was one busy day.  Not only did we have to open all the boxes we’d left behind to lighten our load for the cruise to Antarctica, we had to literally take out everything we own and repack it.

Thousands of Albatross nesting Steeple Jason Island in the Falkland Islands.

Then, we had to check the baggage weight limits for tomorrow’s flights, weigh the bags and move things around as needed.  As it turns out, we’ve made it all work but we will have to pay US $80 (ARS 1602) for our third extra bag.  Each of our two main bags is within the 51 pound (23 kg) limit, give or take one kilo or so.

An interesting small iceberg with glacial ice and snow.

Then, we scanned all of our receipts, tossing the paper, from the past 20 days since we left Buenos Aires for the cruise including our cruise bill, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.

A Humpback Whale, one of many we spotted in Neko Harbor.

From there, we paid our two-night Prodeo Hotel bill, in cash (trying to dispose of our remaining Argentine pesos), prepaid by credit card our taxi fare for today’s ride to the airport at US $50 (ARS $1001) using a credit card. 


This left us with enough cash to tip the waiter for tonight’s dinner (cash only for tips) at La Cabrera (we decided we needed to go one last time) and a balance of about US $14 (ARS) for the tip for the taxi driver and possibly a cup of coffee and tea at the airport.  Perfect.

It looks like the King Penguin on the left is nesting an egg.  Or, could it be the chick is tucked underneath the parent’s feathers?

Alessandro, our wonderful hotelier, printed all the paper documents we needed to have in our possession since we won’t have yet purchased a South Africa SIM card for our phones which included:
1.  Flight information
2.  Rental car contract and information
3.  Directions from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga airport to our holiday rental in Marloth Park. (It’s been four years since we were there and we needed a refresher.
4.  The address and instructions for getting into the property in Marloth Park when we arrive between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm.

Rockhopper Penguins are so adorable.

Gee…we don’t like having to carry “zee papers” with us but in this case without data access, it made sense to us.  We didn’t want to be fumbling around with our laptops or phones trying to find what we need.

During intermittent breaks from preparing yesterday’s post, I ran upstairs to our room, did a little more sorting, folding and packing.  When I returned Tom did the same.  By 2:00 pm, we both went upstairs and weighed the bags using our portable scale.  So far, so good.

We missed a better shot of this whale’s fluke.  But, when whale watching, one takes what they can get.

At that point I went online to attempt to prepay for the bags only to be given a notice see a pop-up announcing we can only check in at the counter at the airport nor could we prepay for our luggage (50% off to prepay) which again must be done at the counter. This has happened many times in the past. 

This is frustrating.  Why should we have to pay double when we were unable to pay for baggage online.  We’ll certainly take this up with the rep when we get to the airport if they attempt to charge us the higher rates.

This Caracara looks ready to find lunch.

Trying to stay positive we moved on to the next thing, putting together the expenses for this quick two-night stay in Palermo, Buenos Aires.  Here are the totals:

Expense
US Dollar
Argentine Pesos
Hotel – 2 nights
$ 140.00
2802
Taxi
$ 50.00
1001
Dining out- inc tips
$ 82.50
1651
Misc
$ –
Total
$ 272.50
5,454.00
Avg Daily Cost
$ 136.25
2,727.00
“Orcas, or killer whales, are the largest of the dolphins and one of the world’s most powerful predators. They feast on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales, employing teeth that can be four inches long. They are known to grab seals right off the ice. They also eat fish, squid, and seabirds.”

This morning we were up, showered and dressed early after a good night’s sleep.  By 8:00 am we were situated in the hotel lobby for a light breakfast of hard boiled eggs, ham and cheese. 

After all the whale watching trips we’d done on tours these past years, to finally see plenty in Antarctica was a dream come true.

Who knows when I’ll get to eat again?  Airline food never works for me since the available options never fit my criteria.  Oh, well, I’ll be fine.  We’ll figure out something for dinner once we arrive in MP when we know we’ll be too tired to grocery shop.

We’ve received similar certificates on past cruises such as transiting the Panama Canal, etc.  We scan these rather than carry them with us.
We each received an Antarctica Explorer Certificate.
Sit tight, dear readers, we’re about to go for quite a ride, this time with more experience and an even greater passion for the world around us. Hop on board!


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Photos from one year ago today, February 10, 2017:

More than 400 pilot whales stranded themselves on a New Zealand beach on the evening of Thursday February 9.
Hundreds of pilot whales were stranded on the beach in New Zealand. at this time last year (Not our photo).  As we think about all the whales we saw in Antarctica this becomes all the more heart wrenching.  For more details, please click here.

Antarctica…Final photos, nearing the final wrapup…Our Killer Whales video…

 Killer Whales (orcas) in the Polar Circle.

It feels odd to be back in civilization after the 16 nights we spent at sea as our ship, Ponant Le Soleal scoured the territory on its way to the Polar Circle in the Antarctic to provide its 193 passengers with an exceptional experience.  And, exceptional, it was.

This is undoubtedly one of my favorite Chinstrap Penguin photos as she’s situated on the cool rocks in order to cool down on a warm day.


 
One of the Zodiac boats approaching the ship for us to board.


Now, back in Buenos Aires for the next 24 hours, we’re busily preparing to leave for Africa, I’m trying to shift gears from our previous penguin-minded adventures back to thinking in terms of giraffes, zebras, elephants, rhinos, lions and warthogs and more.


A face only a mother could love.

Transitioning from the vast amount of wildlife in Antarctica to Africa will be easier than it may have been had we’d been moving on to a less wildlife-rich country. 

Elephant seals lying in a ditch.

And yet, the memories will always linger on for this life-changing experience. Antarctica will remain in our hearts and minds forever. We could easily spend the next two to three months, sharing more of the thousands of photos we took during those 16 nights, 17 days.

A photogenic baby fur seal.

But, it’s time to move on to our next adventure and we do so with enthusiasm and joy for the opportunities of the past and for those upcoming in the future. Each and every leg of our year’s long journey leaves us with more knowledge, more understanding and more passion for this world, its people and its treasures that surround us.

A sea of penguins.
As a recap of our itinerary on the Antarctica cruise, please read below:
  • Ushuaia – New Island
  • New Island – Steeple Jason
  • Steeple Jason – Saunders the Neck
  • Saunders – Elsehul
  • Elsehul – Stromness
  • Stromness – Grytviken
  • Grytviken – Maiviken
  • Maiviken – Saint Andrews
  • Saint Andrews – Turret Point
  • Turret Point – Half Moon
  • Half Moon – Deception Island
  • Deception Island – Paradise Bay
  • Paradise Bay -Pleneau
  • Pleneau – Detaille Island
  • Detaille Island – Baie De Lallemand
  • Baie De Lallemand – Neko
  • Neko – Ushuaia
Total miles traveled:  3,695 nautical miles, 4,252 miles, 6,843 km
These types of caves are enticing.  Wouldn’t it be fun to peek inside?
We move forward to the next phase of our journey, eternally grateful for the experience, for the good fortune in weather along the way and for the wildlife who gave us more than we ever expected.
Fabulous Chef Tony made us some fabulous dishes while outdoors on the veranda.
Tomorrow morning, we’ll leave the Prodeo Hotel for the airport at 10:00 am.  It’s about a 45-minute ride to the airport getting us there in the required two-hour window for international flights.
Happy little chick!
We’ll do a short post tomorrow with a few more new Antarctica photos and another short post the following day February 11th to announce our arrival in South Africa.  From there we’ll return to our regular schedule of daily full-sized posts with Africa photos as we live among the wildlife in Marloth Park and of course, our wonderful friends.
Black-browed Albatross chick.
Penguins on an iceberg!
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Photo from one year ago today, February 9, 2017:

Sailboats moored in the bay in Dover, Tasmania.  For more details, please click here.

Evita Peron’s burial site at La Recoleta Cemetery…A movie to remember…Comments for our 2000th post…

We could see we’d found Evita’s family crypt.

The first mausoleum most visitors rush to see upon their arrival at La Recoleta Cemetery is that of Evita Perón, first lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death from cancer in 1952.  We were no different than others and excitedly rushed to her site as soon as we discovered where it was located.

Here is information about Evita from this site:

Eva Perón
Eva Perón Retrato Oficial.jpg
First Lady of Argentina
In office
4 June 1946 – 26 July 1952
President Juan Perón
Preceded by Conrada Victoria Farrell
Succeeded by Mercedes Lonardi (1955)
President of the Eva Perón Foundation
In office
8 July 1948 – 26 July 1952
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Delia Parodi
Personal details
Born Eva María Duarte
7 May 1919
Los Toldos, Argentina
Died 26 July 1952 (aged 33)Buenos Aires, Argentina
Resting place La Recoleta Cemetery
Political party Justicialist Party
Peronist Feminist Party
Spouse(s) Juan Perón (1945–1952)
Signature
Eva María Duarte de Perón (7 May 1919 – 26 July 1952) was the wife of Argentine President Juan Perón (1895–1974) and First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. She is usually referred to as Eva Perón or Evita.

She was born in poverty in the rural village of Los Toldos, in the Pampas, as the youngest of five children. At 15 in 1934, she moved to the nation’s capital of Buenos Aires to pursue a career as a stage, radio, and film actress. She met Colonel Juan Perón there on 22 January 1944 during a charity event at the Luna Park Stadium to benefit the victims of an earthquake in San Juan, Argentina. The two were married the following year. Juan Perón was elected President of Argentina in 1946; during the next 6 years, Eva Perón became powerful within the pro-Peronist trade unions, primarily for speaking on behalf of labor rights. She also ran the Ministries of Labor and Health, founded and ran the charitable Eva Perón Foundation, championed women’s suffrage in Argentina, and founded and ran the nation’s first large-scale female political party, the Female Peronist Party.

In 1951, Eva Perón announced her candidacy for the Peronist nomination for the office of Vice President of Argentina, receiving great support from the Peronist political base, low-income and working-class Argentines who were referred to as descamisados or “shirtless ones”. However, opposition from the nation’s military and the bourgeoisie, coupled with her declining health, ultimately forced her to withdraw her candidacy.[1] In 1952, shortly before her death from cancer at 33, Eva Perón was given the title of “Spiritual Leader of the Nation” by the Argentine Congress.[2][3][4] She was given a state funeral upon her death, a prerogative generally reserved for heads of state.

Eva Perón has become a part of the international popular culture,[5][page needed] most famously as the subject of the musical Evita (1976).[6]Even today, Evita has never left the collective consciousness of Argentines.[3] Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the first elected female President of Argentina, and many other leaders attest that women of her generation owe a debt to Eva for “her example of passion and combativeness.”  

 






A few evenings prior to our visit to La Recoleta Cemetery, we downloaded and watched the popular movie about her life, Evita, starring Madonna.  The film, an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical portrayed the story of her life as the often beloved countrywoman, still revered by many Argentines to this day.

Some of these flowers, left at her site, were fresh while others were artificial.

There’s a lot of controversy about Eva Perón that continues to swirl around her memory but we won’t get into that here. You can read about the controversy over the movie, here at this link

Madonna embracing Antonio Banderas from behind, with the film name written in bold red color above the image.
Poster from the movie Evita in 1996.

Instead, we saw the representation of her life and death at La Recoleta Cemetery as she was entombed with other members of the Duarte family.  It was interesting to see but we’re aren’t into “celebrity” all that much. 

Our perception of “celebrity” is that “famous” people are just like us, they just happened to be in the right circumstances at the right time, with certain skills or opportunities that aided in propelling them into the limelight. 

Could this be the 50th year from when Evita was entombed at the Duarte family mausoleum?

And yet, in various countries, we’ve seen people lining the boulevards to get but a glimpse of a public figure of one type or another.  But, if seeing their beloved celebrity brings them joy, then its purpose is clearly defined.  I get excited to see a warthog.  I suppose that makes me no different.

The street was so narrow and it impossible to get a got shot of the entire mausoleum.  However, it wasn’t as large or as ostentatious as many others.
On the other hand, Tom, revels in the element of surprise and the unexpected, such as when we encountered, four years ago today, three dozen elephants walking along the road in Kruger National Park. See this link for photos and details. “Safari luck.”
As we wandered through row after row of ornate mausolea (yep, that’s the plural of mausoleum. Who knew?) we continually searched for the Duarte or Perón name, never knowing quite what to expect.


A commemorative plaque in honor of Evita added in the year 2000.

We’d failed to get a map of the facility when we entered figuring we could weave in and out of the rows upon rows of sites.  With no luck, we finally encountered an employee and in Spanish, I asked, “Dov’è Evita Peron?”  Immediately, he pointed us in the right direction. 

We weren’t too far away.  As we entered the long narrow “street” it was easy to see where her mausoleum was located with the crowd gathered at the site. We patiently and quietly waited our turn to take photos and read the inscriptions as shown in today’s photos.

Several commemorative plaques for Evita added over the years.

La Recoleta Cemetery is definitely worth visiting when in Buenos Aires.  There are numerous affordable tours available online at a number of sites and as tours offered on cruises that spend a night or two docked in Buenos Aires. 

As usual, we prefer to go at our own pace, avoiding crowded bus rides and tours. Some may say we’d learn more if we booked a tour but we always read volumes of information about the venue from many reliable sites both before and after visiting. This works well for us. 

Many have ornate doors and entrances.
Keeping our lives relatively stress free and uncomplicated is the gist of our world travels. If we can avoid strict time constraints, huge crowds, traffic and waiting for extended periods in long queues, we’re most content.


Some of the mausolea have granite or marble surfaces.
Speaking of our lives of world travel, yesterday we uploaded our 2000th post. I can’t recall doing 2000 of anything, other than having heartbeats, days or weeks of life, the number of steps taken on my Fitbit or number of meals consumed, etc.

Many of the mausolea were smaller and unassuming than others.

Two thousand posts? If someone told me seven years ago I had to write 2000 stories at a rate of one per day, including fairly decent photos, in order to be allowed to travel the world, I’d have said “Forget about it! It’s too much pressure! It would spoil the experience!”

This stone crypt was particularly interesting.


And yet, here we are, 2000 posts later and, each day, we are grateful for the opportunity to have shared yet another morsel of our lives on the move with each and every one of our worldwide readers.

In the center of town, La Recoleta Cemetery is a popular location for tourists to visit.

Many write to us expressing their gratitude for our daily stories, as we continue to be vulnerable and revealing as to the most intimate aspects of this humble life.  But, we are grateful for all of YOU for inspiring us and providing us with an added purpose that only enhances the quality of this life we lead. 

Health provided, there will be 2000 or more yet to come.

May all of you join in good health with us as you share each day of our journey at our side.

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Photo from one year ago today, January 17, 2017:

View of the Huon River from the veranda of our vacation home in Geeveston, Tasmania.  For photos of the house please click here.

Oh, what a night!…The Minnesota Vikings big win and a date night to boot…

Tom was thrilled to be seated in the comfortable big booth in the bar with me, watching the live playoff game.

I was never much of a football enthusiast.  On the other hand, Tom was born in Minnesota, living and working there all his life up until we left in October 2012.(I lived there 42 years). His passion for football lies solely with the Minnesota Vikings.

In our old lives, he developed what I considered somewhat of an odd routine of preferring to watch the game alone without distractions. I stayed out of his way and didn’t interrupt him with such dumb questions as, “What time do you want to have dinner?”

Besides, he’s never cared what time we have dinner, always leaving the decision up to me, even now as we travel the world. It could be 3:00 pm or 8:00 pm and he’ll never comment one way or another.

As the years passed, those then 21 years we’d spent together (now approaching 27 years), I busied myself in cooking Sunday dinners or other tasks during the three-plus hour period the football game was on TV.

What always surprised me was his lack of yelling, cheering, and booing during the games. He never made a peep. I could only determine the outcome of the game when he walked into the kitchen after it ended with a smile on his face or not.

I was always used to the loud, explosive comments and rampant jumping around of my two sons, Richard and Greg, who both remain loud and explosive today as the games have continued over the years.

Oddly, once we left Minnesota in 2012 to travel the world, I became interested in the Vikings when Tom became a member of  NFL GamePass. There’s an annual fee was from US $99 (ARS 1,848) to US $199 (ARS 3,714) per season depending on the package he chooses.

This annual service allows out-of-the-country-only access for all NFL football games including playoff and Super Bowl games, either watching it live with commercials or waiting several hours to watch it commercial-free. 

They were ready for the first play of the game.

Since Tom likes to spend free time on Facebook, where often the progression of a game is posted, he prefers to watch the game live so he’ll be surprised by the outcome like everyone else. This, of course, depends entirely on our time zone.

The time in Minnesota is three hours earlier than Buenos Aires.  Last night’s playoff game, between the Vikings and New Orleans Saints, started here at 6:40 pm. Next week’s game will determine which teams go to the Super Bowl and will be aired here at 8:40 pm. 

Although I don’t watch every game with him, when often he watches while I do the day’s post, I’ve been paying close attention to what’s transpiring and now consider myself a fan. 

I still don’t ask him a lot of questions during the games but after being in each other’s presence 24/7 these past years, he’s changed his ways a little and will talk to me during the game. I won’t take credit for this. It’s simply due to the fact he can pause the game and readily hit “resume” at any time. But, he still doesn’t hoot and holler. Instead, I do that for both of us.

With my added interest in the outcome of last night’s playoff game, we decided to make a night of it. With the hotel almost devoid of guests again, we asked if we could watch the game at one of the big booths in the bar.  No problem. We didn’t even have to wear ear pieces with no one around.

We loaded up the balance of a bottle of red wine and a few beers for Tom and got comfortably situated at the huge table in the bar, sitting closely side by side in order to watch it on his 15.6-inch laptop monitor. 

I kept my laptop on, open to Facebook while commenting with various friends throughout the world and also son Richard as the game progressed. It couldn’t have been more fun! Tom and I chatted endlessly while he continued to educate me on the finer points of the rules and various plays, some of which I’d never taken the time to learn.

The Vikings won during the last few seconds of the game when I found myself involuntarily, loudly, and explosively expressing my enthusiasm. Nowadays, Tom will talk to me during the game, although I do keep my line of questioning football related. 

We had a blast!  Maybe if they hadn’t won I wouldn’t be saying that so freely.  Most enthusiastic fans don’t say it was fun when their team loses. Now we’re looking forward to next Sunday night’s game, albeit late for us, but we won’t be able to avoid watching it!

Here in Argentina, most are huge fans of soccer is the case in many other parts of the world.  Every country seems to have its own variation of football, soccer, and rugby fans as excited as those in the US and sometimes, even more.

It’s a happy day for our friends and readers wherever they may be celebrating the wins for the Minnesota Vikings, the Philadelphia Eagles, (who’ll the Vikings will play next week in their final playoff game), the New England Patriots, the Jacksonville Jaguars, all competing for the position of the two final teams to participate in the 52nd Super Bowl game to be played at the new stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Note: The Minnesota Vikings will make NFL history if they reach Super Bowl LII, becoming the first team ever to play for the title in its home stadium. That’s even more exciting!

Happy day to all, wherever you may be and whatever sport you may follow!       
    
Photo from one year ago today, January 15, 2017:

As we posted our final photos of Penguin, Tasmania we gushed over the charm of this special town and how it whimsically celebrates its fairy penguins. For more photos, please click here.

The Buenos Aires saga continues…Resolution of health issue at our hotel…A new find…

Last night, we had an exceptional meal at Rave Restaurant.

One month from today, on February 8th, the cruise to Antarctica will come to an end in Ushuaia, Argentina.  That day, we’ll fly back to Buenos Aires to the same lovely Prodeo Hotel where our bags are being held and we’ll stay two nights and then, on February 10th, we’ll begin the two-day journey to South Africa.

During that two day period, we’ll ship all of our cold weather clothing back to the mailing service in Nevada where they’ll keep the items stored in our box for such a time as we may need them again.  Perhaps, the Arctic at some time in the future?  One never knows.

Speaking of the Prodeo Hotel we simply have to share a story of a situation that occurred here during our stay.  Now that I’m feeling well again, I don’t like the idea of discussing more health issues.  Good grief. Our readers have heard enough!

The decor was typical Argentinian with a view of the kitchen, tables tightly packed along with a casual atmosphere.

Unfortunately, I have inherited a number of health issues from my mother’s side of the family, most of which are totally under control with good diet, exercise and a positive state of being.  However, allergies are not necessarily controlled by my many efforts to stay healthy.

Until we arrived in Minnesota last May, after all the vacation/holiday homes we’d lived in, I’d never experienced any issues with a long-ago allergy to bed mites.  Here’s some info on dust/bed mites (nothing comparable to bed bugs):

The light fixture over our head but like most local restaurants, they are dimly lit for both ambiance and saving on electricity

“What are Bed Mites

The most common “Bed Mite” is the house dust mite. House dust mites can be a problem in any building, in any city, clean or dirty. They are not as bad in unoccupied buildings because there is not much to eat.
Dust mites are generally found in beds, pillows, upholstered furniture, rugs, or other places where people sleep or sit for long periods. Dust mites require a damp environment and that is why beds are a mites favorite place to hang out.
Adult mites live for one to three months, feeding on a variety of foods including dog food, cereals, yeast and their favorite food or dead skin. They like our pets skin too. Dust mites don’t bite…
The good news it is easy to deal with dust mites and make your home pretty much dust ” Bed” mite free.
The remainder of this article may be found here at this site
It’s always nice to have a linen napkin at the table.

In my 20’s I was treated with allergy injections after testing for a variety of substances including bed/dust mites.  For these past many years I’ve had no symptoms until we slept on the bed in the hotel in Minnesota, the bed on the most recent South America cruise and here at the Prodeo Hotel.

Over these past few weeks, the itching became unbearable and I was unable to sleep more than a few hours at night from sheer exhaustion. I was in a quandary as to what to do.  I approached our hotelier Alessandro for a possible solution.  Alas, he had an immediate solution in mind.

Within 24 hours, we had a brand new hypo-allergenic mattress replacing the other mattress, new pillows, a new comforter and bedding.  For the first night in a long while, I slept for seven hours.  What a relief!  And, what a fine thing this wonderful boutique hotel did for me!

This dish may look messy but it was the best meal I’ve had since we arrived in Buenos Aires.  It included white salmon, prawns, mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers, onions, garlic, all cooked in real butter.  It was perfect for my way of eating and absolutely delicious.  I can’t wait to have it again.

Not every hotel would be so accommodating.  We couldn’t have been more pleased.  Although I still itch a little from stuffed furniture, pillows, and dust that flies through the air I’m able to sleep. 

I’m beginning to think of our next shipment when we may need to purchase a hypo-allergenic mattress, box springs and pillow covers to carry with us, just in case.  Originally, when we first began our travels, we carried these items with us but when we had no issues we eventually donated them due to the excess weight.

Changing the mattress may not be possible for most vacation/holiday home owners.  I’ll have to dispose of some clothing to compensate for the weight of these items but it will be worth it to me.

Tom’s risotto contained chicken, mushrooms, onions, celery, and garlic.  He loved it!

Recently, in Costa Rica, I had no issues so for now, we’ll play it by ear and see what transpires.  There’s always a solution for most issues that arise although at times they may be costly and inconvenient. 

So, for now, we’re content, enjoying our time at the hotel and our walks through the city both during the day and at night.  My FitBit is smoking up a storm, more than it has in a long time. 

Today, we have to enter our entire new itinerary into the Cozi online calendar we’ve been using since Minnesota.  Once I enter the items on my online version of the calendar, Tom can access the information or add more data to his version at any time.  Here’s the link to the free app.  It’s a fabulous app for busy family and business activities that are shared with multiple users.  What a find!

Last night, we had an exceptional meal and service at Rave Restaurant, located only a few blocks from the hotel.  We’d walked by many times during our nightly search for a new restaurant, only to find them closed night after night. 

Soon, it would be getting dark.  We dine earlier than many locals who generally have dinner after 9:00 pm.  We eat so little during the day, an earlier dinner is best for us.  Also, neither of us cares to go to bed on a full stomach.

Now that the holiday season is over, they’ll be open all day from noon to midnight.  Most certainly, we’ll return again after last night’s exceptional experience.  Our meal including tax, tip, bottled water and two glasses of Malbec came to a total of US $46.26, (ARS 918). 

This was one of the more expensive meals we’ve had in Palermo these past weeks but we were pleased by how affordable great food is in this part of the world. Rave Restaurant in Palermo is well worth a visit if you’re in Buenos Aires sometime in the future.  We’ll certainly return during our remaining 15 days.

That’s it for today, folks!  We’ll be back tomorrow with many more photos. In a few days, we’ll be out sightseeing again.

Have a glorious beginning of a new week in 2018!

 ________________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 8, 2017:

Our friend and landlord Terry took this photo of a seal lounging on Sisters Beach in Penguin, Tasmania.  We’ll be seeing some seals soon in Antarctica!  For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…Challenges along the way…Comments on new cruise bookings…Lost a loved one…

La Panera Rosa, deli market, is similar to Panera in the US. “Bebidas con alcohol,” translates to
drinks with alcohol.”  Tom had a beer while I had a glass of red wine. 

We apologize for today’s late posting and other day’s late postings since we arrived in Buenos Aires. Today, as it turned out, I spent most of the morning trying to purchase a Visa gift card for our granddaughter Maisie’s upcoming birthday but was unable to do so.

The deli was packed with patrons and the only available table for us was in a highly trafficked area by the front door.  Yesterday’s temps were well into the 90’s and it was hot where we were seated.

Apparently, there is some type of block preventing online purchases of Visa gift cards in Argentina, perhaps a result of fraud.  We’ve experienced this a few times in our travels, even while using our VPN, Hotspot Shield.  It still picks up that we’re in this country.

Complimentary bread is served with a pink colored, beet flavored “butter” which is, in fact, a fake margarine.  Tom passed on it, asking for real butter which he didn’t receive instead getting some gummy concoction.

With no other alternative, I’ve asked our daughter-in-law Camille if I can send her a Bill-Pay check which she’ll cash, placing the money into the online card we’ll send Maisie.  The challenges of traveling the world can easily present these types of issues.  However, there’s always a workaround.

Instead of butter, he was served this margarine which he didn’t use.  We’ve yet to see real butter since we arrived in Buenos Aires, except at La Cabrera, a high-end restaurant.

Today, we planned to mention new cruises we’ve listed in our recent upcoming 852-day itinerary in this post.  None of these particular cruises have been described in prior posts and yet were all a driving force in determining our lengthy itinerary.  Tomorrow, we’ll post the cost and itinerary for a few of these cruises.

Tom ordered a barbecue pork sandwich which came with three onion rings.

One of these cruises listed in the itinerary embarks from Southampton, England on October 24, 2019, with a port of call in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 31, 2019 (the seventh anniversary of our world travel).  We’d hoped we’d be able to visit beloved Uncle Bernie, my father’s brother, in the 100th year of his life.

Sadly, a few days ago, Uncle Bernie, 98 years old, passed away and our hearts are broken we won’t get to see him one more time.  In September 2014, we purposely selected a cruise from Harwich, England which ended in Boston, so we could see Uncle Bernie and my dear cousin Phyllis. 

I ordered a gluten, sugar, and starch free salad.  When it arrived it was topped with these breadsticks.  I sent it back explaining I needed an entirely new salad due to the contamination from the flour.   We saw some appealing plates being served.  Had we ordered differently we may have had an entirely different experience.

Of course, when we left after a three-day visit, we were realistic in understanding we may never see him again.  Our dream of one more visit with him was dashed when he passed away on January 2nd.  My father passed away in a tragic work accident in 1960 (see the story here) and Uncle Bernie was his last remaining brother. 

We’ve decided to keep the cruise booking with Boston as a port of call, hoping we’ll see cousin Phyllis for a few hours when we’re in port that day. That cruise ends in Fort Lauderdale on November 8, 2019, at which point we’ll fly to Nevada for a few week stay to visit son Richard and renew our driver’s licenses, visit my sister Julie in California and also visit Tom’s sisters and their husbands in Arizona. 

Decorated shelves in the restaurant.

It will be a busy few weeks until we depart for South America for more sites we’d like to see.  As a matter of fact, our upcoming itinerary will keep us very busy over these next over two years  Now, as we busily work on bookings for these upcoming dates, we’re comfortable and content to do so while here in Buenos Aires.

Tomorrow, weather providing, (it’s raining today) we plan to head out sightseeing after we upload the day’s post.  After so much sightseeing on the recent 30-night cruise, we’ve been content to stay in the hotel lobby during the days and head out on foot each night to peruse the lovely Palermo area and find a new spot for dinner. 

A refrigerated case was filled with yummy looking desserts.

So far, we haven’t dined at the same restaurant twice.  In a week or sooner, we’ll begin returning to favorites as the time quickly winds down until the Antarctica cruise. 

Today’s photos include a restaurant we’ve visited last night with a few disappointing results which may have been an entirely different experience during a less busy time and in ordering different menu items.

A tower of pancakes for dessert for other patrons, not us.

Have a blissful day, rain or shine!

________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 5, 2017:

Actually, Tasmanian Devils aren’t as ugly we’d expected, except when showing their teeth when threatened.  The photos we took of the rescued animals, the intent of Wing’s Wildlife Park, left them little reason to feel threatened in the spacious habitat in which they comfortably live among other animals.  For more details, please click here.

Tom’s Buenos Aires haircut…An experience well beyond a haircut…

This sticker-decorated refrigerator in the barbershop was filled with Budweiser beer for patrons.  What a great idea!

In most cases when I begin to prepare the day’s post, I start with the heading and then the “photo from one year ago today” set it up at the bottom of the post. 

An antique barber chair.

Coincidentally, today after we decided to post Tom’s Buenos Aires haircut story, when I found the year ago post for today’s date, it was for Tom’s haircut in Penguin, Tasmania.  How goofy is that?  We often run into such coincidences.

A stuffed pig head with a thong.

Most people don’t track every day of their lives as we do, so easily referenced by a click or two.  As a result, we often run into such situations, brushing them off as pure coincidence.  But, in reality, perhaps they aren’t as much of a coincidence as they are our built-in routines, many of which we nurture by certain routines we’ve established along the way.

A shrine and other items.

Part of those routines are a means of creating order in our otherwise unusual lives and, another aspect may simply be a result of living life itself.  I have no doubt if everyone documented each day of their lives, you too would find uncanny repetition.  After all, we are creatures of habit, aren’t we?

Tom was drinking his beer before his haircut.

Yesterday, we posted our upcoming 852-day itinerary.  In case you missed the new itinerary, you can click here to see it.  We received so many positive comments on Facebook and via email.  Feel free to add me or Tom as a Facebook friend. 

Do we remember these?

If you type in “Jessica Lyman” in Facebook search, you’ll see a photo of Tom and I seated at a table since there are multiples individuals with my same name.  As for Tom, his says “Tom Lyman, De LaSalle high school, worked at Burlington Northern.” 

Tom was explaining to the English speaking barber how he’d like his haircut.

We’d love to be Facebook “friends” with more of our readers.  Most days, we add a snippet of what we’re doing or new posts often including a photo and a link.

Tom’s wild hair, prior to the haircut.

Well, anyway…getting back to Tom’s haircut in Buenos Aires.  Looking at google maps, Tom found several “barberia” (barber shops in Spanish) located in the Palermo Soho area, not too far from our Prodeo Hotel.

A bronze turtle atop an old phonograph.

On Tuesday, we set off on foot for the closest barbershop after finding they didn’t open until noon.  Tom had an idea where others were located just in case they weren’t open based on published hours of operation which we’ve found to be a common practice in Buenos Aires.  Also, businesses often close for “siesta” between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.

Tom and barber Emi chatted during the haircut.

Several restaurants in Buenos Aires state hours of operation online, only to find they aren’t open as indicated.  We lucked out when we arrived at “Chopper Cuts” to find two patrons already in the chairs getting their haircuts. 

The two-chair barbershop was small but seemed to have everything they needed.

We were welcomed upon entry by the two barbers as we sat on the antique 1920’s type red velvet sofa to await Tom’s turn.  Camera in hand, I couldn’t resist taking photos of the interesting surroundings, definitely possessing a “Sons of Anarchy” chopper-type feel.

Check out the precision of this haircut!

Moments later, the owner opened the decorated refrigerator as shown in our photos and offered each of can of Budweiser beer.  We laughed out loud.  Never in this past over five years of haircuts throughout the world have we been offered a complimentary beer.  What a great idea!

We both agreed this was Tom’s best haircut since the onset of our travels so reasonably priced at US $21.56 (ARS $400) with tip.

The haircut took about 45 minutes while I waited patiently.  Actually, I enjoyed watching Emi’s attention to detail, who as it turned out was previously a professional dancer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.  Another coincidence.

The beer-stocked refrigerator.

Once done, we were both thrilled with his cut which will be much easier to manage with “hat hair” on the upcoming Antarctica cruise beginning in 19 days. What another wonderful experience!

Some type of antique ship item which had been turned into a beverage dispenser.

Today, we’ll continue to work on future planning while we reply to numerous email messages from our worldwide readers.  We never mind taking the time to reply to messages we receive from our dear readers.  It’s always a joy to hear from YOU!  We’re heading out sightseeing on Saturday.

The exterior of Chopper Cut barber shop in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires.

Have  pleasant day!

________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 4, 2017:

In Penguin, Tasmania, Linda, the barbershop owner and sole employee and Tom, before his haircut.  For more details, please click here.

Finally…Itinerary for the next 852 days!…A daunting task yet to be fine tuned…

We stopped at a gluten-free bakery but there wasn’t an item I could have when they all contain starch and sugar.

After many days of research and discussions, we’ve finally pinned down our travel goals for the next 852 days.  This extended period is a lofty goal.  We realize we’ve left out some parts of the world we’ve yet to visit, primarily China, India, and Japan which we’ll save for the future.

In due time we’ll return to Europe to live in many other countries we’ve also yet to explore and would love to visit down the road.  The world is a huge place and we pray for good health to make it all possible in years to come.

As you review this itinerary, you’ll note that we’ll be in an out of South Africa, staying for 89 days on each occasion.  Our intent during these multiple stays is two-fold; one to “lick our wounds” from the upcoming pricey Antarctic cruise and two, to savor our last foray in living in my favorite place in the world, the Conservancy of Marloth Park where animals roam free around the bush houses.

So here it is, folks (cruises are noted in turquoise shading):

 Location 
Days
 Dates 
 Buenos Aires, AR – Prodeo Hotel 
20
 1/2/2018 -1/23/2018 
 Ushuaiai, AR – Ushuaiai,AR – Antarctica Cruise 
16
 1/23/2018 – 2/8/2018 
 Buenos Aires, AR – Prodeo Hotel 
2
 2/8/2018 – 2/10/2018 
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Bush home selected
89
2/11/2018 – 5/11/2018
  Zambezi River Cruise – Victoria Falls 
8
5/11/2018 – 5/19/2018
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent bush home
89
5/19/2018 – 8/16/2018
 Uganda – See gorillas and the “Cradle of Mankind” 
7
8/16/2018 – 8/23/2018
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent bush home
89
 8/23/2018 -11/20/2018 
 Mozambique, Africa (get visa stamped) 
1
 11/20/2018 -11/21/2018 
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent bush home
89
 11/21/2019 – 2/17/2019 
 Valparaiso, Chile – Rent vacation home or hotel
36
 2/17/2019 – 3/24/2019 
 Cruise – San Antonio, Chile – San Diego 
14
 3/24/2019 – 4/8/2019 
 San Diego, CA – Fly to Minneapolis, MN – Family visit
13
 4/8/2019 – 4/21/2019 
 Cruise – Fort Lauderdale, FL- Dublin, Ire (1 day hotel stay) 
15
 4/21/2019 – 5/6/2019 
 Ireland – Rent country house – Research Tom’s ancestry 
90
 5/6/2019 – 8/1/2019 
 Amsterdam, NLD – Hotel stay 
11
 8/1/2019 – 8/11/2019 
 Cruise, Baltic – Amsterdam, NLD – Amsterdam, NLD 
12
 8/11/2019 – 8/23/2019 
 England – Rent country home
62
 8/23/2019 – 10/24/2019 
 Southampton, UK – Fort Lauderdale, FL
15
  10/24/2019 – 11/8/2019 
 Henderson/Las Vegas, NV – Los Angeles, CA -Scottsdale, AZ 
25
 11/8/2019 – 12/3/2019 
 Ecuador – Galapagos – Rent vacation homes on islands
89
 12/3/2019 – 3/1/2020 
 Peru – Machu Picchu – Rent vacation homes, visit site 
30
 3/1/2020 –  3/31/2020 
 The Pantanal/Amazon River Cruise – Brazil (2 cruises)
30
 3/31/2020 – 4/30/2020 
 Number of days  
852


For those avid followers of our site, you’ll note we’ve added some locations we’d never mentioned in past posts.  As we began pinning down locations and dates, Tom continued his search for cruises that can get us from Point A to Point B in many instances.

In other cases, we included 89 or 90 day stays in countries before or after specific cruises. Additionally, one may wonder, why are we going back and forth to South America?  This was a plan Tom had suggested long ago to which at the time I didn’t think made sense.

Artistic painting on a wall on a narrow street.

Now, as we map this out and, based on available cruises, it makes all the sense in the world to me.  In reality, there isn’t much “jumping around” and after all, we’re doing it exactly as we see fit, not by some preconceived notion as to how we “should” travel.

As always, we’re doing it exactly as we’d prefer, always considering the best possible experiences befitting our tastes along with the most reasonable costs in the process.

Diners sitting outdoors at a local dining establishment

There are a few other points we should mention including Ecuador one year from now.  Through our extensive research over these past years we’ve discovered we can rent vacation homes on three of the islands in the Galapagos, enabling us many private tours to the areas where wildlife is found, rather than going out on a tour with lots of others tourists.  This is especially appealing.

Another point to mention is regarding Machu Picchu…by staying in the area for one month, the experiences will be more comprehensive and rich in culture and we’ll have plenty of time to acclimate to the high altitudes staying at varying points partway up the mountains.

It’s too early to book the cruise to The Pantanal in Brazil, the world largest wetlands (10 times the size of the Florida Everglades) and home to 3500 plant species, 656 bird species, 325 fish species, 159 mammals, 53 amphibian and 98 reptiles.  Our kind of place.

A narrow road we walked in the Serrano Plaza area.

From there, either before or after The Pantanal, we’ll cruise the Amazon River.  This type of journey may not be for everyone but it fits well into our objectives of experiencing nature at it fullest.

From there?  At this point, we aren’t even thinking of terms of what will be next.  Surely, we’ll visit family in the US.  By that time, we’ll have a handle on where we’ll go next, primarily locations we’ve never visited in the past.

This morning our friends from the UK left to head to their home in the UK and now it’s just the two of us.  We’ve been highly social with others since November 23rd and now we’ll happily return to our usual happy state of being “just the two of us.”

Inside the mall near Jumbo market.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with more including some details of the Baltic cruise we locked in last night, one we hadn’t seen on the horizon for quite some time based on high prices.  But, when we were able to get the balcony cabin for an excellent price, it was time to book it.  St. Petersburg, here we come!

It was five years ago today that we boarded the first cruise (for either of us) embarking from San Diego heading through the Panama Canal (we recently transited the canal a second time during the most recent cruise) and ending in Fort Lauderdale.  Here is the link from that first day!

Enjoy your day with any plans you may have on the horizon!

________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 3, 2017:


Trespassers entering this field in Tasmania, thinking they could “get high” from the unprocessed poppy/opium have died from doing so.  For more details, please click here.