Medical emergency aboard the ship…Today, right back where we were in 2015…

We stood on our cabin’s veranda awaiting the arrival of this medevac helicopter to transport a heart attack patient from the ship to an appropriate hospital.

“Sighting on the Ship in Australia”

Can of tomato soup. Hmm, what’s the significance here?

Yesterday afternoon, while at sea, shortly after I’d watched another silly movie, the remake of Ghost Busters, I headed back to our cabin.  Tom was relaxing after he’d walked out of the movie only minutes after it had started. 

I knew this wasn’t his kind of movie, but I stayed in the theatre to watch it on my own when my taste in movies is slightly more tolerant than Tom’s. It was a ridiculous plot, but I always get a kick out of the special effects.

No more than a few moments after I opened my laptop to check email, I mentioned to Tom that the ship wasn’t moving. Checking to see what was going on, in no time at all we discovered there was a medical emergency onboard that required a passenger be airlifted by helicopter to hospital.

As the helicopter approached the ship to land on the ship’s helipad. 

A few hours earlier, we’d heard announcements from the bridge (in code) that something was amiss in the fitness center. As it turned out, from what we heard later, a man had a heart attack while working out.  He had to be revived. Frightening.

On a previous cruise on RC Legend of the Seas, June 10, 2015, on its way to Sydney, a similar situation had transpired requiring the patient be lifted in the basket when high seas prevented the helicopter from landing on the heli-pad on the ship’s bow. 

This is the third medical evacuation we’ve witnessed while cruising, twice by helicopter, once by the ship rerouting to Burmuda.  Please see photo below for the first helicopter evac. Here’s the link to our story.

Photo we’d posted on June 10, 2015 while we were cruising on Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas when a passenger also had to be evacuated, but in the basket when rough seas prevented the helicopter from landing on the ship’s helipad. The patient was wrapped in an exterior covering the basket with paramedic holding on to the passenger.  Scary.

With calm seas yesterday, the helicopter was able to land safely on the heli-pad which we weren’t able to see from our veranda, although we could see the touchdown from our TV that broadcasts a steady cam from the bow of the ship, as shown in this photo below.

It was heart wrenching to consider the worry and distress for the passenger and his spouse or travel companion with the necessity of being airlifted off the cruise. From what we’d heard, he’d been revived, but it was several hours later when the helicopter whisked him away to a hospital.

Based on the location of our cabin, we weren’t able to get close enough to the bow of the ship to see the helicopter land. Instead, we took this fuzzy photo of the TV display.

This further validates the value of travel insurance (which we have) when the cost for such evacuations can be outrageously expensive.  When passengers pass away on a cruise ship, the body is not evacuated instead being stored in an appropriate facility that most ships have available. 

In yesterday’s case, we can only pray for the passenger’s survival and return to health after being treated at whatever location he’d been transported. Of course, we’ll never hear and the scuttlebutt aboard the ship is unreliable.

Fortunately, the seas were calm and the helicopter was able to land. The ship had stopped during the rescue mission until the patient was safely in transit to the hospital.

We both researched online on a mission to discover how many cruise ship passengers are actually transported off ships for medical emergencies. We weren’t able to find any information or stats in this regard.  Perhaps cruise lines are particularly lax in providing such stats to avoid scaring travelers away from cruising.

As we age, this becomes more of a concern.  Not only is there the anxiety associated with a life threatening illness or injury a passenger may incur during a cruise, but loss of time in getting treated also adds the stress. 

Yesterday’s passenger wasn’t taking off on the helicopter until over five and a half hours later. We can only hope the doctor on the ship has sufficient knowledge and skill to keep the patient stable during this extended period.

The Medevac team preparing to land with medical personnel ready to get into action.

This is a reminder for all of us to have adequate travel insurance cover and to strive for the best possible health when choosing to travel. A high risk and/or elderly patient should seek medical advice prior to embarking on a cruise to ensure cruising is a suitable form of travel based on current health conditions.

Then again, many medical emergencies and accidents occur to passengers of all ages while on cruise ships, while on tours and when traveling to and from various points of interest. ‘This should be of the utmost consideration for possible travelers.

Today, we’re staying on the ship while it’s docked in Yorkeys Knob in Queensland, Australia. We lived in Trinity Beach adjoining this location for three months beginning on June 11, 2015. During that stay, we toured all the important sights, including many located in and around Cairns.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more new photos and stories as we continue on to Day 7 of this highly enjoyable 33-night cruise. 

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 5, 2015:

In the one year ago post, we re-posted a few memorable photos. We took this photo of Mount Kilimanjaro from the window of our tiny plane on our way to the Maasai Mara for a photo safari, one of many great experiences in our then three years of world travel. Please click here for more details.

Time flies…Soon, we fly…Three days until we board the cruise…Regaining fitness and health…

Beautiful arrangements of fresh blossoms in the hotel lobby.

It was a quick week. Tomorrow night, we leave for the airport at 9:45 pm using the hotel’s free shuttle already booked. As the week progressed, I had less and less anxiety about the red eye and the plan to pick it up in my stride. It’s only one day of being tired and out of sorts.

This morning, we’re doing a couple of washes in the hotel laundry room. The cost to do wash and dry two loads is IDR 200,000, US 15.33, pricey for a self serve laundry, but a lot less than we’d have paid to send it out. We will come on board with clean clothes, except for the few items we will wear in the coming days. 

As it turned out, on Tuesday we only ate breakfast included at the hotel as our only meal per day. The first day we arrived, Monday, we left the villa without eating anything planning to dine in the evening in the hotel restaurant.

Hotel pool.

The dinner was mediocre with my dietary restrictions and Tom’s fish and chips were good. In both cases, we left the table still hungry after the small portions. 

Instead, we decided to load on the buffet breakfast, order omelettes, bacon and some sides, enough to get us through the next 24 hours until we eat again. If we were hungry in the evening, we’d go have dinner.

Not surprisingly, eating very low carb, neither of us has been hungry at any time during the remainder of the day and evening. We felt satisfied and comfortable never once thinking about eating or snacking. 

As we have mentioned in the past, eating a daily meal is considered an intermittent fast. If you like medical studies, there are countless studies about the benefits of fasting, at least for part of every day. 

Flowers blossom on the grounds of the hotel.

The old theory of eating every few hours will soon be discredited as a careless way to maintain health, weight and fitness. It did not work for most people with endemic type 2 diabetes and obesity prevails in virtually every part of the world.

Then again, what do I know except what seems to work for us as we continue to strive to maintain a level of health and fitness that hopefully will see us through many more years of world travel. Everybody has an opportunity to pick a health plan that works best for them.

None of this makes us exempt from illness, injuries and generally not feeling 100% every day.    Like many of you some days, we do not feel up to the challenge, energetic and ready to face the world. 

Artwork in the pool area.

After months of inactivity while recovering from the June 1 injury, I am struggling to regain my strength. Working out everyday at the hotel has been helpful, but like physical therapy, its a slow process. 

To expect outcomes overnight is not realistic. I will continue to exercise for the next two days, then every day on the upcoming cruise, adding to the time and difficulty of my routine somewhat every day. Hopefully by the end of the 33-night cruise, I’ll be back to my previous level of fitness and energy.

At that time, we will be ready to start again, to prepare meals that we have not had to make for more than three months, since we were in Phuket until September 1. In both locations in Tasmania, we will have home cleaners every two weeks, so we will not have to do more than clean, do laundry and cook. 

Balinese style abounds in the hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn Ngurah Rai Airport.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with our final post from Bali including the total expenses for our the six nights at this hotel. At 12:10 am Sunday we’ll fly overnight to Sydney, arriving in the morning. 

Later in the day we’ll post again after we’ve hopefully taken a nap after the red eye flight. As a result, the post from Sydney on the 30th (29th for those in other parts of the world) will be posted late. Please keep an eye out. We’ll be back!

Have a beautiful day filled with sunshine!

Photo from one year ago today, October 28, 2015:

These Fijian women were sitting on the floor while one gave the other a massage while working at the farmers market in Savusavu, Fiji.  For more photos, please click here.

OMG!…Eventful start to the day…Wait until you read this!…

Distant shot of oil tanker out to sea. Good zoom photo, Tom Lyman!

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

The river next door is often used for washing motorbikes.

The morning started weird. Awake at 4:00 am, I was unable to return to sleep no matter how hard I tried. With today, September 21st in the US (the 22nd here), it is our eldest grandson Nik’s 16th birthday and our youngest granddaughter Madighan’s 7th birthday. 

Why not get up early and call to wish them both happy birthday? It was late afternoon in the US and a good time to call.

We couldn’t reach Nik but had a chance to speak to daughter-in-law Camille, son Greg and the three kids, including wishing Madighan a happy birthday. 

We always send US gifts for the six grandchildren for birthdays, special occasions and Christmas, none of which are ever purchased from countries we’re visiting. Why suffer the inconvenience of an impossible international return?

Guide and one Ketut put everything in the villa back in order.

After almost two hours on Skype using our Nevada phone number which allows us to call other phones that aren’t on Skype, mission accomplished. As always, it’s wonderful talking to family.  Hopefully, soon we’ll reach Nik but, then again, most 16 year old boys don’t necessarily care to spend a lot of phone time with the old grandparents.

To start making the phone calls, I quietly wandered out the bedroom door, laptop in hand and almost, and I mean almost, slipped on the floor somehow righting myself just in time to avoid hitting the floor. That was all I needed, falling again and re-injuring the part that only recently has begun to heal a little.

In Phuket last month, the water dispenser leaked overnight, spilling all the contents of a new 5 liter bottle and I did fall smack on the marble floors, reversing my progress by many weeks. 

Some of the digital equipment that became wet during the water leakage. The yellow items are decorative pieces. Luckily, our HDMI cord survived.

Marble floors are extremely hazardous when covered with water. We don’t recommend them where the risk of injury is high regardless of one’s age or propensity for falling. It’s not that I’m particularly clumsy though stuff happens. Tom is always reminding me to watch where I’m going instead of looking for photo ops. I’m working on it.

The entire main floor and second level were covered in water. I knew I needed to awaken Tom to see how bad the situation really was. At 5:00 am, we were calling Gede to let him know we had an emergency. Tom had gone upstairs to the second story which we don’t use at all, to discover what was going on. Water covered the floors upstairs and was running down the steps in a relatively rapid flow.

Gede arrived within 10 minutes of our call. As it turned out, the hot water tank’s pipe broke (the hot water heater is on the roof) and the only way to stop the flow was to shut off the water to the entire villa. It’s now close to 11 am and it appears we won’t have water for most of the day while every effort is being made to get the repairs made as quickly as “island time” allows.

This space is where the flat screen TV was located. It’s now been removed after getting soaked as the water ran down the wall from the above stairs. Gede explained that homeowner’s insurance in Bali doesn’t cover such occurrences.

Unfortunately, the water ran down the wall over the entire flat screen TV and sound system in the living room which we use nightly, connecting our laptops with an HDMI cord in order to watch our favorite shows and Minnesota Vikings games. Gede assured us all of the equipment will be working again by the time we return from Lovina next Friday, after our four day stay upcoming on Monday.

Luckily, no one was injured in the water fiasco. At the moment, all the staff is busy cleaning up the water and putting as much of the villa back in order as possible. They had to move all of the furnishings onto the veranda to dry the floors and the bottom portions of various items.

Ribud was washing the stairs after the water flow.

Gede was very concerned over the inconvenience for us. We weren’t worried at all. If the water can’t be restored by the end of the day, we’ll shower next door at the empty owner’s villa. If necessary, the two Ketuts can cook our dinner next door and we’ll dine there. “No worries,” we assured all of them.

With the reality that none of this is really our responsibility as it would have been in our own home, nor did we have to incur any costs for repairs, it’s easy for us to sit back and patiently wait for everything to be back to normal.

Mr. Frog’s nighttime visit.

Today, newly made friends are arriving at 2:00 pm for a visit. We met them a few days ago while walking the beach. When Thomas (yep, another Tom) stopped by last night to ask when would be a good time for him and wife Pia to stop by we suggested this afternoon as opposed to morning allowing us time to complete today’s post. Thank goodness we hadn’t suggested a morning visit! It’s been kind of busy around here.

For the first time in ages, I have yet to shower and I’m still wearing my long nightshirt while sitting outdoors on a chaise lounge. Today, will be a different day from our usual routine, but we have no apprehension or concerns. It will all work out fine.

Mr. Frog contemplates taking the steps. He managed rather well.

This morning, during the water fiasco Gede helped us with some required paperwork for sponsoring us for the visa extension for  Monday’s trip to Lovina where we’ll stay in a hotel for four nights to complete the five day process. 

Also, Gede is having a new tire put on the van to prevent us from getting a flat tire on the long road trip when recently it had been repaired, but doesn’t seem quite right.

Otherwise, its a partially sunny day with outrageously high humidity, but we’re as content as we can be especially with our anticipated upcoming social event.

May your day be one of contentment and peace of mind.

Photo from one year ago today, September 22, 2015:

We never used this pool in Fiji during our three months stay. It wasn’t as clean as we’d like and there were no chaise lounges or places to sit while drying off. For more details, please click here.

Uncertainty becomes an element in this peculiar life we live…

Tom grabbed me and the camera when he noticed this cart attached to a motorbike on the beach.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Family of four on motorbike stopping for Dad’s phone break. Often, locals with cell phones attempt to log in on the Wi-Fi signal here.  Since we arrived the first time, it’s been password protected thanks to help from Gede.

Nothing in life is for certain.  Oh, we understand the boring cliché about “death and taxes.” Yea, fine. They’re true. Although many have figured out how to avoid taxes which doesn’t necessarily include most of us.

The death part? Yep, a certainty. Although I’ve been reading scientific observations about our conscientiousness living into infinity. OK. Maybe we’ll hear more about that in this lifetime.  Maybe not.

Tom heads upstairs to the second story several times a day searching for more interesting activity on the beach. Yesterday, he spotted this cart and we went into action taking photos. It seems every activity on the beach has a story to tell.

Everything in between?  Uncertain. As we can easily obsess about the dangers and risks omnipresent in life, yours and ours included, we wonder if we can free our minds sufficiently to live in the present. Less apprehension and worry has the ability to extend the quality of our health and subsequently the length of our lives when we master the art of avoiding too much stress.

I oftentimes wonder if we take a carefree attitude of what’s transpiring in the world we’re considered to be in denial or ultimately deluding ourselves into believing all is fine. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, “You can run but you can’t hide.”

These two locals were busy collecting coconuts on the beach and placing them into the motorbike driven cart.

We didn’t run away. We walked. The crowds, the traffic, the hurried pace of daily life, the outrageous rising prices, the escalating crime, the political climate, and in Minnesota, the frigid climate itself, all played a role in our making the decision to leave almost four years ago.

Oddly, we expect “culture shock” when we will return to the US next May, in a mere eight months where suddenly we’ll be thrown into all of the above for a total of over two months. 

They appeared to have quite a haul.

It’s funny how after all this time, we’re no longer surprised or experience culture shock by the nuances of living in countries with less certainty, often without the predictability of consistently running water, power and Wi-Fi (which is sorely lacking in this area of Bali) and personal safety.  We’ve adapted.

Throwing us back into the land of “everything in abundance,” how will we avoid seeming like old hippies who just landed after years of living in a tent on the beach with a vegetable garden and chickens? It may not be as easy as it seems.

I don’t mean to imply we’ve lived modestly as stated above. Far from it. But, we’ve encountered endless situations in most countries in which we’ve lived over these years, requiring we change and adapt our expectations, may easier than others.

Soon, they’d be able to take off with their coconut haul.

Spending days outdoors with temperatures hovering at 90F, 32C, with humidity close to 90% (even on sunny days) requires a certain amount of tolerance and adaptation. I’d never have considered attempting to adapt to such discomfort in our old lives. 

Whole house air con was the way of life. Hot when outdoors? No problem. Walk inside, pour a beverage using ice from the automatic ice maker, park oneself in front of 500 channels (or more now for all we know) big screen high def TV and chill out. Or, browse online for a continual high speed connection, with rarely a signal disruption.

Antique Balinese seat we spotted next door, made into the shape of a boat.

Insects? No problem. Call Orkin or Terminex, for a fee they’ll be there within days to eradicate every last creepy crawly. In this life, we’ve learned to live with an endless stream of poisonous and/or annoying insects in every room, even at times crawling on us during the night.

Dining out on a whim? Not possible in many locations. The unpredictability of staff understanding my food requirements where there’s a language barrier keeps us from dining in restaurants in many locations. 

Piece of driftwood resting against a tree outside our veranda.

Food at home? The fabulous cooks in Bali only have access to prawns, chicken and occasionally fresh tuna (none lately). We’ve been rotating the same meals night after night: chicken (two ways), prawns and the occasional use of the ground beef we purchased in Denpasar when we arrived. When we run out of the “mince” there’s no heading back to Denpasar for the four or five hour harrowing drive to purchase more.

Recently, with high winds at sea, there hasn’t been any fresh tuna. Hopefully, soon it will be available again, but at the moment uncertainty prevails. We continue with the repeats, surprisingly enjoying every night’s meal as if somehow it was a “first.”

The tide rolled in making the river next door larger.

No washer? No problem. We hand wash if we need something now. It will dry outdoors on the rack within 24 hours (high humidity). No English speaking TV news? No problem. No car? No worries. We’ll figure it out.

Not a single store nearby where I can purchase a tube of lipstick or a bottle of Advil? No problem. Thank goodness, I have some remaining tubes of lipstick in the third suitcase and I’m using un-coated aspirin when absolutely necessary. (Eat something first. Take with lots of water).

Uncertainty is an expectation when flying, cruising, out on tours, riding in taxis and with drivers, moving from location to location. It follows us wherever we may go and especially each time we open the door of yet another “new home” in which we may be living in for weeks or even months.

Cement walkway on the edge of the next door neighbor’s property.

When we return to the US, everything we’ve mentioned and more will be available. One need only have a thought, jump into the car and drive to the appropriate location to acquire whatever is needed or desired.

We take nothing for granted, except perhaps uncertainty itself. On that, we can rely. Hopefully, while spending over two months in the US, distracted from the pleasure of being with those we love, we’ll continue to maintain our level of adaptation that we’ve worked so hard to acquire over these past years.

Certainly, by all means, have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 20, 2015:

In Fiji, one year ago, an example of uncertainty as indicated above, Mario, the owner, brought over this router that plugs into an outlet, providing us with a private connection not shared with other guests. Since he’d purchased the device in Germany, his home country, he had to add an adapter to make it plug into the outlet. The weight of the device using the adapter, made it keep falling out enough to lose the connection. Tom placed this stack of books under it to hold it in place.  The signal goes to “limited” quite often. It worked for a few days, then quit. For more details, please click here.

Spending idle time…Two days and counting…Favorite Phuket photos begin today…

Boats anchored in shallower waters.    The owners are welcome to walk to the boat.

Although we rise early most of the time, the thought of setting an alarm is always done with a bit of fear. Having retired in 2011, in my old life, there had been few mornings where I had to get up and be at the door in a rush.

Since beginning our travels in October, 2012, there’s been more mornings than we can count where we’ve had to be up and “at ’em” early in the morning in order to begin a travel day. What time do we consider early? 

Appearing before 5 in the morning is considered early by our standards, especially when we need to be somewhere.  Most mornings, I’m awake that early, but not necessarily preparing to head out. There’s a big difference, isn’t there?

Chalong Beach.

Why I dread those mornings where we must leave early disconcerts me. I find it easy to get out of bed when the alarm goes off. Is this the prospect of another long day on the road? The heavy bags? The long lines? Immigration? Customs? Pay for excess luggage? The tight seats on the flight? Maybe it’s all of those things.

Once we get into the taxi for the ride to the airport, a bit of the angst begins to waft away, escalating further after we’ve checked in for our flight disposing of our three heavy bags, left with only a few carry on bags. 

With international airports requiring arrival two hours prior to a flight’s departure, we’re often left with more than 60 minutes until boarding. In most cases, we find a restaurant, purchase a beverage and get online if the airport has free Wi-Fi, which we find more and more common. Only a few airports charge for WiFi access.

Boats tied to shore at the beach. Life jackets hanging on a post.

The next issue is our laptop batteries discharging. For Thursday’s upcoming flight, we’ll have no less than an hour of waiting time at the airport in Phuket and then another three hour layover in Singapore (our third trip to Singapore in these past four months). 

Some airports have recharging stations, but we’ve seldom needed to use them. In this case, it may be necessary when it seems our laptop batteries are losing life after almost two years of use.

My laptop may indicate I have seven or eight hours on a charge when in fact it’s much less. Tom has a similar laptopm but can function unplugged a few hours less than mine.

Boats in the bay.

These were a time that reading a physical book would have been handy, but there’s no way we’re willing to carry books with us. 

Now that Tom doesn’t have a smart phone until our shipment arrives, he won’t be able to read books on his phone. The charge on my phone may last eight hours if I don’t get online. Good thing, I saved my phone with the rice after dropping it in the toilet, or neither of us would have a working cell phone.

In most cases, I read books on my phone during flights, putting the phone in “flight mode” as required. I usually save the phone for the flight as opposed to reading while waiting in airports. When a flight has individual video screens, a movie is often ideal as opposed to reading.

Entrance to the long pier at the beach.

I suppose we’re not unlike many others who use electronics to whittle away idle time.  Where are the days when we’d sit quietly in an airport reading a People magazine which now holds no interest whatsoever? Where are the days when people watching could occupy two hours of idle time?

We’ve trained ourselves in this digital world to need constant stimulation. Tom and I are no exception. Sure, in Bali again we’ll spend some idle hours staring out at the beach and its wildly interesting activities, which again we’ll continue sharing in our “Sightings on the Beach in Bali” daily feature on the posts.

But, there again, its all about mental stimulation. Neither one of us are inclined toward quiet contemplation without any form of activity for the brain. Maybe to an extent this is good for our aging brains as both of us still possess great memory and recall as we’ve aged. 

Second long pier at the beach.

We can’t believe much of which we read about these topics online when the speculations change week by week. (We’re talking about adults here, not children, which is an entirely different scenario).

What is one to believe? I guess we can leave it to our own devices, figuratively and literally. What gives us the greatest sense of engagement with our surroundings, our world and with each other?  What makes us the most fulfilled?

If spending hours online, on our tablets, computers and phones provides us with a sense of accomplishment and pleasure who’s to argue with this? Then again, perhaps the biggest concern is a lack of physical activity while we’re entertaining ourselves. 

“They” say sitting is bad which may be true. But which group of seniors (or those younger) spends eight to ten hours a day on their feet? Few. Very few.

Fisherman searching for a possible catch.

Off we go in two days, arising at 5:30 am on Thursday to be ready to head out the door by 7 am for our arriving taxi.

 We’ll arrive at our hotel in Bali around 8:30 pm that evening after a very long travel day.  In the morning, we’ll have breakfast at the hotel and begin the four or five hour harrowing drive with a few stops along the way.

I’m a little concerned over how I’ll do over these two extended periods based on my continuing recovery. But, with digital equipment in hand, hopefully, I’ll be able to distract myself well enough to maneuver through the lengthy process.

Be well and stay entertained, however that works for YOU!

Photo from one year ago today, August 30, 2015:

We couldn’t resist taking photos of these Flintstone’s character statues in a nearby yard in Trinity Beach, Australia.  For more photos, please click here.

The prospect of a scary change in plans?…Five days and counting…Photos at a premium…

Chalong Bay in Phuket.

While living in most locations where we get low on photos this is not a problem. We rush into the rental car for a walk seeking interesting scenes to capture. If we don’t have a rental car and are using a driver, we get out often enough each week to get all the photos we need for the posts.

Now, down to five days until departure, with my ongoing recovery process and the less-than-stellar rental car, I’ve had little desire to get out to take photos. With the blurry film on the windows it requires I get out of the low seat in the car to avoid taking photos through the glass which in itself in my current condition feels like an athletic event.

If you’ve ever owned or gone for a ride in a Corvette, it kind of feels like the same thing, not necessarily the right vehicle for getting it and out of when suffering from a spinal condition. Under normal circumstances, this would not be so difficult.

It’s not as if I can’t get in and out of the less-than-stellar rental car. It’s that I don’t want to re-injure myself subsequently starting the healing process all over again.

Boats stored on the shore as opposed to a marina.

Only days away from a full three months of recovering, I’ve only spent half of this period over these past almost six weeks in Phuket actually “working on” getting better, I’ve finally begun to turn the corner.  

On many occasions over these past weeks, I’d mentioned improvements in our posts, although it was in such small increments it was barely noticeable. Frustration easily set in when I’d awaken each day only to find the pain was basically still the same.

A few times, as recently as in the past two weeks, we considered a visit to a hospital. After reading many negative online reviews about local medical care, we decided against it. Instead, we made a plan that if I didn’t improve close to our scheduled time to leave Phuket, we might head directly to Sydney and drop out of our airfare and booking for Bali. 

As we seriously considered such a plan we had to accept the reality that we’d lose rent for the two month booking in Bali (on such short notice) and also the non-refundable airfare. This change would ultimately cost us thousands of dollars. Tom, as worried as he’s been about me, never flinched over this prospect while I cringed over the prospect.

Yard of a house in the neighborhood with motorbikes and clothes drying on a line.

As soon as this possibility came to light, I decided I had to do something different to escalate the healing process to ensure we could continue with our future plans. 

I began reading volumes of books on the topic of healing compression fractures, speeding recovery for back, neck and spinal injuries and came to a few new conclusions:

1.  Started a light exercise program, very light and gentle following recommendations from a great book I read.
2.  Changed the pillow I was sleeping on from flat to slightly fuller, creating an indentation for my head.
3.  Changed from using mostly ice to using mostly heat on and off throughout the day and evening. (Using a microwaveable gel pack). At bedtime, I positioned an ice pack close to my spine using a rolled towel to hold it in place while lying on my side.
4.  Have Tom massage pressure points on my back twice a day.
5.  Only lie down for 10 minutes at a time instead of long periods during the day. Spend more time standing and walking around the house.
6.  No bending at all, which seems to be the most harmful at this point.
7.  Sleep with a medium sized pillow between evenly placed bent legs, again lying on my side.
8.  Focus on having perfect posture when walking and sitting.
9.  Using the speech recognition software for better ergonomics when typing.

With only five days until departure, I can definitely say I’ve improved by no less than 75% in these past weeks, no longer feeling as if we must change our plans to get me to a major accredited hospital.

Oh, maybe it was “safari luck” and the implementation of the above changes or a combination of both. That’s the thing about medical care, when one begins implementing multiple modalities, it’s difficult to determine which measures most contributed to the improvement.

The mix of the old and the new is commonly found in Phuket.

I’ll continue with all of the above even after we arrive in Bali.  With no required cooking, cleaning, laundry or tidying necessary with the daily household staff I’ll spend more time focusing on continuing to improve on this remaining 25%.

By far, these past three months have been the most challenging since we began our travels on October 31, 2012. Surely many of our readers can look back over the past four years to recall periods of time when life wasn’t exactly as you might have liked it to be.

Tom comments about how I overall maintained a good attitude through this. Each day I’ve struggled to stay optimistic.

 I was scared to death, to be honest, scared our travels were over, scared our lives would have to change to accommodate my limited range of motion, my ability to walk long distances and my overall interest in getting out.

Yesterday, I packed my single clothing suitcase which in doing so gave me hope, leaving out clothing for the next few days. I sat on the bed folding everything and then standing straight I placed them into my open bag which is situated on a tall luggage rack. The rest will be easy. 

This simple act added to my optimism removing a sense of dread I had about packing. Tom would happily have packed for me, but I needed to know I could do it.

Many homes are raised above ground in the event of flooding.

As we continue over these next few days, we apologize for the lack of interesting photos. It’s the way it is for now. And, once we arrive in Bali, we may be posting similar photos to those we’d taken during our last stay, although all photos we’ll share in future posts will be new. 

Halfway through our second round in Bali we plan to stay in a hotel in Lovina for five days to complete the every-other-day-three-step required visa extension process. During that mini vacation/holiday, we’ll explore taking many photos we’ll excitedly share in posts to come. 

Once we leave Bali at the end of October for the 33 night cruise to circumvent Australia, we’ll have many months of exciting cruises and tours, along with the stay in Tasmania at two separate locations for six weeks each and a 40 night stay in the exquisite city of Sydney.

So, loyal readers, on we go to continue in our world travels with a renewed hope for the future, as always striving for good health as we share all of our steps along the way.

Have a healthful, productive day!

Photo from one year ago today, August 27, 2015:

The colorful views around us was only a small section of the Great Barrier Reef which we visited by boat one year ago today. For more photos, please click here.

Posting today using voice activation as opposed to typing…Ergonomics, vital as we age.

There are lots of pharmacies in Phuket but none seems to sell toiletries and cosmetics  do chemists in some other parts of the world.

Based on my current condition I have no alternative, but to begin using speech recognition software to avoid ergonomic anomalies as a result of sitting in a position that is exacerbating my condition.

It’s not my choice to prepare this post using my voice. I have to look at it as a new learning curve that only enhances my online experience and expertise while possibly aiding in my recovery with improved ergonomics. 

As we age, with more and more aches and pains, and for those with repetitive use injuries and conditions from years on a computer (many kids of today are already experiencing painful repetitive use conditions), the ergonomic use of speech recognition software will become more prevalent.

Talk about a pristine sandy beach!

Most computers built in the last 10 years or more have installed voice recognition  and narrative software. By going to “my computer,” then “control panel” or a similar location on your PC, tablet or device, you’ll find speech recognition with a means of activating it. Many are already using it on their smartphones or other devices.

(My last car which I sold a month before we left Minnesota, had a voice activated “command center” which I used on occasion as a safety feature and at other times as a fun novelty).

Tom noticed this small, well maintained wood boat.

By clicking on this location you’ll be instructed as to how to activate and begin using speech recognition. It can easily be turned on and off. The app will learn to recognize your voice based on practice while you speak into a microphone, headset or directly into the computer’s speakers. 

Yesterday, while considering this option I tested speech recognition using both a standard plug-into-the-ears headset comparable to those used to listen to music on your phone. But I also tried it without the headset by speaking into my laptop’s built in microphone. You don’t need a special device, although using one enhances the recognition of certain words.

I should mention that the software on my Windows 8.1 laptop had a link to a video with explicit instructions as to how to best use the speech recognition software. Most likely, I’ll watch this video and others available online to become more adept at using the software. 

Why use this feature? For many reasons, which in my case revolves around spending half of each day in a somewhat uncomfortable position while posting the blog. As I continue in my recovery I am considering every option that may precipitate a better and faster result. 

Chalong Beach on a cloud covered day.

I’ve noticed that on days when I spend less time at my computer I’ve felt slightly better. Of course, using the software as opposed to typing is no guarantee that improvement will be found from this one additional change in my daily activities. It’s a combination of many changes and adjustments.

Sure, one may say, “Stop sitting at your computer. Wouldn’t that be a simple solution?”

But, it’s much more complex than that when a huge portion of the enjoyment of our lives lies in traveling the world while sharing our stories with our readers. Why would I deprive myself and others of that enjoyment and purpose when there are alternate solutions that can work well especially during this interim period?

It’s not as if vacation homes have workstation, including desks and chairs with ergonomically adjustable options. It’s simply not available. In today’s world in some countries workers sitting at a computer all day have the right to request an ergonomically-correct workstation. 

Scattered among many newer more modern homes is a wide variety of older properties owned by locals.

Those of us using a computer “at home” have to figure this out on our own or with the help of a physical therapist, if available. Obviously, no such therapist is available to me at this time.

Over these past years of travel I’ve spent every morning sitting in some arbitrary chair with no less than two pillows on my lap onto which I’ve placed my computer.

By raising the computer I can avoid exacerbating my painful neck and spinal condition by having the computer closer to eye level. Unfortunately, after my recent injury I found that raising my arms to type only added to the pain and discomfort. Was there a happy medium?

It reminded me, not that I needed reminding, that Tom’s 88 year old brother Jerome is totally blind and has been so since 1970. Jerome learned to use speech recognition and narration software in the 1990s in order to be able to listen to text and speak, creating text while using a computer. We’ve always been in awe of Jerome for his adept skills in learning these processes.

Pond at the resort of a few days ago post where rooms go for as low as US $20, THB 693. Click here for details.

As it’s turned out over these past years, Tom has been copying and pasting each day’s blog minus the photos and sending only the text to Jerome via and email making it easier for him to access. 

On many occasions Jerome’s mentioned how much enjoyment he’s derived from the daily sharing of our story which he listens to. No words can describe how much this has meant to both of us.

I’m not certain using this speech recognition software is going to cause a substantial improvement as I continue to recover but there’s nothing to lose to try. Perhaps over a period of time I’ll reap the benefits of utilizing this means of typing as I prepare each daily post.

Many people with a wide array of disabilities are currently using speech recognition software. We can easily imagine many others could benefit from using the software but haven’t learned to do so. 

Many locals use these small local markets to shop for food and other grocery items.

Often family members and friends assume such a software is only important for the visually impaired when so many others could learn to use it as well. Many seniors never learned to type or do so with such deliberation it deters their interest in being online. The software can alleviate this common issue with a few short days of being shown how to use it and with a bit of practice.

If you know someone who can benefit from speech recognition or narration software and can accept the reality that some of the words will be incorrect when each person’s voice is different and the software may misinterpreted the spoken word.  

In writing to loved ones, who cares if a word or two is hard to decipher? Tom says it puts a smile on his face when Jerome uses narration and few word are hard to decipher. A quick rereading of the sentence easily clarifies the intent.

For me, it’s a little different when we’re posting a medium as somewhat of a business entity. As I’ve written today’s post almost entirely by voice I’ve corrected no less than 25 errors. However, I’ve seen that as time goes on and I become more adept at pronouncing words more succinctly, it will become easier. 

Two doors down and across the street from us is this cluttered yard with a cat looking up.

Will I use this over the long haul? At this point I’m unsure. We’ll see how it goes and if I derive some relief from the avoidance of holding my hands in this less than ideal position day after day. Most certainly, we’ll report back as time goes on.

I haven’t yet determined how to add the photos by using my voice but technology nut that I am, in no time at all, I’ll have that figured out as well.

Jerome, thank you once again for being an inspiration to us and may you serve as an inspiration to others who may find great enjoyment from being able to communicate with those they love and the online world.

Have a beautiful day! We’ll be back again with you soon.

Photo from one year ago today, August 24, 2015:

Pandan leaves from the Pandan Plant are used to make these beautiful fragrant bouquets we encountered at Rusty’s Market in Cairns, Australia. As quoted from the owner’s written material:  “The leaves are used in Southeast Asian cooking as well in making the “flowers” which act a repellent to roaches. In addition, Pandan leaves are said to possess medicinal benefits containing tannin, glycosides and alkaloids. The scents emitting from the flowers last a week and may be used as a freshener in cars, homes or washrooms.” For more photos, please click here.

On the mend at long last…Last of the seashell photos, items for sale with some prices…New photos tomorrow!

After we’d finished at the Phuket Sea Shell Museum, located in the lower level, we made our way back up to the main level to the shop where a variety of seashells and seashell related products were for sale.

Hesitant to jinx myself, I pause to emphatically state I’m on the mend. However, it’s beginning to feel that way now as I approach the three month mark since the injury occurred in Bali on June 1st.

The unique shell on the left is US $722, THB 25,000 with the shell on the right at US $808, THB 28,000. 

Having had time to rest here in Phuket has made all the difference in the world, exactly what I’ve needed to do after leaving Bali on June 28th when there was a whirlwind of activity up until we arrived on July 23rd.

Once we were settled in, planned meals and purchased groceries and taken a few photos, I knew it was time to work on my recovery. With a combination of an ergonomic  seating arrangement with two bed pillows on my lap to get my laptop at eye level while posting, pillows under each elbow to avoid strain in my shoulders and neck and with my feet planted flat and firmly on the floor, I’ve been able to sit for short bursts with a degree of comfort.

Seashell wind chimes.

Walking under 3000 steps daily in order to stay active, lying in bed on my side for 15 minutes every three or four hours to alleviate discomfort and, using a combination of ice and heat throughout the day as needed, I’ve been able to begin to see the benefits of my diligence and consistent efforts.

Cute little characters made of seashells.

Would a doctor have prescribed I do anything differently? Unlikely. I may have been prescribed pain killers and muscle relaxants. Although I did take about 10 pain pills we had in our emergency medical kit over this extended period, I only did so at the very worst times mainly while in Singapore and on the river cruise after painful activities. I haven’t taken any in quite a while.

Colorful seashell mirror.

Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, Paracetamol and aspirin had not helped at all, although I tried to find a balance over a period of a month of what may work. Nothing seemed to work. Now, I take nothing at all having lost a bit of faith in the efficacy of such over- the-counter meds which some people swear by.

Huge seashell hanging decorator items.

Without Tom’s help, this recovery effort would have been impossible. Other than chopping salad vegetable for each night’s dinner salad (he’s not a good chopper) while seated at the dining table, I haven’t done a thing.

Seashell serving dishes in varying designs and sizes.

I haven’t washed or dried a dish, washed or hung a load of laundry, made a bed or even, picked up my laptop to place on the pillows on my lap.  He does all of this for me regardless of how many times I get up to move about. Nor, have I poured my own coffee or iced tea. He does it all.

Now that I’m beginning to feel much better, he still insists on helping me to avoid bending, reaching inside the refrigerator or pulling up the covers to make the bed. It’s those types of motions that could set me into a tailspin causing a re-injury, the worst thing I could do at this point.

More wind chimes priced at US $16, THB 550.

As good as I’m beginning to feel I’ve gently begun to become a little more active until such time as I can begin doing some physical therapy type exercises which is not quite yet.

Wall decoration.

Living this life,often far from medical care which we’d feel confident in receiving, we’ve learned to care for ourselves as much as possible. This elicits questions such as the following:

1.  What conditions would prompt us to see a doctor or immediately contact emergency services regardless of the distance and quality of medical care?
2.  How much self-care makes sense when under these particular and peculiar life circumstances?

Answers to these questions aren’t easy and certainly wouldn’t apply to those who have easy access to medical care and a “regular” doctor or medical facility with which they feel comfortable. 

This shell is priced at US $5,197, THB 180,000 must be a rare find.

Of course, we do not recommend that anyone wait to seek medical care when they experience any new type of pain, discomfort, injury, bleeding or anomaly. Seek medical care immediately! 

Nor would we ignore such signs and avoid seeking medical care, if not locally, then by traveling to another location. We have high quality emergency insurance including air ambulance. 

Pretty shells for sale for US $8.37, THB $290.

But, after 30 years of back pain from a chronic spinal condition, I knew my body and like many of our readers with chronic pain, we didn’t always run to the doctor when it acts up when we’ve re-injured it.

Over these past five years, I’d had no pain while strictly adhering to the anti-inflammation way of eating. It’s only been since this injury  in June that again I’ve experienced debilitating pain.

A seashell inspired handbag priced at US $38, THB 1300.

In our old lives, I’d surely have gone to the doctor as a result of this injury. If nothing else but to have an x-ray, CAT scan or MRI to hear more of the same I heard in my old life over many years of tests, tests and more tests.

Able to walk, with no pain in my arms and legs, I felt hopeful that in time the injury would heal.  Tentatively, today, I can truly say I’m on the mend where in many of these past posts, I feel as if I was responding to many messages from kindly well wishers when I was more hopeful than confident in my recovery. 

Touristy trinkets.

If I continue to proceed with caution, avoid falling, avoid any high risk adventures and don’t overdo any activity in my often over-zealous manner, the recovery will continue. 

It could take many more months until I’m fully recovered. However, at this juncture, we can sigh with relief that we can carry on in our world travels, which all along up until this past week, I’ve been a bit fearful could come to an end.

Today, is shopping day requiring three stops; the pharmacy, the Seven Eleven (only place we’re able to find shampoo) and the supermarket. Along the way, we’ll stop for a few new photos  to excitedly share with all of you over the next several days.

We headed down this tile walkway back to the less-than-stellar rental car we’d parked behind this truck.

With only 13 days until we depart Phuket, we look forward to the future with a renewed hope and optimism that may not have been possible only a few short weeks ago.

May your day provide you with optimism for the future! Thank you for being “here” with us, as always.

Photo from one year ago today, August 19, 2015:

The most venomous Australian snake: the Inland Taipan or Fierce Snake
One year ago, we posted photos of dangerous snakes in Australia. (Not our photo). The Inland Taipan or Fierce Snake, reported as the most venomous snake in Australia. For more information and photos, please click here.

Part 1…An inquiry from an old friend and long time reader…

Tall three story house and a stone yard in the neighborhood.

When I visited Facebook this morning for a quick peek of what’s going on with family and friends, I noticed a private message from my dear friend Cathy in Minnesota. We’ve stayed in touch now and then as we have with many of our treasured friends so appreciating the occasional back and forth communication.

Cathy wrote:
“So this is my question for you two. Honestly have you ever gone someplace and after about a couple of weeks wish the stay was shorter? With your back hurting the way it does sometimes do you wish you were closer to a doctor. I just know how painful back problems are from experience.  I read your blog everyday.”

Single story apartment building in the neighborhood.

When I saw Cathy’s private message in Facebook it inspired me to write an answer to her questions in today’s and tomorrow’s posts as honestly and forthright as possible, never with the intention of complaining or diminishing the lovely property in which we’re staying. Today is about our response to the our current situation, not so much about the property itself.

In these many past posts I’ve been fully aware that every few days, I’ve whined about my condition for a few reasons; one, to explain why we aren’t out exploring and taking many photos; two, we promised early on we’d always “tell it like it is.” It bothered me to mention it as much as I have and I imagine some readers may have thought, “Enough already!” We understand this.

But, many thoughts come to mind when we’re telling it like it is, good or not-so-good, mainly prompted by my following statement.

Carved markers in a local cemetery.

Isn’t it disappointing when you thought you’ve been reading a memoir, only to find out later that the author embellished the story to make it appear to be more interesting? What about hearing that a favorite reality type show has scripted dialogue when at the time you enjoyed what appeared to be real and genuine conversation?

When we started these posts on March 15, 2012, never knowing how long we’d last, we decided to always tell it truthfully without embellishment or “fluff” to make it more interesting. Today’s post is #1474. Many have been mundane. Others have been exciting.

And even, during quiet times when our readership may decline for a period, we continue to stay on the path of our reality, as we see it, as we feel it, knowing that in times to come it will become more exciting and the readership kicks back up to exciting numbers.

Close up of markers at a local cemetery.

This is our lives. We don’t make it up as we go. We live it. We share it in as close to “real time” as possible, usually no more than one day later (except for posting lengthy tours over a period of days/weeks as we’d done for the recent Mekong River cruise).

We’ve often commented when we’ve noticed celebrities/politicians and public figures contradicting themselves, how it’s hard to remember falsehoods one has told. But, the truth is always easy to recall.

To quote Abraham Lincoln, “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”So true.

Low tide on a local beach.

The dilemma we always face is never devaluing the quality of a property and the often phenomenal customer service and care we’ve received from property owners and managers, as is the case here in Phuket. 

The owner has been prompted in responding to any of our needs. The property is impeccably maintained, the amenities are of good quality and the twice weekly four-person cleaning staff has been a godsend. Even the WiFi has been exceptional, something we may appreciate more than others.

Thus, in response to my friend Cathy’s inquiry, we share a few facts we’ve brushed over in prior posts, mainly to keep the complaining under control. in response to the first part of her question; “Honestly, have you ever gone someplace and after about a couple of weeks wish the stay was shorter?”

Statues outside a gated property.

The answer is relatively easy in regard to our current situation, a resounding “yes.” But, this affirmative answer is totally predicated by my current health condition. We have lived in many locations with what many would consider unbearable heat and humidity with nary a complaint from either of us.

We spend three months each in Kenya and South Africa sitting outdoors all day in some of the worst heat and humidity of our lives never giving the weather conditions much of a thought other than when we had to go indoors during storms. It is very hot in Bali but there, too we spent most of our time outdoors until my injury. 

It was a scorcher in Dubai, at times in Italy, in Marrakech and the list goes on and on. Somehow, here in Phuket, being in pain has made the heat inside the house unbearable for me. 

Seating configuration since we moved the two side chairs to the bedroom in order to stay cool.

The air con in the living area, dining room and kitchen doesn’t work well due to the vaulted ceilings.  There’s no breeze this far from the sea. The limited number of outlets makes it difficult to property position the two floor fans. Extension cords aren’t used much in many countries as they are in the US. 

Yesterday, we gave up trying to spend our days in the living room where the heat is unbearable. Tom moved the two relatively comfortable side chairs from the living room to the bedroom. Adding lots of pillows to my chair has made it all the more comfortable. The ceiling in the master bedroom is lower. The air-con works great. 

When I become uncomfortable sitting, I walk around the house  for a bit or move to the bed for a few minutes to lay on my side to work out the kinks. At the moment this plan is a good work around. Before we leave Tom will return the furniture to its original location.  

Fishing on the shallow beach at low tide.

When the cleaning/house management staff arrived this morning while I was preparing this post, we inquired as to having the air con in the living room fixed so we won’t be trapped in the bedroom around the clock. Promptly Pon, the English speaking staff member, contacted the air con company who will come out today to see if it’s fixable. If so, we won’t be trapped in the bedroom for the next three weeks. This would be an ideal solution.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with what transpired with the air con repair and also the answer to the second part of Cathy’s question “With your back hurting the way it does sometimes do you wish you were closer to a doctor?”

Cathy, thanks for your thoughtful inquiry. We both appreciate your kindness and your friendship.

Photo from one year ago today, August 10, 2015:

During our past visits, the kangaroos ran off.  On this particular occasion, they watched us for a while and then ran off. For more photos, please click here.

Medical issue kept under wraps until today…Time to come clean…More Singapore shopping photos…

Live crab.

It was only as a result of an extraordinary amount of pain relief from an anti inflammatory diet over these past five years that allowed us to begin to travel the world.

Chronic pain would make traveling to this degree unbearable and impractical. Over these past five years I haven’t had back or neck pain since the steps collapsed under our feet in Belize on the night of our anniversary in March 2013 and I banged my delicate spine and neck on the broken wood. Here’s the link to awful event.

It was a full two months until I began to feel pain free again as the injuries finally healed. From there, my strict adherence to living an anti inflammation lifestyle served me well until…

The grocery store has both local and western type foods.

About three weeks ago, while living in Bali and working out in the pool, I slipped and banged my neck and spine on the stone lip and edge of the steps leading in and out of the pool. 

At the time, I experienced a horrible pain in my spine, but didn’t say a word to Tom to keep him from worrying. But, I couldn’t keep my secret long when I began icing using our traveling ice pack. In telling Tom about the injury I dismissed the severity of the pain which escalated over a period of days.

OMG, I thought. Will this be our undoing? When will the pain subside? After a few days of rest, I decided to continue gently walking in the pool, albeit more carefully, and walking about the house for five minutes every half hour in order to stay mobile.

Lots of fresh fish reasonably priced.

I deliberated over walking on the tile floors knowing stone floors are hard on the back, but I had little interest in walking on the road or beach more than a few times a week to take more photos.  As for sightseeing, it wasn’t a remote possibility.  

I tried everything I knew from years of experience to relieve severe back and neck pain from making a homemade heat pack using a plastic bag with a damp heated-in-the-microwave cloth on the inside, to a series of very gentle stretches. Nothing has seemed to help.

It all boiled down to time…enough time passing for the injury to heal with the hope I’ll return to my usual pain free existence. Have we considered medical care? We have. 

A vegetable cutting tool presentation at the market.

Although, certainly not in Bali with less than stellar medical care. Also, knowing that major surgery is the only real long term option if the pain continues indefinitely, there’s no point in pursuing this option.What would they do anyway?   

Need I say that the harrowing five hour drive from West Bali to Denpasar was quite a challenge?  Ouch.

We’ve certainly had to curtail our activities in Singapore. I’m grateful we’ve already handled two of the three visas we needed. With our upcoming long flight to Hanoi in two days, I’m a bit apprehensive about sitting on the plane so long but I made it through the one hour shorter flight from Bali to Singapore and I’ll do the same for the upcoming flight. 

Tom was in line paying for cheese and nuts.

We get out as much as I feel I can and continue to take photos to share. I’m saddened over the fact that we aren’t able to do some of the sightseeing we’d hoped in Singapore. When one doesn’t have a home and lives in the “world,” recuperating from any medical issue is required wherever we may be at any given time, thus we may miss out on some opportunities.

Why didn’t we bring this up sooner? I suppose it was my attempt to “tough it out” to avoid complaining. I suppose any of us retirees have bad periods where we’re under the weather in one way or another. Even the younger generation becomes ill from time to time. Its a part of life.

With the sharing of our daily lives of travel we attempt to stay upbeat and positive in our posts.  Although, I must admit its been tricky over these past weeks. 

The mall aisles weren’t crowded since most visitors were eating.

We’re forging ahead with all of our plans over these next few months. Its comforting to know we’ll have a six week restful hiatus at the house in Phuket beginning on July 22nd. Hopefully, by then my recovery will be much further progressed.

That’s the scoop folks. This morning, Sunday, once again we went out to breakfast and walked through Chinatown without the usual weekday crowds. The walk was good and now we’re back at our hotel to rest until dinner.

We’ll be back tomorrow as we wind down to less than two days before departing Singapore to head to Hanoi.

Photo from one year ago today, July 3, 2015:

It was fun to take photos of wild cockatoos in Trinity Beach, Australia. For more details, please click here.