Day #125 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Cairns Botanical Garden photos from 2015…Two years in the South Pacific…

A beautiful bouquet already made by nature.

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Today’s photos are from July 26, 2015, while in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more photos.
Lipstick bamboo.

Starting in June 2015, we spent two years in the South Pacific. In and out of Australia, due to 90-day visa requirements, we had an opportunity to visit many countries and areas in the South Pacific.

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

We sailed on eight cruises, including one river cruise and a 33-night back-to-back circumvention of the entire Australian continent. It couldn’t have been more wonderful.

At the time, we realized how fortunate we were to have that astounding experience, and now during this lengthy confinement, we appreciate it all the more. Such an adventure in the future will surely elicit a heart-pounding response of sheer delight and enthusiasm.

Orange puffs.

We visited Fiji, Bali, New Zealand, Tasmania, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, and many more, where we stayed from weeks to months savoring every day.

During this period, we stayed in Queensland, Tasmania, and New South Wales, three of Australia’s eight states in such cities as Trinity Beach, Sydney, Fairlight (near Manly Beach), Huon Valley, Penguin, and more. 

We’d seen these Sausage Trees in Marloth Park and Kruger National Park in South Africa. These pods are enormous.

We visited Australia’s bigger cities on the cruises, including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin, Gold Coast, and many more cities and some other countries such as New Caledonia.

A pretty waterfall.

The most prolonged stay on the continent was while we lived in Trinity Beach (near Cairns) for a full three months, having an opportunity to drive within a 3-hour radius to further explore on outings we made every week.

Shopping for groceries was especially fun when the fabulous markets had every item we could imagine. We frequented a local wholesale fish market to purchase the delicious, revered Barramundi, caught fresh daily.

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

We made our way to various parks and open areas to see wild kangaroos, wombats, and koalas. We rejoiced when spotting the beautiful, bright white cockatoos, friendly kookaburra, and an endless stream of other indigenous birds.

Gecko on a rock at the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

Australia is blessed with some of the most friendly, lively, and animated people on the planet, willing to engage with newcomers like us, and also are always up for a beer, a cook on the “barbie,” and a laugh. 

On the eight cruises, within 24 hours of embarking, we found ourselves easily included in a group of 10 or 12 Aussies who included us with open arms. We made friends, many of whom we are still in touch with now. 

Tom was busy inspecting this huge tree.

Tom was included in the “men’s shed” on several cruises, consisting of Aussie men who did good works, easily laughing over self-deprecating jokes and storytelling. Their motto was, “What happened in the shed, stayed in the shed.” 

Pink beauty.

If the wife wanted to know what transpired in the shed, their response was, “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you!” I never questioned what transpired during these two-hour events, usually starting at 3:00 pm, but it always made me smile to know he’d had such a good time.

This was one of my favorites.

While the “boys” were having fun, I often sat with a group of the “partners,” as men (and women) call their spouses or girlfriends, engaged in lively “girl talk,” a welcome change for me. Ah, we certainly miss some of those times and would appreciate them now more than ever.

Easy-to-navigate walkways and occasional steps led to different levels in the gardens.

But, here we are on day #125 in lockdown at The Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport, a lovely hotel, alone together, making the best of a very peculiar situation. We are especially grateful we are in this safe environment, and for all the memories we recall when posting past experiences and photos such as these today.

Stay safe.

Photo from one year ago today, July 26, 2019:

A summer rose in Madeira, Portugal from a repeated post one year ago. Please click here for details.

Wrapping up the Cairns Botanic Garden…What shall we share next?..A long ago host and hostess…

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

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

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

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

Tom loves to read signs wherever we may visit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Close up of grouchy looking python face.

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

Pretty in pink.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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