Merry Christmas Eve to all who celebrate…Fun evening out for Tom’s birthday…

Tom wore this giant sombrero while the staff sang “Happy Birthday.” It was funny!

Celebrating Tom’s birthday last night was fun at Lindo Michoacan, a Mexican restaurant in Henderson, about 25 minutes from our condo. The drive was pleasant when we could see not only plenty of Christmas lights but also high up where the condo building is located, and we could also see the lights of the Las Vegas Strip. It’s another world here.

Sure, there’s traffic, lots of stop lights, and careless drivers, but we stayed in good spirits as we looked forward to dinner and seeing my son Richard, who continues to be busy working up to Christmas. He is the #1 agent in the large company in Henderson and Las Vegas, and we’re proud of his continued accomplishments in the real estate business.

The waitstaff sang “Happy Birthday” to Tom.

It was fun catching up, and the busy restaurant’s festive atmosphere was palpable. We sat in a booth in the center of the main part of the restaurant and were surprised by the number of birthdays celebrated on December 23rd, so close to Christmas.

I informed the hostess that it was Tom’s birthday. After we ate our dinner, a group of waitstaff members stopped by, placed the giant sombrero on Tom’s head, and sang the birthday song. You can tell by today’s main photo that he felt a little awkward wearing the hat. I could tell he was more concerned about wearing a hat that had been on other people’s heads than the attention he was getting.

Tom’s taco salad with sirloin steak instead of ground meat or chicken.

As a generally outgoing guy, Tom doesn’t care for hoopla in his direction. But he’s always a good sport and goes along with it. The waiter brought him a Mexican dessert, which I dared to taste. Last night, I tasted only two tortilla chips and a bit of the refried beans and salsa dip that came with the baskets of chips.

Also, for the first time in over two months last night, I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio, sipping on only one glass throughout the evening. It tasted so good that when we went to the little store again to buy bread for Tom’s morning toast, we purchased a small box of Cabernet Sauvignon. No, it wasn’t a fine wine, but at least with a boxed wine, it will keep longer than an opened bottle.

Richard’s chicken fajitas looked delicious.

That way, I can have one glass some nights, and it should last for a few weeks when the small box contains ten glasses of red wine. I won’t be having a glass every night and have decided I won’t drink more than one per evening.

When we ventured out to walk to the little store, we were surprised by how cold it was: 43F, 6C. It’s primarily cold in Nevada during winter and doesn’t start to warm until March. And, then, from there, are some of the hottest temperatures in the US.

On July 10, 2021, the record high was 117F, 47.7C. That’s hot! The humidity is low here in the desert, but even so, that is unbearable. We prefer to come here when it’s cool, and we’re both enjoying it here now and wearing jackets or zippered sweatshirts when we go out. We got by with long-sleeved shirts. Last night, it was a little warmer.

My Cobb salad was good, but I prefer small bites of chicken tossed with the ingredients.

The conversation at dinner was lively and animated, and we enjoyed the time together. By 9:00 pm, we were back at the condo. We streamed a comedy show, and I nodded off on the sofa, finally heading to bed around 10:30 for another good night’s sleep.

So, here we are, dear reader, on Christmas Eve. For those who celebrate, we wish you a very Merry Christmas with hope and love in your hearts and minds.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, December 24, 2013:

On our way to the Marloth Park Farmers Market, a few blocks from our home. We count the days until they return to our garden. For more photos, please click here.

Merry Christmas Eve to all of our readers/friends and family…Tom’s fun birthday evening…

It’s Christmas again, the 10th Christmas since we left for our world journey. It’s hard for us to believe it’s been so long. When we think about how much time we’ve spent held back due to the pandemic, which will be two years in March, it’s an entirely different picture.

While listening to a popular cruising podcast, Cruise News, this morning, we were disheartened by the number of cruises that are either canceling or returning to the embarkation port due to rising cases of the virus aboard the ship. Many countries are forbidding cruise ships from stopping at a planned port of call when officials don’t want to risk more cases being brought into their countries. I don’t blame them.

With ports of call rapidly canceling, cruising may easily take another nose-dive. Yesterday, we got a notice from Costco that the final payment for our April 8th transatlantic cruise will be debited to our credit card tomorrow, Christmas Day. Is it likely this cruise will sail in a little over three months? I’m not so sure.

However, today is Christmas Eve, and our thoughts need to go elsewhere, focusing on the many blessings we have before us and have had over the many years of our world journey. Sure, we have had some challenges, some of which we would have had regardless of where we lived or if we’d traveled or not. They include the loss of loved ones, illness, and ten months in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, along with myriad unexpected events that left us reeling for a few minutes as we decided what to do next.

In each case, we figured it all out and never gave up. When faced with life-changing challenges, this is just like you when faced with life-changing challenges…you figure it out. We are not unique in that way. As the holiday season is upon us, we’re reminded of how fortunate we’ve been in so many ways.  This season, this year, and always, we celebrate that good fortune and pray for a new world for all of us.

None of us are exempt from experiencing the effect of the past few years in one way or another. Many have suffered dearly from the loss of loved ones, severe illness, and loss of financial security. The pandemic has taken a toll on the lives of citizens worldwide, and it’s not over yet.

Last night, we had a fantastic evening at Jabula. Our dear friends and owners at our favorite restaurant had decorated the bar with balloons, a birthday sign for Tom, and put a reserved sign at our favorite seats at the bar. Tom couldn’t have appreciated it more. Of course, the conversations at the bar flowed with ease with plenty of laughter, teasing, and holiday spirit.

Tom wanted to eat at the bar rather than take a table on the veranda, and we never missed a beat as locals came and went, celebrating along with us. By 8:00 pm, 2000 hrs, we headed home. Tom was looking forward to his cake. He let his dinner settle for a while we watched a few shows on my laptop, and then he dug in.

Unfortunately, and much to my disappointment, the cake wasn’t as moist as it could have been. But, Tom, the sugar enthusiast, savored every bite and had a second helping this morning with his coffee. Surely tonight after dinner, he’ll have another.

As a special treat for Christmas, this morning, I made myself a low-carb almond flour cinnamon coffee cake, making a second cake to bring to Louise and Danie this afternoon, who also eat like me. Although the recipe didn’t originate from my efforts, this cake is a favorite of mine. Knowing how good this is, here is the recipe for those who prefer to eat a low carb/keto diet from this site:

1/2 cup butter, softened slightly
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup granular Splenda or equivalent liquid Splenda
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs, room temperature
6 1/2 ounces almond flour, 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream the butter, cream cheese, Splenda, and extracts. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix the almond flour and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture gradually. Pour into a greased 9″ round cake pan. Mix the topping ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle over the cake batter. Bake at 350º 45-50 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the cake is firm to the touch.

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup almond flour, 2 ounces
1/4 cup granular Splenda or equivalent liquid Splenda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, softened just until pliable

Makes 12 servings
Can be frozen

With granular Splenda:
Per Serving: 286 Calories; 26g Fat; 8g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 5g Net Carbs

With liquid Splenda:
Per Serving: 276 Calories; 26g Fat; 8g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 3g Net Carbs

May all of you who celebrate have a fantastic Christmas holiday. Those celebrating Chanukah, Kwanza, or any other seasonal holidays, may you also have a wonderful holiday season.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 24, 2020:

This photo was posted one year ago while in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, on day #274. For more, please click here.

Day #274 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Merry Christmas Eve…Scroll down for our Christmas poem from the past…

Today’s poem I wrote years ago is from a post on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2013, while in Marloth Park, South Africa. For more details, please click here.

The above Christmas graphic is to express our wishes to family, friends, and readers worldwide. In reviewing the countries mentioned in the above image, we haven’t visited four of these 15 countries: China, Israel, the Philippines, and Norway. We still have plenty of the world yet to see!

Tom was delighted with the endless stream of birthday wishes that came his way via Facebook and email. Many came through our site and my email as well. He appreciated every single kind and generous message. Thank you!

Tom and I never say “Merry Christmas” until the actual “eve” begins on December 24th, which is several hours from now. In our old lives, we were often still reeling from the festivities from his birthday the previous day. This year? None of the “reeling.” Instead, we wait with bated breath for the next 19 days until we know we can depart India and begin the long journey to South Africa.

There’s nothing that could bespeak the holiday season for us at this time. We have nothing planned for today or tomorrow. Instead, we’ll focus on our feelings of gratitude for that which we do have in our presence and afar at this time; the love and friendship for one another, our family, friends, and readers; safety from Covid-19; and of course, the fingers-crossed prospect of leaving India before too long.

As more and more news comes out of South Africa with a rapid increase in new cases, especially from a new strain, we wait with bated breath, hoping the borders stay open for the next 19 days and nights, allowing us ample time to get out of here.

Today, the air-con in the building isn’t working, but it is being worked on, based on a call we received from the front desk. It could take two to three hours until it’s working again. It’s stifling in our room and getting hotter by the minute. I just returned from a fast walk in the corridors, dodging guests talking loudly on phones, without masks, and I’m sweating up a storm.

Midway through my walk, I stopped to send an email to the front desk. They, too, are upset about guests not wearing masks and want us to report any discrepancies we observe, if we don’t mind. They don’t want to get sick, nor do the loyal staff who have left their homes, their families for months at a time to work and live here. It’s unfair for everyone.

Ah, anyway, we’re trying to get into the holiday spirit, and the best way we can do this is through memories of Christmases past. In reviewing which photos we’d post today for Christmas Eve, I stumbled across this poem I wrote in our old lives a few nights before the family arrived for Christmas Day dinner.

I decided to share this poem again today, seven years later. It seems all the more appropriate based on the circumstances everyone is experiencing all over the world. Here you go:


Elbow to elbow, we’re all gathered here

Family and friends, sharing holiday cheer

Our plates, all filled with tasty delights

Our appetites whetted, to take the first bites

The candlelight glowing on each smiling face

As we look to each other, wondering who will say “grace”

The words are well-spoken, as hands are held tight

The meaning, so special, this holiday night

Elbow to elbow, we’re all gathered here

At this table, we’ve gathered for many a’ years

We’ve enjoyed fancy dinners, some romantic for two

And squeezed in so many, as our family grew

And now, here are our children, adult, and attached

In love with their partners and very well matched

With room at the table, their children are here

As we teach them the meaning of holiday cheer

A few are still missing, there always will be

Their gifts in the mail, not under the tree

We’re feeling their love, across all the miles

Holding back tears, remembering their smiles

Elbow to elbow, we’re all gathered here

Putting aside life’s trouble and fear

The food and the merriment, the taste of good wine

The joy and the happiness, knowing they’re mine.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow on Christmas Day.

Photo from one year ago today, December 24, 2019:

No photos were posted on Christmas Eve last year other than the above. Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to our family, friends/readers all over the world. For more on this post, please click here.

Merry Christmas, everyone!…Christmas Eve festivities…”We’ll figure it out”…

A band from Minnesota played country music at the Apache Junction VFW’s
Christmas Eve festivities.

Today’s photos were from yesterday afternoon while we attended the festivities at a local Apache Junction VFW from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Later in the day, we gathered at Colleen’s house for snacks and more entertaining and lively conversations. Four neighbors stopped by to join the six of us.

Although it never snowed anywhere we’ve traveled over the world the past seven years, except while we were in Antarctica almost two years ago, somehow being in the US during Christmas feels a bit unfamiliar without snow.

Tom, another year older but still loads of fun!

With its usually warm and mild winters, Arizona doesn’t quite remind us of Christmastime, even with the lights and decorations. Today, it’s raining. Then again, during these past travel years, we haven’t created the ambiance we so well remember of Christmases long ago. 

We have no decorations, no tree, no gifts, no tins of home-baked Christmas cookies. Nor did we send out Christmas cards or gifts other than to our grandchildren.

But, somehow, the Christmas spirit fills our hearts, and we think of our loved ones far away and may, at times, miss the merriment we so embraced in our old lives.

Tom and brother-in-law Gene. Note Tom: always using his hands when he tells a story. We didn’t include photos of other family members when they preferred not to publish their photos online. No problem.

We’d be foolhardy to say we don’t miss certain aspects of our old lives. We do. We’ll always miss our family members and friends. At times, we even forget our old house, the lake, the wildlife, and our wonderful neighbors.

But, it feels as if all of that was a lifetime ago. These seven years have left us drawing upon memories of prior years, which is a blur in many ways…not the time we spent with loved ones but the intangible sensations of the Christmas season…the smell of cookies baking; the twinkling of tiny lights on the tree; and the often falling snowflakes.

But soon, as we embark on yet another exotic and unusual journey, we find ourselves relieved of such idle meanderings as we imagine the future ahead of us and what treasures it has to bring.

Nothing like an adorable “wiener dog” to liven up the VFW’s Christmas Eve festivities.

No, people don’t understand the powerful hold that the wanderlust spirit has blissfully imposed upon us. We love this life. We’re often asked, “How could you possibly leave everyone you love behind?”

We didn’t make that decision lightly, nor do we flippantly consider it now. We hope and pray our family members to understand and know full well that however far away we may be, they are always in our hearts and minds.

My paternal grandmother, whom I dearly cherished, lived across the country when I was a child. We only saw her once every five or six years and stayed in touch via handwritten letters and perhaps a once-a-year phone call. I never loved her any less that she chose to live far away. I loved her all the more.

Many brought “white elephant gifts” to swap amongst each other. It was fun to see some of the funny gifts, including a 10-year-old who ended up with an adult movie that his parents immediately grabbed from his hands.

We can only hope our fast-growing-up grandchildren and adult children feel the same, accepting and loving us just the same. With the availability of the internet, it has been much easier to stay in touch, see their faces, hear their voices, and share their lives.

Life is never perfect, nor is it precisely as we wished it would be with all the efforts we’ve made in the world. This past year was a life-shattering and potentially life-changing experience when I had emergency open-heart surgery in February in South Africa.

Both of us have had many challenges in our lives, as most people do. Yet, somehow, we made it through. Did we learn something from this frightening experience? I can’t say we learned a lot about ourselves we didn’t already know.

The table was filled with white elephant gifts.

But, we did learn one thing often asked of us, “What will you do if something goes wrong?” At the time of these types of queries, we’d look at one another and reply, “We’ll figure it out.”

And that is exactly what we did. We figured it out. Here we are now, only 35 days before departure for India, and we’re braced and ready for this next phase of our travels, armed with the knowledge that we have the motivation, mutual love, and determination that we’ll always be able to “figure it out.”

Merry Christmas to every one of our family members, readers/friends, and all the people we’ve met along the way. We truly feel blessed in more than one way.

Photo from one year ago today, December 25, 2018:

Little doesn’t disappoint.  He stopped by Christmas Eve morning and began walking up the steps to the house. I found him on step #3 and encouraged him to eat outside. He complied.  I tendered pellets, apples, and carrots.  He ate the produce and left the pellets thinking about the human leftovers he would be getting elsewhere at a holidaymaker’s house, maybe chips, Christmas cookies, and marshmallows (none of which are suitable for him).  But, after all, he is a pig, and he likes junk food, too. Merry Christmas. For more, please click here.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to all of our family and friends/readers who celebrate…

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to our friends all over the world.

We extend our heartfelt wishes to those who celebrate Christmas and Chanukah. We awoke this morning to Christmas Eve day, and with an unusual (for us) activity on the agenda, we’re celebrating with Tom’s sisters and spouses once again.

This morning at 5:20 am, Tom bolted out of bed to drive Margie to the Mesa airport. She was flying back to Minnesota for her granddaughter’s wedding on New Year’s Eve and will return to Apache Junction the first week in January.

This leaves the six of us to continue the holiday season celebrations, which included Tom’s birthday last night with a big meal and the Minnesota Vikings game (they lost) we watched shortly after dining.

I could kick myself for failing to take photos. Now that I’m using my Google 4XL phone to take photos, I am having a hard time taking time out of the festivities. I certainly will be taking photos in India soon enough.

But, in reality, life isn’t always about photos. It’s about memorable experiences, and those aren’t always captured with a phone or camera. Tom’s birthday celebration was easy flowing, lively, and delightfully fun for the seven of us.

So what’s on the agenda today? We’re joining the family for their tradition of attending the local VFW’s annual “Tom & Jerry” Christmas Eve Day party, which begins at 1:00 pm, ending around 4:00 pm. 

Neither Tom nor I drink Tom and Jerry’s, and most likely, one of us will be the designated driver since we don’t care to drink adult beverages during the day. Instead, we’ll have fun with the others enjoying this unusual way for us to celebrate Christmas Eve Day.

As for last night’s dinner, everything came out exactly as planned. Some of the garlic bread edges were overcooked, but I trimmed them off, and it was still a hit. Tom perfectly cooked everyone’s steak medium rare as requested and mine rare. 

The butterflied garlic butter prawns were delicious, and not a one was left behind. At halftime, I served Tom’s lemon birthday cake, and they all thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a good meal.

With the kitchen’s small size, it’s imperative we get everything out of the way. Last night, after dinner, Tom washed all the dishes right away. Shortly afterward, I dried the dishes and put everything away. We awoke this morning to the little house being tidy and back in order.

Living in this small space and yet performing normal household activities requires diligence in keeping everything tidy, or a feeling of chaos would ensue. We avoid chaos like the plague.

Speaking of the plague, we’re finally recovered from the dreadful flu that lasted for over six weeks, although on occasion, we cough a little. That virus compared to the awful virus from a cruise to Sydney in 2015 that left us both coughing for weeks.

Tom is napping right now. Not a good napper, I am walking on my tiptoes to avoid making any noise and awakening him. Hopefully, he can rest for an hour or two until we leave for the VFW.

We wish every one of our family, friends/readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah. May the joy, spirituality, and merriment of the season fill your hearts with love, fulfillment, and hope for the future.

Thank you for sharing this time, all times in the past and times upcoming in the future. All of you are instrumental in the joy we feel as we continue on this journey…36 days and counting…

Photo from one year ago today, December 24, 2018:

OThe bright light behind us wasn’t the best vantage point in taking this photo. From left to right: Don, Kathy, me, Tom, Danie, Gerhard with Louise and Rita in front. For more photos from his party one year ago, please click here.

Merry Christmas to all of our worldwide readers…Settling in for 31-nights in Buenos Aires…Not as easy as it may seem…

Happy 65th birthday to my darling husband, lover,  travel companion, and forever friend who has made this special and unique life of world travel possible.  

Now that the cruise has ended, we won’t be posting photos from “Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising.” Instead, over the remaining 31-nights, while we’re staying in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires at the Prodeo Hotel, we’ll be posting photos and stories of our day-to-day lives while living in a boutique hotel in this lovely neighborhood, known for its charm and eclectic persona.

We sat at the banquette in the lovely restaurant in Palermo, Lo De Jesus.  It was only ranked #322 of 4,422 restaurant reviews in Buenos Aires on the TripAdvisor site.

We didn’t expect luxury accommodations at a corporate rate of US $2,560 (ARS 45,878) for this extended stay. We needed a few adjustments when we were situated in our spacious room at the impeccable Prodeo Hotel. We made a list for our hotelier Alessandro, hoping he would help resolve the few concerns, which included:

  • Is there ice for our beverages?
  • Is the water safe to drink?
  • How to use the safe?  Directions were unclear.
  • How to use the free phone in the room (local calls only)?
  • Can we get another luggage rack since there are no drawers or ample storage space in the room, allowing us to unpack?
  • Can we have more hangers for the small closet behind a drape? 
  • There’s no small refrigerator in the room. Is it possible to get one?
  • One screw to the toilet seat is missing making the seat slide around. Can this be fixed?
  • Where we’d dine for Tom’s birthday, walking distance from the hotel?
  • Where is there an ATM at a bank?  Fees are generally less at a bank ATM than at a local machine.
    The restaurant’s decor is understated and pleasant.

After taking a much-needed short nap and uploaded yesterday’s post, we headed out on foot for an ATM. We weren’t surprised to discover that each time we’ll use an ATM, the fees will be US $10 (ARS 179) for each transaction, charged by the local machine, more than we’ve paid anywhere in the world.

From what we’ve seen thus far, many restaurants also offer a wide array of Argentinian wines for sale.

We won’t need much cash here since most restaurants accept credit cards. We’ll only need cash for taxis and local mini-marts. It’s a pricey area, so we’ll see how it goes.

Tom couldn’t resist the delicious bread.

Over the next few hours, Alessandro handled each of our concerns with the greatest ease and generosity. We now have a small refrigerator in our room: ice is available at the hotel’s bar upon request (no charge); we now can use the safe and phone; we received many more wooden hangers; the toilet seat is repaired; we enjoyed Tom’s birthday dinner at a fine local restaurant (see photos below); we got cash from the ATM, and all is good.

Two complimentary glasses of dry champagne were presented at our table.  

All we need is another dozen or so hangers which Alessandro will provide for us when he arrives later today and, we’ll be set. Tom has yet to unpack, but somehow we’ll manage to find a spot for everything when there are no drawers and few shelves in the room.

A big sturdy knife was placed on Tom’s table setting for his Argentine steak.

With all of our requests handled, we now feel at ease and confident we’ll enjoy our time in Buenos Aires. Dining out may be somewhat of a challenge for my eating when most meals center around doughy type dishes such as empanadas, tortillas, pasta, bread, and sweets. But as always, we’ll figure it out, one meal at a time.

My main dish was a Provolone cheese baked with bacon, onions, and red peppers, which was delightful.

This morning’s included breakfast was good with hard-boiled eggs, meats, and cheeses. I hadn’t had breakfast once on the cruise, but I had a small bite of ham and cheese to hold me until dinner this morning. We found a nearby restaurant that will be open tonight for dinner, and later today, we’ll figure out what we’ll do on Christmas Day.

I added two fried eggs to my meal to round out my protein requirements of 60 grams per day.

Most days, while on the ship, I had salad midday, but I won’t be doing that now as I work my way back to eating one meal a day which seems to suit me best. Unfortunately, I must always be considering what foods will be suitable for my way of eating. 

Tom’s Argentine steak was a little fatty for him, but the flavor of the meat was otherwise excellent.

In the realm of things, it’s insignificant. After all, it was changing my diet that made it possible for us to travel the world. As a result, I never feel deprived or “sorry” for myself, unable to eat the gorgeous bread, pasta, and desserts offered here and in every city in the world. It’s a small price to pay for this glorious life.

Many buildings in the city have colorful and unique exteriors.

Speaking of “glorious lives,” may we wish every one of our worldwide readers, family, and friends, a joyous holiday season filled with love, happiness, and merriment.

This is where we’ll be dining tonight, Christmas Eve, one of the few restaurants open tonight.

Throughout the year, we never hesitate to feel grateful for this blissful life we lead. Now with the holiday season upon us, we have the further opportunity to reflect on our good fortune of health and well-being, which without, this life wouldn’t be possible.

Another colorful building exterior.

May those of you who celebrate this time of year experience the utmost of good health and well-being as you make your way through this special holiday season and New Year.

Entrance gate to an apartment in Palermo.

Photo from one year ago today, December 24, 2016:

Finally, we were able to take a photo in the early evening of a fast-moving train decorated with Christmas light. However, each time we heard a train coming in the dark, we quickly ran outside with the camera only to find that particular train wasn’t decorated. We’d hope for a nighttime train for a better shot. We’re content with this shot. For more photos of Christmas in Penguin, Tasmania, please click here.

Day 27…Cruise to South America…Another port of call…Puerto Madryn…Four days and counting…

Abandoned seafaring boat on the beach in Puerto Madryn.

Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Scene of Ushuaia from our veranda.

In a mere four days, this 30-night cruise will end in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where we’ll stay for another 30 nights while we await the upcoming Antarctica cruise sailing on January 23rd from Ushuaia, Argentina.

Are we excited about the upcoming 30-nights in Buenos Aires?  Most certainly! If we were only traveling for a vacation/holiday for 30-nights and could spend a month in the vibrant city, we’d be thrilled.

This could have been a street in any beach town.

During this period, we’ll be able to accomplish a few objectives we have in mind to include:
1.  Visit a travel clinic to update our vaccinations and get a prescription for malaria pills (for Africa).
2.  Visit a dentist to have a problematic crown reseated, which is bothering me while eating.
3.  Purchase any last-minute supplies for the Antarctica cruise.
4.  Do laundry and dry cleaning for the cold weather Antarctica clothes we ended up wearing during the cold days of this cruise. (Thank goodness we had the warm clothes with us!)
5.  Purchase a second camera.

Statue at Puerto Madryn Beach.

In the interim, we have a challenge finding restaurants for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Buenos Aires. Either the restaurants are closed during the holiday season or charge as much as US $150 per person for either of the holiday night’s meals.

Our hotelier has been working on finding options available other than the US $300 per day required for each of these two meals. So far, he hasn’t been successful in locating some possibilities suitable for our needs.

Whale carving at the beach.

On top of it, Tom’s birthday is on the day the cruise ends on December 23rd, and we’ll have to find somewhere for dinner that night. Trying to find options online has been cumbersome and time-consuming with the slow Wi-Fi signal on this ship.

We’d recently given up trying to book dinner reservations for these three nights instead of taking our chances once we arrive in Buenos Aires.  In the worst case, we’ll have the included breakfasts at the hotel, which is available each day, and then find a market where we can buy something for the tiny refrigerator in our hotel room.

Typical apartment building in Puerto Madryn.

We aren’t particularly concerned. Somehow, it will all work out. If we have to have nuts and cheese for dinner, we’ll be fine. Although, it would be fun to spend all three evenings celebrating the three memorable occasions.
Yesterday, we toured the town of Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Here is some information about this coastal town from this site:

“Puerto Madryn (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpweɾto ˈmaðɾin]Welsh: Porth Madryn) is a city in the province of Chubut in Argentina, Patagonia. It is the capital of the Biedma Department and has about 93,995 inhabitants, according to the last census in 2010.
Puerto Madryn is protected by the Golfo Nuevo, which is formed by the Península Valdés and the Punta Ninfas. It is an important center for tourists visiting the natural attractions of the Península Valdés and the coast.
A new shopping mall in the city center has significantly helped tourism, making Puerto Madryn a more attractive place for international and domestic tourists visiting Patagonia. It is twinned with Nefyn, a small town on the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales, due to its enduring link with Welsh culture since the Welsh settlement in Argentina. The first of a two-Test tour to Argentina by the Wales national rugby union team was played in 2006 in Puerto Madryn, a 27–25 win over Argentina. Puerto Madryn is home to two football clubs; Club Social y Atlético Guillermo Brown, who plays in Nacional B and Deportivo Madryn that currently play in Torneo Argentino B.
A basketball team, Deportivo Puerto Madryn, plays in the Liga Nacional de Básquetbol (LNB). Their home arena is known as the Deportivo Puerto Madryn Arena.

El Tehuelche Airport is located 10 km northwest of the city center. Commercial flights from Buenos AiresUshuaia, and other Argentinian cities are available. Most tourists fly into Trelew Airport as flights into Puerto Madryn are restricted due to environmental concerns.

The town was founded on 28 July 1865, when 150 Welsh immigrants arriving aboard the clipper Mimosa named the natural port Porth Madryn in honor of Sir Love Jones-Parry, whose estate in Wales was named “Madryn.” Conditions were difficult, and the settlers had to dig irrigation ditches for their first crops.

The settlement grew due to the building of the Central Chubut Railway by WelshSpanish, and Italian immigrants. This line, opened in 1889, linked the town to Trelew via the lower Chubut River valley.”

Pair of shipwrecked boats in the bay.

By noon, after uploading the day’s post, we made our way to the awaiting shuttle buses for the 25-minute ride into the city. Along the way, we spotted several shipwrecks on the otherwise pristine beaches, which we’ll share as soon as we’re able to upload photos.

After being dropped off in the center of town, we walked for a while, checking out the sights and sounds of the busy village, which included a lengthy and noisy parade of protestors over the government, followed up by several police officers and military personnel.

We always try to imagine what may have happened to such a boat long ago…

Considering our lack of interest in shopping and dining in restaurants, after a few hours, we decided to head back to the shuttle to return to the ship. The afternoon was wearing on, and we both hoped for a short rest before showering again and dressing for the 5:00 pm Captain’s Club happy hour in the Constellation Lounge.

By 7:15 pm, we were seated at a shared table in the Trellis Restaurant, where a lively conversation ensued among the like-minded group of eight. The time flew quickly, and suddenly it was 10:30 pm. An early night was in order, and by midnight we were both asleep.
Protesters were marching on the beach boulevard.

On Friday, we’ll begin packing, leaving our sealed bags outside our cabin door by Friday at 10:00 pm, where they’ll be transported to the port area in Buenos Aires. We’ll collect the bags upon arrival at the port in the morning.  

Generally, this process is relatively easy when the bags are stored in the numbered areas for which we’ll have tickets. Each cabin is assigned a disembarking number, and we can depart the ship when our number is called.  Numbers are assigned based on a few factors; requests and priority status based on Captain’s Club membership.  

A shipwreck ship was lying on the beach in Puerto Madryn.

We’ve requested a low number in this particular case, hoping to disembark the ship by 7:30 am or so.  We’ll take a taxi to our hotel in Palermo, expecting to check-in no later than 10:00 am. Most likely, all of this will work out well, leaving us plenty of time to work on dinner reservations for the upcoming three nights while many venues will still be open for business.

That’s it for today, folks. We hope you’re enjoying holiday festivities as we rapidly wind down to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Photo from one year ago today, December 19, 2016:

We visited the General Penguin Cemetery overlooking the Bass Straits in Tasmania with thoughts of those we’ve lost. For more photos, please click here.