|It was easy to find the shopping center in Cairns with only a few turns required off the main highway into town.|
Yesterday morning, after uploading the post and in an impromptu manner I suggested to Tom that we head to Cairns, the closest big city for a visit to the largest shopping mall within hundreds of miles/kilometers.
|We’ve giggled when we’ve seen signs mentioning Australia’s biggest “stocktake” sales, an expression that is definitely Aussie.|
We each needed a few items, none of which we’d ever be able to find in the next many months after leaving Australia. We’d never be able to find our shortlist in Fiji and receiving packages is the island is outrageous after estimates we received from our mailing service.
Tom needed a new white dress shirt for formal nights on the many upcoming cruises. Often there are as many as three formal nights on a 14-day cruise. On longer cruises, there may be as many as five formal nights.
|In the US, a similar store is called “Bed, Bath and Beyond.”|
We’ve learned that we both can get by dressing “business casual,” him in a long-sleeved white dress shirt (no tie or jacket) with black pants with his more dressy Cole Haan shoes and me, in a long skirt with any of my tops belted or with a scarf and a bit of costume jewelry.
|Tom asked me not to take any photos of him wearing this same shirt from the previous day. But, I do laundry every day and he wore this shirt again while trying to wear out a few shirts before tackling the less used stack of tee shirts tucked away in his luggage. He eyeballed the old fashioned candy in this store, not buying a thing.|
Once we’re seated at a shared table with eight to twelve other cruise passengers and have an opportunity to explain our limited luggage, then rest assured we aren’t totally uncouth as they dine with us many wearing their evening gowns and tuxedos.
After all these cruises (11 so far) we don’t feel uncomfortable in our more casual attire. However, having a few items to enhance our attire is crucial to feeling acceptably dressed. For Tom, a proper fitting white shirt is essential.
|We noticed a number of these tax preparer kiosks in the shopping malls. The Australian tax year-end June 30th and returns are filed by October 31st. If a taxpayer uses a registered tax preparer they may apply for an extension which it appears most of these people have done.|
The problem with that is the fact that now that his weight is down within 10 pounds of his lowest, once aboard the ship he’s unable to resist the carbs and sugary foods and he usually starts gaining weight on the very first day, no matter how much we walk the decks. Within a few days his white dress shirt begins to fit tighter and tighter each day until finally, it doesn’t fit at all.
|The mall is as huge as any we’d visited in the US (except for the Mall of America in Minnesota) including a multiplex movie theatre, food court, and undercover parking ramp, referred to as a “car park” in Australia, not a parking lot.|
Oh sure, he could curtail his eating. But, if my way of eating wasn’t necessary for my survival, I’d have no will power on a cruise ship. Maintaining one’s weight isn’t enough of a motivator to avoid those tempting desserts, appetizers, poolside burgers, and fries and ice cream cones in unlimited amounts.
In my old life, before eating this way, I’d never been on a cruise ship to experience the temptations of unlimited appealing foods. Although I’ve always been relatively slim, I was always “watching” my weight, occasionally falling prey to sweet temptations.
|Peering over a railing to view a huge book sale.|
Now, it’s no temptation at all when it comes to my health. It isn’t even about self-control. It’s about quality of life. We wouldn’t be traveling the world if I started eating one of my past favorites, doughnuts, as shown in one of today’s photos. Doughnuts, pastries, cookies, cakes, pies…in my old life I loved it all frequently baking and struggling to resist excess amounts.
|For a Tuesday midday, the mall was very busy as shown here.|
Back to the white shirt. The one Tom had been wearing on the past few cruises no longer works. If he lost the last 10 pounds, it would fit perfectly. It will never work one more time on a cruise.
The problem in finding him a long-sleeved dress shirt is a problem many men have today which may include smaller neck size, shoulder width, and sleeve length and yet possessing a bit of fluff around the middle.
|Before we know it we’ll be in Thailand to experience authentic Thai food firsthand.|
I’m not complaining about the fluff. My only concern is in regard to how that fluff may affect health in the long run. The same goes for women. Had I not been on this strict way of eating, I’d certainly have fallen into that same belly fat condition. It’s an age related dilemma that few are exempt from after 60 years of age.
|Tom is always shocked by the prices at McDonald’s but it’s been a long time since he made a purchase. Prices have changed over these past years since we’ve been gone from the US.|
Yesterday around noon, when we entered the lavish shopping mall in Cairns, Cairns Central, finding a new shirt for Tom was highest on our priority list. We’d seen online that Myer, a department store where we’d most likely find a wide selection of dress shirts.
After perusing many racks and noticing that most of the white dress shirts were marked “slim fit” we were ready to walk out until finally, a lovely saleswoman was available to assist us. In Australia, sizing is different than we were used to and honestly, we weren’t sure what size would actually work with his shorter sleeve length and smaller shoulder measurements.
|Considering that a double-sized burger is AUD $9.70, the US price of $7.21 doesn’t seem that high to me. Is that higher than in the US?|
The trusty saleswoman shipped out a tape measure, quickly checked his measurements arriving at a size that would work for him all the way around. I was skeptical but kept my mouth shut as he tried on a shirt in the Aussie size of 43/86. Go figure. We’d never have figured this out on our own.
|Hungry Jack in Australia is actually the same as Burger King in the US.|
In a matter of minutes, we were walking out the door with a perfectly well-fitted shirt with room for “cruise food,” in a carefree fabric that was considered wrinkle-free and yet has a quality designer feel.
At a meager USD $37.08, AUD $49.95, for the fine shirt, we were couldn’t have been more pleased. He’d easily have been willing to pay twice as much for such a great fit. I suggested he purchase two identical shirts at this price but, weight restrictions always prevail in any of our purchase decisions.
|These prices appear considerably less than McDonald’s.|
At that point, we were off to look for a few items on my shortlist. How shall I diplomatically say “undergarments,” simply put, panties. (What a weird word to put in writing!) I only share this tidbit of information as part of our travel experience.
|This donut shop reminded us of Dunkin’ Donuts in the US.|
Us girls (and guys) always have a preference for a particular fabric and style. The last time I purchased panties (ouch) was when Okee Dokee and I headed to Komatipoort in South Africa to a women’s shop in February 2014. Click here to see that post.
I purchased eight pairs in South Africa in varying fabrics, none of which will survive one more washing. The bra I purchased at that time, later ended in a donation pile when it itched while wearing. Tom suggested commando. I declined. No women my age goes commando unless they’ve “forgotten” to include these when dressing. I’m not there yet!
|My mouth watered checking out these donuts. Tom had little interest in them since he doesn’t like the frosted or sugar-coated types. I’d have eaten any of these in my old life.|
As we perused the shops in the vast mall we stumbled upon a shop, Body Cairns, that caught my eye. My eyes flitted over the wide array of workout wear and also, a table of panties not unlike one would find in Victoria’s Secret store in the US. I purchased five pairs and, two Capri length workout/leggings that are perfect for everyday wear as well as trips to the fitness center.
|Here’s Tom’s new long-sleeved white dress shirt for which he paid USD $37.08, AUD $49.95.|
After paying USD $59.31, AUD $79.90 for all seven items I was pleasantly surprised by the quality, selection, and prices, although a little confused by the sizing. A friendly young woman assisted me encouraging me to try on the leggings which I did, happy with the fit.
Purchases completed, we decided to wander through the remainder of the mall, checking out the stores and the food court. Although I encouraged Tom to have lunch, there was nothing he felt like ordering after his big breakfast at home. In any case, it was fun to see the shops and fast-food restaurants popular in Australia.
|Here are my seven-item priced at AUD $79.90, USD $59.31.|
After leaving the mall, we drove around Cairns on a self-directed sightseeing tour for the remainder of the afternoon enjoying every moment even on the cloudy day. We’ll share more photos over the next few days including a totally unexpected and somewhat peculiar find in tomorrow’s post.
Thanks to so many of our reader friends who wrote to us via comments and email to wish us well with the good health reports. Your interest in our well being means the world to us!
Photo from one year ago today, July 22, 2014:
|One year ago, we posted photos of the morphology of the banana tree with progressives photos of a bloom. Please click here to see these photos.|