Part 2…Our year in review…Photos of us…Busy preparing new itinerary, ready for tomorrow’s post…

In July, we had a great evening at The Elephant Bar in Henderson, Nevada, with friends that live in Las Vegas.

New Year’s Day proved to be another good holiday. We stayed busy posting until later than usual and then spent the rest of the afternoon making future travel plans.

Why do we plan so far ahead? Our lifestyle gives us tremendous piece-of-mind knowing what’s coming down the road. Also, it gives us an opportunity for good prices for upcoming venues.

Tom standing next to the Giant Bamboo tree to gain a perspective of its massive size. The vegetation at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica was almost as interesting as the wildlife.

Although we’ll post the itinerary tomorrow, we’ve yet to book all of the vacation homes for the upcoming visits to various countries, but the cruises are already booked. Over the next few months, once we’re in Africa, we start booking vacation/holiday homes in these various locations.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, cruises are a driving force in our decisions to visit certain countries, although as shown, we don’t hesitate to fly when necessary.

I used repellent while at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica but still got a few mosquito bites.

Planning is a daunting task, and today, we’ll continue with the preparations for tomorrow’s post. We’re happy we’d committed to posting the itinerary. It motivated us to “get the show on the road” and finally decide for the future.  

By no means, our failure to get this done wasn’t due to any lack of enthusiasm on our part. Instead, it was based on the simple fact that we’ve been rather busy this past month with the cruise and socializing. 

We set up the tripod to take this photo of us in Costa Rica on October 31, 2017, the fifth anniversary of our world travels.

All along, we have intended to post a new itinerary around the first of the new year. We’ll have this accomplished by tomorrow as we joyfully share it with all of our worldwide readers.

As for yesterday, New Year’s night, we ate the remainder of the food purchases we’d made for sharing with Margaret and Con. By 7:30 pm, once again, we gathered in a big booth in the Prodeo Hotel’s dining room with food which included roasted chickens, coleslaw salad which I made in our room, olives, cheese, meat, and nuts.  It was another fine evening.

On formal night aboard Celebrity Infinity only weeks ago. My teeth were purple from the glass of red wine I’d just finished.

By 11:00 pm, we were sleeping, and although intermittently, I feel hangover-free and refreshed today, ready to tackle a new day in Buenos Aires. In a short time, once we’ll upload today’s post, and we’ll head to a local barbershop for Tom’s haircut, which opens after 12:00 pm.

He hasn’t had a haircut since October. He’s facing “hat hair” on the upcoming Antarctica cruise when we’ll both be wearing hats for several hours each day. This is less of an issue for me when a few swipes with the flat iron and I’m back to normal. 

We were with our wonderful new friends, Lisa and Barry, whom we hope to see in June in South Africa.

But for him, his hair tends to be spikey when either too short or too long. He’s thumbing through past posts right now to see how short he wants it cut today. We’ll post photos soon.

Tonight, we’ll walk to Serrano Plaza, our favorite area for dinner. There are many restaurants we’ve yet to try.  After eating in these past few nights, we’re looking forward to getting out again. Now that the holiday season is over, we expect to find more dining options.

On the ship’s deck as we sailed through the Chilean Fiords on the most recent cruise.

May your new year begin and end with considerable contentment and joy in all of your endeavors, whatever they may be. Happy day to all 

Photo from one year ago today, January 2, 2017:

Green/spring onions were being processed for wholesale distribution at a Penguin, Tasmania vegetable processing farm. For more details, please click here.

I cut Tom’s hair…Nightmare or nirvana?…The loss of a dear friend, one year ago…

Birdie’s hair standing up.

Included in our recent arrival of clothing and supplies were a Wahl Hair Clipper and all of its attachments and an electric shaver. Tom was tired of paying $29 or more for a small package of blades, often unable to find the correct blades for the shaver, especially in other countries. 

The Norelco, AT790 Rechargeable Cordless Tripleheader Razor was his choice of a razor, a product he finds perfect for his needs. In six months it pays for itself. If it holds up for a few years he’ll be happy.

When I saw the Wahl electric clippers I chuckled. Guess I’ll be learning how to cut his hair. Our readers may wonder, “Why doesn’t he continue to get haircuts wherever we may live?” Why it is such a big deal?

For men who get their hair cut every six weeks or so they find they have a preferred barber or stylist at a location generally close to home that becomes familiar and competent with how he’d like to have his hair cut.

Tom’s hair standing up before the haircut.

That’s not the case in our vagabond lifestyle. As soon as he finds a barber he likes, it’s time to go again.  Overall, he’s been OK about most of the haircuts he’s had in our travels. But, the inconsistency has left him cold.

Why he would make an assumption that I’d give him a consistently good haircut escapes me when I falter in small hand skills, mostly from being inept and secondly, from being somewhat clumsy at times. What kind of consistency can I offer him?

As it goes, my nature is always to try hard and never give up. Tom knows this about me giving him confidence that eventually I’ll figure it out.  I may not be the best barber at first, but eventually, I’ll get it right. I suppose it’s similar to me learning how to take photos with no prior experience. It’s a work in progress.

Not one to read instructions, yesterday I bit the bullet and watched a few videos on how to do a buzz cut or short haircut with the electric clippers, using scissors for a final touch up. Then, I actually read the instructions included in the Wahl package. 

Later in the day, I trimmed the stray hairs with scissors. Overall, an improvement.

It’s hard to recall the last time I’d taken the time to read instructions. Perhaps, it was the last time I purchased a new car and had to look in the manual for how to change the time on the digital clock. The rest I figured out on my own, more as a result of stubbornness, less from innate skill. 

I suppose my refusal to read instructions is more about bullheadedness and arrogance when one believes they “know it all” or at least “can figure it all out. Arrogance, snobbery, or not, I usually can figure things out. On the other hand, Tom is equally good, if not better than l am at figuring things out but, won’t hesitate to look at an instruction manual.

Last month neither Richard, Tom, nor I could figure out how to turn on the oven in Richard’s house. Elaine was on the mainland and we were left trying to figure out how to avoid locking the oven while turning it on. None of us could get it figured out. Instead, Richard used the microwave. It bugged me that I couldn’t simply look at the dials and turn on the oven. Tom never gave it another thought. Later, Richard read the manual and figured out how to turn on the oven. 

We’ve had trouble with ovens and washing machines in non-English speaking countries. However, in each case, we managed to get these appliances working after trying over and over with determination. Staying calm in these situations can be difficult but, over these past few years, we’ve learned that staying cool is vital to success.

Hand me a small electronic device or computer and I’m usually able to find fixes without stress. Those darned ovens and washers baffle me. In both Italy and Dubai, we struggled with the ovens and washers, somehow managing to get them working. 

The Wahl trimmer along with lots of accessories. In time, we’ll be able to toss some of these once we figure it out.

Anyway, after careful perusal of how to use the clippers, we prepared the bathroom by removing the two rugs and the luggage/person scale, closing the closet door with everything we needed on hand.

Tom put the barstool in the bathroom which was a little too high for my reach although better than with him sitting in a regular height chair. Next time, wherever we may be, we may be wise to use a regular chair and have him sit on something to raise him up about 6 inches. 

I’d expected to be a little nervous when I turned on the razor and took the first swipe. I wasn’t. If I botched it, we had three weeks for it to grow back for the upcoming cruise and with a plan not to do a buzz cut, we could have that as our “ace in the hole.” A buzz cut would remove any cutting errors if short enough.

We used the 1″ comb. Luckily, Tom had to take off his glasses so he couldn’t see well enough to coach me.  Leaving an inch of hair isn’t as easy as one might expect using this apparatus. Snipping my own bangs and hair with sharp scissors isn’t anything like using this powerful electric tool. Any skills I’ve had there were useless with those clippers in my hands.

This electric razor has a flip-up sideburn cutting blade which works very well.

The amount of hair that came off his head was unreal. He didn’t squirm, complain, or sound worried. When I missed a spot, I made no big deal nor did I say anything when I cut too much in hopes of preventing him from worrying.

When all was said and done, we cleaned up the mess and he took a shower. Once his hair dried we made an assessment. It was good, not great. I’ll learn. I have no qualms about cutting his hair again in the future.

As we’d assumed, throughout the remainder of the day, I’d look at him from the side to notice a few stray hairs or unevenness. On a few occasions, we went outside on the lanai where I snipped with the scissors, evening out the flaws. 

His patience and lack of criticism made all the difference in the world inspiring me to improve. Isn’t that true with everyone we love? Inspiration comes from our own desire to excel and to please those we love. Would that all of us could have experienced this in our own upbringing and in the upbringing of our children. I cringe over the times my expectations were too high.

There it is, dear readers, the home done haircut saga. I doubt we’ll write about this much in the future no more than one extols the virtues of cutting an even lawn when one mows. This first experience was a momentous occasion for us both.

In 19 days, we leave Kauai. In 20 days, we leave the US for the next few years. Thanks for being here with us. Have a great Monday!

                                                Photo from one year ago today, May 5, 2014:

It was one year ago today that we wrote about the loss of dear friend Lane Barton who passed away the prior day, shown here with his beloved wife Peggy and their dog. For more on this story, please click here.

Coincidence!…Yesterday’s haircut for Tom in Ribeira Brava, Madeira, Portugal…One year ago to the date, haircut for Tom in Pescia, Italy!…

Tom waits in the salon chair for his haircut. 

Yesterday, we took off for two reasons;  one, Tom was curious to find a road we could see from our veranda, but couldn’t seem to get to; two, for him to get a haircut.

After driving up and down hills for over an hour, he finally found the road, he was seeking proving to be not unlike many of the other roads here in the island. The maze-like roads on the many mountain levels consist of one hairpin turn after another making it harder to find a specific road than one would think.

The second task of the day was a quick trip to the Farmacia (pharmacy) for another container of my new favorite roll-on insect repellent and contact lens solution for our upcoming travels. 

The stylist began the cut using the typical electric haircutter.

Purchasing these few items now would prevent us from thinking about finding a pharmacy in Paris or London or paying outrageous prices on the cruise from London on August 31, 2014. There aren’t mosquitoes or many sand flies on cruises, at least not any that we’ve seen but, at least I’m well-armed for the future.

Back to the haircut. Once we arrived in Ribeira Brava we found a free place to park on the street, taking off on foot to find obscure location of a salon that Tom had seen on google maps. We knew we were in the general area deciding we’d wander around until we found it.

Of course, it was tucked away inside a building in a tiny mall. Of course, we entered that tiny mall within the first two minutes of our walk and there was the salon. We laughed. We could easily have walked past that not-so-obvious doorway.

Surely, this style is easy care.

For years, I’ve known that Tom wanted a “buzz” cut. For years, I whined a little when he’d mention it, never having cared for that particular style.  No offense intended for all buzz cut fans out there.  We all have our preferences.

As soon as we walked into the tiny salon, I knew I could no longer resist. It was his hair and the time had come. Speaking no English, the stylist got the drift when he pointed to his head and said, “Buuuuuuuuzzzzzzz.” She understood. I cringed.

As she was buzzing away, she often looked at me for approval. I nodded that she was doing fine, regardless of the look on my face. As more and more clumps of his white hair fell to the floor, I sat back in resignation that this was his, and my, fate for the next six weeks until it grows back.

His locks accumulated on the salon floor.

Let’s face it, as we age, our parts start falling, the wrinkly skin seems to get worse each day and our level of attractiveness seems to waft away, present company included. But, the magic of love somehow makes us remember the true beauty of the person we fell in love with and none of this matters.

When we met 23 years ago, Tom was 38, I was 43. Neither of us had falling parts. We never gave gravity much of a thought. Now, all these years later, gravity is not our friend. Years ago, I told myself that plastic surgery and Botox were not for me and I stayed away. Can you imagine trying to find a place for a Botox touch-up while living in Belize, Kenya or Marloth Park, South Africa?

Even going to a salon is something I prefer not to do. I do my own hair, nails, and pedicures which I’ve done for years. Imagine how much I’d spend and the inconvenience of going to a salon once a month when we’ve had a hard enough time finding a place for Tom’s haircuts in various countries. 

He still has that cute smile.  He said his hair hasn’t been this short since the summer of 1963.

In many countries, no one speaks English and calling to make an appointment would be ridiculous. For Tom’s haircuts in various countries we always show up without an appointment prepared to wait if necessary.

So here’s his buzz cut. Not my cup of tea. As much as I try to like it, I simply can’t. I grasp for the fact that it will grow back and in no time, I’ll have my familiar grey mop-haired guy back. 

For the sake of love and kindness I don’t say much about it or scowl when I look at him. But, who am I kidding? He proofreads these daily posts for typos and I don’t believe he does so mindlessly with no attention to content.  Today, he will see how I feel, if he didn’t already suspect.

The haircut completed, he paid the EU $8 with a EU $2 tip for a total US $13.51 and we were on our way.

He knows that I love him no matter his haircut or visible signs of aging, as he does me, totally oblivious of my hanging parts often complimenting me when they’re most obvious. That’s love for ya!

Photo from one year ago today, July 12, 2013:

Tom was having a much needed haircut in Pescia, Italy that we shared one year ago today. For details of that day, please click here.

A trip to the barbiere (barber)…A new haircut plan in new place…More lessons learned…

Driving around, we yelled to two gentlemen sitting outside, “Uomo Barbiere?”  They kindly pointed us in the direction of this salon, serving the needs of women (donna) and men (uomo)

Yesterday, while driving around Pescia, Italy, searching for a barbershop, it dawned on us that most likely Tom will need a haircut in each country in which we’ll live for a period of two to three months.

Leaving the US last January, we’ve since lived in two countries for approximately three months, Belize and now Italy, (we were in the United Arab Emirates for only two weeks). By next July, we’ll have added four more countries in which we’ve lived, a mere pittance based on the number of countries in the world.

Prior to leaving Scottsdale, Arizona where we resided for two months, he’d had his final US haircut for a very long time.  So far, his favorite was the haircut in Belize with Joel McKenzie, under the tree on the plastic chair atop the cement blocks.  If you haven’t seen these photos, look for the post in the archives from March 13, 2013.

Most guys have a regular barber they see at certain intervals. For some, the quality of the cut is less important than others.  For Tom, with his full head of thick, almost white hair, it matters. It matters to me as well, more that he’s happy with it than my having to look at him all day and night.

Luckily, I am able to take care of my own hair, manicures, and pedicures.  I learned this years ago when I found myself squirming impatiently in a beauty salon, anxious for it to be over.  This is quite helpful now as we travel.  Plus, it saves tons of money better spent on other more important aspects of our daily lives.

Tom, relaxing and ready for his haircut with Barbara.

The Euro $20 (US $26.06) he paid for his haircut included a 30% tip, although he wasn’t thrilled with the cut, definitely no fault of the stylist.  Most certainly, it was a result of the language barrier.  We learned a valuable lesson yesterday:  translate what one would like done in advance, showing it to the barber or stylist before they begin cutting, if possible, including photos.

Fortunately, the upcoming haircuts he’ll need will be in Kenya and South Africa  where English is spoken freely.  In Morocco, we’ll have staff that will translate for us. 

After Morocco, we’ll be in Madeira, Portugal for almost three months where Portuguese is spoken. We’ll translate instructions at that time. So far, we know one Portuguese word, “obrigada” which translates to “thank you.”  We’d better start working on a few more words.

Smiling and hopeful for an easy summer “do” Tom was at ease.

Between us, we’ve learned enough hand signals and Italian words that enabled us to carry-on somewhat of a conversation with “Barbara” pronounced bar-ber-a) yesterday as she cut Tom’s hair.  She told us in Italian that she grew up in Pescia, has three children, 8, 13, and 16, a husband, and has been a stylist for both men and women for 20 years. While at the salon, we met her 13 years old “bambini” hoping she spoke English.  No such luck. 

Barbara asked us, about us, where we were from, where we were going. Dumbfounded, Tom and I looked at each other wondering how to explain. Somehow, we managed to convey that we are living in Boveglio for the summer, are traveling to Africa soon, have four adult children and six grandchildren. 

Hand signals conveyed the grandchildren’s part. I had yet to hear the word for grandchildren which I’ve since researched in Google Translate. It’s “nipoti.”  Some words make sense in translation, reminding us of a word in another language; English, French, or Spanish.  This one, I couldn’t get for the life of me.

Lots of Tom’s gray hair on the floor.

Apparently, our communication methods didn’t serve us well enough. As Barbara neared the end of Tom’s haircut, the top standing straight up, she asked if he’s like some “butch wax” while holding up the container. He cringed shaking his head an emphatic “no” all the while with a forced smile on his face. 

Later, in the car, he said, “I didn’t want to look like Bob’s Big Boy. She was going in that direction!”

I agreed that was true, based on the photo he’d shown her.  When packing for our flight from Dubai to Barcelona in June, we’d tossed an 8-ounce tube of hair gel. Bringing it along would have cost another $5 in excess luggage fees. Thus, we’d have had no way to maintain Bob, had he liked that look.

Here it is, the haircut. Maybe in a few days, it will take shape. I’ve offered to reduce the length of the top for him. He declined my offer.

“Give it a few days,” I said.

Having perused a substantial book of men’s haircuts while he sat in the chair, we observed all youngish chisel faced models in their 20’s. There was nary a cut befitting a mature adult male. The one he ultimately chose, had the sides cut as he’d prefer, but the top was definitely in the Bob category. Trying to explain this to Barbara was fruitless. We couldn’t come up with anything other than a “scissors snipping” hand signal to take more off of the top
We take full responsibility for the cut. Barbara is surely a very fine stylist. My well-intended interference and our lack of communication skills inspired the end result.  He’ll live with it and see what happens in three months from now in Kenya. 

Living in the world is a never-ending lesson. Some experienced travelers we’ve met over the years talk as if they have it all figured out. We’ll never figure it all out. Each area, each country has its own unique customs, modes of living, and nuances that one can only become privy to over a long period of time. 

Two to three months in any country will never be long enough to learn the language and those nuances, that in the end, for us, make it all the more enjoyable.