Not a perfect day in Paradise…”Keeping it real”…

This bird appears to be a Blue Kingfisher.  Please correct me if I’m wrong.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Yesterday, Tom took this distant photo when he spotted this peculiar boat which appears “sunken” in the middle.  We had no idea what type of boat this is.  Any comments from our Indonesian (or other) readers who may know?

As previously mentioned in other posts, most tourists traveling
to Bali (and other countries we visit) are staying in a resort or hotel of some
sort, not a private single family home.  The conditions for comfort are very
different. 



Also, they may ony stay only one or two weeks and challenging
conditions may not present themselves during the shorter period.  Today, is a
day, where weather and other conditions are challenging, to say the least. 



The heat and humidity is as high as we ever experienced in
Africa on the worst of days. On these hot and humid days and nights especially after its rained there are lots of flies.



Its too hot to shut the wall of glass doors but, with the many flies already in the house, even that would do little good.  The only safe
refuse in the master bedroom where we keep the door shut constantly, where’s
there’s AC if we finally decide to hide away for an hour or two. 



At the moment, I am sitting outdoors, unable to get online due
to the poor signal and there are dozens of flies hovering around me. I am
covered with 30% DEET, the only possible product I can use to keep me from getting many fly bites.



And yet they still find a way to attack any unreached spot on my
back or behind my legs.  None of the “natural” repellents (I’ve tried many)
actually repel flies or mosquitoes from biting me.  Tom, on the other hand,
seldom gets bit.


With mountains in Java obstructing the final setting of the sun, we relish every sunset photo we see.

Since we couldn’t get online as I wrote this, I’m using “Live
Writer,” a MS app that enables me to write and then, once able to attain a
signal, I can upload it to the Internet.  Thank goodness for this option. 
Otherwise, I could spend the entire day trying to get a decent signal.  We’ll have only a few photos today due to the poor signal.



When the sun comes out, we’ll have a reprieve from the flies. 
They seem less bothersome on sunny days.  We imagine the number of flies is certainly due to the rain we’ve experienced over these past several days.


We continue to spend time figuring out the visa situation for
July’s upcoming cruise.  It appears we can get a visa for Cambodia online.  But,
on Viking’s Mekong River cruise documents, it states we cannot get and use an
e-visa for this particular cruise.  We must use a service to apply which
requires snail mailing our passports which we will not do. 



In the past 24 hours we’d been attempting to reach Viking but
with the huge time difference and poor signal it had been difficult. There’s a 15
hour time difference. Finally this morning, we got through on Skype before
they closed for the day. 



Explaining our situation they agreed we could apply for
the Cambodia visa online.  Only a few online services offer this option, one
we’ve used in the past,
VisaHQ.com which is
located in Washington, DC and is safe to use. 



I asked Viking to send us an email confirming they’ll accept the
e-visa for Cambodia so we won’t experience any issues when we present the e-visa
at the time of boarding in Hanoi.  We’ve since received this confirmation email
which, if necessary we’ll present at boarding.



There are many visa companies out there in cyberspace that are
scams.  One could easily be giving their personal passport information to a
scamming visa app company.  Please beware in doing so and feel free to contact
us for names of valid companies we’ve used.


The reflection on the sea is particularly appealing.

Today, we’ll apply for the Cambodia visa and once we arrive in
Singapore we’ll only have to apply for the visa for Vietnam (not available as an
e-visa), a plan we can easily accommodate.  If we’d had to apply in person for
both visas while in Singapore it could have taken a significant amount of
time during the one week stay.  Most likely, in this case we won’t lose more
than a single day.



Enough about flies and visas.  We share these details not only
to express that at times, traveling the world is not as easy as it may seem but
also for those who may consider this lifestyle, to use a little of which we’ve
learned in the process. 



Its easy to become stressed on hot, humid, fly infested days
such as today when there are tasks we need to accomplish in the background that add to the
frustration.  Surprisingly, both of us remain calm and determined to figure out
solutions.



Now, as the sun begins to peek out at almost noon, I’ve begun
to feel confident that we may have comfortable day after all. 



May your day be comfortable and relatively easy.

_____________________________________



Photo from one year ago today, May 12, 2015:

Locomotive and coach formerly used for tours at the Kilauea Sugar Plantation, now closed for many years.  For more sugar plantation photos, please click here.


 

Moving on…Celebrity Equinox awaits us…Perks of an upgrade to Concierge Class…

It hot and humid here in Boca Raton, Florida, so humid that my clothes are sticking to me.  It rained all night, pouring pelting rain.  Tossing and turning all night, kicking off the covers from time to time, I awoke exhausted this morning feeling as if I hadn’t slept a wink.

Both of us have bad, painful right shoulders, different issues, similar discomfort.  We hurt today in the dampness, both taking two Aleve, know the hauling of bags into our friend’s SUV was yet ahead of us.  It’s almost 10 am and we can’t leave here until noon since we can’t board the new ship until 1:00 PM.

This time on the Celebrity Equinox we booked a Concierge Class balcony, an upgrade, we elected when booking the 11-night cruise from which we’ll embark three days early by the “tender” (smaller boat) in Belize.

We’ll live in the small peninsula community of Placencia, a four-hour drive from Belize City, for more than two months, moving to Ambergris Caye for an additional almost two weeks in yet another beach house. 

The Concierge Class upgrade was a bonus feature of the balcony cabin we selected at the time of booking.

Concierge Class includes:

Services

    • Priority check-in
    • Express luggage delivery
    • Personalized Concierge service
    • Priority disembarkation based on travel needs
    • Complimentary shoeshine service
    • Access to the exclusive Concierge Class Pre-departure Lounge

Dining

    • Main and specialty restaurant seating time preferences
    • Expanded room service menu

Amenities

    • Welcome Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine with a commemorative label featuring exclusive artwork from the ArtCenter/South Florida artists
    • Pillow menu to suit sleeping preferences
    • Daily delivery of Afternoon Savories (appetizers, most of which I can’t eat)
    • Plush Frette® bathrobes
    • Fresh fruit (we don’t eat fruit)
    • Fresh flowers
    • Custom-blended bath amenities
    • Personalized stationery
    • Use of binoculars and golf umbrella
    • Oversized 100% cotton bath towels
    • Extra handheld hairdryer
    • Celebrity tote bag

Stateroom Features

    • Hansgrohe® massaging showerhead

Hopefully, this express check-in feature will serve us as well as the seamless check-in we experienced leaving San Diego on January 3rd when we boarded the Celebrity Century for our 15-night Panama Canal Cruise. Now, after three days in Florida, we are excited to board the new ship. 

Packing carefully, we’ll only have to open a few of our bags aboard the Equinox, hiding the remainder behind the curtains as Tom so cleverly managed to accomplish on the last cruise.  Hopefully, by dinner time tonight, we’ll be unpacked and ready to enjoy another fabulous evening dining with amazing food and meeting other passengers.

Last night, we finally booked our airfare for June 3, 2013, getting us back to Barcelona after our 15-night cruise and a two-week stay in Dubai.  We struggled when deciding on the airline and the flight time. 

Hoping to get a great price and handling of our excess luggage (two bags over the limit), we finally decided to go for the shortest non-stop flight (7 hours 55 minutes from Dubai to Barcelona) of which there was only one, at $700 per person with an allowance of two large bags plus one carry-on each. 

This flight was almost twice as much as the 11 hours, two stops, separate airlines, changing planes, layover flights offered.  We’ll store our two extra bags in a storage facility we found near the pier avoiding $100 in extra charges.

We decided that the 8:15 am flight on luxurious Emirates Air with many amenities was worth the extra expense including service of gourmet meals.  We don’t enjoy flying. Simplifying the process makes it a more pleasant experience leaving us comfortable with our decision. I had budgeted $1500 for this particular flight. We’ll have the extra $100 for tips and gum. 

Now, we must find a hotel for the one night we’ll stay in Barcelona until our cruise a day later, departing from Barcelona to explore the Mediterranean. While onboard the Equinox we’ll research and book the one night plus another night we’ll need a few months later, which we’ll describe in a future post.

Here we go once again, boarding our second Celebrity ship which placed us into the “Captain’s Club” providing some cocktail parties and extra perks which we’ll report on as we experience them.  That combined with the Concierge Class upgrade should make this an extra special experience.  After reading many reviews online, some cruisers didn’t see any added value for the two upgrades but we shall see how it works for us.  We’re easy to please and we appreciate even the slightest extra amenity.

Special thanks to our friend Carol in Boca Raton for putting up with us for three days, for the comfortable accommodations, the fun dinner party meeting her friends, and for the bothersome drive to and from the Fort Lauderdale Pier.

Back in touch soon with updates, pricing, and comments on the Celebrity Equinox and the journey to Belize.  Stay well.