What’s the deal about applying for visas for various countries?…

Fisherman casting toward the huge surf.
Long ago, we applied for second passports, which basically consists of a US two year second passport with different passport numbers from our main passports. Most US travelers aren’t aware that a US citizen can apply for a second passport.

Why did we need a second passport? Two years ago, it was necessary to send in one’s passport to a consulate in order to get visas from some countries. We didn’t want to be stranded in a country without a passport in our possession while a visa was being processed through snail mail. 

Tourists stopping to read a sign on the Kauai Path. Notice the cross on the shore, most likely as a memorial to a swimmer’s death in the sea in this area.

Over these past few years, most countries have since begun issuing electronically produced visas for travelers to their country, making it unnecessary for us to send it in to acquire a new visa.

Over these past two years we’ve used these second passports for all of our entries and exits to about 40 countries, resulting in our main passports, which don’t expire until 2021, having no stamps posted as yet.

In December, the second passports expired. As a result of the use of electronic filing for visas, we decided not to renew it. When we soon leave the US, for the first time we’ll use our 10 year passports.

Tiny green balls growing along the beach appear to be some type of weed.
How have we been able to get visas in all of our travels to date? We’ve been able to acquire 90-day visas when we arrive at immigration at any airport, train station or port. The ease of this was surprising to us. 

This easy process doesn’t apply to every country’s immigration process. For some odd reason, US passport holders seem to be presented with an easier process to enter and exit most countries.

If you have a passport from any other country, please check with your travel agent, passport office, immigration or consulate for the country you’d like to enter to determine the process applicable to your country’s passport in regard to obtaining visas. This can vary from country to country.

The Kauai Path is an easy to walk path along Donkey Beach and other beaches.

Thus far, for us, its been a breeze. When traveling to multiple countries via a cruise ship, the immigration staff aboard the ship collects all of our passports. When we arrive at a particular port of call, an immigration officer boards the ship and processes all of the passenger’s and ship staff’s passports for entry and exit.  

Prior to reaching a country’s port, our passports are returned to us, in most cases which we bring with us on our tour whether arranged by the ship or a self guided tour. 

There’s never a shortage of roosters wandering about.

When arriving in a country, we wait in what is usually a long line at immigration processing, tell the agent how long we’d like to stay and as long as the stay doesn’t exceed their set duration of 60 or 90 days, we receive a dated stamp providing us with a visa which is stamped in our passports.

Australia, where we’ll be arriving in little over a month on June 11th after an 18 day cruise from Honolulu, Oahu to Sydney, Australia requires a pre-arranged visa before entering. If we arrived at our ship without processing the visas the cruise line wouldn’t allow us to board. 

The wind and waves were substantial on Monday which has since settled down. 

In reality, a more stringent process may be wise for most countries to follow for obvious reasons I won’t get into here. Here’s a quote from Tom:

“When we applied for our driver’s license in Nevada before we left the US, they asked me to take off my glasses when they took the photo.  I said that I needed to wear my glasses to drive. They said it’s not for that reason. This is a facial recognition photo. Why isn’t this technology used for passports?”

Good point! Why isn’t it?

Last night, we visited CIBT at this link. In less than 10 minutes, with our passports and a credit card on hand, I completed the online documents separately for each of us and our individual visas for Australia were processed, completed and confirmed at a cost of US $45 each.

This view at the Kauai Path is similar to the views we had from the two houses we rented on the Big Island in December.

(By the way, once we arrive in Australia, we’ll be entering all dollar amounts posted here in both USD and AUD (Australian dollars) as we ‘ve done in all other countries which use a alternate form of currency).

The visa process will be slightly more complicated for some of our upcoming stays including both Fiji and Bali.  We’ll report back the processes for those. 

The vast expanse of the ocean never disappoints.

Our Australian visas were issued last night for which we won’t need a piece of paper. It’s recorded electronically in the Australian immigration department’s system and will appear when we check in at immigration at Sydney.  The visas are good for one year until June 10, 2016. 

With our visa on file in Australia we’re allowed 90 day visits only and in one year we’d have to file again which may be more complicated the second go-around. Before we book more time in Australia, we’ll figure it out. At this time, we are only booked for 89 days in Australia (leaving one extra day for cancelled flights, etc.). 

Alternate view of the above fisherman.

We decided that we’ll investigate other options in Australia once we are there and get a feel for the “lay of the land.” Prices on vacation homes are as much as 100% higher than other countries in which we’ve lived, making it difficult to rent vacation homes to fit within our budget. 

We still have the over two month gap to fill beginning next June and have yet to decide where we’d prefer to go. We shall see what we decide and of course, report it here promptly. We’re attempting to stay somewhere in the South Pacific, if possible.

At certain areas, the beaches are less pristine as is the case here in the southern end of the Kauai Path.

With the imminent visa task handled for the moment, we’re now beginning to tackle the other items on our lengthy “to-do” list, found here.

We’re down to 17 days until departing Kauai to fly to Honolulu for one night. On the 18th day, we’ll board the ship. We’re excited, to say the least. We haven’t been on a cruise since this past September. Hopefully, we’ll have good weather as we travel so far across the ocean. If not, as always, we’ll just hang on!

Happy Hump Day!

                                              Photo from one year ago today, May 6, 2014:

Strawberries were small in Marrakech as shown here. They don’t do GMOs (or pesticides). As a result, the berries are small and unevenly shaped. When buying giant, uniform strawberries or other fruit, its easy to assume that nature alone doesn’t make them that huge, uniform and sweet. Remember the strawberries we ate as kids? They were tart and small. For more photos from that day’s post, please click here.

Yesterday, on the road to take photos, shop and have fun, fun, fun…Easy food tips and photo…Good health, the ultimate objective…

Tom walked to the shore to check out the views at the beach in town in Kapaa.

“Fun, fun, fun, my till her daddy takes the t-bird away,” another line from an oldie from our long-ago past released in 1964. Click here for the Beach Boys music video.

It doesn’t take much for us to have fun. Although we’ll have to return to the airport in Lihue to pick up a different rental car and could have shopped at that time, we decided to get out yesterday. 

We visited this beach by taking a road off the main road in Kapaa, close to the business district.

Our original departure date from Kauai on May 15th is the scheduled return date for the Dollar Car Rental. They refused to extend it for the extra eight days we’re staying over the phone (we tried). As a result, we’re returning to Lihue on the 15th to rent a different car (a better deal).

We could have waited to shop, but it felt good to get into the car and head down the Kuhio Highway on a sunny day to Long’s Drug (owned by CVS) for a few toiletry items we needed to take on the upcoming cruise. The cost on cruises for a tube of toothpaste is often two or three times more than a drugstore.

Prices at Long Drugs were lower than at the grocery store in Princeville and of course, the selection was considerably better. We only spent $35 but the trip was well worth the scenery along the way.

We noticed a pole sticking out of the water at a distance, most likely some type of markers on the coral reef to protect boats and surfers.

While I was in Long’s Drugs (Tom stayed in the car reading a book) I was reminded of the day in December when part of our family was with us on the Big Island and Long’s Drugs was closing early that day due to the lava from Mount Kilauea heading to the shopping center. They had a huge sale, but with limited space in our luggage, we only purchased what we could use at the time.

At the time, it was sad to speak to the employees about the loss of their jobs at the local stores. Luckily, the lava never made it to the shopping center, grocery store, gas station, and drugstore. Subsequently, each has since reopened.

Bear with us, you may have seen similar photos in our past posts when we’ve headed south. These we’re showing today and over the next several days were all taken on yesterday’s outing. 

The coconut trees along the shoreline always create a pretty scene.

Making one more stop at the health food store for macadamia nut oil for making our homemade mayonnaise (please comment or send an email to request the recipe if you’d like it) and we were back on our way.

We stopped at every scenic overlook, every beach, and each viewing spot where there was space to park. In the past, when we’ve made this trip it was often cloudy and rainy. Today, the rain is pelting and the air is cool. 

Several times last night, we were awakened by the sound of the rain. We’ve never heard thunder during our lengthy stay in Hawaii nor have we noticed any lightning, which most likely occurs during hurricanes and tropical storms. In the off-season, the cooling and soaking rain further brighten the already lush green terrain.

From one shoreline to another, views at a distance.
Today will be a laid back quiet day. We’ll work on obtaining our visas for Australia online, do some laundry, and prepare another good meal. Tonight, we’ll each have a different entrée which is a common occurrence. Tonight, Tom will have pork chops (there’s no free-range pork available on the island), green beans, muffin, and salad.  I’ll have wild-caught yellowfin tuna, shrimp, mussels, green beans, muffin, and salad.

It has always been easy for me to make two different dinners when the only extra item to make is one extra entrée item when we share the sides. We use two tin foil pans we reuse over and over, covered in tin foil. In one pan I’ll place Tom’s pork chops and the other which will contain my various seafood items on a bed of organic spinach seasoned well with spices and coconut oil. 

We cook many such entrees under the broiler (no grill here), his first and then mine, during the last five minutes.

This beach park provided covered pavilions where we noticed locals and tourists having lunch.

After cooking both entrees we toss the foil, rinse the pans and they’re ready to be reused for the next meal. We could use regular metal pans in this same manner but none is available here in the correct sizes.  

Using the foil, we avoid the necessity of scrubbing pans, pointless and frustrating waste of time. We use parchment paper when baking if the temperature is under 400 degrees (parchment burns at temperatures over 400 degrees) although doing so doesn’t eliminate the need to wash the pan.

Tom, butterflied giant pork chop, and my pan of delectable seafood. Since we eat no starchy side dishes, only salad and veggies, we usually have a good-sized portion of protein. I keep my daily protein consumption under 80 grams, carbs under 20 grams, and fat grams around 125 grams, easily maintaining the strict requirements of my way of eating to avoid inflammation, pain, and resulting illnesses precipitated by chronic inflammation. At home, Tom and I both follow this way of eating. When out, he indulges, especially on the cruises.

Reynolds makes a fabulous non-stick foil. However, using coconut oil on top of the cheaper foil prevents anything from sticking. Reynolds non-stick foil is $7.95 for 25 feet here in Hawaii whereby regular foil is $2.95 for 25 feet. 

You may wonder why we always use coconut and macadamia nut oil (readily available here in Hawaii). Actually, we also use olive oil, walnut, almond hazelnut, and other nut oils. 

Coconut trees along the beach had been trimmed to avoid risk of injury from falling coconuts.

We no longer use any vegetable oils or store-bought mayonnaise which contain dangerous Omega 6’s, soy, seed oils, chemicals, and processing. Click here for more information. There are 100’s of reputable sources of research and information available online. We share this information that we’ve chosen for our health and, if interested, we encourage you to research if you’d like to know more. 

Our goal is to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible in order to ensure our ability to continue to travel well into our 70’s, 80’s or more. Along the way, we’ve met travelers in their 90’s who are fit and healthy.  Here in Hawaii, we’ve seen dozens of people who may easily 20 years older than us, walking at a good clip looking wonderful and joyful. 

At first, when I spotted the trees, I thought woodpeckers may have pecked at the trees. Tom reminded me that the park maintenance staff had used spikes to climb the trees to remove the coconuts. That made more sense!

There’s so much world ahead of us. We’ll continue to strive to be safe from injury and free from disease. Of course, we’re certainly not exempt from an occasional achy joint, cough, cold, or virus. With cruises coming up, we’ll take extra precautions to avoid catching an illness from other passengers. In reality, at times, it’s unavoidable and we do fall prey to illness as we have in the past, taking necessary measures to regain health as quickly as possible.

Living on the move is not unlike living in one location. The daily chores, responsibilities, and trials along the way motivate us to be as creative and proactive as we possibly can to ensure the best possible outcome…for us, the joy of continuing on in our travels and in life…

Have a great day!

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

There was a short step when exiting the master bedroom in the riad in Marrakech. Upon exiting the bedroom there was this low railing. One could slip on the step or the long hanging drapes that covered the doorway and topple over the railing. We both reminded each other frequently to exercise caution in making our way around the house to avoid injury. For more details, please click here.