Yesterday’s trip to a big shopping mall…12 days and counting… No, we’re not staying in the US after the upcoming family visit…

Sign on beach walkway called the Marine Parade from Manly Beach to Shelly Beach.

We had intended to visit the vast Westfield Warringah Mall today instead of yesterday, but we decided to go on Sunday when we heard it could storm today. As it turned out, it stormed last night with the first thunder and lightning we’d seen since our arrival. So today, it’s cool and windy.

Gorgeous beach scenes on a sunny day.

Bob was visiting a friend at a nursing home, suggesting he drop us off at the mall since it was on his way. So we left at about 11:30 am after I’d finished and uploaded the post for the day. It was a warm sunny day perfect for yet another outing.

Although we haven’t had a rental car during this period, with Bob’s generous assistance and generosity and the ease of using local transportation, it’s worked out quite well.

Shelly Beach at a distance.

Having loaded plenty of money on two Opal cards (prepaid public transportation cards which we swipe when getting on and off buses and once upon boarding the ferry), using public transportation has been a breeze.  

It was a warm sunny day.  Sunbathers and swimmers lounged on the pristine beach.

Only on a few occasions, a long walk was required to get to and from a bus stop, but we haven’t minded. We’ve seldom had to wait more than 10 or 15 minutes for the next bus or ferry. It a relatively flawless system.

The vast mall was a combination of outdoor and indoor shops, one of which was the first large Target store we had seen since Hawaii in 2014. We wandered through the aisles in awe of all the merchandise.  

Succulents grow prolifically in many parts of Australia.

Will we experience culture shock when we return to Minnesota in 46 days, where an “abundance of everything” is rampant in stores, restaurants, and other public points of interest?  By the time we arrive, we’ll have been gone 1668 days. We anticipate it will be different than we recall.

Australians waste no time taking advantage of sunny days at the beach.

Why did we go to a mall? We both needed some shirts for the upcoming 33 nights of cruising (with a two-day gap between our arrival in Seattle and boarding the cruise to Alaska when we’ll stay in a hotel in Vancouver).

We recently checked out several shops in Manly but were unable to find a single item under AU 125, US $93.79. It made no sense for us to spend that kind of money on shirts when we’ve found that more expensive items don’t seem to last any longer than the less costly items after repeated washings.

Havana, a restaurant in Manly Beach.

After wandering through many shops, I was able to find several tops while Tom only purchased three short-sleeved shirts. He’s not keen on the new style of men’s shirts with roll-up sleeves. Why? I don’t know. But, he wears what he likes, not what I want. But he looks great when we go out to dinner and on cruises.

Great people watch and stroll along the outdoor mall, the Corso in Manly, a walk we’ve enjoyed several times.  However, we’d never been able to find any clothes at reasonable prices in this popular tourist area.

While in the US, we’ll review all of our clothing and decide what we’ll need to add before leaving, shopping at our former favorite stores. (If they’re still there).

Speaking of the US visit, we’ve been asked many times if we plan to stay after the nine-week family visit. No, we do not. We’re booked well into 2019, with plans to secure well beyond that year. 

A P&O ship, a famous British cruise line, leaving Sydney.

It’s not possible to book holiday homes, flights, and cruises further than two years out.  As a result, we continue to add to our itinerary as opportunities become available, coupled with our desires regarding what countries we’d like to visit in years to come. 

Lots of activity near one of the Manly ferry boats that head back and forth to Circular Quay in Sydney many times per day.

The world’s a prominent place.  We’ll never run out of ideas. We’ll only run out of good health and the required “oomph” to continue at some point. But, in the interim, the love of this life and enthusiasm has yet to wane in any manner. Even with the health setbacks I’ve had this past year, we’re still confident and excited for the future.

Be well and take care of yourself!

Photo from one year ago today, April 10, 2016:

One year ago, while living in New Zealand, we encountered these cattle crossing the road. The farmer offered to stop the flow to let us drive by, but we insisted they carry on, enjoying the view. For more photos, please click here.

A diverse and unexpected day out and about…Problems with men’s shirts…Many new photos coming!

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.

Sitting too much?…How about walking in the mall on a rainy day?…More photos from exploring…

We spotted this beautiful cove at the end of the boulevard in Trinity Beach.

Tom says he never planned to include walking as a part of his retirement. What did he plan to do? Sit in a chair waiting to grow old for the anticipated eventuality? That’s what some retirees choose to do when health-wise when they could be more mobile. 

Unfortunately, many seniors have health conditions, making mobility unlikely if not impossible and my heart breaks for them. Having the ability to freely move about has a tremendous bearing on our general good health and state of mind. We commend the many people we know and love who aren’t able to be mobile and yet maintain a positive attitude.

Sitting puts a fast end to our mobility and our mortality. The maximum amount of sitting I allow myself most days is during the time it takes for me to write and post here each day and to handle the necessary aspects of our travels online.  For the remainder of the daylight hours, I try to stay on the move as much as possible. 

A long stretch of unoccupied sandy beach.

Although after dinner, during which we sit, we do gravitate toward the sofa to watch a recorded program or two on my laptop using the HDMI hooked to the flat-screen TV. I can’t imagine having the inclination to be running about the house each evening after dinner. After watching for two hours, we lay down in bed for seven or eight more hours.

Ouch! Writing this down makes me realize how much time we actually do spend not on our feet. Long ago, I read that standing and moving around once an hour is helpful which I desperately try to do. But, even then, it’s easy to get lost in the distraction of the moment while seated.

Harvard Medical School issued this report on the dangers of sitting for people of all ages including those in the workplace. Oh, that I recall sitting at a desk most of my working life, sitting in the car, sitting watching a movie. 

This dome-type vacation rental reminded us of dome homes from decades ago. 

Aside from a large faction of the working population that busted their “you-know-whats” engaged in a career of hard working manual labor, most of us sat in a chair at work or spent the better part of each day gravitating back to a spot where there was a place to sit.

If we look back at early man/woman, they seldom sat, instead, spending most of their time on their feet working for shelter, warmth, safety, food, and water. Perhaps humans weren’t intended to sit other than around the fire at night for dining and warmth.

A lone explorer on the secluded beach.

However, when we see animals in the wild most of them sit from time to time, to relax, nap, and scour their surroundings. So, let’s assume that sitting to some degree must be acceptable for the health and well-being of humans as well. As we’ve observed wildlife these past years of travel, we’ve seen that they are like us in many ways or…we’re like them. They were here before us.

After all, most of us have an adequate built-in cushion for sitting which seems to shrink as we age for some odd reason. Who knows? Maybe it shrinks as a reminder that we need to get up and move around instead of sitting in an attempt to maintain a certain degree of health and fitness.

I’m no expert. All I know is that when I’m active I feel better, my muscles move more freely, my sense of health and well-being escalates and my spirits rise beyond my usual “overly bubbly,” if that’s at all possible.

The beaches are seldom populated this time of year with the risk of stingers and crocs.

Tom, on the other hand, loves sitting. He always says he spent enough time outside moving about in 20 degrees below zero to last a lifetime. I’m not so sure about that.

Yesterday, after two weeks of clouds and rain, we needed to walk some more, although in the past week we’ve done quite a bit of walking at beaches and parks in the area. But, being moderately active one day doesn’t necessarily carry over to the next day.

The Lime Tree restaurant in Trinity Beach is rated as #2 or 16 restaurants on TripAdvisor. Soon, we’ll make a reservation and give it a try.

As much as I know Tom doesn’t like to go for walks, I suggested that we return to the local Smithfield Mall for a few items to supplement our grocery shopping of a few days ago. We needed to buy lettuce and coffee and, I wanted to try the low carb, sugar-free, goat’s milk yogurt I heard was readily available in the market (which, by the way, is fabulous!)

Instead of telling Tom, we should walk in the mall, he gladly agreed to take me to the store for the few grocery items and to stop at a vitamin store for some B1 which is known to help some against getting sandfly bites. (Oh, we won’t get into that. No complaining on my part over the 50 bites on my knees for which no natural non-DEET repellent works. Why they bit my knees, I’ll never know).

Kangaroos are accepted as a part of everyday life in Australia, not unlike our former reaction to squirrels and geese when we lived in Minnesota.

To accomplish both of these tasks, it made sense to walk through the very long mall which when walking up and back requires a good 30 minutes of brisk walking. Tom brought along his phone with his Kindle books so he could “sit” while I meandered a few shops along the way. 

Walking in our new neighborhood is unlikely. The hugely steep driveway is impossible to safely navigate on foot for anyone over 30 years old. It’s a knee injury waiting to happen. 

Tom is highly adept at driving a stick shift with his left hand and yet he surprises me each time we go up and down as he easily maneuvers the underpowered little red car that chugs along especially going up the hill. 

Even active kangaroos take time to sit in the shade when the sun peeked out for a few hours.

The hill is so steep, I’d have hesitated to drive it even with an automatic transmission if I’d had to.  (With no parking allowed on the street at the end of the driveway, we’ve had to drive to take walks, which we’ve done each day this week).

“Good on you, Tom Lyman,” I say, using a common Australian expression that we hear everywhere we go, which apparently means “good for you!” Easily, I could repeat this adorable expression for his willingness to walk with me as we wander about the world, attempting to get off our butts as often as possible, hopefully lengthening our time on this planet with a certain level of good health and fitness.

Photo from one year ago today,  June 25, 2014:

This worm on the organic lettuce in Madeira, Portugal practically picked up his head to look at me before I tossed the leaf over the veranda into the vegetation below. For more details, please click here.