Preparing for the weekend…More complicated than usual…

A house built on the mountainous road.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Hoffman’s Woodpeckers often stop by for nectar from the African Tulip Tree and to sing.  Other birds are flying in the background.

Over the past few days, I’ve spent more time contemplating what to bring for the two nights in Nicaragua than I spend while packing to leave a location.  In those cases, of which there are many, it’s relatively easy to pack.  We simply include everything we own and voila!…we’re packed.

In this case, I’ve had to pick and choose clothes for daytime and evenings.  In this case, I know I’m packing way more than I’ll need attempting to make it fit into my half of the black duffel bag.  With only the duffel bag and the computer backpack, we won’t require checked baggage.  The flight is about one hour and hopefully, check-in will be easy. 

Typical road in Costa Rica, without a shoulder.

At this point, we’re glad we didn’t plan to get our passports stamped by driving back and forth to Panama or Nicaragua.  Many roads are blocked due to landslides as it continues to rain in buckets almost every day.  That type of road trip would not have been easy or enjoyable.

Although its more costly to travel outside the country with the cost of the round-trip flight, hotel, and meals the ease and convenience are often highly instrumental in our decision making.  That’s not to say going to the airport is convenient but in this case, with the bad weather, it may have been the best course of action.

More topiary in Zarcera.

As of this morning, I’m totally packed and ready to go.  With Isabel here cleaning today, I wanted to get it done and out of the way.  Tom has yet to pack and will do so after she cleans the bedroom.

Last night, during a major storm we had a power surge while watching a show in the screening room.  A sudden pop and flash startled us as the lights and the TV went off in that room only. 

Cloudy day view from the hills.

Luckily, we were using surge protectors for our laptops and they’re fine.  We moved to the living room to finish the show we’d been watching on Netflix and notified Aad and Marian this morning as to the electrical issue.  Julio should be here within a few hours to make the repairs.  

The attention to detail and quality service we’ve received while living in La Perla de Atenas has been exceptional.  We need only mention an issue, big or small and in no time at all, it’s resolved.

One could easily assume that the laid-back lifestyle in Costa Rica might result in days of waiting for power outages to resolve or repairs to be made.  But, that hasn’t been our experience in Costa Rica.  In the three outages occurring since our arrival, the longest wait was 10 hours with the others resolved within six hours.

Rapids flowing after all the rain.

As we wind down the time in Costa Rica, we realize how quickly it will go once we return from Nicaragua.  We’ll celebrate our fifth-year of traveling the world anniversary on October 31st and then, 22 days later we’ll on our way to Florida for the lengthy cruise.  

Today, it’s cloudy and cool after last night’s monstrous storm.  We have great leftovers for dinner which we’d planned in order to avoid a busy cooking day while Isabel is here cleaning for almost eight hours.  These past three months, we’ve made a point of having leftovers on the days she’s here allowing us to stay out of her way.

Have an excellent day!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 27, 2016:

We’d left the villa in Sumbersari six days earlier than planned due to the poor Wi-Fi signal preventing us from posting. We then spent six nights at the Hilton Garden Inn Ngurah Airport and yet, never used this pool.   For more photos, please click here.

Considerable planning for the upcoming year…Health issue improving…

For three night’s we had mozzarella balls stuffed meatballs with a sugar-free Italian seasoned tomato sauce with mushrooms, topped with grated mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.  There’s also one ball inside each meatball along with one on each top. On the side, steamed veggies and salad.
“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

A new visitor to the tree by the veranda.  It’s a Rufous-naped Wren, a common bird species in Costa Rica

The thought of spending a year in Africa beginning in February 2018 can be daunting considering the number of supplies we’ll need to bring with us, many of which cannot be found locally or shipped.

Also, there’s a risk of theft of imported packages and also the possibility of lengthy delays.  We learned this when we spent almost a year in Africa in 2013/2014 when shipments took months as opposed to weeks to arrive including requesting upgraded shipping.

Many streets in business districts are one way and it’s tricky to spot the warning sign that says, “Do Not Enter,” No Play Paso in Spanish.

I take three low dose prescriptions, none of which are available over the counter here in Costa Rica (as mentioned in earlier post) with the brand or generics names for the dosages I need.  Also, Costa Rica doesn’t allow the import of any prescriptions, supplements or over-the-counter medications.  

Many countries throughout the world have McDonald’s.  We never eat there.

Subsequently, I recently placed an order for the maximum supply allowable in one specific order (a six-month supply) from ProgressiveRx and I’m awaiting the package’s arrival at our mailing service.

We couldn’t determine what type of store this may be.

This morning I placed an order for contact lenses, enough to last until we return to the US in 2019.  A few days ago, we ordered Tom enough Crystal Light Ice Tea to last for the next six months, enough to get him to South Africa after which he’ll order more to be shipped. 

There are many apartment buildings throughout the area, many similar to that one might find in other countries.

I gave up drinking Crystal Light when my gastrointestinal issues escalated, only drinking plain water.  As I continue to improve, over these past several days I’ve been drinking a morning beverage which I hadn’t been able to do for months.

To make the coffee drink I use the following: a ½ mug of brewed coffee with a ½ cup organic cocoa, 3T. unsweetened coconut cream, 1 tsp. organic cinnamon,½ tsp organic powdered turmeric with a dash of fresh ground pepper (pepper enhances the bioavailability of turmeric) with a few drops of liquid Stevia.  This drink tastes extraordinary and has no ill effects on my stomach.

A Lexus dealership in San Jose.  Cars are more expensive here than in the US.

Based on the lack of any negative effects of this morning beverage (after many months without drinking coffee), I’ll have to make sure I have all these ingredients on hand when we board the cruise on November 23rd.  It will be inconvenient to bring the coconut cream which I can replace with real cream which should be available on the ship.

We were surprised to see this store in Costa Rica.

With our priority status as Elite Members on Celebrity Cruises, I’ll be able to order bottles of quality bottled water during the free happy hour to drink in the evening and throughout the day.  I won’t be drinking wine or any alcoholic beverages on cruises or at any time in the future.  After years of not drinking alcohol, it’s simply too hard on my digestive tract.

There are numerous warehouse type stores throughout the country of Costa Rica.  This is the front entrance to PriceSmart.  There’s a Pricesmart store opening near Atenas on October 6th we’ll we definitely visit soon.

Since I begrudgingly started taking daily 20 mg Prilosec (Omeprazole) about five weeks ago, my ulcers (as a result of having had Helicobacter Pylori for 18 months) have improved tremendously and I’m finally able to eat without pain or experience burning pain when I don’t eat.  I can’t tell you how excited I am as I continue to improve a little each day!

Small shops line the highway.

There are numerous other products we’ll be ordering over this next month, including clothing for Antarctica to be shipped to our hotel in Florida where we’ll stay one night on November 22nd.  The next day, we’ll board the chip.

Typical scene along the highway to San Jose, the capital city.

For now, with the huge storms we’re experiencing we’re still staying put.  Tomorrow, we have to head to town to make several stops, take photos and hopefully get Tom a much-needed haircut.  We’ll see how it goes.

Enjoy your day!

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Photo from one year ago today October 4, 2016:

View from the second story veranda of a villa that was owned by our landlord in Sumbersari Bali.  For more photos and details, please click here.

A day centered around Ancestry.com…A trip to the mailing service….Whoa!

Drive down a quiet street in Henderson.

Yesterday when Tom planned to visit my sister Susan with me, he knew it was important to bring along his laptop.  Over these past years of world travel, he’s pieced together many interesting facts about my family’s ancestry and of course, including ongoing information on his own family.

As a long time member of Ancestry.com, paying the annual fees of approximately $300 per year since March 2006, he’s considered a heavy user.  During idle times, while living in various countries throughout the world, he’s continued to research records of his ancestors, my ancestors and the ancestors of other family members including in-laws and others who may not be directly related via bloodline.

Many records seem to have begun once the ancestor(s) immigrated to the US in the 19th and 20th century.  Many countries, due to wars and strife, don’t have public records available online that an enthusiastic amateur geneologist would be able to add to their repetoire of facts. 

Its hard to believe that pine trees can grow in the desert.

A few years ago, Tom and I both had our DNA profiles done via Ancestry.com resulting in a few surprises for each of us.  This added further to Tom’s interest in continuing his research for both of us.  Seeing one’s actual history via a DNA report further verifies that which one may have assumed about their heritage including many new morsels of information that may be surprising.

In many cases, traveling to the country of origin may be the only recourse to extending the quality of the information going back many generations.  Tom and I continue to discuss the prospect of spending time in Ireland furthering the search for his ancestors. My family history is more scattered and would present greater difficulty in finding information.

For myself, I have less interest in the topic.  After all, its Tom’s hobby, not mine.  Besides, once I’ve completed the post each day, I prefer not to spend much time on my computer other than to research future travel related topics and others.

Scene along the highway on our way to the Centennial area of North Las Vegas.

As we’ve discovered in many conversations with people we’ve met over the years, some have little interest in pursing information about their ancestors, while others are fascinated and curious.

My sister Susan has been intrigued by the prospect of learning more about hers and my ancestry.  As a result, Tom joined me yesterday in visiting her, bringing along his laptop and HDMI cord so she could watch the data on her TV monitor rather than on the small laptop monitor.

Susan couldn’t have been more thrilled to see what Tom had discovered over these past years about our family history .  It was delightful to see her enthusiasm and interest in the data he’d collected including copies of documents, photos and endless public records. 

Dust storm gathering in the desert.

When we headed out later in the day, in hopes of beating rush hour traffic, we drove directly to our mailing service located halfway between Susan’s home and Henderson. 

With two tasks to be accomplished at the mailing service; one, pick up all of our mail including supplies we’d recently ordered and: two, mail the bins of Christmas memorabilia to son Greg, Camille and three grandchildren in Minnesota, we were able to get out the door and back on the highway within 30 minutes.

The cost to ship the five large totes of decorations to Minnesota totaled $178, less than I’d expected. We collected about 20 packages, along with some long standing paper mail of no major significance that we’d left in our mail slot until our arrival this month.

New styles of homes, condos and apartments have cropped up in the Las Vegas area.

After we left the mailing service, we ran into inclement weather while on Highway 215 heading toward Henderson.  Winds in excess of 60 MPH, with wafting sand and debris, covered the freeway.  For a short period, it rained in buckets, resulting in flash flooding in certain areas, which we later watched on the evening news. 

Today, we’re working on unpacking our mail, taking care of more business related and financial tasks and continue to gear up, once again, for leaving the USA for an extended period.

Last night, we cooked dinner on the grill for the second evening in a row, finished watching the Netflix series, El Chapo, and enjoyed a quiet evening.  Tonight, we’re dining out with Richard and no doubt will once again have a pleasant evening.

May you have a pleasant day and evening today and always.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 18, 2016:
There was no post one year ago today due to a poor signal aboard the Mekong River ship.

A final letting go of “stuff”…15 days and we’re off again…

Most likely, playgrounds aren’t used in the summer when it’s just too hot for kids to play outdoors.

As the days wind down toward our leaving the USA once again on August 1st, we find ourselves beginning to switch mental gears.  This past almost two months in the US catapulted us both into a state of mind far removed from our now familiar reality, almost five years since it’s inception.

The time has been well spent with family and friends, rekindling relationships in entirely new ways as we’ve all matured and changed as the years have rolled on. 

Landscaping in housing development.

Our grandchildren have grown and,  our children have settled into their lives as they’ve worked their way into “middle age” with grace and dignity.  It’s hard enough to believe how old we are, but then, even more so when we consider the ages of our children ranging from 42 to 50 years old. 

Gosh, it only seemed like yesterday that we were 50 years old.  And now, as I’m fast approaching 70 (seven months) and Tom 65 (five months), we continue to strive to maintain a youthful persona, vibrancy, and outlook along with the optimum of good health commensurate with younger years.

Empty basketball and tennis courts in the heat of summer in Las Vegas/Henderson.

We’ve come to accept the reality that for us, good health is by far the single most important aspect to feeling young while providing the stamina and endurance to continuing in our world travels.

In some ways, this past year was challenging for me.  With the spinal injury in June in the pool in Bali followed by the effects of contracting h. pylori along with it’s frustrating and lingering effects, it was a long year. 

The upkeep on this green grass must be outrageous in this heat.

Now, with a pain-free spine once again and the aftereffects of the gastrointestinal condition wafting away day by day, I’m returning to my optimistic, if not “overly bubbly” self.  In the process, I find myself all the more enthusiastic to return to our nomadic lives of world travel.

Tom, on the other hand, never faltered in his determination and mindset of a world traveler.  He’d continued with research for the future, searching for new locations, cruises, and points of interest.  Also, as always, in snippets of spare time while in the US, he continues with his never ending hobby, ancestry.com.

Today, we’re both heading to North Las Vegas to visit my sister Susan who’s looking forward to seeing the updates Tom has discovered these past years in our family’s history. 

Surprisingly, there are some birds in the desert.

We’re bringing our HDMI cord and Tom will hook up his laptop to her TV so she can easily see the updates on the TV, rather than trying to peek at the screen on his laptop. 

As mentioned in the past, my dear sister has been lying in bed for the past 12 years suffering from the same hereditary spinal condition I’ve also been plagued with for most of my adult life.  Had it not been for my strict anti-inflammation diet over these past six years, most likely I’d have suffered the same fate.   

Zooming in for a close up of this bird as it quickly flew away, I cut off the top of her/his head. 

On our way back from Susan’s home we’ll stop at our mailing service located about halfway between Henderson and North Las Vegas and collect our awaiting mail and, mail the bins of Christmas decorations to Greg and Camille that I’d left at Richard’s home five years ago. 

At the time, we stored the Christmas memorabilia I had no idea we’d never have our own home again and subsequently never decorate a Christmas tree again. 

As time has passed, we’ve come to accept that we’ll never need those decorations again.  They’re better in the hands of Greg’s family with our three grandchildren who many appreciate them in years to come, perhaps for their own families someday.

This entrance  to a housing development with a waterfall.  With the extremely dry heat, the amount of evaporation must result in a huge loss of water.  Isn’t water at a premium in this valley?

By the time we leave Henderson to fly to Costa Rica in 16 days, we leave behind not a single bin of “stuff.” Thanks, Richard, for storing them for us while we decided our future lives and returned to Nevada to dispose of these totes. 

With no basements in homes in this part of the US, every bit of garage space is needed and he’ll now have more room for his own “stuff” although he’s not much of a pack rat and keeps his home as tidy as it could be. Even we’ve had to be mindful of not cluttering his meticulous space while we’re here.

May your life and minds be free of clutter allowing you the space you need to fulfill your own desires.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 17, 2016:

Tom, me, Captain Han and new friend Bob in the wheelhouse.We thoroughly enjoyed the Viking Mekong River Cruise.  For more photos, please click here.

Busy organizing, packing and socializing day!…Baggage fees for Delta…Two days and counting..

St. James Train Station in downtown (known as the CBD, Central Business District) in Sydney.

This morning I began packing the third and smaller of our three checked bags. With no concerns with over-weight restrictions, since we’re boarding a ship, not a plane, I still felt committed to lightening the load and reorganizing the contents. 

A night view of a few of the buildings in Circular Quay, Sydney, taken from the Manly Ferry.

We won’t have to be concerned about the weight until the end of the upcoming Alaska cruise when we fly from Seattle to Minneapolis on May 26th. Somehow, I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that we’ll be preparing for that flight in only 36 days.

Sydney Opera House at night taken from the Manly Ferry.

During that 36 days, we’ll be packing and unpacking a total of eight times which includes:
1.  Packing for the cruise – now
2.  Unpacking in our cabin for the cruise to Seattle – April 22nd
3.  Packing to disembark the ship in Seattle – May 15th
4.  Unpacking at hotel in Vancouver for two-night stay – May 15th
5.  Packing to depart hotel – May 17th
6.  Unpacking in our cabin for the Alaskan cruise – May 17th
7.  Packing to disembark the ship in Seattle – May 26th
8.  Unpacking at the hotel in Minneapolis where we’ll stay for six weeks – May 26th

A night skyline view of a small portion of downtown Sydney.

It’s this tight schedule that prompted me to be diligent in organizing our stuff and packing neatly. As a result, upon repacking and unpacking, we’ll do so with the same diligence as on each prior occasion. 

Luckily, as stated above, we’ll only be concerned with the weight of our bags on one occasion…when we fly to Minnesota. In the interim, I’ll certainly consider what items we can toss along the way to lighten that load.

Historic building in Circular Quay area. 

After checking Delta Airlines baggage fees, it appears it will be AU 33.35, US $25 for the first bag for each traveler, and an additional AU 46.69, US $35 for any other bag as shown below:

DELTA COMMON BAGGAGE FEES

The most common fees for traveling in a domestic, Main Cabin seat are:

The maximum weight, as shown above, is 23 kg, 50 lbs.  In the past, we’ve had no problem keeping the three bags within this weight range. But recently, we each added some new clothing and supplies.  

Office buildings along the Sydney Opera House Walkway including many shops, offices, restaurants, and condos.
This added weight will leave us committed to lightening our load of older items along the way before May 26th. However, one can never become complacent when it comes to baggage weight.
A portion of the Sydney skyline on a cloudy day.

As for today at 2:00 pm, Bob will drive us to the Manly Wharf, where we’ll walk across the road to walk the Corso to a pharmacy for a few more items we’ll need for the upcoming 36 days. 

Clock Tower in Sydney.

At 3:30 pm, we’ll return to the wharf where we’ll meet Christine and Colin, who’ll be arriving from Sydney on the Manly Ferry. We’ll head to a restaurant and relax for what indeed will be a pleasant get-together with the lovely couple, originally from the UK, having lived in Australia for the past 23 years.

One of our favorite Kookaburras.

In the evening we’ll return by bus to our holiday home as we spend one of the last two nights in Fairlight. It has been a great location, but we’re excited to be moving on.

Have a lovely day and evening!

Photo from one year ago today, April 20, 2016:

There was no photo posted one year ago. We were sailing on Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas and the WiFi.


It was so slow we couldn’t post any photos. Ironically, last night when we happened to look outdoors, we saw Voyager of the Seas heading out to sea from Sydney Harbour. Here’s that photo!

Last night’s photo of Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas leaving Sydney Harbour. Here’s the link to the post (without images). 

New hobby…Obsessive package tracking…Is today the day?…Sightseeing…Arabanoo…

The shoreline is packed tight with pricey apartments and condos.

As creatures of habit with a few obsessive behaviors interspersed, Tom and I are a perfect match. He tends to be more ritualistic than I, but most certainly, I can easily get sucked into copying his behavior. I suppose this happens when a couple is together around the clock.

Recently, while awaiting the package from the US, sent on February 10th, we both began obsessively watching the tracking information for the US Postal Service based on a tracking number provided us by our mailing service in Nevada. Unfortunately, the package never seemed to move much after that date.

Property prices are outrageous in Australia, especially close to the larger cities such as Sydney. with hilly terrain; many have oceanfront and ocean views.

Until we requested our shipper conduct a search for the package and the requisite 12-day process passed, the package finally was in motion again. We couldn’t have been more thrilled to see it on the move again, especially when the contents include all of our tax records for 2016, the renewal of both of our driver’s licenses, my new smartphone, and other items.

Finally, it arrived in Tasmania last Wednesday, and our prior landlord, Anne, shipped it to our address here in Fairlight. For over 72 hours, it never moved from Hobart. Finally, this morning, we noted it was shipped to a processing station near Sydney. If all goes well, it will arrive tomorrow. We’re both tentatively excited about its arrival.

A peek through the trees.

Secondly, last Monday, we ordered Tom a new laptop from the US, having shipped to our mailing service (free shipping from Amazon) since none of the companies that had that particular item would ship via international express. It made it to our mailing service on Wednesday.

After paying AU 528, US $400 for Fed Ex international express shipping plus the cost of the laptop at AU 956, US $730 (including sales tax), our total cost for the laptop is AU 1,480 US $1,130. 

Apartments, condos, and small coop-type properties are the main focus for rentals with high rents in most areas.

After checking for a similar product in Australia, we’d never have been able to purchase that particular item, brand, and features Tom preferred for anywhere near the price we paid. Based on what we found, it would have been higher priced at 30% to 40%.

Rooftops in Australia decades ago were all red clay tiles. Now that homes have been rebuilt to include second stories, spotting a red roof is less common.

Need I say that every hour (or more often), we’ve obsessively checked the tracking information on these two packages, with a tile on my laptop (which we’ve been sharing for 10 days) and links on Tom’s phone (which we’ve been sharing for months).

Today, with bated breath, we wait with a note encased in plastic taped to the mailbox, hoping sometime in the next several hours the laptop with arrive.  Tomorrow, perhaps the other package will arrive as well. 

A few areas along the coast are undeveloped or included private homes nestled in the trees.

In the interim, we’re sharing more photos from our recent outing with Bob. We’re grateful we’d gone out on a sunny day. Unfortunately, it’s been cloudy and raining every day since. This morning, on the news, we heard this had been the third most rainy season in history in New South Wales (NSW). Go figure…while we’re here. 

Views of bays and the open sea create a breathtaking backdrop.

But, no complaints here. We’re happy to be dry, safe, and immigration-ready for our cruise in 19 days. So, let’s see how the next few days roll out, which we’ll happily report here.

As for today’s photos…they were all taken from this popular tourist spot in the nearby hills. The below photo includes a portion of the story of the origin of Arabanoo, an Aboriginal man kidnapped by marines in 1788, with more below.

Interesting story. More may be found here or below.

From this site, the story of Arabanoo…

“Arabanoo (1759–1789)

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (MUP), 1966

Arabanoo (d.1789), the Aboriginal man, was captured at Manly on 31 December 1788 by order of Governor Arthur Phillip, who wished to learn more about the natives. Arabanoo was taken to the settlement where a convict was appointed to guard him; he was at first pleased by a handcuff on his wrist, believing it to be an ornament, but became enraged when he discovered its purpose.

Then a severe epidemic of smallpox broke out among the Aboriginals in April 1789; several who had been found in great distress were brought to Sydney where Arabanoo helped to care for them; he caught the disease himself and died on or about 18 May. He was buried in the governor’s garden.

One contemporary account gives his age as about 30 and another as about 24. He was not tall but ‘robustly made,’ with a thoughtful face and a soft, musical voice; his disposition was mild and gentle, but ‘the independence of his mind never forsook him. During his brief sojourn among the colonists, he became a general favorite, and Phillip records that he gave them much information about the language and customs of his people.”

May your day meet all of your expectations!

Photo from one year ago today, April 3, 2016:

Tom stood on the witness stand in the old courthouse at the Taranaki Pioneer Village, a style that may be seen in more modern-day courthouses throughout the world. See the story and more photos here.

Tomorrow we’re off!…Have I recovered yet?…Favorite Huon Valley photos…

Could it be more beautiful in Tasmania?

Taking my time to pack, suddenly it’s time to wrap it up. Tomorrow morning, we’ll leave the house for the airport at 7:30 am for a 10:10 am flight. Unfortunately, there’s road construction on the highway to Hobart that we heard will make the otherwise 45-minute ride take as long as 90 minutes.

With Tom’s usual worrying about arriving on time, we’ll most likely be out the door even earlier. So I’d better make sure all odds and ends are packed today with only the bags to zip at the last minute before heading out the door.

Farmland, mountains, and forest in the Huon Valley.

We have great leftovers for today’s main meal. Since I’ve had a terrible time with digestion with this current condition, we’ve been eating at 1:00 pm, allowing plenty of time to digest the meal long before bedtime.

What a view!

I’ve been splitting the meal into two portions the past few days and having the second half when I feel I need to eat again. This way, I understand how eating two half portions meals will leave me feeling an hour later. So far, so good, although I seem to be hungrier than ever before.

Yesterday was the last day of the seven-day course of the huge doses of two antibiotics with a PPI (proton pump inhibitor). Unfortunately, the symptoms remain, although I’ve seen about a 40% improvement. 

Alpaca enjoying the sunshine with chubby cheeks filled with grass.

We talked it over, deciding another trip to the doctor before taking the last meds last night would be necessary. Based on the literature on these three combo drugs, many patients with this particular bacterial infection often require 14 days of dosing.

Old farm truck at the Geeveston car show.

Sure, I’m concerned over “gut bacteria” after taking antibiotics for this extended period. In any other case, I’d tough it out without them. But, this condition can contribute to developing bleeding ulcers and stomach cancer, leaving us to weigh the risks carefully. 

I opted for the second round of meds, for this reason, hoping to feel 100% better by the end of the cruise. I’m eating unsweetened yogurt and taking high-quality refrigerated probiotics. Hopefully, they’ll have the proper yogurt on the ship, but it’s improbable.  Most people only consume sweetened yogurt with fruit added.

The Huon River’s bright blue waters.

We headed to Geeveston, where I met with the doctor who agreed to prescribe another seven-day pack. I can’t imagine having this condition on a ship and hardly eating much at any given meal. However, even with my restricted eating habits, I’ve enjoyed the food on cruises when the chefs have been great at being creative.

Gorgeous white sand beaches.

But, now only able to consume about a cup of food at a time to avoid distress shortly after the meal and for several hours thereafter, we’ve decided we may actually attend meals three times per day. 

I’ll have the protein smoothie for breakfast. I purchased small ziplock bags filling 12 bags (for a 12-night cruise) with all of the powders required to make the drink. Also, I found a special mug with a spiral whisk-like gadget to place inside the mug when shaking it up. Wow! This works! No blender required! No lumps!

Tom’s first ocean fishing experience.

We’ll dine in the dining room each evening and switch between the buffet and main dining room for lunch. I’ll have tiny portions during each meal. The buffets usually have a gluten-free section, but many items contain sugar and gluten-free grains, and high carb items that I don’t consume. There’s always a cook at the gluten-free table, making it easy to determine the ingredients in the offered dishes.

Adding my restrictive way of eating to yet another list of foods to avoid with the H Pylori, my meals are limited; no beef, no pork, no cruciferous or hard-to-digest vegetables, and no raw veg. Instead, I’ll have a small portion of plain chicken or salmon with a small plate of cooked veggies for most meals. 

Oceanview in Southport, Tasmania.

I revised my printed food list for the head chef, which we’ll deliver as soon as we board the ship to ensure my first meal will be prepared appropriately. Anne, our property owner, printed off several copies, placing them in a plastic sleeve. 

Thank you,  Anne and Rob, for all you’ve done to make our stay at the Anchorage Apartment so pleasant and easy. It’s been a pleasure staying in your beautiful property and meeting the two of you and your two sweet dogs.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with a short post with the final expenses for the six weeks in the Huon Valley. Please check back then!

Photo from one year ago today, February 28, 2016:

Lillies blooming in the lily pad in the huge stone pot in the yard of the second home in Fiji. It seems so long ago we were there. For more photos, please click here.

Piecing it all together…Four days and counting…

A boat anchored on the Huon River with a hazy mountain backdrop.

We’ve begun to think about packing, particularly me. Yesterday, for the first time in many moons, I ironed two of my shirts and one of Tom’s. Why did we ever buy anything requiring ironing? We thought they were “wash and wear” based on the washing instructions at the time of purchase.

I’m getting low on clothing, with many items having worn out, so I’ve resorted to ironing my two items to add to my limited wardrobe for the upcoming cruise in four days.

Vineyard in Tasmania.

Tom is down to six shirts, plus the one white dress shirt I ironed yesterday, suitable to wear to dinner in the ship’s main dining room. During the day, he wears tee shirts. His wardrobe is also shrinking along with mine.

In three months, we’ll be back in the US with a plan to purchase a few new clothing items to replace those we’re ready to toss. But, unfortunately, there are no clothing stores in Huonville other than two second-hand shops, and it makes no sense to replace our old clothing with someone else’s old clothing.

Over these past six weeks, I haven’t felt well enough to go shopping in Hobart, which has a few malls and many shops. For me, it’s been tricky buying clothing in Australia when sizing is entirely different, pants are too short, and styles suitable for travel aren’t necessarily available. 

A typical country road.

We prefer solid colors since they may be worn with any of our pants, dressy or casual. In most of the stores here, shirts are more colorfully patterned or flowery, which has never been quite my style. Nor does Tom care to wear brightly colored or patterned shirts.

I’ve begun packing a little earlier than usual with this illness and during the heavy antibiotic dosing period, which has made me feel a bit lethargic. So a little packing each day seems to make more sense right now.

Haze and humidity in the hills of the Huon Valley.

I’ve had some improvement (day four of seven on the medication), but I’m definitely not 100%. However, much to our enthusiasm, yesterday I was able to eat a normal-sized portion of our entree and a small salad which I hadn’t been able to do since early December. So maybe it is improving.

Tom never packs until the day before we depart when it becomes necessary to weigh our luggage to ensure we don’t exceed the 23 kg (51lbs) the airlines allow on the first checked bag (each) with a premium paid for our third bag containing necessary supplies. 

We’re flying to Sydney on Virgin Australia, which only charges AU 35, US $26.85 for the third bag, an amount we’re thrilled to pay instead of considerably more on other airlines.

The wild vegetation is growing along the river bank.

Tonight, we’ll watch the final episode of season 6, Game of Thrones, having loved every single episode. It’s been a nice respite from thinking about my condition when we’ve watched a few episodes each evening. We can now cancel our month-to-month HBO subscription (ending on the 26th) and re-join to watch season 7 once we get to Costa Rica next August.

While in the US, with six weeks spent in Minnesota and three weeks in Henderson, Nevada, we won’t have time or interest in watching any shows or movies other than perhaps a movie or two with the grandchildren in MN.

Single lane bridge in the countryside.

It’s hard to believe we’ll arrive in the US mainland on May 15th, less than three months from now. Two days later, on May 17th, we’ll board the Alaskan cruise, which ends on May 26th in Seattle. From there, we’ll fly to Minneapolis. We’ll be arriving in MN on Friday evening of Memorial weekend, a busy travel period.

Once I upload this post, Tom will do the proofreading while I get ready to go out. This will be the first time we’ve been out since Monday, very unusual for us. We’re heading to Huonville for a few grocery items and a new batch of probiotics to avoid running out on the cruise. 

Pasture on a sunny day.

But for now, we’re anticipating the less than two-hour flight from Hobart to Syndey in a mere four days. So my prepping and packing will continue at a snail’s pace over the next few days, which this time, I don’t mind a bit.

Have a lovely weekend, wherever you may be!

Photo from one year ago today, February 25, 2016:

This “piece of art” in New Plymouth is playfully typical of Kiwi’s great sense of humor. For more interesting New Plymouth, New Zealand photos, please click here.

Busy day…Tomorrow, we’re on the road…An unexpected last minute social event…

A beautiful scene in a roadside rest area about halfway through the four or five hour harrowing drive. Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll stop there once again. 

“Sightings in the Beach in Bali”

A colorful sunset photo taken while under the cabana.

After the considerable packing experience, we won’t become flustered or concerned about getting out the door on time tomorrow at 9 am, fully packed and ready to go.Five days later we’ll be doing the same after the necessity of wearing some of the clothing in our suitcases while staying at the hotel in Kuta.

Vegetables on display for a cooking class at Puri Bagus Lovina where we spent four nights during the five day visa extension process.

At the villa we’ve only worn swimsuits, all day and into the evening and have had very little laundry while here. We each alternated between two swimsuits, one always drying while the other was being worn. 

With a self service laundry at the hotel, we’ll be able to wash what we’ve worn to repack clean clothing for the 33 night cruise. Then, on the cruise, with our limited supply of clothing, we’ll be using a portion of our “cabin credit” of US $700, IDR 9,137,093, for the ship’s pricey laundry service.

Exquisite hand painted fishing boats at the pier in Negara.

While cruising it’s possible to change clothing four times a day depending on the events we’re planning to attend. From workout clothes in the morning, to swimsuits and cover ups, to shorts and tees for afternoon activities, to casual/ dressy attire for dinner. 

Each fishing boat has a unique design commensurate with the ethnicity of its owners.

With my clothing suitcase completely packed and only the third bag of supplies awaiting the final toiletries and miscellaneous items, we’ll have no problem getting out the door on time. Tom need only about 10 minutes to complete his packing.

Rambut Siwi Hindu Temple (Pura Rambut Siwi) in Negara.

Two days ago the property owners, Egon and his lovely wife Francoise, stopped by to say hello.  After a lengthy, interesting conversation among the four of us, we’d hugged upon departing with a plan to say goodbye in person before we leave.

Last night, we heard a knock at the door. It was after dark and quite surprising. During the day we leave all the doors wide open (no screens), only locking them at night. An evening visitor was quite unlikely.

We were honored to meet Gede’s parent at their home in Lovina during our first visit to Bali.

Egon had stopped by to invite us to a restaurant we’d known about and had seen when we had walked down the beach a while ago, but found no one in attendance and no posted menu. 

With the fabulous meals the cooks have prepared, we had little interest in investigating it further. Also, eating only one meal a day, the idea of walking back on the beach at night in the dark wasn’t appealing.

The skill required to create this work of art is typical among Balinese people.

Today, the enjoyment of the companionship will supersede any dietary or dining concerns and we’re off to lunch with Egon and Francoise at 12:30 pm. The next door neighbor, Peony, is joining us as additional guest at the party and to translate when none of us speak Balinese or Indonesian. It should be fun.

The patience of the buffaloes being “dressed” for the races surprised us as we gingerly walked by.

Today, we’ll be dining twice with scrumptious leftovers awaiting us for the evening meal. I guess we’d better get used to dining twice in a day when we’ll be doing so at the hotel over these next several days (complimentary full breakfast included) and then on the cruise, where we usually dine for breakfast and dinner.

Wearing sarongs at the Monkey Temple, which are required attire to enter any Hindu temple.

We’ll be back tomorrow with our post for the final expenses for the villa and the remainder of our favorite Sumbersari photos. Please check back as we wind down the remaining hours in this exceptional property.

Here’s the link to this wonderful holiday/vacation villa. We’re sure Egon and Francoise would love to see YOU here.

Photo from one year ago today, October 23, 2015:

In order to visit the Vuodomo Waterfalls, its expected that visitors bring the chief, (the owner of the land where the waterfall is located), a bag of kava, an intoxicating local drink made from kava leaves. Here’s the Fish Shop where we purchased the kava before we headed to the falls. For more details, please click here.