Three days and counting…Wrapping it up here…Busy days…Sunsets to savor…

Not a lot has to be said about a beautiful sunset. It speaks for itself.

There have been more tasks for the upcoming two cruises than we listed earlier. They include:

  1. Applying for a visa for both of us for Bermuda, the first port of call in our itinerary which is required to board the ship, which we weren’t aware of until a few days ago: DONE
  2. Get Covid tests – scheduled for tomorrow morning
  3. Enter negative Covid test results into the Bermuda website to complete the visa process
  4. Applying for an additional $100 cabin credit for the Queen Mary 2 since we own stock in the parent cruise company, Carnival, which offers this credit for stockholders: DONE
  5. Complete health questionnaires for both cruises a few days before sailing
  6. Pick up Tom’s suit, stop at Target and Skechers store in Brandon, Florida
  7. Contact Costco about a considerable price reduction on Azamara’s website for our upcoming cruise in November. Tom is on hold now to see if the credit will be applied.

Our friend Karen made quite an observation over the past several days. She said, “Traveling the world is a lot of work! You two are busy all the time!”

This observation has dawned on us repeatedly throughout the past 9½ years. We are always busy planning, booking, filing documents, scanning, and preparing forms, applications, documents, and more to stay on top of our tasks. No doubt, it’s a daunting task. Whoever thought that traveling the world was one big holiday was kidding themselves. This is work.

Couple those tasks with the blog each day. Is it any wonder we need downtime to get through it all? On Friday, we’ll see passengers at the port cruise check-in, figuring out how to do all the paperwork and prep work they failed to do in advance. Surely, this will slow the check-in process to a snail’s pace. Hopefully, they will allow those of us who were well-prepared to move on through and board the ship.

The process will be slowed down even further with all the new Covid restrictions and protocol. It will be interesting to see what transpires at check-in for both upcoming cruises. Before the pandemic, the process was often cumbersome and time-consuming. I can only imagine what it will be like now. Of course, we’ll be sharing these details as they occur for our interested readers.

We’ll do our last load of laundry on Thursday, pack our bags and do my nails, and touch up my polish from my last pedicure. I’ll fill my pill case with my three little prescription pills and various vitamin supplements today. Tonight, Karen and I are making homemade pizza, two different types for each couple.

This morning, Tom and I headed to the grocery store for ingredients to make the pizzas. It’s so enjoyable to shop in the grocery stores in the US. There is every possible ingredient you can imagine, many of which we cannot buy in South Africa. Of course, I wish I could bring back some items with us, but with our new clothes and shoes, we won’t have any room to spare or weight allowance.

A few nights ago, the four of us sat outside poolside until after dark. I noticed I was itchy when we went indoors to eat dinner. It turned out, typical close to the sea, I was attacked by no-see-ums, resulting in hundreds of bites through my clothes. I had used repellent, but it has little effect on these pesky creatures as described here:

“Ceratopogonidae is a family of flies commonly known as no-see-ums or biting midges, generally 1–3 mm long. The family includes more than 5,000 species, distributed worldwide, apart from the Antarctic and the Arctic.”

We’ve lived in many seaside or desert locations during our world travels. Only in Belize, Morocco, and now, here in Florida, have they bothered me. And bother me, they did. I was awake all night long, itching, trying various creams I had on hand, and basically, being miserable and unable to sleep.

I am allergic to dust mites and no-see-ums, which is quite common for those with allergies. In an attempt not to be a “party pooper,” last night, I put on my compression socks, jeans, and a long-sleeve, tightly fitting tee shirt. I generously applied repellent on any exposed skin, my hands, face, and neck. Fortunately, that worked, and I never was bitten again. The old bites are still itching, but that should improve in a few days.

Well, at least we know now that if we ever thought of eventually settling down in Florida, that won’t work for me. No, we’re not thinking of “settling down.” We’re just getting ramped up again after this darned pandemic.

Tomorrow, I will prepare a short post in the early morning since we plan to be out most of the day wrapping up some of these last-minute details and completing the above as indicated by no later than Friday.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, April 5, 2021:

Notice the puffed-up cheek on this giraffe. They eat vegetation and store it in their cheeks for short periods. For more photos, please click here.

Ketchikan, Alaska…People we meet…Ketchikan photos tomorrow…Land of the midnight sun…

Tom took all of these sunset photos last night at 9:30 pm as we made our way to Ketchikan, Alaska.

Each time we arrive in a new port of call, we deliberate over getting off the ship early and deal with the long lines and considerable waiting time to get ashore or hold back for a while after the crowds thin.

With our motto of “Wafting Through Our WorldWide Travels with Ease, Joy and Simplicity, waiting always seems to make more sense. In most cases, we complete and upload the day’s post before we disembark the ship, posting the photos the following day.

On some other occasions, we may wait to post until later in the day after the visit to the port of call, including the new photos later in the day. Over the next several days, we’ve decided to hold back until around 10:00 am while attempting to upload a post before we go. That doesn’t always work when many days it takes into the afternoon to complete the day’s post.

Tom took all of these sunset photos from Deck 5.

There are five massive cruise ships in the port right now, and Ketchikan will be mobbed with thousands of passengers doing the “shop until you drop” thing we try to avoid when visiting ports.

Even in these short years of sailing, now on our 19th cruise, we’ve noticed an evolution from quaint ports of call to massive, hopping shopping areas. Many passengers bring along an empty suitcase to accommodate their purchases. That’s just not us.

Many passengers choose specific ports of call for the shopping more than any other reason. I suppose, in our old lives, I, too, may have been enticed to shop. But I no longer feel the desire or motivation to spend hours perusing shops for trinkets and pricey gems. But, of course, Tom concurs. 

From the web: “Nearly one-third of Alaska lies above the Arctic Circle, but Alaskans are fairly informal about claiming they live with the midnight sun. All parts of the state enjoy long daylight hours in summer, even Ketchikan, the state’s southernmost population center, where there are more than 17 hours of daylight on June days.”

Nor do we enjoy fighting the crowds everywhere we may go as we walk through a port we’ve never visited in the past. Our goal is simple…see the quaint features beyond the shopping and take as many interesting photos as possible.

Regardless, we still love cruising, mainly for the easy days and nights and the social interaction. But, we both must admit, we’re missing the outrageously friendly and fun Aussies and Kiwis who sure know how to have a good time and include us into their playful world.

There are few Aussies and Kiwis on this ship, although we’ve yet to get a count of the actual numbers. So far, we’ve heard only a few Aussie accents, one this morning at Cafe al Bacio and another at breakfast yesterday. 

The waning sun creates an impressive beam of light of the sea.

No doubt, we were spoiled after almost two years in the South Pacific. We never entered an elevator or sat at a shared dining table when the conversation wasn’t lively, inclusive, and filled with loud laughter.  We kind of miss that now.

Thus far, we’ve dined at a few dining tables in the past few days that have been very enjoyable but not quite the same as the past seven cruises starting or ending in Sydney, Australia.

I don’t mean to stereotype people from certain countries. But, as we’ve traveled and lived in many countries, it’s easy to spot cultural behavior as to a degree of openness, friendliness, and ability to laugh and cajole. 

The sun begins to fade away behind this bank of ominous-looking clouds.

After spending long periods in many countries, this becomes clear during our first few weeks as temporary residents.  In some countries, we can immediately develop close relationships, many of which become lifelong friends.

It’s no coincidence we’re excited to get back to South Africa, not only for the wildlife but also for the many friends we made during our three-month stay, more than in any other country thus far, all of whom we’ve stayed in touch via Facebook and email.

The quality of this nomadic lifestyle is enhanced by building friendships. We’re so grateful and humbled for the friends we made along the way, looking forward to more in the future.

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today. May 19, 2016:

Giant statue located in Negara, Bali, near the main highway. For more details, please click here.