The 2½ hour wait at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles…

While in Penguin, Tasmania in 2017 we took this photo on our way to the town of Ulverston. Tasmania never disappoints!  For more photos, please click here.

We each had over a year left until the expiration of our Nevada driver’s licenses. However, with uncertainty at this point as to when we’ll return to the US, we needed to take care of this task before we depart Nevada in four or five days.

We both dreaded the process when the DMV in Henderson (and other locations) usually requires appointments to avoid waiting for hours. The last time we did this, seven years ago, the line extended outside the building with no less than 100 impatient applicants pushing and shoving to secure their spots.

With Tom sick all week, we avoided going. But as time wore on, we decided we’d better take care of this regardless of how he or I was feeling. When we awoke yesterday morning, it was raining heavily.

We imagined standing in that long queue outdoors in the rain with both of us still coughing (especially Tom) and getting soaked. I’d packed our cheap plastic rain protectors in the blue bag and by 9:45 am we took off.

Imagine our elation when we drove into the parking lot and there was no line at all! Apparently, due to the inclement weather, people decided to wait and go another day, which proved to benefit us greatly.

Upon entry into the building, which was packed, within minutes we got a number from the receptionist, found two adjacent chairs and began the long wait, making sure we didn’t miss the call of our number over the PA system.

We realized the wait would be long, but we were so pleased to avoid standing outdoors in the rain, hardly a whimper crossed our lips during the over-two-hour wait.

Some may say, the facility is disorganized with so many applicants always waiting to be seen. In fact, we perceived it as being very organized and well-planned with friendly customer service and systems in place to facilitate a somewhat painless process.

I played with my new phone while Tom never took his eyes off the screen with the numbers that had been called and those numbers upcoming. The time went more quickly than expected and by noon we met with the rep who would process our renewals.

The process itself took about 30 minutes when the rep was curious as to why we were renewing early which apparently is unusual. She then continued to ask many questions. Of course, we had nothing to hide, but we didn’t want to get into our entire story.

Finally, our temporary licenses were issued and we were directed to the area where photos are taken. Amazingly, there was no queue there and we breezed through the process in a few minutes.

Once out the door, we sighed in relief. It was finally done. Next time, we can again apply online when every other renewal time, an applicant must apply in person.

We feel as if we accomplished a lot while in the US, amid both of us being sick; we applied for and received our visas for India, applied and are awaiting our “second, four-year” passports and now renewed our driver’s licenses. It’s been a huge relief to get these time consuming and cumbersome tasks out of the way.

Our next project…deciding on how we’ll spend the two unbooked months in India after we’ve completed the Maharajas Train tour on February 8th. Planning this is a big project and we just may have to wait until we get settled in Arizona next week. Plus, we still have to work on hiring an attorney to assist us in getting the visa waiver to return to South Africa.

I’m off today to visit my sister Susan once again. I’d intended to go yesterday, but when we returned from the DMV so late in the day, I realized I’d be stuck in rush hour traffic, in the rain, on the return drive. No thank you. I’ll be on my way soon.

Have a pleasant day!


Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2018:

Mom and piglet enjoying the cement pond on a hot day. It’s summer during this time of year in South Africa and with the drought and lack of bodies of water available to the wild animals, they may seek a refreshing dunk in the cement pond in our garden, intended as a source of drinking water. For more photos, please click here.

Turning the corner…Still lots to do…

Two years ago today in 2017, in Pisco, Peru, we spotted these children playing at the beach with views of colorful fishing vessels.  For more photos, please click here.

While we were about one week into the most recent cruise, one early evening at the beginning of the free-drink-happy-hour (two hours long), I wasn’t able to take a sip of my wine. I felt queasy and dizzy.

Tom walked me to the cabin, helped me get situated into bed while I encouraged him to go back to the event to enjoy the evening’s camaraderie and bring me a small plate of food from the buffet before he went to dinner in the main dining room. There was no point in him sitting there with me.

Before 7:00 pm, he brought me a plate of roasted chicken, grilled fish, and steamed veggies. By 9:00 pm, he’d had dinner and returned to the cabin for the night. 

I had no idea why I was dizzy but by morning it passed leaving me with a peculiar little cough that eventually blossomed into the full roar of the virus from which we’re still experiencing now. It’s been 34 days since the onset.

As I mentioned yesterday, Tom is now suffering as I did over two weeks ago in Minnesota when I went to Urgent Care twice only to ultimately discover after taking antibiotics and cortisone, it is truly a virus with little to be done other than to wait it out.

Of course, if either of us had suspected it was more serious than the virus we contracted while cruising, we would have sought more medical advice. We had no fever, no symptoms of pneumonia, no chest pain (although our stomach muscles ached from coughing, a common side effect).

Yesterday, I awoke to feel dizzy again, on top of awful coughing, and this morning that is totally gone and much to my delight, my cough has lessened dramatically. Oddly, it came in with dizziness and left with the dizziness. Go figure. I’m finally out of the woods, or so it seems.

Tom is insistent we go to the DMV today but again oddly enough, it’s going to rain today. A visit to the DMV results in a long outdoor queue often standing for hours. We weren’t able to book an appointment based on a lack of availability while we’re here before we depart for Arizona next week.

The end result? Today, rain or shine we’ll stand in line at the DMV, to renew our driver’s licenses. Yes, we have raincoats but no umbrella. Who has an umbrella in Nevada? It rarely rains here.

I’d planned to see Susan today but that’s up in the air based on how quickly we are able to get through the line at the DMV. If not today, I’ll go tomorrow. Perhaps, the lines will be shorter today with it raining.

Out of the small backpack, I just dug out the total-body-coverage cheap plastic raincoats we’d purchased in Thailand for 85 cents each which have served us well on several occasions over these past few years. We’ll see how they work for us today.

No doubt, I’m dreading this DMV thing but it has to be done. Tom offered to go on his own but I too, need my license renewed and it makes no sense for us to go separately.

We’ll continue to keep our readers informed of the infinitesimal activities of our time here in Nevada. Soon enough, a little excitement may ensue as we begin to pull ourselves out of the throes of the virus.

Happy day to all, rain or shine.


Photo from one year ago today, December 4, 2018:

This fluffy little one captured our hearts. For more photos, please click here.

Coughing from hell…Is cruising worth it?…

On this date in 2016, we arrived in Penguin, Tasmania where we stayed for six weeks. This is the view from the living room window of the wonderful holiday home we rented. It was a delightful six weeks and remains one of Tom’s favorite places in the world. For more photos, please click here.

During our seven years of world travel, there was only one other time we were both as sick as we are now with a virus. We were on a cruise from Honolulu to Sydney. Upon our arrival, I was barely able to get myself onto the deck to take our first photos of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

Driving the rental car to the holiday home in Trinity Beach is but a vague memory. We were disorientated, exhausted and racked with horrible bouts of coughing for no less than three weeks. 

We never mentioned it in the blog feeling we didn’t want to “bore” our readers with medical woes. However, after this past dreadful year of my heart issues, we don’t feel as if we need to “hide,” especially when so many of our readers have written to us not only wishing us well but finding comfort in some of their own issues, in the fact they are not alone.

Only a week into the most recent cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, we acquired this virus and we’re struggling with it much longer than expected. It seems the cough, exhaustion, and feeling disorientated has become worse over time. We can’t imagine others on that cruise aren’t suffering in the same manner.

It would be easy for any observer to say, “Then, why in the world would you go on cruises if you get sick?” 

We’ve been on 25 cruises since beginning our journey in 2012. Sure, I’ve had the cruise cough several times, with Tom catching it less often. Our answer is simple: we use cruising as a means of getting from one part of the world to another, avoiding considerable flights.

Then again, airplanes can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses and we often hear about travelers becoming sick from flying. Combine the flights many take to arrive at the point of embarkation on a cruise, and it’s become a double whammy.

The reality is, for whatever reason, our immune systems are vulnerable to the germs on cruises. No doubt, we need to focus on ways in which to be all the more cautious while cruising. We’ll begin doing more research on ways in which we can reduce the risk and also improve our immune system.

Perhaps its a by-product of long term travel. We’re often asked if we get flu shots and we do not. Each country has its own specific strain and it would mean we’d have to be immunized in several countries. This doesn’t seem to be 
healthful or sensible.

At this point, Tom is suffering in a manner similar to where I was a few weeks ago when I went to an urgent care clinic and was prescribed antibiotics and cortisone, neither of which alleviated the symptoms. I still kept coughing and feeling awful.

But during this time, both of us were very busy with our families and could hardly slow down when we were there for only three weeks. We’ve slowed down considerably since arriving in Nevada and luckily Tom has had a chance to rest for several days while I’ve gone to visit my sister, shopped and cooked meals, nothing overly strenuous.

Tom’s time to rest nor my level of activity have had any impact on helping or changing anything one way or another. Today, I’m “down for the count” right along with Tom. We’re both staying in all day, lounging on Richard‘s comfy sofa with plenty to watch on the big screen TV.

We had planned to go to the DMV to renew our driver’s licenses today but neither of us has the strength to stand in line for hours. Somehow we’ll manage to take care of this before the end of the week. We’re leaving (driving) for Arizona early next week.

While at the urgent care clinic in Minnesota two weeks ago, they explained we aren’t contagious anymore but also there is little to be done to alleviate the symptoms of a virus. 

There is no point in us seeing a doctor. Antibiotics don’t work. There’s nothing that can be done. We’re using the over-the-counter meds recommended by the doctor at the clinic. The nighttime Nyquil seems to help us sleep better. We just have to wait it out.

Be well. 


Photo from one year ago today, December 3, 2018:

Giffafe in the garden aching for the treetops. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Our year in review…Photos of us…Busy preparing new itinerary, ready for tomorrow’s post…

In July, we had a great evening at The Elephant Bar in Henderson, Nevada with friends that live in Las Vegas.

New Year’s Day proved to be another good holiday. We stayed busy posting until later than usual and then spent the rest of the afternoon making future travel plans.

Why do we plan so far ahead?  With our lifestyle, it gives us  tremendous piece-of-mind knowing what’s coming down the road.  Also, it gives us an opportunity for good prices for upcoming venues.

Tom standing next to the Giant Bamboo tree to gain a perspective of its massive size.  The vegetation at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica was almost as interesting as the wildlife.

Although we’ll post the itinerary tomorrow, we’ve yet to book all of the vacation homes for the upcoming visits to various countries but the cruises are already booked. Over the next few months, once we’re in Africa, we start booking vacation/holiday homes in these various locations.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, cruises are a driving force in our decisions to visit certain countries, although as shown we don’t hesitate to fly when necessary.

I used repellent while at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica but still got a few mosquito bites.

Planning is a daunting task and today, we’ll continue with the preparations for tomorrow’s post.  We’re happy we’d made the commitment to post the itinerary. It motivated us to “get the show on the road” and finally make some decisions for the future.  

By no means, our failure to get this done wasn’t due to any lack of enthusiasm on our part.  Instead, it was based on the simple fact that we’ve been rather busy this past month with the cruise and socializing. 

We set up the tripod to take this photo of us in Costa Rica on October 31, 2017, the five year anniversary of our world travels

All along our intent has been to post a new itinerary around the first of the new year.  By tomorrow, we’ll have this accomplished as we joyfully share it with all of our worldwide readers.

As for yesterday, New Year’s night, we ate the remainder of the food purchases we’d we made to share with Margaret and Con.  By 7:30 pm, once again we gathered in a big booth in the Prodeo Hotel’s dining room with a food which included roasted chickens, coleslaw salad which I made in our room, olives, cheese, meat, and nuts.  It was another fine evening.

On formal night aboard Celebrity Infinity only weeks ago.  My teeth were purple from the glass of red wine I’d just finished.

By 11:00 pm, we were sleeping and although intermittently, I feel hangover free and refreshed today, ready to tackle a new day in Buenos Aires.  In a short time, once we’ll upload today’s post and we’ll head to a local barbershop for Tom’s haircut which opens after 12:00 pm.

He hasn’t had a haircut since October.  He’s facing “hat hair” on the upcoming Antarctica cruise when we’ll both be wearing hats for several hours each day.  This is less of an issue for me when a few swipes with the flat iron and I’m back to normal. 

Us, with our wonderful new friends, Lisa and Barry whom we’ll see in June in South Africa.

But for him, his hair has a tendency to be spikey when either too short or too long.  He’s thumbing through past posts right now to see how short he wants it cut today.  We’ll post photos soon.

Tonight, we’ll walk to Serrano Plaza, our favorite area for dinner. There are many restaurants we’ve yet to try.  After eating in these past few nights we’re looking forward to getting out again.  Now that the holiday season is over, we expect to find more dining options.

On the ship’s deck as we sailed through the Chilean Fiords on the most recent cruise.

May your new year begin and end with considerable contentment and joy in all of your endeavors, whatever they may be.  Happy day to all 


Photo from one year ago today, January 2, 2017:

Green/spring onions were being processed for wholesale distribution at a Penguin, Tasmania vegetable processing farm.  For more details, please click here.

Tom’s haircut in Penguin…A visit to yesteryear in a historical barbershop…

Linda, the barbershop owner and sole employee and Tom, before his haircut.

Tom hadn’t had a haircut since August while we were in Phuket, Thailand over four months ago.  His hair was unruly and difficult to manage.  It was time for another buzz cut.

The front entrance to Zvoni’s Barbershop, owned by Terry’s sister Linda.

Of course, we decided to visit the shop in downtown Penguin owned by friend/landlord Terry’s sister Linda who’d purchased the historical shop eleven years ago from the former owner Zvoni, who’d owned it for 40 years.

Although the shop was filled with supplies and memorabilia, it was spotlessly clean, well prepared for men’s, women’s and children’s haircuts.

Not surprisingly, the shop was filled with memorabilia each with a story, most of which Linda was well acquainted after her years of ownership as the sole proprietor and employee. 

Postcards, letters and articles received over the years.

If Linda’s out, the shop is closed which is seldom.  Other than Sunday’s and holidays, Linda is always on hand to tend to the haircutting and styling needs of local residents and visitors.

The shop has uses two antique barber chairs, over 80 years old, made in America.

Its ironic how each barbershop we’ve visited throughout the world, whether a traditional shop in Singapore as in this post or a haircut outside under a tree, long ago in Belize as shown in this post and photo below, has its own unique history and we’ve looked forward to each experience.

Tom’s haircut under a tree in Belize in March, 2013.  The barber had no official shop but had access to a electric outlet in a nearby building.  For the rest of this story, please click here.
Each barbershop or salon has had its own story to tell as did Linda’s which proved to be interesting enough to be included in a Time Magazine article about Australia’s hidden treasures, presented about 10 years ago during a publication highlighting Australia.
Linda has several glass enclosed displays of various antique barber tools and equipment.

We can only imagine how excited Linda must have been to have a story about her and her shop published in this well known magazine and what a boon for business and tourism in this quaint town of Penguin.

The Time Magazine issue about Australia included the story as shown below of Linda’s barbershop, Zvonie (named after the former owner).

Time Magazine’s article about Linda and the barbershop published approximately 10 years ago. 

I wish we’d had more time to talk to Linda but business comes first.  She had another customer waiting for his haircut.  Beside the excellent haircut, we both reveled in the simplicity of the experience which was rich in its 80 year history and originality offered by diligent owners both in the past and today, with Linda in charge.

When Linda directed me to this photo, I gasped to see her with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip asking how she managed to get this photo.  I got suckered!  This photo was taken at the London wax museum!

If you plan to visit Penguin or its surrounding towns, waiting to get a haircut until you arrive in Penguin will add one more memorable event to your experience at this special little shop, owned, managed and run by one more special individual we’ve been fortunate to meet in Penguin, Linda Murphy.

Tom, with a new buzz cut.
Soon, we’re off and about for an exciting adventure.  We’ll be back tomorrow with photos and details.  Have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, January 5, 2016:

One year ago, we stayed at a hotel across the street from the pier where our ship awaited us.  It was raining hard and we decided to talk a taxi rather than haul our bags in the rain.  For two other cruises later in the year, Tom hauled to bags to the pier and we simply walked across the street and down these steps to check in.  For more details, please click here.

Dealing with life’s everyday challenged while traveling the world…

A billy goat tied to a tree.

Finally, Tom is on the mend. After considerable research, we speculate that the abscessed tooth he had pulled may have resulted in the gastrointestinal infection that began to plague him 48 hours after the extraction, lasting for almost a week.

He suffered from severe gastric symptoms, fever, chills, body aches, and weakness. He took over-the-counter medications to alleviate the fever every four to six hours for the first few days until the fever subsided, sleeping most of the day on the sofa in the living room.

A bubbling brook.

The simple fact is that pulling the tooth released bacteria from the abscess in his bloodstream and stomach, resulting in what appeared similar to the bacterial infection I had in Marrakesh, Morocco after eating raw vegetables in a restaurant the first day of our arrival. 

After traveling for 17 months at that point, I should have known better. Now, we’re more cautious than ever in less developed countries. I had waited three weeks before succumbing to a three-day dose of Cipro which we’d brought along for exactly this reason.

Recently, we read a study that discovered the depth of the intellect of horses and their innate ability to connect with humans, even reacting to expressions on a human face.

Within hours I began to feel relief. In Tom’s case, we didn’t want him to take antibiotics a third time since his first dose for the abscess was in November, the second in January, on two occasions when the abscess flared up. Thus, he waited.

It wasn’t until he started feeling better yesterday that we conducted research to make the connection to the abscessed tooth extraction and the gastric. Had we suspected this earlier, calling the dentist to inquire, most likely he’d have recommended antibiotics, which we didn’t want Tom to take once again unless it continued for more than a week.

A creek we encountered on a drive.

Its in these types of scenarios that not having a “regular” doctor and dentist puts us in a tough position. In our old lives, if we were sick for more than five days we’d make an appointment to see the doctor often having tests and leaving with a few prescriptions. 

We don’t have this luxury now, 40 months after leaving Minnesota. For those family members and friends who are reading today…please don’t worry…if one of us exhibits life-threatening symptoms, we’ll immediately find our way to an urgent care facility or hospital. 

Even on cloudy days, the countryside has a special charm.

It may seem as if we’re often sick as we share the details of our daily lives. Most likely it’s no more than most of our readers. The difference is that few document each virus, infection, injury, and days of being under the weather. Most likely, twice a year we experience a malady of one sort or another.

After considerable discussion, we’ve come to the conclusion that moving from one location, one country to another, we have little time to build an immunity to local viruses than those who live in one location occasionally traveling who seem to build an immunity.

Stopping to admire cloud-covered Mount Taranaki.

On cruises, passengers are exposed to a variety of illnesses from living in tight quarters for a few weeks.  Luckily, we’ve never had Norovirus even during periods when there’s been an outbreak.

Although on four of our past cruises either one or both of us has developed the common “cruise cough,” the worst of which was on the cruise from Hawaii to Sydney with horrible symptoms lasting three weeks after the cruise ended. By far, that was the worst illness either of us has experienced since we left the US. 

Horses we encounter are animated and friendly.  Check out the cute pink spot on his nose.

When the ship disembarked we were so sick with a fever and a cough neither of us hardly recalls the time we spent picking up the rental car at the Cairns airport and finding the house in Trinity Beach.

We caught this awful virus toward the end of the cruise when a woman coughed on me in the elevator which, once my symptoms manifested, Tom was infected developing into the same whirlwind of awful symptoms.  

We each spent the last few days of the cruise in the cabin (it was an 18-day cruise) in an attempt to avoid infecting others. Otherwise, this was one of the most enjoyable of our 12 cruises to date, making many new friends with whom we’ve continued to stay in touch.

Another creek we crossed on a drive.

Most recently with Tom’s abscessed tooth, we ask ourselves what we may have done differently once the symptoms manifested. We were living in a remote area of Fiji. We visited a dentist within days of the first symptoms, taking antibiotics as prescribed. 

His second bout of symptoms occurred on the day we boarded this last cruise from Sydney to Auckland. The only solution was another round of the same antibiotics. As required in the case of antibiotics he continued with the full course of the medication. 

Once we arrived in New Plymouth, within two weeks of arrival, we were in the dentist’s office when at that time, no new symptoms were present. We feel we did everything we could. Then, he developed the awful gastrointestinal infection plaguing him for almost a week. 

A winding country road.

Now, he’s able to eat again, is feeling well and life will continue on as always, always, stress-free, filled with simple daily pleasures and the comforts of living in the countryside in this beautiful country. Soon, we’ll head back out to tour more of this exquisite location, sharing new photos along the way.

We feel blessed and grateful for each and every day of our lives. But, no one “said” life of world travel would always be easy.  It’s not. And, it’s the times it’s not easy that make us appreciate greater periods of good health and simple pleasures. Overall, we were very fortunate during these last 40 months.

Thanks to all of our readers for sharing this journey with us during periods of both excitement and the mundane events of daily life.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 13, 2015:

Thousands of feral chickens populate the island of Kauai. It is speculated that Hurricane Iniki in 1991 blew away hundreds of chicken coops, letting them loose to proliferate. It’s quite a sight to see! For more Kauai photos, please click here.

Tom’s tooth abscess is resolved at last!…

Tom, standing outside Taylor Dental Practice in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Finally, Tom’s tooth abscess is resolved. After three months since the onset of the problem, two rounds of antibiotics, both of which gave him temporary relief, two trips to a dentist, one in Fiji in November, the other yesterday, it’s all over now.

“Dr. Dennis, the Dentist” at the Taylor Dental Practice in New Plymouth pulled his tooth after examining his x-rays and giving him three options for the tooth that had already had a crown:

The waiting room was comfortable and organized.

1. Root canal with a new crown at an expense of NZ $1500, US $1011
2. An implant that would take eight to nine months (out of the question, time-wise) 
3. Pull the tooth

It didn’t take long for us to decide. As the last tooth next to a wisdom tooth, losing the tooth wouldn’t result in a noticeable difference when he smiled or laughed. Who among us in the senior years hasn’t had at least one tooth pulled in their lifetime? This was a first for Tom.

There was plenty of reading material, but we didn’t wait long.

Tom has always had “laughing gas” (nitrous oxide) for all dental work, a practice that started when he was a young adult. This is seldom used in many countries and wasn’t available at Dr. Dennis’s location.

The tooth would be pulled with only a lengthy injection of Novocaine (Procaine) and out the tooth would come!  He hesitated when hearing there would be no nitrous oxide used. With reassurances from Dennis, the hygienist, and me, he decided to go ahead.

As shown in Tom’s x-ray, the gray area under the far-right crown is where the infection has been festering off and on.

I asked Dr. Dennis an important question before he began the procedure, “How long would it take to pull out the tooth?” He explained it would be over in less than one minute. Knowing this gave Tom a bit of comfort.  

We had visions of a dentist tugging and pulling, broken bits remaining behind, with the dentist using leverage to yank out a pesky tooth. Not the case. It was over in 10 seconds, not one minute. We were both surprised by how quickly the tooth, mushy in the gums, easily came out.

He still smiles, considering what was ahead.  The goggles are worn to protect the eyes in the event of any “flying” tooth matter during the extraction.

The look of relief on Tom’s face was evident when the dentist showed him the extracted tooth. It was over.  What a relief for him and for me who’d suffered along with him over two worrisome rounds of antibiotics and trips to the dentist. After a few instructions for care, we were out the door of the treatment room and off to pay the bill.

Considering the exam, the x-rays, the Novocaine injection, and the extraction, we expected a bill in the several hundred dollar range. Were we ever shocked when we were handed the bill for NZ $170, US $115? We couldn’t pay it quickly enough.

Dr. Dennis, the Dentist did a fine job, quick and painless.

No doubt this would have been much more costly in the US although not quite as good a deal as it may have been in Fiji at NZ $4.09, US $2.76 per dental appointment.  

In examining the sterilization at the two locations, we felt more at ease in New Zealand and we’re glad we waited, even though it cost Tom an extra round of antibiotics. That’s not to say the dental care in Fiji is inadequate but at their low prices, it may not have been possible to provide the degree of caution exercised in New Zealand where we felt totally at ease.

Based on this single experience, we’d highly recommend Taylor Dental Practice and Dr. Dennis, the dentist with whom we chatted for a bit about his homeland of Malaysia which we’ll be visiting this upcoming April on our next cruise. Overall, it was a relatively painless and pleasant (as such an appointment can be) experience in a professional, competent, and caring clinic.

Allison, the dental assistant was equally friendly and supportive.

After the extraction, we continued on with our grocery shop. I told Tom we could easily wait to shop until today when we’re soon heading back to town to visit with June and Simon at their historic home. He insisted he was fine and we could continue with our multiple-stop shopping. 

Heading to Pak’nSave, on a different day of the week than last time, again we ran into June who was also shopping. We all giggled over the coincidence assuring her we’d be at her home as planned at 11:00 am today, Friday. Small world. 

Then we were off to the Kiwi Meat market with a final stop at New World Market for the balance of the items we couldn’t find at PAK n SAVE. By the time we returned “home” the cleaners, Ra, and Isabel hadn’t finished cleaning after arriving late.

The old metal crown Tom had made many years ago, moments after it was pulled.

Hurriedly, we put our perishables away leaving the remainder on the dining room table to deal with later, and headed back out the door to “kill” another hour. Tom had suggested a new road to explore he’d spotted on the map. He explained he was feeling fine and has continued without pain or discomfort since the extraction. 

As always in New Zealand, every road offers myriad treasures and we continued exploring for a few more hours taking photos on another overcast day. We’ll share those photos in the days to come.

We’ll be back tomorrow with photos from today’s visit to the historic home. Please stop back to see!

Photo from one year ago today, February 5, 2015:

It was one year ago today that we attended our first Full Moon Party, organized by friend Richard, as we continued with a busy social life in Kauai. Thanks, Richard, we’ll always love you for befriending us! For more details, please click here.

Off to the dentist for Tom…Beautiful scenes on a walk…Broadband now working in the house…

We stopped to visit a few horses in the neighborhood who immediately approached us.

Who would think that the technician from Vodafone would be such a delight? We had a great time with Peter who not only provided the best possible solution for owners Trish and Neil but also for the remainder of our stay.

Horses wear blankets to regulate their body temperature and protect them from the elements.

With 80 gigs available in the monthly plan which is not our expense, it’s a huge relief to have the expensive data plan with Spark behind us. With a few gigs left on our hot spot device, we can take it with us when we go on road trips in order to use the GPS feature on our phones. 

Pink flowers along the road on our walk.

Monitoring our usage to ensure we don’t exceed the 80 gigs included in the 30 day period is vital to our peace of mind that we don’t exceed the limit, incurring additional expenses we’d have to cover.

Throughout the hills, as seen from our veranda, there are groupings of trees in the form of a mini forest, adding to the beauty of the countryside.

With Peter’s excellent help we figured a “workaround” allowing me to check on the IP address for the accumulating data usage. Not only was Peter efficient and conscientious, but he was also friendly, making the installation process pleasant and seamless. Vodafone couldn’t have a better, more qualified, and professional rep.

Agapanthus flowers New Zealand, have been classified as a weed and are considered invasive, although it’s beautiful as it lines roads and highways. For more information, please click here.

We find this friendliness and care for customers prevalent wherever we may go in New Zealand. Today, we can only hope the dental practice we decided on, based on great online reviews, proves to be equally helpful and professional. We’ll report back tomorrow with photos. 

We’re always in awe of the view of Mount Taranaki.

Certainly, this dental appointment will be considerably different than Tom’s almost “free” dental appointment in Fiji a few months ago. At present, he’s not experiencing any pain or sign of infection, an ideal time to get this situation resolved one way or another. 

Peter, our Vodafone rep did a fabulous job to ensure we had a strong connection.

We certainly don’t want him to have to go through the third round of antibiotics while on the two-week cruise beginning on April 16th or during our upcoming two months in Bali, immediately thereafter.

Similar flowers are seen in many areas that grow prolifically in New Zealand’s mild climate.

Having moved our appointment with June to see her historic home on Friday and grocery shopping today after his dental appointment, we’re back on track.

Morning view of the mountains from our veranda.

We’re off for Tom’s appointment and will be back tomorrow with more new photos and the continuation of living a joyful life in the countryside in exquisite New Zealand.  We had no idea how much we’d love this fabulous location.

Back to you soon!

Photo from one year ago today, February 4, 2015:

Tropical climates such as Fiji and Hawaii have ideal conditions for flowers to bloom year-round. For more photos, from our time in Kauai, please click here.

A birthday celebration in Fiji…Memorable for both of us!.. My faux pas at dinner!…

Tom in front of the tall Christmas tree at the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour, Fiji on the evening of his 63rd birthday. 

Last evening at 6 pm, Alfaan picks us up for the short taxi ride to the Pearl Resort and Spa, a popular resort in Pacific Harbor known for excellent dining options including Seduce Restaurant, where we’d arranged an early  dinner reservation.

The lobby at the Pearl Resort.

It’s not that we prefer dining early as is typical for some seniors. We’ll easily wait to dine until 8 pm on cruise ships and when dining out with others. However, when we’re alone, with a goal of taking photos before dark, we often opt for an earlier reservation.

My amuse-bouche of prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with truffle mayonnaise with dollops of balsamic sauce.

As has been the case over the past few weeks, it’s been raining almost every day, often all day and night with no sunny breaks in between. We haven’t used the pool in over a week when the sun peeked out on two extremely hot and humid days when only by lounging in the cool water did we experience a little relief.  

Tom’s amuse-bouche of sushi with raw fish and truffle mayonnaise.

Once we arrived at the resort, taking a few photos inside and out, we stopped for a drink at the main entry area bar for less than optimum service. It took 15 minutes for Tom to get his papaya Margarita after placing the order. I ordered bubbly water with lime. Fiji time. 

At this point we wondered if the Seduce Restaurant would be the five star establishment as claimed by many reviewers in TripAdvisor. As it turned out we weren’t disappointed at all. 

He ate two plates of bread.  I didn’t say a word.

As a matter of fact, we experienced some of the finest service we’ve had in a long time, readily leaving a generous tip for our server. Impeccable!  Perfect timing!  Warmth and kindness! Attention to detail!. All elements of great service by most diners standards.

Complimentary wines with dinner.

The food? With weekly menu changes, the options were limited with four starters (none of which worked for me or that Tom would like), four entrees and four sides. The entrees included small portions of potatoes of one variety or another which I swapped for a few cut spears of delicious crunchy asparagus.

We both selected the same entrée, a platter of garlic butter, grilled seafood including mussels on the half shell, prawns, lobster tail, scallops and local tender white fish. The portions of each item were small, although together the servings were adequate. 

My fresh plate of food after the previous lobster tail went flying off the plate.

Tom’s platter included the roasted potatoes and, get this, he ate eight slices of a baguette dipping it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar! Guess he’s had his bread fix until we head out again tomorrow for the Christmas lunch buffet back to the Pearl Resort for the buffet in the Riviera Restaurant.  

Tom’s similar seafood platter with roasted potatoes.

Our meal began with a complimentary amuse-bouche, Tom’s a sushi roll as shown in this photo (first time he tried sushi, didn’t love it, ate it anyway) and mine was tailor-made asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with a truffle mayonnaise…small…delicious. I could have made a meal of that alone.

The entrée was buttery and delicious. I’d handed over my phone for the food list before ordering leaving me unconcerned that my meal would be perfect, and it was.

Tom was served this flourless chocolate cake with raspberry coulis and a scoop of coffee-flavored ice cream. 

As soon as our plates arrived stacked with seafood, our waiter asked if we’d like a photo taken of the two of us.  Tom started to stand saying he’d come over to my chair and crouch down next to me for the photo while I grabbed the camera off the table. 

My rumpled lobster soiled clothes were a sight to see after dinner when our waiter took this photo.

As I picked up the camera to hand to the waiter, the strap caught the shell portion at the end of my lobster tail and alas…my lobster went flying in the air landing on the floor with pieces on my lap and upholstered chair.  Oh, my.

If we didn’t have an audience I’d surely have gone into hysterics. Tom surely would have joined me. After all, it was a precious lobster tail over which my mouth had been watering.

The commonly seen  Fijian lali bell, used to announce special events was located near the entrance to the resort.

Our kindly waiter wiped up the mess and brought me a totally fresh plate. I could tell it was an entirely new plate of food when I noticed the numbers of the items and the arrangement had changed.

Cleaning up my clothes luckily all dark with a moistened linen napkin, we proceeded to enjoy our meal and each other. Complimentary wines were included with the meal and my adorable piglet, drank both the red and white after downing his Margarita, leaving only a few sips in the sizable glass of white wine, once the beautiful complimentary birthday dessert arrived unbeknown to either of us.  He always stops drinking alcohol when he has a dessert.

Christmas décor near the entrance to the resort.

I’d mentioned it was his birthday upon making the reservation and once again as we were seated.  One never know what treats a fine restaurant may have in store for an unsuspecting birthday celebrant. He wasn’t disappointed when the luscious complimentary plate arrived after the table was cleared and cleaned. Chocolate cake. That had been a while.

He didn’t weigh himself today nor did he care. Once the Christmas buffet is over tomorrow, he’ll be back to eating low carb with me and will drop any gain in a matter of a few days. Last night, he fit into a dressy pair of shorts he hadn’t worn comfortably in a few years. 

Fresh flowers in a Christmas display in the lobby.

Back at home by 10 pm, we got comfortable and watched the finale of Survivor Cambodia, which we’ve saved for this particular evening. With Cambodia on our itinerary in less than seven months, it was particularly fun to watch that series. Not that we’ll be living as they do on that show. Ha.

With the humidity rampant making sleeping uncomfortable lately we’ve turned on the wall air con unit when we’ve gone to bed. With the comfortable bed, good blanket and cool room, we’ve managed to get some decent sleep these past nights, for the first time in many months after the heat in Savusavu.

Unusual display table in the lobby. Lots of legs.

OK, folks, that’s the story of the birthday celebration.  Tom expresses a heartfelt thanks to all of the good wishes through email, comments, and Facebook. He had a great time reading and responding, appreciating every birthday greeting. 

Today, Christmas Eve on this side of the world, we’re staying put in the pouring rain, sending Christmas greetings to family and friends. I’ll cook a lovely dinner, nothing special, just a nourishing good meal…minus bread, potatoes and dessert. 

For those on this side of the International Dateline, Merry Christmas!  For those celebrating Christmas Eve tomorrow, Merry Christmas!

Photo from one year ago today, December 24, 2014:

The photo was taken from our lanai in Pahoa on Christmas Eve day. With 12 of our family members having arrived on the Big Island, everyone busily scrambled to unpack, prepare for Christmas and partake in exciting Big Island adventures. Tom and I stayed home busily spending the day preparing home made pizza for Christmas Eve dinner and food to pack for the Christmas Day picnic at a beach park in Hilo. For more details, please click here.

Happy birthday, Tom…Letter to my husband on his special day…

When we played bingo at the Princeville Senior Center last March while living in Kauai  Tom, as always had a great time.

To my dearest husband on your birthday,

This is your fourth birthday since we changed our lives on October 31, 2012. Each year, without gifts, without parties, without the usual hoopla, you stand only with me, your wife, your lover, your travel companion, and your friend. 

As much as I’d like to have a stack of beautifully wrapped gifts to present to you, not only would I be unable to find appropriate items in Fiji befitting your taste but, there’s no room in your solitary suitcase for superfluous items.

There are no birthday cards for sale at the stores or anything that could be construed as wrapping paper or a bow. As a result, on our first birthdays after we began our journey, we both agreed that birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas would be celebrated over a good home-cooked meal, a night in a nearby resort, or dinner in a great local restaurant.

Tonight, we’ll do just that with a reservation at TripAdvisor’s top-rated restaurant in Pacific Harbour, Fiji, Seduce, at the Pearl Resort. Then again, with only ten possibilities listed in the sleepy town, number one may not be that special. We don’t care. We’ll be together, celebrating you, celebrating us.

To say I’m grateful for being together with you can’t possibly express the depth of my gratitude for having you in my life, in this life, on these unusual terms; homeless but not poor; without a car but not without a means of transportation; without personal possessions other than a laptop, phone and bag of clothes; without a bed or sofa we can call our own, never knowing how comfortable the next one will be, and without a kitchen stocked with gadgets and food befitting a foodie like me. 

Instead, we are rich, not so much in a monetary way although we afford our lifestyle with a budget and careful planning, we’re rich in a life we never dreamed possible; the ability to travel the world, to feast our eyes upon some of the earth’s greatest treasures, to see nature as we never imagined, to meet people who’ve enriched our aging spirits with new thoughts, often inspiring us to reach for more, not greedily, but with grace and dignity.

You’ve allowed me to fulfill my personal dreams of having an opportunity to express myself in the written word and now adding the pleasure of taking photos along the way, always attempting to perfect my limited skills. 

Had I painted a picture of what I’d have dreamed life could be at this stage, I’d have painted a picture with much less than I have now with you. To have this sense of freedom to travel anywhere in the world with you, is beyond any thoughts I may have ever fashioned in our old lives.

And you, my love…your gentle and loving demeanor, your patience with me for all my quirkiness, your never-ending sense of humor has taught me to laugh at myself, your ability to make the best cup of French press coffee on the planet and your sharing equally, if not more, in all of the daily tasks. 

As a determined and independent businesswoman for most of my adult life, it’s refreshing at this point in life to feel free from always being in charge. Sharing the responsibilities and joys of this life with a competent, dedicated, and skilled partner has only enriched life in so many ways.

And, the playfulness…and the good humor…and the sudden bouts of laughter…and the never-ending hugs and kisses that could easily, in this 24/7 togetherness, waft away due to familiarity and somehow doesn’t, after all this time.

Happy birthday, my love. May you spend this next new year of your life and many years to come, filled with awe and wonder of the world we’re experiencing now, the world we’ve yet to experience, and the world in which we live blissfully together. 

You are dearly loved, appreciated, and admired,

Photo from one year ago today, December 23, 2014:

The sunrise in Pahoa, Big Island, on this date one year ago. The remainder of the family members were arriving later in the day. For more details, please click here.