November 9, 2018

Funny thing happened in the Loo

Funny, I had no idea I didn’t know how to use a public restroom. Normally I would avoid a public restroom like the plague especially one on the street in the middle of the city. But nature called and I was forced to go forward.

I sized up the booth by looking at it from the outside since I thought you had to put coins in to operate. It didn’t have a door handle so I had to stand there and read the instructions on the wall. By waving your hand in front of a sensor it opened sesame. Once inside it looked like the Starship Enterprise and I was going to be beamed up. As soon as the door closed the lights dimmed and elevator music started playing through the speakers in the ceiling. I thought this is really a new experience in a public restroom until I saw “the warning”.

On the wall in front of the commode was a digital screen that warned you only have 10 minutes to do your business otherwise the main door would open and the sprinklers would be activated. Thinking to myself, what if I was sick in there, would I be a victim of the sprinklers and then come out soaking wet? So needless to say I didn’t waste any time.

Once finished, I reached for the toilet paper. You must be kidding! I couldn’t find any rolls anywhere in sight as I frantically looked around the room. So again I looked at the screen in front of me. There it gave me directions on how to retrieve the 8 tiny squares of toilet paper by waving my hand in front of yet another sensor on the wall.

Now to flush. As I looked everywhere and my time was slowly ticking away I kept thinking please don’t let the sprinkler go off! Again, I had to read the directions on the screen. The toilet automatically flushed ONLY after you used the soap and water dispensers to your left. I guess this is a fail safe or is it. Then comes the task of drying off your hands. Now by this time I knew to look for directions from the display. Here they told you to hold your hands under a random bar that then had air blowing down to dry them.

With my business done within the allotted 10 minutes I proceeded to exit the door by waving my hand across the sensor relieved that the door opened automatically. I stood in front of the restroom thinking “You must be kidding me, was that a joke?” When on earth has something you have done most of your life become so difficult. Just remember this if you happen to see a giant stainless steel restroom on the street - Obey the Commands or Else

October 5, 2018

Tahiti (Pape’ete & Moorea) and American Samoa (Pago Pago)

Well after 5 days from Hawaii we finally arrived in Pepe’ete Tahiti. Both islands we visited were former French colonies. This is definitely a disadvantage for us since most people speak French. guess we’ll have to use the Google translator. On Pepe’ete we did not take any tours and decided to tour the downtown area. I was in search of a famous Tahitian Pearl. They are rated by the body color and sheen of the pearl. The most expensive tend to be more dark green in color with a purple overtone. Of course I dragged my husband all over the town but by the end of the day we found the perfect one. We stopped at the local market to see all the various things they had for sale from beautiful flowers, unusual fruits to souvenirs. While we were out shopping we decided to stop at a café on the wharf for a quick bite to eat. We split a large salad and had 2 beers apiece. The bill came to $56 and we about fell out of our chairs. Be prepared if you plan on vacationing in French Polynesian make sure you take lots of money since everything there was expensive by our standards. 

Overnight we sailed to Moorea. When I think of Tahiti this is it. As I looked out our balcony this morning it was the most magical green across the mountains. We took of tour of the entire island with a stop at a pineapple farm to see how they actually grew. They almost look like an artichoke when they first flower. Then we went up to the Belvedere look-out point and from there you could see all the way to the Cook’s Bay, fantastic views of Mount Mouaroa and the lush vegetation of Opunohu Valley. We both enjoyed the entire day since the scenery was so beautiful.

Out to sea again for 2 days and then arrived at Pago Pago. It is actually pronounce Pango Pango by the natives. Every since I worked for NOAA I knew we had offices there and thought wouldn’t that be something if I could ever visit there. Well my wish came true. I found out where the NOAA offices were in town and went there to visit the staff. They were very surprised to have someone visit that worked at Headquarters, but of course I told I had just retired that’s how I could visit. Most of them were from Hawaii originally and said they absolutely loved living there. We also visited the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Sanctuary Monument visitor center. There we watched a NOAA movie about the sanctuary and the mission to preserve the ocean environment. It was awesome!

Well not half way through the cruise and we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is over 18,000 feet deep. Had a discussion today at lunch about whether  there  were any pirates out here. First of all where in the hell would they come from when we are miles from any land and secondly there are over 2600 hundred people on this cruise. I would hope at least a few of them could overpower the Pirates argghh.


September 28, 2018

Hawaii (Honolulu & Nawiliwili)

Trip has been pretty smooth sailing so far (forgive the pun). First stop in Honolulu and we did some errands and visited Waikiki Beach. For a minute I thought I saw Don Johnson but it was just some wanabe reminiscing about the 80’s. Very beautiful beach but we did not have anytime to enjoy it. We did stop to have some traditional coconut and pineapple shaved ice which was better than ice cream on a hot humid day in the city. Not necessarily thrilled about Oahu but after being on the ship for 4 days straight it was a chance to get off.

Our next stop was in Kauai. Much more laid back island and we loved it there. Spent the day touring the island. Along the way we stopped at a place called the Spouting Horn. It’s a natural lava tube that the ocean water rushes through an creates a geyser. It makes a sound just like a whale when the spout water through their blowhole. Then on to Waimea Canyon that’s called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific but a lot more greener. Of course Robb said “it’s just another hole in the ground”. No matter what he says, I thought it was beautiful. Although had to get pictures really quick since it clouds up really fast. The drive back to the ship was along the coast past some beautiful beaches. I know that many of my friends may have watched Fantasy Island back in the 70’s. The opening seen where Tattoo says “The plane Boss, the plane” was filmed here at Wailua Falls. Also, many movies were also filmed on this island such as South Pacific, Blue Hawaii, Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I can see why anyone that visits here loves Hawaii.

Learned some interesting facts about Hawaii on this visit. Pineapples and sugar cane have not been grown here since the mid 80’s. The labor became too expense to harvest them and there was also a hurricane that destroyed many of the fields. So now instead many of the islands all produce coffee. It only takes a couple of years for the coffee plants to grow and the volcanic soil adds to the flavor. Yes, more coffee for me.

Today I was pondering the color of Blue. Our creator must have loved the color blue as I look out over the sea today. The ocean is the color of the most bluest eyes you have ever seen. The sky is the color of a robin’s egg as it sits in the nest. As the ship chugs along and the propellers churn up the ocean, there is another color of blue. This time it is mixed with the white foam it creates and looks like a wonderful relaxing bubble bath. It is hard to describe the many shades of the colors I am seeing. Think about all of the things you come in contact with each day and all the colors you see. It is very overwhelming but gratify to think that this world is full of wonderful color. 


August 1, 2018

And so the story begins...

We have been planning this for years and now it will come to fruition. We had to decided to live overseas ever since I can remember. We actually planned to buy a home somewhere overseas and just move there and live. We actually bought some property in Panama a few years ago and thought we would build our retirement home there. Instead we decided to be gypsies of the world for a few years first. You never know we might find someplace we like better.

Now comes the hard part after we made this decision. You don't realize how much “stuff” you really own until you get ready to live out of 4 suitcases and 2 backpacks. My husband and I have lived in various 3000sq foot homes for the last 15 years and of course we had a 3 car garage too. That is a lot of crap to get rid of. The first move of our journey was from Albuquerque, NM to Kansas City, MO when I accepted a job with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Before moving we gave away, sold and donated a lot of stuff especially a bunch of furniture.

Once we got to KC, of course we bought more stuff. It’s the American way. We were only there for 2 1/2 years when we found out my job was moving us to Fort Worth, TX. This time we had 2 garage sales to get rid of as much as we could. My husband actually sold all of his tools and yard equipment. You don’t know how hard that was for him. I purged more things too such as a bunch of craft projects and supplies I had been carrying around for years. By this time we both knew things were getting really serious. Of course there was another huge decision, what to keep and what we were going to store for the next 4-5 years. We moved into a 2 bedroom apartment since we knew we would have company and I was planning on retiring the end of 2017. When we moved to TX, we were down to 2 bedroom sets, a sectional (we bought in KC) and of course my husband’s precious 65” HDTV. As the old saying goes, things don’t always turn out the way you plan. Well you know what, they offered me a bonus to stay until June 1, 2018. However after the end of December we would be homeless since we already gave our apartment complex notice. So I made a offer for us to move to Washington, DC until the beginning of June.

Moving to Washington, DC for the last six months of my career gave us another opportunity to do some more purging. This time we moved into a 1 bedroom apartment. We slept on a queen size air mattress, purchased a small sectional from Craig's list and only brought a few kitchen items to use while we were there. Everything else that was going in storage in Michigan was left packed in boxes stacked around the apartment. After I finished my assignment there in June we moved back to Michigan where we were originally from and rented a room for a few months to visit with family and friends before our big adventure would begin. I ended up not retiring until the end of August since my job was offering an early retirement but did not work most of the Summer.

During our last “transition” in Michigan is when we decided to start our journey by taking  a repositioning cruise for 30 days from Los Angeles to Sydney Australia. We will be leaving on Sept 23 and will arrive in Sydney Oct 22. We have rented an apartment about 2 miles from downtown Sydney.  
It’s both exciting as well as sad. We will miss our families and friends but we will be thinking about everyone all along the way. Please follow us on our adventure around the world as we live and love like the locals.

​P.S. D
on’t be jealous of us since it’s not as easy as we may have made it seem. See you soon on the web! 
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