Third cruise in and around Japan...10 days and counting...

On our way to the alpaca farm in New Plymouth, New Zealand on this date in 2016, we stopped at a few scenic overlooks in the rain. For more photos, please click here.
Saturday was yet another fun day and evening. Around 4:00 pm we grilled New York steaks on the grill at Colleen's home. I'd brought a salad and broiled the butterflied garlic shrimp under the broiler in her oven.

Colleen made potatoes, gravy, and garlic bread, and a fantastic dinner was enjoyed by all, sitting inside at two tables for the eight of us, away from bees on the patio.

After dinner and cleanup, we started yet another round of Buck Euchre but this time we set up two tables and most of us played for hours. There was endless laughter, teasing, and banter among all of us. 

By 9:30 I was fading and headed back to our place to unwind and relax. Tom joined me around 11:00 pm and by midnight we were fast asleep. This morning, was relatively uneventful. I prepped everything for tonight's dinner which we'll have some time during the football games.

By 1:00 pm Tom was settled in front of the TV to begin watching the NFL football playoffs. With little interest in teams other than the Minnesota Vikings, who now are out of the running, I kept busy doing laundry and other household chores.

Today is a good day for me to conduct research for our future travels. As we've lined up these three cruises in Japan, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific it gives us a point from which to backtrack for locations that appeal to us prior to the cruises in 2022.

This week will be busy. Tomorrow evening I meet with friend/reader Staci in Mesa for dinner. On Thursday, all the family is driving an hour to Tom's niece (Mary and Eugene's daughter) Laurie and her husband Craig's home in Goodyear, Arizona where we'll all spend the day.

No doubt, in between there will be more "happy hours" celebrations in the neighborhood as we wind down our time in Apache Junction. And, before we know it, we'll be completing our packing to be on our way to India.

Here is the information on this third and final cruise in and around Japan. We'll be back with more later.

12 nights departing April 24, 2022, on
Celebrity's Celebrity Solstice

Brochure Inside$1,988
Our Inside$784
You Save 61%

Brochure Oceanview$2,248
Our Oceanview$914
You Save 59%

Brochure Balcony$2,548
Our Balcony$1,064
You Save 58%

Brochure Suite$6,848
Our Suite$3,274
You Save 52%

Sunday, April 24 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan 7:00pm

Monday, April 25 At Sea

Tuesday, April 26 Hakodate, Japan 7:00am 4:00pm

Wednesday, April 27 At Sea

Thursday, April 28 At Sea

Friday, April 29 Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka, Russia 8:00am 7:00pm

Saturday, April 30 Cross International Dateline (Cruising)

Sunday, May 1 At Sea

Monday, May 2 At Sea

Tuesday, May 3 At Sea

Wednesday, May 4 At Sea

Thursday, May 5 At Sea

Friday, May 6 Vancouver, BC, Canada 7:00am 

It's blissfully warm here today, in the 70s! It's about time it warmed up!

Carpe diem!
Photo from one year ago today, January 19, 2019:
A rhino beetle we found on the veranda on Thursday.  They are harmless to humans and don't bite. They have a horn in the center of their foreheads comparable to a rhino. Thus the name "rhino" beetle. For more please click here.

Another cruise booked in and around Japan...Great times at birthday party yesterday afternoon and evening!...More today!...

One year ago today, we visited to Kruger National Park to see this elephant family crossing the road with a few babies protected by the parade. For more photos, please click here.
As we've decided on future cruises, we've made a decision that three cruises in and around Japan make sense to us. The prices are good for these highly coveted ports of call and after spending 28 days living in the country plus three cruises, we feel we'll have scoured Japan as well as possible.

Subsequently we'll be in the area of Southeast Asia from February 27, 2022 until May 6, 2022 for a total of 68 nights. We love the fact that we will have time to explore Japan and gain a more expansive perspective of the country and its culture.

Tomorrow, we'll share the details on the third and final cruise in and around Japan. At this point, we don't have plans as to where we'll go when the cruises end other than to visit family in the US, (as mentioned in yesterday's post) when the third cruise ends in Vancouver, British Coumbia.

As for yesterday's events, we headed to Mary and Eugene's house at around 3:15 pm to find no less than 20 local residents in attendance. As the day progressed more and more people arrived.

The decibel level was ear-splitting but festive and fun. Eugene appreciated the attendance be so many of their friends. Word got out through the neighborhood and by evening's end, there was well over 25 well-wishers. 

"Any cause for a party" is the motto around here and we jumped right into it shortly after arriving in Apache Junction over a month ago. I've been carefully monitoring my wine intake and after a few glasses I switch to sparkling water which takes me into the late evening.

After most of the guests departed we wandered across the street to Margie's house to play more Buck Euchre. It was Tom and I, Kevin and Margie who lasted well after midnight playing the fun game. 

We didn't get to sleep until after 1:30 am but managed to get in a full six hours leaving us both feeling fine. Today, the festivities begin again around 3:00 pm when we'll be dining at Colleen and Gene's for steak and shrimp. 

I never got around to making the butterflied garlic butter broiled shrimp last night and decided to save it for today's big meal for the eight of us. I have no doubt, at some point, we'll play cards again today rotating players so those of us interested are able to have a turn.

Most of the group of us have been up past 1:30 am for the past four nights. I bowed out a few nights knowing I needed to get some sleep. But, the rest are a little raggedy from staying up so late many niights in a row.

Now at our place, we continue to work on setting up items and sortiing and organizing supplies we've received in the past few weeks. This morning Tom installed a glass screen protector onto my phone. 

When we recently purchased the two Google world phones, Tom had installed a similar screen protector on his phone. But, since I'd purchased a phone case that closes, I didn't think I'd need one. As time has gone on and yet to scratch the screen, I decided it would be best to add the extra protection.

As mentioned above here is the information on the above mentioned second cruise in Japan. Our costs are slightly different based on our cabin selections but we'll post those costs after we sail on each of the cruises:

14 nights departing April 10, 2022 on
Celebrity's Celebrity Solstice

Brochure Inside$4,998
Our Inside$2,269
You Save 55%

Brochure Oceanview$5,698
Our Oceanview$2,609
You Save 54%

Brochure Balcony$6,798
Our Balcony$2,999
You Save 56%

Brochure Suite$13,698
Our Suite$6,799
You Save 50%
Sunday, April 10 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan 6:00pm

Monday, April 11 Shimizu, Japan 7:00am 5:00pm

Tuesday, April 12 At Sea

Wednesday, April 13 Kobe, Japan 7:00am 9:00pm

Thursday, April 14 Kochi, Japan 8:00am 6:00pm

Friday, April 15 Hiroshima, Japan 9:00am 6:00pm

Saturday, April 16 At Sea

Sunday, April 17 Nagasaki, Japan 7:00am 5:00pm

Monday, April 18 Busan, South Korea 7:00am 5:00pm

Tuesday, April 19 At Sea

Wednesday, April 20 Hakodate, Japan 8:00am 7:00pm

Thursday, April 21 Aomori, Japan 7:00am 6:00pm

Friday, April 22 At Sea

Saturday, April 23 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan 8:30am

Sunday, April 24 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan Disembark

That's it for today, folks! Gee...we are only 11 days from departure, looking forward to the next leg of our journey.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, January 18, 2019:
The baby elephant at play with family members. For more photos from Kruger, please click here.

In our world, two years is not a long time, New cruise booking...A year ago birthday party...A birthday party today...

Ken set up the camera on a timer to take this photo of all 10 of us! Fantastic! For more photos, please click here.
Two years may seem like a long time away, but in our lives, two years fly by in a blur. The past seven years have passed so quickly, we can hardly believe it. When we now recall two years ago, we were in Argentina six days away from flying to Ushuaia, Argentina to board Ponant's Le'boreal to sail to Antarctica.

So now, as we book cruises well into the future we realize how quickly that time will come up and we'll be on our way from Singapore to Japan. Recently we booked three cruises around Japan in 2022 that ultimately will provide us with excellent experiences in this part of the world.

Today, we're sharing details of the first of those three cruises that sails on February 27, 2022, 25 months from now. This particular cruise has four ports of call in Vietnam, with three ports we hadn't visited in the past. The only city we've seen in the past is Hanoi and we loved it so much, we won't mind returning.

The other three locations in Vietnam, as well as those in the balance of the itinerary listed below, are new to us and we're excited to be able to see these locations.

After today's posted cruise ends, we'll have a total of 28 days to spend in Japan. In the future, we'll search for a holiday home that we can book for this period of time, hopefully in the countryside away from the crowds, smog, and traffic. What a wonderful opportunity to experience this interesting country!

From there we'll board a back-to-back cruise around Japan and Korea ending in Vancouver at which point, we'll visit the family in the US once again. By then, it will be April and we may be able to avoid too much bad weather in Minnesota. We have no idea how long we'll be in the USA at that time. We'll figure it out in the future.

Here is the information on the first of the three cruises. Please excuse the formatting. For ease, I copied and pasted it which often causes issues.

      14 nights departing February 27, 2022 on
Celebrity's Celebrity Solstice

Brochure Inside$3,698
Our Inside$1,619
You Save 56%

Brochure Oceanview$4,298
Our Oceanview$1,919
You Save 55%

Brochure Balcony$4,898
Our Balcony$2,079
You Save 58%

Brochure Suite$10,598
Our Suite$5,149
You Save 51%

Sunday, February 27 Singapore6:00pm

Monday, February 28 At Sea

Tuesday, March 1 Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Vietnam7:00am 6:00pm

Wednesday, March 2 At Sea

Thursday, March 3 Chan May, Vietnam7:00am 5:00pm

Friday, March 4 Hanoi (Halong Bay), Vietnam10:00am

Saturday, March 5 Hanoi (Halong Bay), Vietnam1:00pm

Sunday, March 6 At Sea

Monday, March 7 At Sea

Tuesday, March 8 Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan6:00am 6:00pm

Wednesday, March 9 At Sea

Thursday, March 10 At Sea

Friday, March 11 Kyoto, Japan7:00am 5:00pm

Saturday, March 12 Shimizu, JapanNoon 8:00pm

Sunday, March 13 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan7:00am 

As for today's birthday party, its brother-in-law Eugene's 82nd birthday. At 3:00 pm, we'll all be getting together at his and Mary's home along with several neighbors to partake in the celebration of this special man.

Yesterday afternoon, and well into the evening, we all met at Colleen and Gene's home to play the card game Buck Euchre. I hadn't played in years and fumbled through the first game, but by the second, I was thoroughly enjoying it and even won, much to my delight.

Most likely with all the guests at today's party, the celebration won't include card playing until much later in the evening when its back to the eight of us. It will be another fun social time.

Ironically, it was one year ago today, that we hosted and celebrated our friend Rita's birthday at our house in the bush. Great memories were made that day too.

Thus, the socialization continues as we've begun preparing for our upcoming departure. Yesterday, I set up Tom's new Samsung Chromebook and it appears all is going well for him. He loves not dealing with Windows 10.

May each and every one of our readers enjoy a festive weekend!
Photo from one year ago today, January 17, 2019:
One year ago today, we celebrated our friends Rita's birthday at our bush home in Marloth Park. Here are the boys from left to right, Danie, Leon, Tom, Gerhard and Ken, toasting to a good evening. For more photos, please click here.

Setting up new laptop today...More tasks before departure...

Two years ago today, this scene at La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires particularly caught our eye. For more photos, please click here.
Today is another busy day. This morning we started transferring files from Tom's current laptop to a flash drive which, once I am done here, I'll begin loading his new Chromebook with his files.

We're going to do it a little differently this time. He's placed most of his important files into online Dropbox. He's had some issues with some of his files, creating problems when they're transferred over. This time, we'll go for simplicity and only transfer the bare minimum.

If we both like the new Samsung 12" Chromebook, much smaller than our 15.6" Acer's with Windows, we'll head back to Best Buy to purchase another identical or similar model for me.  The weight differential is substantial enough that this transition to smaller, lighter laptops is a big plus for us.

Today we'll spend the bulk of the day at Colleen and Gene's house playing the card game, Buck Euchre. This morning, Tom got out a deck of cards and re-introduced me as to how to play the game. In only a few minutes, it all came back to me.

Years ago, he and I played this fun card game with my sister Susan while she lived with me when Tom and I were dating. It will be fun to play once again.

We'll rotate playing the four-person game. In between my playing, I'll work on Tom's new laptop, getting everything set-up and transferred to his liking. He'll play the game while I'm working on the laptop. Then, I'll step in and play for a while. 

Over the next several days, we'll continue to work on other projects we have in the works as we prepare to leave the US in 13 days. We'd hoped to be able to spend time while we're still in the US, booking properties to rent while in the UK and Europe this upcoming summer. 

But, as it turns out, we've decided to see if we'll have some downtime while in India during our two months in the country. If not, we'll book everything while we're on the 29-night cruise prior to our arrival in the UK and Europe. 

We aren't worried at all in getting this task completed on time. We have flexibility on dates and in the worst case, we can always find a bed and breakfast or a number of hotels within the budget.

Tom just left to walk down to Colleen's while I wrap this up. I need to stop at the rental office to print a return label for a belt, we purchased at Amazon that didn't fit Tom. Tomorrow, I'll run it to the post office to return. This morning I ordered the replacement in his size. So many little things to do.

When we're outside the US we can't do any returns and generally, we're meticulous in ordering the correct sizes and items that won't require a return. We erred in this case and have to handle a return.

Off I go folks. I'll pack up the laptop and cord, my bottle of Crystal Light lemonade and a few more items to take with me for card-playing day. 

Gee...I'm looking forward to sharing "BIGGER," "BETTER," and "MORE INTERESTING" events in our daily lives.

Stay tuned, we're only a few weeks away from that transpiring!

May your day be pleasantly eventful and interesting!
Photo from one year ago today, January 16, 2019:
One year ago today, Little was lounging in the water in the cement pond. For more photos, please click here.

Two weeks from today and we're off...Fun night last night with new arrival, another family member...


Two years ago, Tom and I sat in the hotel bar in Palermo, Buenos Aires watched the Minnesota Vikings playoff game. We were the only patrons in the bar, but had a wonderful evening together. For more, please click here.
Last night, Tom and Eugene picked up Kevin (Mary and Eugene's son and Tom's nephew) at the airport. Kevin retired a few years ago from a lifetime career as a police officer and wanted to spend some time with his parents for 11 days.

While they were gone, I finished the final details of the meal we were bringing over to their home to share with everyone. Tom dropped Kevin and Eugene off and then he returned here to load up the hot food into Margie's car, which we continue to use.

By 8:00 pm, we were having dinner amid non-stop talking and laughter. By 10:30 I pooped out and drove myself back to our place, falling into bed. It was a busy cooking day and a good night's sleep was on the menu at that point.

In minutes I dozed off and awoke at 1:30 am when Tom came in. In no time at all, we both dozed off. Today won't be as busy a day. All I have to do it go to OfficeMax to have the India 26-page itinerary printed and stop at a local outlet store to buy a few more items.

At 4:00 pm today, we'll walk to the pool area where there will be the usual Wednesday evening fire pit get-together. Most likely, we'll spend the remainder of the evening in, dining on leftovers and relaxing.

There are several social events over the next several days and most likely, we'll attend most, if not all of them.

Our long-time reader/friends Pat and Dan referred their adult daughter Christina to us to discuss suggestions for a single woman traveling to South Africa alone to spend a few weeks in Marloth Park.

Christina called yesterday afternoon and we chatted for quite some time. She is a ranger in Yellowstone Park and the thought of Marloth Park is a dream come true for her. It was delightful talking to her. Plus, she spent two years in India as a missionary and it was fantastic to hear her enthusiasm for India.

Many people have stated concern over us staying in India for so long, all of whom have never been there. Yes, we're well aware of the pollution (and other issues) in the country. A few days ago our two high tech filtered face masks arrived. We don't care how we look wearing them, which we'll do in the big cities when appropriate.

On Monday afternoon Tom will drive me to Mesa (and pick me up later) to meet up with another dear reader/friend, Staci with whom we've been conversing for several years. She'll be in Scottsdale for a business trip and carved out time to meet up with me so we could get together for dinner and "girl talk." 

I am so excited to finally meet Staci after chatting back and forth online for these past years. Hopefully, I'll take photos and post them here the following day.

That's it for today, folks. May you all have a fabulous day.
Photo from one year ago today, January 15, 2019:
Tom was sitting at the end of the big table on the veranda. It was such a happy time for both of us. For more from that date, please click here.