When all the sightseeing is said and done...What do we do for entertainment?... All new photos...

Every Friday night, we see Norwegian's Pride of America ship after leaving the port in Nawiliwili, Kauai.  It sails along the Napali Coast and then turns back toward Honolulu where the seven day cruises end on Saturday morning at 7 am to depart again on a new cruise that evening at 7:00 pm.
We've fairly well exhausted most of the possible sightseeing adventures in Kauai that appeals to our senses, level of fitness and interests.

With no house to maintain, no garden to tend, no grass to cut, no weeds to pull, no barbecue parties to host in the yard and no family functions to attend, what could we possibly do to entertain ourselves during our 27 remaining days on the island of Kauai?

New photo of one of our favorite views in Kauai, the mountains and sea at Hanalei Bay.
Our average day consists of doing the requisite loads of laundry, cleaning the small condo, washing windows, preparing meals and grocery shopping every five days or so and on occasion making a trip to the Healthy Hut in Kilauea. 

At night we dine and watch a few favorite downloaded TV shows or even a few shows that are on the TV, such as tonight's AD The Bible and tomorrow evening's Dancing with the Stars.  In some ways our lives are not unlike that of many other retirees worldwide who live in condos or apartments.

Colorful orchid bloom.
But, in many ways we have more free time based on the above mentioned items and more.  With a rental car, we don't even have the occasional obligation of having the oil changed or performing general maintenance.  We never have a doctor, dentist or eye doctor appointment.

Tom's says he doesn't have to chase the geese off the lawn.  Instead, he spends the better portion of each day chasing the pigeons off the lanai railing to make way for the feeding nuts to our favorite birds who visit several times each day.  In a funny way our preoccupation with the same familiar birds stopping by occupies a portion of our time, calling them, watching them and laughing at their antics.

Beautiful overlook.
I no longer spend endless hours in the kitchen chopping, cooking and baking for us, for family and friends, foods that no longer suits our way of eating, for those who are no longer a short distance away, spending the better part of the day stopping by with a delivery of some delectable plate or pan of something that I'd made to share.  Those days are long gone.

Instead, I spend each morning from the time I'm up showered and dressed for the day, hair fixed with makeup on, ready to tackle the world, sitting at my computer writing, editing and posting.  Usually, I begin by 7:00 or 7:30 and end anywhere from 10:30 to noon. 

Sunset last night. 
During this period, Tom assists me by researching past posts for links and other information I may be posting that particular day.  When done assisting me, he perused his favorite websites such as Facebook, news, financial markets and of course, his passion, Ancestry.com.

As soon as the post is uploaded we often head to the Makai Golf Course which is listed as one of the world's five most scenic golf courses.  We head to the pool and fitness center where we'll usually find Richard and Larry. 

The overlook at the Hanalei Wildlife Refuse where one can see the world's largest taro fields.
As mentioned in past posts, we never spend more than 45 minutes in the sun  all the while chatting with our friends as we acquire a good dose of Vitamin D.  Doing so for 20 minutes a day without the use of sunscreen may prevent the necessity of taking Vitamin D supplements, a necessity for bone health for seniors.  This avoids the necessity of hauling several more bottles of vitamins in our already heavy luggage. (Its important to gradually work up to the 20 minutes by tanning 10 minutes on each side to avoid a sunburn).

Several times each week after the pool we stop to visit the albatross, the grocery store or visit a local farmer's market.  At other times, we drive for awhile looking for new photo ops, later to return home to change back into our clothes and head out for a walk.  By the time we return from the walk,  its often 2:30 pm as the day quickly moves along. 

One of Kauai's most popular overlooks.
Had we been retired and living our old lives, on occasion we'd have made a trip to Home Depot, a local nursery or Costco.  Returning home, we'd have had "stuff" to put away, projects to start, a garden to tend or a meal to prepare for arriving family or friends. The day would have easily become filled with activities.

We're never disappointed when we stop for photos at this amazing spot.
A few evenings a week, we have social plans.  We stay home the remainder of the, watching for a brilliant sunset and enjoying our evenings as if every night is a playful Saturday night.  Add in a good meal and at times, a movie and what more could we want?  Never bored, we relish each moment as new and interesting.

Red Lipstick Tree branches.
Often on a daily basis there's tons of email to reply to, banking and finances to handle and plans for the future to investigate  We've found ourselves tackling what may have felt like as a task in the past, as now being a pleasant experience.  Perhaps, the lack of hustle and bustle in our lives makes paying bills online kind of fun.

On top of our simple daily lives, we both enjoy reading; me, an occasional novel but, mostly scientific studies, health, nutrition and medicine and Tom, international intrigue and espionage novels and biographies of people he's admired and respected over the years.

Cattle Egret are commonly found near excavation areas, golf course, lawn moving and gardening areas.  They hang around this specific areas in hopes of worms and bugs being brought to the surface.  We always laugh over seeing dozens of these birds at excavation sites.
Tomorrow, we'll share our current reading list.  We'd love to hear from any of our readers who may have suggestions for reading material they've found interesting that may appeal to us.  How fun would that be!

May your Sunday be relaxing and fulfilling whatever you decide to do!

Photo from one year ago today, April 26, 2014:

It wasn't uncommon to find orange trees growing in restaurants in Marrakech when most restaurants were built, similar to our riad, with an open air center courtyard. For details from that date as our time in Morocco was winding down, please click here.

An email that sent us over the moon...A special person we met in our lives of travel...

Anderson, standing at the marker for the border between Kenya and Tanzania.
Yesterday morning, I discovered an email in my inbox from Anderson, our guide while on safari in the Masai Mara.  The email in his words:

"Jambo from masai-mara,Kenya.
Hi jessica and tom,how are you doing my friends?.long time since we meet at masai-mara at sanctuary olonana camp,where are you now?..since you told me that,you were travelling all over the world!..am sorry that i did not  have time to visit you at mombasa-ukunda.
Concerning my employment,i resigned from olonana few months ago,and i bought a new safari land-cruiser to start my own safari business within kenya,tanzania and uganda.so please if happen that you want to do a safari, am always there for you,..and please recomment me to your friends for me. Thanks my friends, Best regards from Anderson ole Pemba."

In October 2013, over 18 months ago, we went on safari in the Masai Mara (aka Maasai Mara), situated in southwest Kenya as one of Africa's most magnificent wildlife reserve.  Connected to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania it is the world's most popular safari game viewing environment.

We stress the fact that our expedition was game viewing, not hunting.  We would never engage in the self serving slaughter of exquisite animals in the wild as their numbers dwindle based on the intervention of humans. 

How we got so lucky to have Anderson as our guide falls into the same "safari luck" category that seeing the Big 5 in our first 10 hours on safari seemed to fall into, all accomplished only due to Anderson's expert skills and keen eye.  No one on the planet can drive across rough terrain with his expertise nor can spot a lion sleeping in a tree all the way across the plains.

Tom and Anderson really hit it off.  This was within moments of arrival at the dirt runway airport in the Masai Mara.
Not only was his warm, thoughtful and engaging personal a factor but his sense of adventure, willingness to literally "go the extra mile (kilometer) and his vast knowledge left us with a memory that will truly last a lifetime. 

An amateur photographer such as I with a less than ideal camera was able to take photos that will always stay in our hearts and minds and into infinity, located here on the Internet for generations to come.

Anderson's efforts made this lifelong dream of mine become a reality.  As a child I dreamed of Africa, the Africa we experienced in the Masai Mara, and Anderson helped make it a reality we'll both always treasure.

When the short three day period as guests at Camp Olonana by Sanctuary Retreats came to a close my heart ached over having to say goodbye.  Would we ever return to the Masai Mara in Kenya with so much political unrest in the country and when there's still so much world to see? 

I knew we were in good hands the moment we met Anderson. 
Yes, someday we'll return to Africa to see Victoria Falls in both Zambia and Zimbabwe and to see the gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda, although there are other locations where they are to be found.  Plus, my heart longs to return to Marloth Park for a period of time as well.  Someday.

Although we spent only three days with Anderson, for as much as eight hours each day, the time was never enough.  Realistically, three days in the Masai Mara is enough time during which with a great guide, one can see and take photos of many of the treasures in this extraordinary location.

Not only did he ensure we could see all that we longed to see, he left an indelible mark on our hearts not only with his skills but, with his delightful demeanor, sense of humor and passion to please regardless of the size of the group in his vehicle, at most six tourists. 

When we arrived at the dirt runway airport in the Masai Mara, Anderson was waiting for us immediately taking me into the circle of his strong arms for a bear hug.  At that moment, I knew we were in good hands.  He'd take good care of us, ensure our safety and equally ensure we had the time of our lives.

Anderson had arranged a breakfast in the bush with the chefs preparing foods I could eat along with standards for the others. 
At the airport we had to wait for another couple's plane arriving in an hour and a half.  Instead of standing around waiting in the hot sun, Anderson suggested he take us out to see what we could find in that short period of time. 

And find, we did, as shown in the many photos in this post which we uploaded that first evening when we were exhausted after a quick meal having arrived too late from an sunset safari to shower and change for dinner. 

With dust all over our clothes and with no Internet access in our tent, after dinner we sat on the sofa in the lodge with a wifi poor connection attempting to upload multiple photos and story, knowing our readers were waiting to hear from us. 

With wild animals all around us, we dined on a perfect breakfast without a moment of fear.  We always felt safe with him even if we were only 15 feet from a hungry lion.
The posts were a mess with poor formatting and typos but, we knew once we returned to Diani Beach, Kenya, we'd have plenty of time to go back and make any necessary edits. 

At 7 am the next morning we were ready to go again although the gurgling sound of the hippos in the Mara River outside of our tent awoke us at 4 am.  I feel back to sleep with a smile on my face relishing every aspect of this amazing experience.

Our first day out, Anderson explained that if we needed to pee to simple say, "I need to check the tire pressure."  Within a matter of minutes, he'd find a rock or a bush appropriate for providing a modicum of privacy. 

That's not to say that the trek to the rock or bush wasn't fraught with a bit of trepidation for what may be lurking in the tall grass.  Those breaks were vital to our experience as the daytime heat kept us sipping on bottles of beverages he kept on ice in a cooler in the front seat.

I took this photo of our group on safari that morning.  Its cool in the Masai Mara in the mornings, heating up considerably as the day worn on.  That large rock to the right was the spot where we'd "check the tire pressure."
I could go on and on.  Instead, I'll let our interested readers click back to the posts to read the remainder that continued over a period of over two weeks.  The stories and photos seemed never ending, as did the memories with Anderson.

Yesterday, when we received the above email we were thrilled to hear from him.  At the time, we'd given him our card knowing it was unlikely we'd hear back with lack of Internet access in the area.  We'd invited him to stay with us in Ukunda (Diani Beach) when he'd hoped to make a trip to Mombasa although he was unable to come. 

If any of our readers knows of anyone interested in a safari in Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda, feel free to contact Anderson here at this link.  We noticed that he's working in Uganda.  We only hope by the time we're ready to see the gorillas, that we can be with him once again.

Notice my BugsAway hat wrapped around my lower face while we were in Tanzania in an effort to keep the flies out of my mouth.
Speaking of Tanzania, when Anderson was concerned that I was greatly disappointed that we'd missed the Great Migration by one week, on the last day, he drove us over some mighty rough terrain to the border of Tanzania.

There, we were able to see the tail end of the migration while batting off zillions of flies as a result of the dung from 2,000,000 wildebeest and other animals crossing the Mara River numerous times as it winds through the Serengeti, on this annual trek.  Only he would try to please to that degree for which we're eternally grateful.

Thank you, Anderson, for an experience of a lifetime, that in many ways changed our lives and in many ways enhanced our desire to experience more of the wild and its treasures that we've yet to behold.

Photo from one year ago today, April 25, 2014:

A huge pile of yarn was lying on the ground in the souk, ready to be woven into an article to be sold.  Notice the black cat cuddled up on the yard.  At this point one year ago, we were three weeks from departing Marrakech, Morocco and we were ready to go.  For details please click here.

Tom loves cruising...I like cruising...Is that a problem for us? My food list...Homemade mayo recipe...

A view of the Hanelei Wildlife Refuse from a hard to find overlook in Princeville. 
The tiny cabin is not an issue  balcony cabins they're often as small as 171 square feet (15.89 square meters) or as big as 194 square feet (18.02 square meters).  Oddly, we adapt to it very well.  The fact that we're both tidy by not leaving out our clothing, shoes and miscellaneous lying about, definitely helps.

Maneuvering around each other while dressing isn't a issue either.  After 10 cruises in the past 30 months, we've got it figured out.  I go first in the morning, showering and dressing for the day and he goes first in the afternoon, doing the same, allowing me time to get ready to go out for the evening. 

Another view from the obscure overlook.
With few clothing options dressing for dinner is easy for us on cruises.  Wear this.  Wear that.  That's it.  Since recently disposing of many worn out clothing, soon I'll head to a women's clothing store in the Princeville Mall to buy a few items for the upcoming cruise.  They seem to have affordable and useful items that may work for me. 

Tom has a white dress shirt waiting to be mailed soon with our other supplies accumulating at our mailing service in Nevada.  He'll wear the shirt with black pants on dress up nights.  We'll post photos at the time.

Its relatively easy to find excellent scenic spots from most areas of Kauai.
With the size of the cabin being acceptable to me, what is my hesitation keeping me from loving it as opposed to my current "liking it?"  Here are my two reasons:

1.  The poor wifi connection makes it difficult for me to write and upload each day causing me considerable time and frustration.
2.  The food is challenging in both selection and taste.  Our cruise representative at Vacations to Go has forwarded my food list to the upcoming cruise line, Royal Caribbean, to let them know what I can and can't have. 

Crossing the one lane bridge over the Hanalei River.
I don't believe I've ever posted this list.  For those interested here it is:

No to the following in any form:
  • Wheat or any type of flour, bread, buns, crepes, pancakes, pastries, bagels, 
  • Grains:  rice, corn, quinoa, lentils, oatmeal
  • Fruit or fruit juice 
  • Starch: potatoes, potato starch, winter squash, beans (green beans OK), pasta 
  • Sugar, honey, agave or sugar alternatives 
  • Chemicals:  MSG, food starch, additives 
  • Vegetable oils of any type except olive oil and nut oils
  • Soy sauce or any soy products
  • Gluten in any form 
  • Pre-made egg mix 
  • Yogurt, milk or milk products (cheese OK) 
  • Dessert, even if gluten and sugar free 
  • No foods labeled LOW FAT 
  • Bottled salad dressing or mayonnaise
Yes to these:
  • Beef, pork, poultry, wild caught fish and shellfish, nitrate free bacon or sausages made without gluten, starch or sugar
  • Escargot, made without gluten, starch or sugar 
  • Fois gras, made without gluten, starch or sugar   
  • Non starchy vegetables: such as aubergine (eggplant), peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, kale, spinach, cabbage, carrots (in moderation) cauliflower, etc. 
  • Fresh eggs 
  • Cheeses – non processed (good as a dessert without fruit or crackers on plate) 
  • Full fat cream 
  • Full fat sour cream
  • Full fat cream cheese
  • Home made mayonnaise 
  • Full fat cream and butter reduction sauce made without thickener 
  • Olive oil, coconut oil, butter, homemade GF hollandaise sauce
When cooking at home, I tighten up this list, using only grass fed meat, organic free range poultry and eggs, organic dairy, organic grass fed butter and organic produce.  On a cruise, I'm unable to get this buttoned up list.  For the upcoming 18 day cruise, I'll manage.
View from an obscure overlook we found in Princeville.
On past cruises, I suffered no ill effects, eating in moderation; bacon, eggs and veggies for breakfast; protein source, veggies and salad (salad dressing is an issue) for dinner.  Some chefs would make homemade mayo or hollandaise sauce for me which has worked well.  All bottled mayo is made with soybean oil which I won't eat, along with any other soy foods.

At home, I make mayonnaise using the following recipe:
Walnut Oil Mayonnaise
2 large egg yolks (I use pasteurized eggs for safety)
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoons powdered mustard powder
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 1/2 cup toasted walnut oil or other nut oil (other oils such as olive oil or coconut oil impart a strong taste whereby walnut oil or macadamia nut oil impart a subtle taste)
In a medium bowl combine egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard powder and sale.  Whisk until well combined for 30 seconds.  Whisking constantly, add walnut oil a few drops at a time using a 1/4 teaspoon measure. Keep whisking and adding slowly until you’ve added about 1/4 cup of the walnut oil and mixture is noticeably lighter in colour. Very slowly, add the remaining 1/2 cup oil in a thin stream until mayonnaise is thick and a creamy light yellow.  If available, a blender may be used following the slow adding of the oil while blending at a low speed. Cover and keep chilled using within 2 weeks.  Shake or stir before using.  I store it in a glass jar with lid.

Adding a few drop of sweetener or seasonings of your choice when serving adds a nice touch to the flavor when used as a salad dressing.

Makes approximately 2 cups. 

Its highly unlikely the cruise line chef will make this recipe for me nor do I expect them to prepare any special dressings or sauces.  At times, they bring me the list of ingredients on a bottled item to see if it works for me.  It's seldom acceptable.

A  gnarly old tree on a secluded beach at Anina Beach.
Otherwise, a meal of plain seasoned protein, non starchy vegetables and a few slices of a hard cheese will fill me for a meal.  To ensure I get enough fat, I can easily add butter and/or olive oil.

Overlook view on a cloudy day.
As for Tom's dietary habits on a cruise, he eats whatever appeals to him, often gaining two or three pounds on each cruise.  Surprisingly, he doesn't load up on a lot of sweets during the day, other than a few small cinnamon rolls at breakfast and a small dessert at dinner. 

Fences such as this are often used by property owners in an attempt to keep the wild pigs out. 
His taste buds control what he eats and often he finds pastries and desserts generally unappetizing after years of eating homemade desserts that I'd made in our old lives.

Overall, we both enjoy cruising, baring these few issues.  Ultimately, we have a fabulous time especially meeting other cruisers, often making new friends and gaining many more new reader.
We never tire of this view, continuing to take new photos each time we're nearby.
Recently, a cruise ship heading to Sydney ran into a bad storm at sea and was unable to dock at the port.  Here's the story.  This news doesn't concern us a bit.  We've already experienced 50 foot swells at sea.  Anything less than that, we can handle.

We continue to visit the Laysan Albatross chicks every few days.  At this point this chick is almost as large as the parents.  When she lifts a wing we can see pure white feathers beginning to fill in.  Notice her feet as she settles her butt into the ground.  We continue to share photos as they grow.
Have a fabulous spring weekend preparing your homes and yards for the upcoming summer.  For those in the southern hemisphere where it's currently the fall season, we'll see you soon!

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

A view of the souk from an upper level.  For details of that date, please click here.

One month from today...We're off to Australia...Is this a lonely life?

The Wai'oli hui'ai Church in Hanalei which the congregation built in 1841.
Need I say to our readers that we're ready to go, in that we've been counting the days?  Don't get me wrong, we love Kauai; its people, its beauty and its charm. Its just time to go.  

The church was made of lime and plaster which was made from coral dug at low tide.
Living in Hawaii these past almost eight months worried us.  We were concerned that we'd lose many of our readers who'd tire of the constant Hawaii news, scenery and our occasional ramblings about food.

Services are still held at this church today. The mission bell was acquired in 1843 and placed in the belfry behind the Mission Hall which is the oldest surviving church building on the island of Kauai.
However, we've literally gained thousands of readers in these past many months, many from across the seas and many from here in the islands, passed on from one to another from families to friends.  We couldn't be more grateful.

This morning when I look at our stats I squealed with delight to see our readership as higher than its typically been on travel days. It seems our readers are curious as to our safe arrival at the next location and perhaps curious as to how we've handled any travel day challenges along the way.

The church was adorned with several stained glass windows.
In a funny way, on travel days, I feel as if you're all traveling along with us making me anxious to getting settled and online to let everyone know we arrived safely. 

At airports, we're always looking for wifi so we can write a few words to post.  At times, we've paid outrageous hourly fees to ensure we let everyone know how its going and where we are at the moment. 

The Mission School was also built in 1843 allowing children and adults to read the bible which the missionaries translated into Hawaiian. Abner and Lucy Wilcox arrived in 1846 to spend over 20 years as educational missionaries and pioneered vocational training as well.
Our friend Richard, a retired attorney from St. Louis, Missouri, USA, often nags us to turn this site into a highly profitable business, even offering to help us do it.  We appreciate his kind intentions.  But, making the effort to turn our posts into a highly profitable business would make it a "job."

And...although this is a business based on having advertisers generating a small income and certain relevant expenses, right now, this feels only like a labor of love.

We assumed this lovely couple had just been married in the church.
There isn't one morning that I get my coffee, plunk down onto the sofa or chair, never as comfortable as in our old lives, that my heart doesn't race with enthusiasm.  Most often, unless we've recently had a specific experience to share, I have no idea what to write.

Magically, as if beyond my control, a topic flies to my fingers more so than to my brain and those fingers fly across the keyboard with a mind of their own.
View along the road in Hanalei.
The topics, albeit less exciting at times, are presented with a pure passion and desire to entertain, amuse or merely whittle away time for even one reader out there who may also may have a cup of coffee or tea on hand and sits down to see what's happening.

Then, when I see that hundreds if not thousands of people are reading today, my heart flips in my chest with joy, not as braggadocio over our unique life but as joy in knowing we are not alone. 

Miniature flowers blooming on the church grounds.
This life we live could be lonely without all of you.  Sure, we have one another who fills each others cup every single day with a potion that continually renews our love and interest in one another. 

And, we have the friends we've made along the way but not quite yet the friends we had in our old lives who we could say, "Hey, want to go to the farmer's market with me this afternoon?"  Or, "I made some soup and want to drop off a jar at your house on my way to the health club." 

Surf shop in Hanalei.
Its different now.  But, we have YOU.  Having YOU takes away any possible feeling of isolation or loneliness.  Having YOU motivates us to explore, to take photos, to get outside the safe cocoon we create for ourselves everywhere we go.

So, dear readers, hang with us for one more month in Hawaii and then hang onto your chairs because one month from today a new level of excitement will begin as we leave Kauai, head to Honolulu for one night to sail away on the 24th for 18 days and nights across the ocean to the South Pacific. 

The Ching Young Village, a quaint shopping mall in Hanalei.
We'll live in the South Pacific for almost 22 months, moving at least as often as every 89 days (or as little as one month) discovering new lands, new adventures, new wildlife and new scenery. 

There will be scary looking insects, Funnel Web spiders, dangerous snakes and inclement weather. There will be kangaroos, koala bears and crocs, some of which we'll love to the point of ad nauseam and others which we'll cautiously fear. 

The Ching Young Store is a café and general store.
Once again, we'll be using the app on our phones to figure out the metric system, figuring out how to use the outlets and appliances, learning the local lingo and dialect and overall, trying to "fit in."

All of this and more, we'll share with YOU. 

Happy Thursday.  Today is 5% off for old timers at Foodland.  Think we'll stop by.

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

Although we never so much as tasted any of the scrumptious looking pastries in Marrakech, looking at them was almost as much fun.  Our time was winding down and we were looking forward to our next stop, Madeira, Portugal located off the coast of Morocco.  For details please click here.

Flight and rental car booked for Australia...Great deals! Sharing the best prices we've found for car rentals...

Taro root, growing in this field, is popular item used in Hawaiian cooking.
As many of our long term readers are well aware, often our photos don't match our stories.  We continue to search for new and hopefully interesting photo ops in our explorations of any area in which we're living at any given time.  Thus is the case today, as is often the case, with the exception of the car photo listed below.

The Hawaiian Coot, most often found near water.  It was our first sighting of this bird.
We commence with today's story:

We booked all of our airfare through the Expedia link on our website.  As a listed advertiser for us, we get a tiny commission for using it although the pricing is no better or worse than through Expedia directly. 

If our readers click on any of our advertiser links, we receive more tiny commissions, none of which will make us  rich but help offset some of the costs of maintaining our site.  Please feel free to use them as needed. 

The Hanalei Wildlife Refuse provides a lush habitat for a considerable number of birds in Kauai.
There's no pressure from us to use these links. Our site is "free" to our worldwide readers. But, if you're going to shop at any of these sites, please consider doing so through us.  We appreciate it!

However, when shopping for flights and car rentals, best pricing is always our first consideration.  For airline tickets, we've had considerable luck with Expedia. 

We were surprised it had taken us so long to travel this particular road.  We were glad we did.
However, with car rentals, especially for our extended periods, we've had to perform extended searches for the best possible pricing.  Over these past 30 months, we've spent hundreds of hours researching off and on as to where to get the best pricing on car rentals.

So far, for us, the best bet has been at this link for rentalcars.com.  Once we enter dates and times, their site searches all providers allowing us to choose the best cars for the best prices.  Here's what we locked up a few days ago:

The Okolehao Trail begins here, leading up a steep incline using ropes to assist experienced hikers only up a two to three hour hike up the mountains.  Not quite suitable for us.  Click here for details.
Car Group: Hyundai i20 or similar
Supplier: Europcar

Pick-up details:
Country: Australia
City: Cairns
Location: Cairns Airport
Date: 11 Jun 2015 10:00

Drop-off details:
Location: Cairns Airport
Date: 8 Sep 2015 10:00

Total Cost: US$1709.50
Flight number:

That's US $1709.50 for 89 days!  That total at $19.21 per day, not too bad or an average of $576 24 per month.  Here in Kauai we paid a little more at $677 per month, still an excellent deal.

Sure, a Hyundai 120 is a small car.  See photo below:
This Hyundai i20 is ideal for our needs with excellent gas mileage and, we can easily fit all of our luggage between the hatchback and back seat, our first consideration when renting a car.
Often, once we arrive at the desk of the provider at the airport, they often try to up-sell us a larger car.  We rarely consider an upgrade.  What's the purpose?  However, when we lived in Madeira almost a year ago, we chose a larger car with a more powerful engine in order to navigate the many steep hills. 

The difference, if I recall correctly, was about $50 more a month and well worth the expense under those special circumstances. Those steep winding hills with Tom driving a stick shift were tough enough in our upgrade.

Its good to know that cattle  are no longer branded, instead wearing tags (in this case orange tags) on their ears as shown in this photo.
Our next expenditure a few days ago, was to purchase airline tickets from Sydney, Australia to Cairns, Australia when we arrive by ship on June 11th.  Careful planning, considering the time of day the ship reaches the dock, the time it will take to disembark 2000 passengers and how long it will take to get a taxi to the airport in Sydney.

The ship will dock in Sydney at 6:00 am and be ready for passengers to disembark by 8:00 am. However, based on past experience it can take several hours to get our luggage, go through customs and  immigration and to wait in line for a taxi.

A lone horse, tied to a rope looked our way as we stopped for this photo.
With only a few nonstop flights to Cairns each day (pronounced Cannes, like the French city), we chose the afternoon flight, leaving us almost about five hours to run through the entire process. 

We often set up our transportation from cruises in this same manner, leaving lots of time for the process.  We lay back on getting off the ship, staying in our cabin until they kick us out.  Its either wait on the ship or wait at the airport, neither of which makes any difference to us.

The Hanalei River continues for 15 miles.
Why didn't we chose an earlier flight?   As it says in our tag line or motto: "Wafting Through Our World Wide Travels with Ease, Joy and Simplicity," we always attempt to take the less stress-invoking means of arriving at our next location.

What if there were a customs or immigration delay at the ship?  We don't want to be rushing and worrying.  A day of travel is a day of travel.  The things we control we plan to be easy and hopefully seamless.  The things we have no control over...we plan for extra time to accommodate them.

Driving down a road we hadn't traveled, we followed the shore of the Hanalei River.
The cost of this nonstop one way  flight for both of us, from Sydney to Cairns, is as follows:

Qantas Price Summary

  •     $235.40
    • Flight          $218.00
    • Taxes & Fees $17.40
  •     $235.40
    • Flight           $218.00
    • Taxes & Fees  $17.40
    • Total:          $470.80

Based on the fact we're able to fly Qantas Airline, one of the highest rated airlines on the world, we're pleased with this booking.
We'll pick up the rental car and be on our way on the relatively short drive from the airport to Trinity Beach, the location of our next 89 day rental.  The estimated drive time is 22 minutes or 12.18 miles, 19.6 kilometers.

Nene birds, the Hawaiian state bird are often found near water as in this case as we drove along the Hanalei River.
Hopefully, by 6 pm, we'll arrive at our new home, get settled and head out to dinner. These days, unpacking only requires about 30 minutes. The following day we'll find a grocery store and familiarize ourselves with the area. 
With these two bookings out of the way, we have peace of mind, a valued commodity in our lifestyle.  Low stress...good for health...good for life. 

Have a wild and wonderful Wednesday!

Photo from one year ago today, April 22, 2014:

Each of the shop owners in the souks in Marrakech took responsibility for keeping the souks clean and free of trash and debris.  When they washed the stone floors, one had to proceed with caution to avoid falling.  For details from that date, please click her