Missing package? Future plans in the works...the South Pacific...

 
Check out the busy bee on this Bird of Paradise.
While still in Morocco, we ordered a number of items we needed including a few clothing items for me, Crystal Light Iced Tea, a pair of shoes, and a number of miscellaneous items we needed.

After placing the shipping order through our mailing service to be sent to Gina's home address in Funchal, Madeira fearing it would arrive before us, it has yet to arrive.  It was sent on May 2, 2014 via international priority mail at a cost of US $150, EU $110.27.  We have a tracking number.

It shows on the inquiry from our mailing service that it went through customs on:
Date & Time
Status of Item
Location
May 14, 2014 , 10:43 am Customs Clearance       PORTUGAL

Why we don't have this yet baffles us.  Goodness, we received a package in Kenya without issue.

These flowers are growing outside our front door.
Last week, we stumbled across a post office in Ribeira Brava asking their staff what's to be expected for an arrival from the US when mailed is sent in this matter.  They said two to three weeks should be plenty of time. 

She asked us, in good English, to bring the tracking number back to her and she'll check online and give us an update.  Today, we're planning on walking out the door around 4:00 pm in order to get to the post office before it closes at 5:00.

Since we'll already be out, we'll stay in Ribeira Brave in order to have dinner again at Muralha.  We'd hoped to try a new restaurant each time we go out but today, we'll bring our laptops using their free WiFi while lounging by the sea to begin the research for vacation homes in Australia. 

More colorful flowers growing outside our door.
With only a year until we arrive in Sydney on June 11, we need to get on the ball, deciding the city in which we'll live for the first 90 days.

Over the past several days, we've been researching visa requirements for Australia.  They are clear and concise.  US citizens require a visa to enter the country and must leave on the 90th day or sooner.  Visas may be applied for online and don't require a paper copy.  Once confirmed by email, the visa remains in their system.  Nice.

The color blue is less common in nature than other colors.  These blue flowers are seen everywhere.
The difficult part is having to leave every 90 days when ideally with the massive size of Australia, we'd like to be able to stay longer while living in three of four cities over a period of a year.  There is a possibility of a special "retiree" visa provided one buys a government issued bond.  We'd like to avoid that rigmarole.

After considerable discussion, we've concluded that the easiest and best solution will be to spend 89 days in our first chosen city (yet to be determined) and then leave Australia to visit another country in the South Pacific staying for 89 more days and then returning to a different city in Australia for another 89 days. 

 A pink house down the road from us.  Most houses on the island are varying shades of pink, peach, white and beige.  Most homes have orange tile roofs.
This plan enables us to visit some of the most desired hot spots south of the equator in the South Pacific.  Airfare between these locations appears to be reasonable.  In addition, we'll spend one of those time periods in New Zealand which has always been on our list of places to visit.

Here's a decent map we found of some of the options available to us:

Not shown on this particular map is Bora Bora, near to French Polynesia on the right of the map, a location we've dreamed of visiting, staying in those huts over the water. The trick will be to find one at an affordable price. 

In reviewing this map our options are many.  For example, if we spend 30 to 89 days in Bora Bora, we'll fly back to Australia to our next booked city, staying another 89 days, then fly to Vanuatu for a similar visit, then back to Australia and on and on. 
An attractive entrance to a nearby house.  We are located in a beautiful area.
Although this may sound confusing it's no more confusing than a retiree living in the US, flying out for a vacation/holiday three or four times a year.  For us, we won't have the expense of paying for our "base station" while we visit the various other locations.

We'll leave Australia when our vacation rental period ends, taking all that we own with us each time.  This is not as big a deal as it used to be, as we continue to lighten our load. 

This a roof top parking spot for a house which overlooks the valley and the sea, further up the steep hill from us.
Our only added expense is the cost of flights back and forth which appear to be rather reasonable, most of which fly out of Australia.  In any case, we would have still had the added cost of flights flying within Australia between the various areas in which we'd like to live for the 89 days at a time. 

(BTW, we always plan  to stay in a location for a maximum of 89 days in the event a flight is delayed or cancelled to ensure we head out before our current visa expires).

All of this requires careful planning and timing which both of us are willing  and excited to tackle.  We look at it this way; we need a place to live.  Where that will be is entirely up to our desires and budget.  We do the work.  We get the desired results

The cozy bar, frequently populated opened day and night which is located at the top of the steep hill.  My plan, now that I'm feeling well is to walk this steep grade at least four times
per week.  It certainly gets the heart rate up meeting the aerobic criteria of my HIIT (high intensity interval training) form of exercise. 
At this point our enthusiasm is as fierce as it was in the beginning if not more. We now have experience, are less apprehensive and have pinned down the features and amenities most important to us:  an indoor living room, decent WiFi, a view of water (when possible), a relatively well equipped kitchen, working plumbing and electricity, AC in the bedroom extremely hot climates and a property in reasonably good condition. 

We can handle bugs as long as we can buy repellent.  We can handle daytime heat.  We can live without a TV or a microwave.  We can handle crowing roosters, cooing pigeons, baaing goats, church bells ringing outside our door, call to prayer six times per day and an occasional snake at our feet as long as we don't get bit. 

One of the four goats that live next door.
We've learned to wear the same clothes (clean, of course) over and over, never giving it a thought.  We've learned to use bottled water for brushing our teeth and for all of our drinks and for washing vegetables.  We've learned to communicate with gestures and hand signals and, also managed a few words in the local language.  

We've learned tolerance and acceptance of other cultures so far removed from our own.  We've learned to be meticulous money managers with nary a moment of weakness in making an impulsive unnecessary purchase. 
We'd never seen vibrant red Gladiolus such as these while on a walk in our neighborhood.
We've learned to manage our health without the necessity of a single doctor appointment since December 2012. (Although we'd seek medical care if we felt it was necessary). 

We could go on and on as to what we've learned since we left the US on January 3, 2013.  As we travel, we'll learn more and more, embracing every adventure for what we can glean from it carrying it with us in our hearts and minds as we continue on...
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Photo from on year ago today, June 3, 2013:

Due to the fact that we were busy packing to leave for Italy, there was no post on this date one year ago today.  Soon, we'll avoid mentioning that there are no posts for a particular date. At a certain point, we began posting every single day regardless of what we were doing or if we were on the move and, posting photos on every occasion.

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