Dentist and kangaroos...Another g'day in Australia!



The dental office is easy to find.  Its outside the main entrance to Smithfield Mall on the nearest to Woolworth's  Grocery store.
Visiting a dentist has always been a dreaded experience for me.  As many of you, from time to time I had less than ideal experiences leaving an indelible mark on my psyche.  These experiences left me with a degree of dental phobia and/or dental anxiety which is more common than we can imagine.

As a matter of fact there is such a thing as the "Dental Anxiety Network" specifically for dentists to ensure they are well educated in dealing with anxious patients.

I'll admit to becoming anxious when I have to have anything other than a cleaning which causes little apprehension.  Its the fillings, crowns and surgeries that incite a sense of fear.  Some reports state that as many of 80% of patients have some degree of dental phobia.

The professional, clean and organized dental office, 1300 Smiles at Smithfield Mall made us both feel at ease.
As a result I didn't feel apprehensive when our intent for yesterday's two appointments was singular:  clean our teeth, no x-rays.  With neither of us experiencing any pain or apparent difficulty with our teeth, we hoped for good results.

Both of our appointments transpired at exactly the same time, 1:00 pm on Thursday, with a plan to shop when done.  The dental clinic, 1300 Smiles, is located  in the Smithfield Mall around the corner  from the meat market, the produce mart, the pharmacy and the grocery store, definitely a convenient location for the four additional stops I needed to make when we were done at the dentist.

Much to my surprise the dentist, Dr. Neil McElvanna, did my cleaning as opposed to a dental hygienist which is the usual procedure in the US.  Most hygienists in the US (our only experience until now) provide excellent service often after many years of experience.


The treatment rooms were spotless and were equipped with the most up-to-date equipment from what we could determine.

After my painless procedure was completed with positive comments as to the condition of my teeth and gums after almost three years without a professional cleaning (we don't recommend waiting this long), Dr. Neil and I had a chance to talk.

After inquiring as to our life of travel, we discussed the recent pointless slaughter of Cecil, the lion.  Dr. Neil, with tongue in cheek, commented, "Too bad he's a dentist."  I then commented, "Too bad he was from Minnesota from whence we came."  Immediately, we had something, however sad, in common.

We proceeded to discuss my way of eating which may have a beneficial effect on dental health which he said was evident in my lack of periodontal disease.  Sure, I had a degree of plaque which he readily removed that no matter how often I cleaned my teeth, I couldn't entirely eradicate.  But, I had no inflamed or swollen gums or areas of concern.

Lounging in the grass.
In the old life, both of us had to visit a periodontist on a few occasions.  That was while we were still consuming vast amounts of sugar in various forms.  However, our good results aren't entirely a result of not having sugar floating around our mouths.  It's also a result of the systemic production of stomach acids, good gut bacteria and general good health from consuming a healthy low carb, grain, starch and sugar free ketogenic diet for the past almost four years.  



Now, with a clean dental bill of health and the fact that we may not see another dentist until we arrive the US in 2017 we can rest easy that both our medical and dental exams provided us with peace of mind only adding to our enthusiasm as we continue on in our travels.

This adult kept watch while the others rested.  With only crocs as potential predators and the kangaroos keeping a distance from the ocean and rivers, the kangaroo population continues to grow in Australia.  Here are the estimated stats for the kangaroo population.  There are an estimated over 20 million kangaroos in Queensland according to these 2011 stats.
The shocker?  The cost for both of us was a mere AUD $196, USD $142.89, which is only AUD $98, USD $71.45 each.  We had refused x-rays which of course lowered the price.  Had either of us been experiencing any pain or discomfort, we'd have opted for the x-rays.  Why be exposed to radiation when there's no need?


This young kangaroo looked sleepy and ready for a nap.
Over these past almost three years since our last cleaning we've done a few things that may have also contributed to the good results:

1.  Using Brush Picks by The Doctors after eating.  We keep these picks with us at all times.  We recently purchased several packs of these at the Alive Pharmacy at Smithfield Mall.
2.  Oil Pulling each day using unrefined, cold pressed, organic coconut oil, swishing for 20 minutes.
3.  We brush our teeth twice a day using non-fluoridated whitening toothpaste (brands vary throughout the world.  We don't use fluoride when we can avoid it).
4.  We brush with the above toothpaste adding baking soda and hydrogen peroxide onto the brush.  These items are available worldwide.
5.  We used pulsing toothbrushes.  (We'd purchased a good sized supply on past visits to Costco but, these can be purchased at pharmacies and grocery stores throughout the world.

Kangaroo family lounging under the shade of a tree and a bench.
We stress that if there is evidence of periodontal disease, the above measures would be effective only after a course of professional treatment had been exercised. We don't recommend seeing a dentist only once every three years.  In our old lives, we had our teeth cleaned every six months.

The thorough cleaning, the pleasant and professional dental office and the expert care of the dentist, Dr. Neil and his staff, left us with a "great taste in our mouths!"

Resting in the grass.
With our medical appointments behind us with good results we have a renewed sense of freedom.  Thanks to our readers for their encouragement and support in assisting us in making the decision to get these medical exams behind us.

Our efforts for ongoing health continue with exercise, healthy diet, dental care and a positive state of mind which, armed with this good news, is certainly enhanced.


Kangaroos are shy unless they've been in an area where they frequently interact with humans.  These are wild kangaroos resulting in photos taken from afar.
Tomorrow, we'll continue with more photos from our trip to Port Douglas as we plan our next road trip.  Hummm...wonder where that will take us?

Happy end of week to all!
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Photo from one year ago today, July 31, 2014:
We didn't post on this travel date.  Back tomorrow with August 1, 2014!

Part 2...Road trip...Port Douglas...Lots to share after a perfect day...Photos shown in progression...Cecil, the slaughtered lion...One of our lion photos..



A number of visitors were lounging in this beach park in Port Douglas.
As we toured the town of Port Douglas we were amazed at how easy is was to navigate the many points of interest. Although the downtown area was packed with tourists it had a laid back unhurried feel uncommon in tourist beach towns.
The main street, Macrossan Street, in Port Douglas consisted of one store, shop and restaurant after another.
Whether we wandered the quaint streets or walked the Four Mile Beach we always felt safe and comfortable.  The only fear was going into the water where stingers lurked in abundance awaiting their next brush against human skin to leave their indelible mark. 

Taking photos was easy on the sunny day.
We surmised that the possibility of being stung by one of many of a variety of stingers keeps swimmers out of the water at all of the pristine beaches we've visited over these many weeks. 

More shopping continued on Wharf Street.
We noticed that there are no vendors lining the beaches in Queensland scrambling in an attempt to sell their wares.  Either there are laws regarding this or, we are in an area of less poverty than many other areas of the world we've visited in the past. 

There are almost 100 restaurants in Port Douglas.
Its become familiar to us to being approached by locals trying to encourage us to purchase their handmade crafts and local trinkets.  With no room in our luggage and no home to eventually use or store such products, buying anything doesn't fit into the realm of our lives. 

Many of the restaurants are huge and elaborate attracting the most finicky of diners.
Without question, we certainly appreciate the diligence and hard work of those vendors throughout the world.  But, for us, practicality must prevail.

As we wandered on foot a beach area, we spotted the historic Court House and museum.  Unfortunately, it was closed or we'd have loved to go inside.
As we wandered the main streets in Port Douglas, we realized that no matter how much "sightseeing" we do, we don't fit into the typical tourist category.  Walking past the shops we chuckled over how unlikely it is that we'd purchase any of the clothing, bags, shoes and household goods.

Tom was admiring the trees at the beach park.
And, the many charming beachfront restaurants didn't appeal to our senses either when we've resigned ourselves to the fact that dining in restaurants in Australia may not be possible for me. 

An unusual tree with a portion of its root system above ground.
Checking out every posted menu as we walked, we further confirmed this fact.  Most of the meats offered on the menus are coated in sauces and battered in a manner that doesn't work for me.  The side dishes are starchy and often tinged with sugar. 

Its winter in Australia and  we don't see as many of flowers as there are in the spring.
The thought of spending US $22, AUD $30 for a unseasoned slab of barramundi and a plain lettuce salad doesn't appeal to me when we can go to our favorite fish market and purchase barramundi for under US $5, AUD $9 a serving, seasoned by us to perfection, with a side of sautéed veggies, a salad with homemade dressing and a coconut flour muffin slathered with grass fed butter.

We wandered about this beautiful beach park.

When dining in restaurants we have the concern of the food having been cooked in the same pan as those items I cannot have.  The risk of contamination is high.  Nor do we expect restaurant cooks and chefs to make special accommodations for me with the use of their cookware.

The views from every direction were breathtaking.
Sure, we'd love to visit a fabulous beach area and sit down for meal.  But, we always remember that we wouldn't be traveling the world if it weren't for my strict low carb, grain free, starch free, sugar free and chemical free way of eating that brought me to exquisite good health after years of suffering. 

A buoy to mark low water.
If Tom would like to dine out, I'm happy to join him and order that plain steak or fish and plain salad with nary a complaint.  Surprisingly, after all of this time Tom doesn't feel shortchanged.  Perhaps, that is why he loves cruising. 

The tide was low giving us an entirely different perspective of the beach.
While on a cruise, Tom can order anything he  wants without concern or worry when the ship's chefs manage to make everything work for me as they do for many other passengers with special diets.

There are many beaches that are covered with rock but, overall the beaches we've seen are sandy.
Without shopping, without dining out, without spending on pricey tourist attractions we happily find an entire world of wonder that we easily appreciate and cherish for its natural and unique beauty. 

This enormous Banyan Tree reminded us of the tree across the street from our condo in Honolulu.
In our old lives of seldom traveling we'd often spend considerable time at the hotel, the pool, the hotel's beach, a wide array of local restaurants and visiting a few choice attractions popular in the area.  This gave us a limited perspective of the area.

Possibly, a memorial for a beloved individual lost to the sea in this location.
Now, we live in an area shopping in their shops, cooking their locally grown foods, meeting the locals, wandering through their farmer's markets and most of all visiting those special places that Mother Nature created for us to respect and...for us to appreciate with love and care.

For this, we are grateful and for this, Port Douglas never let us down. 


From this view, we were seated in white chairs facing the ocean, left from a recent wedding.  It was a perfect spot for a wedding.


It was these rose petals on the ground that made us realize that a recent edding had been held in this spot.
On Cecil the lion: We can't avoid addressing the recent heartbreaking slaughter of Cecil, the lion, in Zimbabwe, Africa.  Rather than rant our personal views which our many worldwide readers can easily imagine, we share this well written tribute by Simon Espley to Cecil on my personal favorite website, Africa Geographic:

"While that rich American dentist and the hunting industry at large scramble for excuses and justifications for their actions, your rivals will already have killed your cubs and settled into your territory. Yes, those weak ones who could not challenge you now run your kingdom.   - See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/rip-cecil-lion-king/#sthash.KHlfCBVR.dpuf

You, Cecil, are the reason I am a proud African. Your spirit, your grace and your courage epitomise my Africa. You are the reason my team and I do what we do.
I am so sorry that you had to endure 40 painful hours with an arrow lodged in your body, that you were then shot, beheaded and skinned – turned into a trophy for a man whose only understanding of Africa is that our laws cannot protect you from his money.

 I am sorry that more was not done to protect you and I am outraged that you and your kind are seen not as kings, but as commodities.  On a selfish level I am sorry because I will never see you with my own eyes.

RIP big guy, and know that many of us humans DO care, and we are trying, desperately, to fight for you and yours.
A luta continua!"  (translated:  the fight goes on)

Last photograph of Cecil with his pack friend Jericho (standing) a month before he was killed
Last known photo of Cecil (lying down) and Jericho who both protected their 25 cubs.  Now, with Cecil gone, Jericho may not be able to protect those cubs on his own, resulting in their death.  (We borrowed this photo from the UK Telegraph).
We took this photo as one of many lion photos that we had the gift of seeing in the Masai Mara in October, 2013 while on a photo safari.  This experience forever changed our hearts and minds with love and appreciation of these magnificent beings. For more photos and details of our safari which we spread over many posts, please begin by clicking here and continuing on from there.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 30, 2014:

Our last night in Madeira, Portugal as we'd begin the trip to Paris in the morning.  It was a memorable two and a half months but, as always, we were ready to continue on.  For that final post with some of our favorite photos, please click here.






Road trip...Port Douglas...Lots to share after a perfect day...Photos shown in progression...

Every beach along the way has it own personality.  They may all look like sand, rock and water but we find each one to have it own unique scenery.
Since arriving in Trinity Beach on June 11th, its been in our minds after many recommendations from Aussies we met on the most recent cruise that a visit to Port Douglas was definitely worthwhile.

We had traveled part of the way toward Port Douglas several weeks ago, posting photos.  Thus, we began taking photos after that point to avoid repeats.
We couldn't agree more. After uploading yesterday's post I was particularly interested in heading out on this must-do outing.  On a whim, I suggested to Tom that we make the trip at long last.

Some beaches have massive expanses of sand and other have less sand and more rocky shorelines.
In minutes, we were heading out the door with a container of iced tea,  our mugs, extra camera batteries which we always keep charged, binoculars, the hot spot and unlocked phone ready to use for navigation if we needed it in a pinch which we never did.

Up until yesterday we'd only seen a few people on the beach such as in this photo.  However in days to come, we'll be sharing surprising photos of a packed beach.
We always take along our small insulated bag just in case we stop for perishable items we may find along the way. Although we didn't purchase a thing other than fuel, we came home to leftovers and time for a quick few hands of GIN before dinner.

We saw Double Island in the background.
It was a perfect day, returning with almost 200 photos most of which I've already perused, deleting those we didn't need to keep.  Its always challenging determining which photos we'll chose to post.  As usual we'll decide as we post over the next several days.

This beach was covered with rock and wild vegetation.
The coastline drive from Trinity Beach to Port Douglas consists of many areas of very steep winding mountain roads.  If rushing, one could make the trip in a period of shortly over an hour moving as fast as the posted kilometer signs or, as we did over a considerably longer period by often stopping to admire the scenery and take endless photos.

We had to travel quite a distance to no longer see Double Island which we can see from our veranda with Scout Island to the far right.
We were in no rush.  Our goal was to see as much as we could and return on the steep winding highway before dark.  When we returned home before dark we were pleased for a great day out and also for one more desirable experience in visiting this area of Queensland. 

The sand is so fine on the beaches that after taking a few photos, I have to gently wipe the miniature grains off of the lens.
The drive along the Coral Sea was beautiful on a mostly sunny day.  As typical in this ocean climate, the sun was in and out all day long.  We've yet to experience a day that remains sunny without an intermittent cloud cover throughout the day.

Today's and future day's photos will be posted in the order we took them.
Here's some information we borrowed from this online site about Port Douglas:

"Port Douglas is a town in Far North Queensland, Australia, approximately 70 km (40 mi) north of Cairns. Its permanent population was 3,205 at the time of the 2011 census.  The town's population can often double, however, with the influx of tourists during the peak tourism season May–September. The town is named in honour of former Premier of Queensland, John Douglas. Port Douglas developed quickly based on the mining industry. Other parts of the area were established with timber cutting occurring in the area surrounding the Daintree River and with settlement starting to occur on lots around the Mossman River by 1880.

Previous names for the town included Terrigal, Island Point, Port Owen and Salisbury. The town is situated adjacent to two World Heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.

The Port Douglas township was established in 1877 after the discovery of gold at Hodgkinson River by James Venture Mulligan. Port Douglas Post Office opened on 1 September 1877.  It grew quickly, and at its peak Port Douglas had a population of 12,000 and 27 hotels. With the construction of the Mulligan Highway it serviced towns as far away as Herberton.

When the Kuranda Railway from Cairns to Kuranda was completed in 1891, the importance of Port Douglas dwindled along with its population. A cyclone in 1911 which demolished all but two buildings in the town also had a significant impact. At its nadir in 1960 the town, by then little more than a fishing village, had a population of 100.

On 4 September 2006, entertainer a.k.a. "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin died at Batt Reef, off Port Douglas, after a stingray barb went through his chest into his heart while Irwin and his crew were filming a documentary called The Ocean's Deadliest.[10] Irwin was filmed snorkeling directly above the stingray when it lashed him with its tail, embedding its toxic barb. Irwin died almost immediately. This event was widely reported both in Australia and overseas.[11]

In 2012, Port Douglas was the pole position for a Total Solar Eclipse. This phenomenon took place at 6:38 am on 14 November 2012. The total eclipse was visible from approximately Innisfail in the south to Cedar Bay National Park in the North. Port Douglas was right in its path. Thousands travelled to Port Douglas to see the event."

Many beaches offer shady spots for those preferring to be out of the sun.  And yet, we seldom see people of the beaches as in this case of this pristine Ellis Beach.
Unquestionably, Port Douglas is an ideal tourist town.  We drove past numerous fabulous resort, hotels including some which were quaint and tucked away in the forest while others were lined up along the main roads for quick and easy access to restaurants, shops and attractions.

We were looking forward to seeing the renowned Four Mile Beach, a major attraction in Port Douglas.
The downtown area which we'll share in photos over the next several days was lined with shops, dining establishments, tourist planning centers and travel agencies many of which were on Macrossan Street and Wharf Street.  A shopping enthusiast could easily spend days wandering up and down the main street in downtown Port Douglas.

When we spotted the sign for this resort, we decided to drive in off of the highway to see it.
The waterfront, pier and marina were stops we thoroughly enjoyed stopping and easily parking to get out and explore.  Most likely, we parked no less than a dozen times to get out of the car to check out the scenery.  We saw as much in one day as many tourists may have seen over a period of days. 

The grounds at the entrance to Thula Beach Nature Reserve weren't used for any purpose, only kept up for viewing
We decided against visiting any of the fee based tourist attractions.  The crowds, the queues, the waiting, and the cost kept our interests focused on perusing the naturally beautiful scenery that Port Douglas has to offer which as you'll see are many. 

We couldn't resist this view as we entered the grounds of Thula Nature Reserve to check it out.
We'd researched online as we always do to ensure we'd hit the highlights that appealed to us which you'll see here beginning today.  There wasn't a single venue we wanted to see that we hadn't

Back on the highway, we were close to entering the Port Douglas area.
We have a few more road trips in mind over our remaining time in Trinity Beach.  Currently on day 48 of 88 days, we're beyond halfway of our time in this area.  With many booked upcoming cruises sailing the perimeter of the continent, we'll have plenty of additional opportunities to visit many of the highlights of Australia we'll surely have missed along the way.

Through the car's windshield, we spotted one of the first resorts in Port Douglas.  We had arrived!  We'll be back tomorrow with lots more.
Please stop back tomorrow for more photos from our road trip to Port Douglas, its wonderful town and more.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 29, 2014:

We'd made an error in posting the correct one-year-ago-date a few days ago.  Please click here for the correct post from one years ago today as we wrapped up our time in Madeira. 


We left Minnesota 1000 days ago...One year ago...Final costs of 77 days on the island of Madeira...


This flower appears to have the face of a fluffy white lamb.  Notice the eyes and nose.  We didn't see this until after we uploaded our many photos from our visit to the Cairns Botanic Gardens.
Today is 1000 days since we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012 to begin our new lives, our worldwide adventures, our foray into the unknown.  We'd marked the calendar that long ago for the 1000th day, at the time unsure if we'd ever reach it.  (Some time ago, we mentioned posting our 1000th post which is different.  We began posting seven months before we left so these are two distinct dates).

We had no clue when we posted today's reminder for the 1000th day if we'd tire of traveling, find our health prevented continuing on or if we found it financially impossible based on costs and inflation throughout the world.  None of these concerns have impeded the joyful continuance of our travels.



On the return drive from Cairns, we stopped to check out this roadside stand.  We didn't purchase anything when they only had fruit.
We are as enthusiastic in this life now as we were 1000 days ago.  The fear is gone with knowledge and experience in its place. We truly feel like experienced travelers and yet, we still have so much more to learn, to see, to explore. 

Many of our readers have been with us since the beginning and we commend you for your loyalty, diligence and input.  What a gift we receive everyday in knowing you are there!
We'd driven by this Farm Market many times on our way back and forth to Cairns, deciding it was time to stop to check it out.
Is it possible to imagine that some mornings I load my laptop, connect to the internet and start the app I use to upload this site without a clue as to what to put down in words and photos?

Can you imagine that some mornings when I study the folder on my desktop entitled "photos to post" that there's only a mishmash of unrelated photos I've yet to upload for lack of relevancy to a particular other batch of photos?



Their meat case was filled with many pre-seasoned and pre-coated with flour and breadcrumbs, none of which work for us.  But we did purchased a few bacon, chicken and spinach wrapped chicken breasts.
Do I panic?  Not at all.  Do I say to myself, "Gee...I wish I didn't have to do this every day?"  Not at all.  My little brain goes to work either from morning conversation between Tom and I, a tidbit on the news or at times a light bulb moment popping bright within my field of vision.

Sure, the day could come when the slate is blank and literally not a word, a thought, an urge or a nuance will waft through my head to reach my fingers on the keyboard, which are usually itching to be in action.  That could happen.  In reality, some day, this will happen.  But, its not today.



We hadn't seen cherries in a long time.  Some veg is organic and others are not which is not evident by signs posted.
Can you imagine that the photo file is nearly empty and we don't feel like going out on a sightseeing expedition?  That's a relatively common occurrence.  Why wouldn't it be?  Do any of us have enough "share worthy" information combined with photos to share every day of our lives?  Hardly.

Neither of us are into "selfies" which eliminates an entire category of photo taking.  Nor, am I continually updating my Facebook page with the "photo of the day or moment." 


This package of crocodile is AUD $15, USD $10.91.  Next time we stop by that store, I think we'll try buy one of these and try it.
On Facebook, I tend to post a photo of an inanimate subject that I find interesting such as in today's photo at the top of this page that I "saved" from the Cairns Botanic Gardens" to post. 


We aren't quite ready to try eating kangaroo and these sausages contained sugar and wheat.
The main photo was my favorite from the gardens tour day, saved in the same manner that one may save that last tender morsel on their plate to eat as the very last bite...a reward at the end for our patience?

There's a lot of things we could do today.  Sylvie and Andy purchased chaise lounges which they placed next to the pool so we could lounge there for our dose of Vitamin D, as opposed to sitting in a chair on the veranda.  We couldn't be more pleased with the kind and caring attention they've given to our needs and wants.  Today, we could lounge by the pool for awhile.



Tom put his hand out to show illustrate the size of this huge sweet potato.
We could take a drive to a new area further from Trinity Beach to return with hundreds of new photos which could see us through days of posting or, we could make several short trips to unseen spots in the area, although we seem to have already thoroughly scoured the immediate area.

Don't get me wrong.  We love getting out and taking photos.  Its getting us out the door that is always the challenge when its so easy to do nothing, one of our favorite pastimes.  And doing nothing is not really doing nothing.  We seem to be busy all day even when we stay home with the intent of doing "nothing."



We purchased some of the bacon in the rear middle of this case.  Once cooked we realized that the rind was still attached and we had to pull it off like a long leather boot shoelace.  Otherwise, the bacon was nitrate free and delicious.  As shown, many of the items for sale are pre-seasoned and coated.
I can imagine that many of our retiree readers totally get what we're saying here today.  Life doesn't always consist of busy, meaningful and active days filled with new discoveries and revelations.  And, many otherwise quiet days end up a flurry of activity.

So, we'll see what the day brings.  I imagine that tomorrow when you stop by, you'll see something new and shown for the very first time as we do each and every day. 


Ibis are commonly seen birds in Australia.
Happy day to all of you whether you stay in, head out on a walk or on an adventure.  It all matters.
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Photo from one year ago today, July 28, 2014:

As we were fast approaching departing Madeira, we posted all of our final expenses as we do when getting ready to leave each country.  For details of those expenses, please click here.