The 12 hour trip from the ship to Bali...

Had we not been traveling the highway as such a clip, we'd have been able to take dozens of photos such as this, of famous Balinese gods, kings and queens.
There remains a sense of awe and wonder for this life we live.  After our taxi whizzed  through Singapore's 7 km tunnel under a part of the city and the sea, we couldn't help feeling charmed by the crisp cleanliness and beauty of the hot humid climate creating an exquisite environment in full bloom.


There are more motorcycles on the roads in Bail than anywhere else in the world.
We'll return to Singapore for a week in a mere 59 days with a hotel booked and paid with our only upcoming expenses meals and transportation.  In the interim, we look forward to life in Bali.


These types of stone statues are frequently included in new construction design to maintain the integrity of the Balinese culture.
In our old lives such a week's long holiday that we'll have in Singapore would have left us reeling with anticipation and excitement.  Now, entrenched in this peculiar lifestyle, we attempt to avoid taking it in our stride.  If we ever lose that sense of wonder we still so passionately possess, it would be time to reconsider.


Interspersed with newer buildings many historical structures remain in Bali.
For now,  on occasion we awaken in the middle of the night  wondering for a split second where we are only to realize that we're living this life. A smile washes over our faces in the dark and we know we are home...wherever that may be and... it still feels good.


The over two hour drive (of a total of four hours) through the capital city of Denpasar (pop. approximately 856,412), has numerous shops and malls, some very old and operated by local merchants and others more modern as shown here.
The fact that we stand together in this passion remains a mystery.  How did we get here so united in our interests and desires?  How did this commonality fester and grow  to provide such a strong foundation in both our relationship and our commitment to carry on?


Typical scene on the narrow highway; a old Balinese structure and the helmet of a passing motorcyclist.
Perhaps, the answer is irrelevant. Perhaps, like life itself, we acquire a quiet acceptance of our place in the world.  Somehow, we've found ours.


These are typical shops along the main road as we traveled to Negara.

As I spew these thoughts aboard the flight from Singapore to Bali,  I'm  reminded of our vulnerability and the need to let our future in part remain in the hands of hopefully qualified pilots and means of transportation. 


Basket weaving in commonly seen in tropical climates as a means of adding to a vendor's wares.
We can't always be in control.  In part, our ability to hand over the reins at times with dignity, grace and ease becomes as much a vital part of this journey as when we have the potentiality of being in the driver's seat.


Balinese architecture remains a constant in Bali.
And thus, as we've arrived in Bali after the harrowing four hour drive through some of the worst traffic on two lane roads, we've ever seen, we're prepared for this leg in our journey.  We're unpacked, in our swimsuits and absorbing the exquisite views and property.

Pottery making is common in Bali, some plain, others highly decorative as shown in the far right.
We look forward to the adventure with the same degree of passion we felt 42 months ago.  Photos and stories of tropical island life begin.  Stay with us, stay beside us,  as we continue on, longing to share it all with you.


As darkness fell we finally reached the area of the road with an ocean view.
Tomorrow, we'll be back with more photos of Bali, as a dream of paradise on earth is definitely in our midst. 

Happy day to you as well.
_____________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, May 1, 2015:


Stunning Anthurium flowers in Kauai as we began to wind down the last weeks of our four month stay on the Garden Island.  For more details, please click here.
 

Final cruise expenses...Disembarkment day....Off to Bali this morning...

Due to the poor wifi signal, we're unable to post any photos today which should all be changing in the next few days once we're on land.  Thanks for your patience!

The cruise has ended!  By the time you see this post, we'll be disembarking the ship, heading to the Singapore International Airport and boarding our plane which departs at 10:45 am. 

We're excited to be on our way to Bali. It seems as if we made plans for Bali a very long time ago.  To actually be heading there at long last leaves us with a little trepidation but a lot of excitement to once again be settled in a beautiful location.

Once the long four hour drive to the house is behind us and we're unpacked and feeling settled with an adequate wifi signal, we'll be able to catch up on our missing year-ago-photos and conduct research to be more detailed in our information. 

The cost for the cruise itself was as follows:

Total Cruise Costs including all on ship expenses: $4,475.34

Cruise Costs:
 $3,869.10
Total Cruise Bill: $606.24

Cost for Cruise for Balcony Cabin #7618

Cruise Charges (includes port charges)    $ 3,846.00
Senior Rate                                                      - 259.00

Government Taxes                                              282.10
Pre-paid Gratuities                                              336.00
Pre-paid Gratuities                                            - 336.00
Total Cost (US)                                           $ 3,869.10

As for incidentals we spent when off the ship:
FitBit Device for Jess:                                    $     177.47
Insect Repellent for Bali:                                        17.67
Grand Total for Incidentals:                        $   194.14

Total Transportation/Hotel Costs:
Airfare Auckland to Sydney:                           $    377.00
Hotel Sydney                                                      188.00
Taxi Sydney Airport to Hotel                                  68.47
Grand Total for Transportation/Hotel         $  623.47

Breakdown of Cruise Bill by Category
Port Merchant  (toiletries)                              $      8.25
Laundry (2 times)                                               55.00
Beverage Packages (2-10 drinks each)                138.00
Beverages not included in fare                            347.99
Shuttle bus                                                         20.00
Mascara (3)                                                        82.00
Internet                                                            255.00
Cabin credits                                                   - 300.00
Total cruise bill                                            $  606.24

Grand total for all above expenses        US $ 5,292.85 

Due to the poor wifi signal aboard the ship, we're unable to convert to Australian dollars at this time.

Well, folks, the next time we "see you" here, we'll be in Bali writing and sharing better photos of our new home for the next two months.  Thanks to all of our loyal friend readers who followed along with us and to our many new friends we've met along the way who we hope to see here soon.

Once again no year-ago photo until we get situated with a better signal soon.
Happy day to all.


We're back in Singapore!...Cruise is ending....Disembarking the ship early tomorrow morning...


Sunset out to sea.
Today has been a busy day.  We've packed and will place our bags outside our cabin door for a late evening pickup. Once we disembark early in the morning we'll collect our bags and be on our way, looking for the prearranged driver for the ride to the Singapore International Airport. 

We've left out clothing and toiletries for tonight and tomorrow morning and of course, all of our digital equipment, computers, and documents which we'll keep in our possession.
Sunset moments later.
Also, today, we've prepared two posts, today's and tomorrow's, with all of our final expenses for the entire cruise, including the cruise fare, all ancillary cruise-related expenses and miscellaneous spending along the way.

The floor in the casino.  We never played!
Time has moved quickly over these past two weeks. We've thoroughly enjoyed every single day aboard Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas, as we always do on all cruises.  The social activities have been over-the-top as we've met hundreds of wonderful people, most Aussies, some Kiwis and a handful of others from a variety of countries. 

We still haven't encountered the reported 15 other American passengers on board the ship although we did meet a few Americans that have lived in Australia for decades, their American accents interspersed with the delightful Australian dialect.

The Promenade at night,
Of course, we welcome interaction with people from all over the world especially after our growing worldwide travel experience.  As time marches on, we've both become more adept at understanding thick accents from many countries and enjoy the varied perspective of many travelers whether they're on their first or 25th cruise.

Cosmetics shop on the Promenade where I made a purchase.
Amid today's tasks, we went to the movie in the La Scala Theatre at 2:30 for a much-enjoyed respite from the usual activities.  Even there, while waiting for the movie to begin, we often meet yet more people, all making an effort to be quiet when the movie begins.

We're anxious to be settled in Bali by tomorrow evening around 6 pm, providing all of our travel plans go smoothly. As for Singapore today, we'll be back for a week in 60 days when we'll see the sites and explore this amazing country.
A portion of the art gallery.
Hope your day will be productive, leaving you with a sense of accomplishment in whatever you decide to do.  Happy day!

No photo from one year ago due to the poor wifi signal.  Thanks for your patience!

We're in Port Klang, Malaysia...Sailing in the South China Seas...Unbelievable sites to see...In 48 hours, we'll be flying away...

 
This is a floating oil rig we spotted in the harbor in Singapore.
As mentioned in yesterday's post, we're not getting off the ship today.  With a three hour round trip bus ride to Kuala Lumpur from Port Klang, it wasn't appealing to us, especially when all of the tours were centered around three or four hours of shopping in the capital city.

With the ship departing at 4:30 pm today and disembarking the port not allowed until after 8 am, it left little time to feel safe doing something on our own, risking not returning to the ship on time for departure.

This is a tug boat pulling a floating oil rig in the bay, unrelated to the freighter in the background.
This morning when Tom took a walk to check out our arrival in Malaysia, he came back to the cabin coughing.  He explained the pollution was so severe it was hard to breathe outside. 

We're used to some of the freshest air in the world in New Zealand and out to sea.  The thought of spending an entire day having trouble breathing held little appeal.  As we always say, our health is our top priority. 



Through the haze, we could see Singapore
Besides, at the moment approximately 25% of the ship's passengers have colds, flu and bronchitis, many of whom have been to see the ship's doctor for antibiotics, so we've heard.

For the second morning in a row, we were seated at a breakfast table in the dining room, only standing minutes later apologizing for leaving, when we heard diners at the table coughing and sneezing.  We don't want to get sick this time.


Singapore looks interesting even through the haze.
Out of 13 cruises in 42 months, we've been ill five times catching colds and flu often lasting for many weeks after we were off the ship.  The worst of this was when we arrived in Australia this past June and were sick for six weeks after the cruise ended.

We avoiding taking antibiotics during that illness but for both of us, it was the worst case of flu either of us ever had with a horrible cough, fever and lingering weakness that was unlike anything we'd ever experienced in the past.  On a few occasions, we went as far as wondering if we had contracted malaria in our travels. 



We wish we could have had a clearer day to show how many boats were in the harbor in Singapore.


Over time and after considerable rest, we eventually recovered within a week of one another.  Its the nature of the beast.  We're going to get sick on cruises from time to time. 

For this cruise, I started taking 2000 mg of powdered vitamin C in its purest form a week before we left continuing each day aboard the ship.  It tastes terrible but so far so good.  Tom usually gets sick after me, catching whatever I get.  If I stay well, most likely he will also.  I'm not about to say we're safe from illness this time and need to wait until three days after the cruise ends to rest easy. 

Yesterday, we sailed by the port in Singapore which we passed on the way to Malaysia in the South China Seas.  It was one of the most amazing sites we've ever seen.  There were literally hundreds of cargo ships, tugboats, junks and small fishing boats in the immediate area. 
This adorable hanging towel monkey was hanging in our cabin when we returned last night.
I attempted to take photos in Singapore but the dense fog, humidity and smog made it difficult.  Also, the camera kept fogging up from being inside air conditioning and then outside in the humid climate.  By the time the camera's temp stabilized we'd moved far from Singapore. So please bear with our less than ideal photos today.

In less than 48 hours and we'll be on the flight to Bali.  Tomorrow morning, we'll arrive back to Singapore where we'll spend the night to disembark the following morning.  On this upcoming June 28th we'll be back in Singapore for a week's stay departing on July 5th.  

When we return for that week, we'll explore the city and its amazing sites both day and night.  Its hard to believe that's only two months away.  How the time has flown!

Hopefully, I'll be able to upload today's post sooner than yesterday's when we were unable to get a signal until later in the evening.  We'll see how that goes.

Have a fabulous day!  Thanks for "hanging in there" with us during this poor wifi period aboard this ship!
______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 28, 2915:

We're unable to post a year ago photo due to a poor wifi connection aboard the ship.  Thank you for your patience.

New ship photos...Managing travel days...



A beautiful sunset as we passed the tip of Australia.
This morning at 7 am we crossed the equator.  There have been several time changes over these past several days, including two separate 30 minute time changes, a first for us.  Now, we're back on the hour as we continue toward Southeast Asia.

Time is moving quickly as our cruise winds down.  With only three days until we disembark the ship to make our way to the Singapore International Airport to fly to Bali, we realized it was time to book transportation from the port to airport.

An elephant made from towels left on our bed at night during turn down service. (My reading specs).
Most often we aren't able to get off the ship until 8 am or so.  This time we made special arrangements to disembark earlier at around 7:30 am with the driver arriving to pick us up at the port at 8 am. 


The Flowrider, a fun activity for those who can participate.
Hopefully, this should leave us plenty of time to get through customs and immigration making it in plenty of time for our 10:45 am flight to Bali.  Sure, its a tight schedule for our liking and Tom is a little worried.  But, as always my rationale remains the same;  get there safely and in good health and the rest is incidental.


The miniature golf course.
Missing a flight is not something we've experienced as yet and of course, we hope we'll never will be in that situation.  The reality is, as inconvenient as it may be to miss a flight, we'd figure it out.  It may cost time and money but as mentioned above, safety and good health always supersede all else.

At a distance, the rock climbing wall next to the sports court.
We'll be anxious to get as far away from Denspasar Airport as quickly as possible.  Listed as a high risk location, with attacks in Bali over these past few years, the further away we get from the big city, the more at ease we will be.

Once the pre-arranged driver in Bali picks us up at the airport, we'll be on our way on a four hour drive to the house on the southern coast.  If all goes as planned, we should arrive at the house around 6 pm with the household staff holding dinner for us.


Close up of the rock climbing wall.
We requested an easy dinner for our arrival; chicken, cheese and veggies.  Once situated we'll be able to review our food restrictions, shopping list and future menu options with the cook and staff. 

As always, we looking forward to being unpacked, organized and checking out the quality of the wifi.  If the wifi proves to be problematic, we have a backup plan to rent an unlimited hotspot from a company that is located two hours from the house that charges a small fee to deliver it to us at the house.  We'll report the fees if this proves to be necessary.

View from upper deck of the hot tubs by the pool.
As I write today's post, once again we're sitting in the Promenade Café.  So far over the past two hours new friends of Tom's have stopped by to sit with us over a cup of coffee. 

As I continue to write, one ear is directed to their lively conversation as they make every effort to include me in the idle and pleasant chatter.  Gosh, this is almost too much fun, interacting with people hour after hour.

I suppose we've handed out no less than 150 business cards to ensure our new friends can easily reach us after the cruise, reading our posts old and new, and be able to contact us and we them, when we return to Australia and eventually Tasmania.  How fortunate we've been to meet so many wonderful people!

May someone new cross your path today and bring you joy!
______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 27, 2015:
Due to a poor internet signal we're unable to post the one-year-ago photo.












Part 3...New Darwin photos...Staying entertained, educated and entranced...


No sooner than we stepped off the shuttle bus, we spotted this local zoo staff person promoting the venue to the ship's passengers while holding this baby croc.  Its mouth is wrapped in a rubber band as shown.

There's some form of a mindlessness that transpires for both of us when we're cruising.  Somehow we get into a mode of a series of pleasing routines interspersed with idle chatter with an endless stream of people that takes us to an almost abstract state of mind.


As we walked on the pier in Darwin toward the shuttle bus.
Don't get me wrong...we love this state of being, in part since we know it will never last for the long haul.  It only lasts as long as the cruise itself. Perhaps in part its the total lack of responsibility; no bed to make, no dishes to wash, no food to cook, no laundry to hang outside in the breeze.

But then, we're not inactive.  Since wearing my newly purchased FitBit a few days ago, although I haven't yet made the 10,000 hoped-for steps a day, I'm working my way up higher and higher each day as I take stairs instead of elevators and walk the "long way" around the ship when possible. 


The port of Darwin.
Even Tom seems to be moving about along with me in my mission to stay as active as possible on the ship.  Its so easy to eat and sit too much when many activities seem to involve both. 

Turning back to glance at our ship, Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas.
I must admit I feel a bit overstuffed with the good meals the chef has managed  to make for my way of eating, often putting way too much food on each plate, twice as much as I'd normally consume.

Once we settle in Bali in five days, we'll both resume our lower consumption healthy diets.  In part I'm  a little concerned it may be tough to stay active with a household staff of four who'll make the bed, wash the dishes, cook the food, leaving us only with the option of doing our own laundry.


Tom busied himself chatting with the friendly driver on the shuttle to town.
Most likely we'll want to do the laundry mainly to ensure we're doing "something" to get us up and off of our butts.  It doesn't appear we'll be doing a ton of sightseeing in Bali based on our distant location and lack of a rental car. 

We assumed this was the entrance to a mall but found this entrance had yet to open in this new building.  Walking around the next corner we easily found the huge outdoor mall.
Parts of Bali are unsafe for road trips which we'll definitely keep in mind with safety always a top priority. However, we'll find plenty of fodder for our Bali experiences both in our immediate environment and when we get out to explore every few days with the driver that's available at the villa.

Do we feel like a holiday/vacation is ending?  In a funny way the answer is yes.
No, we don't go "home" to unpack, go through a pile of mail, catch up on bill paying and daily tasks.  None of that applies to us.

Surprisingly, there was a fair amount of traffic in Darwin, not unlike we'd experienced in New Plymouth, NZ.
We pay our credit card balances, deposits for rentals, cruises and flights online wherever we may be.  No such task is ever awaiting us at the end of any one experience.  We pay as needed in any given time period regardless of where we may be.

But, the end of an cruise, always remains the end of yet another type of pleasurable event unlike any other in our day to day lives.  Many times, passengers we've met have asked us if we'd like to cruise indefinitely.  The answer is "no." 

A part of the mall was covered providing a shelter from the heat of the sun.  Darwin has a tropical climate.
The novelty of cruising would be lost if it was a daily or long term commitment,  Soon, the days and nights would blend into one another and the uniqueness would be lost to the mundane.

For us, nomads that we've become, the joy of our lifestyle seems to center around the constant change in location, lifestyle and surroundings keeping us entertained, educated and entranced.

With only four more nights aboard ship, we're winding down and beginning to focus a little attention on the future.  With an upcoming whirlwind of travels over the next several months, visiting five countries in the next four months to include: Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, we're enthused and looking forward to an endless variety of stories to tell and photos to share.

Hang on, dear readers.  We'll be back with lots more!
______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 26, 2015:


A year ago on this date, we posted photos of our guide in Africa on photo safari.  Tom and Anderson really hit it off.  This was within moments of arrival at the dirt runway airport in the Masai Mara.  For more of these photos we reposted a year ago, please click here.

Part 2...Visiting Darwin...more photos



Tom checking out the sights in the Darwin area.
Today is ANZAC day in Australia.  This morning, aboard the ship, services were held for Australians and New Zealanders in commemoration of this special day in their lives.
These plaques are imbedded into the cement walkway in Darwin.

ANZAC day is described as:

Anzac Day /ˈænzæk/ is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served."


Another plaque in the cement in the walkway.

The Aussies and Kiwis take ANZAC Day very seriously.  It was quite a site to see the number of passengers attending this special day's celebration that Royal Caribbean honored on their behalf.  With 2500 Australians and New Zealanders onboard, it was an interesting perspective for us to witness.


Shopping area in Darwin.

As we mentioned earlier, there are about 17 Americans aboard this ship.  We still have yet to meet a single American, instead enjoying all the other passengers from these two and other countries throughout the world.


Small band playing on the street in Darwin.

This morning, when I began posting in the Promenade Cafe we met a wonderful couple from Australia, younger than us, who have done extensive travel through their home country and soon are venturing to other worldwide locations.

Its been delightful to share stories with other travelers we've meet during this wonderful cruise, their adventures and hopes for the future, often not unlike our own. 


A busy spot on the shopping walkway.

In a few days we'll arrive in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Unfortunately, its a 90 minute ride to the city and all offered tours stop at shopping areas for the day.  For us, a day of shopping is hardly in our wheelhouse. 

This city is known for its varied shopping.  Many passengers have brought along extra empty luggage specifically for this purpose.  We could take a private taxi into town for our own tour to exclude shopping, we've decided not to go at this juncture
Double decker "hop on, hop off" buses and lots of cars lined the busy Darwin downtown area.
With three hours of driving time, the taxi fare would be outrageous and we'd run the risk of not getting back to the ship in time if there were unforeseen delays.  On a ship sponsored tour the ship will wait for any late arriving passengers.  On our own, they don't wait.  Its simply not worth the risk.

As a result many other passengers we've spoken to, also have decided to stay behind on this less-than-convenient port arrival.  We'll be back in this part of the world in the next few months and can easily explore on our own on our own terms.

There wasn't a huge amount of high rise building in Darwin.
We'll continue to make every effort to post as we continue on this cruise.  With five days until the cruise ends, we'll continue to take photos in hopes of being able to upload them along the way.

Happy days to all!
______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 25, 2015:
A view of the Hanelei Wildlife Refuse from a hard to find overlook in Princeville.  For more photos from one year ago, please click here.

Part 1...Visiting Darwin...A beautiful city...Busy downtown area...



The two little ones played with the hanging braches of a Banyan tree in the middle of town.
The shuttle ride to Darwin from the port wasn't more than 10 minutes from start to finish. Waiting in line to board the shuttle took about 35 minutes. In essence we could have walked into town but, we enjoyed the ride seeing a little more than we would have on foot.



We actually had to purchase a few items which made the outing all the more fun for us.  We'd been told by other travelers to purchase insect repellent in Australia since we'd be unable to find many options in Bali.

The sports store where we purchased a new Fitbit for me.
Secondly, after noticing several passengers wearing FitBit fitness tracking devices, I was determined to purchase a new one since my years old tracker had bit the dusk awhile back.

The Intersport store has typical sportswear and equipment.
I've found using such a device forces me on my feet more, taking stairs instead of elevators and generally be more active.  After returning to the ship and setting up the FitBit, I'd done over 1500 steps in the first two hours.  At this rate, it may be possible to do the desired 10,000 steps a days.

We walked up and down several blocks looking for the store.  It was a beautiful day, warm but tolerable in the shade.
It wasn't that I detected any of the wearers necessarily appearing more fit than non wearers but for me, its had always been a good motivator, digital person that I am. 

Plus, my last wristwatch died a few days ago and for the low price I'd paid for them, it didn't make sense to replace the batteries.  The new wrist-worn FitBit also doubles as a watch. Perfect.

A pleasant park in near the shopping district.
We wandered about Darwin feeling totally comfortable and safe in the lovely city.  The high temperature was offset by a cooling ocean breeze.  The city was clean and low key with an abundance of shops and restaurants.  Of course, whenever the cruise ships came to town, the businesses thrives.

The Darwin State Square.  Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory in Australia.
When we entered a local chemist shop, it was jammed with dozens of cruise passengers. Cruise ships carry few toiletry items onboard and an opportunity for a stop at a pharmacy is always a popular tourist attraction.

As we wandered about the town, we were amazed by how similar is it to New Plymouth, NZ which we left only a little over a week.  In many ways it feels as if its been much longer ago since we left when we've so easily immersed ourselves into life aboard ship.

The Darwin State Square Building.
We apologize for the last posting once again.  Not only did we have a very busy morning, we just left La Scala Theatre after watching yet another movie, a perk included in the cruise fare.  Now after 4 pm, its time to dress for the evening and to attend a special party for Crown and Anchor members at 4:45. 

After the party, we'll head to the bar for a pre dinner beverage and by 7:30 make our way to the main dining room for what most likely will prove to be yet another enjoyable evening at a shared table of eight or ten.
______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 24, 2015:
Due to the poor wifi signal on the ship, we're unable to post the year-ago photo today.  We'll get caught up as soon as we get a better signal.  If you don't see a post, know that we're struggling to get online and will be back as soon as possible.  Thanks for your patience.