Day 18...Circumventing the Australian continent...Yesterday's memorable day in Perth with friends...

Carlo and Michelle standing near their Mustang in the port of Perth parking lot.

"Sighting on the Ship in Australia"
Painting of Statue of Liberty in art gallery aboard the ship.
By 9 am, we easily made our way off the ship to wait for Michelle and Carlo to pick us up in front of the passenger cruise terminal in Perth.  In the flurry of activity we'd failed to ask for a description of their car. 

Tom remembered they'd purchased a new Mustang from our continuing contact on Facebook since we met them on a cruise in April from Sydney to Singapore. In no time at all, we saw them both approaching us, arms open wide for big Aussie welcomes and hugs.

Lighthouse near the port.
It was a cloudy and rainy day which didn't put a damper on our day.  They drove us through many beautiful areas of Perth enabling us to see their beloved city.  The dense clouds hindered our views and photos but at least we got the concept and charm of some of the many highlights of the Twin Cities of Perth and Fremantle. 

Although photos weren't as good as we'd have liked the day spent together was undoubtedly the greatest point of all.  They'd both taken the day off work to be with us which we fully appreciated. 

Boats at the marina.
After a tour through Perth and Fremantle we ended up at a large shopping mall as huge as any major mall in the US.  Tom and Carlo joined us at the mall, later taking off to let Michelle and I do some shopping while he took Tom to his jewelry shop where he and his staff make exquisite custom jewelry with gems and fine metals from all over the world. 

I definitely needed a few clothing items and Michelle proved to be an ideal shopping companion.  It had been so long since I'd shopped in a mall of this caliber, let alone with another woman.  I felt like a kid in a candy store, my eyes darting about over the massive number of stores, products and concepts, many of them entirely new in my limited exposure to shopping. 

Rain and haze prevented a good view of the city centre of Perth.
We darted from shop to shop.  Eventually, I found four shirts, a belt and a pair of pants that fulfilled all of my expectations.  Although each item was pricier than I'd have liked, most were on sale, of very high quality and entirely wash and wear, a must in our world of travels.

A few hours later, the guys returned to the mall, easily found us per Michelle's call to Carlo and we all had lunch in the food court.  We'd wanted to take them to an special restaurant for lunch but they insisted they'd be thrilled to eat in the food court. Tom was eyeballing the McDonalds restaurant.

View from a park we would have walked had it not been as rainy as it wa
I was concerned I wouldn't be able to find anything that would work for my way of eating.  Lo and behold, there were many low carb, gluten free options and I had a delicious salad with salsa, guacamole, chicken salad and veggies that tasted as good as any meal I'd had in years.  I couldn't recall the last time I'd had Mexican food in a restaurant.

Of course, Tom enjoyed his cheeseburger and fries from McDonalds while the rest of us dined on items from separate locations.  The last time we'd had a meal in a food court was back in the US at least five or six years ago, long before I began this way of eating. 

Swan River in Perth/Fremantle.
The engaging conversations and the day passed quickly.  In no time at all we were back at the cruise terminal hugging, taking photos and saying goodbye.  How does one say thank you after such a fine day with two kind, generous and special individuals?  We can only hope that someday our paths will cross again.

Back in the terminal, the return process for the back-to-back cruise was quick and queues, no check in lines and only one fast pass through security with our new SeaPass cards in hand.  Soon we were back in our familiar cabin, dressing for the evening and ready for the 5 pm muster drill which is required that all consecutive passengers attend.

Fred, Michelle and Carlo's parrot who lives at Carlo's jewelry studio.  When Fred saw Tom he squawked at him and then said "Fred."
By 5:30 we were back on the elevator to the 13th floor to see our friends, Lois and Tom and Cheryl and Stan in the Diamond Lounge for more 'free" drinks, laughter and more of the pure pleasure of spending time with special people.

Top of our ship to the right.
Once again, our travels find us in the position of feeling grateful and in awe of the people we meet, whether they're local citizens in a remote location, Aussies from the big city like Michelle and Carlo, Kat and John or the four friends as mentioned above from the USA. 

This was CJ (for Carlo Junior), the family's Char Pei who took a liking to Tom.
The world is a huge place.  When we've been blessed to meet people along the way, it becomes small and intimate, not so far removed from the life we left  behind many moons ago.

Today, a new 1500 passengers are among us with the remaining almost 500 of us on the back-to-back for a new total of around 2000 passengers.  No doubt, the joy of this fabulous cruise will continue over these next 16 days until we eventually dock in Sydney to fly to Tasmania on December 3, 2016. 

Garden at Carlo's parent's adjoining property near the studio.
Living this life on the move isn't always easy.  Nor is it a simple process to plan the equivalent of one vacation/holiday after another, year after year, never returning to a "home" to regroup or repack. 

But, its the life we've chosen and for us, a very happy life filled with endless wonders and surprises, most certainly enhanced by the people we've meet along the way. 

Jewelry making workshop.
Thank you, people; those we've meet, those who travel with us via the web each and every day and those whom we've yet to meet...thank you for your kindness, your acceptance and most of all, your love.

Photo from one year ago today, November 17, 2015:

A few boats at the pearl pier in Savusavu, Fiji.  For more photos, please click here.


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