Sightseeing in the exquisite surroundings...Welcoming the sunshine...Clontarf Reserve...


Moreton Bay Fig Tree highlights the entrance to Clontarf Reserve.  Click here for details on this type of tree.
Yesterday afternoon, Bob popped down to see us, as he does several times each day asking if we'd like to venture out on some sightseeing to the North Beaches area which we can see from our veranda which appears difficult to get to from across the bay based on our view.

Zoom in for hours of operation at Clontarf Reserve.
As it turned out, the access to the area was easy and, although hilly, was a pleasant ride in Bob's comfortable newer car.  Leave it to Bob to ensure we had another great experience.

In no time at all, we were out of the car enthralled with some of the best scenery Sydney has to offer with expansive views and photos ops we could hardly believe.

Lots of fluffy clouds enhanced our photos.
The area we're highlighting today is Clontarf Reserve and Beach, one of the many areas we visited during yesterday''s outing.  In fact, upon returning, we found numerous great reviews online including these following comments at TripAdvisor.

Clontarf Reserve and Beach include the following amenities that many visitors and tourists may find pleasing for a day at the park and beach including these comment below from this site for both individual and group use for such events as weddings, reunions and parties:

"Facilities
  • Toilets: Amenities Block with disabled access and toilet
  • BBQs: 4 double electric & 2 single electric
  • Playground: Yes undercover, shaded suitable for 0-12 age group
  • Carparking: Carpark and street parking
  • Carpark entry fees – Metered parking - charges apply, Ratepayers / Residents with designated car stickers have free entry; disabled parking:   2 spaces
  • Applicable: Monday to Sunday 8.00am to 6.00pm
  • Lighting: Park lighting only
  • Power: Upon request.
  • Seating/Tables: Both
  • Shelter: 2 gazebo type shelters/ seating for 16 and shade trees
  • Water/Taps: Taps and bubbler near swimming pool and at amenities block & 1 outdoor shower
  • Passive/Active Recreation: Passive (continued below)

There are hundreds of sailboats and motor boats in the marina.  Construction is in process as shown on the left but doesn't seem to impede any of the activities.

Availability (for group events, only)
  • Anytime up to 10pm
  • Tentative bookings must be confirmed within 1 week.
  • Community Facilities Co-ordinator will email confirmation of your booking.
  • Fees must be paid within two weeks of request of booking.
Bookings are required for group event and fees are applicable

Weddings

For information (including fees) about booking Council venues for a wedding ceremony function, please see the page:
Other facilities
  • Clonny’s Restaurant: (02) 9948 2373
  • Kiosk, enclosed swimming baths, sailing, boat access ramp.
  • Manly Scenic Walkway Access."

We can only imagine the cost of the one of these boat slips.
Clonny's Restaurant is located on the premises, with information found here including pricing and menu options.  Nearby, as mentioned above, is the Manly Scenic Walkway, a 3 hour, 30 minute 10 km walk (one way) with information located at this site.  

Not only did we enjoy visiting Clontarf Reserve and Beach on the sunny, albeit windy day, Bob drove us to several choice locations which had us dashing out of the car to seeing yet another gorgeous expanse in the horizon.

Hills surrounding the bay.
Please check back over the next several days as we'll continue to post breathtaking scenery photos we're excited to share.  Soon, we're off to catch the Hop, Skip, Jump bus to Manly where we'll embark on a long walk and to grocery shopping for a few items we'll need to last until after our packages arrive.

Hopefully both packages will arrive on Monday and/or Tuesday, as per the online tracking for Tom's new laptop and our formerly missing package from the US.

This reminds us both of our boating days in Minnesota many moons ago.
We plan to "stay put" on Monday and Tuesday (or longer, if necessary) until we have those two packages in hand.  We've made a sign for both Fed Ex and Australia Post which Bob will post by the mailbox early Monday morning to ensure the delivery personnel know to walk down the side of the house to bring the packages down to us.  Our fingers are crossed.

Have a beautiful weekend! 
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Photo from one year ago today, April 1, 2016:
The Fonterra Cheese Factory with a retail store across the street in Eltham, New Zealand.  For more details on this quaint town, please click here.

Counting down the days until our next adventure...

Earlier this week while on the Manly Ferry, we were finally able to take sunny morning photos of Sydney Harbour, a cruise ship, another ferry and Harbour Bay Bridge.
There's an app we often use to calculate between two dates.  I must admit I probably use it everyday for one reason or another.  If this free app, Time and Date, could be of use to you, please click here.  Enter the dates you'd like to calculate and voila!  Easy.
The Sydney Opera House appears to be a floating island.
This morning, contemplating upcoming travels sent me into a tizzy of unbridled enthusiam especially now that prior worrisome factors are behind us.  Here's a few calculations made from today's date of March 31, 2017 that we're anticipating for the remainder of 2017 using the above app:

22 days -  Cruise from Sydney to North America (24 days)
48 days -  Cruise from Vancouver to Alaska (9 days)
57 days -  Flight from Seattle, Washington to Minneapolis, Minnesota
99 days -  Flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Las Vegas, Nevada
124 days - Flight from Las Vegas, Nevada to Costa Rica
237 days - Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Valpareso, Chili on to a back-to-back cruise to Buenos Aires, Argentina (30 days combined)
268 days - Buenos Aires, Argentina (30 days - ending January 23, 2018)

Lighthouses always create an interesting photo opp.
Of all of the above dates, of course, we're most excited to head back to the USA to see family and friends.  By the time we arrive in Minnesota on May 26, 2017, it will have been (again using the app) as follows since we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012:

"From and including: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
To, but not including Friday, May 26, 2017

Result: 1668 days

It is 1668 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date

Or 4 years, 6 months, 26 days excluding the end date"

Wow!  That's hard to believe!  We won't have seen our three adult children, their partners and our six grandchildren since they visited us in Hawaii during Christmas time in 2014, a total of 875 days (as of January 2, 2015 when most of them left Hawaii).  That's a long time.

Beautiful scenery.
As for son Richard who lives in Henderson, Nevada, we won't have seen him since January 3, 2013 when we sailed away on our first international cruise. Its been a total of four years, six months and four days since we've seen Richard and its slightly longer for sister Susan who lives in Las Vegas.  Richard wasn't able to join us in Hawaii but as with the others, we've all stayed in close touch over these years. 


Sandy beach on a sunny day wasn't populated early in the morning.
Between Skype phone calls, interaction online and chat in Facebook and email, we've been able to stay in touch with all of our family members and friends.  Had the Internet not been available, a journey such as ours would have been heart wrenching, if not impossible.

Across the bay from the ferry.
Instead, we anticipate seeing everyone and spending as much quality time together as their schedules allow. Of course, we're excited, as is evidenced by our frequent calculations of the number of days until we arrive.

In the interim, with sun finally shining here in Fairlight/Manly with the after effects of Cyclone Debbie hitting our area last night.  The cyclone has since passed leaving a wake of destruction in its path.  Also, check out this video of a shark that made "landfall" during the cyclone which Aussies are now calling "sharknado!"

The Sydney Opera House took on an entirely new look in sunshine, especially after our own opera experience at the world famous venue.
On a more serious note, please click here for details regarding Cyclone Debbie.  We pray for the safety and recovery of the many citizens who suffered the ravages of this destructive storm that hit Queensland this week.

Perhaps this was a tourist helicopter ride?
Today brings us partially cloudy skies with snippets of sun peeking through.  Should this continue through the day, a sightseeing expedition may be on the horizon.

Happy day to all!
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Photo from one year ago today, March 31, 2015:
There were several refrigerated cases with a wide array of New Zealand made and Fonterra Cheese Factory made cheeses.  With cheese suitable for our way of eating, we often seek to visit cheese factories when we travel.  For more details, please click here.

Taking care of business...Its not always easy but we get it done!


A sunny day view of a portion of the Sydney skyline.
We've certainly been busy over these past many days.  Between the immigration issues, missing package, ordering Tom a new laptop and some added supplies from Australia, every moment of our days have been fully occupied.

Navy base in Sydney Harbour.
Yesterday, we made a bus trip to Manly to a pharmacy and health food shop for a few items.  Without a car during these 40 nights in Fairlight, we haven't wanted to bother Bob for every little trip we need to make.  We'll be here another 23 nights.
 
Without a moment's hesitation Bob would take us anywhere we'd like to go but we haven't wanted to take advantage of his kindly nature.  Its enough he's taken us sightseeing and grocery shopping on several occasions.  As a matter of fact, he's insisted.


Amphibious navy ship in Sydney Harbour.
Public transportation is easy in Sydney.  With the free Hop, Skip, Jump bus plus the paid bus and the Manly ferry its been fun getting around so easily, only using a taxi on a few occasions such as on Monday's appointment at the immigration office, which required a taxi for a portion of the trip.
 
We added plenty of money to our OPAL cards which are used for payment for buses, trains and ferries.  Its worked out quite well for us and is so convenient.

There's a restaurant, the Sydney Tower Restaurant ,at the top of this space needle for 360 degree viewing of the city.
Yesterday afternoon, our "missing" package finally landed at the Geeveston post office.  Anne, our thoughtful past landlord immediately turned it around using the funds we'd left to forward it to us here in Fairlight.  Its expected to arrive in four or five days, most likely by next Tuesday.
 
Late yesterday, Tom's laptop arrived at our mailing service in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This morning, Eric, our rep, informed us it would be AU $521.85, US $400 to ship it Fed Ex overnight which isn't really "overnight" when there's no way it will arrive tomorrow when it has to go through customs once it arrives.


Garden Island Jetty in Sydney Harbour.
Most likely it will arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.  In the interim, we've adapted as best as we can.  Tom spends time on his smart phone while I busily work on our posts, photos and future travel plans. 
 
With his lack of a laptop right now, its made me realize how dependent I am on him helping me with research on a daily basis.  It will be great to have him able to jump  in and help at will, instead of handing him my laptop to look something up while I busy myself with cooking and household tasks.


Manly Municipal Council building in downtown Manly which we visited yesterday, on a sunny day.
We haven't had a house cleaner since our arrival although we'll have someone next week. I haven't scrubbed floors and bathrooms in so long I can't recall and look forward to Bob's cleaner coming next week.  We like to keep our living quarters clean so we both been running around tidying, sweeping and trying to keep our current "home" as spotless as possible.
 
Today, its raining again and we'll stay put.  We do make a point to explore every sunny day but have little motivation to get out in the rain.  I'm trying a new recipe today and bit off more than I can chew with the multitude of required chopped ingredients and step in the preparation and cooking.   
View from our veranda, late yesterday afternoon of the Carnival Spirit leaving Sydney Harbour and heading out to sea.
Since there's no rush, it doesn't feel stressful as I'll do it in stages as the day progresses.
 
Hopefully, your day is low stress!  Be well.
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Photo from one year ago today, March 30, 2016:

There was never a shortage of beautiful scenery in New Zealand, one year ago.  For more details, please click here.

Tom's new laptop order in process...News on lost package...


Surf board shop in Manly Beach.
Whew!  We're on a roll!  "Safari luck" has kicked in!  Immigration issues are solved, we found Tom a new computer which will be shipped today and much to our surprise, our package missing after a February 11th shipping date from Nevada, has arrived at the post office in Geeveston, Tasmania as of this morning. 

Anne, our former landlord in the Huon Valley, Tasmania will forward it to us tomorrow.  It should arrive within five days.  We couldn't be more thrilled and relieved.

We walked through the uncrowded outdoor Corco in Manly, a pleasant area to visit.
This past Sunday, if you'd have asked us how we're doing, we'd have said we were a little worried over all of the above.  Then when we had a awful experience trying to purchase a new laptop online for Tom, an unfamiliar feeling of stress escalated. 

It wasn't as simple as finding the right product and having it shipped to Australia.  We contacted most of the major digital equipment suppliers in Australia and were unable to find the make, model and specs for the laptop he preferred; an Acer 15.6" touch screen with backlit keyboard and one terabyte of storage, hopefully with Windows 10.  As for other specs he had some flexibility. 

On Saturday, numerous booths lined the walkway through the Corso mall.
Adding to the difficulty in searching online was the fact that we only had one computer to use for the search, taking twice as long as usual.  Considering the fact that certain aspects of Australian products have variances from our more familiar US made products, buying locally wasn't all that appealing.  No offence intended for Australia.  This is true in every country.

When I dropped my laptop in Marloth Park, South Africa in 2013, breaking the screen I had no choice but to purchase an HP, the only touch screen we could find locally only to discover the "new" model was missing many familiar aspects vital to my use and had trouble with a letter on the keyboard which drove me nuts.  I only kept it until we got to Hawaii in 2014 when I replaced it for an Acer model with similar specs as indicated above for Tom.

Rather than shopping, many spent time at the beach for the volleyball competitions, which we'd visited earlier in the day.  That day, walking 10,000 steps came easily.
Let's face it...we all like what we know and find familiar.  It will be tough enough for Tom, not an especially savvy user, to adjust to the newer Windows 10 operating system. 

But, it made no sense to purchase an aged new-in-the-box model with Windows 8.1, now an outdated operating system which I still have until we get to the US when I, too, will make a new purchase.  My laptop's functionality is rapidly declining.  Hopefully, it will last for another 60 days.
Many types of handmade crafts are on display each Saturdays.
Since the onset of our travels we replaced our laptops about every 18 months.  The constant traveling has taken its toll and no doubt, the constant use has a bearing on the life of these products.  Plus, with the reasonable cost of laptops over the years, its makes no sense to adopt workarounds from issues that develop over time.

In Tom's recent situation when only a few days ago on Saturday morning, his laptop died.  As mentioned in a prior post, we took it to a repair shop only to discover there was literally nothing that could be done to repair it.

Monument in Manly.
After we exhausted the prospect of making a purchase in Australia (plus, prices in Australia were about twice as much as in the US, even considering shipping costs), we decided to make a purchase in the US and have it shipped to us here in Fairlight/Manly.

We strolled through an outdoor market in the Corso shopping area in Manly.
This wasn't as easy as one would think.  Most suppliers in the US don't ship internationally and if they do, they only offer the economy rate which would be unlikely to arrive in time before we leave on April 22nd.  Also, we wanted Tom to have a laptop in hand within a week or two, if at all possible.

Right now, he's using his phone with the house's Wi-Fi connection and is able to access his email, Facebook and his usual favorite sites.  When I'm not posting or doing some type of work for our travels, he uses my laptop.  Not ideal, its our only option at the moment.

This display caught Tom's eye and we stopped to check it out.
Finally, late Monday afternoon, after deciding we'd use Amazon for the purchase from the link on our site, we found what we were looking for, spec-wise, not shipping-wise.  Even Amazon, which is a global shipper, couldn't get it to us quickly enough.

Tom insisted on buying me this silver necklace (in the event he becomes forgetful in his old age). I thought it would be perfect to wear on cruises when its hard to remember names when meeting so many people.  I'm often called "Jennifer" instead of "Jessica."  This cute necklace should help.
Subsequently, we ordered the laptop with our Prime membership's free shipping feature to be sent to our mailing service in Nevada, expected to arrive tomorrow.  Eric, our mailing service rep will turn it around and ship it to us using insured express 3 to 5 day international shipping.  That cost will be high but at this point, we feel this is our best option.

Sure, we could have waited until we arrived in the US in 60 days but Tom without a laptop with the upcoming 24 night cruise and the nine night Alaskan cruise, this would not have been appealing to him, especially since we'd have to purchase VOOM Wi-Fi for the 24 night cruise for my use anyway.

Casino and bar in the Corso.
Yesterday, when Royal Caribbean was offering a 30% discount on VOOM Wi-Fi, we purchased the high speed service for two devices at a cost of AU $691, US $527.76.  If we waited to get on the ship to make the purchase we'd have paid 30% more.

Tom before yesterday's haircut in Manly.
This particular sailing from Sydney to Seattle is a "repositioning" cruise which offers numerous discounts when the cruise line has to move a ship from one location of the world to another.  All services and events remain the same.  The cruise fare is considerably less than the usual fare but such extras as free Wi-Fi, free gratuities, free beverage packages and large cabin credits may not be included. 

Yesterday, Bob took us grocery shopping and for Tom to get what proved to be a great haircut. Ironically, as indicated below in the one-year-ago-photo, he had a haircut at the same chain salon, Just Cuts, on exactly the same date in New Plymouth, New Zealand.  Go figure.  Coincidences do happen.

Tom, this morning, after yesterday's haircut.
But, safari luck...huuummm...we're grateful and flying high with how so much can change in a few short days. 

Be well.  Be happy.
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Photo from one year ago today, March 29, 2016:

Tom's hair had grown unruly since his last haircut in Savusavu, Fiji in early November, almost five months earlier.  This haircut took place at Just Cuts in New Plymouth, New Zealand on March 29, 2016. Coincidentally, Tom had a haircut on March 29, 2017, at Just Cuts Salon in Manly  which we're posting today. Ha!  For more details, please click here.

Cyclone Debbie now upgraded to Category 4...Safari luck prevails...Sightseeing photos...

 
Bob, our kindly landlord and new friend has insisted on driving us to see some of the sights in the area including the beautiful historic St. Patrick's Estate as shown in today's photos.
For our readers who may be unsure as to our current location, we are very far from the effects of Cyclone (hurricane) Debbie which is expected to make landfall later today in Queensland (in the north of Australia).
Here's a link to a local newscast regarding Cyclone Debbie.

Had we been in Queensland, as we were in June 2015 when we first arrived in Australia, we'd have been close to the area and most likely feel the full effects of this dangerous storm.


It appear the location wasn't open to the public due to an upcoming wedding but Bob managed to get us onto the grounds for photos.
Instead, we're a several hour flight south of Queensland, living in New South Wales, a 30 minute ferry ride from Sydney.  We send prayers for the safety and well being of the citizens of Queensland as they work their way through this difficult next number of days. 

Yesterday's visa entension brought us a significant round of "safari luck" over which we continue to reel with enthusiasm, allowing us to stay in Australia for our final 25 days with a renewed sense of lightness and peace of mind.  Whew!

Then, last night, shortly after I headed to bed to read news on Tom's phone (while he used my laptop) now that we're down to one phone and one laptop, he called out to me.  I jumped out of bed wondering what required my immediate attention.

"St Patrick’s Estate is a site of exceptional historical and cultural significance – a Manly landmark located south-east of Manly, a beachside suburb of northern Sydney. Established as the first National Catholic Seminary in Australia in 1889, St Patrick’s College and Archbishop’s Residence (located on the Southern part of the precinct) are legacies of a unique time in the growth and development of the Catholic Church in Australia." (From the website).
Alas, he had great news.  He'd checked the tile I'd made on my desktop for  United States Postal Service package tracking and something had changed for the first time since February 11th when it stopped showing any progress.  See here for details:
Date & TimeStatus of ItemLocation
March 26, 2017, 1:50 pm             Arrived              LOS ANGELES, 
               
Your item arrived at an origin transfer airport in INTERNATIONAL, LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES on March 26, 2017 at 1:50 pm. The item is currently in transit to the destination. 
   
March 25, 2017, 11:21 pm Processed Through Facility ISC LOS ANGELES CA (USPS),
March 25, 2017, 11:21 pm Arrived at Facility ISC LOS ANGELES CA (USPS),
February 11, 2017, 9:30 pm Customs Clearance ISC LOS ANGELES CA (USPS),

Our rep, Eric at our mail service in Las Vegas, Nevada, Maillinkplus, stated that perhaps his 12 day tracking process located the package which apparently had been sitting in a warehouse in Los Angeles, California and was finally on the move again.  Eric also wrote that its rare for an express priority package to become lost. 

What a magnificent building!
We've worried that our package may have been the exception and that the most important package we were ever about to receive had been lost in transit. Here's a list of some of the items in this package that caused us to worry to this extent:

1.  All of our tax documents (with social security numbers on them) for 2016 resulting in the fact that we'll have to file an extension with our accountant in Nevada.
2.  Our two new drivers licenses for Nevada for which we'd applied online. Without these we wouldn't be able to rent a car when we arrive in Minnesota in 60 days.  If we reapplied, the process would never be completed and shipped in time, if, in fact Nevada DMV would allow us to request replacements from outside the US. (They only allows one online renewal every four years).
3.  My new unlocked smart phone. 
4.  A one year supply of my contact lenses.  

The lawn was prepared for an upcoming wedding at St. Patrick's Estate.
With items #1 and #2, our identity could easily been stolen for a plethora of illegal purposes putting us in a dire state.   We'd decided if the package wasn't found soon, we'd have no choice but to sign up for one of those ID credit protection companies.

Plus, we hadn't insured the package (due to the high added expense) since the cost to Tasmania, where we had it shipped planning it would reach us in three weeks before we left the Huon Valley. 

View from the site of the upcoming wedding, hampered somewhat by a hazy cloudy day.
It wasn't that the value/cost of the contents of the package was that high.  It was the significance of the first two items listed above.  Everything else could easily be replaced. 

The shipping rate automatically includes AU $131, US $100 insurance and money wise, we'd only have been out a few hundred dollars more, not worth paying the high rates for added insurance.

Alternate view of the bay.
In any case, there's nothing we can do but wait to see if the package arrives in Tasmania in time to be shipped to us here in the Sydney area. Anne, our former landlord has agreed to forward it to us when and if it arrives. If it makes it to Tasmania in time, we'll pay extra to have it shipped to us overnight.

If it doesn't arrive on time before we sail away on April 22nd, we'll have Anne send it to Minnesota and it will be waiting for us when we arrive.  We won't be able to rent a car until we have that package in hand with our drivers licenses.

The church located at St. Patrick's Estate.
We're hopeful, based on yesterday's tracking update.  Maybe safari luck will kick in one more time for the arrival of the package.  We'll keep our fingers crossed and post the result of this situation here.

One of several entrances to the main building.
Thanks to our thoughtful readers for the many email and Facebook messages we received wishing us well on the immigration issue.  Your kindness means the world to us.

Today, another cloudy and rainy day we'll grocery shop since we are totally out of food.  Anticipating we may be asked to leave the country, we used every last bit of food over this past week.  Thanks to our thoughtful and kindly landlord Bob for driving us to shop and sightsee. 

Have a lovely day!
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Photo from one year ago today, March 28, 2016:
Our favorite cow, a neighbor, whom we visit regularly on our "neighborhood" walks while living on the alpaca farm in New Plymouth, New Zealand.  It was Easter on this date last year and we posted this as our Easter photo.  For more photos, please click here.

Immigration news...New photos of us and Bob...


Our kindly and thoughtful landlord, Bob with Tom.
We returned from the Manly Ferry and bus ride back to our holiday home at around noon.  Its a bright sunny day without a cloud in the sky and we're on CLOUD 9!!!

We're no longer illegal immigrants!  No words can say how happy we are to have this dreadful, worrisome situation behind us.  The staff at the Australian Immigration Office couldn't have been more helpful. 

In only took about 30 minutes to receive a new Bridging Visa that will last until April 22nd when we'll board the ship that will hightail us out of Australia and bring us back to North America for our upcoming Alaskan cruise and nine weeks visiting family.


We were happy to have photos of Bob with each of us.
This morning at 7:45 am we met Bob at his door ready to go.  He drove us to the Manly Ferry and only five or six minutes later we boarded the ferry  to Circular Quay in Sydney, a 30 minute ride.

No doubt, both of us were worried about the outcome from our 10 am appointment but we  both attempted to remain upbeat and hopeful. I continued to take photos on what proved to be a sunny day, the first we'd experienced in the past two weeks since our arrival in Sydney by cruise ship.

Once we arrived at Circular Quay we took a taxi to immigration, a traffic congested 20 minutes ride in Monday morning rush hour traffic at a cost of AU $17.50, US $13.33.  We arrived with an hour to spare decided to head to a local coffee shop for a cup of tea for me and coffee for Tom.

We sat outdoors at this cafe sipping coffee, tea and chatting with an American couple we met.
The instructions for our appointment clearly stated we were not to arrive any sooner than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment.  With comfortable seating at an outdoor cafe, we met a wonderful retired couple from the US and the lively banter began. 

Before we knew it, it was 9:45 and we needed to make the short walk for our appointment.  I felt my heart rate increase in worrisome anticipation of a poor outcome.  In no time at all we were seated in a waiting area on the fourth floor where others with similar a immigration status were also waiting for the outcome of their situation. 

Our ticket number was 001.  Surely, the wait wouldn't be long.  Moments later, we heard our number being called to find the kindly rep who'd worked with us the first time we arrived at immigration almost two weeks ago in an attempt to sort this out.

Within 15 minutes, we were told with smiles on their faces that they'd provide us with a new Bridging Visa and within 30 minutes, we were out the door with documents in hand giving us an extension good until midnight on April 22nd.

Tom and I with Sydney behind us on another cloudy day., taken a few days ago.  Today, finally, we have sunshine!
Thank goodness, the upcoming cruise didn't include any Australian ports of call.  Had that been the case, we may have had an even more serious situation.  Luckily, this particular cruise itinerary didn't include any stops in Australia.  We were good to go.

We thanked the rep and her assistant profusely.  Tom even put his hands together and bowed as he'd so graciously done time and again in Bali, in gratefulness for a service well provided.  We both chuckled over the fact that some habits are hard to break, especially one as special as that bow.

Now, back home after a pleasant outdoor ride on the ferry and a quick bus ride, I began today's post excited to share our good news.  Once I wrap this up, we'll get back to work on ordering Tom a new laptop we found online with expedited international shipping.

Now, we can go back to thinking about our missing shipment from Nevada that included all of our tax documents, our two new driver's licenses, my new phone and a variety of other items we'd included in the package.  One thing at a time, please.

Thanks to all of our wonderful readers who sent us good wishes for today's outcome.  Your concern meant so much to both of us!  Happy day!
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Photo from one year ago today, March 27, 2016:
Taking photos of the two pink cockatoos at the alpaca farm in New Zealand through the narrow chain link fence was tricky.  This unedited photo illustrates the tightness of the fence and the beauty of this pink bird.  For more photos, please click here.