PUERTO PRINCESA, THE PHILIPPINES, OCTOBER 25TH -NOVEMBER 1st 2017

it’s only four hours from Seoul to Manila and another one and a half hour flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa our first stop in the Philippines BUT! it took us almost two days to do this travel.We had breakfast with Andrew Tuesday morning in Songtan ( poor JungWon was back at doctors, she had originally taken sick a few weeks before in Brisbane,tonsillitis).

Andrew drove us to the bus stop and we took the 11:15 bus to Incheon airport.

We just missed the hourly shuttle to our hotel so had a coffee at the airport before the next shuttle.

The hotel had been refurbished since our last visit and was extremely comfortable, a nice last night for our South Korean stay. We reorganised bags and tested weights as we were to be on strict restrictions from Manila to Puerto Princesa. Had a lovely curry and a couple of reds for dinner and set our alarm to make sure we would make the first 6am shuttle to airport  our 8am departure to Manila using Philippine airways.

We had a long wait at Manila for our flight onwards and it was around 7pm that we arrived at Floral Villarosa our hotel for our stay in Puerto Princesa.

This is a lovely little complex, around 11 villas with a great garden and pool. The staff are fabulous and all would be perfect if it was just closer to town. This was going to be a fairly quick four night stay, to unwind and settle into Filipino culture, do a few day trips and discuss our next move.



However James dental work has required us to stay a few days longer and then  a return later to finish it off. We’re waiting to see if the impression taken and flown to Manila is ok, if not another impression will need to be done. The dentist James found online came with some good testimonials and was listed as Vanilla smiles. In fact when we arrived there was no sign for vanilla smiles and we were at a community hospital where doctors each have their own “shop” we did found the dentist (still no sign for vanilla smiles,but they were expecting James).  NEVER NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE WHERE YOU LIVE. That’s not to say they don’t have good medical practitioners here, just that they’re working under hard conditions. 


It was two hours before he came out and we were happy to get a tricycle home. A tricycle is a motorbike converted to accomodate up to five people. Every ride around here is 50 pesos around $1.25 Australian. We had gone into the town a bit earlier and found the SM shopping Mall. A 21st century western style shopping centre that was to be honest a welcome sight. It’s hard to say BUT sometimes it’s just nice to find something totally familiar somewhere you wouldn’t expect it, that’s all I’m . We found out a few days later that it only opened last month.

We have had breakfast and dinner every night except one at our hotel as there really isn’t any other options without going into the town centre, too far to walk so we’ve been extremely happy that the meals served are of a good variety and cheap enough. It seems most people staying here are of the same mind and we have all chatted along happily swapping tour advice etc. We’re happy to see that quite a few have been our age group.

Our first full day saw us having a walk around the area around the hotel and quickly realised that there’s not a lot to do here without getting a tricycle somewhere. So after our trip into town and dentist we were back to hotel for a swim in the pool and relax before dinner.

We decided on a Honda Bay tour for our second day and the hotel organised everything, they’re very good. We were picked up in a comfortable van and joined a great group of people for our days outing to three different beaches for snorkeling, swimming, with lunch included. 

We visited starfish beach, Luli beach and Cowrie island. 






 Cowrie Island was our last stop and the one marked for just swimming and sun baking or sleeping, there are beach massages available and a bar serving very reasonably priced drinks, about $4 for a frozen margarita or daiquiri.

Unfortunately when we arrived so did the rain. 


However we enjoyed a drink and sat out of the rain after having had a great day already with some good snorkeling.I had taken a seasick tablet and was fine all day, so I was happy.

They had quite a few of these life size sculptures of people, some we recognised, Beyoncé, Hulk Hogan, and others we didn’t, like the football player, golfer, surfer dude, but it added a bit of fun to the place.

Everyone on the tour was lovely, and we had some great chats about where people came from, one couple she was from Uzbekistan and he was Iranian, but they met in Japan and both did their University doctorates here in The Philippines and now live in Colorado.  Anyway everyone waved each other off at the end of the day thanking each other for the good company and wishing safe travels  each other.
Our third day we were thinking of just relaxing poolside but after our breakfast the rain started and we decided to go to the mall and pick up a few toiletries we were running out of.

We were mooching around in our room reading when our neighbour kiwi Kate knocked on the door and asked if we wanted to go out for dinner, she had a few choices and we decided on the Baywalk for dinner. This is an area by the port where pop up seafood restaurants open at night. We couldn’t say yes quick enough. 

The poor tricycle all but died with three European sized people in it.

Much to our surprise and pleasure there was a scooter show and shine competition on. These scooters were their owners pride and joy and several had the prerequisite showgirl on their stand. Kate and I tried to do them out of a job with our showgirl pouting skills (don’t think we will get a call back somehow).


Our dinner wasn’t that great and it was really down to thinking a set menu with different tastings would be great value when we should have just chosen a fish and a few of the magnificent looking tiger prawns and had them grilled. Oh well the conversation and company was great and the atmosphere tops.


We have booked a tour of the underground river tomorrow (Sunday)and there is also a city tour you can do so may do that Monday afternoon. Well we had a fabulous day at the underground river, a unesco site and one of the new seven natural wonders of the world. The drive was extremely scenic and reminiscent of Bali with its coconut trees and rice paddies. The exception being NO RUBBISH littering the countryside. There is a fine for first two offences then a higher fine and six month Gail term for a third. Clearly working.

It also had a look of French Polynesia with its mountain ranges as well.                                                                                                         It was delightful to be part of a group where we were the only non Filipinos to enjoy this incredible day.

We arrived at Sabang harbour and distributed into outrigger boats for the trip to the beach where the underground river begins.

The strict conservation regulations put in place have kept this area pristine and I congratulate the Filipino community for their strong stance. It’s like a lost paradise and the trip through the river is one we will remember as a highlight of our time here.       It’s breathtaking and I can’t recommend this trip highly enough for anyone visiting this area.





Once at the beach you walk through the forest to an area where you are given a safety helmet along with the life vest you have been wearing since the Sabang harbour and into a boat with a guide with a strong torch and the tour begins.

They warn you not to open your mouth and go WOW as the cave is inhabited by bats and you could get a mouthful of bat 🦇 pee. They also ask everyone to not talk and not touch anything to keep it pristine for future generations.

This allows for a beautiful serene and awesome experience where the headphone guides you are each given relays all the information you need as the boatman glides you through the one and a half kilometres that tours take you. The river is in fact over 8 kilometres but that’s restricted. Not a bad thing for preserving something so special.

The stalagmites and stalactites and other rock formations including cathedral sized areas just showed why this has natural World wonder and unesco listing. Photos didn’t come out so well but we will remember it forever. Lunch was included and at around $55 Aus great value.

We did indeed book the city tour for Monday afternoon. Another thoroughly enjoyable day as yet again we were the only non Filipinos on the excursion. It’s been great to talk with everyone  and laugh and enjoy our tours together.

Once at the beach you walk through the forest to an area where you are given a safety helmet along with the life vest you have been wearing since the Sabang harbour and into a boat with a guide with a strong torch and the tour begins.

They warn you not to open your mouth and go WOW as the cave is inhabited by bats and you could get a mouthful of bat 🦇 pee. They also ask everyone to not talk and not touch anything to keep it pristine for future generations.

This allows for a beautiful serene and awesome experience where the headphone guides you are each given relays all the information you need as the boatman glides you through the one and a half kilometres that tours take you. The river is in fact over 8 kilometres but that’s restricted. Not a bad thing for preserving something so special.

The stalagmites and stalactites and other rock formations including cathedral sized areas just showed why this has natural World wonder and unesco listing.

Photos didn’t come out so well but we will remember it forever.

Lunch was included and at around $55 Aus great value.

We did indeed book the city tour for Monday afternoon. Another thoroughly enjoyable day as yet again we were the only non Filipinos on the excursion. It’s been great to talk with everyone and laugh and enjoy our tours together.

I think the highlight was the butterfly eco garden and tribal village.

We were guided around by I’m quite sure a ladyboy who was as tall as James and so enthusiastic about what there was to see.

We saw beetles, scorpions, unique geckos, millipedes, crocodiles, butterflies etc but the highlight was the tribal village. This is a place where The tribespeople from the highlands come and stay, sometimes a few days sometimes a week or more and sell their handiwork and catch up with family.

They also show visitors parts of their way of life. Musical instruments and singing, blowpipe demonstration, how they make a fire with flints, (if I go on survivor I’m taking one of these people).

Anyway it was a very special time and they were truly lovely and friendly. And no big sell. They just wanted people to know about their culture. You could buy some of their handicrafts but there wasn’t any pressure.




This is in the butterfly enclosure.

Another great sop was at Binuatan creations.




Here they make fantastic bags, wallets, lanyards, coin purses etc and you can all have a turn trying to weave. 



James also found a new musical instrument there.
After the tour finished we asked to be dropped off at the SM mall as we had to finish paying and pick up vouchers for our next adventures in Palawan.

We visited a local travel agent in the morning to purchase tickets for the overnight ferry to Coron.

We leave midnight Wednesday Nov 1st and arrive at 3pm Thursday. We booked a private cabin and including breakfast and lunch at about $130 Aus we thought good value.

We will have a week there and we booked accommodation with the travel agent for Coron and also ElNido where we will take the fast ferry to on the 9th November staying till the 20th when we will return to Puerto Princesa for the fitting of James dental repair, it’s like a crown but not.

We have filled our time here quite easily as it turns out and are looking forward to the next chapter of our month in the Philippines.

On a side note I just had to include this photo of the fridges at the supermarket and how much space is used for hot dogs! The same amount of fridge space is used for all those other incidentals like milk, cheese, yoghurt etc.

James also found a new musical instrument there.
After the tour finished we asked to be dropped off at the SM mall as we had to finish paying and pick up vouchers for our next adventures in Palawan.

We visited a local travel agent in the morning to purchase tickets for the overnight ferry to Coron.

We leave midnight Wednesday Nov 1st and arrive at 3pm Thursday. We booked a private cabin and including breakfast and lunch at about $130 Aus we thought good value.

We will have a week there and we booked accommodation with the travel agent for Coron and also ElNido where we will take the fast ferry to on the 9th November staying till the 20th when we will return to Puerto Princesa for the fitting of James dental repair, it’s like a crown but not.

We have filled our time here quite easily as it turns out and are looking forward to the next chapter of our month in the Philippines.

On a side note I just had to include this photo of the fridges at the supermarket and how much space is used for hot dogs! The same amount of fridge space is used for all those other incidentals like milk, cheese, yoghurt etc.

And these new flavour ice creams, avocado macchiato, and avocado and peanut butter, didn’t try either so can’t give it the thumbs up or down.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA A.K.A. SOUTH KOREA, 13th – 25TH OCTOBER 2017


Leaving Sanur feeling that we would be happy to be here again we headed to the airport for our two flights which would take us to our next and much anticipated stop Korea. I was very excited to see my son Andrew and his family, my lovely and oh so good to us daughter in law JungWon and our only grandchild Jett, whom is fast approaching 9!
So our flight from Bali to South Korea was fairly cheap but I have to say we weren’t impressed with Malaysia Air. The tray tables were filthy and there was someone’s used toothpick stuck to the back of the seat in front of me. The toilets smelt and the food was just inedible, in fact it looked like cat food.

The only great thing was that we made our connection from Kuala Lumpa with plenty of time and we landed on schedule into Incheon early Friday the 13th.

Very happy mummy and Halmoni to see my big boy Andrew, JungWon and Jett, waiting for us at the airport. It was very good of them to get up at 5am so they could pick us up before having to start work early afternoon.
It’s quite a drive from the airport to Songtan where we stay at The Pacific hotel. 

The hotel is pretty decrepit but the room is big, it has a bath! and it’s close to the Osan, American airbase so there is lots going on around the area.

The owners an older couple (mama usually has her hair in curlers) are very friendly and helpful. Our room is about $64 a night and you can get your laundry done for free and use the hotel van for free locally.

After we had dropped Jett off at his school and Andrew and JungWon dropped us off at our hotel, we walked up the street for a coffee at McDonalds, haha who should we see there but Andrew and JungWon.
Later we walked around the town and through the traditional markets where I organised for some trousers to be taken down, $3 what a bargain, this was all organised by our second language which we’re fluent in, CHARADES.
After a snack at local street stall and a rest we headed back up for pizza and called it a day.

Saturday morning we decided to walk to the traditional weekend markets (Which the English speaking pizza shop owner had told us about) we wandered around happily for several hours before heading back for our 2pm pick up from family.



We had a lovely afternoon at a large 



Before heading off to Korean BBQ.


There was a festival happening in the area around the restaurant and whilst his mum and dad did a quick speed shop we took Jett off to play a few side show games which he blitzed and won himself a couple of soft toys. He also had a ride and feel asleep along with poppa on the way home.


Sunday was my birthday and as a treat we were off to Everland, a Dreamworld come Movie World, come animal park.                   What a day! And what a night!

Fairly tired little vegemites that night as we headed home around 8:30pm with an hour drive ahead.






We popped up to the corner of our street for a shared kebab before we went back to our room to start packing for our trip to Busan starting the next morning Monday the 16th.

We were able to leave our suitcases at the hotel and only bought the barest minimum with us for our four nights in Busan.
Andrew and JungWon picked us up and took us to the station in the morning and we were off….

The train travels at up to 300 km an hour and it was just over two hours later that we arrived at Busan train station at 11:50 am.

We easily found the bus stop we needed and our bus came along in less than a minute. This is where the internet really comes into its own! Finding transport and timetables.

James showed the driver a photo from the hotel we were going to and he asked if anyone on bus knew which stop. Yes someone did and they made sure we got off where we should, unbelievably right outside our hotel door.

Everyone is friendly and helpful in Korea especially if you smile.

We have also decided Koreans are big on CUTE, cute little puppies, animations, and neon signs. Outside our hotel here in Busan it looks reminiscent of Times Square New York.

Citadines hotel is fantastic!

Great location, from being close to beach, shops and hospital.

Why the hospital you say!

Well 3 hours before leaving Bali James had a tooth break! (His turn for needing a dentist).

With no time there, when we reached Seoul he made contact with our hotel in Busan and they set up a dentist visit at the local hospital which also unbelievably had a foreign guest department! What’s the chances of that all within 150 metres from our hotel on same side of the street.

We were stunned at how efficient it all was and NO WAITING. James’s appointment was for 3:30pm but getting there 20 minutes early they saw him there and then with an English translator.

$42 how great is that. He needs a crown and since they couldn’t get that done in the time we have in Korea, smoothed the edges and gave him his records to take on. What service, totally feel that the dentist god has been shining down on both of us this year.

So to top off an already great start we were upgraded from a room to a full apartment, LUXURY we have not had so much living space since we left home in May and it’s been fantastic.
We’ve even bought a few groceries and will cook bacon and eggs tomorrow for breakfast.
James is soaking away in said bath as I write this, I’ve already had mine and I’m sitting at the office desk in provided dressing gown with a glass of red.

NOT TOO BAD, oh and eating Camembert infused roll.

After the dentist we had a huge walk all along the sea front and past all the tall buildings and onto fishing village before heading back towards hotel.


After walking through the traditional markets with a lot of very weird and not “quite” our thing seafood dishes we ended up at a Saigon cafe eating Pho and shrimp cakes for the grand total of less than $8.00.


We have a movie complex inside the hotel building and we purchased tickets for Bladerunner, the movie was the original English version with Korean subtitles and at $9.00 each we had a great end to our first day in Busan, oh and we had a little party in the theatre with potato chips, chocolate peanuts,popcorn and ice creams. I know SO SO naughty but we loved every mouthful, (small sizes obviously).. it was after midnight when we turned off the light after looking at all the neon signs out the window.

I was knackered the next morning and was a late start before we headed off, for brunch and onto the information centre.
In the end we did a loop of the hop on hop off bus (the shorter one) leaving the longer one for another day as we had started so late.

A great day! 

We got off at the first stop at Moontan road and went off walking through the bush which we thoroughly enjoyed. Sea was peeking through the trees and it was so peaceful.


 We ended up walking some of the ancient railway of Donghae Nambucca line, now not in use they say you can walk it with your family, lover or friends. 


We ended up in the fishing village of Cheongsapo where we were able to reconnect with the bus (slightly relieved 😅 would have been some steep climbing back otherwise)



This also looked like a place we could spend more time in and could have walked to the next stop had we not wanted to get to the Haedong Yonggungsa temple.

What can I say about this Buddhist temple, WOW just doesn’t cover it, really was beautiful and in such a magnificent location.







Back on the bus and past all the other stops including the largest department store in the world!! (I know right, what discipline) till we arrived back to the start and off we went for a little walk around the town/city some more.

We bought our wine etc and after stopping in for a little Saigon fried rice and dim sum from our little cafe from the previous night headed home.

We are feeling very relaxed and thoroughly enjoying our life on the road. 
The luxury accommodation doesn’t hurt I have to say.

Wednesday arrived with cool brisk winds and the odd sprinkle of rain, considering its half way through autumn here we’ve been very lucky, so we decided to take the hop on hop off bus again doing the other available route and not get off but use it to get our bearings and file away ideas if we visit here again.
After a loop we stayed on and got off at Centum where that huge department store was.We weren’t really interested in shopping but like looking at what’s available and after a while we decided to head back to our apartment and catch up on a few office chores before heading out for dinner.

Thursday was sunny and after our home cooked breakfast, (second day running) and a coffee stop we took the small local bus back to the fishing village we had walked to through the Bush on our first day of using the hop on hop off bus. 

From here we Walked to Songjeong Beach.

On the way there is this awesome viewing platform where we had to wear slippers over our shoes. It had glass floors in parts and was just a great thing, all free and with an attendant as well.







James with one of the friendly locals, wearing his best country and western outfit.


We caught a different bus company home, but very pleased with ourselves for working out how to use the local buses from our phone apps.

Tomorrow we head back to Seoul for our final five nights in Korea before we head to The Philippines.
We have really enjoyed this side trip to Busan and are thankful for all the friendly people we have met along the way, many just simply wanting to find out where we’re from and why we’re visiting Korea and have a little chat using their English before waving to us as we all go off on our separate ways.

FRIDAY 20th – WEDNESDAY 25th.

We usually find a place we’re happy with for breakfast or mid morning coffee and tend to keep returning, this is also a way of making us feel more of a local as much as knowing that what we get is consistent.
In Busan it was Holly’s coffee shop. Here is Songtan it’s the local McDonalds.                             Don’t judge us! It’s also about the wifi too.

We made it back to Songtan, remembered to bring our travel card ( like our opal card) from last year, and transferred from fast train to the subway then walked the final couple of hundred yards back to the hotel Pacific.

We had arranged to catch up the next day with family so went up street for the best calzone ever before settling in for the night.

Saturday family picked us up and we drove to Suwon another large city in the Seoul precinct. 
There is an old Korean fortress and the largest local markets ever, imagine The Grand Bazaar Istanbul.



Sunday family picked us up at 1:30 and we all went to the movies together. GeoStorm English with Korean subtitles so easy for us.

Actually better than we expected and no one was complaining about the caramel popcorn either.                                                                                                                                                              We actually got to get the pirate kite up in the park nearby the theatre but the wind was swirling and inconsistent so will keep it for a beach day I think. It did cause some interest though, one guy asked James where he got it and thought Bali, Indonesia was a brand name..


One little guy about 7 was fascinated and probably the most excited when it did get up for a while.

JungWon and Jett had bought a boomerang back from Australia and that also got a workout.

James and I had had Mexican the night before and the family were happy to go there for dinner so it was a margarita each for James and I for the second night in a row. 
We ended up with desert at MacDonalds for those who were keen, I was full of Mexican and not even slightly interested, but Jett enjoyed his ice cream.

That was to be the last time we would see Jett this trip so it was a teary Halmoni kissing him goodbye till next time. 


 Andrew and JungWon will come Tuesday morning for breakfast before we take bus to airport area for our last night, we have an early flight Wednesday for the beginning of our next adventure to The Philippines. We will arrive in Manila late morning and take the 5pm flight to Palawan, staying at least 4nights in Puerto Princesa where James has an appointment about getting a crown at the dentist there. We will play it as it rolls from there.
While we have been here we’ve been corresponding with mates from our 2010 Cosmos tour and organising a reunion trip in 2020. Obviously won’t get everyone onboard but there are enough interested and we look to have decided on a tour which we can extend to include another exciting destination and that seems to be equally exciting to some of the others as well. Seems like a long time to go but we know it will be an awesome trip with some of the greatest folks we’ve been lucky enough to meet.

 BALI, INDONESIA, SEPTEMBER 13th-OCTOBER 12th: SECOND WEEK AND BEYOND:

JAMES IS IN THE PHOTO YOU JUST HAVE TO ZOOM IN:
After spending our first week socialising we began our second week settling into what long stays are all about, ambling around finding new favourite coffee,drink and food places, walking different roads and organising our next ports of calls.
We are still trying to sell a property in Australia and having no interest in the one we have on the market at the moment have been trying to arrange the paperwork to list a second property with the view that which ever one sells we’ll keep the other.
Along with insurance renewals being sent to old no longer in use emails and the most frustrating to date problem, trying to arrange where we can pick up visas that we need for our second cruise we have realised why it’s essential to have these longer stays. You need to have time to get the nitty gritty of life sorted which believe it or not still happens even when you’re retired and living on the road.

( more on our visa hassles as they come to hand, let’s just say the cruise company have a lot to sort out due to bad planning and we may need to rethink our plans a little and at this stage we may be doing less of the trip than we thought).

You also want the time to enjoy where you are and make sure you’re getting the most of what this life of travelling is all about.
OUR ACCOMODATION:


We’re really happy with our accommodation whilst cheap due to a monthly discount rate of 6,500,000.00 Indonesian rupiah ( around $650.00 Aus) we still have a pool, aircon, fan,hot water shower, water cooler,fridge, cleaning and breakfast daily.

We’ve been here long enough to see people come and go and although we get a few our age it’s mostly young couples or friends travelling together and they’re predominantly from Germany, The Netherlands, Poland and France.

Its nice chatting with them all and there’s a friendly vibe around the place. We often might spend an hour or so in the afternoon reading and dipping in the pool before having an afternoon nap before heading out for dinner.

FOOD AND DRINK AND LOCAL FLAVOUR INCLUDING PEOPLE:

We have had the same breakfast every day at our guesthouse, James scrambled eggs and I have an omelette. You get fruit and toast as well and there is the option of Indonesia breakfast but we keep that for lunch or dinner.
Not only do we like our Luhtu coffee shop on the waterfront where if we’re lucky we can get two of their four sun loungers with umbrellas and spend 2-4 hours there taking a dip and ordering something to eat or drink every hour or so to keep in their good books but their food and drinks are good value and tasty, ” win win for us”.
We have another couple of favourites, one called ‘The Owl’ a groovy cafe/restaurant just a few shop fronts from our accomodation where the coffee is good as is their chocolate milkshakes and food. We’ve been known to have coffee there in the morning turn up for lunch then backup for dinner.

We often share a meal so we’re not actually being as gutsy as it sounds.

PANCAKES at The Owl, $2.50 


The great thing about having regular spots is they now recognise us and at The Owl they say “2 flat whites” each morning we pop in, and wave if we’re just walking by.
Same at the Whitesands bar where we’re at right now watching the NRL grand final ( maybe I’m not showing as much interest as I should! Nah no NSW teams) when we walk past they always wave and say hi. We usually book two seats for the games so they know who we are and today as soon as we turned up without having to say anything they said ” table six” where there is the sign James 2ppl.


At The Owl we have met a guy originally from Belgium an artist now living in Sri Lanka, and having to do a visa run decided it was time to revisit Bali. He’s well eccentric and often has feathers pierced through his ears but he’s quite the character and we’ve had a few laughs with him and been quite amazed at his recollection of world events etc.
The other night we went to a restaurant down the street as James fancied a Weiner schnitzel lol anyway we had a great night drinking half price cocktails after I made sure they made them with real alcohol and not local homemade, and singing along with the live singer/ guitarist who was calling out for requests. 
Most nights though we eat at the local traditional markets where the meals cost between $1-$3 Australian dollars, unreal! The big Bintang beer is more expensive at $3.50!

I’m thrilled the stall selling Martabak an Indonesian favourite of mine is back at the market after the owners have had their holiday. It’s delicious and it’s great watching the owner get a ball of dough flatten it out then start whirling it and slapping it down till it resembles an extremely thin see through circle ( like pizza base ) which he then places into boiling hot oil in a flat bottom wok/pan and pours in a beaten egg and vegetables mixture before folding the outside of the dough over each other making a square which is deep fried until golden and sliced up into the delectable pieces of food heaven that it is.
There’s a great vibe and atmosphere here and as you sit at tables on plastic stools vying for a spot at the table with people from all over the world you usually get involved with a conversation with someone. 

Every one is on holiday, jovial and we’ve been surprised at how many are here for a month or longer like ourselves.

Most are European here but we did chat with a couple of nice guys from Sydney the other night. They both were bored with their jobs and decided to chuck them in and are here for 2 months and then going onto East Timor. Then home to build a cottage on back of their property so they can rent both and maybe travel more. 

Another older German couple are here for their 18 th visit to Sanur and are as sunbaked brown as you can get, something we don’t see much now in Australia but here we see people lying out in the sun for hours and we just marvel at how “sun educated” we’ve become in Australia. We shared a table and tapped glasses with a cheers and skol. 

It’s great hearing other people’s stories and plans, it excites the wonder/ wanderlust in us and we’re gathering ideas and hints as we listen.

Someone we’ve met and looking forward to catching up with in her home near Bordeaux, France is Brigitte, we met at our guesthouse and when she moved onto Kuta we got an uber over and we walked along the beach, paddling our toes until we got to Seminyak where we enjoyed lunch together, laughing and sharing stories. 

Brigitte is home now to her little dog Lilly whom she was missing.

LEMBONGAN :

Staying at our budget priced guest house allows us to take off for a few days and not worry about the cost of still paying for our base accommodation and that being the case we booked the D’camel fast ferry to Lembongan for a three night stay. What was great is they picked us up here and delivered us to our home stay on Lembongan as well and the reverse on our return.

We took a recommendation for Perdana homestay at Mushroom beach on Lembongan and were surprised when we went to pay that the price was cheaper than quoted on Booking.com, not only that but we had a free upgrade for the first night.

In the end it worked out at about $31 a night including breakfast.


It was raining on the first day so we had a walk around and just relaxed reading books.

There was a restaurant at homestay directly across from ours and we dined there the first night where we met a lovely couple Bert and Louise whom live in The Netherlands. We ran into them again the next night when coincidentally we all chose to eat at a restaurant overlooking the waterfront beach. 


We had gone there with Lisa a Canadian we met at our homestay. She is travelling for six months on her own with friends and her husband joining her at different places along the way.



Our second day the weather turned sunny again and we hired a scooter from our accommodation and rode of exploring. We had a fantastic day riding around and over the yellow bridge to Ceningan where you can’t take a car so the scooter was brilliant. So many great spots and views.





Back over the bridge to Lembongan we travelled around the island going through Mangrove bay, circling back to our guesthouse.

On our third day we had a snorkelling trip organised through the guesthouse and off we went to snorkel with Manta Rays and then on to coral, infested with a gorgeous range of coloured fish.

I believe the third stop was just as great but I had succumbed to a bit of seasickness and didn’t feel up to swallowing anymore sea water as my snorkel wasn’t the best and part of the reason I wasn’t feeling so great.

Lesson to self: always carry some seasick tablets for just in case!

It didn’t spoil my day and the ride back was fine.

Those Manta Rays are MASSIVE!!! 

What an experience this year swimming with stingrays in Bora Bora and Manta Rays in Indonesia.

After returning and having a little rest we went off again on the scooter finding more secluded or beautiful spots and we really enjoyed our time on Lembongan.

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t so great the day we were leaving and instead of spending a few hours on the beach it was only a short time we got but were surprised at how cool the sea temperature was at Mushroom beach compared to where we had gone snorkelling.


As arranged they picked us up from our homestay and it was time to wave the friendly staff goodbye and to reluctantly leave this little cutie and her sister. 

Teddy and Beary are the cutest little mini Pomeranian puppies you’ve ever seen.


We arrived back “home” to Sanur and after a shower headed off for a cocktail at The Glasshouse then went off to book a stone massage, as they could fit us in then we decided why not! Cannot highly recommend this place enough Sanctuary spa in Sanur. Very professional and great experience each time.

We have booked in for a facial each today ( Wednesday 11th October) our last full day here in Bali.

After our massage we floated off to the market for dinner.
Today we revisited out favourite Owl Cafe and had a manicure for James and a manicure and pedicure for myself on way back to our little home.

We have our facials in a couple of hours so have been catching up on office work for James and my blog for me. 

I’ve also coloured my regrowth this morning and sewn up the edge of my Panama hat which was coming adrift… “buy a Panama hat”they said, “it will last a lifetime” they said haha two months later I’m already repairing it. 
What can I say! We’ve had a great time again in Bali and if we didn’t have more adventures planned would be a sad couple leaving tomorrow.

Instead we’re very excited to see our family in South Korea. 

Yay the dream keeps unfolding.

You’ve heard of the yellow brick road, below is our trip over the yellow bridge.

SANUR, BALI, INDONESIA: SEPTEMBER 13-OCTOBER 12th. Our first week!

Bali, rarely disappoints and especially not when you’ve arrived business class.

Having secured these flights in the Boxing Day sales ( hard to turn down $426 each for business class) we were looking forward to experiencing the ” turn left” when entering the plane.

It certainly felt worth the price tag with the extra leg room, champagne and other little luxuries that we don’t normally have and it was a relaxed and happy couple that arrived in Bali to our waiting driver.


This is our third time to Bali together, James fourth and my fifth in total.

We have stayed in Sanur each time we have been here together.( we’ve also spent time in Ubud and Seminyak).

We feel very comfortable and instantly in our comfort zone, like putting on your favourite slippers and start settling into our 30 day stay.

THURSDAY 14th:

Having announced on Facebook that we were here should anyone wish to catch up it was thrilling to have a message from our buddies Cheryl and Phil Basley from W.A that they were not only in Bali but also in Sanur! With them leaving Thursday afternoon for home we quickly secured a coffee date and were pleased that their favourite coffee spot on the waterfront was also the one we also favour when here.


We haven’t seen them since meeting them on our honeymoon tour of Europe in 2010, though we keep in contact via Facebook. Cheryl is a one in a million sweetheart and Phil is the most gorgeous Aussie fella that anyone who has them in their life is blessed.

That 2010 tour secured friendships that go beyond countries, ages, cultural and religious backgrounds and we are hopeful that there will be a reunion tour sometime, ( will need to get that sorted).
That afternoon was seeing the arrival of Michael and Maani ( James son and girlfriend) to stay 3 nights in Sanur allowing us to have some quality catch ups.

That night we took them to the local night market for dinner, our favourite eating place where chicken soup filled with vegetables is $1 and 10 sate sticks usually less than $2.

It has a great vibe and frequented by locals and tourists.


FRIDAY 15th:

Old neighbours of James and friends to us both Lynn and Steve Bolton have been holidaying in Nusa Dua at the very luxurious Sofitel and had invited us all over for a visit, by coincidence their son Mitchell and Michael share a house together so it was great to all hook up in Nusa Dua for a few hours floating in the incredible pool there.

The pool is accessed from right outside their villa you walk out on the patio and walk into the pool, like an alleyway leading into the main pool via lush gardens and under bridges, totally cool.

That night was football and after a disappointing loss from Penrith to the Broncos, Maani helped make the decision for dinner on the beach. Great choice and very happy bellies that made their way home that night.


SATURDAY 16th:

It has become our habit after breakfast to walk to the coffee shop on the waterfront for a little slice of people watching and relaxing with our coffee and or juice before contemplating what else we’d like to do.

The young folk were off exploring and we met up at the Glasshouse ( another previous favourite of ours) for happy hour ( really 3 hours) cocktails and beers before the boys went on to watch the football, this time Parramatta loosing to the Cowboys! Not thinking that venue is good luck for them to be honest.

Maani and I decided it was time for some girl time and we headed off for Maani’s first facial. The spa was quite professional and although I thought the girls a little firm handed than I’d have liked we both managed to fall asleep while waiting for our masks to dry, so I think you could say it was all told a fairly relaxing experience.

We joined the boys for the last half of the game and then went on to The Porch restaurant for dinner with a stop at the MONA LISA restaurant for desert, we had had coffee there previously and seen they did creme brûlée which James and Maani had, again a first for Maani.
SUNDAY 17th:

Young folk were heading off to Uluwatu for their final days of holiday and we booked a driver to take us to Padang Pai to visit our friend Eric at his and wife Jacqui’s villa there. Unfortunately Jacqui had already returned home to Woy Woy but we had a fabulous overnight stay with Eric.

After being WOWED by their view.



We took off in Eric’s hire car to the Palace waterfalls to swim in the Kings pool and have lunch there. Glorious!





A little snooze back at the villa followed by drinks upstairs before heading off to the resort restaurant completed a wonderful day.


A relaxed morning breakfast on Sunday bought us to time to say goodbye to the Villa Henry at Bloo Lagoon.


Eric drove us back to Sanur and was only fitting that we should take him to our coffee spot before he headed off back to his little slice of paradise. Thanks for the stay Eric it was fantastic.
We dined at the local market that night and slept like babies.
TUESDAY 19th:

After our ritual coffee stop we walked along The waterfront for about an hour before turning back and stopping for a couple of Bintang’s and chatting with a couple from the U.K.

We had arranged for a driver from our guesthouse to drive us to Uluwatu for a five pm catch up with Michael and Maani for their last full night and to watch the sunset from the bar at Single Fin where Michael had made a booking, great idea it was packed and we had a great view as we sipped down a few cocktails and beers and sharing plates before we finished off with dinner there as well. I can highly recommend the pineapple marguerita’s.



We’ve really enjoyed our time with Michael and Maani as we have catching up with our friends as well.

Hard to believe that tonight, the 20 th marks only our first week here.

There are no more catch ups that we know of so we’ll get down to the gritty of everyday life of ” Offtolivetheworld where budgets must be looked at, planning for next few stops must be done and I’d like to get back into my Duolingo Spanish. James has his new beaut Ukele to get out of its case and there’s walks and coffee and books to get read as well. Ahhh life on the road. 

UMINA BEACH, NSW, AUSTRALIA: SEPTEMBER 2nd-13th 2017

In the words of Alan Carr, chatty man. “WHAT A WEEK ITS BEEN!!”

We arrived home to Sydney Australia to beautiful blue skies and temperatures of around 24 degrees. Sunday Father’s Day went up to 29 degrees. 

Though the wind during the week did give some concern and at 3:30 am one night we made the decision to get out of bed and take the awning down.

The awning down, I hear you saying. Yes we are in our caravan for these eleven days at the beautiful Oceanbeach caravan park. 

What a great place for families and I have to say during the weekend when there have been plenty of families in, we’ve been impressed with how quiet the kids are in the morning. Expecting to be woken by 6 am by happy kids laughter it’s been closer to nine before we hear chirpy little voices. 

It was a long day that first day, off the ship on the first list to disembark and by noon we had been shuttled back to Umina where we said a quick hello to James daughter Jackie and her partner Adam, picked up the truck and picked up our caravan from storage at Wyong.

It all went very smoothly and by 4 pm we were set up, had had our first burger and chips from the surf club and were snoozing away for an afternoon rest before heading to stock the fridge early in the evening.

SUNDAY bought those beautiful 29 degrees but not till late morning and after tidying up our little home we were ready to welcome our first visitors David and Janine. Not too long after they arrived my son Scott and the lovely miss Tina joined the party and we headed to the surf club for another of those ginormous burgers.

We walked along the beach a little way and back through the village, saying goodbye to Scott and Tina and having a beer at the local pub before calling it a day.

MONDAY ONWARDS: This is when the foot hit the pedal to the metal and we began in earnest making headway into our long list of “needs to get done” before the 13th.

Doctors,dentists,accountants, real estate agents, travel agents, renew drivers licences, pay bills, car services, hairdressers and so much more.
Catching up with family and friends has also been high on our list and we made dates with as many as we could fit in. It’s always sad to not get the chance to see everyone but our time constraints and what we needed to get done only allowed so much. As it was I was hit by severe laryngitis and a heavy cold within two days of arriving back in Australia and it curbed my ability to even attempt to fit more in. 

Hopefully we will get visits from some people when we’re overseas. Hint hint.

Pleased we got to see the three children whom were in Australia at least once (Chris) twice (Scott) and Frequently (Jackie).
PACKING:

We emptied our suitcases and began the hard and ruthless decision of what to take on our next trip and what stayed behind.

We have a criteria of ” this goes with that goes with everything “.

Toiletries are kept to the total barest minimum as you can buy these anywhere in the world.
As we will be going from Asian hot climates to a European winter we have had to be even more careful about what we take as we need to have enough warm clothing to get us comfortably to the first shopping centre in Germany where we will purchase some warmer pants for our 5 weeks in Europe. 

It’s all about the layers. I have three thermal tops. One which is a polo or turtle neck, one silky thin layer and one Marino. These will also be my long sleeve tops to wear any where needed.

I have two layers of thermal pants, one silky thin and one Marino. Again this gives me the option of wearing them as leggings under skirts and dresses.

I have a buff, gloves and wool beret also packed along with thick wool socks to wear with my apris winter boots which I am also taking with me. And we each have our puffer jackets which roll up to minimal space and a long plastic raincoat which took us ages to find.

I’m taking a few items I’ll ditch once we head up to cooler climes and we can continue to do this as we travel around adding and leaving behind as we find we need to. 
We do hit Australia for two days next February so will be able to do a reshuffle then with clothes we have in storage.

DIGITAL TOOLS:

I’m using TripIt to log our trip details as it gives me the easy option of listing addresses, phone numbers, flight details etc and it instantly logs the flight details once you put in the date and flight number. 

We also photograph lots of details as well as carrying paper copies of necessary items. 

Digitally we both have our I phones (James has also bought an old one for putting in local SIM cards when we feel that’s the best way to go) we paid a $60 yearly prepaid which kept our numbers and gives that amount of credit when needed.
We also have our iPads and James has his kindle, we have a great charger that will take us round the world with all the different connections required for power points.
AND AWAY WE GO:

Before we knew it time had zoomed by and it was time to clean the caravan, and put it into storage till next time we’re home for a proper stay.

We spent our last night at our friend Cathryn’s home with her and Miffy the dog and tearfully waved goodbye on the Wednesday morning of September 13th 2017 as we made final preparations and took the train to the airport after also waving off Jackie and Adam whom had given us a lift to station.
NEXT STOP SANUR, BALI, INDONESIA:

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND. 29th AUGUST:



Our arrival into Auckland was right on schedule and was bittersweet. 

Having been told it was going to be a bleak day weather wise it was a pleasant surprise to encounter clouds clearing to some bright blue and by the time we were off the ship the temperature had risen enough to not need jackets.
It was tainted by a sad and teary farewell to our bestie travelling friends Paul and Michelle as their world cruise came to an end and they go back to reality.

No words can describe the fun having these two mates on board with us has added to our trip. I can’t believe we won’t be dining with them tonight in the dining room and planning our nights entertainment. Only hope it’s not too long before we plan another adventure together.


James and I headed off the ship found a coffee shop and after my first flat white in a long time we booked an uber and headed to Te Atatu Peninsula to my mum and dads place.

Happy to find them both looking well and we soon hopped into my brothers car that he had left there for us to use and we headed back towards the city but veering off to go through the new tunnel and then onto Cornwall park for a delicious lunch.

Cornwall park is a beautiful space with lots of great walking and new lambs were spotted out and about on the hills.



We took the long way home through Mt Roskill, Hillsborough, Blockhouse Bay and Titirangi and enjoyed relaxing before my brother Graeme and his two sons Alistair and Nicholas came over and we left for dinner at a Thai restaurant. We had bought two bottles of wine with us off the ship that we had bought in Italy to help wash down the lovely meal.

Graeme bought us back to the ship and it was nice that mum and dad got to see our home for the last 100 days.


Back “home” James and I had a cuppa up in the bistro and as the Sea Princess left her dock for the final few days sailing across the Tasman to Sydney I went out on deck to take a photo of the city of sails and waved goodbye to a lovely day and our friends and family that we left behind.

BORA BORA, TAHITI, FRENCH POLYNESIA 23rd AUGUST

BORA BORA, the pearl of the pacific, ( black pearls that is), Heaven on earth, paradise, what ever superlative you want to use is not wasted on this dream location. Again we arrived in, about an hour late due to our late departure from Papeete but Captain Aldo said we can stay an hour later to make sure we get our full time here, guess no one is minding if we get in a little late in Auckland especially those having to disembark there.
We had another private tour booked here with our friends from the cruise critic forum and it came highly recommended and BOY were we in for the day of our lives! 

Bora Bora would have to win the most natural beautiful spot we’ve been to and almost the closest to home makes it a special way to finish off what has been an impressive, amazing cruise.

We were met onshore after tendering off by Patrick and his team and were one of three outrigger boats they were hosting for the  day, each taking 12 people.



Quickly we were off to swim with sharks!!! Sting rays!!! and snorkel over coral reefs with beautiful tropical fish in the clearest turquoise waters surrounding lush green vegetation and rising majestic mountains.

What a feast for the eyes, the soul and all senses. We felt we were in a dream and the dream lasted all day.








Over the whole day we circumnavigated the whole island. 

After our three spots for snorkelling and swimming where whenever Patrick needed us to come back to the boat he called us from his shell horn we were off to a beautiful lagoon where Patrick called us over for the opening of the oven for a traditional Hangi style lunch, of suckling pig, chicken with spinach, BBQ fish, plantain, taro, breadfruit, bananas all helped down beer, wine, champagne, soft drinks or juice. 

Then it was time for a bit of traditional fire twirling before we were sadly told it was time to leave. 

A sad but happy group enjoyed the trip back to harbour and we waved our fantastic guide goodbye.

Day not quite over yet! My darling James helped me choose a pair of Tahitian black pearl earrings as my souvenir of our great day and of course I had to wear them for our sail away as the sun went down and we partied on the back top deck as Bora Bora became a distant speck on the horizon but not in our hearts.