You Can’t do and see it all

I have said many times that you can’t do or see it all and when traveling the world is your life style and you do have a budget it becomes even more apparent.  For many that we meet along the way they are able to do and see it all because they are on vacation and are only out and about for a week or so but for us if we had that same mentality we would be broke by now.  I will give you a few examples along the way but for now here is my take at what took place for the last 55 days.

The birthday Bash in Louisville Ky was worth the visit.  Not often you get to see many of the people that started the Airline portion of UPS and are now retired along with those lucky folks that continue to support our well earned pensions.  Francis and Brenda have been having these parties for many years and I made sure that I was in the right place at the right time to enjoy the festivities.  It was great seeing all the faces from the past and present in one place.


I am the really tall guy


Brenda to my right and Francis to my left


Larry Parker and his wife Shawn.  Larry helped get me hired at UPS


After a few days in ATL to repack for the next leg of our journey to run all over the world we were off to LA for a big dinner celebration for my sister who turned the tender age of 65 on the 9th of June.  We ate and drank to our hearts content then it was off to bed for the flight the next day to Tahiti.


As you can see we could not decide on just one type of birthday cake.


Air Tahiti Nui is the long haul partner of Air Tahiti and they do a fantastic job.  The 9 hour flight went by quickly and the endless little bottles of Champagne was a great touch.  I must admit it was my first experience of walking to the furtherest part of the airport in LAX then catch a bus for 15 minutes to another far flung part of the airport to walk up inside the jet bridge to get on the airplane.  They loaded the bus with the people seated on the back of the plane first and of course it was everyone for themselves when we got to the jet bridge.  Different strokes for different folks.


After a full night rest in the local hotel near the port we had to go tour the local area which include a nearby bar that had a great flight of beers and of course the Market where everything one could ever need can be bought on the cheap.  That is by Tahiti standards since just about everything here is expensive.  We were like kids on Christmas morning waiting to open up our presents but for us it was awaiting the gang plank to open to our home for the next 7 days.  The ship name is Windspirit and is part of the Windstar cruise line.  This is our second trip on Windstar and can’t wait for their signature sale off.


Holds 125 Passengers with a crew of 80


Can’t miss a opportunity to make a fool of myself


One for the road


The sail off music is played each time we leave each port and the sails are put up from front to rear.


The song is called 1492, written by Vengelis for the movie Columbus.  It is a very dramatic and everyone makes a point to come out to watch.  The only problem is that when the sails are fully up the ship tends to bob and weave a bit more.  The Eco thought of cruising this way makes up for it in many ways.


From the tender boat coming back from the shores of Bora Bora


Did manage to get my toes wet with a beer in my hand


I will not bore you with the details of the cruise but it was a 7 night cruise from Papeete, French Polynesia to Moorea, for a day then on to Taha’a for the day.  There we had lunch on a private Motu and once again Windstar did a fantastic job.   Up anchor and then on to Raiatea for the day.  We were then on Bora Bora for two days with a Windstar Private event-Bora Bora: Celebration Festival.  It included and Tahitian inspired dinner and authentic dancing and fire show.  All this took place on another private Motu.  These little islands that are privately owned but can be rented from time to time.  Our final stop was the island of Huanine with an overnight trip back to Papeete where we had to get off the boat.  I did manage to get two short runs in during the cruise but it was hard since there was cold beer and my new favorite drink, Kahlua Colada. on board the ship.


My new favorite beer 


Where are their other Windstar ships 


The island bar on Taha’a Motu


Enjoying the local drink of the day


Unscientific survey


Bora Bora Feast, the one on the left was named Mike


Fresh Sea Food ready for the pit grill


Sis and I


During the cruise there were all sorts of ways to spend everyone’s hard earn cash.  I always enjoy asking others what their plans were for the day and then listen to their various answers.  I counted over 70 different excursions for the week.  My sister enjoyed a few and we did our customary one.

This goes back to what I said early.  You can’t do or see it all.  You can get sensory overload if you are not careful.  The other problem is that you start to worry about how much money you are actually spending.  I want this lifestyle to last as long as possible.  I can’t imagine anymore waking up in the same bed everyday.  I desire different stimuli to keep me going.  I am a problem solver and when there are no more problems to solve then it is time to move on.


We transitioned from the ship to our new home which is a fantastic apartment I found on  One bedroom one bath with a deck overlooking the pool and full view of the sunset.  A nice size porch that is perfect to enjoy breakfast and dinner and sunrise in the morning is out back.  We are up on a hill and it is a great form of exercise to make the daily 2.5 mile roundtrip to the great mall and grocery store.  We will be here for a month and I will be forced to understand the term rest and relaxation.  It is hard work but someone has to do it.  I have been carrying around a stack of magazine’s and books and I am determined to read them all.


View from the back porch

We had one last sail off as the Windspirit left the harbour for its next 7 day cruise.


View of the apartment from the street below


One week down and three to go here in paradise and I am about halfway thru the stack of books and Magazines.  I found a few on Kindle on my computer that I had forgotten about so I should have plenty to keep me busy.  The days seem to fly by even though we have pretty much nothing planned to do.  Rented a car the other day and did my usual self guided tour of the island.  Mostly bars and restaurants were on my list.  It was great to go to the grocery store for once and not have to figure out how to get all the items in my back pack for the trip back up the hill to the apartment.


Went by the harbour for dinner and a few drinks and got to see the Windspirit pull out for another week.  I thought I would wish I was on board but not this time.  Really enjoying the easy life on the island of Papeete.  A few minutes after it pulled off I could see it heading back to port.  An ambulance went down the street in that direction and my curiosity got the best of me.  I had to go see what happened.  From what I can understand someone got injured and by the looks of things he was helped into the ambulance with his family members in tow and off they went to the hospital.  A few minutes later you could here the Captain on the PA thanking everyone for their patients and off they went into the darkness.


I can only hope that the family had travel insurance.  I don’t leave home without it.  I actually have two policies for each of our trips.  The first is thru the company I use to buy our airline tickets.  It is called post travel insurance and it starts the minute the first flight is scheduled to depart all the way thru the last trip in that series of flights.  The trip we are presently on last 51 days and we are covered if anything should happen that entire time.  That includes having to be flown back home because of an injury.  It is worth repeating here that that company is and they do a great job of finding the right flights for our needs at a reasonable price.  You have to have at least 4 international legs but most of our trips have way more than that.


The second insurance is with  They would be the secondary company if anything should happen during the trip but their major purpose is if something was to happen and we were not able to start the trip in the first place.  Their prices are about half of other companies and have not had to use them yet.  I did notice that they do have an exclusion for injuries during races or timed events so I guess I will just not get injured during one of my marathons since I did inquire and even though I am not a professional runner they would exclude that type of injury.


I have been able to take some great time-lapse pictures of the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening.  I don’t think I have been someplace where I have been able to see both from the same place.  Open up the sliding door in the bedroom and living room and enjoy the trade winds blow thru all day and night until it is time for bed.


Three weeks down and one to go in paradise.  There is a down side to everything in life and that is no different here in Papeete.  The people here are extremely friendly and helpful but since just about everything arrives by plane or boat prices are a bit high.  Not sure about real estate but I did see some pretty nice homes up on the hills. The other down side is the amount of stray dogs.  They say you can tell a lot amount the locals by how they treat their animals.  The pluses out way the minuses big time but I thought it was worth pointing out.

Rented another car over the weekend and this time ventured off to the other side of the island.  Had to stop many times to take some pictures since the views were amazing.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words but actually seeing something up close is priceless.


Could not resist



Headed east


On the way back we were able to find a great restaurant for lunch and was able to toast a few of our running buddies that were in Chicago.  They toasted us from Chicago and we did the same from Papeete.



The ring leader JoAnne far left and long time running buddy Deborah across from her

4th of July Toast, got to love the inter web

Curry local Shrimp inside half a pineapple, we fought over this dish

After lunch you could see off in the distance some sail boarders and I had to find where they were launching from.  It took awhile down some back streets but low and behold I was able to find them.  This picture does not do it justice but there must have been 50 of them at a hells neck speed along the water managing not to hit each other.


They were everywhere


July 6th was my 60th birthday and I had planned where I wanted to spend the day for over a year.  Back when I came up with this hair brain scheme to run all over the world I was piecing the places together like it was a jigsaw puzzle.  Some trips I knew I wanted to do because of the Marathon Tours race schedule but other trips were add ons.  No since coming back from Asia so stayed in Europe to run another marathon a few weeks later as an example.


I have always wanted to go to Tahiti and the Windstar cruise was a easy fit but what to do after the cruise and before the trip to Australia for the Outback Marathon.  Why not just spend the month in Tahiti and enjoy my birthday there.  The pieces fell together and it was the perfect way to spend the big day.  I enjoyed every minute of it and since we are 6 hours behind the east coast I actually started celebrating at 6pm the night before right up until Midnight Tahiti time, a whole 30 hours.

Happy Birthday to me

I was able to find some candles at the local store and blew them off a big dish of fresh cut up pineapples, oranges, cherries and mango.  I figure for me to live another 60 years I needed to cut back on the cake and such.  Speaking of which I also decided to try a more mediterranean type diet and also started working on the old midsection with some well needed floor exercises.

I will let you know how that works out.


It seems that on all of these trips I learn life lessons along the way.  Not like sitting on the couch in retirement watching the latest news on the TV.  As we were winding down our last few days in Tahiti things were going along just as planned.  I went down the hill to rent another car for the last weekend there and we went out to see some more sights and hit the beaches.  Had a very nice lunch out over the water and made a comment to myself that I hoped to get off the island without getting run down by one of the many motor scooters/cycles that frequent the island.  I understand that they are not required to travel in traffic lanes so as you come to a stop at a light or such they squeeze between the cars on both sides and get in the front of the line.  My biggest fear was getting my side view mirror taken off by one of them and would have to explain what happened since the offender was probably just going to keep going.  I think they call what happened next a self profiling prophesy.


On our way to the store for some last minute items while going around a round about I was T-Boned by a motor cycle.  Not exactly sure how it happened since I was in my lane and the Motor cycle ran into my side of the car.  With in minutes I found myself surrounded by not only the Tahiti Police but also the French police, 6 in total, and being asked to blow into a breathalyzer.  At the very moment i realized as they were all speaking French including the man that hit me that I was out numbered and very glad to know that I only had 1 glass of wine several hours ago.  The did take the Motor cycle driver off to the hospital for scrapes and scratches and maybe on to jail since I was not aware of how he did on the same test.


They were very efficient and it only took an hour including me running by the airport to report the damage to hertz.  The rest of the evening was uneventful and off we were the next day for our next stop of Port Douglas Australia.  That is one of the closes points to the great barrier reef and another example of you can’t do and see it all.  We took Air Tahiti Nui to Aukland New Zealand, with a 3 hour layover.  The next flight was on to Brisbane Australia but we only had 90 minutes to get collect our bags and make our way from the international to the domestic terminal for our Qantas flight on to Cairns.  I learned that the R is silent.  Needless to say that when we returned to the gate in Brisbane for a faulty oven for 30 minutes we were going to miss our flight.


I guess it did not help that when we got to Brisbane we ended up in the dog sniffing lane.  I must say it was very straight forward.  The lined us up in groups of 20, had us also line our bags up and out came the dog that would stop and smell each of our bags.  He sat down about three people in front of me and off that guy went for a search of all his belonging.  It is my understanding that the dog was trained to smell for any type of fruit or nut.  They do not want anyone bringing in anything that might compete agains there agricultural.


By the time we made it by bus to the domestic terminal our plane was long gone but we were booked on the next flight 2 hours later.  The journey did not end there.  From Carines we were transported by van to our hotel in Port Douglas which the majority of the 2 hours trip was along a very winding road.  Even though I was very sleepy I felt compelled to stay awake in case we went off the road.  The time difference on this trip was 20 hours which meant we arrived at 2 am local but for my body was 6 am the next day a mere 24 hours since I had gotten up and lost an entire day in the process.  The Great Barrier Reef all day tour left at 8 am so I guess I will have to google it and look at the pictures.

I love the web

From the virtual air


We did do a couple of other tours which included a Cane toad race.  All that I can say it was a highlight of my adventures so far and worth seeing if ever in the area.  Also did a Sunset catamaran trip with a all female crew.  The sails were up and the seas were a bit rough but still they were able to turn on the autopilot while the got the snacks together.  That gave me the opportunity to get some wheel time.  Another all day tour of the nearby Daintree Rain Forest.

The Great Barrier Reef is that way

As many of you already know but new to me is the catch phrase, no worries, that the people down under like to use.  Instead of your welcome or no problem they use no worries.  It took me awhile to get use to it since for me did not directly translate to your welcome for me.

After 4 night there we were off again for what we really came to Australia to do.  That is to run the Outback Marathon in Ayers Rock Australia.  The course was mostly along red dirt trails and with only about 150 of us running the marathon and I did the majority of it completely by myself.  We were only about 2 miles from the rock and did two large loops so most of the time you had a great view of it.  I must admit it was a very spiritual experience but most of my body parts did not appreciate the foot slippage and uneven terrain.  As luck would have it it rained the day before the marathon to firm up the ground and there was cloud cover the entire race to keep the temperature nice and cool.  That was Marathon number 59 for me closing in on my goal to have completed 60 marathons at the age of 60 and my fourth continent for my other goal of running a marathon in all 7 continents.  The answer is no I am not going to run one on the north pole even if others have.

 At Least I was not Last


This was the first time I had flown into an airport that sole purpose was to bring folks to see two rock formations and was entirely supported by the self contained resort that had a multitude of tours that were impossible to do them all.  You could watch the sun rise and set on different tours.  Take helicopter rides, jump out of airplanes and my favorite the sunrise camel ride tour.  We stayed at the Sails in the Desert, which was one of four different hotel options.  Right down the road was the Pioneer, which had the a unique outdoor restaurant and bar.  There you got to cook your own meat or seafood which included a salad bar at a very reasonable price.

 I had to take the back seat due to Center of Gravity, CG, issues


The most unique was called the sounds of silence dinner.  They bussed 500 of us out to a remote area where you could watch the sunset while sipping champagne or you favorite beverage then have a buffet style dinner from soup to nuts.  You could stare at the stars overhead during dinner and then an astronomer came out and gave a very informative talk of all the constellations in the area.


On more leg to go on this 51 night venture and off we went to Sydney.  The hotel was right on the harbour and you could see the Opera House and Sydney Harbour bridge form the roof top bar on the 36th floor of our hotel.  We were in luck since while we were being given a tour of the Opera house they actually had a orchestra performance going on for some local school kids.  That was a very impressive structure and they definitely got what they paid for.  The original estimate was 10 million with the final price tag coming in at 100 million and many years behind schedule.  They said the original drawing that were chosen took them several years just to figure out how to keep it from not collapsing on its own weight.  


 Photo Shop

Could not resist


The most elaborate of the tours I have been on so far was the climbing on the outside of the Sydney Harbour bridge at night.  It took us over an hour to get all the safety equipment on and then we climbed around the bridge for another 2 full hours including many opportunities for pictures.


Yes we were on top of that bridge

Yep I do look like I was scared to death

i must admit that not everything in Sydney was very expensive.  Food and beverages seemed reasonable however what I hear home prices where out of this world and there were way to many cars for the roads but everyone there seemed in good spirits.  We also took several bus tours and our bus driver/tour guide did a fantastic job.  Never had a bus driver/tour guide before and I must admit he was very opinionated and had a very dry since of humor and cracked himself up.  If he ever gives up his day job I am sure he would do very well on Jeopardy.  He knew everything about everything.  We visited a very interactive zoo like park, called Featherdale Park where we were able to get up and personal with some of the local animals.  He also took us out to the Blue Mountains where the 3 sister rock formation is located and explained in great detail that it was similar to our Grand Canyon only with trees and a lot older.  Nearby there was Scenic World where there you could ride cable cars across on portion.  Train like contraption, called the Scenic Railway that ran the span at 52 degrees up and down one face of the mountain and then another cable car up and down another portion of the area.


The three sisters rock formation is off to the left



Another 3 nights in Sydney and now presently going east bound from Australia past Tahiti on our way back to the Atlanta via Dallas on Qantas on my first ever flight on the A380.  Next time I will pay the extra fare for economy comfort seats so I can experience it from the upper deck.  15 hours to Dallas with a 90 minute layover and then on to Atlanta.  This time it will be ground hog day for us with a 1 pm departure in Sydney and 130 pm arrival in Dallas the same day.  Figure we will hit the Marriott Airport west, one of our favorites, around 9pm which will be around 7 am for my  body clock which will be around 24 since I got up.


To add some spice to the very long trip to ATL we end up missing our flight in DFW.  Seems it takes forever to get all the bags off the A380 and the 90 minute connect time was simply not long enough.  No Worries.  As I said early this is a continual learning experience for me.  Note to self.  Pay the extra for Economy Comfort since their bags come off first.  Beer and Pink Sandria at the nearby TGI Friday’s along with a upgrade economy comfort  took some of the stink off the extra 90 minute wait for the next flight.

The next leg of our trip consist of numerous trips in the states until the 9th of September where we are headed to Bordeaux France for the big 60 at a race call Le Marathon du Medoc.  Look it up if you get a chance and yes I plan on running it dressed up in some type of outfit.  It is a marathon thru 20 some odd vineyards and they have both water and wine tasting stops along the way.  I think I will hold off on the wine until I am sure I can make the 6 hour and 30 minute cutoff.


Looks like we did get a lot accomplished on this leg of our running all over the world tour but I can assure you there was plenty more to do.  Most time, cost is the limiting factor since I actually do have a budget but in some cases you simply want some down time to catch your breath.

To Cap it off with Kelly our tour guide



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