??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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Groundhog Day

Writing this while I listen to the PM’s daily update.           cvid

I have frequently watched this movie, laughing at its absurdity…until the day I woke up in my own Groundhog (or Covid19 Day).

One of my favourite DVDs

One of my favourite DVDs

Around March 15 I put myself in what I called social isolation. It wasn’t because I had had any (known) contact with an infected person or a close contact of theirs. It was because I knew this virus lurked in a cloak of invisibility amongst the general population. That person that served you in the supermarket or fruit shop. A fellow shopper. Possibly my family. Possibly on that delivery from the post office. When I did venture out (twice) it was a fast dash, and a manic woman screeching at those who attempted to invade my 1.5 metre personal space of social distancing. It feels like I’ve been doing this for months but the calendar suggests only 3 weeks.

Every morning the alarm goes off at 7 am.

clock

My dog has diabetes so he has insulin at 7 am and 7 pm daily. If he is being fed so must the cat, else her miaowing persists. While I wait for ten minutes after eating to pass to give the insulin I scroll Facebook and Instagram. I secretly hope that while doing this I will read the post that declares the vaccine has been found for the virus.

After this, the TV goes on and I watch an episode of any series I’m watching at the time. The most recent is Tiger King (worthy of a whole blog post). Then it’s time for the Gladys (Premier of NSW) report the state. It’s on a run, with the same people speaking, saying the same things, while the journalists ask questions too softly to be heard …though I always hear Ruby Princess in their questions.

Breakfast happens now around 9 am …yes, I know it seems like more than 2 hours, thats because it’s  2hrs CV19 hours . A Covid19 hour definitely has more minutes than a regular hour.

Then I fill my day with :-

**a speck of housework. I don’t want to peak too early by finishing it, I may have 6 more moths to fill according to the politician leaders.

**Lots of social media

**food

**some ukulele time. Found myself a 30 days of lessons to join

**Lots of social media

**food

** Covid reports from leaders

**food

**Too much social media

** Covid reports from leaders

**some ukulele time

**outside for some sunshine (if it’s not raining)

(rotate through these things several times until 7pm)

**Feed the animals and give the dog his insulin

**Dinner

**Netflix

**Sleep

Then the alarm goes off….. clock


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I hear the rustles…

This is me. The last few weeks have seen my old insecurities and fears begin to bubble to the surface with the strengthening of Covid19’s spread.  Attempting self-isolation of a kind, a bonus of retirement. Have closed my home’s borders here to permanent residents and past residents only. I am thankful for the internet as it has allowed me to keep contact with family and friends.

fears

feelings


Bushfire – too simple a word

A sunrise with a cool breeze blowing. A peaceful vision with the song of birds heralding the new day.

Hard to believe just over 200kms away this sun is the same one my friends and families are viewing, hazed by heavy smoke. They view from fire evacuation centres or while bunking with family and friends, breathing in the acrid bushfire smoke for yet another day. Not knowing the extent of destruction that may have happened to their homes overnight. Hoping they have been lucky with winds in their favour, but that is bittersweet knowing this means hardship for others. Animals without a voice are shown no mercy as the destructive flames overpower the environment.

Though heart wrenching, houses can be rebuilt and with love turned into homes again. But, this harsh demon hasn’t just wrapped it flaming hands around homes, but lives of those at its mercy as they try to calm this beast. This is the harshest rebuild back.

A destructive war, fought by brave heroic people. A war where, try as they might, the enemy is so larger and not retreating. It will be conquered but the toll of destruction will have widespread implications for a very, very long time. Life has changed. War does that.


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Today is Thursday but Friday at home

Today is Thursday in Waikiki however it is Friday where I live.

Today, is an important milestone in my life. It’s far from the most important, but a milestone of importance nevertheless.

Today I complete my life as a worker. Close of business, at 3:20pm in NSW, sees me officially retired. For 34 years I have been employed permanently as a teacher in the public school system. From that 34 years I must subtract 5 years as a stay at home mum and 2 terms leave without pay to travel. I’ve used all of my LSL also… to travel, be a HSC mum twice and this year to be a wedding planner, grandmother and myself, no longer answering to bells 🔔.

I filled out ‘separation papers’ to retire. Yes, that’s what they are called and, from the amount of love, sweat and tears I put into my job, it was like a marriage.

I have many fond (and some not so fond) memories of my time and I was a lucky one because I really enjoyed what I did. It was an honour to be part of so many children’s lives as they journeyed along life’s path, hopefully to a place where they love learning. Learning is not something that happens in a room. The room teaches how to use tools to build their learning with. It was an honour to be entrusted by so many parents with their most precious cargo. I was a part of their joy and hardships.

Work is a lot more than just making money. It was an opportunity to make friendships with fellow staff members and I cherish those who are still part of my friendship circle.

So, at 3:20pm Sydney time, 25th October, I will raise a toast to the door that closes. I’m sure I will have a small tear cause that’s me. But it will definitely be a happy tear for I already see that next door creaking open ( I’ve been having a sneaky look all this year 😂)and behind it I can see so many new things and most importantly I see time. Watch out family and friends 🥳😍.


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Relaxation is the name of the game

I only really and truly fully relax on my own. Give me a sun lounger, a pool and a sea view, and I’m happy.

Miranda Hart

This is how I spent my day-well a lot of it. I had those things , plus my ukulele and a lot of YouTube videos.

Enjoyed the pool alone today as Brian returned to Pearl Harbor to see what he missed out on yesterday-Arizona Memorial and a few of the free exhibits. I saw it all yesterday as I didn’t do all the things in as great a depth as he did.

Eavesdropping as I like to do I heard lots of people excited to see the same people they see here every year. They came from all across the USA. With a hat on and sunnies I managed to remain the unfriendly person I can be and kept to myself.

They were discussing what they had been going for the past year and where they had been in Waikiki since they arrived. Was intrigued by one lady who said she hates the beach so never goes there but just stays in the pool. But they were definitely leaving cold weather behind so I suppose that’s the attraction of Waikiki. One pair had left Dakota in snow. I can only imagine that difference in departure and arrival. How difficult that must be when choosing what to wear in the plane. And here’s me worried cause I haven’t packed a cardigan for my train ride home from the airport on Saturday.

After turning my body a rich red I returned to the air conditioned comfort of my hotel room.

The city sprawls way past the Waikiki high rise skyline. The mountains are magnificent and their folds and greenery spectacular.

With the curtains drawn back I watched the view of the mountains as I set up you tube and played ( struggled to press strings ) along on my ukulele. I think I can now play ‘C Major’ and Row, Row, Row your boat. Sounds impressive to those that aren’t musical but the song needs one note only and that note needs only one finger. Starting slowly haha.

Tried G Major chord next. Let’s say my fingers don’t seem to be agile nor long enough to meet the right string holds. But the video did say it takes a lot of practise. I’m trusting that ( and secretly hoping my fingers grow longer). When I can master it I will be able to play “Singing in the Rain”, which brings back memories ( funny of course!!) of a school dance festival 😂😂

Tonight found us back at our favourite dessert place…The Cheesecake Factory. We have eaten at a different place for mains every night.

Although I know it’s a lot of cream, I secretly was a little disappointed that the salted caramel cheesecake was decorated in thick caramel not extra cream. That was until I tasted the caramel.

If you haven’t been, take a look at the menu of cheesecakes here. Which would be at the top of your list?


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Somewhere over the rainbow

If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.

Jake Shimabukuro

My bucket list for Hawaii consisted of just a few things. In no order of importance…

1. Watch a hula show

2. Eat shrimp from a truck on

the North Shore of Oahu

3. Buy a ukulele and play it on

the beach

4. Eat cheesecake at the

Cheesecake Factory

With just three days left I took a look to see what was left in need of ticks.

Number 2 was ticked off on our Island road trip.

Number 4 – well I’m working my way through that that menu 🙂

Tonight we watched the hula show in Kuhio Beach, not far from Duke Paoa Kahanamoku’s Statue. That meant number 1 was done too.

Chief blowing the conch shell

Hula dancing

This left only number 3… and guess what?? As we strolled down the street after the hula show, in search of dinner, we found a ukulele store. There are others I have seen but knowing my commitment to new hobbies I didn’t want to outlay hundreds of dollars to add the ukulele to the pile of other unloved instruments and gadgets at home.

This one is ‘Designed in Hawaii – but assembled in China.

Couldn’t eat dinner fast enough to get back to the hotel to strum my ukulele. I have been on YouTube learning ‘ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT’. Might be a while until SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW is in my répertoire.

Found this little poem on a site of ukulele poems.

I hope I don’t stay this little girl!


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Wise words by George and Minnie …or O’ahu road trip

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”

George Carlin

Take the back roads instead of the highways.

Minnie Pearl

Hired a Ford Mustang convertible. We received an ‘upgrade’ to a GT and I promise I didn’t mention it was our anniversary. By the impressive toned voice , the wink and a huge smile I guessed this upgrade to a car fanatic was up there with a large suite, champagne and late checkout to me. Everyone oohed and ahhhed that we got the red car. Me, I was just glad it wasn’t green ( family superstition dictates green cars as unlucky). I suspect though there was some green hidden under that red.

First we had to work out how to move the seats. Then we could slink in. The people before us dure were short! Then we had to start the car- no keyhole and do our first ‘words’ escapes our mouths. I felt smug that I worked that step out 😂

Then we had to find out how to turn the hazard lights off – this car had so many switches. Finally we were off. Now I’m the first one to admit I am Mrs Bucket ( tv show character worth a google if you don’t know her) but I made her look calm as I pointed out ( screamed and gestured wildly ) every pedestrian, red light, car slowing and that was just yo get onto the Main Street if Waikiki. Little did I know what else my day would hold .

Beautiful mountains

Starving our first stop was to be a well known bakery. Thing is though ‘well known’ on a Sunday means a line snaking well out the food and around the corner- so we drove on. I tried to ignore my hunger pangs. Realising we were a little off course for where we were heading (Dole Plantation) I turned in the sat nav and punched it in as our destination.

Now the car starts talking to us but not the sat nav only. Seems the tyre lady has a few words too, to advise the front right tyre was a little low in pressure. Easy fix one thinks. 3 gas stations later and not an air thing working, I spy Maccas and so Maccas was our breakfast stop. Getting back in the car the tyre lady was no longer telling us about the pressure. Either it fixed itself or she got tired of banging he’d head against a brick wall.

Beautiful scenery as we headed off

Off we head to the Dole Plantation- well almost. Ok , so I don’t know s lot of O’ahu roads but I did know the road we were being taken on definitely wasn’t our road. But , patient ( at the moment) and trusting Brian puts his faith in that sat nav . We drove along a speedy road in very wet conditions – not convertible top off weather- through tunnels, past an accident and then turned onto the road that was supposedly to lead to our destination – then we ARRIVED.

Look at the photo- I’ll let you decide if that is Dole Plantation.

By now you realise we weren’t where we wanted to be. It was in fact Kapaa Quarry. Giving the sat nav one more chance we keyed in Lanikai and this time we had success. The crowds were heavy and parking non existant so we did a slow crawl along the road to view the scenery, then headed off in search of shrimp trucks.

We stopped at Giovanni’s which also housed fruit and markets on the land. We ate garlic then lemon shrimp. Those garlics were my favourite. Of course we finished lunch with fresh pineapple. It is so sweet here and doesn’t ulcerated my mouth like the ones at home do.

The rain had passed so we decided to open the car top. With no instruction booklet I resorted to google the method and first we were driving while being told it wasn’t secured. A short stop and all was good. Wind blew my hair across my face whipping it. Brian enjoyed that thx car went VROOOOM really loudly – I just kept thinking of what my hair and make up would look like when we stopped.

Made it to Turtle beach but it was really crowded so took our luck on going to Laniakea Beach with the hope of seeing turtles. After a few laps we managed a parking spot right opposite the beach , YESSSSS! No big walk!! We were rewarded with few turtles doing their thing in the waves. Saw some surfers on waves but the waves weren’t yet big late autumn ones.

Time to head to Dole Plantation as it as 3:15 pm and I wanted a train ride and a Dole whip.

We queued 20 minutes for our train ride and it was educational 🙂

Then we gobbled down our Dole whip before heading home.

This is where things got crazy – least they did for me.

We had to take the freeway home! The speed listed is 55mph ( about 90kph ) but trust me , no one does that, not even the slow vehicles.

The car top was down, Brian was driving like the other maniacs as we weaved in and out of lanes ( sometimes 5 lanes near exits) with the sat nav supposedly telling us directions. I kept thinking we had no head protection without a car roof. No longer was I being Mrs Bucket. I was in too much fear to speak. My thoughts were wanting to call the kids to tell them I loved them, but I was in too much fear to reach for my bag. This was the longest 50 minutes of my life. Luckily the wind blew my hair over my eyes a lot!

When we got back to Waikiki we drive round and round in circles trying to get to the car drop off garage. Sat nav was a bit confused from the freeway stress I think. With 14 minutes to spare we parked the car. The guy took the keys and asked how wonderful our day must have been in this car. Hair looking like a mad man, my mouth stuck open in the agog position I had no words to reply but I heard Brian being all enthusiastic.

Except for the last 50 minutes it was an excellent day. I know now for sure I’m not a sports car girl .


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How we did Diamond Head… or ‘More than one way to skin a cat.’

Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff cone on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu and known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi. It was once a military base.

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Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff cone on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu and known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi. It was once a military base.

Diamond Head is approximately 300,000 years old and dormant for the last 150,000 years.

The carpark fills quickly so they have a ‘waiting line’. Attendants locate spots for the drivers, rather than drivers randomly driving around. This would be a good idea at shopping centres during Christmas rush – just saying 🥳

The climb is a very long one. There are two stairs, one has 99 steps and a second one has 76 steps.

Brian trudge off on the path ready to tackle the beast. He did the easy ( using the term very loosely) way first but doubled back to use the more difficult staircase. Yes he is a terribly odd man. 😂

Me, I wanted to tackle the beast in my own way. People see the mountain and because it’s there decide to walk it.

I saw the Dole pineapple van and that was my unique way to conquer Diamond Head – with a spoon , while sitting on a well shaded bench.

Not sure why there wasn’t a t-shirt for having conquered the large mountain of Dole Pineapple Whip. Perhaps because they just don’t expect anyone to achieve this 🙂

Funnily enough, for not stepping out of the crater I paid 2 entry fees. The first was to checkout the visitor’s.centre. The second one was to return with trolley travel tickets.

I kindly shared my Dole whip with Brian when he returned. I addicted him. That’s how addicts work!

From Diamond Head we caught another trolley line …this time it was red. We saw cultural stops such as museums, botanical gardens and cemeteries.

We rewarded our hard afternoon of sitting with a pizza dinner. The service we find is fast and that ‘check’ comes as the last crumb is entering your mouth.

On that note, must tell you about the Denny’s restaurant we visited last night. We went there because in our dating years we frequented this diner chain in Parramatta. Through rosy eyes of love we devoured their sandwiches, shakes and sundaes.

There is one right up the street here in Waikiki so we thought what a reminisce. However we learned that looking back isn’t always a good thing.

We sat down and were handed a menu. The waiter literally handed it , took two steps away and spun on his heels and returned to ask if we were ready to order. Did he know we were regulars from long ago and thought we knew the menu off by heart?I hadn’t even opened my bag to find my glasses. I asked for a little more time . Sure that was no problem. This time he walked away probably 5 steps only to spin back to ask again. The restaurant was almost empty so it wasn’t they were trying to turnover customers. I looked around to see if I was on a hidden camera show. After we DID order on his next return the meals were also bought out fast. The plate was put down and again the routine of two steps away and then return dance occurred to see if we were enjoying our meals – which to any observer could be seen to be untouched. By now we just smirked rather than reply.

Brian ate his quickly and was finished but I was a little slower. At this point he asked if we wanted the check. I asked if it would be ok if I finished my (only half eaten so far ) meal first. He shrugged as if this was an odd request 😀

We pushed the issue to have dessert. The whole ‘dance’ routine of the waiter occurred for dessert. Guess he couldn’t be faulted on attentiveness 🙂 Maybe he just wanted the tip so he could have enough money to bid on an eBay product that was nearing its end…or he needed it fast for some other reason 😱


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How we do Oahu, Hawaii

  1. Using our preferred travel method we started the trip with a night at Rydges Sydney Airport. Had the plane spotter room ( of course!) . Honestly I would be happy if this were my holiday. We visited the club 9 bar for a drink. Here we could not only watch the planes but also smell the aviation fuel when people opened the doors to the outside seating.

(Almost a full moon)

This time we were able to enjoy the late checkout of 1pm. Usually we are out of the room by 5 am but this time it was an evening flight. Enjoyed breakfast then was back at the window watching planes.

Was so excited when I saw our plane land from its Phuket trip. Flying Jetstar I was a little concerned as I’d seen them cancel the Honolulu flight a lot in recent times. Credit they had a plane out of action ( yes I know plane nerd stuff haha).

We arrived at the airport check in knowing we had a wait for our check in time. While waiting, a woman sitting next to us gloated about her ( and husband’s) upgrade to business class on our flight and how she had responded to the email offer in less than 3 minutes. You can imagine my less than enthused face haha.

While sitting waiting for check in and, then standing in line, I had 3 people ask me if I was waiting to check in for Bali ( they were checking where they needed to be). I reassessed my appearance as I didn’t think I looked like a Bali holiday person. Must have been the fact I hadn’t straightened my hair ???? Surely it wasn’t my neat, conservative, black and white spotted skirt, black t shirt, Pandora jewellery, jewelled sandals look???

It was announced we couldn’t check in until we had USA security check us, as a flight to Honolulu is a flight to USA ( really???Nooo???). The ‘check’ was of our passports , copy of ESTA ( sent a lot into a panic mode looking for emails of confirmation) and evidence of first night accomodation ( another panic for some). Not for us. We had ‘The Folder’… complète with our daily planned holiday schedule though the guy declined reading it – not sure why. Then we joined the Jetstar check in with a little silver sticker in our passports.

However it seems not everyone had lined up in the ‘security check’ line first. At the next counter to us, big stickbeaky ears heard the person hadn’t yet received confirmation of their ESTA. Felt sorry for her as Jetstar tried to locate it on their system but couldn’t. Last I heard they were changing her flight to the next day in hope the approval was completed by then. Ours took around 48 hours to be approved when we applied.

This time it was Brian who had the body scan. No ‘hot butt’ for me this time , but of course I did get checked for explosives.

I was impressed with our Jetstar flight. I hadn’t set the bar high but they exceeded it. Boarding was easy and fast. We took off on time.

The flight was on a Dreamliner. If inclined you can read about it here. https://www.jetstar.com/au/en/dreamliner

It really did leave your skin feeling hydrated, the seats were quite roomy in economy ( would be much better in business class lol) and I guess this all helped me in my ability to stay awake so long once we landed.

The staff were great. The only annoying part was a cabin crew member – let’s call him Adam for arguments sake. In the row in front of us were a couple. She ( yes I always eavesdrop lol) was a QANTAS cabin crew member and had been for 30 years. Well, Adam was bowing and scraping , apologising that they could only seat them in that row as they were unable to change the seating of the exit row passengers. Fancy that! Passengers weren’t prepared to give up their $59 extra cost seat so a staff member paying probably a 10% fee could have the comfort .

In a very loud voice ( makes eavesdropping easy) he told them he would compensate them with blankets ( that they could reuse next flight if they aren’t treated right) champagne , vodka (extra strong) free dinner and breakfast. Each time he brought these things he gushed asking if the flight experience was going ok. Adam , my flight experience was not going ok seeing what theses people received that I didn’t. Poor old Adam wasn’t even assigned to this section of the plane ‘upfront seating’ but the back of the plane so he was looking a little stressed at times doing the race between cabin spaces. I think Adam might be looking to upgrade to QANTAS cause he promised at the end of the flight with much handshaking ‘to be in touch’ now he has their ‘deets’. Or was the handshaking of another secret style. I have no idea but I hope it goes well whatever it is, for his effort.

Arrived at Honolulu 7 minutes early … to s vision of a flight of about 25 steps up ‘Arrivals’. The escalator was broken 😱😱. Caught the wiki wiki bus to immigration – no way was I walking!

After a discussion of my name as apparently the person before me was also Kerry Anne… a feigned giggle that yes it was a popular name in Australia ( is it???) … a struggle with the fingerprint machine ( it’s digital by the way, I had been thinking how annoying it will be to have ink on my hands)… collecting my luggage from the baggage carousel I was in the land of Trump. ALOHA 🌴 🏊‍♀️ 🏝 🇺🇸


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Sunset Dinner and Show Cruise – Robinson Crusoe Island, Fiji

After a lazy day poolside, following a huge ( as always) buffet breakfast, we dressed up for a 4:15pm pick up for a sunset dinner cruise and show. The show was to be held on a small nearby island – obviously Robinson Crusoe Island.


The brochure promised us –
• 30 minute Jungle Cruise to the island

• Welcome Kava Ceremony

• Fijian “Lovo” (earth oven) Buffet

• Fire Walking Demonstration

• South Pacific Performance featuring Fire & Knife dancers

• Island bonfire and string band serenaders

and I must say it delivered!!

The bus arrived on time and after about a 45 minute bus trip we arrived at the Robinson Crusoe Island Ferry Jetty , with a few other mini buses and a coach.


We swapped our ticket vouchers for boarding passes and watched the first boat start its trip down the river. Our boat filled quickly. We were assured there was no deadly wildlife in the river, given instructions on the use of life jackets, then with a loud ‘BULA’ off we sped.


Our trip took us through the mangrove lined Tuva River. At the mouth of the river the sunset painted a glorious picture of orange glow. Small boats,the other ferry and palm trees cast silhouettes against the strong glow.



Docked on the island we were met by a serenade and we were led to the meeting area.


First we were told the story of chiefs and kava ceremonies. We watched a ceremony then all were invited to partake in Kava.

A bonfire on the beach followed. Songs were sung as hungry tummies awaited the final cooking stage of the Lovo. We soon watched the foods removed from their rock under earth oven.While the rocks were still sizzle hot we witnessed some Fijians walk on them. This must take a lot of mind psyching.


Dinner was served- a delicious menu of tender beef, chicken and an assortment of vegetables. With full plates on our tables ( and soon very full tummies) the performers serenaded us- melodic and peaceful.

The end of dinner signalled the start of the show- I was captivated from the beginning to the end. We watched as women and men performed traditional dances with a variety of costume changes. The knife dance was impressive but the fire twirling was what thrilled me the most- I have long been intrigued by watching the flicker of its dance. The finale is on the beach and without ruining it ,let’s say it was totally riveting and a spectacular visual.


To the strains of Isa Lei – The Fijian Farewell Song, our dinner show ended and we headed back to our buses via another trip in the island ferry.

It was a little unnerving wondering how the trip would be, aware we had seen no navigational poles but had seen tree stumps exposed in the rivers while on the daylight leg. The light turned out to be from someone sitting up on the roof with a large torchlight beam. A little concerning at first, but YOLO. The trip with the sparkling star sky canvas and the roaming floodlight beam added to the adventure.

Would thoroughly recommend this to Fijian visitors. It was an amazing evening! Money well spent 😀