Friday, April 9, 2010


We have finally finished living out of our car - and I thought this picture from the final day was telling. On an overcast and drizzly morning, LK found herself having to sort dirty clothes in the boot of the car prior to leaving them at a laundry. (I use "boot" deliberately because I know how Americans think it's cute to use terms like that, whereas Aussies don't think it's cute to use terms like "trunk".)

That my sweetie was reduced to sorting clothes in a public parking lot is a bit of a long story, but suffice it to say that neither of us - and probably no one who knows us - ever anticipated this day coming in less than a year of LK retiring.

Of course, it is all her fault, although "fault" is not really the right word. But it was LK who decided we should put the house up for sale late last year, knowing full well that the house in Hobart had tenants with a lease until the end of July.

Anyhow, Phase 3 of our homeless wanderings is beginning today. Phase 1 was the fly-drive holiday we had with Jaki and Robert and the next phase was our Tassie/Victoria exploration, which Shirley joined us for in the final two weeks.

We have caught up with family and friends, taken care of banking and financial business and thanked Shirley for putting us up and putting up with us. And today we are getting back to essentials.

Almost a year ago, Linda took advantage of what was then looking like a long-term Global Financial Crisis. Cruise lines were having bad dreams about ships less than half-full, and airlines were bracing for the near-death of business travel. So she did what retired people do best. She hunted for bargains and found some spectacular ones.

We are starting a cruise today from Singapore aboard the Azamara Quest. And we got it at a ridiculously low rate last year that I am betting will never again be offered. It's a re-positioning cruise, which means they have to shift the ship from the South Pacific where the cruise season is ending and into the Mediterranean for the beginning of the cruise season there. There will be lots of days at sea with no port stops, but it will all seem a treat not having to pack and re-pack the car every day or two.

And we do get to put a couple more little dots of places we've visited on the global map.

The cruise starts here in Singapore. We flew up last night on Qantas using frequent flyer points. I recalled that Jaki and Robert had not been offered drinks when they flew from California, so I made sure that I balanced things out lest Qantas start to make even more outrageous profits.

We stayed the night in the Intercontinental using frequent sleeper points - or whatever hotels call them. The Intercontinental is especially nice because I have retained the status that gets us an upgraded room, a gift (a pashmina shawl for LK) and a late check-out, which is especially nice since the ship doesn't board until mid-afternoon. It's especially satisfying knowing it's free this time around.

So in a few hours the concierge will send someone up to help us with our luggage. Then when we get to the ship, the room steward will help us get set up and tonight the good bartenders who will be serving us for the next three weeks will memorize "Bombay martini, dry with extra olives, and Johnny Walker Black and soda with lots of ice."

I am guessing by the time we get to Athens, the boot of the car will be a very distant memory.

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