It was a very good day...The beauty of Fiji is astounding...

Ocean views never disappoint.
With Rasnesh scheduled to arrive at 1 pm, we were surprised when at 12:30 he called, saying he was already in the driveway.  We need to time our shopping to ensure we get to Helen's on time to pick up our meat after she returns from lunch and her daily trip to the bank. 

Usually, by 2 pm she's back, flipping over the "closed" sign to "open" on the door of her tiny shop, Fiji Meats. We've learned our lesson in arriving too early for her return, having to go back home without meat, paying extra taxi fare for Rasnesh to later pick up our order to deliver to us...the nuances of not having one's own transportation.

We asked him to wait a bit while we wrapped up a few things to get ready to head out the door to venture down the uneven path to the driveway on the steep hill where he waits.  We're never late.

Preferring not to leave him sitting there for a half hour, we packed up our shopping bags and put on shoes for the first time in 8 days, the last time we went out. 

With tropical storms almost everyday and the desire to use the food we had on hand, we decided to shop Friday next week also, only two days before we depart. 

With most of the houses on the beach road overlooking the sea, most had long steep driveways, none quite as steep as ours.
We'll purchase two more roasted chickens for next Friday and Saturday nights, using any leftover salad ingredients or purchase new if necessary and then be on our way.  We've begun the process of winding down.  Yesterday, I folded all of my clothing in the cupboard which will take two minutes to place inside my solitary clothing suitcase.

Almost totally out of photos to share and with no particular points of interest we longed to see, we asked Rasnesh if he had time to drive along the beach in the opposite direction we'd traveled to the village each week. 

We'd asked him about that drive a few times in the past but he dismissed it as "nothing new or interesting there" and we didn't press.  Yesterday, I stated, "Let's go to the left at the end of the steep driveway instead of to the right. We'd like to take some photos." 

A bit surprised he smiled with a slight giggle I've found endearing, not mocking us in any manner but reveling in our desire to see scenery which we find exquisite and he may find repetitious and boring.  After all, he's lived in these breathtaking surroundings all of his life.

We weren't disappointed.  The drive along the beach was as enticing as any scenery we'd seen in these past three months.  I continued to ask him to stop the car on no less than a dozen occasions so I could get out to take photos.  He readily stopped in a safe spot for me to exit while he and Tom engaged in idle chatter during my few minute absence. 

Although overcast, we were still thrilled to be out taking photos.
I couldn't have been more thrilled, knowing I was taking ample photos to share over the next eight days until our departure.  Sure, we could have gone out and about a lot more often,  The bad weather, dark cloudy days, heat and humidity often left us with little interest in riding in the car.

Not wanting to press Rasnesh to use the AC made riding in the car sticky and uncomfortable on the most humid days, when the temperature was a moist 88F, 31C, with humidity hovering at 90% with no breeze. 

Its not something we've chosen to do when we don't have to, although after these past three plus years, we've experienced it over and over again...the four hour drive (each way) from the airport in Belize City to Placencia in 90F, 32C with no AC, the many safari expeditions in both Kenya and South Africa on outrageously hot day and on and on...many times.

Long ago, we decided there's no need to impress our readers with our resiliency in traveling on the roads in discomfort when we don't have to do so.  I have ants walking on my monitor as we speak and just swatted two off my left arm.  We're resilient enough. 

Again, today its a humid scorcher and my mug of warm coffee is  preventing me from taking one more swig.  The overhead and standing fans are operating at full speed.  The occasional cool breeze wafting through the windows always inspires us to comment to one another as to how good it feels.

The beach along this area is mostly rocky.
When the long road ended at a resort we flipped around to head to the village for a trip to the pharmacy, the Vodafone store, the Farmers Market, the New World Market, finally ending at Fiji's Meats located at the far end of the village, too far to walk. 

For the rest, we walk to each location along with all the other villagers who were busy with their own errands and shopping.  Tom took off for the ATM while I visited the pharmacy.  I'd had an idea to fill three prescriptions here when the pharmacist explained we didn't need a local prescriptions and old US prescriptions or actual pill bottles would do.

My prescriptions from Minnesota were over three years old.  He didn't flinch, taking photos of each one with his phone.  Asking how big a supply I preferred, hesitantly I suggested one year.  He didn't flinch.

In Australia, I was able to purchase six months of prescription meds and with what I had left on hand, with this new one year's supply, it could possibly last for two more years.  Since none of my meds are any type of controlled substances they can be readied filled. My three prescriptions are for the smallest possible doses for thyroid and hypertension (hereditary conditions).

The kindly pharmacist explained he'd order the smaller-than-usual doses and see what arrived within the week.  I may have to use my little blue pill cutter which has come in handy over these past years in the event he can't get the small doses.  Next Friday, they'll be ready, giving him plenty of time to receive the order.  Once we pick them up, we'll happily share the prices.

The long steep driveways often lead to multiple properties.
Tom doesn't take any prescription drugs since starting this way of eating.  His mother Mary, who passed away at 98, didn't either in her old age.  He's hoping for the same longevity and good health.  My family medical history on my mother's side is less forgiving with rampant diabetes and heart disease.

Leaving the pharmacy, we walked across the road to Vodafone, made our usual data purchase of USD $69.61, FJD $150, (for 48 gigs) enough to get us through at least this next week.  If we haven't used it all by the time we leave, we'll be able to use it during the 28 days on the next island. 

The Farmers Market was crowded on a Friday as we managed to work our way through the crowds to our favorite vendors.  As we moved along, a lovely Fijian women, stopped me with a huge smile on her face.  Months ago, I'd asked her about avocados. At that time, she explained they weren't in season.  I was stunned she remembered that I'd asked!

We purchased two enormous avocados for USD $1.86, FJD $4 (for both) and now they're resting on a pane of glass on the jalousie window in the kitchen while I'm hoping they'll ripen in the next few days. 

I'm imaging a half of an avo filled with salmon salad made with chopped hard boiled eggs, diced celery, onions and our homemade dressing. That will be a refreshing treat for me while Tom has something else I'll have prepared for him. 

As we approached the Farmers Market we couldn't help but notice a band playing loud Fijian music. With the dense crowd hovering around the group we weren't able to maneuver in position for a photo.  Instead, I opted for a video when moments after we arrived the music ended and the group packed up their equipment.  Not every moment is "safari luck" although, overall, it certainly feels as if it is!

Upon entering New World Market, looking forward to some AC while we shopped we were instantly aware their AC was out.  It was hotter in the market than it had been outdoors. 

There's a wide variety of styles of homes in Fiji, no particular style standing out above the rest.  Since most of these houses are built by foreigners, typically they reflect a certain aspect of the owner's home country.
Luckily, we didn't need much at the market as we wind down our time in Savusavu. Within ten minutes, I called Rasnesh to advise him we'd be ready to be picked up within five minutes, long enough to check out and pay for our few groceries.  Luckily, he was available, showing up outside exactly as we exited the store.

With the AC now on in his vehicle, the cooling effect was profound, especially for me sitting in the front seat while Tom happily languished in the backseat with nary a complaint.  I always ride in the front seat on photo taking days, insisting he do so on other days.

We were off for the final stop, Fiji Meats.  The "open" sign was posted on the door.  Expressing multiple "bulas" between the three of us, she packed our hot chickens, mince beef and pork, chicken breasts along with two packages of sliced ham. 

She wasn't able to get any streaky bacon this week so we opted for the sliced ham instead in order to make the last batch of Tom's crust free breakfast quiche which is usually made using cooked streaky bacon.  I freeze it in squares of three to ensure its fresh each morning.

When he uses the last of the three, he takes out another pack of three leaving it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.  Today, I'll make enough to last through next Saturday, a total of seven pieces as well as one more batch of our favorite side dish, a tasty mushroom casserole to accompany any type of meat we may be having along with a salad, sliced cucumber and another hot veggie.

We hope all of our readers in the US had a fulfilling and filling Thanksgiving day! Wishing a great day to all of our worldwide readers!

Photo from one year ago today, November 28, 2014:

Skeleton of a humpback whale at the Whalers Village in Kaanapali Beach, Maui.  For more photos, please click here.

Storm subsides...Happy Thanksgiving to all in the US...Finding happiness throughout the world...

Behind this fence and a short drive to the beach is the location of Jean-Michel Cousteu Resort, another upscale all inclusive resort in Savusavu.
It always feels a little odd when its a holiday and we don't celebrate.  Not that we mind.  We don't.  Now that the stormy weather has subsided, we've scheduled getting out today with Rasnesh who'll pick us up at 1 pm. 

We spent a lifetime making holidays special and although we always wish the very best to our family, friends and worldwide readers, we're content that we've made this choice. 

Today, Thanksgiving in the US, we'll dine on Helen's roasted chickens with veggies and salad.  We don't celebrate this holiday or any others as we travel the world.  It hasn't seemed to work well to do so when many holidays are only celebrated in the US. 

This morning, in speaking with one of my sisters, she wondered how we can be happy without a sense of "community" or belonging to an area, participating in local activities, volunteering, attending functions, cultural events and dining out, all the activities many retired seniors often do with enthusiasm and passion.

View of Nawi Island in the village.

When we live in an area that offers social functions, a sense of "belonging" we jump on board happy to participate and feel included.  This has only been practical in a few locations in which we've lived to date; Marloth Park, South Africa and Kauai, Hawaii where collectively we spent seven months engaged in memorable social lives.

Living this life, we haul our happiness with us.  No social life?  No problem.  We find pleasure and entertainment being together.  A few days ago, with no transportation and an all day power outage, we kept ourselves busy and entertained, enjoying each other's companionship.

After all, hanging out with one's best friend never gets boring. Add the playful aspect of "being in love" and lots of laughter, day by day, we find ourselves enjoying whatever we may do.

Sure, we love to go to museums, cultural centers and visit local points of interest.  Here in Savusavu, there are no museums, no cultural centers and few major points of interest we haven't already visited.  When a trip to the dentist becomes an "interesting" activity we know we're easy to please.

Dining out is a huge activity for most travelers.  We have the reality of my way of eating that has enabled me to travel the world pain free and in good health.  Would I trade dining out for my ability to walk?  Hardly. 

View from the hill above our house.
It amazes me that Tom has so readily adapted to my diet and easily accepts that we don't eat out more often.  He never complains.  And, if he suggests we dine out, I'd be happy to go.  I can always order a piece of fish or a steak and a salad without the sauces and starchy sides.

But, he too has his limitations.  He doesn't like spicy food.  That's not to say I don't season our food.  I do.  Over the years I've learned which spices he'll tolerate and which he will not.  As a result, our meals are well seasoned and flavorful, just not with curry or Moroccan type spices common in many parts of the world.

Add these two peculiarities for us two travelers and dining out in remote locations become extremely challenging and often not worth the bother.  After we spent a month in Paris and London, dining out for 31 days in a row, we discovered how we could adapt and do well in the right location with a wide variety of food types.

Over the next year we'll be on four cruises, totaling 61 days where we'll be essentially dining out for every meal.  With the accommodations made by the various chefs, we're easily able to fulfill our needs and expectations, often to a point whereby the meals are highly enjoyable and suitable for both of us.

In more remote areas, there are fewer options of dining out on less seasoned, sugary and starchy meals, as has been the case here in Fiji.  Two months from now, we'll be living in New Zealand for three months.  Dining out there will be relatively easy and from time to time, we will.

Water tank servicing this area.
Also, we face the facts of our budget.  Often dining out in many locations can be pricey.  In order for us to continue traveling without money worries, we must consider the budget and its limitations.  Our average daily cost for cooking our meals is USD $27, FJD $58. 

If we were to dine out, the cost will generally be twice that amount at the very least including beverages, tax and tip.  In more populated areas, we'd easily spend three times that amount. 

Every month, we pay off our credit cards in full, leaving room for the huge amounts of rents and cruise fares we're required to pay well into the future.  If we were to dine out twice a week, we'd see those balances climb which could easily impact the price range of the properties we choose which, in the long run, is more important to us than dining out, especially with our limitations.

In my old life, I was a "foodie" loving to cook and entertain.  This is our new life.
Today, the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, we'll continue to be thankful as always, as we dine on Helen's chickens, content as ever.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate in the US and to the rest of the world...have a glorious day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 27, 2014:

A year ago today, we visited the Whalers Village Museum.  These are whaling ship's masthead rings that held the sailors to the mast.  For more museum photos, please click here.

Thanksgiving holiday approaching for US citizens...Pumpkin pies...Do we miss it all?

Our condo in Scottsdale, Arizona in November, 2012 where we lived for a few months as we finished the final preparations for leaving the US.  We had the table set for company when two of Tom's sisters and one brother-in-law were coming for dinner (not on Thanksgiving Day).
With tomorrow's Thanksgiving holiday celebration, the second most celebrated holiday in the US, next to Christmas, in our past lives this would have been a busy day for me.  Tom always worked and at times, based on his schedule on the railroad, he may have had to work on the actual holiday, missing all or part of the meal.

With Thanksgiving always occurring on the last Thursday in November, Wednesday would always be my pie baking day...pumpkin pies to be exact, making no less than eight pies, often more, depending on how many were coming for the holiday dinner the next day.

I rolled the dough for each of the pies but typical for pumpkin pies, a doughy top crust isn't included, just ample room for gobs of whipped cream for those who prefer to indulge.

Whether we had a houseful or not, which some years we did not, I made the pies.  We'd eat a few and share the remainder with our family and friends.  Never once did a single pie go to waste.

With the change in my way of eating in 2011, I still made all of the traditional foods on that last Thanksgiving before we left, making a few extra side dishes befitting my diet.  Nothing was lacking in tradition or taste. 

We left Minnesota on Halloween, 2012 (October 31st) and I haven't made a Thanksgiving dinner since.  Many countries don't offer turkeys for sale in the markets, although resorts and some restaurants may order them from their suppliers to fill the needs of tourists from the US on this special holiday.
Before the storms of the past few days, a blue sky inspired this photo of the cotton tree.
The last time Tom had a Thanksgiving meal was when we dined outdoors (the first time either of us dined outdoors on Thanksgiving) while we spent the last few months in Scottsdale, Arizona completing our "paperwork" and digital needs before leaving on our journey. 

There was much to do in the final preparations and we'd decided to spend it in a warm climate, close to Tom's sisters in Apache Junction, Arizona and no more than a five hour drive from eldest son Richard in Henderson, Nevada, eldest sister Susan in Las Vegas and younger sister Julie in Los Angeles, California.

We stayed in a lovely condo in Old Town area of Scottsdale.  With Tom's car still in our possession which son Richard took off our hands at the pier in San Diego, the day we left the US, we were easily able to get around Scottsdale. 

When Thanksgiving approached, we decided to try a popular buffet known for extraordinarily great food at a local casino in Scottsdale, the Talking Stick.  They didn't take reservations so we decided an early meal might be advantageous.  Once we arrived at the casino, the line for the buffet was at least 200 deep.  It would take hours in line. 

We left the casino, heading to a popular eatery in quaint Old Town and somehow managed to snag a cozy table for two on the patio.  It was a sunny warm day. 

These red flowers continue to thrive in the rainy weather.
Tom ordered the Thanksgiving meal while I ordered a meal prepared befitting my diet.  Apparently, in looking back at old posts for that period of time, I didn't write anything about that day, at that point not as committed to our daily ramblings and photos as we are now. 

The Thanksgiving years from there on; 2013 was spent in Kenya, 2014 in Maui, Hawaii and now here in Fiji.  Last year in Maui, we opted out of making the meal although all of the ingredients for making the big dinner were available in the markets.  

Last year, making a Thanksgiving dinner in Maui wasn't worth the trouble when Tom was also following my way of eating.  Plus, it wouldn't be the same without the pumpkin pies which was equally meaningful as the turkey itself.

Do we miss it? We'll always miss big family celebrations.  But, not with tears in our eyes.  We chose this life and have accepted the reality that we'll only see family (in person as opposed to "face time") every few years. 

With the holiday actually occurring tomorrow where it will be Thursday in the US (it will be Friday here) we hope to speak to everyone at some point.  The huge time difference makes it challenging but we'll figure it out. 

To all of our family and friends in the US, have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow, enjoy every last morsel of the scrumptious meal while we'll be thinking of you with love in our hearts and smiles on our faces.

Today, our usual shopping day, we've postponed it to tomorrow.  There a huge tropical storm (not necessarily dangerous). Neither of us see any reason to go out in the high winds and pouring rain when tomorrow will be just as fine.  We have plenty of food for dinner and with only 10 days until departure, we don't mind using what we have on hand.

Photo from one year ago today, November 26, 2015:

One year ago today, we visited Whalers Village in Kaanapali Beach, Maui, a favorite tourist attraction. We had a fabulous day, enjoying every moment. For more photos, please click here.

Is worldwide travel safe at this time?

Flowers blooming in the yard here in the Korovesi neighborhood, here in Savusavu.
After yesterday's warnings from the US State Department, and today's world news, we carefully consider where we're traveling over the next few years.  This travel warning was issued on November 24, 2015 includes the following:

"The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.  This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.
Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. 
U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places.  Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.  U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.  Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.  U.S. citizens should:
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.  Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.  
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)."

As we've mentioned in the past, we don't take these warnings lightly.  If we were simply on a two week vacation/holiday traveling to a less vulnerable location, it could be of less concerning.  With the world in front of us, we can't help but proceed with caution.

As we consider countries we visited a mere two years ago:  Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Kenya, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, UAE, we realize had conditions been as they are now, we may never have visited those countries or sailed along these seas.

Looking back, we're grateful for the experiences, knowing the likelihood of us ever returning is slim to none.  As we waited for six and a half hours at the airport in Istanbul, sitting in crowded areas, we couldn't help but consider the risks may be high in such a busy area. 

The night before our ship docked in Izmir Turkey on June 12th and 13th, 2013, we'd found this letter sitting on our bed upon returning to our cabin after dinner:
The letter we discovered on the bed in our cabin on June 11, 2013.
As we rode on the packed tour bus in Turkey on the long drive to visit the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey we couldn't avoid feeling aware that the risks existed in this country, along with others in the upcoming itinerary. 

The day after we visited the Pyramids in Egypt, the State Department issued a warning for American citizens traveling to Egypt.  Luckily, during our tour of the Pyramid, our trusty armed guard, Mohamed, who'd traveled with us on the bus, stay close at our side as shown in this photo below:
Mohammed, who carried a foldable Uzi in holster under his black suit.  Oddly, he took a liking to us and stayed close to us during our tour of the Pyramids.

By reading world news daily, we feel we're abreast of areas of concern worldwide as we continue to book locations far into the future.  Long ago we followed warnings from the US Department of State, realizing that no where on earth is exempt from risk. 

It was only 15 months ago we spent two weeks living in Paris, often walking the city streets for hours each day. Parisian citizens and tourists are now wrought with worry and fear over recent horrific attacks.

We remain mindful and on alert as we continue on our journey, hoping and praying for safety and good fortune to continue to travel along with us.

Photo from one year ago today, November 25, 2014:

One year ago today, we posted this photo of Spam options available at the Kihei, Maui grocery store where we shopped each week.  For more details, please click here.

Making it through a "powerless" day...

It appears that breadfruit trees continue to produce fruit all year long.
If we had a home of our own and, if the power was out for eight hours, we could easily busy ourselves if we didn't have a generator (which we did in our old lives).  We could go to a movie, out for lunch or visit family or friends.  We could go for a walk in the neighborhood. 

We could wash windows, clean the gutters or mow the lawn.  We could make a trip to Home Depot, Walgreens, and the mall to purchase the items on the list we'd been accumulating.  This time of year, we could have gone Christmas shopping and by the time we returned home, the power could be back on.

But here in Fiji, we can't go for a walk on the impossibly steep, deeply rutted dirt road or, work around the house or, go to a movie.  There's no movie theatre here.  Plus, the power was down in the entire town.  There was nothing to do. 

We began the day OK.  I finished and uploaded the post before the power had gone out, just to be safe.  Good thing.  The dongle wouldn't work with the power out in the village when Vodafone had also been shut down.  We had no Internet connection.

We hadn't seen these pretty flowers until this morning.
I couldn't cook as I often do, when it made no sense to open the fridge.  As a matter of fact, we never opened the refrigerator or freezer once during the outage after placing a huge bag of ice in a bowl in the refrigerated section to keep the items cold.  It worked.  Everything was still cold eight hours later including the items in the freezer all of which were still frozen.

We'd used two insulated bags, one within the other, to keep ice handy for our iced tea and kept our iced tea pitcher on the counter all day.  It was a good plan.

We'd arranged for Rasnesh to pick us up for a drive but it rained and we weren't able to see across the bay. It wasn't a good day for photos. We canceled by 10 am to free him for other customers. 

Luckily, it wasn't quite as hot as it had been over the past week.  We did fine without the two fans.  By late afternoon, the heat escalated and we sighed with relief as the power returned.

The ferry passing this morning.
For some odd reason neither of us were in the mood for reading books on our phones.  Getting up so early to ensure we could post before the outage, by 10 am, it felt as if it was midday.  We decided to watch two movies on my laptop which has a good battery that can last through three full length movies without a charge.

With many windows in the house and the need to keep the curtains opened for a possible breeze, it was hard to see the screen on the laptop especially since I'd turned down the brightness level down to less than 40% to save on battery life. 

We managed to watch Transporter Refueled (mediocre), Edge (also mediocre) and an episode of Grey's Anatomy.  Using approximately four hours of battery life, I was surprised to find 50% power remaining after watching the shows. 

Once it hit 2 pm, we began to play games on our phones, play Gin (Tom won but I'm ahead one game in the Fiji tally) and the time moved more quickly.  At 4:33 pm the power returned as we quickly plugged everything back in. 

These colorful plants continue to thrive.
Tom busily prepared to watch the Minnesota Vikings football game on his laptop while I began to put together the various dishes for dinner. With everyone in the area online as soon as the power returned, the signal was poor taking him extra time to get through the game. 

By 7:15 we sat down to dinner which would have been earlier but we couldn't get the portable oven to work.  Tom worked on the plugs for awhile and finally it fired up.  He wasn't finished watching the game but, had decided to wait until I went to bed to read at 9:30 pm, to finished the last quarter.  They lost.  He was disappointed.

Surprisingly, for a very inactive day, we slept well.  Cooling strong winds and rains washed over the area all night and sleeping was easier than ever.  Both of us up and ready to start the day by 6 am this morning, again, we'll stay in on another rainy day. 

Happy to have power again and with all of the kitchen appliances working well, we're good. Hope all of you are the same as those of our readers in the US prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Photo from one year ago today, November 24, 2014:

Golfing is a huge sport for tourists in the Hawaii Islands with many award winning golf courses available on the four largest islands; Oahu, Maui, Big Island (Hawai'i) and Kauai.  For more golf course photos in Maui, please click here.