Part 1...Best anniversary day imaginable!...Reeling from a memorable experience at the world famous Namale Resort & Spa!


Inside the reception building, we asked a staff member to take our photo at Namale Resort & Spa as we celebrated our three year anniversary of traveling the world with a tour and lunch at the world renowned resort. 
Where do we begin?  It's nearly impossible to describe the wonderful day we had yesterday on our third anniversary of traveling the world at the world renowned Tony Robbins Namale Resort & Spa, only a 30 minute drive from our current home in Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji.

The drive on a private road into Namale Resort & Spa, situated in a dense rainforest, gave us only a glimpse of the 525 acres of paradise which lie ahead.
Here are a few accolades regarding this upscale resort:

"#1 Most Romantic Resort in the South Pacific"
TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Awards

"One of the top 50 most romantic places on earth."
Luxury Magazine

"All time winner of the resorts and great hotels of the world connoisseur choice award."
Architectural Digest cover

The list of awards and recognition for this outstanding resort are as expected as the memorable experiences made for travelers who visit from all over the world, unsurpassed in many ways in its exquisite beauty, situated on 525 acres of rainforests, ocean cliffs and pristine beaches.

Throughout the grounds, there is minimal structured landscaping as often found in five star resorts, instead taking advantage of the natural beauty and vegetation which provides a backdrop to the many aspects of the resort.
Recently in June, Namale Resort & Spa celebrated its 25th anniversary while it continues to be heralded as one of the finest in the world in its service, amenities and unique design, more than any other resorts one may have visited in the past.

Sure, we could spend this entire post espousing the attributes of this upscale resort but, as our worldwide readers are well aware, we tend to share our personal experiences included into a review of any type of property.

As we neared Namale Resort & Spa, a sense of excitement washed over us both, having heard many positive comment about this property over these past few months we've spent living in Vanua Levu.
Over the next few days, we'll excitedly share many photos and experiences we enjoyed at Namale over an almost four hour period we spent onsite, observing as much as possible of its endless offerings, its exemplary staff and its abundance of natural beauty so thoughtfully incorporated into its unique surroundings.

Its not easy to grasp the magnitude of 525 acres as we rode on a six passenger golf cart with our tour guide and hostess, Filo and friendly driver, Villi.  On occasion, Villi was radioed to attend to other guests and we continued joyfully on foot with Filo. 

Filo was gracious and thorough in her tour of the vast property.  With full occupancy, we weren't able to see the interior of any of the villas although more detailed photos may be found online at Namale Resort & Spa.
It was a hot and humid day but with nary a complaint we wandered about the vast property on foot able to easily gain access to the many ocean scenes that mesmerized guests who've found this astounding resort for their honeymoon, an anniversary, or a quiet therapeutic get away, most certainly at a premium cost.

Many travelers from throughout the world choose to visit Namale Resort & Spa for its seminars held a few times each year, held in its onsite seminar facilities.

The views are varied in their breathtaking beauty.
With rates beginning at approximately USD $1,400, FJD $3017 per night and up, depending on choice of accommodations, this resort isn't for many travelers. Unfortunately, an overnight stay at Namale Resort & Spa didn't fit into our world travel budget, although we were appreciative to have had the opportunity for our visit. 

The all inclusive resort is closed to outside dining guests but, accommodations were made for our visit, tour and lunch, all of which far surpassed our expectations.


A few weeks ago, we shared a glimpse of this swimming raft available exclusively for Namale's guests when we visited the Blue Lagoon from the opposite side of the bay.
As explained by our host, Nowdla Keefe, co-general manager, who'd arranged our visit and stopped by our table during our meal,  80% of guests are from the US, many of whom may have been familiar with its owner and creator, the highly regarded personal and business motivational speaker and finance strategist, Tony Robbins.

Having personally attended several of his US seminars over my business career, many of his philosophies still remain embedded into my brain yet today as is the case for many who followed his wisdom and career over the decades. 

With accommodations for 44 guests, the marina is small but situated in a quiet cove.  Many tourists visit for snorkeling and scuba diving in the coral reef surrounding the property.
However, we visited Namale Resort and Spa with a scrutinous eye, not blinded by past experience, intended to examine its many offerings with our three year's of non-stop world travel experience, no longer enthralled with opulence as a definitive medium of excellence and integrity.

Each narrow pebbled path leads to yet another pleasing view.
We were never disappointed as Filo wowed us, time after time, over the care and consideration exercised throughout the design, development and the maintenance of this fine property, which in its 25 years, never appeared dated or tired as many five star resorts many may succumb to over time.

Technology was at its most current, as was each of its many recreational areas, utilizing the most up-to-date equipment and amenities. Nothing was spared in presenting an appearance and sense of what would expect to find in an upscale resort built today, even in this remote island paradise.


There is one inviting seating area after another near restaurants and activity areas.  The palm laying on the deck are being used to make a variety of decorative items used in the resort.
Above all, we were most impressed by the gentle, calming nature of the extraordinary conscientious staff, eager to please at every point. 

In tomorrow's post, we'll share photos of a few of the fine staff members we had the opportunity to meet and engage in conversation, truly one of the highlights of our special day.  Plus, we'll be including photos of the many recreational and amenities buildings located on this fine property and of course, our memorable lunch.

See you soon with much more!
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Photo from one year ago today, November 1, 2014:

Last year's two year travel anniversary was relatively uneventful with a disappointing dinner in a local restaurant in Maui, although we were happy and grateful to celebrate another year.  For details, please click here.

Our three year anniversary...A special day out...Total expenses for three years of travel and lots more stats...Hold on to your seats!

Us in Hawaii, one year ago.  Tomorrow, we'll post a new photo of us together from Namale Resort.  Here's a link to our two year anniversary.
This morning, we awoke simultaneously at 5:45, both of us saying "happy anniversary, lover!"  Its a special day for us.  Its the third year anniversary of our world travels, beginning on October 31, 2012, the day Tom retired and we left Minnesota to begin our journey.

The first few years we didn't make much of a deal of the anniversary when we hit the road, leaving our lives in Minnesota behind, leaving behind all we knew and loved.

Our kids, now all in their 40's had built their own lives with their families, filled with activities, their own traditions, fully embracing the hurried and at times, frantic pace of life in the US. 

After working all of our lives and living that frenzied pace at times, we were ready to expand our horizons and step outside the "expected" box of retirement and old age. 

What contributed to our choosing this life evolved more from our mutual desire to do so than anything else.  In many marriages, one may like the idea but the other spouse wouldn't consider it.  With my renewed health beginning 11 months before we left, it was three months  later until we even conceived of the idea. 

It was hard leaving everyone we love behind.  We didn't take it lightly.  We just did it differently than many Minnesotans who choose to escape the frigid winters and short, hot, humid summers.   Instead of buying a condo in Arizona or Florida as many retirees often do, seeing family once or twice a year, we chose to see the world, although the stretches between visits are further apart.

The kids and grandchildren visited us in Hawaii last December, a little over two years after we'd left and we'll see them again in 19 months.  They're doing fine without us. A call on Skype is all it takes to see a smiling face and hear a familiar voice. 

Many ask, "When will this end and you move back to the US?"  When one is happy and fulfilled, its a tough question to answer. Our answer is vague at this point, "When we have to (due to health) or when we want to."  Neither of those scenarios are in front of us now as we enter into our fourth year.
Although not specifically an anniversary photo this was taken in January, 2013 in the days when we had lots of luggage.  We believe we had a total of 17 pieces including several carryon bags.  Now we have three checked bags and a two carryon items each.
When we began this journey three years ago we made a pact:  If one of us wants to stop traveling, the other will agree.  Of course, if health becomes a serious issue we're unable to address from abroad, we'd have no choice but to return to the US.  Perhaps, after a period of time and recovery, we can continue again.

However, part of the joy in our lives is the uncertainty of the distant future, an odd sensation for two people who liked to plan well into the future, especially me.  And yet, I'm totally at ease moving every few weeks or months. 

Other than missing the people we love, we miss nothing in our old lives.  Sure, a TV would be nice or AC on hot humid days but now, we see those as frills we easily live without.  Getting dressed is easy each day: shorts and tee shirt, or...tee shirt and shorts.  Life is simple and uncomplicated.

We wish we'd taken more anniversary photos on years one and two but, often alone, we settle for what we can, often taking photos of ourselves individually or on occasion, asking a stranger.  We'll try to do better on future anniversaries. 

Tomorrow, we'll definitely post a photo of us together after today's upcoming celebration at Namale Resort where we requested an exception to allow "outsiders" to dine in their restaurant when its exclusively intended for "all inclusive" guests only. 

Luckily, our offer of doing a story on Namale and today's experience will be posted online tomorrow which results in great exposure  for their resort to our worldwide readers.  We're appreciative for the opportunity to visit this world famous resort.

Now, for the part most of today's readers are anticipating...the numbers.  Yesterday, after reviewing our spreadsheets with every facet of our travels, including all expenses and every aspects of our itinerary.


Tom at the beach at the Indian Ocean on our one year anniversary in 2013.  Here's a link to our one year anniversary.
Also, we've included the totals for each expense for "everyday" living with such items as medical, supplies, insurance, toiletries, groceries, data, clothing, dining out, entertainment, postage, miscellaneous fees and on and on.

Many of you will be shocked when you read these numbers.  Others may be pleasantly surprised.  But, if any of our readers were to add up every last cent they spent in the past three years their numbers may not be whole lot different than ours.

I'll lighten the shock of the total by sharing the 37 month total (we've included estimated costs for our remaining month here in Savusavu based on averages on our spending to date):
  • Monthly cost (37 months):  USD $6,880, FJD $14,772
  • Daily cost: USD $225, FJD $483:
  • Three year total (37 months): USD $254,572, FJD $546,582
The monthly total was higher than we'd originally estimated.  But, when 12 family members came to Hawaii at our expense, our monthly averages increased exponentially. 

Into the future, we should be able to keep our monthly cost around the USD $6,000, FJD $12,882 thus reducing our daily total expense at USD $197, FJD $423, a number we feel comfortable to strive toward into the future.  As we peruse our budget, we see this is entirely likely once we've passed 2015. 

As for other numbers, here are a few facts we gathered from the past three years as well:
  •  21:  vacation homes we've rented
  •  56:  nights spent in hotels
  •  14:  flights we've taken (roundtrips count as two)
  •    1:  trains we've taken (the Eurostar, Paris to London)
  • 119: nights spent on a cruise ship
  •  11:  cruises we sailed
  •    7:  rental cars (total number rented, not number of days rented)
  • 16:   total months with a rental car (leaving 21 months using a driver)
None of the above surprised me based on the fact that I've been entering these numbers for over three years.  Tom was surprised at first at the grand totoal but as we discussed it further, he was easily able to see how it adds up.

Two years ago, on our one year anniversary on the beach at the Indian Ocean in Kenya.
None of these totals include deposits we've paid for future travel.  Those numbers will be calculated into new totals for each year as the rentals, cruises and expenses occur.

There it is, folks.  Without storage and a permanent home in another location, its affordable for us to continue to travel the world.  Never for a moment do we take from granted our ability to do this.  Never for a moment do we take for granted the good fortune, safari luck, we've experienced in these first three years.

And most of all, never for a moment to we fail to appreciate each other's bravery and determination to live a joyful life "outside the box" or our ongoing good health.

Thus, to my loving husband, I say "thank you" for this extraordinary experience.  To our family and friends, "thank you" for accepting our decision to travel the world.  And, of course, to all of our worldwide readers for "traveling along with us" from your comfy armchair, your ride on the bus or with your morning coffee or tea at the kitchen table.  We loved sharing each day with all of you.
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Photo from one year ago, October 31, 2014:

We didn't make much of our deal about our two year anniversary last year which we'll share in tomorrow's post for the one year ago photo.  Its a special milestone for us each year and for us, is deserving a bit of hoopla.  For details from last year, please click here.

A peculiar event in time...Approaching our three year anniversary of traveling the world...Tomorrow, stats and expenses for first three years...


A friendly man on his horse after a hard morning's work took time to say "bula!"
What we're sharing today is somewhat hard to believe.  If we hadn't been caught up in this situation along with the rest of the digital savvy population of Savusavu (the majority have cell phones), we have thought this story was pure folly.


Beautiful scenery on a cloudy day.
Sunday, the first in November, is designated in Fiji as the time to change clocks for Daylight Savings Time.  In this part of the world, its not a case of "fall back" as many parts of the world do when changing their clocks back one hour.

(Ironically, the first post we wrote on March 15, 2012 was regarding changing clocks.  Please click here for that first post).

But, instead, in this part of the world its "spring ahead" one hour.  Its spring here in the Southern Hemisphere where some things are opposite or different than those in the Northern Hemisphere, including the day of the week.


A horse turns our way as we drive down a narrow road.
This website clearly explains time changes in the Southern Hemisphere:

"Across the southern hemisphere, where summer and winter are reversed, countries that observe daylight saving time (DST) move time in the opposite direction."

So is the case, here in Fiji.  On Sunday, we'll turn our digital clocks and watches forward one hour.  OK, no big deal, right.  Well, this past Sunday, one week early, Vodafone, the local cell carrier, turned the clock forward by one hour on all cell phones throughout the area.

A baby pig nursing.
THIS WAS AN ERROR.  Done on the wrong Sunday and left for everyone throughout Savusavu to figure out.  We didn't have a clue.  Our phones, without a cell service contract and only a phone SIM card in mine, still showed the "real time" yet to be changed.

Honestly, we didn't know a time change was coming.  We have no TV, no local news and no way we'd be notified of this fact.  As written in yesterdays' post, we pay little attention to time when only a few times of week, we walk to the road to meet Rasnesh for a sightseeing or shopping trip.

Locals use bamboo to make these fishing rafts.
We'd planned to meet Rasnesh at 11 am to head to the village for our usual Thursday visits to the Vodafone kiosk, the Farmer's Market, New World Market and Fiji Meats.  At 10:55, we walked to the road to meet Rasnesh, carrying the huge insulated Costco beach bag, the cloth Africa bag and the smaller insulated bag. 

At 11:05 he still hadn't arrived.  He's always early, never late.  Standing in the hot sun, sweating in the humid air, we decided to call him.  Had something happened?  Should we go back inside and wait until his usual call to let us know he's arrived?

View across Savusavu Bay from opposite our home.
Rasnesh laughed when he heard my voice and realized why we were calling,  "Oh, Jessica, you didn't know about the time change thing, did you?"  We did not.  We didn't even know a time change was coming on November 1st when in many countries DST isn't observed.

Apparently, the entire village in their beautiful easy going spirit, decided to go along with the new time, changed in error, one week early, by cell phone provider Vodafone.  We laughed out loud over the unique charm of these people, their gentle acceptance, their laissez faire attitudes, of "what will be, will be." 

A small makeshift hut along the highway.
There was no drama, no angry accusations, no requests for compensation and no threats to cancel contracts.  They simply "went with the flow" and the "new time" one week early.  No questions asked.  Many of us throughout the world can learn a lot from these gentle people.

If this happened in many other countries all hell would break loose until it was corrected and in part we'd expect this response:  What about the stock market, airline flights, bus schedules and the times banks and businesses would open?  It would be total chaos, effecting literally every citizen, every business and every entity in some manner.

These handmade rafts are ideal for hauling as well as fishing.
We asked Rasnesh if he wanted to come get us in another hour?  He explained he was available and would be here soon.  We laughed over this peculiar situation.  Our only concern was our upcoming appointment for Saturday, our three year anniversary, to be at Namale at noon to tour their facility, take photos and then celebrate our anniversary with a lunch in their gourmet restaurant.

We arranged it with Rasnesh to pick us up at 11:15 "old time," not new Vodafone time, in order for us to make our 12:00 pm appointment.  By Sunday, the time should be correct, providing Vodafone doesn't accidentally change it one more time.

The views are lovely driving along the Hibiscus Highway.
Frequently, based on our travels and GPS on our phones and computers, our clocks often automatically change to the wrong date and time.  Over the next several days, we'll update everything digital to ensure we have the correct time after the "official" time change. 

Tomorrow, we'll be back with the "numbers" of our three years of world travel, past anniversary photos of us and links to our early posts.  We hope you'll share this special day with us.
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Photo from one year ago today, October 30, 2014:

A colorful smoothie truck at the Farmer's Market in Maui.  Unfortunately, smoothies contain carbs, fruit and sugar preventing us from partaking in these tasty treats.  For more details and photos in Maui on this date, please click here.

Living large...Living small...Living in the moment...



Close to the center of this photo is the compound where our current home is located as seen from across Savusavu Bay as we traveled on the opposite side.
We try to live in the moment.  Overall, we're good at it.  Today, a bright, sunny day with clear blue skies makes it nearly impossible to do otherwise.  We're in Fiji, a place we discussed many times as we planned our travels when tropical island holidays came to mind.

In this large life, in the large world, each day we strive to live "small," wrapped up in the trivialities of our every day, appreciating the call of a mating bird, a determined crowing rooster, an annoyed mooing cow, or the stuttered baa we often hear from a lonely kid goat.

We could only imagine how beautiful our photos would have been on a sunny day which had started sunny and clear, turning to rain shortly after we left.  That's life in the tropics.  We still had a fabulous day!
We watch the cruise ships, large and small, waft by each day in our magnificent ocean view. Often at night with their lights bright, we easily imagine the festivities and lively banter occurring on deck, knowing in a little over two months, we'll be doing the same.

When we think of the future, its hard not to speculate, anticipate and become outrageously excited knowing full well what lies ahead of us.  Even after we'll have visited each continent, there will be so much left to see: the Northern Lights from Norway, a Baltic cruise, the Black Sea, more river cruises, the USA and Canada, and countries throughout the world we'll have yet to see. 

Our current home in Savusavu is located approximately 1/3 of the way in from the point in this photo.  A photo below illustrates a better perspective.
Perhaps someday, we'll return to a few places we particularly loved such as Africa and Kauai, Hawaii.  While we were in Mykonos, Greece, I longed to return to live in the pristine streets with the white houses trimmed in blue on the steep winding roads or, in the walled city of Croatia, that easily took our breath away.

We try not to think of where we haven't been.  The list is too massive.  But, as we discuss the future we can't help but attach some dreams to the future.  With careful, budget minded living, there's no where in the world beyond our reach, beyond our reality.  We'll always find a way to make it work. 

The point, close to our home in Savusavu, from across the bay.
In our old life, my only dream of travel was to visit Africa and if, somehow we never find a way to return, my dreams have been fulfilled after nine months on the continent.  Is it greedy to long to return for one more life changing dose for that which we have yet to see and to return, to once again see that which we left behind?   While we can.

Now, as we languish, quietly and at peace in this exquisite tropical island paradise, without a worry in the world, we try to spend our remaining time in Fiji relishing in its unobtrusive lifestyle, its gentle people and its easy way of life, keeping our minds uncluttered with excessive planning and budgeting. 
We passed several small villages along the way.
Lifting my head from my laptop as my fingers fly across the keyboard, my brain and fingers seemingly one, I need only look up a distance of 15 degrees for my eyes to behold the sea in front of us.  To our left, we find the vast expanse of the open sea.

Across the bay to the distant opposite side of Savusavu Bay, where we recently traveled, we were able to see this property with a steady zoom of the camera.  We were in awe of being able to see the expanse of our neighbor Sewak's recently graded steep road to the mountaintop, which we visited only weeks ago and the land where Mario's new home was recently built.  It was magical as shown in these included photos.
 

Cows are always curious and we laughed when this grazing cow picked up her head to check us out.
Living in the moment should be easy. In my old life, I was always planning the next dish to be served to our guests at the outdoor barbecue on a warm summer afternoon or, the next event to be planned or, the next day, week's or month's endless list of planned and on-the-calendar activities.

In this life, awakening to this view, the sounds of nature, and the knowledge that these gentle people are scurrying about, striving to provide us with an idyllic environment, I am constantly reminded not to think ahead, to live in the moment.

How wonderful that this small island has this school for its people, the Montifort Technical Institute.
Here in Fiji as we research future locations, we often lift our heads that 15 degrees as a boat passes by, or to listen more intently to the pleasing sounds of farm animals or birds, all music to our ears.

And when a smiling face, a genuine soul, enters our door eager to please, when asked "What can I do for you today, Ms. Jessica, Mr. Tom?"  More often than not, we say, "Not a thing. We're good.  Vinaka."  They'll make the low-to-the-floor bed, leave towels and toilet paper and once or twice a week do more.  We handle the rest on a daily basis.

Cherishing in this easy life is more than we ever dreamed possible.  We've experienced this all over the world, not so much as a result of having household help, but more from having no appointments, no backyard parties, no place we have to be at a certain time.  Our only strict adherence to the clock is on travel days or when shopping and sightseeing when we don't have a rental car.

It was raining when we stopped to take photos of these fish ponds.
Tom says that he spent 42 years working on the railroad, constantly aware of the time of day. He, too, loves the freedom of our current lives, only wearing a watch on travel days.  We can go an entire day without checking the time, eating when hungry, sleeping when tired.

After a lifetime of "must do's" these past three years has been filled with "want to do's" allowing us to live in the moment.  In essence, for us, this is "living large" amid the small things and from time to time, thinking of where we've been and what, dear readers, is yet to come.

As we approach our three year anniversary of traveling the world on October 31st, we're compiling a list of our stats; how many countries we've visited, how may vacation homes we've rented, how many cruises we've taken and much more, including the total dollars we've spent in the past three years.  Please check back as these details unwind.
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Photo from one year ago today, October 29, 2014:

The last time Tom purchased anything sweet for himself, was fudge from this shop in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii which he devoured within a day.  For more photos of our visit to Lahaina, please click here.

Response to requested shopping photos, cars...Preparing for the next location...Three year ago photo from Tom's retirement party...

We now purchase all of our eggs from this vendor at the Farmer's Market closest to the door when the local egg lady, Kusma, was too hard to get to up the steep mountainous road, even for Rasnesh's vehicle.  The tray of two and a half dozen tray of chemical and antibiotic free eggs is FJD $12.50, USD $5.36.  To date, we haven't encountered one bad egg.
A week or so ago, one of our readers posted a comment requesting we include more photos of the village of Savusavu, the cars and the stores where we shop each week.
We hadn't paid much attention to the types of cars in Savusavu.  With the suggestion from our reader, we made an effort to notice finding they are the same types of cars and trucks found in any city, nothing unusual. 

This is the Vodafone kiosk where we purchase data almost every week. There a friendly and fun rep in this store that we've come to know, a young woman in her 20's, very adept and knowledgeable making the experience enjoyable.  Usually, there's little waiting.
Based on what Mario explained all vehicles imported to the island may be as much as 20% higher than the cost in larger countries.  Then again, most vehicles are imported to their final destination in today's day and age.

We spotted no American models with the steering wheel on the right hand side.  Most were models manufactured in Asia and Europe.  Few native Fijians drive. Most cars and trucks are owned or driven by expats, rentals, farmers and taxis, local businesses including resorts and hotels, police and medical services.


This tiny chemist shop has more inventory packed into this tiny space than imaginable.  One need only ask for an item and they happily scrounge around until they find it.  The owner, of Muslim heritage, refused to allow interior and staff photos which we've encountered and respected in Morocco and other Muslim countries. 
As we've mentioned, we didn't rent a car here when the steep dirt road to the house requires a four wheel drive including in dry weather.  With the outrageous cost of renting a four wheel drive for three months, well into the $1000's per month, we opted for highly regarded and never disappointing Rasnesh.

In the past several days, we began researching our next location in Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu.   Its hard to believe that in 39 days we'll be leaving Savusavu and flying out on the little airplane to Nadi.  We were checking on whether we should rent a car there or not.

This is an example of cars we've seen in Fiji, not necessarily including the exterior d├ęcor.
Contacting Susan, the owner of the house, she suggested a shuttle company for the 95km drive from the airport to the house and local drivers as opposed to renting a car for local trips. 

The Hibiscus Highway runs through the village.  It was quiet when we took this photo last week.
Checking rates online, the lowest we were able to find was USD $1,400, FJD $2,988 for a one month rental, plus taxes and fees, most likely ending close to USD $2,000, FJD $4269.  Also, many of the shops and restaurants are within walking distance of the house or only a short ride.  For the reasonable prices of drivers in Fiji, if we went out everyday we'd never spend half as much as we would for a rental car. 

The front door of the Farmer's Market.  No signage is posted at this entrance.
Apparently, Pacific Heights shopping and tours will be comparable to what we've found in and about Savusavu.  For our grocery needs; meat, veggies and some dairy, even the smaller markets will be able to accommodate us.  Susan explained there are a few vegetable stands within walking distance.

A side entrance to the Farmer's Market.    To the far right are the freezers when fresh caught fish is stored.
As for the local shopping in Savusavu, we've managed to find everything we could possibly want or need between the meat market, Farmer's Market and the three aisle grocery store as shown in today's photos.  In reality, my way of eating makes grocery shopping easy.  What location doesn't have a source of animal protein, vegetables and dairy?

The Farmer's Market is huge with dozens of vendors offering fresh produce.  Most of the vendors purchase the produce directly from the local farmers to sell here each day.
Recently, we were asked if we eat dairy.  Many have chosen to avoid dairy entirely for health reasons.  Were either of us sensitive to it, we'd do the same.  We aren't.  We use thick whole cream for coffee and cooking; full fat cheese, full fat sour cream (for salad dressing recipes) and full fat cream cheese (when available), mostly in cooking as opposed to eating individually. 

A vendor stocking his freezer with fish.  We've chosen not to purchase this fish when most of it is "reef fish" which can cause bacterial infections when sewage flows to the sea, staying in the reef areas.
Neither of us has any issues with digestion.  We avoid yogurt when most have added sugars, even in the plain full fat version.  Cultured full fat sour cream provides good probiotics without added sugars.  Many sour cream brands sold in the US are not cultured, unless specifically stated on the label.

This vendor has been our first stop each week.  We typically purchase cabbage and tomatoes from her.  Last week, we passed on the tomatoes when they weren't ripe enough for our immediate use.
Many may say, why do we consume dairy when we basically consume a very low carb, starch free, sugar free and grain free "paleo" type diet?  With the limitations of the way we eat including full fat low carb dairy in moderation has added much desired variety avoiding boredom from eating a slab of protein, a veggie and a salad night after night.

These Fijian women were sitting on the floor while one gave the other a massage.
With many recipes in a folder on my desktop including various combinations of the above items including some dairy, we're able to enjoy a varied and fulfilling diet, many of which can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, including chopping and dicing time.  A few take longer but, what else do I have to do with my time?



Taro, a popular starch product commonly used in Fijian cooking.
With Shalote and Usi handling the cleaning and laundry, I have the second half of each day to do as I please. The only cleaning I tackle is sweeping the floor after preparing meals and cleaning the kitchen and bathroom after use. 

Almost daily, I hand wash kitchen towels  hanging them outdoors to dry mainly as a means of keeping the ants under control. With a few newly implemented procedures we've successfully kept the ants away over the past several days. 

As mentioned, the New World Market has three grocery aisles and is often out of products we use.  There's been no "plunger" coffee for the past three weeks.  We buy celery and carrots here as opposed to the Farmer's Market.  For some unknown reason these two items are fresher here.  The woman leaning against the produce bin, assists with bagging the produce and then weighs it on a hanging kilogram scale.  Tom always pushes the trolley.
After dinner, Tom does a thorough cleaning of the dishes, the counter top and washing the place mats while I scrub the dining table with hot soapy water to ensure not a single crumb remains.  By washing the exterior of the refrigerator each day and washing the handle after each opening, we haven't seen an ant on the fridge in days.

We don't purchase much in this aisle, the center of three aisles in the market.  It contains laundry and cleaning products on this end and soda and chips on the other end, none of which we use.
Its taken awhile to figure out this ant thing but now, we think we've got is covered.  We have a small can of ant killer spray which Tom uses outside around the trashcan after a thorough washing in hot soapy water.  Daily trash removal is vital to keeping the ants under control.

We purchase little in this aisle when it contains toiletries, candy, paper products and canned goods.  At the far end is another small section with baking supplies, and freezers with frozen meat and vegetables, ice cream and miscellaneous items, none of which we purchase.
Today and over the next several days, we're including all new photos of outings and road trips we've taken in Vanua Levu, not necessarily related to one another.  We're coming up to two outings, one tomorrow (Thursday) and another on our upcoming three year anniversary on October 31st (Saturday) with many new photos to share.  Please stay tuned.

Have a fabulous day! 
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Photo from one year ago today, October 28, 2014:


A lava flow advances across the pasture between the Pahoa cemetery and Apaa Street, engulfing a barbed wire fence, near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii on Sunday.
A year ago, we were worrying about the flow of the lava from Mount Kilauea which at the time was heading directly to the neighborhood where the two houses we'd rented for the upcoming family visit over Christmas.  Luckily, after arrival in Pahoa on the Big Island, the lava diverted its flow and we could stop worrying.  Please read here for details.

Photo from three years ago, taken at Tom's retirement party, only days before we left Minnesota:
At that point we were using my cell phone for photos.  Oh, how times have changed. Please click here for details.