Transportation...Another long day without power...VPN tip...Five days until departure...

There are many sailboats in the islands, a choice location for avid sailors.
Three months is a long time in one location without a car.  Oh, I'm not complaining. We're thrilled with the savings.
Not paying upwards of USD $1500, FJD $3239 per month (as an example in Fiji), USD $4500, FJD $9719 for three months of a rental car plus fuel as opposed to the under USD $300, FJD $648 total we'll have spent for a driver for the full three months in Fiji provides a huge savings on an annualized basis.

This amount of savings by not renting a car in Fiji was enough to pay for our upcoming cruise in January for both of us, selecting a balcony cabin (as always).  Each time we opt for a driver as opposed to a rental car the savings is generally in this range ultimately paying for most upcoming cruises. 

In 2016, we've scheduled five cruises;  four ocean going, one river cruise.  With our love of cruising and the ability to see so much at one time, choosing a driver over a rental car is a small sacrifice to us.

In other countries such as upcoming in New Zealand in January, a rental car is a must with our intentions to tour the two islands.  We've found the cost in NZ is much more affordable than in Fiji as is the case in more populated countries.

A sandy beach along the quiet road we traveled.
As we move to the next island of Fiji for 28 days again we'll use a driver.  The company that we've arranged to pick us up at the Suva Airport will also serve as our drivers once we arrive in Pacific Harbour, an hour's drive from the airport. 

In the new location, we'll have the freedom (and luxury) of walking to nearby shops and restaurants according to the owner.  I can hardly wait to be able to walk when there. Although lovely overall in Savusavu its been impossible to go for a walk on the steep dirt road up the mountain. 

We can barely maneuver getting into Rasnesh's vehicle, the incline is so steep.  Invariably, the car door is so heavy on the incline, that in itself it's a challenge to close once inside, the incline creating a darned weird obstacle, dangerous and unwieldy.  Level ground at this point is rather appealing.

Living in Savusavu hasn't been easy in some ways, certainly not anyone's fault.  Mario has been the perfect host in a relatively perfect little house overlooking the sea.  The support staff has been ideal; Junior, Usi and Vika, all of whom we adore. 

We highly recommend this resort if the ability to prepare one's food and the desire to be away from the hotel environment in a more private location is on one's radar.   In many ways its been ideal for us.

As for the ants, that's only been a result of our constant need to cook.  Had we only been preparing light meals as most shorter term travelers do, we may not have had so many ants.  It was certainly a result of the constant preparation of food that attracted them no matter how well we cleaned up after we were done. 

A canopy of trees crossed over the road creates a pretty scene.
The refrigerator handle fell prey to the ants if a smidgeon of food was on my hand when I opened the door.  The next day we'd have ants on the handle and the door.  In time, I learned my lesson, washing my hands every time I opened a cupboard or appliance including the microwave, portable oven, the coffee or tea pots or even the kitchen sponge which I sterilized with a minute in the microwave each day.  And still, they came...just less of them for a day or two. 

I have no doubt we've eaten some ants regardless of how hard we've tried not to.  Then again, there are populations throughout the world that eat ants and other insects so I guess we fit in.  Not necessarily by design.

As for yesterday's unannounced power outage, I suppose not knowing saved us a bit of anticipation, although we weren't prepared with lots of ice on hand as we had the week earlier with advance notice.  Two of out the past eight days we've had no power and a third day the refrigerator didn't work for 24 hours. 

My biggest concern is always the food in the refrigerator.  The freezer seems to stay cold for eight or nine hours without defrosting providing we don't open the door. Yesterday's power outage beginning at 9:17 am was a total surprise. 

Waiting 30 minutes after the power went off, I called the power company when this time the Internet still worked enabling me to look up their number online.  I was told it was a result of another day's tree trimming near the power lines as hurricane season approaches.  They estimated we'd have power by 4:30 pm.

Aside from many rocky beaches, there are many sandy beaches in Fiji.
We had a decision to make; do we open the freezer, empty all four of our ice cubes trays into a container to place in the refrigerator or do we avoid opening either door?  We opted to quickly open both doors, remove the ice, fill the plastic container and our mugs with ice placing the plastic container on top of the pan of the uncooked Italian meatballs I planned to cook for dinner. 

We were concerned about meatballs made with beef and pork mince going bad in the refrigerator in seven or more hours.  But our plan worked. When the power came back on at 5:30 pm, the ice was hardly melted in the fridge, the contents were cold and the meatballs were as cold as they would have been with power. 

We had a lovely dinner with the meatballs slathered in homemade red pasta sauce topped with hand grated mozzarella cheese, a side of mushroom casserole (which stayed frozen in the freezer during the outage) and fresh steamed veggies.

The next challenge of the day was Tom's ability to watch the Minnesota Vikings football game on his laptop.  He's a member of NFL Game Pass, an app only available to viewers outside the US for an annual fee of USD $130, FJD $281 when Tom only watches the Vikings games.  The fees are higher for full access to all games, playoff and Super Bowl games which he can add on later, if the Vikings are in the playoffs and Super Bowl. 

The games are available live with commercials or a few hours later without commercials reducing the view time to less than two hours.  For some odd reason, last night, when the Internet signal was appeared strong enough to watch, Tom wasn't able to download the game no matter how hard he tried.  He'd been able to watch prior games while in Fiji.  We had no idea as to the problem.

We can easily envision a life at sea, definitely not a lifestyle that would appeal to us for years.
Frustrated for him, I made what sounded like a hair brained suggestion that he use the VPN on my computer, Hotspot Shield, to show our entry to the Internet wasn't Fiji but another country we could select in the app.  We couldn't use the US as the selection with the Game Pass app unavailable for use while in the US.

I started the app, selected the UK as our entry point and he opened to the program for success.  Immediately, the game popped up on the screen of my laptop. 

Not much of a football fan, plus with his preference of keeping the laptop on his lap during the game, I decided to head to bed at 9 pm to continue reading a good mystery novel instead of attempting to watch along with him.

By 10:30, I nodded off, loud game and all managing eight hours of sleep, a first in many moons, only awakening a few times to the sound of pounding rain on the roof, a nightly occurrence of late.

The sun is shining at the moment. The ants are under control.  I'm feeling especially good after a full night's rest.  Tom's still grinning from ear to ear over the Vikings win.  Life is good.
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Photo from one year ago today, December 1, 2014:


On our final day in Maui before heading to the Big Island for the upcoming family visit, we boarded a whale watching boat in Maalaea Bay, the harbor with some of the roughest seas in the world. (Yes, it was! rough)! We never saw a whale and once again, we were disappointed on yet another unfulfilling whale watching outing. Safari luck only seems to prevail on land.  For more details and photos of the scenery, please click here.
 

A lifestyle story from a local worker...Far removed from the reality of many throughout the world...Familiar to many others...


Overall, the beaches in this area are rocky.
At the moment, we're the only residents at our resort other than Mario and Tatiana, who's house is quite a distance from ours, almost inaccessible on foot.
Other guests are arriving after we soon depart.

As a result, the housekeepers haven't been as busy as usual with only our free standing house to clean and the other units in the main building requiring only dusting and general upkeep in the interim.  Tidy and often doing much of the cleaning ourselves, our little house requires little work each day.

When Vika arrived yesterday, the younger sister of Usi with whom she splits the workweek, I finally had a chance to "interview" her knowing she didn't have to rush off to clean the other units.  I've wanted to inquire more as to their lifestyle since we arrived, but was only able to do so in snippets as they breezed through doing their work seven days a week.

Vika, who lives with her older brother happily shared the nuances of her everyday life, which was surprising in many ways.  We had some idea as to the everyday life of many locals from prior conversations and subsequent posts. 

Each household operates on its own level of affordability based on amenities in their homes, income levels and also a desire to maintain the integrity of their ancestors and generations past, preferring not to adopt many modern conveniences more out of familiarity than for any other reason.

We stopped many times on the beach road for revel in the views.
Vika's home currently has no electricity.  When the power was out over a week ago, it never came back on at her house.  I asked her if electricity was generally available at her home. 

She explained having power was an on and off thing and she needed to visit to power company to discuss it further.  I offered her my phone to make the call and that I'd look up the number for her online.  She graciously declined seeming unconcerned that they'd again have power. 

They have no appliances...no stove...no refrigerator...no radio...no TV...no washing machine...no means of cooking indoors or preserving food from spoilage...no coolers.

We spent considerable time discussing the preparation and storage of food.  When our refrigerator didn't work for 24 hours, we threw away the roasted chicken, mayonnaise, and many other perishable items. 

Now, we understand why the locals were shocked as we tossed what they may have construed as "edible" food into the trash.  They have less concerns over spoilage.  Perhaps, their bodies have adapted to withstand possible illnesses wrought by unrefrigerated foods.  I don't know for sure.

Cooking is another challenge, all done outdoors on rough wood stoves.  Also, without a kitchen in their house, all food prep is handled outdoors as they fire up the wood stove to prepare it for cooking for each meal.  All wood used for cooking is gathered outdoors, never purchased, other than if its a big holiday celebration with lots of food being prepared.

The narrow road we toured.
Keeping in mind, that Vika lives walking distance from us, albeit up and down a very steep incline, its may be difficult for some to envision the simplicity of life in such close proximity.  When she or Usi arrive each morning they are beautifully dressed, coifed and wearing pretty handmade jewelry and earrings. 

They appear as if they are preparing to attend a party as opposed to cleaning in their colorful dresses, often a long skirt and matching short sleeve top.  I always genuinely compliment them on how lovely they look as they shyly smile offering a heartfelt "vinaka" (thank you) for the compliment.  

The smile on their faces truly reflect the kind, loving and happy spirit they each possess, as we've seen in the Fijian people since we arrived almost three months ago.

My questions continued with such things as:

1.  Do you shop at the Farmers Market?  "No, we have a garden and get all of our vegetables from there and fruits from the trees."  On the property here we could easily gather enough fresh fruit for a family from the available papaya, cassava, pineapple, lemons, limes, breadfruit and a variety of other pods that are fit for human consumption.
2.  Do you shop at the grocery stores? "Only once in awhile if we need a few items like soap for hand washing clothes and other household items.  But, not food."
3.  What do you do for meat without refrigeration?  "My father lives nearby and has electricity and a small freezer where he keeps some meat we can use.  Mostly, we eat fish that we catch and only a little meat once in awhile all cooked on the fire."
4.  We've noticed the locals like bread and sweets?  Do you purchase any of them at the bakery in the village?  "No, I know how to bake over the open fire to make the bread and sweets which we do quite often." (Her mastery of the English language is flawless and the local accent is easy to understand as is the case for both the native Fijian and the Indo-Fijians who's ancestors came to the islands from India with a current language which is a combination of Fijian and Hindi. Vika and Usi are Indo-Fijians, as is the case for Rasnesh and Sewak).
5.  How do you bake over an open fire? (I knew the answer to this question but wanted to hear how the locals do this).  "We will place the baking pan in another larger pan of water making steam and then cover it.  It bakes the breads and sweets easily."
6.  The biggest question in my mind was this:  What do you do with leftover food without refrigeration?  In a way this question may have been ridiculous.  For millennium, the human race survived without refrigeration.  It is only our narrow minds (mine included) that assume that people always become ill from leftover unrefrigerated foods.  Vika explained:  "We often have leftover foods from cooking.  We place them in containers on a shelf in the house.  I pack my lunch for work each day.  It may contain leftovers foods from the last day; meats, rice, fruits, vegetables and a sweet treat."  I didn't react, preferring not to embarrass her with my western mentality and concern for the safe preservation of food.  They obviously have survived for generations eating leftover food without preservation.
7.  My last question:  Do you sleep in a bed?  Vika replied, "My bed is a mattress on the floor.  I am happy with this.  Growing up, we slept on a mat on the floor.  As we got older we got one mattress which my siblings and I took turns sharing.  It was so comfortable, we couldn't believe it." 

The occupants of the houses across the street have to travel a short distance for a sandy beach.
As we've slept on one of those uncomfortable locally available mattresses for these past 83 nights, it did enter our minds how many locals may actually be sleeping on mats of the floor.  We didn't complain and made the best of it with no box springs and a blanket under the sheet so we couldn't feel the mattress springs as much as they were digging into our ribs and hips.

In an earlier post, we wrote about the often lack of a TV, computers and cell phones for many locals in this and of course, many other countries throughout the world. 

Their evenings are often spent reading by lantern or candlelight, playing games and doing a variety of handicrafts.  We thought of this a week ago when we had no power for less than eight hours.  Working hard during the day, plus the difficult walking required to get anywhere with the steep mountain inclines, draws them to crawl into bed early. 

Keeping one's mind engaged may be a challenge for the local people without modern conveniences, digital equipment and electricity.  And yet, they've found ways to busy their minds in idle hours.  The crime rate is nearly non-existent on this island (not the case on the bigger island). 

This is a popular snorkeling area with extensive coral reefs.
We've yet to hear a siren other than an ambulance on a rare occasion, more often than not used by the foreign residents and travelers.  The locals would most likely figure out how to get to the hospital with the help of friends or families with some type of vehicle.  Rasnesh explained he often provides "free" taxi service for his friends and family, whether a trip to a shop or for any type of emergency.

Vika and I spoke about cultural difference which she's observed working around tourists she's encountered in this job and her past job at a larger resort.  She explained that many are demanding with unrealistic expectations. 

Finally, it was time to for her to go but before she did, I showed her a few of our favorite videos in YouTube we've taken over these past three years.  She giggled, enjoying every moment, thanking me profusely for sharing these morsels of our travels with her.  She especially loved the wildlife, "Birdie " and the albatross videos from Kauai, a few of our favorites.

My heart was singing over her joy from this simple pleasure. Without a doubt, sharing with her yesterday was a day I'll always treasure.  Between humans, animals, and exquisite scenery our travels continue to be enriched in each location in a variety of ways. 

We are humbled.  We are grateful.  We continue on in six more days. 

Oh, oh, ironically, the power just went out...
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Photo from one year ago today, November 30, 2014:

A classic car hanging from the ceiling at the Hard Rock CafĂ© in Lahaina, Maui.  For more details, please click here.
 

Catching up on Facebook with a reader...The one week countdown has begun...


A bulk freighter passing as seen from the veranda.
As a relatively fast reader, I don't spend a lot of time in Facebook.  I can quickly scroll through the posts and photos in no time at all.  Every few days I may post a photo and comment, mostly relatively generic about our travels with a link to our site. 

Perhaps my FB friends tire of my perpetual posting of links to our site as we strive to build our readership as well as keep friends and family informed as to our whereabouts and to see what others are up to.  

I assume that most, including us, who post in Facebook have some sort of agenda whether its to share their daily meanderings, photos of kids and grandkids, places they've been, people they've met and of course, their views on almost every imaginable topic.


A new bloom in the yard.
In a way, Facebook is a means for all of us, ourselves included, to boast a little about who we are and what we believe, which isn't always possible in the arena of our day to day lives.  When are any of us in front of an audience of 100's able to spew out our often mindless drivel or to boast about events in our daily lives? 

Of course, providing support to those in pain or in sorrow is another way to express ourselves in Facebook.  Offering a heartfelt happy birthday, anniversary wishes, wedding good fortune or return to good health is often one of the more altruistic means of sharing who we are in this medium.

On occasion, we see a friend sharing highly personal details of their lives, beyond the usual scope of sharing such as in berating a spouse, family member or friend or at times, their own personal failings.  I'm often amazed at how quickly their "friends" respond offering support without judgment, at least not on my FB page. 

Flowers blooming in the yard.
Every morning before I begin the day's post I check out Facebook, curious to see that's going on.  For us, with no face to face contact with any of our family and old friends, its interesting to see how everyone is doing, where they've been, along with their myriad photos. Its especially enjoyable to see posts and photos of our kids and grandkids.

This morning, after a fitful night's sleep, I didn't get out of bed until 7:30. Feeling as if half the morning was half gone, I rushed to shower and dress and begin the day's post.  Opening Facebook, I noticed a new friend request from a woman Tom had met on a prior cruise sometime ago.  Here's what she wrote (for her privacy, I've left our her name):

The neighbor's newly planted garden coming to life.
"Really enjoying catching up on your adventures. We chatted with your husband Tom aboard Brilliance of the Seas (just a short conversation) as I had been reading posts on Cruise Critic and I believe we were on a cabin crawl together. I lost your website info until I found a post on Repositioning cruises yesterday. I've been reading ever since... You are doing exactly what my husband and I want to do when we retire. Right now we cruise about 8 weeks a year. We just got back from your favorite place, Petra and our next trip is aboard Explorer of the Seas transpacific to Australia in April (I see you are aboard in 2017) Anyway, keep up the posting and pics...really enjoying them. I especially like it when you give up your tips/secrets to travelling. Continuing good health to both of you."

With enthusiasm, I accepted her "friend request" and look forward to responding to her after I'm done posting today.  (Most often, I respond to FB comments and email after I'm done uploading the day's new post.  Focus is imperative in order to get it done in a timely fashion).


Another cloudy day as we road along the beach road.
Her post put a smile on both of our faces.  How magical it is, all the people we've met in our travels, some of whom we've been able to stay in contact via Facebook and many by email.  In many ways Facebook has proven to be an excellent medium for us to stay in contact with friends and family and, to make new friends along the way.

One week from today, we'll be flying to Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, for another  one month stay.  By next week, we'll be posting preliminary expense totals for the time we spent on this island.  When leaving the next island, we'll post the grand totals for the four months we'll have spent in the Fijian Islands. 

Have a glorious day! 
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Photo from one year ago today, November 29, 2014:

One year ago, we stopped to admire more beaches in Maui.  Most are sandy, pristine and still unspoiled, one of the many treasures of the Hawaiian Islands.  In a few days, we were heading to the Big Island of Hawai'i to await our family member's arrival for the holidays.  For more details, please click here.
 

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!
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.