Cranking out the plans...Acquiring visas for the not-so-savvy-Internet users...

Fiji décor made from some type of small vines.
Everything about our lives requires planning.  Oh, I'm not complaining.  It just "goes with the territory."  At times, we chuckle over the irony.  One cannot settle back and let the days roll out, one after another, routines firmly in place, comforting and easy.

This morning, Tom held up the contents of the remaining ground coffee he'd put into a Ziplock bag and said, "This looks like enough coffee left including the one unopened bag to last us, doesn't it?" 

Looking at the bag, I shook my head, "No, Honey, we'll need to buy one more bag of coffee."

They don't sell ground coffee anywhere in Pacific Harbour.  Tomorrow, we're heading back to Suva where the airport is located, for sightseeing and shopping, a 70 minute taxi ride each way, FJD $100, USD $46.83 (cost for the round trip).  It would be worth buying one more package.  If we ran out it wouldn't be worth the time and taxi fare to drive back to Suva only for coffee.

Cloudy evening at the beach.
Yesterday, I completed our menu and accompanying grocery list for the 19 remaining days in Pacific Harbour, a combination of cooking and dining out.  We scheduled dining out on six occasions, one including Tom's birthday on December 23rd at the #1 rated (Trip Advisor) restaurant in Pacific Harbour, Seduce at the Pearl, a luxury resort.  

On Christmas Day we'll return to the Pearl for the Christmas lunch buffet at the Riviera Restaurant.  Yesterday, I booked the reservation paying the required 50% deposit over the phone.  We haven't decided on New Year's Eve with no specific festivities for that night yet posted. 

Leaving us with approximately 13 nights to cook, six of which we'll have roasted chickens for which I'll prepare a variety of side dishes, our grocery list really boils down to the equivalent of two week's grocery shopping.  Each week, we'll head to Arts Village to pick up the chickens as we're doing today with a stop at the nearby vegetable stand to fill in what we'll need.

With every day's meals and dining out plans on my online calendar its easy to ensure we'll have enough on hand, leaving little unused food behind.  In Fiji, steaks and roasts are tough.  Mince beef and pork, chicken and canned Pacific wild caught salmon (for me) and tuna (for Tom) from which we make two separate salads with celery, onions, hard boiled eggs and homemade dressing.  These are the only main dish options that works for both of us.  The mince works well with other ingredients for a dozen or so recipes we alternate depending on available ingredients.

We often spot the lali in Fiji, the wood hand carved ceremonial announcement bell.
We don't purchase locally caught fish when we've heard and read online that much of the fish caught is done so in the toxic reefs close to the shore.  Considerable sewage disposal goes into the ocean here.  No thank you on the fish.  (Most restaurants purchase seafood from suppliers which is often imported).

With the limited cooking options for our way of eating and the availability of great restaurants in this area, we're happy to dine out a few times each week. 

On Saturday night, I felt like a kid in a candy store when we dined out, not due to the fact that I didn't have to cook, but more so due to being out among people, the fanfare, the special meals prepared for me, and the pleasant surroundings. 

Other than Tom's upcoming birthday dinner at the fancy restaurant which will be more expensive, I doubt we'll spend more than FJD $100, USD $46.83 on any single occasion dining out even with a beer for Tom and Fiji water for me.  With taxi fare relatively low cost, its a no brainer for us.

Pool table and bar at the Uprising Beach resort.
With the grocery list on a handy app on my phone for tomorrow big shopping trip and today's return trip to Art Village to wander about and to pick up the two roasted chickens, (we called yesterday and placed the order) we're feeling comfortable that the food situation for our remaining days is in place. 

Of course, if opportunities arise that we decide to dine out on additional occasions, we can forgo one of the chicken on any given day.   We always like to keep our options open with a goal of flexibility.

Another area of planning during this remaining period centers around clothing for the upcoming cruise.  Mine are all washed, hung to dry and wrinkle free on hangers in the closet.  Thursday, I'll begin washing all of Tom's clothing and bleaching all of his "tidy whities" which become greyish when the washing is done by household help.

I'm now the household laundress don't mix whites and darks if I can help it.  At the moment, I'm otherwise totally caught up on laundry with virtually no ironing on the horizon.  I haven't ironed in over three years.

Its common to see "parasitic plants" where coconuts are attached to an earthy structure eventually grow a coconut palm.
Beside food and laundry, we're in the process of reviewing required visas we may need over the next year making notes on the calendar as to dates we need to apply online using the cruise line's recommend CIBT service

It costs a little more to use this and other such service than applying on our own but we'd be highly concerned about shipping our passports while living in a foreign country as opposed to doing it easily online, scanning and sending documents by email.

Sadly, many senior travelers, unfamiliar with using the Internet burden themselves with copying and mailing all their documents including their passports to various consulates in order to acquire visas when any of it may be lost in the mail or stuck sitting on someone's desk. 

If any of our readers find they need help using such a service, asking anyone of the younger generation could easily solve the problem when they've grown up with iPads, smartphones and computers on their laps.  In today's world, its astounding what even a six year old can accomplish online.

Tom, at dinner, looking forward to his first beer in many months.  Although, finally having some "starch" including bread and fries was more on his mind.
Also, if you need further reassurance from us, please don't hesitate to contact us by posting a comment at the end of any day's post or by clicking the email link at the top right of the post.  Other than travel days, we'll reply within 12 hours at most (due to the time difference).

In an hour, our driver will collect us for the drive to the Art Village.  Its a 45 minute walk each way which we could manage but who wants to carry two greasy chickens and a few other items in the heat and humidity attracting flies and mosquitoes?  At a taxi fare of no more than FJD $10, USD $4.68 for the round trip, its worth it.

Living this life requires planning.  Moving every one to three months is a daunting task. Moving on and off two week or less cruises also is challenging. 

Although we don't have to move furniture and household goods it does require forethought and careful planning.  Its necessary to condense every material item we own to fit into three suitcases, one duffel bag, one computer bag and one yellow Costco bag. 

As we peruse everything sitting out at this point, we're always in awe of how it manages to fit in those few bags.  My cruise clothing consisted of one medium load washed in cold water with one hand washed item.  Tom's won't be much more.  For us, our limited supply of "stuff" elicits a sense of satisfaction over what we've been willing to let go. How we've changed that way!

We'll be back tomorrow with more new photos posting before we depart at 11 am for the day in Suva, the capital city of the Fiji Islands.  For those of you on the other side of the International Dateline, have a fabulous Monday and for the rest the world, enjoy Tuesday! 

Photo from one year ago today, December 15, 2014:

Grandsons Jayden and Nik checking out the roaring surf outside the vacation rental in the Big Island of Hawai'i.  For more details, please click here.


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