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.
 

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