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 is 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 ex-pats, 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.  It’s 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 décor.

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 every day 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. Typically, we 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?  The limitations of the way we eat including full-fat low carb dairy in moderation have 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 countertop, and washing the placemats 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.

It’s taken a while to figure out this ant thing but now, we think we’ve got it 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! 

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 worried 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.

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