Almost two weeks in Maui…Sharks…Hurricane…Lava….Farmer’s Market visit…

This smoothie truck was certainly eye-catching as we drove up to the Farmer’s Market.

Tomorrow will be two weeks since we arrived in Maui. There’s been more excitement here than since we lived in Marloth Park when the adventures occurred daily.

Surfers and swimmers on the beach near the Farmer’s Market.

Don’t get me wrong. We find quiet, uneventful times relatively pleasing. And, of course, we pray for the safety and well-being of everyone in all of these situations. 

Another beach view along Highway 30.

It’s hard to believe that in four weeks and four days we’re moving to the Big Island, possibly close to the lava flow to see a major geological event in the making.

A park at the beach on Honoapiilani Highway.

We never bargained for this. Perhaps, if we think long term for us and for our family, we can all feel at ease knowing that in a small way, Mount Kilauea had an impact on our lives, whether we ultimately have to choose other accommodations or not.

A free-range chicken at the Farmer’s Market.

We’re at peace in this knowledge, not panicky, knowing if and when the time comes, we’ll make a good decision, whatever that may be.

Homemade banana bread for sale at the Farmer’s Market at $10 each.

As for now, we’re content while I’m busily working on corrections of this site going back from the beginning of over 800 posts. At this point, doing it every day since we arrived, I’m only up to July 12, 2013, almost halfway through since the first post in March 2012.

A wide array of fruit was offered at the Farmer’s Market.  Since we can’t eat fruit, we didn’t buy any.

It’s a huge task. Once I’ve uploaded the day’s post and Tom’s removed the photos in order to send it to his blind brother Jerome who listens to it on his talking computer, we head to the pool for a short time. 

Returning indoors, I usually start chopping and dicing for dinner which, depending on what we’re having, can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Then, after any cleaning and laundry is completed, I start the revisions which take the remainder of the day, usually until shortly before dinner. It’s easy to see how the day easily flies by.

It would have been fun to purchase raw macadamia nuts but they require a special device to open them.

I’m anxious to complete the revisions to free up time for other things. But, the more time passes, the harder it will be to go back and do this important task. I’m anxious to complete this task. If we have to find other living arrangements for the family to get together, it will be great to have this time-consuming task completed.

We don’t grumble about these types of tasks. They are a part of our lives comparable to keeping our budget updated and keeping future travel plans on track. It’s all a part of the experience that we fully accept. In the realm of things, it’s good that we don’t mind these kinds of tasks or we’d be in big trouble.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, October 29, 2013:

A year ago today, we took a 3-day “vacation” to celebrate our one year anniversary of leaving for our travels on October 31, 2012. We stayed at a beautiful resort on the Indian Ocean in a gorgeous air-conditioned hut. As soon as we arrived, this Vervet Monkey appeared at our window assuming that new guests will feed her when they always get a fruit plate upon moving in. We didn’t feed her but certainly got a kick out of her looking in the window. For details of this first day of on “vacation” please click here.

Grocery prices in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii including photos of products and receipt…

Here I am driving down the road on my way to the Safeway store in Kihei., totally at ease. By the way, for safety reasons, I didn’t focus the camera while driving. I simply held it up and clicked.

Yes, driving a car is like riding a bike, one doesn’t forget. The moment I pulled out of the driveway, I instantly felt at ease behind the wheel. With the directions on my phone, I had no fear of getting lost. As it turned out, I remembered how to find my way from the last trip to the Safeway in Kihei almost a week ago. Although I kept the navigation on during the trip.

As I entered the store, my eyes darted everywhere in awe of all of the “stuff” for sale.

Twenty minutes later I walked into the Safeway market attempting to turn off the navigation on my phone when I realized that the grocery store has free WiFi! I’d never have imagined a grocery store having free WiFi. Only in the US!

Please keep in mind that using the navigation in many other countries is pointless when the directions are never correct. We’d tried on many occasions in many countries to no avail. 

Having not purchased any meat at this store on our visit almost a week ago, I was pleased to see the prices on meats was no more than we paid in our old lives.

It was those past experiences when navigation wouldn’t be correct that intimidated me when Tom and I tried to find new locations and “she” sent us driving around in circles, “Turn right, turn right, turn right,” she’d say over and over again. We became sick of her monotone.

I guess I forget that we’re in the US where everything, literally everything, is accounted for, available, user friendly, and accessible. It’s hard to believe and above all, it’s more excessive than it was when we left almost two years ago.

I needed one box of Ziploc freezer bags in the half gallon size that surprised me at only $4.49.

The beautiful grocery store illustrated a perfect example of excesses. Every possible grocery item that I could imagine or want for even the most obscure of recipes was available, fresh, wrapped well, and priced accordingly.

I’m sorry. But those of you who believe grocery prices are so high in Hawaii are mistaken. They are no worse than the prices we paid in Minnesota over two years ago at the local Cub Foods where I shopped each week. None of the items I perused or purchased were more outrageously priced than prices in over half the countries in which we’ve lived.

I purchased this 3.32-pound package of three New York Steaks for $26.93 at $8.98 a serving. That was an excellent price!

To prove my point today, I’m sharing pricing and photos of some items I purchased yesterday including a copy of the receipt for the total bill. For those considering a move to Hawaii, unless you live in Africa, Belize, or Madeira, Portugal, our perception is that you’ll pay no more in Hawaii for groceries than in any other country we visited thus far. Although in some highly popular tourist locations, prices are higher.

I can’t speak for the cost of utilities and housing. Hopefully, while we’re here we’ll be able to explore these costs and share them. As far as fuel is concerned it maybe 20% more in Hawaii based on the prices we’ve seen at the pump, around $4.25 a gallon, certainly less than many other countries.

Upon returning home, I used the Ziploc bags to individually wrap each of the three steaks which Tom will eat while I’ll have the rack of lamb.

In Maui County, the sales tax on most items is 4%, not the 6.875% in Minnesota (as an example), 7.875% for the maximum local surtax, and a maximum of 10.775% on prepared foods. And yes, there’s a tax on items in Hawaii not taxed in Minnesota such a groceries and clothing. (We’ll discuss prices and taxes on both the Big Island and Kauai after we’ve shopped on each of those islands).

Of course, one must take into consideration the types of foods one purchases. We don’t buy pricey snacks (other than nuts) and processed food. I noticed the cost of numerous brands of cold cereal at no more than $4.50 for a large box, certainly no more than in other states in the US and other countries.

I cut this free-range rack of lamb into three portions which I’ll have when Tom has the above steaks. At $20.15 for the entire package, it is $6.72 per serving.  We’ll cook the lamb and the steaks on the outdoor grill that overlooks the ocean, which we’re anxious to use.

I wish I’d been more diligent in taking photos with prices. I was so busy trying to find the items on my list, I was distracted. Figuring my way around a new market has always taken a few trips to get it under control. After yesterday’s second trip to Safeway in Kihei, I feel comfortable that I’m able to find most products.

Last week, when the cashier encouraged me to sign up for a Safeway Club Member card I shrugged it off. This time I decided to go for it when she explained I’d save quite a bit, which I did, saving a total of $15.16 as show on the receipt. 

This receipt is not easy to read resulting in my listing the items above for details and clarification.

I didn’t feel comfortable holding up the line when I filled out the form. I offered to step aside to complete it but the cashier explained it was necessary to do it now in order to get the offered discount on my items. I apologized to the others in line as I hurriedly filled in the form with name, address, and email in my illegible handwriting.

When I realized how much I saved, I was thrilled, saving a total of 7% on my entire bill. Please keep in mind that I purchased several non-food items when I was excited to find a few items that hadn’t been available in any other grocery stores in our travels; a few cosmetic items at $22.67, Crest Whitening Mouthwash at $8.49, two small paring knives at $4.29 (last week I’d purchased a larger knife that disappointingly wasn’t sharp enough). 

Tom’s gluten-free, low carb, starch, and sugar-free pizza with fresh mushrooms, green olives, onions, and Italian sausage, topped with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  This will last for three delicious nights.  We never mind repeats three dinners in a row.  The crust is made with cheese and egg.

These non-edible items totaled $35.45 excluding tax. Taking this amount off the total bill of $215.58 leaves $180.13 for the remaining grocery items with tax.

When food shopping I tend to consider, “How many meals will we get out of a trip to the grocery store?” In this case, I purchased enough meat and produce to last for more than a week, in the following manner:
Protein                                   Total Cost           
3 New York Strip Steak             $ 26.93                     
Rack of lamb                            $ 20.16                     
2 packages Italian Sausage       $ 12.00 (for Tom’s LC, GF pizza)                     
1 4lb package ground beef        $ 19.06                      
2 package nitrate free bacon     $ 13.98                     
Chicken Sausage                      $  6.00 (for my pizza – LC, GF)
Total                                       $ 98.13

Of course, I purchased vegetables and other items to accompany the above meats including:
Zucchini                                   $  2.57
Eggplant                                  $  1.79
Tomatoes                                 $  5.50
Cabbage                                   $  6.85
Romaine lettuce                        $  6.99
Bag Bell peppers                        $ 6.00
Total Cost                                $ 29.70

Miscellaneous Items 
Black pepper                            $ 6.29
Anchovies                                $ 3.09
Enchilada sauce (GF, SF, LC)     $ 3.69
Taco sauce (GF, SF, LC)            $ 4.09
Pork rinds – 4 bags                   $ 9.56
LG. grated cheddar cheese        $10.49
LG. Ziploc freezer bags (20 ct.)  $ 4.49
Bleach                                     $ 2.99
Total cost                                 $44.69

Total of above                       $207.97
Tax                                               8.62
Grand Total                            $216.59

Based on the receipt, the total bill was actually $215.58. After carefully perusing the receipt I can only assume the $1.01 difference must have been an additional discount I couldn’t find on the receipt or a tax adjustment on a particular item. In any case, it’s close enough to illustrate the point.

We already had a few ingredients on hand to accompany the above items in making full meals but, overall this list is comprehensive. From the above products, we’ll be able to make the following meals (for two) which we began last night, starting with making with our LC, GF, SF pizza:

Pizza –  3 dinners
Steak – 3 dinners (for Tom while I’ll have the rack of lamb on those three evenings)
Ground Beef – 3 dinners (taco salad for two nights, Italian meatballs with pasta sauce and mozzarella for one night)

My pizza made with free-range chicken sausage, anchovies, onions, olives, mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, organic zucchini, eggplant with mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. This crust is also made with cheese and egg and is low carb and gluten, sugar, and starch free.  Love it!

In the worst-case scenario, we’ll have nine dinners for the above $180.13 averaging at $20.01 per day (includes the cost of non-edible grocery items, not toiletries). 

This amount is slightly less than our daily average in our old lives. Also, for us, we don’t eat starches, lunches, and desserts, although I’ve made breakfast every other day this past week since we arrived (thus, the bacon purchase) in Maui.

Gosh, I’d love to see how others manage their groceries and how much they spend. It’s not a topic that readily entered into the conversation as if what one spends on food is sacred or in some cases embarrassing and private.

For us, it’s all a part of the process of making our lives work with delicious homemade meals befitting our way of eating which Tom has joined with me during our time in Maui. Every item listed is low carb, gluten-free, sugar-free, and starch free. As much as possible the foods are organic. (Grass-fed meat wasn’t readily available all of the cuts we desired).

The gorgeous Maui scenery on the return drive to Maalaea Beach.

I hope this provides our readers with a perspective while dreaming of living in Hawaii at some point. We certainly understand the passion for this dream as we languish in Maui feeling relaxed and somewhat lazy, not yet up to getting out and about.

Although, at the moment the pool and two chaise lounges are calling us on this beautiful sunny day in paradise.

                                          Photo from one year ago today, October 22, 2013:

Aerial view of home (middle house).
It was a year ago today that we posted the second house that we booked for Big Island for our family reunion upcoming in December. For more photos and details, please click here.

Sunshine, at last…Ebola fears as we travel in the future?

This is a Gold Dust Day Gecko that we found on the wall in the lanai during the storm. He looked up at me as I shot this photo. 
This full-body shot of the Gold Dust Day Gecko shows the colorful spots on her back and the cute little blue fingers.

Tom has been plagued with the awful cough which I’m finally winding down. In the middle of the night, he had several horrible rounds of coughing that sounded as if it would never end. 

During the day he’s fine, coughing only on occasion. His symptoms are almost identical to mine and we anticipate that within three to four nights, his coughing will subside. I’m still coughing at night, but not nearly as often and for as long as Tom’s bouts.

The surf settled down as Hurricane Ana wafted away.

We’re on the mend. Hopefully, a week from now, we’ll be fine. Yesterday, finally feeling well enough to get out, I decided on a walk. A vigorous walk would have been my preference, but with the recent illness, I decided on a medium energy walk, setting the timer on my phone for 20 minutes, knowing I’d work my way up a little each day as I rebuild my strength.

Forty-five minutes later I returned to our condo, excited and refreshed realizing how lucky we’ve been to find the condo in this wonderful quiet area at Maalaea Beach.

A warning sign on the ground of the condo building.

I made my way toward the Maui Ocean Center, the world’s largest tropical aquarium in the western hemisphere.  As I arrived two buses of cruise passengers were being unloaded as they made their way into long lines to buy their tickets. 

As curious as we may be seeing what this attraction has to offer, after our glorious experiences of watching animals in the wild in Africa, I have a hard time seeing wildlife confined. This is a phenomenon that affects many who have been fortunate to go on photo safaris and in our case, live in the bush among the animals for three months.

The flowers blooming on a tree in the yard.

Having seen the lifestyles of animals in the wild, it’s impossible for me to find pleasure in seeing wildlife trapped in an existence that may be tolerable with their easy access to being fed but, bound by borders that prevent them from exploring their natural habitat, foraging for their own food. 

Walking past the entrance to the exhibits, I was surprised to find I was at a small mall with a variety of shops and three new restaurants, including the backside of Beach Bum’s BBQ & Grill where we dined on our first night here, last Thursday.

This interesting palm type tree is growing on the grounds of the building.  Tom’s walking along the shore checking for points of interest.

Surely, we’ll try each of them as we explore new restaurants once or twice a week while we’re in Maui. At the moment, we’re loving dining in enjoying our favorite homemade meals. 

A few of our readers have inquired as to our concerns over Ebola as we’ll continue our travels outside the US next spring in the South Pacific. At this point, we can only say it’s a “watch and see” scenario. 

The Maalaea Marina walking distance from our condo.

Five months ago, we were living in Africa, not leaving until May 15, 2014. Would we have gone to the continent for almost nine months had Ebola been in the news as it is now? It’s hard to say. Ebola is not prevalent in the countries we visited. Although, we may have decided against Morocco with its closer proximity to the ravaged countries in West Africa where outbreaks are rampant.

Our hearts break for the victims of Ebola all over the world, including those isolated cases in some of the countries in which our readers live. They too understand the fears the media have imposed upon us.

Flowers on a walk.  Had we visited Hawaii in the spring and summer, we’d have seen many more flowers. 

When one thinks about it, hundreds of thousands of patients die of hospital-borne infections, Antimicrobial Resistance, in the US, Canada, and Europe, and others of countries each year although these numbers are seldom mentioned by the media. What is being done to prevent this? Washing hands? Not enough.

I won’t get on my health soapbox here. We both prefer to save these conversations when among others who share the same passion, often on a cruise ship during dinner. Our site is intended to share our personal experiences as we travel the world.

Both boaters for most of our adult lives, neither of us longs to ever own a boat again. 

Ebola is a disease that has spread to other countries through travel and then, it has the potential to have an impact on all of us. In reality, our potential exposure is no greater through our travels than any of our readers who may travel three times a year. 

For our worried family members and friends, we continue to travel with caution and common sense. Of course, we won’t visit an Ebola ravaged country. Other than that, we’ll continue to enjoy our worldwide travels.

A view of the Maalaea Marina from the mall.

For now, we continue to work on feeling well again. Viral and bacterial illnesses most often are as a result of exposure to others carrying the germs. Somehow, in Waikiki, either touching a railing, sitting at a dinner table, or grabbing a menu put the contaminants in our hands, and then we ate our dinner. That’s most assuredly is how we became ill.

When we assess how easily illness is transferred from person to person, it makes us realize how vulnerable we all are. Although washing our hands helps reduce our risks, as we’ve heard regarding Eloba, it’s much more complex than simple hand washing.

This shop from the Pacific Whale Foundation is located in the mall. I wandered inside and was impressed by the nice clothing they had for sale at reasonable prices.

The world is our oyster and we’ll continue on our travels, albeit with added caution, to cherish this fulfilling life we’ve chosen.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, October 20, 2013:

During our three months in Kenya, we fell in love with Jessie, Han’s little outdoor dog. She slept outside at night, often sitting by our door in the morning waiting for us to come outside to spend our day in the outdoor living room. For details for that date, please click here.