Raining in buckets!…Touch of cabin fever?…Unreal video of another steep road…

Steep road to the house in Savusavu!

With our lifestyle geared toward making events less stressful when its within our control keeps us at “home” on rainy days. As of today, we’ve been in Savusavu for 15 days and its rained for 13 days.

My dish towels have been hanging outside on the ropes of the railing for days, partially drying during short dry periods and then becoming soaked a short time later. There’s not a single spot indoors to hang them.

These dish towels have been hanging outside for days unable to dry with the constant rain. We can’t throw them into the laundry when they’d be covered in ants by morning.  When necessary, I place the dirty towels in a bag in the freezer overnight.

Shalote will take the soaked towels along with our dirty laundry to the mysterious washer and dryer she and Usi use to do the laundry. I saw a clothesline in an obscure location on this five-acre property. I longingly think of those stand-up racks we’ve used in various countries throughout the world where we did our own wash, hanging the clothes to dry. This way I wouldn’t have this daily dish towel issue. 

We’d love to get out, me more than Tom. If we hardly ever went out and about, he’d be content. Somehow, he manages to entertain himself constantly reading online; looking for future cruises, airfares, and car rentals; listening to his favorite Minnesota podcast, Garage Logic (three hours daily); checking stock prices and financial matters; and, spending time spewing a variety of opines on Facebook, Cruise Critic and a few other choice newsy sites he fancies.

If we sat outside in the rain we’d be protected by the overhang. But, the mozzies are in full force during this rainy period.

I, on the other hand, prefer to be out exploring and taking photos. Good grief, I prepare a daily post and need photos! The great part is the enjoyment I derive from taking the photos and from posting them along with the story of an outing. It’s an indescribable pleasure. 

Fortunately, we’ve gone out during short dry periods able to take the many photos we’ve shared to date with still a stash in “inventory.” Our goal is to have no less than five or six days of yet un-posted photos on hand in the event of inclement weather. 

Tiny purple flowers with a tiny bee on the flower on the left.

At times, our photos may appear to be repeated, but we do not post repeats unless we mention in the caption they’ve been previously posted. Of course, there always will be the repeated “year ago” photo at the bottom of each post.

I’ll admit from time to time I have no choice but to wander about the yard looking for new photo ops to post over the next days if for whatever reason we haven’t been able to go anywhere of significance. 

Flowers are blooming with this excessive amount of rain.

Here in Fiji, with the slow wifi, we’re limited on how many photos will upload without taking hours. Once I start a post I usually stick with it until it’s online except for the time the photos take to load during which I usually chop and dice for the evening’s meal. Not one to sit and stare at the computer I can’t otherwise use, I find other ways to make use of the time.

Most days, it takes the entire morning to write, edit, and upload photos. Our post may not be editorially perfect by any means, but, we do make the effort. After it’s online Tom also proofreads it, often finding errors I missed after which I immediately return to the editing page to make the corrections.   

Another house in the area, down the hill from us.

Tom, whose grammar may be a result of growing up “in the hood” is actually an excellent proofreader. He waits to listen to his podcasts until after I’ve posted, offering considerable assistance in researching and fact-checking many aspects of each post. It truly is a team effort requiring our combined attention each morning.

The remainder of my days at “home,” referring to the afternoons, I spend searching for future locations and vacation rentals, working on the financials and our spreadsheet, and communicating with friends and family. I don’t spend more than 10 minutes daily on Facebook or other social media, preferring to spend time up and out of this chair when possible. 

Bougainvillea isn’t as prolific here as they were in Kenya.

With our limited way of eating, it’s always challenging coming up with new ways to prepare our food, creating and/or following new recipes I’ve found online at the zillions of low carb sites, many requiring tweaking here and there to make them suitably free of sugar, grains, and starch.

Last night, instead of plain steamed green beans with butter, I created a recipe for stir-fried, cooked in ghee and coconut oil, Asian seasoned green beans infused with bacon I’d first pre-cooked in the microwave. 

Baby palm fronds growing up on the sides of a larger frond.

We seldom have plain meat, veg, and salad.  In most cases, I make a “dish,” of some sort or other put together with a variety of ingredients making dining more interesting and varied. This requires a lot of work and time, of which I have had plenty, especially on these rainy days.

Thank goodness, we aren’t typical travelers on a two-week vacation/holiday to Fiji. We’d be sorely disappointed with the daily rain. Who wants to walk through a rainforest or visit a waterfall in the pouring rain? Maybe 20 year olds.  

The sun almost peeked out a few days ago.

It would be dangerous for us to walk from the house to the steep driveway in the rain, especially when we read online in a review for this property that a younger visitor had fallen on the road.  Why take a chance? The views easily make up for the potential risks so we’re not complaining, instead of being careful and appreciating the lovely home and location.

We can’t imagine driving in the rain on the steep driveway to the house as shown in the video we posted above.  There’s no doubt that the skies will eventually clear for many days in a row before too long. We had this same rainy early on in Trinity Beach with resulting sunny skies day after day when the rains finally died down.

These unusual flowers are blooming below the veranda.

Luckily, with the house on a hill with a solid tin roof, we’re not suffering any ill effects of the rain inside the house. So what about the soaked dish towels and being stuck indoors!

In our old lives, we wouldn’t have been doing much more when it rained with wild thunder and lightning, knocking out the power, a blizzard leaving snowdrifts taller than the tops of our heads, and with record temperatures in Minnesota dropping to -60F, -51C, with an estimated lowest record wind chill of -100F, -73C. 

We saw the same variety of beautiful yellow flowers in Trinity Beach.  As much as we’d like to post names of every flower posted, many we simply don’t recall and, are unable to use data to look to find them online.

Tom always says Minneapolis is as cold as Moscow. He spent 42 years working in that weather and remembers it well. A bit of rain in a tropical climate, even over a period of weeks is unimportant to us.

We hope our readers continue to enjoy our posts with the photos we do have available during this rainy spell. As soon as it clears we’ll be out and about, taking photos of this beautiful country. 

Instead of fussing over the weather, we find ourselves grateful for our lives, for good health, for being together, and for having this opportunity to stretch our wings and fly…and fly…and fly…

Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2014:

One year ago, we posted our total expenses for six nights in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada as we prepared to board the ship to Hawaii the next day.  For more details and the listed expenses, please click here.

Changing our daily routine with household help and no washer…

Tom and Rashnesh sitting in the front while I took photos from the back seat with the window open. I have to get used to asking Rashnesh to stop for photos when over this past year with a rental car Tom always had a keen sense when to stop.

In some past locations, we’ve had daily maid service five days a week or more depending on the work schedule of the staff. The countries where we had this unnecessary but appreciated perk were Belize, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, and now Fiji.

In Boveglio, Italy and Madeira, Portugal we hired a weekly cleaning person and of course, during certain periods we spent in hotels, on ships and in short term vacation rentals we didn’t have to clean, other than tidy up after ourselves. We had no maid or cleaning service during the eight months we spent on four islands in Hawaii when the cost was too high at around USD $100 per hour. 

I’ve always had mixed feelings about having cleaning help.  When there isn’t a helper available Tom joins me daily in making the bed and tidying up. In a perfect world, we’d have cleaning help weekly. Everyday is another story. 

The long dirt road, very steep in parts, requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

There’s plenty for us to clean daily  when we don’t have help in keeping a bathroom spotless, making the bed, sweeping the floor, cleaning up after meal prep, washing dishes and doing laundry. In the above mentioned five countries, we didn’t do our own laundry. 

We’ve done our dishes in every country except Morocco, where the staff also cooked and served our meals.  During that period I felt like to a slug, hardly moving about except to trek up and down the steep steps to the bedroom and almost daily walks in the souk.

Beachfront property in any country is always the most appealing.

In Savusavu, Fiji we have the lovely Charlotta, a Fijian woman in her 40’s, hard-working, kind, and generous. She arrives at 9 am on weekdays, taking the weekends off. She does our laundry every few days, returning it the next day, neatly folded, separating mine, from Tom’s. 

It’s not a thorough cleaning each day when I noticed some remaining gecko poop on the floor after she’d left.  Its comparable to the type of cleaning one would get when staying in a hotel for an extended period; bed made daily, sheets changed bi-weekly, bathroom cleaned and the trash removed with only a comprehensive dusting and floor washing periodically.

The beach along the road to the village.  The second time we visited the village there was a sun. Hopefully, today will be the same when in a short while, we’ll be heading out again.

When we’ve had a maid, we’re still fairly meticulous, sweeping the floor daily with my oddball aversion to pieces of things on the floor. On Friday, I asked Charlotta for a broom when I’d noticed a dustpan and brush under the kitchen sink. 

This weekend while she was off, I swept the floor both days, making my usual mess while chopping and dicing on the tiny kitchen counter. We made the bed, cleaned the bathroom, emptied the trash, and wiped down the glass coffee table with window cleaner.

Photo taken from the veranda on the side of the house showing one of the sets of steps to walk from the distant driveway to the house.

In humid climates, everything feels dirty, especially if not cleaned frequently. Also, the continuous stream of ants keeps us both on our toes in an attempt to maintain a spotless and food residue-free space.

Overall, it’s a benefit having household help, but, the biggest challenge is not having access to a washing machine. With our limited amount of underwear and clothing and, our tendency to wear the same items over and over with the intent of wearing them out for eventual disposal, not having a washer is challenging.  

The most difficult aspect of not having a washer is the dirty kitchen towels. When I cook, I go through many towels preferring cloth towels to paper towels. With all the ants in tropical climates, I can’t place a single damp towel or towel with food bits into the hamper. Otherwise, it will be covered with ants in a few hours. 

This was the first grocer we visited which had few items on our list.

The only solution is to either bag up the towels to place them in the refrigerator or hand wash them. Due to a lack of space in the fridge that option doesn’t work. All of this is typical for life on a tropical island. 

We share this information, not as a means of complaining. It’s not bad having some tasks to perform to keep us on our feet and moving around as opposed to sitting, especially on rainy days when we don’t go out. Many of these types of tasks are necessary for most vacation homes and more so in tropical climates with or without daily household help.

The day we arrived we shopped at this tiny grocer that didn’t have much of a selection for our needs. But, they still had Christmas decorations from last year.  Now we shop at the New World IGA that, although small, has more products we use.

We had this same issue in Australia with kitchen towels. If we tossed them in the laundry basket after dinner, there would be hundreds of ants in the basket in the morning. I finally figured out to put the dirty dish towels into the washer to be washed the following day, rather than starting laundry outside at night in the dark carport.

With no washer here in which to store them, each night after dinner, I’ve been filling the kitchen sink with hot water soapy water tossing in the few dirty kitchen towels, making sure to rinse them and find a spot to hang them overnight. 

Grocery stores have liquor departments. Prices seem reasonable but Tom has yet to make a purchase.

There are no hooks or hangers in this house and the solitary towel bar in the bathroom holds our still damp bath towels. The humidity slows down the drying process considerably often taking a few days to dry a towel.

In the realm of things, many of these nuances are insignificant. However, many of our readers have inquired as to how we manage to adapt to our new surroundings when amenities we may have had available at other location are not present at a new location.

Power lines crisscross the landscape. While here, most likely we won’t be using the Inpaint app to remove powers lines from photos when uploading photos in itself seem to take twice as long as usual.

We’ve often thought of our old lives and how annoyed we’d be at the cable company when our cable went out, a storm knocked out the power or our washer quit working (when within a day or two we’d have it repaired or a new one in place). We laugh when we recall our frustration over a dishwasher not working. We’ve only had a dishwasher in Hawaii and Portugal.

In our old lives, if we had a trail of ants in the kitchen, I’d freaked out, dashing to the store to purchase whatever was necessary to kill them. This morning, there were dozens of ants on the kitchen counter. I grabbed a hot soapy paper towel and wiped them into oblivion with nary a thought.

Another portion of the road on the way back from the village.

With the recent continuing cloudy skies with rain predicted again for today, we’re heading to the village for the afternoon where we’ll take photos. With the rough muddy roads, it makes no sense to embark on a long drive to explore further than the village. Once it’s sunny for a few days, we’ll head out.

Now that we no longer feeling rushed since a phone is working with a SIM card installed, we can take our time to wander the quaint village and call Rashnesh when we’re ready to go. 

Flowers blooming along the road to the house.

If he’s busy with other customers, we’ll gladly wait.  We’re bringing two insulated bags for the groceries. We decided to have him drive us to our final destination, the meat market, after fetching us from the grocery store.  (We shop at the farmer’s market first since the produce is already sitting out unrefrigerated). This way, we’ll have no concern that meat will spoil if he’s delayed in picking us up after the grocery store.

It’s funny how this life has changed us. It made us tougher, more resilient, and above all, more tolerant. Sure, on occasion, we’ve grumbled, especially when there are bugs in the bed. But, the rest?  Nah, it’s all good.

Photo from one year ago today, September 14, 2014:

The sun peeking through the cloud while we lounged on our balcony of the ship, soon to arrive in Boston. It was a glorious cruise. For more details, please click here.