Our new home in Fiji…A few nuances…A few photos…

The galley kitchen, small with little counter space, works for me. We purchased the tiny cutting board when the one in the cupboard was a little too used for my liking. The tiny coffee pot only makes two cups at a time. We make two pots, one for each of us. To the far left is the portable oven with the microwave above. Other than a few items we’ll purchase next week, we have everything we need.

There are no words to describe how thrilled we are to have windows with screens. Fresh air day and night, has an enormous effect on one’s state of well being. Even now as I write on a Saturday morning with it raining off and on, the cooling breeze is refreshing and invigorating. 

The living room. 

After three months with no breeze and little fresh air in the house in Australia without screens, we feel renewed. Also, there’s something magical about living on a fairly remote island with the quaint village, the friendly local workers, the vast array of birds and wildlife that is particularly appealing to us.

There are no poisonous insects or any snakes in Fiji. Centuries ago, snake eating mongoose was brought to the islands. They proliferated in vast numbers ultimately wiping out the entire snake population.

The bed with the new pillows and bedding. There no hanging closet space. We left the items we usually hang neatly folded in the luggage.

That’s not to say there aren’t other creatures slithering around the house and grounds. We’ve had several of those yellowish almost clear looking (comparable to a pale yellow gummy) geckos running on the walls, pooping and making their peculiar noises. But, years ago we stopped paying much attention to geckos. They’d be unlikely to crawl on humans or go onto the bed at night. 

This morning I cleaned several gecko poops off the stovetop. We’ve seen a few large spiders, other insects, and an endless supply of mosquitoes. We’ve yet to see a single fly.

The kitchen table where we dine. We moved this lamp (the only lamp in the house) from the bedroom putting it on this table enabling us to see our plates better while dining.

Based on a report Tom read online many months ago, I started taking 100 mg vitamin B1 supposedly to aid in the reduction of attracting mosquitoes. After one month on the B1, I noticed an improvement, seldom being bitten during the remaining time in Australia. I still use repellent when we visit rain forests as will be the case here when we’re outside for extended periods.

Sitting on the veranda seems to attract a swarm of mosquitoes around one’s head so we pick and choose the best times to venture out avoiding dawn, dusk, and cloudy days. 

A large porcelain sink in the bathroom. The small spoon atop the plastic container is for scooping baking soda to add to toothpaste for whiter, cleaner teeth.

On our first shopping trip, we purchased a bottle of locally manufactured repellent and it seems to be highly effective in combination with vitamin B1. I’ve only received two mosquito bites since we arrived on Tuesday. I can’t guarantee this would work for everyone but, somehow it seems to be working for me.

Not having a car is an adjustment. As Mario had described, the steep hill to the property would be impossible to navigate without a four-wheel drive. I doubt we could even walk the hill up that hill when even the fittest 20 year old would struggle.

This is a good-sized shower.

With the cost of a four-wheel-drive vehicle at no less than USD $40, FJD $87 per day plus fees and taxes we’d decided against a rental. With the hourly rate Rashnesh quoted at USD $13.81, FJD $30 for tours,  we can go anywhere we want for much less than we’d pay for a rental, especially when we’re paying for days we don’t use it.

For a round trip to the village Rashnesh charges USD $9.20, FJD $20, dropping us off at one market and picking us up at another location at either a designated time or when we call on our now working phone containing a local phone SIM card. If we went out every day, the taxi fare with Rashnesh would still cost less than 25% of the cost of a rental car.

The living room with our stuff. 

We explained to Rasness that we’ll pay him each time we go out and tip him all at once at the end of our stay in December, giving him a good chunk toward his Christmas holiday. He seemed to like this idea. 

With the high cost at an ATM and with many local services requiring cash and, with the choice we made long ago (for safety purposes) to only be able to receive USD $300, FJD $652 per day per card, we’ll probably need to get cash every few weeks to pay for dining out, the farmer’s market and the meat market. The grocery store clerk explained there is a 2.5% fee for using a credit card. 

The screened window in the kitchen. Sitting on the sill is chalk “ant stick” which we use after washing the counters after cooking hoping to keep the ants away.

With the cost of getting cash exceeding the cost of the grocer charged credit card fees, it makes sense to use the credit card at the grocery store. With 1% cash perks for purchasing groceries on the card, it all works out in the end. 

As for the house, Mario and his wife Tatiana provided us with additional items we needed: six dish towels, one washcloth (all they had available) a large skillet and bowl, a medium-sized pot, a sharp paring knife, three plastic reusable containers,  a knife sharpener, and a broom. We still need a metal spatula and a cookie sheet which we’ll purchase soon.

The screened window in the living room with cooling breezes. No AC here. Outside the window, you can see our dishtowels hanging to dry. With no washer, and laundry done by Charlotta a few times each week, we’ll be hand washing kitchen towels and underwear as needed.

Many months ago, I wrote to Mario that we’d need an oven. He immediately went into town to find a good-sized countertop oven which seems to work well. We are very grateful for the oven, the bed, and all he’s done for us. 

Yesterday afternoon, I made Tom’s breakfast dish, which he cuts evenly into 18 squares to be frozen in bags of three. Once he has the last of the three portions over three days, he takes out another bag to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. This way, I don’t make his breakfast for 18 days and he loves having this item at his leisure each morning, while I’m busy with the day’s post. 

The huge pan of Tom’s breakfast eggs dish, the first item we baked in the new oven.

Yesterday, it took about an hour to prepare the large pan of breakfast since there’s no grated cheese available in the market. Grating the cheese by hand and also cooking the required 18 slices of bacon, five at a time in the microwave is an equally slow process.  

The countertop oven cooked the large dish in 50 minutes using a tin foil pan we’d purchased. We soaked and washed the tinfoil pan to be used again. With no parchment paper available in the stores, soaking and scrubbing baking pans will be required while we’re here. How I wished we’d shipped a roll of parchment.

Overall, the house is ideal. Getting in and out of the low-to-the-floor bed is challenging and good exercise for the legs. Tom says he needs “pet steps” to get in and out. 

For more details on this vacation rental, please click here.

The toilets are higher in other countries as opposed to the US. When we arrived in Boston by ship a year ago we were flabbergasted by the low toilets, almost falling over each time.

We’ll continue with more of the nuances of living in Fiji as time goes on. The WiFi is working again today. Since it’s raining we see no reason to go out. Surely, there’ll be plenty of sunny days in the near future allowing us to explore the island. We’ve arranged for some exploring on Monday with Rashnesh picking us up at 10:00 am, hoping for such a day.

So far, in four days we’ve had insects in the bed, a five-hour power outage, and an all afternoon WiFi outage. More of these types of inconveniences will undoubtedly occur. When they do, we’ll “suck it up” as we always do, putting a smile on our faces knowing it all “goes with the territory.” This has become the norm for us.

Tomorrow, we’ll share outdoor photos of the exquisite views surrounding us.

Our heartfelt condolences to those in the US who lost loved ones in the tragic events of September 11, 2001, a day we’ll always remember with heavy hearts.

Photo from one year ago today, September 12, 2014:

We dined in a specialty restaurant on the ship, Giovannia’s, with Judy and Gary a lovely couple Tom had met on cruise critic. We enjoyed several get-togethers with them over the cruise. For more details, please click here.