Today’s the day!…We’re on the move again!…Final expenses for Savusavu…

A worker on the road after a grueling morning’s work headed home for lunch during the heat of the day to return to work later on for another shift in the fields. He had time to stop for a heartwarming “bula.”

Overall, did we like Savusavu, Fiji? We did. The accommodations were good barring a few glitches on our first night with the ants in the bed and the pillows which Mario promptly remedied the next day with a new mattress, pillows, and bedding. We lost one night’s sleep.

The ants continued to present a challenge, especially after rain, but we learned how to address them with frequent washing of every food surface. Still, they came, only not as many or as often. We never saw them in the bed again, only a few times in the bathroom. They walked on our laptops and chairs in the living room and often on our arms and legs. We flicked them off.

What can I say?  This was my favorite photo. It so bespeaks life in Fiji, the freedom of barnyard animals to roam, to thrive, and grow. The fact that we find barnyard animals so worthy of mention only enhances our experiences throughout the world

The mosquitos were always present requiring I use DEET repellent, the only product that seemed to work anytime I ventured outdoors. I didn’t go out as often as I’d have liked nor sat on the veranda as much as I’d have liked. We only saw a few flies, no snakes, and few, if any, dangerous insects. At night, we didn’t carry a flashlight to go to the bathroom in the dark.

Each week we stopped to say “bula” to our favorite vegetable vendor, a kindly lady who always picked out the very best produce for us.

The power was out for eight hours or more for three or four days always coming back on by 6:00 pm. The fridge quit working once and after a technician’s visit, it too was back on. We lost a few days of food.

We enjoyed visiting the Viodomo waterfall, requiring quite a hike through the rainforest.

It rained at least 40% of the days, if not more. We didn’t mind especially when it cooled down with the ocean breezes. The heat and humidity were bearable for us overall, with only a few tough days. The nights were always comfortable.

Rafts ready for fishing in the bay at the Vuodomo village.

At the beginning of our stay, the Internet issues were challenging until we finally purchased the two dongles which have provided us with a relatively good connection most of the time. We continued to purchase data every week at the Vodafone kiosk in the village. (The cost for the data is listed below).

Buying jewelry and other homemade crafts is popular with tourists from cruise ships and staying in local hotels and resorts.

The people were amazing, kind, friendly, and always warm and helpful wherever we’d go. The support staff here in Korovesi was wonderful, Usi, Vika, and Junior, always quick to smile and help in any manner. 

What a view of Savusavu Bay!

Mario and his wife Tatiana were helpful, gracious, and always “Johnny on the spot” with any issues which overall were few.  As usual, we didn’t ask for much, only those items mentioned here today plus a can opener, frying pan, a chaise lounge, and few light bulbs, all of which were promptly supplied.

The property was ideal for us; the right size, the right amenities and we easily made it befitting our needs. The views? Over the top. Based on where we sat in the living room we only had to pick up our heads 20 degrees to see the expanse of the ocean, Savusavu Bay, mountains, and passing cruise ships, sailboats, barges, and the boats of local fishermen.

These handmade rafts were used as income producers for the locals, selling produce, fish, and a variety of other products easily transported in the waterways.

We loved the sounds of the roosters crowing, the cows mooing, the baby goats baahing, the birds singing and the screeching of the huge bats at night, referred to as “flying squirrels” in the islands. The trees, the plants, and the flowers were a daily joy to behold ever-growing and changing before our eyes.

Shopping each week was a delightful experience as we came to know the vendors in the Farmer’s Market, grocery store, and Helen, from Fiji Meats supplying us with the finest organic, chemical-free foods the islands have to offer. 

The ferry at the Port of Savusavu ready for vehicles to people to travel to other islands.

We’ll miss the thick cream for our coffee, thick enough to require pushing it off the spoon, the perfect coffee, the streaky bacon (no nitrates) and the minced beef and pork and of course, Helen’s roasted chickens the best we’ve ever had which we’ve had the past two nights as we finished our leftover side dishes and veggies.

These gorgeous flowers are always blooming under the veranda.

As for the expenses for this entire period in Savusavu from September 8th to December 6, 2015, we were pleasantly surprised. Here’s the breakdown:

Rent:      USD $6,000, FJD $12,832
Airfare:   USD $2,758, FJD $5,899  (This total includes five flights to get us here from Cairns, Australia and back to Sydney, Australia).
Food:      USD $2,293, FJD $4,904  (includes all groceries and household supplies)
Dining:    USD $165, FJD $353
Taxi:       USD $393, FJD $841
Tips:       USD $200, FJD $428
Postage:  USD $213, FJD $456
ATM fees:USD $234 FJD $500
Vodafone USD $495, FJD $1,059

Grand Total*:  USD $12,751, FJD $27,271
Monthly Avg:  USD$  4,250, FJD $  9,090

* This total doesn’t include additional costs we incur for health insurance, prescriptions, luggage insurance, gifts for family, federal taxes, clothing, supplies, and digital equipment.  We keep those expenses up-to-date on a separate spreadsheet.

So there it is folks. Late this morning, we’ll arrive in Viti Levu after our one hour Sunday morning flight at 9:20 am and we’ll be greeted by a driver with a sign at the airport in Suva who’ll take us to the grocery store in Suva and then on the one hour drive to our final destination in Pacific Harbour. 

Every night, Badal stopped by at dinnertime to check out what’s on the menu.  We never failed to make him a plate with some delectable morsels.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with details of the trip, the shopping, and photos of our new home for the next 28 days. 

Be well.  Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, December 6, 2014:

Numerous power poles located in the path of the lava flow have been covered in fire retardant materials to prevent the flow from destroying the power to the area which had worked well. As we worried that the lava was flowing in our direction, we continued to be fascinated by this natural event. Who has had an opportunity to see lava flowing in a lifetime? We felt fortunate for the experience as we prayed for the safety of the residents of Pahoa and our own.  Please click here for details.