Another challenging day in paradise…More challenges to come tomorrow…

We drove through the village of Urata.

Our refrigerator died overnight. Luckily, it wasn’t the freezer that was packed with meat. Just the refrigerated portion. Two days ago, we purchased groceries and roasted chickens, much of which has now gone into the garbage having spoiled overnight. We can’t take a chance with any of it. 

We put everything we could in the freezer, packing the tiny space as tight as possible. Some items couldn’t be frozen and joined the rest into the garbage.

Upon arising yesterday, I commented to Tom that the fridge didn’t seem cold. It had been so hot and humid these past days we thought we may have overloaded the small fridge with the addition of the hot roasted chickens and piles of room temperature vegetables which may have caused it to cool down.

We kept checking the butter. As the day wore on, we knew it wasn’t going to get cold when eventually the butter was as soft as if it was sitting out. We didn’t have a thermometer or means of checking the temperature.

It appeared that the residents of Urata are into fishing as a primary source of income.

Around noon, we contacted Mario and within minutes Junior arrived to check it out. With the freezer working full speed, Junior adjusted some settings and said he’d check back by 2:00 pm at which point, we all agreed something had to be done to keep our food from spoiling.

By 4:00 pm, a serviceman was here much to our surprise.  At Fiji time, it could have been days. By this point, we’d begun tossing food, leaving items we knew would be safe to eat such as butter, cheese and sour cream.  Earlier, we’d already placed all the hard cheeses into the freezer, squeezing to make room.

He asked us to remove every item from the freezer which as tight as it was packed was a task in itself.  With Junior’s help we got it all removed and temporarily stored it in the insulated Costco bag.

We’d had no choice but to toss the recently made jar of our salad dressing and the remaining opened mayonnaise. Luckily, we still had unopened mayo and sour cream to use to make another batch.

The service guy got the fridge working again and waited along with Mario and Junior long enough to ensure it was working. The refrigerator was new when we arrived almost three months ago and shouldn’t be having problems this early. By 5:30, we were back in business, although cautiously optimistic. Today, it’s working again.

Although citizens of Fiji are often poor, living off the land and sea, they never fail to observe and appreciate the beauty surrounding them.

Having tossed our chicken dinner along with the mushroom casserole I’d made to go with it, we had few options for dinner this late in the day with everything frozen. We decided to take out a small portion of leftover cooked taco meat adding an extra package of beef mince for a meal of taco meat topped with pizza cheese, a side of cabbage salad which I chilled before dinner in the freezer in baggies, bacon and onion green beans and muffins. 

The dinner was fine although taco salad without tomatoes and lettuce, neither of which we had on hand made it less enjoyable than usual. We only purchase tomatoes when we’re having certain meals. Lately, quality lettuce hasn’t been unavailable. Cabbage has been our go-to salad vegetable in all of our travels since it keeps well for many days in the fridge but cabbage used for taco salad didn’t quite fit the bill.

My concern until the fridge was working again was a back-up plan. I’m the queen of back-up plans, not hysterical, not panicky, just desiring a plan. Mario managed to get the repair guy to agree to bring us a small hotel-sized refrigerator from his shop by dinnertime if he couldn’t get the fridge working again until we’d get a new fridge on Monday.

But, the day’s events didn’t end there. When Junior arrived around noon, he informed us there’d be an entire power shut down in Savusavu on Sunday (tomorrow) from 8 am to 6 pm. All businesses will be closed including all restaurants, markets, and shops. 

Handmade fishing and transporting rafts in Urata.

Today, I’m cooking enough Asian burger mix to make dinner for a few days, freezing any leftovers after tonight’s meal. The freezer, if left closed, should make it through the day without defrosting during the 10 hours. At 5:00 pm tomorrow, we take out more of the burger mix from the freezer for Sunday’s dinner. 

With the power supposedly returning by 6:00 pm making dinner should be fine. If not, I’m making a meal we can reheat on the gas stove lighting it with a match.

With no power, nowhere to go on Sunday (Rasnesh spends most of his day at church and with family) we have no choice but to stay put. In this scorching heat, without power, we won’t be able to use the fans. Even today, with the use of the overhead and standing fans, the heat and humidity is very uncomfortable.

With the mosquitoes on a frenzy after days of rain and humidity, its nearly impossible to sit outdoors right now. unless covered in DEET. We’ll remain indoors during the 10 hours power outage frequently showering to stay cool. Also, the ants have returned after the rains and with today’s cooking, we’ll be busy tonight washing everything to keep them under control.

The lush jungles surrounded every area are a constant reminder of the beauty Fiji offers its people.

No doubt, our laptop and phone batteries will die halfway through the day, even if we manage to darken our screens. I guess we’ll be playing Gin for the better part of the day.

Last night around 7:15 pm, the power went out for 20 minutes while we were watching an episode of the UK mini-series “Banished” (worth watching) on my laptop. We continued to watch the show in the dark.  I’d wondered if when the power is out the dongles will still work for Internet access. We tested it and, to our surprised discovery, that at least without power, the dongles may work.

However, if you don’t see us here tomorrow with the entire city’s electricity down, which may have an effect on Vodafone towers, you’ll know we couldn’t get online to post and we’ll be back the following day.

Whoever said living in Paradise doesn’t have its ups and downs, hasn’t stayed in Paradise for very long. We tend to look at it this way: We have our health, we have a roof over our heads, we have food and water and most of all we have each other. Our goal for tomorrow…staying cool, keeping our food safe, and no whining.

There it is folks. Back at you soon.

Photo from one year ago today, November 21, 2014:

The beauty of the Maui we know and love isn’t always only the sea and sand. The countryside and mountains create a picturesque scene. For more details and Maui photos, please click here.