Day #255 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Sunshine and fresh air…WiFi issues???…

Savusavu Bay and Nawi Island, in Vanua Levu, Fiji from a site atop a hill in the village.

Today’s photos are from this date in 2015 while winding down our three-month stay on the island of Vanua Levu in the village of Savusavu. Please click here for details.

We haven’t been outdoors in eight months, except when I went to an ATM a few months ago when we needed cash for medication we’d ordered and about six months ago when I went outside to collect a package from Amazon India from the security guard at the gate.

The hot springs where many locals cook their potatoes and root vegetables.

Since that time, for added precautions, we’ve asked the front desk to deliver the few packages we receive directly to our room. We’d be more than willing to spend time outdoors but it would only be in the parking lot in the bright hot sun with the awful air quality per today’s report below from this site.

FORECAST

Mumbai air quality index (AQI) forecast

Day Pollution level Weather Temperature Wind
Monday, Nov 30

Unhealthy 153US AQI

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Tuesday, Dec 1

Unhealthy 159US AQI

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Wednesday, Dec 2

Unhealthy 163US AQI

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Today

Unhealthy 164US AQI

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weather icon 84.2°77°

4.5 mp/h

While touring India many moons ago, the air quality ratings were often listed as “dangerous.” It was tough to breathe at that time. Although, it may be easier now, why go out into that? After all, I have both asthma and heart disease, both inflammatory conditions which can be exacerbated by severe smog.

The view from our veranda in Korovesi, Savusavu, Fiji.

Thank goodness we’re taking generous doses of Vitamin D3, but our lack of sun exposure may not be much worse than when we lived in Minnesota during the icy cold winter months and seldom spent much time outdoors, other than walking our dogs. Even under those circumstances, exposed skin absorbs Vitamin D from the sun, not when bundled up in warm clothing.

We’ve been deluding ourselves into thinking that indoor air in this air-conditioned hotel room in Mumbai is any better than the outdoors. After reading several articles online over these past many months, it’s obvious to us why we’re both sneezing all day long. Tom has no allergies, and yet he sneezes often. It’s apparent to us it’s due to poor air quality in buildings including hotels in India, especially in a highly-populated area like Mumbai. See this article here about indoor air in India.

The bay where many sailors moor their sailboats.

We’ve asked the maintenance staff to change the air-con filter a few times, but that didn’t seem to help. Besides, sitting in this tiny room, day after day, month after month,  an enormous amount of dust accumulates from our skin shedding, a disgusting thought but a reality. Dust mites are a real thing, although an awful thought. See here for details.

With people all over the world stuck inside their homes for extended periods during COVID-19 lockdowns, it wouldn’t be surprising that many with dust allergies may have suffered more than during “normal times.” I suppose if we’d lived in a house staying indoors for many months, we’d probably have had our house fumigated for dust mites when the lockdown ended.

The busy village hops with business most days.

Ah, the challenges of living under these circumstances aren’t going away anytime too soon. The WiFi has been going out at least once an hour over the past two days. We’ve reported this several times to the front desk who reports,” We’re working on it.” We had to stop streaming shows last night when Netflix and Hulu kept stopping with streaming issues.

Then, of course, walking in the corridors continues to be quite a challenge with so many guests staying on our floor, not wearing masks, slamming doors in the middle of the night, and having loud parties throughout the night that have kept us awake over many nights in the past few months.

Tom, in front of a giant palm frond on the property.

We can’t get out of here soon enough. Dare I mention…40 more days?

Stay well.

Photo from one year ago today, December 3, 2019:

On this date in 2016, we arrived in Penguin, Tasmania where we stayed for six weeks. This is the view from the living room window of the wonderful holiday home we rented. It was a delightful six weeks and remains one of Tom’s favorite places in the world. For more about the year-ago post,  please click here.

Good luck or rightful circumstance?…Accepting old age…Choices we make…

A rusty sailboat remains on the shore.

With only 29 days until we depart Savusavu to fly to the largest island of Viti Levu, in the Fiji chain of over 330 islands, we’ve started to feel as if time is flying faster now. 

The grocery store where we shop for a few items each week.

Living life in chunks of three months or more, or at times less, seems to have an effect of speeding up our sense of time, more than at any time in our lives. Perhaps, its as simple as old age creeping up on us interspersed with a lifetime of varied experiences that has a tendency to feel as if each day flies by way too quickly when little time is needed for thoughtful consideration of what comes next.

As one ages, generally, we know what’s next, barring any of life’s curve balls which often come hard and fast. In our youth, each day was a new challenge and we often felt we needed “good luck” to move through the paces.

We walked along a side street after spending time at the lagoon.

Now older, we realize that good luck is nice for fantasizing but pointless to expect. Our lives are what we make of them.  As much as we extol the virtues of “safari luck” much of it has occurred due to our efforts to be in the right place at the right time due to careful and diligent planning.

Did that unbelievable sunset photo magically appear for our photo taking?  Or, had we been watching for days to get the perfect shot?  Most often, it’s the latter. Serendipity is lovely. Coincidence is thought-provoking. None of it would transpire unless we made the effort to put ourselves in an advantageous position to grasp all of their benefits.

The reflection of the blue sky on the still water in the Savusavu lagoon.

The rest? Such as good health? Is that luck? Is it luck that the person who ate junk food all of their lives lived to the ripe age of 95, quietly passing in their sleep? Is it bad luck that someone like me who made a concerted effort all of my life to avoid illness and attain good health spent many years with illness and disability?

With my bad health reversed for over four years from a drastic change of diet, do I live on the precarious edge in anticipation of the “other shoe to drop?” I can’t. My newer, healthier self knows full well that stress can easily exacerbate any condition regardless of diet or lifestyle adaptation. It’s not luck. It’s a choice. And even then, with all my best efforts, it could change in a single minute.

A skinny nursing dog scrounging for food among the rocks.

As Tom walks this course with me varying only when dining out and aboard ship, he too knows the fragility of good health. For him, he’s developed a certain sense of confidence in the fact that good genes may play a role when his mother was 98 when she passed away in May 2008. I remind him he can’t count on his genes alone.  Lifestyle dictates the greater influence.

How do I know this? I’m no expert. But, it doesn’t take an expert to look around a roomful of seniors at a retirement community to see those enjoying life the most are active, conscientious about diet, and possessing a positive outlook on life. 

We often wonder who owns these boats?  Are they ex-pats, living in Fiji or visitors stopping for supplies after being out to sea?

Sure, in old age the skin may sag, the faces become lined with a lifetime of expression and sunlight, and the teeth yellowed if they’re still their own. But, the smiles are still the same, the love and hope in their hearts are still the same, and the desire to live every moment of life to the fullest remains constant, however much time is left.

Do we all naturally come to some peaceful acceptance that at some point, we’ll no longer be on the earth?  Yes, to those of us who find a spiritual path along the way which we particularly hang onto as the time nears, giving us hope that when “the fat lady sings” (please, excuse the expression), we’ll see the white light as the doors open to welcome us inside.

Some of the sailboats are in pristine condition.

For us, these thoughts and realities mean one thing…live to the fullest. And if that means working in a soup kitchen to feed the poor, delivering meals to the informed, or taking photos to share the treasures of this bountiful earth with others, we all have a privilege of making choices befitting who we are and who’ll we’ll eventually become. 

For those unable to reach out, perhaps sitting in a chair day after day, watching the latest talk show, old reruns on TV, or listening to the radio, unable to go out without help or not at all, they too are deserving of life’s bounty, if only in recalling and if possible, sharing those times of their lives that held meaning and purpose.

View across the Savusavu Harbour to Nawii Island where property is currently under construction.

Who are we to judge anyone’s choices? We live in a world of “political correctness” to the point of ad nauseam leaving us bereft of what we can and can’t express in our next breath when all that’s really required is dignity and respect ingrained into our beings, not all this rhetoric about “who’s right and who’s wrong.” 

We, Tom and I, are judged by others on occasion for our lifestyle…how could we possibly leave family behind to fulfill our own dreams? We could spend hours “defending” our choices. But, we choose not to do so. We simply chose a powerful overriding sense of adventure that we somehow had to fulfill…while we can.

View of Nawii Island across the harbor.

No luck is involved here. No good fortune was required for us to live this life on the move. It was earned. It was nurtured. We sacrificed a lot to achieve it, none of which we regret. It all revolved around choices and a desire for happiness and fulfillment in our older years that when we “stepped outside the box” was staring us in the face. We merely followed the path.

We can’t and don’t judge those who choose to spend their retirement sitting on a barstool in a local pub gabbing with old friends or hovering over the next episode of Dr. Phil. We all have the privilege of defining who we are through our daily lives and actions. 

If happiness is on the menu, choose it at your own discretion when, in doing so, there’s a price to pay. Hand over your cash or credit card without regret, knowing every moment was well worth every last penny spent.

Photo from one year ago today, November 7, 2014:

Every afternoon the sea turtles swam to the shore outside our condo in Maui. To see a video we shot of the turtles and more, please click here.

Tom’s haircut in Fiji…Deal of the century…A weird day with some glitches…

Tom, standing outside Kumar’s Hair Salon which generally attracts more men than women. We awaited Tom’s turn while sitting on the bench to the right.

Tom hadn’t had a haircut since July when we were living in Trinity Beach, Australia. It was a typical haircut in a chain type shop not unlike one would find in many major cities that offered both women’s and men’s cuts.  There are no chain-type shops, restaurants, or fast food establishments here in Vanua Levu, Fiji.

A few days ago, Junior decided it was time to fumigate our house after we’ve already been here a full two months. Insect control is often handled in between guest’s coming and goings. After these two months, we’d begun to find black fruit flies with the nastiest bites, comparable to bites from the sandflies in Morocco. 

With dozens of red inflamed bites on my hands, arms, legs, and feet we didn’t hesitate to have Junior fumigation the house. I didn’t ask what chemicals he uses. There was no point in making a big deal. It simply had to be done. With a plan to be shopping part of the day on Thursday, the fumigation at 11 am would be ideal.

View of Savusavu Bay lagoon while we waited for Ratnesh.

He’d planned to run the floor fan for hours afterward ensuring the air was cleared as much as possible.  Considering we don’t even have fruit in the house, it was odd we had fruit flies. 

The only reason we could surmise was from the veggies we continually purchased at the Farmers Market each week. Although I always wash everything as soon as we were home, it’s possible fruit flies could nest in the house.

These insidious creatures are nearly impossible to swat and when I was able to kill a few on my skin, my blood gushed out of them onto the bitten spot. Yuck. When we returned home we could already feel the difference in the air. As much as we’d prefer to live a low chemical lifestyle sometimes we have to weigh which scenario is ultimately more harmful. We opted for chemicals over bloody fruit flies.

Shoppers walked along the short strip mall.

Most often when Rasnesh drops us off in the village, we can plan he’ll be able to pick us up outside the door of the New World Market within 10 minutes of our call to let him know we’re ready. 

The grocery trolleys aren’t able to go outside due to a flight of steps and we have no choice but to carry all of our groceries outside to wait under the overhang in the shade while we wait. This would also include all the produce and eggs we’d purchased earlier at the Farmer’s Market.

After he collects us and our many bags at New World Market we then head a kilometer down the road to Fiji Meats where Helen keeps our standing order under refrigeration. It’s a good plan.

The strip mall is next door to the side entrance to the Farmers Market where we stopped for veggies after the haircut.

I started shopping at the Vodafone kiosk to purchase data while Tom ran across the street to the ATM.  Our only credit card purchases in the village are at the modern grocery store and the pharmacy. The rest, including Vodafone, require cash.  

In most cases, we can complete our litany of shopping stops in about an hour; Vodafone, Farmers Market, and New World in that order. With plenty of cash on hand, we headed to the barbershop Ratnesh had recommended seeing his friend Kumar, the most popular barber in the area. Rathnesh alerted us to the cost for a cut and suggested we let Kumar know we were friends. It helps to “know someone.”

After a few minutes of waiting outside the tiny shop, Ratnesh appeared explaining he had a fare that would take a few hours. He explained he’d return to pick us up as quickly as possible. 

Tom explained his haircut preference to Kumar, who listened attentively to ensure he’s getting it right.

At that point, the later pickup seemed inconsequential. It was a little after 11:20 am and he expected to be back by 1:30 pm, more time than we needed to shop. We’d find a way to stay busy.

There were a few men ahead of Tom. We sat outside the shop on a wobbly wooden bench people watching. The village is packed with the locals doing their shopping. We seldom observe travelers from afar. 

Many coming to Savusavu are staying in resorts and hotels, dining out for most meals requiring only tourist type shopping in the clothing and trinket shops. Seldom do we see tourists in the markets other than those who may be sightseeing.

Kumar assessing how he’d cut Tom’s hair.

As we sat outside awaiting Tom’s turn, we chuckled over the irony of our lives.  Who’d have thought years ago, that we’d be sitting on a wobbly bench in the sweltering heat after living on this fairly remote island for two months so far, absorbing the fascinating sights, sounds, and smells as we embrace the local culture and customs? 

For some odd reason, we feel right at home, sweaty clothes and all, swatting off the flies and frequently extending a heartfelt “bula” to a local passerby. Many in the village may have seen us over and again perhaps assuming we’re here for the “long haul” as newly implanted ex-pats. In this small village, everyone knows one another.

When Tom’s was beckoned into the shop, I followed behind finding a cozy spot to sit. Kumar didn’t mind if I took photos and I took these shown here today.

Kumar did a great job of trimming.

Tom opted for the buzz cut, as Kumar took one swipe after another of his long locks as I watched them fall to the floor. It had been four months since his last haircut.  His rationale for his shortest cut to date was simple. In two months, almost to the day, we’d be on our next cruise and his hair would be the perfect length. 

Kumar performed a meticulous cut. With 13 years in business, he easily knew what he was doing. We were impressed by his attention to detail. Here’s the odd part…the cost…for the haircut taking almost 20 minutes as he fine-tuned his work, it cost a paltry FJD $4, USD $1.85! Tom left another FJD $2, USD $.93 tip which Kumar greatly appreciated. Tipping is not expected or required in Fiji. Total haircut expenditure: FJD $6, USD $2.78!

By the time we wandered through the Farmers Market, it was shortly before noon. Making our purchases, we were out the door in less than 10 minutes. With a shortlist for New World Market which wouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, we decided to kill some time wandering along the shore, taking photos.

The tiny shop contained two makeshift barber chairs.  Zoom in for the price list in Fiji dollars.

It was hot, humid, and “buggie.” After sitting in the shade for a while, we made our way to the pharmacy for band-aids and then took off for the market. The cool air-conditioned air was a welcome relief as we wandered as slowly as possible through the three aisles filling our trolley with the few items we needed. 

At 1:10 pm, I called Rasnesh telling him we were checking out and would be waiting for him outside the store in five minutes. He was still one hour away, having picked up a customer across the island in Labasa at another airport.  How we’d keep our food cold standing outside the store escaped us. Ratnesh suggested he’d send a friend to pick us up within 10 minutes.

That worked for us. Ten minutes later Mickey arrived and we loaded the trunk with our purchases. Now, we’d head to Helen’s to pick up our roasted chickens and meat and we’d be done. 

The shop was clean, although tiny including the sale of products including sunglasses.

“Oh, oh,” Tom said, “There’s Helen walking down the road on her way to the bank!” The meat market would be closed in her absence. When we drove up to her shop, there was a note taped to the door that read, “Back at 2 pm.” It was 1:25.

We could hardly ask Mickey to wait for 35 minutes. We asked him to take us home and we’d figure it out later.  As we approached the house, groceries in hand, we heard a loud irritating noise. 

As it turned out Junior had left the fan on high oscillate mode to clear the air after the extermination and the fan broke from the housing causing it to rattle against the cage. We shut it off.

The hot, humid weather inspired Tom to go for the shortest cut he’s had yet.

OK.  We had no dinner prepared when we’d planned to eat one of the two roasted chickens we weren’t able to pick up. The fan we move back into the bedroom at night wasn’t working and we were hot and sweaty with no relief in sight by bedtime.

Once we put away the perishables, I sat down at my computer and notified Mario explaining the fan dilemma.  Then, I called Ratnesh asking if he had enough cash on him to pay for and pick up our meat and bring it out to us before Helen closed the shop at 5 pm. He agreed. Then, I called Helen, who’d returned to the store, letting her know Ratnesh was picking up and paying for our meat.

Within minutes, Junior arrived taking the fan with him to make the repairs. By 5 pm, Ratnesh arrived with the meat. We reimbursed him for the meat, asking him how much extra he wanted for picking up the meat. We agreed to an extra FJD $5, USD $2.36. By 5:20, junior returned with the fan, in tip-top shape after his repairs.  We were thrilled.

Boats in Savusavu Bay lagoon.

By 5:30, the produce was washed and refrigerated, the dinner salad was chilling, the huge bag of green beans was cleaned and washed and we sat down to play Gin for an hour before dinner.

Amid these relatively innocuous inconveniences, we stayed calm and optimistic that all would work out. We were more concerned over the fan than any of it. We could have easily whipped up something for dinner. 

View of Savusavu Bay lagoon.

The biting fruit flies were gone. Tom won the Gin game and we have a lovely dinner of roasted chicken, salad, green beans, and a low carb muffin slathered in New Zealand butter. We watched a few shows after dinner and had a restful night. Life is good.

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

Overall, groceries were more expensive in Hawaii. However, with the fact, as shown here that we purchase no junk food, we can get by for less cost than others may. We used the unsweetened chocolate for making low carb fudge made with cream cheese, butter, and chocolate. We’ve been unable to find the ingredients to make fudge in Fiji. For more details on grocery shopping in Maui, please click here.

At long last, we have sunshine…Transportation…Safety…All new photos…

This morning’s sunny day.

Yesterday, we called Ratnesh to pick us up tomorrow at 11 am for a dual purpose; sightseeing earlier in the day, shopping after sightseeing. We’re excited to be getting out.

We’d hoped to get out on Tuesday, but on Monday, he called and canceled when he had a long-distance fare to Labasa, where another airport is located, a two hour drive each way from Savusavu.

When we first arrived, we offered to request his services for specific dates, and at times when it was most convenient for him with our schedule wide open. If he has a fare where he’ll make more than with us to various sites and the villages, we’ve encouraged him to take it.

View from our veranda to the three-unit vacation home as a part of this four-unit resort. The lawn guy is here today, mowing and trimming.

We hadn’t negotiated special rates with him when we arrived when the amounts he charges for trips to the village or for an hourly rate for sightseeing is so reasonable. As we’ve mentioned in the past, here are the costs of his services:

  • FJD $20, USD $9.39: Round trip to the village for shopping, dropping us off and picking us up when we call.  We add an additional FJD $10, USD $4.70 when he helps us carry our purchases to the house.
  • FJD $30, USD $14.09: Cost per hour for sightseeing. 

We’ve noticed when we do both, sightseeing and shopping on the same day, we’re charging for the trip to the village, plus the hourly travel rate. Ah, who’s to complain at these reasonable prices? If we’re gone for four hours at FJD $120, USD $56.35, it’s a very fair fare (no pun intended)!

When we recall paying for taxi fare in London in August 2014, when we visited the highly rated pub (Andover Arms) on two occasions, the round trip taxi fare was USD $50, GBP $32, FJD $106. In Fiji, that amount would give us almost four hours on the road!  

Colorful ocean view from our area.

Although four hours on the roads in Vanua Levu may sound exciting, on this remote island, it would be four hours of bumpy roads, dense greenery, and occasional ocean views, all of which we love and easily experience on shorter trips to specific destinations. We prefer aimlessly driving when we have a rental car, stopping as often as we’d like for photos and restroom breaks.

With the sun shining, we’re excited to get out more often, subject to the availability of the only driver in this village willing to tackle the steep road in this resort area. It would be impossible for us to walk down the long mountainous road. For mountain climbers and seriously fit hikers, it may not be a problem.

How easily we could feel trapped. But, long ago we decided, after realizing we’d need drivers in various countries, we accepted that there would be days we’d want to get out and weren’t able to do so, based on our driver’s availability. Sticking to the same driver or their designated co-driver has been important to us, particularly when safety has been an issue in several countries.

The bright blue of the bay is breathtaking from this elevation.

Upcoming in 46 days, when we fly to the next Fijian Island of Viti Levi, the larger main island, where we’ll stay for one more month, we’ll be renting a car at the Nadi Airport and driving two hours to our new location, again a private house. 

With high crime rates in the downtown Nadi area, when we booked Fiji long ago, we’d decided to stay in another more, remote location where the likelihood of crime is greatly reduced.

Many tourists stay in the Nadi area in resorts and hotels, generally insulated from criminal activities when on site. The risks for tourists escalates when out on the streets in the busy city, as we’ve been warned by the locals here who often travel to Nadi to visit family. Muggings, pickpocketing, and carjacking are not unusual.

Another ocean view from our area.

With our preferred choice of vacation homes as opposed to staying in hotels, we usually don’t have the safety net of on-site security as is often available in most hotels. Generally, one can feel relatively safe from crime in a hotel, although there are isolated exceptions.

Currently, we’re living in a resort but, in the only stand, alone vacation rental house on the property. Further up the hill behind us is a separate building with three apartments, including one penthouse type upscale unit on the top floor. Mario and Tayana’s private residence is off to the side as shown.

When Ratnesh picks us up, he pulls into the driveway of the three-unit building in this resort. The driveway near the steps down to our house below is too steep for stopping the vehicle, making getting in and out nearly impossible.

Junior is around during the day and Mario is on-site in his separate house to our left as we face the ocean. We feel totally safe and protected in this ideal location.

Criminal activity on this island of Vanua Levu is almost non-existent. When we’ve driven by the courthouse on several occasions, located on the edge of town, there are no cars in the parking lot. Most likely, they only open when they have a case. From what we hear, it’s a rare occasion.

Oceanfront view of Mario and Tatyana’s house, much larger than it appears in the photos.  We took this photo from the steep road.

The fact that we prefer living in smaller towns and villages in our travels has more to do with our lack of interest in crowds and the fact that we don’t shop other than for food and supplies as needed. We love the quaint charm and nature of small villages and the friendly, less harried lifestyle of their people. 

For the average tourist, staying in a more populous area in most countries provides endless opportunities to find that special item to bring back home, for oneself, and for gifts for family and friends. Also, easy access to restaurants is an important factor for tourists whereas, for us, it’s irrelevant.

Side view of Mario and Tatyana’s recently built house.

We don’t send our grandchildren trinkets from all over the world. Instead, we send gift cards or gifts that they’d like, not what we think they’d like from a foreign country. If we did, at this point, their bedrooms would be filled with useless touristy type items, eventually to be tossed away. 

Maybe we’re too practical in the minds of others. Then again, how practical is having no home, no stuff other than what fits into three suitcases, a duffel bag and a laptop bag and, changing countries and homes every few months or less?

Have a beautiful and meaningful day!

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

We were entranced by this colorful Gold Dust Day Gecko, commonly seen in the Hawaiian Islands, particularly in Maui where we were living one year ago.  This gecko was located on the wall by the pool but, from time to time, we spotted them inside the condo, certainly no big deal. Generally, geckos are harmless if not annoying, leaving droplets of white poop and making peculiar noises. In Fiji, we see new gecko poop in the house every few days. For more details, please click here.

Reflections…Housebound or homebody happiness?…

Footbridge over the creek in the village.

At 5:30 this morning, I tiptoed across the creaky wooden floor in the bedroom quietly shutting the door behind me in hopes of not awakening Tom. I had a strange sense of sunshine pending on the horizon from little slivers of light reflecting in the room, glistening in stripes through the rows of jalousie windows.

The sun was making a feeble attempt (not that the sun ever does anything but produce heat, solar flares, and radiation) to peek through a band of unenthusiastic clouds (not that the cloud possess any emotion) preferring to own the sky for yet another day.

Tossing hopes of sunshine, I booted up my laptop with the hopes of continuing to download a show after several wasted attempts yesterday. There was no signal, just a feeble “limited” notation on my desktop taskbar. I unplugged the in-wall router, waited 30 seconds and plugged it back in. Nothing.

This beach walk is comparable to the “esplanades” we walked in Australia at various beaches.

Should I be up for the day, shower and dress, make my tiny pot of coffee (we make one for each of us with the pot too small for two) to sit down in an attempt to write a few words, albeit between “limited” and “online”? 

Or, shall I return to bed, squinting to read the over-sized letters on the Kindle app on my phone (my contacts weren’t in yet), to gain more momentum to finish the good mystery that I’ll soon devour, as I do with no less than three books a week?

I opted for the later, returning to bed, falling back to sleep after Tom got up. I slept until 7:30, an odd habit I’ve developed over these past months. The extra sleep is good, upping my nightly ante to a total of seven hours, far more than Tom manages, by getting to bed at midnight and up and “at ’em” by 6 am most days.  Today was no exception. 

Many locals and some tourists take this bus to other parts of the island.

By the time I was dressed, showered, and prepared myself for the day, in the expectation of avoiding that “just out of bed look,” I poured the first cup of coffee (Tom had made my tiny pot when he heard me get up), lightening it with a load of the nicest thick cream on the planet. Once again, I sat down in the not-so-comfy chair, hoping to find a signal sufficient enough for today’s post. Tom was able to get online making my prospects look good.

Now, at 9 am, with a signal in tact, the sun has peeked out through the fast-moving dark clouds which surely will turn into rain again today with the 60% chance predicted. Tomorrow, Ratnesh is coming to get us, rain or shine. We need to get out.

Today, I’ll busy myself experimenting in the kitchen in an attempt of conjuring up a batch of homemade Italian sausage, after finding a recipe online. A few of the spices needed weren’t available in the market. I chose alternatives. There isn’t such a thing as Italian sausage here, nothing even close. 

Clothing for sale at the “chemist.”

We’d like to make our favorite pizza recipe and the pasta free lasagna we’ve come to love both of which require tangy Italian sausage. Fennel is a necessary spice in making the sausage. It was only available in the seed form, impossible to use unless cooking in a pot for hours, breaking down the flavors. 

With no coffee grinder, mortar and pestle or any type of grinding device, I had no choice but to dig out the plastic blender in the cupboard to see if it would grind the seeds. 

Tom helped me with the simple task of plugging it in. There are numerous types of adapters/converters used in this house and finding the appropriate device is necessary to avoid burning out an appliance or the fuses.

The town council building located in the center of town.

Electrical is “his thing” which could easily been “my thing” had I taken an interest in learning about all the various adapters, many of which we carry with us, others plugged into a variety of outlets in various homes throughout the world. I haven’t been even remotely interested in flooding my brain with electrical thoughts. He has. It’s not surprising how we automatically gravitate toward tasks befitting our innate skills.

As shown in the photo below, the blender did a great job of grinding the fennel seeds adequately for use in making the sausage. I won’t use casings. I’ve always preferred using the bulk Italian sausage (not in casings) which, on occasion we’ve found in only a few countries. Most often, if we do find Italian sausage, we remove the casings anyway for ease of use.

In Australia, we didn’t find the taste of the available Italian sausage to our liking. We used an alternative, a German cheese sausage spiced well but not tasting Italian. Those little sausages can’t be found here nor is there any possible alternative. Tourists don’t come to these islands to cook Italian meals or for that matter eat Italian foods or…for that matter, to cook at all. 

The blender I found to grind the fennel seeds for making the sausage. It worked out well as shown in the cup with the ground seeds. There are lemons ripening on the window sill.

The local curry is the big draw in the South Pacific which is not to Tom’s liking after all the time we spent in Morocco. I love the flavor, hot and spicy but, can’t seem to interest Tom in eating out when the smell of the curry permeates the air at the restaurants. Plus, many curry and side dishes are made with some form of flour, sugar or starch, making it pointless to dine out. 

A piece of grilled meat or fish and a steamed veg would be what I’d get in a restaurant, hardly worth the taxi fare and the restaurant’s bill. I learned my lesson long ago, also in Morocco, not to eat fresh salad in restaurants in many countries. 

In the village, where all of the restaurants are located, they’re using ‘city” water, not the fresh spring water we have here in the Korovesi neighborhood, generously supplied by Seawak from the spring on his land.  We’ve consumed that water since the day we arrived with no ill effect.

View from the upper level of a shop we investigated.

Paragraph after paragraph, I continue on and now close to 11:30 am, the peeking sun is long since gone, replaced by ominous clouds rearing to unload their day’s bounty. 

I’ll make the sausage using the spices we have available, hand chop cabbage, carrots, and onions, “snap” the green beans while deciding on how we’ll “test” the sausage in tonight’s meal of perhaps sausage and onions in a red sauce with hand-grated “pizza cheese.” When done cooking, I’ll read my book off and on when the Internet is down, attempting when it returns, to once again slowly download a few shows for tonight’s viewing.

Are we bored? Not yet. If the rain continues over the next two months, we may become so. For now, we continue to find ways to busy our minds and bodies to the best of our ability while living in this remote area, high atop a hill, where a walk in the neighborhood is an unlikely prospect but, with a view that is unstoppable, along with our spirit!

Photo from one year ago, September 30, 2014:

Honolulu was one of the several ports of call during the remainder of the cruise. Knowing we’d be staying in the busy city for 13 nights, we didn’t take a tour with the ship or other passengers. Instead, we walked off the ship wandered the city on foot, later returning to the quiet ship and pool, almost to ourselves.  For more details, please check here.

Unbelievable rain…Day after day…Bad weather seems like a lifetime ago in Minnesota…

These baby goats are less than a week old.  They seem to hang together constantly. Notice the bit of greenery in the mouth on the one of the left. 

During a short stint of sunshine, we managed to take these photos shown today a few days ago when we took a drive with Ratnesh. As soon as we see another sunny day, we’ll be back out taking more new photos to share here.
 
Who would have thought that it would rain 17 days of the past 20 days since we arrived on September 8th?  Had we expected this, we’d have taken greater advantage of those few sunny days and explored more than we have. Instead, we spent an enjoyable time in the village languishing over its easy pace, people watching, fresh food shopping, and relishing in its unique charm.

Then again, who knows about the weather and can predict when to venture out in good weather? With no news to watch without a TV, we have no idea how long this will last which could ultimately be months. It could conceivably rain for the balance of our time in the islands, as Fiji now heads into its rainy season. We’ve accepted this fate. Having experienced relatively good weather all over the world, we’ve little right to bemoan the facts of nature. 

The “kids” decided to check out the chickens during our visit to the egg farm.

Over these past weeks, we’ve waited to go on any long treks, hoping for sun. With most scenic spots requiring a bit of a hike, we take no risks in doing so in the rain when paved paths are nonexistent. 

We’ve never minded getting wet, having done so over and again while sightseeing. But, taking photos when it’s raining is a nuisance, resulting in less than ideal photos.

Early on, we disposed of a water protective cover for a prior camera, when its bulkiness and difficulty to use made it useless. We’ve chosen not to haul protective rain gear for ourselves or for the camera. We don’t even have an umbrella and our parkas with hoods aren’t intended as raincoats. We simply don’t have the room or weight availability in the luggage. 

The baby goat on the left appeared to have developed a leadership role at this early stage in their lives.

Also, I’m not a good enough photographer, nor do we have a good enough camera, to be able to take great shots on cloudy days although I continue to try. I frequently make adjustments in the settings, only to disappointment over rainy and cloudy day shots. When a better quality, lightweight, affordable camera hits the market and we’re in a location to make a purchase, we’ll upgrade. 

For now, our cameras are lasting about 18 months, becoming destroyed by the rampant humidity everywhere we travel. Spending $1000’s for a more suitable camera makes no sense, especially with the heavy equipment and lenses required to accompany it. For now, we have a camera, a case, a tripod, and three extra batteries with a charger. That’s working for us.

Fortunately, neither of us have any type of emotional reaction to endless days of bad weather. After all, we lived in the frozen tundra of Minnesota; Tom, for all of his life; me for over 40 years.   

Mom goat often referred to as a nanny or doe, hung back, waiting for kids to return to nurse.

Although some Minnesotans (and elsewhere) suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) during the long winter months, neither of us has suffered from weather or seasonal disorders other than annoyance over being stuck in traffic, being snowed in, and having the responsibility of clearing the road and walkways in front of our former house. Those days are long since past. 

I easily recall Tom returning home from working on the railroad after a 12-hour shift with two or more long hours of round trip driving time in inclement weather having to haul out the snowblower to spend another two hours walking back and forth in the road in blizzard type and frigid conditions to clear a path on the road and steps. 

When he was done with the dreadful job, he’d come inside, pulling off his bulky outerwear, his mustache, and eyebrows covered in ice, with nary a complaint. I’d look at that mustache and my heart would flip flop with love and compassion for a job well done, feeling helpless that my poor spinal condition prevented me from being any help. 

This “kid” hung close to his mom.

Instead, I stayed indoors, baking anything that smelled like cinnamon, butter, and vanilla hoping he’d get out of his soaked clothes to sit down with a cup of hot coffee and a plate of a buttery confection to ease his frozen and weary state. 

As romantic as that may sound, that weather was highly instrumental in our decision to get out of that climate, that frozen-tundra lifestyle of short, humid summers with the chill of winter grasping at our shivery existence often as early as September. 

We easily recall the Halloween blizzard in 1991, the year we met when Tom tried to get to me after his work shift ended, having to turn around on the freeway to return to his home when cars were piled up on the freeway, skidding out of control. All Minnesotans (and others from frigid climates) have stories to tell of snow-related situations they easily recall from years past.

The colors of vegetation in Fiji center around the reds and pinks as in this feathery flower.

Early this morning, awakened by the sound of the rain pounding on the tin roof, at 4:00 am I got out of bed figuring this might be a good time to download a few of our favorite shows on Graboid. Alas, there was no signal at all. The constant rain appears to have an impact on the wifi in Fiji, one we must accept as a fact of life.

Heading back to bed, I began reading the mystery novel on my phone, finally drifting off again at 6 am just about the time Tom was getting up. I managed to sleep for another hour feeling refreshed and ready for a new rainy day.

It’s not snow. It’s not cold. We’re comfortable. We’re content. And, most of all, we feel fortunate for another day to begin.

Happy day to each of you!

Photo from one year ago today, September 28, 2014:

One year ago today, we posted this video of water swishing in the pool during rough seas as we made our way across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii on the Celebrity Solstice, a ship we’ll be sailing on again in a little over three months. For more details, please click here.

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.

Cooking in the boiling waters of the Savusavu Hot Springs?…Couldn’t get there fast enough….Videos and photos…

Here’s yesterday’s video of the boiling hot springs in Savusavu, Fiji. The locals cook in these springs!

Yesterday morning when Shalote (Fijian version of Charlotte) stopped by to clean the house I asked her to tell me about her favorite place on the island.

When she described the Savusavu Hot Springs I nearly jumped for joy anxious to visit the site as soon as possible. She explained that the locals bring vegetables to cook in the boiling water of the springs, placing them into bags that can withstand the boiling water. This fascinated us!

The sign at the entrance to the Savusavu Hot Springs area.

As soon as driver Ratnesh arrived at noon to take us into town, we asked him to take us directly to the hot springs to see what this was all about. I was tempted to bring along some carrots to try our hand at cooking in the springs!

With little geological information online other than this technical PDF document posted from the Geothermal Institute at the University of Auckland, NZ, we only found a few short blurbs.

The main area of the hot springs didn’t occupy a large space. Please see the above video for more detail.

We were stymied over why so little has been written about this natural phenomenon and its unique use by residents of the village with its population near 5000. No doubt, in centuries past, locals took advantage of this ready source of cooking their root vegetables when no other resources but the fire was used in cooking.

While focusing on the uniqueness of the hot springs, a hotel was built opposite the area often attracting visitors from all over the world:

“Savusavu is famous for its hot springs located mostly opposite the Hot Springs Hotel – although at low tide you can see the steam from numerous smaller outlets all along the foreshore. In the late 19th century, these hot springs for a period of two months turned into 12 – 18 m tall geysers.”

This is a separate miniature boiling hot spring. The boiling water is hard to see in these photos.

Ratnesh, having lived on this island all of his life, didn’t hesitate when we mentioned we wanted to see the Savusavu Hot Springs. A 15-minute drive to the village with a few turns brought us directly to the designated spot, a relatively small area with the above-shown signs upon entrance to the area which was no larger than a good-sized vacant lot suitable for building a house.

We drove to what appeared to be somewhat of a residential area where the hot springs are located which is walking distance to the center of town and Savusavu Bay. A short distance from the car we followed an unpaved pebbly path to an open area where the active hot springs are located.

Obviously, there’s no bathing in these hot springs. The water is definitely boiling, literally bubbling and steaming, comparable to a roaring boil one would have in a pot on the stove. Contemplating what lies beneath the surface, we found ourselves in awe of the unusual scene.

The above video will give a clearer perspective of the boiling water from the hot springs.

Throughout our travels, we’ve seen many geysers and hot springs, especially a year ago in Iceland, known for being a “geothermal hotbed.” Driving along the mountainous roads in Iceland, there was spout after spout of steam spewing from the earth.

The fascinating aspect of this type of geothermal activity indicates a tremendous amount of geological activity below the surface. Other than the above-mentioned highly technical report we haven’t been able to find much more on this topic for the hot springs in Savusavu.

Taking the above-posted video was a concern. With the weak wifi signal to the house with the hotspot/SIM card signal slower yet, we wondered if we’d be able to upload the video on YouTube to share with our readers.  Hopefully, what we’ve posted today will be watchable to readers throughout the world. 

At the top of this hill is the Hot Springs Hotel, a popular spot for tourists.

After our time at the hot springs, Ratnesh drove us to see one of the most magnificent views we’ve ever seen which we’ll share over the next few days with many breathtaking photos (No braggadocio intended. The photo taking wasn’t created “breathtaking.” It was the scenery)!

Later, we spent a few hours in the village, taking more photos while we wandered up and down the main boulevard, also walking along what appeared to be an “esplanade” comparable to those we walked in Australia.  We investigated shop after shop looking for items could use. 

The sky cleared for a while while we were in the village. Today, it’s pouring rain again.

So far, we can’t find a metal “turner” used for flipping eggs or other foods cooking in a pan. Nor, can we find a “scraper” for scraping a bowl to remove food around the edges. Hopefully, soon the package will arrive from Australia. I think I may have included those items in the box of supplies.

Perhaps, one day over these remaining 81 days, we’ll find an appropriate bag or container and cook some vegetables in the hot springs!

Photo from one year ago today, September 15, 2014:
Our last day at sea, we arrived in Boston for a three-day stay to visit my 95-year-old uncle and a cousin. For more details, please click here.

New 89 day booking in Fiji with photos!…Who knew it was do-able?…More bookings and itinerary updates coming…

View overlooking the resort to the sea. Due to the necessity of resizing the photos on the resort’s site, these photos are a bit blurry. To see details, please click here for the Homeaway listing.

With strict 90-day visa requirements in Australia, we had to make a plan to spend more time outside o Australia. Rather than fly in and out of the continent to have a chance to start another 90 day period, we decided that living in another country in South Pacific for yet another 89 days makes the most sense. This way we can return to Australia to begin another 90-day visa. 

The veranda at our private villa, an actual separate house.

We’ll be able to purchase a one year visa online, still requiring us to stay only 90 days at a time, that will allow us to go in and out of Australia with greater ease over a period of one year. 

Another veranda view.

Long ago, we both expressed an interest in Fiji as we considered living in Australia for varying periods of time. We love island living which in most cases, provides us with close proximity to the sea and of course, the kind of views we can’t seem to resist.

When we originally looked for vacation rentals in Fiji awhile back, we were quickly frustrated by the rates and gave up. With the new booking in Australia, we had a new determination to find something wonderful at an affordable price. Once again “safari luck” kicked in and just like that, we found a fabulous resort that worked out an excellent price for us for half as much as we’d expected to pay.

The beach at the resort.

The information we’re sharing today isn’t sequential for our booking dates. Prior to living in Fiji, we’ll be living in Australia for 89 days which information we’ve yet to share here. This weekend, the owners of the Australian rental will send us their photos of their lovely property in Trinity Beach, Australia, which we’ll post the next day.

While in Belize, our first vacation rental outside of the US, we lived at the gorgeous Laru Beya resort in Placencia, loving every moment with our condo unit directly on the ocean on ground level. From the attentive staff, included cleaning and laundry twice weekly, to the infinity pool, restaurant, and bar, it was ideal. Most of all, we made wonderful friends with whom we’ve stayed in touch.

We’ll be living on the island of Vanua Levu in the village of Savusavu which is situated above the main island of Fiji, away from the bulk of the tourist hubbub on the main island of Fiji.

Beginning on September 8, 2015 (day of daughter Tammy’s birthday, day after son Greg’s) until December 6, 2015, we’ll live on an island paradise for a full 89 days, another resort on the remote island of Vanua Levu in the town of Savusavu as shown in this above map. 

Prior to booking this property, we researched transportation to the somewhat remote island.  We’ll fly from Cairns, Australia, (the closest airport to the rental in Trinity Beach, Australia) for a total of 10 hours to arrive in Vanua Levu. It’s a long flight with multiple layovers but considerably less time than many of our previous flights.

A portion of the living area.
We won’t need a car while on the island with a reliable driver (raved about in the reviews) that can easily take us anywhere we’d like to go at a reasonable rate. With the high cost for rental cars on the remote island for such an extended period, we’ll be content to request the driver for dining out, shopping, and exploring the island. 

This is an excellent scenario for us, a quiet location directly on the ocean away from the tourist hubbub and yet relatively accessible to fulfill our needs for shopping, dining out, and entertainment. This island appears to be comparable to one’s vision of “hiding away on a deserted island.”  

View from the living room.

We anticipate that staying at this resort will be comparable to those vacations in our old lives, those that we never wanted to end. With 89 days on this island, we’ll satisfy that longing, ready to head back to Australia for a short stint and then on to New Zealand. Although we haven’t pinned down the locations yet, we’re working on New Zealand now, hoping to wrap it up in the next several days.

As with any new booking, there’s a bit of trepidation as to whether the property will prove to be as it’s described on the website. Our first booking outside of the US in Belize resulted in our staying only a week when there was seldom running water and there were holes in the window screens. 

Master bedroom.

Within days of arrival, I had no less than 100 inflamed bites from the no-see-ums (sandflies), getting more and more bites each day. The lack of running water, more than the bites, motivated us to get out of there as quickly as possible. We anticipated that I’d be bitten wherever we went. 

Although, we lost the money we’d paid when the owner refused to give us a refund, once we moved to Laru Beya Resort we were in heaven. The sandflies were easily manageable by using repellent when outside at night. Luckily, we’ve been pleased with the diligent and thoughtful representation by all of the subsequent managers/landlords for the properties we rented from that point on. We didn’t necessarily love every country in which we lived but the properties were as stated in each location.
Another bedroom.
Without the necessity of making budgetary adjustments for this reasonably priced property, we’re both pleased and relieved to have this portion of our travels settled and awaiting our arrival in only one year, two months, and twelve days. When we think of it this way, it’s really not that far away. (We use an online app to calculate “dates between dates” which we need to calculate. Click here to see the free app.
Undoubtedly, there’s a risk in renting properties we’ve never seen in person. But, we’ve found that if the property is clean with a great view, with working WiFi and utilities, a comfortable bed, sofa, and dining space, and has a reasonably functional kitchen, we can get through it, bugs and all.
Steps from the lobby of the resort down to the pool.

Goodness, in South Africa, we had insects the size of one’s hand, a spitting cobra on the veranda, and scary-looking creatures flying and crawling into the house. Somehow, we managed rather well.

In many ways, adapting to a new environment every few months has made us more tolerant than either of us had ever expected.  We’ve adopted an attitude that if we can’t readily change a difficult situation, that no whining is allowed. Taking whining and complaining out of the equation greatly adds to one’s ability to adapt and to ultimately have a good experience.
                                                               ______________________Photo from one year ago, June 28, 2013:
 Many homes in the small villages in Tuscany are share a common wall (s) as was the case
in the 300 year old vacation home we rented in Boveglio, Italy for 75 days.  It was part of the grouping as shown above in this photo. For details from that day, please click here.