Wow!..Six days and counting…Four months have already passed?…Now, switching gears and countries…

We’d been warned against purchasing locally caught fish when its often caught close to the shore where bacteria is heavy in the waters from sewage disposal.  As a result, we never purchased any fish during the past four months.  I’m looking forward to cooking fish once we arrive in New Zealand.

It seems like yesterday we arrived in Fiji.  By our perception, four months in Fiji passed in the blink of an eye.  When we mention we’ll be in the US in less than 17 months, having fulfilled our goals for seeing many areas of the South Pacific it sounds far away. To us, it will transpire in no time at all.

All we have to do is look back 17 months ago to recall how quickly time has passed when we spent two weeks in Paris and then two more weeks in London.  Those memories are forefront in our minds, as if it was only a few months ago.

Dried leaves used for weaving rugs and other items.

It seems as if once we embarked on this journey time seemed to fly more quickly.  In our old lives when we took an occasional vacation (few, due to my then poor health), the days passed so quickly that all of a sudden it was Wednesday, the middle of a one week trip.  

As hard as one may attempt to live in the moment and enjoy each remaining day of a “vacation” the looming departure date is hard to ignore.  Most travelers have experienced that sensation while on vacation/holiday, especially when having a fabulous time.

Pineapple is a commonly grown fruit in Fiji, often available for the taking in many areas.  In the farmers market, they sell to visitors, not many locals.

In our lifestyle of perpetual travel we seldom feel a sense of dread in leaving a country (although I struggled leaving South Africa).  We don’t experience angst in anticipation of leaving, only a bit of discomfort over lengthy travel days where flying and waiting time exceeds eight or ten hours. 

Anything less, is a breeze.  These days, we don’t think about packing until one or two days before departure although I may start folding and organizing three of four days earlier always in an attempt to lighten the load for upcoming flights.

Pineapple leaves stripped from the pineapples are used for weaving and decorations.

Flying from Fiji’s Nausori Airport in Suva next Monday will definitely result in paying excess baggage fees.  With our luggage containing everything we own each bag is heavier than normally allowed.  Most airlines allow one checked bag each.  We have an extra third bag containing supplies, shoes, toiletries and first aid.

Each airline has its own varying weight restrictions and we’ve found we’ve paid more on multiple flights in this part of the world than in many others.

Unquestionably, our dislike of flying and its associated commotion, delays, tight quarters and baggage fees has been instrumental in our preferring cruising to flying whenever possible.  Cruising doesn’t include baggage fees, includes housing and meals and is an easy way to travel to many parts of the world in one fell swoop. 

Rows upon rows of pineapples for sale for one third the cost as in Hawaii.

After 11 cruises in the past three years, we’ve learned to avoid crowds and long queues associated with hundreds of people trying to gain access to tourist venues and getting on and off cruise-arranged buses.  We prefer to be included in small groups tours arranged by people Tom meets on the CruiseCritic website who are looking for participants in six or eight person charters. 

While on the ship, we tend to be observers of various activities rather than participants, organize meal and pool times when the crowds are lighter, instead spending time in small groups with people we meet.

The kid’s face is priceless as he checks out the big slices of locally grown watermelon at the farmers market in Suva.  Hope his dad made a purchase.

Of course, we’ll spend the better part of each morning preparing the day’s post, often sitting in a spot where we can easily chat with those around us, making the process all the more entertaining.

Need I say, we’re looking forward to being aboard the cruise a week from today.  No doubt, if available, Tom will participate in the daily “Shed,” an Australian inspired “men only” get together where they discuss “guy things.”  In some countries this gender specific gathering may be frowned upon as “sexist.”  But, in Australia, not the case.  Women are not welcomed and no one seems to care.

I’m thrilled when he’s has the opportunity for these two hours without me able to interact with other guys.  He says he enjoys it not as a means of being away from me for a few hours but for the camaraderie. How sweet, he is! Regardless of the reasons, I always find others to chat with in his absence, often other women who’s partner is also attending the “Shed.”

We stopped at a meat market in Suva but didn’t make a purchase when we had the long drive back to Pacific Harbour and had yet to grocery shop.

Today, we’re off to the Arts Village for a few final groceries to fill in the blanks for our remaining six meals, five of which we plan to have at home.  With careful planning, as always, we’ll be leaving behind only a few condiments and spices.

The sun is trying to peek out of an almost entirely cloud covered sky.  Whether today will be day 12 of rain is yet to be seen.  The hanging clothes from laundry of three days ago hasn’t fully dried.  The cool weather of New Zealand, where we’ll arrive on January 19th after the cruise, sounds rather appealing at this point.

Have a fabulous day as this holiday season winds down.


Photo from one year ago today, December 29, 2014:

A whale’s back, spotted yesterday.  I took this whale photo from the lanai at one of the rental houses on the Big Island.  On this day, one year ago, family began leaving the islands to head back to the mainland.  At this point, we had no idea when we’d see everyone again but now its on the itinerary as mentioned above.  For more photos, please click here.

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