Edit Blog Post
Published: November 10th 2009
Hindu templeFriends, I always enjoy your comments and read them all; even if I don't reply please keep them coming. Monday, Nov. 4, 2009
Really colorful ceiling paintings.
- I have been traveling pretty solid since the beginning of August and after 3 1/2 weeks at home in Russell I am off to Fiji for my annual visit. Caroline has just returned from a trip to the US and again we pass like ships in the night. I leave Auckland on Monday evening and arrive three hours later in Nadi (pronounced Nandi). On deplaning, my expectation is to hit a wall of heat and humidity, but much to my surprise it is almost chilly with no humidity. Immigration is a breeze and I am soon picking up my bag and a cardboard container ready for Xray. As soon as the customs person sees cardboard I am directed to the red channel and quickly explain that I have a painting, prints and a photograph in the cardboard container. Fortunately, I don't have to open it. For some reason, Fijian Custom Officials seem to fixate on cardboard boxes and I have had several incidents where I have just had to open-up to show what harmless household item
I am bringing in. Anyway, I am officially in Fiji.
I have decided to spend 2 nights in Nadi at the Club Fiji Resort, a great deal for a middle of the line budget traveler. clean accommodation, good meals, friendly staff and it's right on the beach. How good is that? Now, why am I staying in Nadi you may ask? I haven't stopped in Nadi for around 7 years and want to check out the local handicraft market for more house stuff!!! I love bargaining, even though I might be ambivalent about what I am bargaining for. I end up with a nice hardwood Fijian War club and other stuff. But, other-stuff is for another story.....
While in Nadi I take a tour of the Hindu Temple with a very nice Indian chap that I shall call Red. Anyway, Red spends a 1/2 hour showing me around and then we sit and have a general BS session. It turns out that Red had at one time spent 20 years in California, but was asked to leave after he was stopped and found to have a little "Green" and a bottle of wine in the car. On digging
Ameica's Most Wanted
Red is alive and well and living in Nadi Town
deeper, he also admits to having supplied a little LSD and ecstasy. Fact or fiction, who knows!!! America, he's in Nadi town!!
As I walk around town I find that it hasn't changed over the years, however I am struck by the lack of tourists that are in the shops. Is this because of recession, time of year, or something else, who knows!! On a positive note, there is a lively session in the bar at Club Fiji on Tuesday evening. Then it is off to bed for an early rise for the flight to Savusavu. Wednesday, Nov. 6
- The Savusavu flight is not full and consists of German tourists heading to Namale for the "Oneness" experience. It is the first flight that has been able to get into Savusavu for 2 days, so I consider myself lucky and expect a bumpy ride. Not so, but it is cloudy and the rain is consistent. 50 minutes later the twin Otter dips out of the clouds and the Savusavu runway is visible. We streak in and hit the tarmac at what seems to be faster than normal pace, the pilot puts on the brakes and veers in to
Skinny Boy at the Hindu Temple
park in front of the small structure that is the Savusavu air terminal.
Home, sweet home, I don't see Andrea (our caretaker), but do spy JJ the owner of Daku Resort. We talk about JJ for 10 minutes and then I get a taxi to "Vatuseta". All taxis are now metered and it costs me the princely sum of FJD $2.40. Andrea and his daughter Sisi are waiting for me; we sit on the veranda and I take in the gardens, the rustle of wind in the coconut trees and the sea pounding on the reef. It's time for coffee and I catch-up on Andrea's family before heading into Savusavu for lunch with JJ and to buy provisons. My first day is low-key, but already I find that the fridge in the big house affectionately referred to as "Hale Mama" is not working and that I am storing my foodstuffs in the guest cottage "Hoi Poloi" fridge. It's a good job that I don't have any renters in the cottage. Friday, Nov. 8
- Now, stuff just breaks in Fiji and the trick is to stay cool and expect that there will be things that are broken when
I arrive. I make a "broken list" and prioritize what needs fixing, it is part of the "charm" of the place and after all "Fiji Time" is a state of mind. However, being without a fridge is a "biggie", so I start hassling the boys that are supposed to be fixing it. It seems, it was fixed, but lasted 2 weeks before reverting to brokeness. For the past three days I have experienced "we've got it", "we aint got it" and even the loner managed to get broken while they were bringing it to me. The result is still no fridge and it is Friday evening. I constantly remind myself that I must remain calm!!
Because the fridge is immediately tripping the circuit breaker Andrea organized an electrician to check the wiring in "Hale Mama" and also fix the washing machine at the cottage. We're moving through the "broken list" quite quickly, I even manage to get one of the stereos fixed and have music, so only one more stereo to get repaired as well as 3 brush-cutters and a replacement fan. Again, I remind myself that it is part of the Fiji experience..... Sat/Sun, Nov. 9-10
The weather is warm, cloudy with sunny patches and there is a constant 15 knot breeze (sounds like a Russell Radio forecast). I find this a little strange for this time of year as it is normally very sunny, still and 30c. This is the start of the hurricane season. I have been coming in November/December for the past 6 years and the weather has always been spectacular. It's Saturday and I'm sitting on the veranda, listening to music, eating fruit and reading (I've been here less than week and have read two books). The pineapples are prolific, however there are very few mangoes this year. Things to do with pineapples
- make rum smoothies.
Remove skin, core 1 pineapple, 6 ice cubes, 1 cup coconut milk
Add the white of one coconut, squeeze in 1 lime - blend well....
Pour healthy ration of rum, add pineapple mixture from blender and drink slowly (not too many)
On Sunday morning, I get a call from my good friend Robin Irwin, Englishman and local entrepreneur. We spend the morning drinking coffee and talking with yachties, one of which just had his boat sunk off Tonga after
Mr. Robin Irwin Esq.
Just how did this Devon boy end up in Savusavu?
hitting something. He reckons that it must have been a cargo container as they had already hit a whale earlier in the trip and it just wasn't the same bump. Fortunately for the family,it was a fine day they were under power and traveling in tandem with another boat. The sea was calm and the other boat was almost in hailing distance, so they were rescued immediately. Lucky people!!
People are all so welcoming and over the past week I have been welcomed back by many of the locals. The Fijian and Indian population are the reason why I enjoy Fiji so much.
Next week, I might actually do something.....
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