The Hidden Paradise

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November 26th 2009
Published: November 26th 2009
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Savusavu is known as the "Hidden Paradise". The weather has been dry and sunny, however the trades continue to blow. Week three is shaping up to be similar to the prior two weeks. I feel that I am a total slug and am on Fiji Time.

Monday, November 16 - I'm half way through the month and am now 1/2 way into my 5th book, a novel about the early life of Genghis Khan. I've already listened to this book on audio books, but have decided to read it after my recent visit to China... Wendy, thanks for letting me take those books from your give-away-box.

Sisi comes today and cleans house. It's so nice to have ironed T shirts. I call a taxi and head into town where I meet a Fijian friend called Tuki (The hammer). We have lunch together and I am invited to his daughter's wedding about 40k up the coast. I am to come up on the following Tuesday for the Wednesday wedding, which means I have to stay several nights. Now, this is going to be quite an exercise and an experience that most of us don't get or maybe want. I definitely
Andrea in Maintenance ModeAndrea in Maintenance ModeAndrea in Maintenance Mode

Replacing vessi (hard-wood struts) on the walk-way down to the house.
need a mattress, mosquito net, my best pair of sandals, shorts, and a bula shirt. I suppose I should also take my dive tanks just in case I stay several days and manage to get a dive in. I run into my friend Malcolm and his wife Filo and mention that I am heading to Tuki's next week, he kindly offers to take me up. Thank goodness for that as I didn't know how I would get all of my stuff onto the local bus.

Tuesday, November 17 - Raining in the am. I'm sitting around writing my blog and listening to a bunch of old blues artists do Rolling Stones numbers "Paint it Blue". We need a little rain as it hasn't rained in the past week and the red dust from the road that skirts the bottom of our property is making its way to the house and coating everything. You would think that sitting in the middle of 5 1/2 acres the dust wouldn't make it to the house, but not so. The tar-seal was getting close before the final coup in 2006, but work on tar-sealing the road to Nukubalavu village stopped and has
Cow on the LawnCow on the LawnCow on the Lawn

This is a pretty good sized calf!!
yet to be re-started.

I'm picked up by Hazmat and Mahesh at 12:30 as they do a delivery of prawns to Namale Resort (Owned by Tony Robbins - Motivational Guy - World famous in America), so I accompany them, but don't get to see much of the resort. Visitors are not welcome.....

I hole up at the Blue Water Cafe for the afternoon and drink a few beers and sit around eating fresh fish deep fried with the inevitable hint of curry. I leave Blue Water fat and happy, do a quick stop at the yacht club before heading home. No dinner is needed.

Wednesday, November 18 - My wood is delivered at 8:00am to start re-building steps and replacing vessi struts on the walk way. It's off to town to pick-up nails and a 8ft piece of H3 Treated Pine 4 X 2. Yes, maintenance is now in officially in full swing.

I'm invited to dinner at the Blue Water Cafe and arrive around 7:20. Fresh Fish, Prawns, Lobster Curry and Rooster Curry are on the menu. It's fun evening and I arrive home at around 10:30.

Thursday,November 19 - Maintenance continues at the
Beach Clean-Up KidsBeach Clean-Up KidsBeach Clean-Up Kids

These are some of the kids that participate in the clean-up of Rava Beach.
house. There's a cruise boat in the bay and town will be filled with tourists. Unfortunately, there are only 2 more tourist boats coming to Savusavu and then they will stop. It seems that costs have escalated and the Cruise Companies have taken Savusavu off their itinerary. This is going to be a major setback for the locals as the tourist boats have been been stimulating the local economy. All the Fijian ladies have set-up stalls on the main street and are selling all kinds of trinkets and Fijian souvenirs.

I again descend on Mike for a wee dram at 4:30, I end up staying for dinner and some spirited conversation. Unfortunately, I didn't take a torch with me and it is pitch black as I shuffle my way home.

Friday, November 20 - I am sitting on the deck having my daily breakfast of papaya when all of a sudden a almost full grown calf runs across the lawn dragging a rope behind it. Now, I can hear it's mother bellowing next to Rava Settlement. So I decide that I chase it down and tie it to coconut tree until Andrea arrives.The first thing that Andrea spies
We're Just StartingWe're Just StartingWe're Just Starting

They are thinking of that BBQ.
when he comes on property is the calf, so he unties it and has the dogs chase it down the hill.

Later I'm off into town to purchase more wood and buy sausages, bread and tomato sauce for my beach clean-up BBQ for the Rava Kids. Rava is the settlement for the Hazelman families, these are descendants from an old planter family that used to have a big coconut plantation in this area. You have to be a male Hazelman or be married to one to live there. Rava contains around 12-15 houses.

After buying all my stuff I stop in the yacht club for Friday night drinks. Not a bad turnout and the place is quite lively.

Saturday, November 21 - It's 7:30 am, I'm sitting on the veranda having my coffee and papaya breakfast when I see a 7 or 8 young children from Rava up early and ready to start the clean-up and BBQ. I chase them away and tell them that 10:00 am is the start time. They hang out at the end of the property until 10:00am. I try to have the beach clean-up whenever I come to Fiji. Hopefully, they will think twice about throwing plastic bags, bottles and cans on the beach as they grow up.

I head to the beach with Raja the dog and end up with about 12 kids who I cajole into picking up every piece of rubbish that we can see. The attention span is not too long but we manage a 1 1/2 hours of clean-up. Then it is up to the house for a sausage BBQ and juice. Sisi and her cousin have come along to help me and overall I think it is a success.

While the BBQ is underway. my Indian carpenter replaces the steps at Sailosi's cottage (Sailosi is my old caretaker, who still lives on property).

Sunday, November 22 - BBQ at Neal French's. Neal is a Kiwi that moved to Fiji about 6 years ago. It turns out, when I first moved to New Zealand with Wisia, my first wife, we lived next to his Uncle Jack in Stillwater (North of Auckland). My main memory of Uncle Jack was that he threatened to drown my cat if I didn't get him fixed....

My carpenter is back and replaces the steps that lead from the
After the Clean-UpAfter the Clean-UpAfter the Clean-Up

Sisi forefront came along with her cousin to help with the BBQ.
veranda to the lawn at the main house.

Monday, November 23 - I'm in town to buy a couple of wedding presents and run into my friend Hazmat. He informs me that one of the Indian boys, Smiley, has caught a 37kg yellowfin tuna and Hazmat has purchased it for Namale Resort (he supplies fish to Namale). We pick-up the tuna, however when a couple of his friends appear with bottles of Fiji bitter, I respectfully bow out, 10:30 am is a little bit too early to have a beer.

I head home, make a chille con carne for dinner and take it over to share with my neighbor, Mike.

Tuesday, November 24 - I've got all of my bedding together along with an overnight bag, all ready for the big expedition. The phone rings at around 9:30 and it's Tuki letting me know that the wedding is postponed for a day (preacher problems). Malcolm and his wife Filo, are already on their way to pick me up and take me up the coast, so we head into town and have curry lunch at a little Indian Restaurant. This is a great place to people watch and
Bang A DrumBang A DrumBang A Drum

On the veranda after the clean-up.
shoot the proverbial with a several of the ex-pats as they pass by. We head back to Vatuseta and spend the afternoon listening to music on the veranda until 5:00 pm; then its a couple of rum smoothies and a fish BBQ.

Wednesday, November 25 - The phone rings at 8:30 and it's Tuki again, oops, the preacher still has conflicts and the wedding is now set for Saturday. I tell Tuki that we will come up today and drop of the wedding present as I have dinner arrangements for Friday evening with Robin Irwin. If I can make it up on Saturday then good-oh, else I'll have to wait until his other daughter gets married. It's Fiji..... the best laid plans of mice and men.....

Anyway, Malcolm arrives and we head up the coast to Salt Lake. This is the home of the Lanyan's. Tuki's Great Great Grandfather was from Liverpool and the story goes that Edward Cook Lanyan was part of captain Cooks voyage to the South Pacific. Tuki (The Hammer) is out in the lagoon fishing for the up-coming wedding and myself and Malcolm also join him for a quick troll. We are again invited
Filo, Desmond and MyselfFilo, Desmond and MyselfFilo, Desmond and Myself

On the hill over-looking the lagoon.
to the wedding which is now definitely on for Saturday.

On the way back down to Savusavu we stop at a little campground for a beer. This is run by an American called Jim who also spends an eight hour shift on the end of a phone line supporting Computer Networks in the US. He earns around $8.00 US per hour, this gives him a hi-tech job under a palm tree!!!

Back home and I hit the rack at 7:30 to finish off the Stieg Larsonn book "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo". A jolly good read....

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


The Three MusketeersThe Three Musketeers
The Three Musketeers

Malcolm, Tuki and Yours Truly
Tuki "The Hammer"Tuki "The Hammer"
Tuki "The Hammer"

The lagoon is around 40 ft deep in some places.
Jim at "The Help Desk"Jim at "The Help Desk"
Jim at "The Help Desk"

Jim supports computer networks in the USA from his property on the road to Buca Bay
The Lanyan HomesteadThe Lanyan Homestead
The Lanyan Homestead

Tuki's wife and kids on the porch.

Pontificating over a Fiji Bitter.
The Road To Nukubalavu VillageThe Road To Nukubalavu Village
The Road To Nukubalavu Village

Looking down the road towards Nukubalavu Village. We were due to be tar-sealed, but it stopped about 100 meters short when the 2006 Coup happened.

26th November 2009

Blog on
Great stuff Pyno, it looks like you're having a laid back time. A small complaint, however. Why have you not sent (or have I missed it?) a picture of the house? We have the lawn, the verandah etc, but no house shot, or views (if there are any....) Be a good lad, and satisfy my whim, before you return to NZ (when is that, early December, I think....) Cheers, Mad Mitch
16th March 2011
The Road To Nukubalavu Village

People of nukubalavu still waiting for the road to be tar-sealed. But we need help for this situation.

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