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Published: March 6th 2018
Today the old man is planning a boat trip to swim in the reef with sharks. I’ve seen Jaws. I’ve also seen how brown the rivers that run into the ocean around here are. Of course, it may be mud, but I’m not convinced. I have no desire to swim with sharks or anything else that begins with sh so I will settle for sitting by the pool with a book.
First I go for a run. I’m not looking forward to it. The climate and terrain will make it tough. There are also a lot of men wandering round brandishing machetes. I suspect they’re harvesting coconuts but I’ve been to the Fiji Museum and seen what they used to do with Methodists and it involves a large pot and some salt and pepper. It won’t be a long run – I remember going to aerobics in Nigeria – once I have sweated off the insect repellent, I will be eaten alive, if not by cannibals them by mosquitoes.
I start by running along the beach but soon decide that running on sand is too much effort and opt instead for the track out of the valley. It’s steep
and try as I might, my Strava (which is set on autopause) pauses as it decides I am no longer running. It has a point. Once at the top, I manage a reasonable 3 mile run. I also get rewarded with a stunning view back over the bay. The noise from the rainforest is carried on the ocean breeze - a cacophony of insects and birds singing.
The old man cannot take his boat trip. They require a minimum of 4 passengers; as there are only 7 guests at the hotel, I don’t fancy his chances. We opt for a walk along the beach instead but it’s high tide so there is no beach. On what little beach remains, there are a group of men slaughtering a pig.
We decide to drive to Pacific Harbour, a village 20 miles away which has a cluster of shops and restaurants around a lake festooned with water lilies. We have lunch at the Water’s Edge, which is indeed on the edge of the water with a lovely view of the lake. Most people are eating pizza, but my guide book says the restaurant is Indian owned so we choose the curry
which comes with rice, tamarind chutney, popadom, chapatti and dhal and is stonkingly good. The old man has fish curry, I opt for vegetable; the pig slaughter is still playing on my mind.
Then a wander round the remaining complex and a shop for provisions before driving back through the obligatory afternoon rainstorm.
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