Saturday, May 05, 2007

Our Adventous Fijian Holiday

More of Our Adventurious Fijian Holiday.

From Namuka Bay to Sigatoka and back to Nadi.

Oh the joy when we heard the throaty roar of the Carriers engine struggling along the track.
In drove the Carrier with the Priest in the front seat, he leaned out the window with a big smile, and said ‘surely you didn’t think I would forget you, did you!’ We all just laughed with relief then booked the Carrier to return the next morning for our fellow guests, shared big hugs all around and were off in back Cuvu. I will admit I looked back over my shoulder and thought; it was so nice here, we have excellent memories, it’s a pity we didn’t have an extra day, but it wouldn’t have been pleasant continuing to deal with Ari!

Sunsetting Namuka Bay
Looking back at the outdoor dining room area, Namuka Bay Lagoons hotel.
We both enjoyed having a chat with the driver and the priest; both said that Ari was well known around Cuvu as trouble! As we drove we talked of the political Coups that had plagued Fiji of late, every road we had travelled on had a Police Road block about every 20 km with road spikes that you had to drive very slowly through, we were never stopped but others were, and the Police had a good chance to get a good look at you as you past by. We never felt in any danger at all, but we did as advised and kept well away from Suva the centre of most of the trouble. The coup was definitely keeping tourist away and making things very hard for local traders and business houses of all kinds; ruining the economy.
We dropped the Priest at his Priestly house – manse, rectory or convent? Not sure what you call it. We were effusive with our thanks, and blessed him with all our thoughts for remembering us and also for helping the other 4 the next day, and we know he blessed us too.

Very beautiful red Frangipani flowers.
We asked the Carrier driver to take us on to Sigatoka, about 24 km away to find some nice place to stay for the next two nights.
(For all the taxi Drivers reading this; we were charged Fijian villagers prices not tourists prices, $8 for both trips to Namuka Bay even over those terrible roads, but we paid him $10, and he asked another $8 to go to 24 km to Sigatoka town we also paid him $10 because our taxi instinct told us he was charging far too little. None of the taxis use a meter or have an RT they get there jobs via a personal cell phone call or by hails from the street or hotels.)
The local Tourist Information centre once again helped us find a reasonably good hotel at prices we wanted to pay, made easier because of the coup; not many tourists were in the country.
We found ourselves at Casablanca Hotel on the Coral Coast, right on the beach again, such luck we have had in getting such good placements, it is some distances from the town but that didn’t matter as taxis are so cheap!
The Casablanca and the veiw from our balcony.
Once again we were out on the beach in our swimsuits swimming in the warm waters, but the coral and the fish were not nearly as good as at Namuka Bay so we headed back to the big swimming pool at the hotel.
The Carrier driver had told us of an Eco Wild life Park not far up the road at the Outrigger-on-Lagoon Resort, he said as we were white we would have no trouble just wandering in from the beach to visit the Park, so ofcause we were on for that! This is a carvrd totam pole in the forest at the Eco park.
The walk was very pleasant - if rather hot and muggy, but it wasn’t too far. An employee of the Outrigger-on-Lagoon quickly met us and offered to accompany us to the Park, a gesture of helpfulness accorded to all the guests rather than a suspicious what are you doing here one. Unfortunately as soon as we arrived it started to rain and the electric power went off (do we have this effect on things?) Didn’t stop us walking right through the park enjoying all the exhibitions of birds and reptiles along with the flora, the whole park was beautifully managed, nice and clean and the animals all looked healthy. As we were leaving the attendants came and offered for us to feed the giant Turtles, hungry old things! Then, because we had missed some stuff because of the power cut they decided to give us a little extra. A 2foot long giant Green Iguana was suddenly put into my hands! I nearly dropped it! Then before I could say that’s enough 2 more,
smaller green iguanas arrived on my shoulder and other hand; Erle quickly took photos of this event. They didn’t actually feel unpleasant or bite me but I would rather not hold Iguanas too often! Me holding 3 iguanas rather gingerly!
We were so wet by time we walked back to our hotel we just had another swim, easy really!
Next morning, we decided to try going into Sigatoka for a traditional Indian breakfast of Roti that we always eat while in Malaysia, jumped into a taxi and although he was kind of doubtful of us finding any roti in Sigatoka he took us to the local Curry House – who didn’t have any idea what we were talking about, all they could offer us was chapattis. So instead we made up a breakfast from the small takeaway stand, potato fritters small sausages and curried veggie balls! A strange and unusual breakfast but ok for once.
We believe; when in Rome do as the Roman’s do. During this holiday we have drunk the local water everywhere and eaten the local food, both Fijian and Indian drunk the Kava in two places, and have not once felt sick in any way. Not that I advise anyone else to do so, we do this with caution and years of travelling knowledge and strong stomachs! We heard there was typhoid raging in the North of the Island, just where we had been, people dropping like flies or at least two or three people, but it didn’t effect us. In Fiji it was said the typhoid was caught from badly prepared Kava, all we drank was very well and safely prepared.
Our next place to visit was the big local market, to buy lots of tropical fruit to last us for the remaining days in Fiji, bananas, pineapple, and pawpaws. Then ladies selling jewellery and trinkets surrounded us, all wishing to sell us heaps of stuff. Actually we thought why not get some wee things for the grandchildren, so we did buy a number of cheapish odds and ends that they will like, I hope.
Then we tried to buy some local loose tobacco, that Erle’s daughter, a smoker, would like. This turned into a real mission, what else would it be when we are involved? We asked in 3 different types of shop all said, they didn’t sell that stuff and directed us back to the back part of the local market where we had not been to previously. When we got to the tobacco seller, he flourished his machete and whipped off a cloth cover from this 2foot square heap of something black & sticky with a tarry substance oozing from it and rather nasty smell. We backed away from this mucky stuff; I think it might have been chewing tobacco; you could never have lit this and smoked it. We have watched the natives roll their cigarettes using a large local leaf as the paper and some other crumbly leaf as the tobacco; sometimes these cigarettes are more than a foot long! As we don’t see Leigh, Erle’s daughter chewing tobacco or smoking foot long leaves, we kept on looking, and finally found some local tobacco at very cheap price of $2.20 a packet, she said should of got more!

Carved totem poles along the shoreline of the Coral Coast
We had the last day at the Casablanca to just laze around reading and swimming, nothing strange or unusual happened, in the morning we caught a shuttle bus back to Nadi, the driver agreed to take us right to Traveller’s Beach Hotel at no extra cost. We booked in for the last night mainly because it’s quite close to the airport, quite cheap and comfortable besides being right on the beach. The only thing of note on our last night was the fact that as we sat out on the beach drinking cocktails that I had to point to when I ordered them; just how do you order Sex-on-the-beach cocktail out loud! Yummy though. Mosquitos had a field day nibbling out feet as we drank and ate and watched the sun setting for the last time. Traveller's Beach, one of the horses available to ride.
And below the veiw from the other directionTravellers Beach Newtown.
Fare well Fiji, we have enjoyed out time here, adventurous as it was, we will most likely return, but not for a few years, lots of other good places needing to be explored around the world. Now let us get at the Duty-free shops to buy as always our entire years supply of alcohol to take home.

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