Sunday, 10 July 2016

ON THE ROAD SURPRISES - Part 8 - QUINTESSENTIAL FIJI

It was 5.30 in the morning. I could hear melodic singing. That I may be hallucinating after around thirty hours of travelling didn't seem too surprising. 

My husband and I traipsed wearily towards the Passport Control queue at Nadi International Airport. It was no hallucination: three men in colourful shirts were softly playing guitars and a ukulele. Their gentle harmonies soothed us like a lullaby. We smiled in wonder. I would soon learn that this was my introduction to all things quintessentially Fijian.

We flew from the international airport to Savusavu on Fiji’s second largest island. This tiny local airport consists of one landing strip for small aircraft and a little communal area for arrivals and departures.

If Fiji hadn’t already won my heart, the simplicity of the departure gate at Savusavu’s airport certainly did.




I found so much to delight me in Savusavu that I knew we had found a place where I wanted to live… at least for a time.




Paradise Handling? A courier service perhaps? No… it was a carpentry business which made tool handles to order.



A roadside canteen declared itself open 24 hours a day for travellers: I never tested that claim!









We supported the local hospital through Rotary. Fortunately, I didn't ever have occasion to use the hospital personally.







Although the decision to leave Fiji was voluntary, I left a piece of my heart behind. I have so many articles, stories and anecdotes from when I lived there, I'm currently working to turn them into a book. I'm a long way from the finish line, but I'll give a shout if I achieve my aim.


See you next week for something completely different.





22 comments:

  1. I am thinking that van is a combo tool place and tourist bus:) this is quite interesting to say the least and not sure I would want to be sick on this island. I am loving reading about your travels

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    1. Thanks, Birgit - Fiji was an amazing experience. They did their best at the hospital but if I'd ever fallen ill, I would have gone to the private clinic/hospital in the capital - or worst case scenario - an airlift to Auckland!

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  2. An excellent idea to make a book of them. It will make very good reading.

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    1. Thanks, Ros. A book about my life in Fiji seems a logical, though daunting, step to take. :)

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    2. p.s. Ros I can't find a way to your blog when I click on your name. Could you give me a link? Thanks.

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  3. My goodness you need to write some memoirs someday - they'd be fascinating :)

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    1. Yes, that's the plan. But it's hard to separate/realise what would be interesting to people from what became everyday/normal life for me. I'm currently revisiting my journals and diaries because they record my experiences when they were fresh. (If that makes any sense!)

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  4. I'd never thought of the word 'handle' as being a verb meaning 'to fit a handle (to a tool)'. But I suppose it works!

    I love the departure gate, too.

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    1. Thanks, Dan. Yes, these are just a couple of examples of the quirkiness I encountered time and again in Fiji. :)

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  5. Looks like a fun place to visit. I'd even check out the 24-hour canteen.

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  6. It's a great place to visit - the people are super-friendly and often inadvertently hilarious.

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  7. Susan we only had four days in Fiji but it will forever be a special memory. I love your photos which have captured the unusual and simple happiness. Best of luck with the book writing too!

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    1. Thanks, Sue. My aim will be to capture the charm and quirkiness of Fiji - goodness knows I have enough material! :)

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  8. Fiji has always sounded so deliciously exotic to me. I have never been there but I love day dreaming about it. Thanks for the pictures.

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    1. Me too, Kathleen - I was so excited at the prospect of exploring the possibility of living there... and when it became a reality it was more than I could ever have imagined. I'm glad you like my pics.

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  9. It's never occurred to me to drop by Fiji. I think I may have missed something. Never mind, plenty of traveling to do!

    Come stroll with me - Linky

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    1. Fiji is a relatively short hop from either New Zealand or Australia - so bear it in mind if you're ever down that way, Keith.

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  10. Love that departure gate! When we first went to Tenerife 20 years ago there were only five check-in desks, which we thought was cute! Looking forward to the book.

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    1. Thanks, Liz. Savusavu has to be my favourite airport. They don't just weigh the luggage, they weigh the passengers too (very small planes!).

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  11. Five smilies!! ;-) :D :-P :D ;-)

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  12. Making me work, AJ? I got them all except the :-P

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