Island Fever

Trip Start Jan 10, 2005
Trip End May 10, 2005

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Flag of Fiji  ,
Tuesday, May 10, 2005

On our fourth day here, we moved on to Nananu-ir-a Island for a few days. The last time I was on one of the smaller islands here (Beachcomber Island), Heather and I got caught in a cyclone. Cyclone Cyril, 1984. Not much you can do on a small island in a storm!

Nananu is a larger island located on north side of the main island. The day we headed out was National Youth Day, a national holiday. Since many of the shops were to close at noon, the van driver stopped several times en route to purchase items for Nananu Resort where we were staying. When we arrived at the wharf, they were unloading the boat, then loaded it with the supplies we had brought with us. Virtually everything has to be purchased and taken by boat to the island.

The first night on the island wasn't a very pleasant one. We should have known when the boat driver said to us, "I hope you have your shots". At the time, I thought he was kidding, but now I realize he probably wasn't. No cyclone this time, but the facilities were less than comfortable. It was mainly a party place for younger travellers who didn't care about what kind of bed they slept in (or maybe they just didn't even go to sleep). We ended up in room in a ramshackle cabin and shared the kitchen (if you could call it that) and the toilet/shower with several others. The kitchen was disgusting and sorely lacked for utensils, etc. (we could only find one cup and a couple of plastic knives). I was very hesitant to go to bed that night as I knew it wouldn't be very comfortable and it lived up to my expectations (neck-breaking pillow and back-breaking bed - you could feel all the bed slats under the thin foam mattress). Those people staying in the dorms appeared to be staying in cramped, squalid quarters and the main kitchen was filthy.

We did enjoy meeting some other "older" folks who, for some reason had ended up at Nananu Lodge: Marie, a social worker from Germany, who was travelling for a year and had four months to go; and Lib (Libby) and Trev (Trevor), a couple form Adelaide, Australia, who also lived part-time on a farm in Victoria. We had lots of chuckles about the facilities. (We found out that the New Zealand couple who ran the place were only leasing it; hence, they were trying to milk it for all it was worth without putting any money into it. Martin described it as "greed in action".)

So, needless to say, we didn't stay the three days we planned, but forfeited our deposit and got dropped off at another resort called MacDonald's, owned by Maxine MacDonald, a Fijian woman. It was much more to our liking - quiet and clean, with a pretty little deck surrounded by hibiscus, sweet-scented frangipani and crotons. Not a five-star by any stretch of the imagination, but quite fine by us! We just hung out - read books, played cards, went for short walks, watched the pretty little green birds with the red heads search for bugs in the wet grass and fed the fish at the end of the pier. It was very peaceful listening to the birds chirping in the trees and the sound of rustling leaves at night (which is much louder than at home because the leaves are so much larger!). It rained a fair bit, but neither of us cared.

Today is our last day in Fiji and we head for the airport tonight. We took a public "express" bus back to Nadi (express here means that they don't stop at the side of the road to pick anyone up, but they still stop at every town along the way!). It was hot and stuffy; passengers piled on and piled off at each stop. The bus had a TV and we watched a couple of movies en route - real classics - some movie with Matthew Broderick fends off Godzilla and a cheerleader flick. (Pirated - so didn't even get to see the ending of the first movie.) It was quite a fitting way to end our trip, but we were glad when we finally arrived at Nadi some three hours later.
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