Friends, Fishies and Food

Trip Start Sep 27, 2004
Trip End Sep 27, 2005

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Flag of Fiji  ,
Monday, February 21, 2005

6 haircuts
112 Fiji Bitters
135 Curries
219 Taxis
5456 renditions of "No woman no cry"
10344 greetings of "Bula!"

Living in Fiji.

Every day I try to remind myself to appreciate what is here, and not take it all for granted. Something I think I will try and continue when I return home. The newness of Fiji is fairly gone but this doesn't diminish the good time I am having here. Yes I miss home, but no I don't want to come back yet!

For the lazy people who still want to know what is going on in my life skip to the "Lazy person" section for a quick summary. The rest of you, read on...

Quite a while ago now I took a trip up the coral coast around 2 hours from Suva to a nice little backpackers, Beach House.. Highly recommended to people coming over as it is around $20 a night, clean and in a great location... It is set in quite expansive grounds with nicely manicured gardens tropical styles. Think bird of paradise, ferns and lots of other succulent plants kicking about. Again met heaps of traveler types who did nothing to dampen my itch to travel next year.. Hearing stories, especially of SE Asia have certainly whet my appetite for some serious exploring early to mid 2006. As most of you know I'm a little too hyperactive to laze on the beach too long so I amused myself with games of volleyball, table tennis and a couple of snorkel trips. We were taken by boat out to a channel in the reef where I was lucky enough to see 2 reef sharks quite closely. It's a funny feeling seeing a shark in the water, even though I know that they are quite timid, you can't help mulling over the fact that they could easily take a nice bit out of you. That said I chased after one of them for a while, but being a land creature I was no match for it, and he/she quickly hid under a coral shelf way deeper than my breath holding abilities would allow. Again saw the obligatory plethora of nuts tropical fish, and some really nice coral patches. Much of the reef around Fiji's main island is now dying off though, conjecture about pollution, warming of the water or other factors remains inconclusive, but whatever the reason it's such a shame, and I would have loved to have seen it before the degradation began. Did some general relaxing before leaving Beach House Sunday afternoon and taking a perilous mini bus ride back to Suva to start the working week again...

In desperate need for some retail therapy I recently headed up to Nadi, the tourist and to my immense joy, the clothing capital of Fiji. Special thanks to Yvette, fellow Adelaidian and partner in crime, who's shopping prowess is unrivalled. Managed to find 5 tee shirts that weren't size XXXL and a pair of pants that did not have a low crotch and high waistline. These pants have since developed weird orange fade patches after washing. How do green pants fade to orange? Is there a scientific answer to this? Anyway I will probably take to them with some sandpaper to try and make some kind of distressed look to accompany the marks. For those keen shoppers out there please do not come to Fiji expecting to find high fashion items at bargain prices. Fiji my friends is the land of the Bula shirt! Dressing up in Fiji is a pair of clean shorts and a good pair of thongs! Anyway I was reasonably happy with my purchases, and after all this is Fiji, fashion standards can slip slightly.

After a hard day's shopping I headed to Korotoga about half way between Suva and Nadi to the home of Brett and Sunny, whom I met over the New Year period on Robinson Crusoe. Brett is a Californian and the fishing champion of Fiji, having landed a stupid sized tuna in last year's big game fishing comp. Sunny is an ex-rave promoter and DJ from Sydney. They are living here at the moment setting up a new "flash-packer" resort called Mango Bay due to open next September. They have invited me and some other English friends Ben, Mark and Alex to come along on their game fishing boat. Cool! We all kick back and a have a Fiji bitter or two.. Well probably a few more really because we end up in bed (I sleep on the floor) at around 2am. Wake up call at 5am and fishing is not seeming to be such a good idea! But the early bird catches the worm. Our lines hit the water around 6am having traveled to what our Fijian captain "Polo Levu" (will let you do the translation on that one) assures us is an excellent fishing spot. We let our lines out until we feel the sinker hit the bottom about 30 meters down, where almost immediately somebody gets a bite. Nice one captain! So begins one of the most successful fishing trips I have been involved in, as we pull up Coral trout (mad bright red colour), rock cod (ugly bastards, see BBQ world champions entry), emperors, and leather jackets. We probably caught 30 nice size fish in a few hours, which was great fun especially for the poms (sorry Audrey, it's an affectionate term) who had not fished before. When I say reasonable size, I mean ranging from 30 to 45cm, which in my book is pretty damn big! There was something kind of surreal about the whole affair as it is just too easy. Isn't fishing supposed to be harder than this? I seem to have memories of sitting for whole days without catching a thing and it being about the "experience". Anyway having caught more than enough for a sizable fish Barbie we headed in and cooked them up, giving the surplus away to a nearby village. Fish is apparently a local currency between the boys and the villagers. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of the fish we caught that day as one of the other guys has promised to hook me up with the photos, but that is still in the pipeline. Fiji time.. you know what I'm saying. Sound like one of those far fetched fishing stories, with absolutely no photographic evidence? Yes well.. all I can say is I caught one this big * holds arms out*

In recent weeks I have been doing the Suva thing, DJ'ing on the weekends and working reasonably hard. Went to a little Chinese New Year do, hosted by on of the High Comm staff, which was a decidedly civilized affair. This kicked off a rather large weekend with Dindi Gill, a DJ from Melbourne who was in town. I think we were in Traps drinking with the staff 5 hours after closing time when I thought it was a good idea to head home. Oh dear! I have been searching for a scooter but have had no luck, transport in Fiji seems to be predominantly 4 wheeled, but cars are way pricey to buy.

Last weekend I went to Nadi to meet up with fellow AYAD Wei who happened to be in Fiji for a conference on disaster awareness. Thanks to Wei and her superb connections we managed to meet up with a rather senior employee of the World Bank who shouted us dinner and cocktails on the beach at the Sheridan in Nadi. The following day we headed down to a little beach in Natadola, which is one of the only beach breaks in Fiji (most reef breaks out to sea). It is situated around 45 minutes out of Nadi and 10 minutes down an incredibly bumpy dirt track. We had the beach almost to ourselves with only a few locals and stray tourists spoiling the illusion of isolation. With a large new resort about to be built things will not be like this forever, so I felt lucky to be enjoying it while it still retained some element of exclusivity. After a wicked day on the beach it was time to head home on the bus, which got a flat tire and we ended up taking 4 hours to get back to Suva L. I'm seriously looking into getting a helicopter!

I am also excited about becoming a time traveler. No I have not met up with Dr Who and the tardis in Fiji... Somehow I can't quite see Tom Baker in a bula shirt at sulu! some of you may have figured out, my trip to Samoa will take me across the international date line, meaning that I leave Fiji 7pm Tuesday and Arrive Samoa 9pm Monday.. No tardises, delorians in sight, just the wonders of time zones! Just a shame I lose the day on the way back L. A mate (Evan) recently left for Samoa on Sunday evening Fiji time to arrive Saturday evening Samoa time. Over a few cold Fiji Bitters this interesting development led us to hatch a plan of following the Saturday nights around the world, a plan evilly thwarted by the fact that there is only ONE International Date Line. Some serious lobbying would have to be done before our ill conceived fantasy became a reality..


The following is a summary of events for those who cannot be bothered with the entire entry.

I am currently well in mind and body, enjoying a life of curries the occasional amber ale and whatever's in between. Eating coconuts from my tree and making sensational smoothies with freshly picked paw paw. Work is going well and am finding things going increasingly well with my major project getting underway. Recently traveled up the coral coast to Beach house, a great little chilled backpackers where I mellowed out, snorkeled and chatted to various backpacker types. Highlight for me was seeing 2 small and thankfully friendly reef sharks, while snorkeling. On another weekend jaunt I went fishing with some cool guys who have a game fishing boat and caught all manner of wicked fish of varying sizes, colors and ugliness. Looking forward to traveling to Samoa in April and getting visits from various peoples June and July. Miss you all muchly. The End

That's all from me... Have a responsible day and spare a thought for poor old Morgs stuck out in the tropics with only a bottle of gin and good supply of tonic water keeping him civilized!
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