We’ve had a relaxing few days. We’ve done nothing. Zilch. Nada. Well, the bare minimum, anyway.
Wednesday was a day at the beach. The overnight rainstorm was loud on the old tin roof of the bure, but it was nice and warm and dry inside.
We sat on the beach, went for a dip in a warm Pacific Ocean, greeted the few passers-by and generally soaked up the Sun.
The wind blew an old plastic Coke bottle along the beach, and we thought about chasing it and binning it… nah… But it’s the thought that counts. Taking it easy.
The toilets and showers were locked up: it’s not the busy touristy season which is why we had the beach to ourselves. The newly purchased beach blanket and towels were tested to the limit. As was the SPF 30 sunblock.
I went for a nice Fijian massage. I wasn’t expecting two ladies, one at each end, but it was a very nice, relaxing experience. One picked up the tightness in my feet from all the walking. The other found the knots and tightness in my neck and shoulders. (Hey Dawn, you’re still my number one choice for a massage but if there were two of you…)
Thursday again began with a thunderstorm. The rain continued all morning, on and off, the poor little birdie outside looked a bit sorry for himself. He could have taken shelter, yes, but I think he enjoyed me imitating him mimicking the other birds.
We did walk down to the shops for a coffee, I did some things online that required a better signal than we can get at home. Liesel read her book, I wandered round, sent postcards to a couple of people who aren’t online and who don’t have to put up with this drivel. Laid back, yes, but not totally idle. We bought a bag of tortilla chips that turned out to be stale, even though well within the best before date. Such a to-do.
Nudity is frowned upon in Fiji, apparently, and on most south Pacific islands, but don’t worry, I was let off with a caution.
We have to admire people who are working in these conditions. I’m just typing but my fingers are soaking up the humidity like a sponge: anyone would thing I’ve been in the bath too long with wrinkled old fingers like this. It’s certainly confused the phone’s biometric fingerprint scanner.
The young lady that cooked our samosas in a hot kitchen is a hero. Heroine. She’s a star.
Liesel and I both have good books on the go at the moment, we still haven’t felt the need to turn the TV on, and I have a huge backlog of radio programmes to listen to. We’re still waiting for the UK Government to collapse and/or Brexit to be cancelled but that reality is so far away from here. We look at each other across the room, sigh, wipe the back of a hand across a damp, furrowed brow, get up and walk about a bit, have a drink, have a snack, sit back down again.
I went out to talk to the birds and my reward was several mosquito bites. Other wildlife we’ve seen include a Fijian ground frog in our bathroom. Liesel asked Doug to remove it. He said it wasn’t poisonous, but we weren’t planning to eat it, anyway, to be fair. I did tell Liesel that if she’d kissed the frog, it might have turned into a handsome prince. She said the last time she kissed a frog, she got me and she’s not making that mistake again.
We have a pet gecko in our room too. We’re keeping him because he can hoover up the ants and other bugs.
Something makes a horrible noise during the night, it might be frogs, it might be werewolves screeching at each other, it could be guests in other villas on Hibiscus Drive shouting at the rain. Pretty sure it’s not the gecko.
We were idly wondering what to do next. This was tempting: Fire walking.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t work out exactly where to go. Bummer. Next time, maybe.
Drinking coffee at the Skinny Bean Café left us wondering: is the design on my latté hibiscus or, as Liesel first though, plumeria?
I think this was as profound a discussion as we had all day. A pair of brains taking a day off. Two pairs of feet putting their feet up too.
Friday began with another storm. There was also a very loud cricket outside, chirruping away, maybe a couple. As the rain became louder, so did the cricket (or grasshopper, or whatever). Somehow, Liesel slept through the whole thing!
Other loud noises included fireworks and a really loud thunderclap right overhead. The lights dimmed for a moment: but we have candles to hand, just in case.
We have another gecko in our room. The first one was a surprise, so a little bit scary. This new one is a baby. We’re now looking out for a ginger one, a sporty one and a posh one so we have the whole set.
During the night, I felt a couple of rainspots on my arm. I couldn’t believe there was a hole in the roof, but in the morning, I did notice a very slight gap between two of the tiles. Taking into consideration factors such as ferocity of the rainstorm, its duration, the size of the gap in the roof, wind conditions, angle of slope of the roof, the area of my exposed skin, height of room, height of my bed off the floor, I calculated that the chances were that 2.14 drops of rain would land on me. Isn’t mathematics brilliant?
We took the bus into Suva. Our third bus ride, and the third method of payment. The man I sat next to said ‘Bula’, and shook my hand, and we had a chat. We’re not in London any more, I realised.
We decided to take a taxi rather than another bus to Colo-i-Suva Forest Park. The driver told us that Prince Harry was here a couple of months ago and that he planted a tree using the same shovel that his grandmother used when she visited in the 1950s.
Summertime and the living is easy. We had a nice walk in the forest, but it too was loud. The odd bird but mainly, cicadas. They have an eight-year cycle in Fiji and although we didn’t see any, we certainly heard them. It was like walking through a tunnel of tinnitus, albeit a slightly lower frequency than what I usually experience.
There is supposed to be a lot of wildlife here, but all we saw was a mongoose run across the road. One dragonfly and a couple of butterflies.
We stopped by the car park for a natural break, wishing that we, like others, had had our taxi drop us off here in the first place! Oh well.
The park ranger told us that Prince Harry was here a couple of months ago and that he planted a tree using the same shovel that his grandmother used when she visited in the 1950s.
The trail now was narrower and definitely made for walking on. Newly improved too, for some reason, at grest expense. There were bures on the way, picnic tables, even rubbish bins. We heard the waterfall before we saw it, and we climbed down to the Upper Pool. There were a few locals enjoying the water, and I thought it would be nice to cool off too. The thing I was most worried about in the water was leeches and I’m so glad I never encountered any. No frogs either.
I heard: “There are frogs in there.”
What Liesel actually said: “My glasses are fogging up.” (We’ve both agreed to have hearing tests later on.)
The water was cool, but very refreshing, and the water falling on my head was quite forceful: so glad I wasn’t wearing the toupée.
On the way back to the entrance, a charming man offered us a lift in his car We had a nice chat. He told us that Prince Harry was here a couple of months ago and that he planted a tree using the same shovel that his grandmother used when she visited in the 1950s.
We waited just a few minutes at the entrance to the park for our taxi to arrive.
Suva City Library was helped in its early days by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, whose name it now bears. We spent a few minutes here looking at the children’s books. Was it air conditioned? Nope. But the windows were open! We were here to video us reading a couple of books to Martha and William. We send them a new one every few weeks.
Then, over the road to Hare Krishna Vegetarian Restaurant. Here, I ate my breakfast: a plate of six curries, a thali, most of which was delicious but number 6 was far too salty.
It started raining when we were on the bus back to Pacific Harbour, and it was still precipitating slightly when we walked home.
Doug and Loata passed by and we later realised, judging by Doug’s beery breath, they’d been to the pub.
Our hosts, Doug and Loata, left us a bowl of fruit. Unfortunately, the mangoes hadn’t ripened by the time we left.
In other news, our Alaskan friends and family are still experiencing strong aftershocks in Anchorage. Young William has taken his first few steps. Santa has written to him and Martha, following our request at North Pole, Alaska.
We’ve now moved on to Nadi, another three-hour bus ride, and another method of payment! All the buses have a sign “No eating, no drinking, no smoking”. Well, we’ve seen nobody sparking up so I suppose one out of three ain’t bad! A lot of people carry a lot of stuff on buses: big boxes, sacks, bin bags all full, presumably, of food. I asked Liesel if that was a chicken I could hear at the back of the bus and she said no, it was the soundtrack from the TV show.
Some of the cattle (outside, not on the bus) looked really healthy but there were some that looked like a blanket had been thrown over a clothes horse. All in the same field, so you’d think, with the same access to good feed.
In Japan we had MaxValu. In Fiji, it’s MaxVal-u Supermart. Here in Fiji, as in Tonga, some men wear skirts. It’s rude to stare but you can’t help but do a double-take sometimes.
Our new Airbnb here in Nadi has air conditioning which is welcome. I went to the local shops, missing out on the rain, while Liesel did the first of two loads of laundry.
The 4G signal here is much stronger too, so I have been able to listen to a couple of my radio programmes with . . . out the . . . . . . . . contin . . ual b . . . . . . . uffering.
At the airport, where the bus dropped us off, I was delighted to see this advert for The Bangles’ new single.
The bad news is that Liesel’s voice is a bit croaky right now. Thank goodness you can get Strepsils even in Fiji!
We’re having a very quiet, relaxed Saturday evening and we are surprised by how warm it really is, every time we visit the bathroom.