When John came home at the end of July, I asked him to describe what Fiji was like. He had two answers for me. The first was that he went to work so he had no idea what it would be like for me during my days lounging around the house. The second was that it was an impossible place to describe.
After five days here I concur (about the second answer - I definitely have not been lounging - well not that much anyway). So rather than describe the place, I will relate what I see and experience. Maybe at the end I will have some coherent way of describing it, but I suspect not.
The first thing we did after dropping off our bags was was to walk to the Southern Cross restaurant on campus, where they serve great Chinese food from behind a counter cafeteria style. A small plate is enormous and costs approximately £2.30. We then walked over to Cost you Less (otherwise known as Cost you More) which is like Costco, but one that you would visit in a slightly weird dream. John kept exclaiming about high expensive everything was ("£12 for a beach towel! Highway robbery!") and I kept having to remind him that the last time he did any shopping for himself was around 1985 and prices have gone up since then. £12 for a nice beach towel is a bargain.
As everyone was flopped after this excursion, John and I walked over to a pizza place and ordered two medium pizzas. We had considered ordering a large, but then saw that you had to turn the box sideways to get it through the door of the restaurant. (Did I warn you that this blog will have a lot of food-related discussion?) The pizzas looked great but the "ham and pineapple" turned out to be "ground spam and pineapple" and the "pepperoni" was something I'd never seen the likes of before and hope to never again.
The next day John to us into town where we went to a real mall. Yes, I am happy to report that there are shops here where you can buy things. Everything, it appears, except fresh milk. Man, I am going to miss fresh milk in my coffee. Anna was visibly relieved. Alex, Anna and John all bought bula shirts (Hawaiian shirts to you) and then we all had to rest poolside at the Holiday Inn while having our lunch.
On Sunday, it was overcast and the wind, which had been blowing hard since our arrival, showed no sign of abating. So we piled into a bone-clattering taxi and drove for almost two hours due east, out of the island's rain shadow, to the Warwick Resort, where the sun was shining but the wind was still blowing with an exfoliating freshness, for a day of R&R on the beach. The food was pretty dreadful, but the snorkeling was good and we got to mess about in kayaks for a bit. I spent a lot of time on a sun lounger reading my book. Lovely.
Despite the command "pliz buckle up" (or similar) on the taxis' dashboards, I'm afraid that backseat seatbelts here are something that obviously slither down the backseats never to be seen again. The taxi ride home took longer as the top speed of the taxi up hills was about 5mph. That's okay, I didn't want him to go any faster anyway.