Monday, 5 November 2012

Suva, Can I Learn to Love You?

It’s a funny thing, not working in paid employment. When I was slogging through the bureaucratic quagmire of the UK NHS I could go home at the end of every day and say that I had been at work, even if I hadn’t really accomplished anything (and believe me, that is how it felt sometimes). Now my days are completely task driven but what I am able to achieve doesn’t sound very impressive. (“Hello honey, how was running the university’s research & international office? Today I paid the phone and electricity bills and found a place that sells cat litter!”)

It’s unbelievable how exhausting carrying out these tasks is. It’s also kind of embarrassing. It hardly seems right to complain about being tired after a day of internet banking, doing a few laps in the pool and avoiding the housekeeper. It must be the combination of the heat and my brain losing functionality.

I totally relate to this clip from the Mitchell and Webb Look. It's a little rude at the end, so if you're easily offended stop watching after you get the gist.

Speaking of exhaustion, Anna had Friday off school again for the sole reason that neither of us could face getting up at 6am for a fifth day running. Before you all go off and judge my parenting decisions, can I just remind you that Anna is retaking the last term that she already finished in the UK? Most of her Suva classmates are taking their GCSE exams which she absolutely aced in May/June (clever girl). Things will get serious come January 2013 when she starts the International Baccalaureate, but until then...

A little mangrove stand on the walk into town. Note the brown water.

We had a wonderful day off. I introduced Anna to Bulaccino’s, a coffee shop that I’d stopped into the day before while running the aforementioned errands. It really is an excruciatingly ridiculous name (Bula + cappuccino = Bulaccino = Helloccino in English), but the service and food are of an international standard that we haven’t really found very many other places here. They also have smoked salmon, which is Anna’s all time favourite food. I know that we’re supposed to eat local produce and most of the time we do, but sometimes what you need is a little bit of home on top of a delicious homemade bagel smeared with cream cheese.

The Vessel of Honour and the view across Suva Bay.

It was a lovely evening so we set off on a walk. We ran into one of Anna’s classmates and her mother (it’s that small town thing again) and before we knew it, we’d walked the coastal route all the way into the city centre. While discussing whether we should eat out twice in one day, we found ourselves in front of the Bad Dog Cafe which pretty much decided it. This is the place where the waiter (Nat) greets us with “Hello John. Hello John’s family”. John was not with us (he was in Noumea), so we just got “Hello John’s family”. Nat took the opportunity to quiz Anna about our names while I went to the toilet.  Two Shirley Temples and two glasses of sauvignon blanc later, Anna and I decided that we could get to like this place.


  1. Still confused about what is local cuisine, a few blogs ago you spoke of thousands of tasty humans being a particular delicacy; now you've just had smoked salmon and a Shirley Temple each, that sounds kinda local?

    1. Hi P&C:

      We did not actually eat Shirley Temple, who is alive and well albeit very old.

      Will make you potato curry with roti next time I'm home.


  2. Hi! Found your blog on Expat Blog website. So, I'm all the way on the other side of the world, but my significant other (the one with the "real" job) and I have essentially the EXACT same exchanges:

    (“Hello honey, how was running the university’s research & international office? Today I paid the phone and electricity bills and found a place that sells cat litter!”)

    I've recently started a new job myself, but still...believe me. I hear you. oh, and my suggestion: Go to the coffee shop when the housekeeper comes. It's what I do. ; )


    1. Melissa - I laughed out loud when I saw the post on your blog about "your" dog Nila. We've just doubled the size of our Fijian family by adopting a cat and her two kittens. The cat had been left behind by a neighbour who had ignored the rules about getting pets spayed. I've been like a worried mother for a week wondering if they're getting enough to eat or if I should take mama kitty to the vet, etc...

      Will heed your advice about the coffee shop - thanks very much.