The Air Pacific flight from LAX to Nadi (pronounced "Nandi") was comfortable and blissfully uneventful. We arrived at Nadi International at 5:00 am in the morning. It was disappointing to arrive in the darkness as we had heard the view of the ocean and reef is spectacular.
After LAX - "you will never see a more wretched hive of scum and villainy" - it was a delight to be welcomed by airport staff instead of being treated like a potential criminal. After some adventures getting our eight bags through customs and hauling them over the domestic terminal, we were soon on a small twin-prop plane to the much more rustic Nausori airport outside of Suva.
Taxis in Fiji are plentiful and affordable. We learned during our first Fijian cab ride that they are also often rickety old pieces of junk lacking all safety features including seat belts. I will let you be the judge, but it is possible that we may have been easily identified as tourists that day.
The first leg of the drive through Nausori made it quite clear that we were no longer in North America. Scores of children all in school uniforms, with the boys in sulus, filed past on the dusty shoulders of the narrow road. Huge men wielding large double bladed machetes cleared brush from neighboring fields, and ferns and palms everywhere without an evergreen to be seen.
Once our cab entered Suva proper, I was surprised to find a perfectly modern city. We drove directly to the very comfortable five-star Suva Holiday Inn.
And we shared this very fine accommodation with the Flying Fijians, the national rugby team. They trained on the pitch across the street and then hopped in the pool to relax.
I also found a moment or two of peace by the pool. More soon on our life on the University of the South Pacific campus.
inside the man
Friday, July 14, 2006
My family and I have had quite an adventure since my last post here. In case you missed the news, we have sold our house and car and relocated from the Great White North to Fijian tropics where I have taken up a new career in library systems management. There is much to tell of our journey.
One theme that has colored our journey from the beginning was rugby. I was thrilled to share the first leg of our trip from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to LA with the New Zealand Maori rugby team, fresh off of their successful campaign at Canada's Churchill Cup until I later learned of the consequences. When we arrived in LA, it soon became clear that there was an issue with our bags - the same eight large suitcases pictured above, he same eight bags that we need to live out of for the next 50 days or so until our container catches up with us in Fiji. After much frustration and queuing it became clear that the rugby team's equipment occupied so much storage space that the airline had bumped economy class baggage to a later flight.
We ended up embarking on our planned four day cruise down the Mexican coast without these bags. We owe a great debt to my old friend Marcus, who lives in LA, for rescuing our bags from the clutches of our overtaxed Canadian airline at LAX. With a quickly purchased bag of sundries from the Long Beach Wal-Mart, we enjoyed a relaxing cruise and were able to prepare ourselves for a day at Disneyland and the long flight to our new home.
I was even able to take the edge off of my blinding whiteness! Coming up next, our journey to the South Pacific.
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