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
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