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Tracey’s Travel Diary

Monday, 29 Jan 2007

Location: Lautoka, Fiji

We started our travels from Abergavenny on 16th January and arrived in Nadi in Fiji after 36 hours of travelling at about 5am 18th January (we mislaid the 17th January somewhere).

We stayed in Nadi for one day and drank Kava for the first time and I am apparently chief until we leave Fiji. We also tried Fiji Bitter which is sold in 750ml brown glass bottles and is 4.6% (I prefer it to the Kava).

After one day in Nadi we headed south and we stayed 2 nights at Namuca Bay. There were only to other guests and we had the whole accomodation (a traditional bure) to ourselves apart from sharing with many ants, two cats, a dog, geckos, frogs in the shower room and a crab. Outside there were a few cows, ducks and chickens and a cockrel that crowed at 4.30 in the morning. The sea was just a few meters away and we saw lots of fishes in the sea. We did not catch any fish to eat but I managed to break into a coconut, without it we may not have survived.

Our next stop was Suva the capital city. One of the most enjoyable parts of the trip has been travelling on the local buses. All buses are different they may have disco lights, music, films, and many local services have no windows. Buses with no windows are very usedul when you have a big rucksack - when the bus is full you can just throw your bag out though the window. We are glad that we are not on a tour - instead we meet Fijian people who seem to be very friendly and we experience real fiji. Everyone is very helpful and we have been asked by a few people to come and stay with them in their villages. I have never had so much attention before - as we walk down the street there are continuous Bulas from people. We stayed at Raintree Lodge Colo i Suva. Here there is a forest park so one day we had a walk round and swam in lots of pools.

From here we took two buses to Wailotua (now heading North). We went here to visit some caves but it turned out to be much more than we had planned. First I must mention the bus journey - the stretch of road before here was the most adventurous - the potholes in the road were worse than what we have at home, also the narrow bridges the buses went over - you could only see the drop and the river below either side of you. This area seemed to be much more of a dairy farming area. Upon reaching Wailotua village we were met by a man who took us to the village chief. Already there was a fiji experience tour at the village and we joined them to drink kava. We were taken to an enormous cave with stalactites which was the home to many noisy bats. It was also the home of the villagers when it was cannibal time and they had to go in hiding. We were also shown a place in the cave where apparently the cannibals would kill their victims. We had planned to carry on with our journey but the village chief invited us to stay the night. We decided to stay and we were shown the village, played volleyball, and swam in the river. We gave the chief some Kava, noodles and eggs as a gift. There main crop I think is Taro (or the Fijians say Dalo) and they also grow cassava. For breakfast we ate pancakes which were delicious and I shall make some when I get home.

Our next stay was on Nananu-i-ra island for 3 nights. This was very quiet and in fact all places we have stayed there has been few people and often we are upgraded to better rooms. We swam in the sea, saw some vey colourful fish (including a parrotfish), had our own beach to ourselves covered in coconuts. Drank coconut milk, more fiji bitter and more Kava.

Now we are near to the end of our stay in Fiji. On Sunday we travelled to Lautoka the second largest city. It is called the Sugar City where the sugar cane is processed. There is alot of sugar cane grown in this part of the country. We are staying at Sawena's Appartments which is right next to the beach again. The sea was really hot yesterday afternoon. We also have an outdoor swimming pool.

Today we went to The Gardens of the Sleeping Giants where there are lots of tropical trees and orchids. We now are back in Lautoka city just doing a few things before we leave Fiji. Tomorrow we hope to do a village tour in Abaca.

Got to go now the internet cafe is closing.

Hwyl Fawr

Did not go to Abaca but instead we went on a cruise to the Island Tivua. We felt as if we were rich as we had a taxi to pick us up from our hotel to the marina which was perhaps 30 km away and were picked up again in the evening. The trip was just over an hour 'in Fiji time' on a Schooner built in 1958 and it was quite entertaining as we had guitar music and singing, had another Kava ceremony, and had tea and cake. We went snorkelling - a fijian man kindly showed me how, drank fiji bitter and we ate lots of food - I had sausage, chicken and fish! then we saw how a coconut is supposed to be broken open, and I went on a glass bottomed boat to see the fishes. We were invited to stay on the island by the fijian men but we had to get back as we were flying to New Zealand the next day.