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Anita and Bernie’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 03 Jan 2008

Location: Suva, Fiji

MapBula to everyone. Thank you for all your New Year messages both by e-mail and text, although we only had half a New Year's Day as we passed through the international dateline on route to Christmas Island. Suddenly we went from 2pm on the 1st January to 2pm on the 2nd January! Never mind - it means my birthday is even nearer!! Thank you mum for the lovely New Year's Day card and the money. I shall buy a souvenir with it. My phone has no signal in Fiji but Bernie's has!
The Air Pacific flight to Christmas Island was turbulent in the extreme. It was a small and cramped 737 and we felt every 'bounce' and 'sway'. Poor Bernie's hand was numb by the end of it! The flight to Christmas Island took 3 hrs 15 mins. Christmas Island is a dot in the Pacific Ocean. How Cook found it is beyond belief! We thought we were going to land in the sea but came in over large areas of coconut trees and lagoons. Only 600 people live on the island. The airport is so small it is a shack at the side of the runway with a hand-painted sign saying 'Welcome to Christmas Is' (they ran out of space to write island). The people are all barefooted and the luggage conveyor belt is a man putting the cases through an open window!The police van also doubles as the local bus.
The flight onto Fiji was uneventful albeit long - 5 hrs.
We had to take a taxi from the airport to the backpackers hotel which cost us about 35 pounds. It did take us two hours to get to the hotel but the journey was worth it in the end. The hotel site is idyllic, right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. We have a garden room but have to share the washroom facilities. All in all it is glorified camping but the people are very friendly and the place is very clean. We woke up to an amazing array of birdsong and the sound of rain on the banana/coconut trees. We had a lovely complimentary breakfast of toast and fresh fruit (bananas and pineapple) overlooking the sea. Today we are going to relax, read our books, write the diary and have a cooked dinner all for the princely sum of 3 pounds 50p each!!