Friday, December 30, 2011

Around the World: Viti Levu, Fiji

December 30, 1991

On the plane to Fiji, I met Jeanette, from Sweden.  After the plane landed and passports were checked, bags were collected and a search for tourist information ensued.  The nearest town is Sigatoka, a short distance south, on the west coast of Viti Levu.  The pamphlet I picked up for Hideaway Lodge has beautiful pictures of thatched roof, bungalow-style cabins, all of which are just a short walk to the ocean.  Best of all, this place welcomes backpackers. The Hideaway's daily airport shuttle leaves in just over two hours.  

 Fiji International Airport's Formica Furniture looks very much like this, only yellow

Jeanette and I sat in the airport cafe, which is actually just a small display case containing soft drinks, water and beer just beyond four small yellow Formica tables.  As we passed the time chatting over a bottle of Black Label Lemonade, we were soon joined by another traveler, Roland, who is from Switzerland.  Roland was exploring another Fijian island and is now continuing his trip south from Lautoka, just north of the airport.  He said the scenery was lovely, but there were "lots of little black animals" running around.  He didn't have the word for the little black animals, although I suspect he might mean ants.  I hope it's a north coast thing and really glad I'm headed south.

The bus arrives at the hotel and after the all the arriving guests check in, those staying in the hostel are guided past the formal dining room, through the bar, along a pathway between bungalow cabins and finally around a cement wall to a large pink stucco shack just off the beach.  This will be my home for the next few days.

Although the hostel isn't visible in this
photo, it is located in a nice neighbourhood.

Inside, there are 30 bunk beds divided into two neat rows.  I choose a top bunk because I have a feeling I'll want to be as far away from the floor as possible while I'm sleeping.  It has just occurred to me that I'm sharing a room with up to 60 people, a fact I'll ponder over a beer.  It's happy hour and a 750ml bottle of Fiji Bitter is going for $1.

The sun has set and I found my way back to the dorm in the dark.  I was greeted by a sand crab at the entrance.  At first, I thought it was a dust bunny until I realized it was moving under its own power.  Time to crawl up and into bed.  Ah, tropical island life, in all it's palm tree and beach critter glory. 

• ¤ • 

"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, 
find your eternity in each moment. 
Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. 
There is no other land, there is no other life but this."
~Henry David Thoreau