Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Around the World: Lautoka

January 3, 1992

After an unexpectedly comfortable night, Jeanette and I hitched a ride for 40 cents into town and after waiting several hours in the midday sun at the Rakiraki bus depot, we caught a bus to Lautoka.  On a stop along the way, the bus was swarmed by people trying to sell water and food.  It is sweltering, humid and sauna-like hot, the slightest movement produces so much perspiration, I think I might actually be melting.

The taxi driver at the Lautoka bus depot insisted on taking us to the Cathay Hotel, which charges more than either of us want to pay.  Having been through this just the night before, we insisted he drive us to our choice of destination, and nowhere else if he expected any money.  He tried to convince us that the hotel we chose was $20 more than we thought it was.  We told him again to do the driving and we would choose the destination.  He drove us to the hotel we wanted and escorted us to the front desk.  After I confirmed the $6 price with the manager, who was now livid for the attempt to direct business away from his hotel, Jeanette and I headed to our room while the manager had a very boisterous conversation with the taxi driver.

The place has changed quite a bit since I stayed here.
Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

The room service crew was just leaving as we arrived, which was comforting.  Jeanette and I dropped off our bags and headed down to the dining room.  It's almost 7pm and the first meal of the day will be tonight's dinner of chicken curry and rice for $4.50.  The only place to get a cheaper meal is in Suva.  Regardless, it is delicious and filling.  Exploring Latouka will have to wait until tomorrow.

It is so unbelievably hot and thick with humidity it's almost painful.  The room has a bunk bed, a light bulb sticking out from the wall just above my pillow on the top bunk, a fan, and a private bathroom with toilet, sink and a massive shower stall.

The shower head is close to 2 feet wide.  While it may be odd looking, it's odd appearance is forgivable as the cool water falling from it is exactly the refreshment I need.

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"How I wish that somewhere there existed an island 
for those who are wise and of good will"
~Albert Einstein