11/26- 11/30 Viti Levu, Suva
We traveled on the bus from Nadi to Suva while the sun was going down, and got a bit of a feel for the most populous island in Fiji.
Suva is not that special as far as capitals go, with a major shipping harbor and all the giant cranes and freight ships that go along with it. But it's got its own charm. The people are warm and friendly with a mix of Melanesian, east Indians whose ancestors were brought over as indentured servants by the British, and a spattering of Chinese as shop/restaurant owners and workers.
The central market is great. During one of our trips to the central market we ran into a friendly guy selling mangoes named Logo (or 'English' name Henry) Baraki who happens to be from our final Fiji destination of Koro Island. He gave us a quick lesson on Koro's geography. He's from the southeast and our place is to the northwest. He told us to meet him for lunch on the Monday which is the day we head over to Koro on the ferry. He won't be heading over until just before Christmas, but invited us to stay on his farm with his brother free of charge. We'd just bring over some supplies like tea and rice.
Our five days in Suva was spent pretty much just getting the last of the supplies we need for the Koro wilderness. Tarps, machetes and a few other tools, non-perishable food, containers, essential oils for mosquito repellent With developed nations you can almost always find what you need even if you pay handsomely for it, but with 'developing' nations that's not necessarily the case. There are hundreds of shops that sell basically the same cheap products, so it was exhausting going into and out of shop after shop looking for simple items like decent zip-lock baggies or rubber-boots smaller than size 10.
Monday came and we had about twice as much stuff as we arrived with –which was already just about too much for two people to carry. Logo gave us a call, because we were obviously running late trying to get everything packed safely for the ferry ride. He met us at the (seedy but cheap) hotel and we all took a taxi over to the ferry only to find that, although we had called the day before to confirm, the ferry would run a day late. Ugh. Well, you have to expect those types of things when you're in Fiji.
Logo invited us to stay at his place for a night rather than pay for a motel again, and we agreed. That turned out to be a great idea, we had a great time, had a bowl of kava with the family, ate some amazing home-cooked Fiji food, made some music and made some great new friends in Fiji!
We were happy that the ferry was delayed. If we'd have known that the ferry ride would be so rough, we would have been even happier.