It looks like I’ve tricked myself into arriving in Nadi.
Knowing that I’d get cold feet, I booked a non-refundable plane ticket, and AirBnB accommodation. Sure enough, my feet became very cold early in May.
But the Miser won out over the Laggard, and here I am. Warm. In shorts. In winter.
But not before I fretted for more than a week about vapes, which cannot be bought legally in Fiji. I pestered a Fiji Facebook group, before finally asking the horse ( baggage check-in at the airport ).
Which told me to put everything vape-related in my carry-on baggage. I did that, with the result that I dribbled through customs like a normal person, without the normal Aussie grilling.
I decided not to stand on ceremony, and insist on taking my allocated window seat from what turned out to be a surly old man next to me.
He told me – I think – that it’s unusual for Fiji Airways to be nearly two hours late taking off. As I write, the same flight was only 36 minutes late today.
Plus it took more than an hour to get through luggage drop-off. And the plane’s narrow aisles meant I spent three hours in the path of pedestrians.
Nadi, and My Digs
The “studio apartment” is a two-room affair – the bathroom / toilet, and everything else. I’m used to that from my time in Thailand and Vietnam. Good enough.
There’s a decent yard too, and coconuts galore – as soon as I figure out how to climb 20 feet up the trunk without doing a Keith Richards.
On the downside – after only 24 hours here, mind – it looks like it might be difficult getting around.
Nadi is sparsely-populated, and affordable transport options seem to be limited. Taxis aren’t much cheaper than NZ, and renting a motorbike is $80 FJD / day ( compare that with less than $2 / day in Thailand ), the same cost as renting a bicycle!
A taxi ride to Wailoaloa beach and back ( about 4 – 5 km ) cost $35 FJD.
Even though the beach was nearly empty, the driver was adamant that leaving gear on the beach while swimming was inviting theft. The beach itself was disappointing – black sand, and even though I turned up at low tide, nothing better really than a fair to middling NZ harbour beach.
Also possibly on the downside – everything’s locked, which probably means there’s a fair bit of theft. A guy loitering beside the money asked me for change. I gave him $3, hoping that I won’t see him every day.
On the Upside – I got chased up the road by a young woman. I’d left a bottle of water I bought at the counter of the supermarket.
I wandered up the road early this evening to discover that Namaka – the little centre 5 minutes’ walk away – abuzz. Some street vendors with some interesting offerings – Cassava for example, and plantains ( left ) the size of marrows – and some affordable-looking Indian restaurants.
Whereupon it dawned on me that the Natives disappear during the sweltering midday heat, leaving it to Mad Dogs and Kiwis.