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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

The Journey Begins! Destination: Suva

FIJI | Thursday, 21 August 2008 | Views [531]

It was a great first day on my journey through two of the world’s great island countries. It surprised me as I got off the plane that I didn’t see the Fijians playing their instruments. I went through customs and the official questioned the address I put on the card. Yesterday I called Fenton (a young man I met on CouchSurfing) for that reason. Anyways I got another stamp and then retrieved my baggage. Before the flight last night I met a man named Pravin, and he was headed toward Pacific Harbour, located near Suva and he agreed to give me a lift. It’s very advantageous because I don’t have to change money at the airport and I get a ride for free. We had to wait for his friend to show up, so I got a Red Bull and him a cup of coffee because he didn’t want to change money at the airport. The scene with the taxi drivers outside was all too familiar and I still remember Mr. Singh from last year. It turned out that Pravin’s friend was sitting in the parking lot, and we headed out before the sun was up. Hanging my head out the window, I was indulging the sweet Fiji air happily. We passed the colorful Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple as we drove out of Nadi. It was humid out and not too hot. Fiji is so beautiful, and it’s the type of place I would really love to spend some time with my girlfriend, Teressa. It was raining lightly out, but I really didn’t care. When it’s warm, I sing, dance, or hang in the rain! Fiji’s main island is Viti Levu, and I didn’t realize how huge it was. After driving for about an hour, we stopped at a petrol station so they could get water and soda. Out the window of the van, I was trying to snap photos of the village signs but I kept missing them or pressing the wrong button on my camera. Everywhere out here there a lot of coconut palms, and every time we passed some coconuts, I was tempted to ask if we could stop so I could pick a coconut.

However, I’ll get one in Suva. At about 8:30, we reached Pacific Harbour and Pravin’s friend dropped me off at the bus stop. My communication skills really help when it comes to meeting locals, hitchhiking, etc. I nearly missed the bus to Suva because I had to go use the toilet but the driver stopped for me. The bus was entirely filled with locals; I was the only white person on the bus. I was talking with a Fijian next to me as I was watching the coconut palms and ocean pass me by. The bus ride to Suva took almost an hour because of all the stops. I got off in Suva and I walked into a market and got some tea bags and tea biscuits. I was looking around for a phone so I could call Fenton, because I didn’t have his complete address. At one place, there was no phone but I then went to an internet café. I went online for an hour and emailed Teressa. I sure miss her! The owner of the shop let me use his cell phone so I could call Fenton. He offered to meet me there in about 15 minutes. Severely jet-lagged, I sat there half asleep until Fenton showed up. As Fenton and I were walking, I wanted to get a coconut but the taxi had just pulled up. We stopped first so I could change some money and then we continued on. Suva is a real city! It’s not your prototypical Pacific village with just coconut palms, blue water, huts, and sand. Fenton asked me if I wanted to eat, and I asked him what places there are. He told me there was pizza, McDonald’s, and an Indian vegetarian restaurant; I chose the last of the three. I think he was testing me to see if I wanted McDonald’s. He even told me he was surprised because most of his friends and other CouchSurfers want McDonald’s and other junk food. Fenton works for a radio station and is a volunteer for Greenpeace, and they’re anti-McDonald’s. I ordered okra, pumpkin, and another veggie mixture along with two rotis and a bottle of Fiji water for less than $10. Afterward we rode in the taxi to Fenton’s flat, and the taxi ride was only $4.70. His flat is sandwiched between two stores and looks rather unique from the outside.

An interesting thing about Suva is that many travelers don’t make it here; the international airport is in Nadi on the west coast and many of them stay in that area visiting the Yasawa Islands. Fenton and I talked for awhile about what we do for work, etc. At noon I decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood. Coconut palms abound here, and I was looking for a tree low enough that I could pick a nut. In Hawaii you can actually mail a coconut home; I wonder if you can do the same thing here. As I was walking back, a local lady said hello to me asking if I was looking for someone. I explained that I was staying with a friend and that I was looking for a coconut to pick. She invited me inside and introduced me to her family. They are Muslim and have pictures of Mecca on their wall. They treated me like one of their own and made me a cup of delicious tea. I’ve only been here one day and I’m so impressed with the Fiji hospitality. The locals make traveling special, but it’s the spur-of-the-moment experiences with locals that make my journeys extra special. People around the world are so kind and loving! I spent about an hour talking to them telling them about what I do back home and about how I’m headed to Tonga tomorrow. I took some photos with them and they gave me their address so I can mail them one.

As I was leaving, they watched me through the window. I told them I’d come visit them after returning from Tonga and they said I could have dinner with them when I come back. Back at Fenton’s house, I relaxed for a bit and took a quick shower. Next door at the shop I got some Grain Waves and then went to the internet café for about 20 minutes. I emailed everyone about the impressive Fijian hospitality. I was really exhausted so I went back to Fenton’s flat and fell asleep for about three hours. I awoke at about 7:00 and set out to grab something for dinner. There’s an Indian restaurant around the corner and I got lamb curry with rice for $4.00 (US$2.50). The food is unbelievably good here! Coconuts are only 50 cents, so I picked one up. I was taking it easy because of my jet lag and I stayed in the area around Fenton’s flat, going to the internet café again. Before getting here I emailed four CouchSurfers, and all four responded saying I could stay at their place. I sure wish I was staying in Fiji longer; it’s the type of place where I could stay for three or four months because of the hospitality and peacefulness. In one day in Fiji it has been a remarkable day! Afterward I went back to the flat and took a shower and made a cup of tea. Fenton has no hot water, so it was a cold shower. I’ve told myself before that I’m going to have to take cold showers at some point in my travels. As I was packing my stuff, I realized that I had lost my autism pin that was attached to my bag. I’ll just order a new one. Anyways it’s now 10:15 and I have to get up very early for my flight to Nuku’alofa, Tonga tomorrow. I’ll see you in the Friendly Islands!

 

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