You know what's great about holidays? Sleeping for 10 hours straight. I don't remember the last time that happened, but it would be great if decided to show up now and then.
There wasn't much to do while we waited for our bus to Suva, so we hung out at a cafe. An American couple thought 10:30am was a perfect time to start drinking, with a bucket of beers between them, but we managed to hold ourselves back. The bus was surprisingly luxurious - huge seats, air-con, movie, snack - better than many buses in Australia. The scenery along the route was beautiful and everything you imagine a tropical island to be: green, palm trees, ocean views, small traditional villages dotted throughout the landscape. It was a good decision to stop here on our way through to the Americas.
In Suva we were staying with our Australian friends Rick and Meagan, who had lived in Fiji for a couple of years. Rick met us at the bus stop and took us through the neat, orderly, clean-looking market (much, much better quality than many markets we had visited in other countries) before taking us back to his place. Or should I say palace? Gigantic house, infinity pool, bay views - definitely a win in the accommodation department. Of course the first thing I did was jump on their treadmill, partly to stretch out my legs after the triathlon and partly to feel slightly healthy before I gorged myself and food and alcohol. Pool, Pimms and a relaxing homemade dinner on the balcony rounded out the day. Life doesn't get much better.
The clean Suva market.
The next day found us on a bus to Pacific Harbour, supposedly the home of tours and all things touristy. It was a ghost town. There were a collection of restaurants and souvenir shops but no travel agents open to help us spend our money. We were directed down a deserted beach to a self-drive buggy company and managed to talk them into taking us out straight away rather than waiting for an afternoon tour. This was easily the lowest point of our Fiji trip. I don't think we ever went over 30kph and the "views" they promised us were non-existent. The whole time we were driving on gravel roads that I give a big fat zero on the thrill factor level. After an hour it was over and we couldn't run away from the place fast enough. A quick rinse off in the sea, a bite to eat then it was back on the bus to Suva. (Side note: try not to get the school bus when traveling between towns. They are crowded, noisy and stop every 50 metres. It is probably faster to wait an hour for the tourist bus to come along).
The lamest buggy drive ever.
For our final day in Suva, Rick took us out for a short hike in the "Forest Park" (I have no idea what it's actually called, but this is the name we decided on). Climbing up and down steps and steep paths (my daily exercise/justification for drinks later), we discovered two small swimming holes with refreshingly cool water. There was no one else around and it was like paradise. Rick had picked up some vegetable roti at a street stall before we left, and it formed a perfect picnic beside a lovely waterfall.
Rick and Meagan were fantastic tour guides, showing us all the local, upmarket drinking holes. The Yacht Club was a hit with their flavoured rums, the Novotel Gin Lounge spoiled us with fancy cocktails and the Grand Pacific Hotel was a Colonial gem. I think you know where you could find me if I lived here.