Holiday in Fiji

The Start

Well, on 2 March Sandra and I headed for Melbourne to stay at Lindas over night and head off to Fiji on the Saturday Morning. At 0500hours the alarm went off  resulting in multiple brews and getting ready to travel to the airport.
Linda and Maryrose dropped us off at the  international terminal and we were on our way. About thirty minutes later the flight was cancelled and Sandra was upset. She called Linda to come and get us which she kindly did. So back to Lindas and  then to hang around until 0500 in the morning.

The next morning the drama was on again, but this time, we took off and eventually landed at Nadi in Fiji at 1530hours.  Cleared Customs by  1645hours. A chap called Vincent was waiting for us and delivered us to the Fiji Palms Resort some 90 miles away. The trip took nearly three hours to complete. On the way Sandra bought some Pineapples at one roadside stall and some Bananas and Pawpaw at another. It seemed Vincent was on commission as he asked if we wanted to stop at every stall we passed. 

We finally arrived at Fiji Palms found our rooms and went to the bar for dinner.
The 45th anniversary of our wedding was spent in the air. A bit disappointing, but we still had 5 full days here.
An unimpressive entrance to a very nice Resort

To Suva

Our first day was taken up by a trip to Fiji's Capital, Suva. A very small town that housed the nations Government and President. There was much to see. Sandra dragged men in and out of various shops until she finally found what she was looking for, the Craft Market.

Here, rows of shops were selling all sorts of stuff. Dolls, Knives, Axes, Neck Breakers and even a Canibal fork. After a wander around and some dollars poorer, lunch was next on the list. As we wandered past various restraunts and other types of eateries Sandra settled on MacDonalds. Imagine, five and a  half hours flying from Melbourne just to eat at a Macas!

From there it was to the foreshore for a bit of a rest and some more looking. Way out in the distance a couple of ominous looking clouds were hanging about and closer people were fishing, lunching, walking or just plain sitting around. They all had a smile and a Bulla (G'day) for everyone. Quite a party, really. From there I left Sandra in the park and wandered off for a bit of a look around. On the way back today driver, Vincent from yesterday, saw me and took me back to pick up Sandra. This was good as a couple of minutes later it rained and visibility was nil. Eventually we picked up the other people travelling with us and headed back to Fiji Palms. By the time we got there the rain had gone and it was time to go to the Bar for a couple of drinks before dinner. 
Part of Suva's Shopping Centre

The Rain

It rained every day whilst in Fiji, mostly lasting only an hour or two, just enough to make the atmosphere feel wet. On the day we were in Suva it really pelted down for a while. It was hard and blocked our driving view completely. The gutters of Suva filled very quickly and emptied just as fast. They have a good stormwater system in this city.
Water on the windscreen

Jewel of Fiji Tour

The next adventure was a trip on the Nuvo River by long boat
A Long Boat heading up the Nuvo River

We stopped at a riverside village for lunch and a tour through the village and given an introduction to mat making. Lunch was seved in the village meeting hall after the welcoming Kava Ceremony. Lunch was prepared in a Fijian  Lovo or ground oven, and, as with all meals here, vegetables,chicken,fish and rice. Far too healthy for me but very nice to eat. After lunch the local ladies put their wares out for sale. Sandra could not help herself. She bought a doll for Maryrose. When every one had finished eating, drinking and buying there was a "Sorry to see you go" ceremony after which we all headed back to the boats for a trip farther upstream.
Lunch Table

To the Waterfall

From the village upstream through three sets of rapids to this most beautiful waterfall. A couple of brave souls tried the water and found it a bit cool for swimming. The creek from the waterfall to the river ran clear whist the river was a very dirty brown colour caused by the previous days rain. From here it was back to the boats and start homewards.
The waterfall

It had been decided by the tour leaders that there would be a raft ride through one of the rapids. The raft was made from bamboo, destined to be firewood, and rather rickety. Some of us climbed aboard the remainder stayed with the boats. Once we were ready to move the raft sank deeper into the water and we were at the mercy of the tour guides ability to steer this thing safely throught the rapids. Once through we tied up and transfered to the long boats and headed back to our start point. Todays adventure was now over and we headed back to Fiji Palms.
The raft!

What to do Next

There was much that could have been done but Sandra decided to do some washing and have a rest day. Left to my own devices I wandered off down to the beach and then up to the main road. Along the beach were many  tracks leading inland. They all had signs "Keep Out", "Private Property" and "Bula, Welcome". (Bula means hello or welcome). A bit confusing and needed investigating. The tracks that did not have gates on them ended at a playground, shop or fruit stall. The Playgrounds were for adults where you could drive ATVs or hire a jetski or speed boat, perhaps some diving gear and snorkeling stuff. Across the road was the Arts village.

Bar, Pool and Scarey Face in the Arts Village.

The Arts Village

The village was about a ten minute walk from Fiji Palms, down past the Community Post, or Police station, along to the lagoons, to the fuel station. From there, I was informed, the Bar was good and  and there was a good cafe. The information was correct. A good look around, bought some post cards and stamps and headed back to the Resort to write the cards. The next day Sandra and I caught a taxi to the Arts Village, spent money on food, drinks and souveniers. We even went to the Post Office to send our cards.
The Post Office is housed in a Fibro Cement building and there counter has a very substantial security grill between the customer and the staff.

Dinner Time

A feture of our stay at this Resort was Dinner Time. Each night there was something different. One night there was a welcoming ceremony with the Kava to start followed by dinner and then the staff put on a very good show which ended up with every on dancing. On another night there was a "Lovo", a customary Fijian meal with the food cooked in a ground oven. The oven is a hole in the ground, the food is wrapped in the leaves of the Silver Foil Tree and when the fire has created enough coals and the oven hot enough the food is placed on the coals, covered with a fire blanket and left to cook. Before Fire Blankets they used to cover the food and the coals with earth. The resul is an excellent meal. Other nights of note were curry night followed by a BBQ night.  
A Lovo or Ground Oven

Returning Home

After a realy nice few days at Fiji Palms we left about 1000hours on Saturday and headed for Nadi, some three hours away.on the way we took pictures, stopped for a drink and had a look around local craft store. Eventually arriving at the airport for lunch. Then after booking onto our flight we checked out the airportand eventually emplaned on time. The flight was delayed due to the arrival of a thunder storm. When that left, we were up, up and away heading for Melbourne, arriving about 2200hours and were met by Annaliese and Linda. 
We over nighted at Lindas, the to Graham and Emma's and finally home.
It was great to be home but I could do that Fiji thing again, soon and for longer.
Some of the hand crafts in the Souvenier Shop at Brava

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Latest comments

02.07 | 08:09

Thanks for the reply - I found Gannan image on 14 Squadron archives whilst looking for John Hunter who was from Albury. I just wanted to advise - Cheers

02.07 | 07:56

Continuing, I have no information as to his time at 70 OTU other than he was on course No 13 and Passed. His name is Gerald Gannan who passed away in 1994.

02.07 | 07:49

G'day Chris. Sorry it took so long to answer. I have that pic somewhere. Just cannot find moment. It was among Dads Photos of 14 Sqn RAF. 70 OTU
Mar to May 42.

23.06 | 09:23

Hi Chris from Albury & District Historical Society - saw the image of the B26 in this post - can you advise where you found it as I'm doing some work on 70 OTU