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Chris and Charly's Pacific Island Pit-Stop

a travel blog by chrischarly


After 6 months in the Western world, it is time to put back on our backpacks, pack away the rain coats and hit the Pacific!
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OFF TO FIND SOME SUN!!!

Auckland, New Zealand


Had a quick coffee with Sam before she left to go to work and then Chris walked into town to post my diary home and change up some money into Fiji dollars. We then packed up, showered and waited for our shuttle bus to come and pick us up for a surprisingly cheap price. I hate airport days as I always feel agitated until I know I am safely on the plane so when the shuttle but was running 5 minutes late I did start freaking out, but we got there easily and with time to spare to grab some lunch before getting on our Air New Zealand flight,
which, by the way was a nice change to the budget airlines as we had leg room and a T.V. so a nice 3-hour flight. We landed in Nadi at 6:24pm, cleared customs, collected our bags and walked around trying to find our pick-up to take us to the hotel we booked.
We couldn’t find them anywhere so we sat outside, waited and waited before finding another couple who were also waiting to be taken to Wailoaloa resort. After an hour, Chris went to the information desk and called them and still nothing. 1 hour, 45 minutes later someone eventually turned up after 3 more phone calls to pick the 4 of us up. Very irritating and not the perfect start to Fiji. But the resort was lovely and the room pretty nice for $55, so we had some dinner and went to bed.


permalink written by  chrischarly on March 29, 2012 from Auckland, New Zealand
from the travel blog: Chris and Charly's Pacific Island Pit-Stop
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Underwater

Nadi, Fiji


After hearing the rain on the roof through the night, we were hopeful of a nice clear day when we woke. We were wrong! The rain was pouring and our resort was underwater. We waded to the reception area through knee deep water and found out that more rain was forecast, the town was completely flooded and no transport was running. Looks like we might be here for a while! Taking it in our stride we had our free breakfast and then asked if we could stay another night. We could but we had to change rooms unless we wanted to be floating on the bed. Luckily for us we got upgraded to a deluxe Villa, which was nice and big and had a kitchen, not that we could go anywhere to buy food. We moved in the pouring rain, and then settled in to watch some films on our laptop. After a while the power went off, so once we had run down our battery, we went back to the reception, the water had risen about another foot, which made it interesting. The bar was open but the kitchen was about a foot under water so no lunch. I had a beer and we munched on some bar snacks. We went back to the room and chilled some more before returning in the evening. The water had dropped a lot but the kitchen still wasn’t open. They were taking orders for fish and chips, and then going to buy them outside, we probably paid twice as much as it should have been, but at least we ate. We went back to the room and with power back on watched yet more movies before drifting off and dreaming about the pacific Sunshine!

permalink written by  chrischarly on March 30, 2012 from Nadi, Fiji
from the travel blog: Chris and Charly's Pacific Island Pit-Stop
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Chris meets the President's brother... and we all go drinking

Nadi, Fiji


After putting everything we had onto the spare bed last night as high tide was expected at 1am so although we had moved rooms, we still expected to wake up with a wet floor, but alas our room was dry and most of the flood water had disappeared.
But still most inbound and outbound flights are cancelled and the roads still closed, so we spent the morning and afternoon researching what to do when the sun finally makes an appearance. Chris soon hit the beer and got chatting to a few people at the bar including the President’s brother, completely wasted on a business trip also trapped here.
Many hours later of sat drinking at the bar, Chris, of course was very merry and some of the others staying here said they were going to ‘Smuggler’s Cove’ down the road for something to eat at 8pm as our place still wasn’t able to serve any food and famished we decided to join
them and stayed there for a few hours as it was a nice change of scenery. At around 10 or 11 we headed back to sit at the bar for one last drink before bed before a few other people staying here announced they were going to go to the local nightclub, ‘Ice’, so Chris and I joined them and had a great night dancing and drinking before getting a lift back and we finally staggered to our room at around 3 or 4am.


permalink written by  chrischarly on March 31, 2012 from Nadi, Fiji
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In search for a hang-over cure

Nadi, Fiji


Woke up at 3pm today feeling very delicate and finally managed to emerge from our rooms at 4pm in desperate need of some food. We were very late for our complimentary breakfast of over-cooked eggs and still the kitchen was closed for any other food, so, craving an Indian we prepared ourselves for the long walk up the road in the torrential rain to the closest open restaurant which luckily was serving Indian food. Feeling sorry for us, the manager of Wailoaloa kindly gave us a lift in her 4x4 and promised to pick us up once we’d eaten, which meant we wouldn’t have to sit and eat drenched. Food was amazing and the perfect hang-over cure and when we returned we briefly watched some of the staff play rugby in the rain before going straight back to our rooms to watch films on the laptop for hours.


permalink written by  chrischarly on April 1, 2012 from Nadi, Fiji
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To the shops to stock up before the cyclone hits...

Nadi, Fiji


In the night we got a text about a cyclone warning due to hit Fiji in the next 24-36 hours, so we decided to take a stroll into the local shops with Andy, Abbe and Julian, to get some supplies. After getting to the main supermarket and finding it closed, we continued on under direction from Julian who said it wasn’t far to the next one. It was actually a couple of k’s, which would normally be fine, but it was boiling hot and extremely humid. We fought our way around the supermarket as it seemed everyone was panic buying and got some tinned meat, rice and curry mix. We caught a taxi back and stopped to pick up some beers along the way. We had all bought food, but when evening came, we all decided that a visit to the curry House was in order. The 5 of us walked down and had a yummy curry before the heavens opened so yet another taxi home, and got into bed to await the approaching cyclone.


permalink written by  chrischarly on April 2, 2012 from Nadi, Fiji
from the travel blog: Chris and Charly's Pacific Island Pit-Stop
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We are safe

Nadi, Fiji


Just a quick blog entry to keep everyone updated...
The price to use this computer is on the verge of criminal, so won't talk for long or have time to write any more blogs...
After the recent floods and cyclone last night things are starting to get back to Normal and the sun is even shining!
All power has been out for days including phone lines and internet.
Hopefully will be back online in the next couple of days and will be somewhere else than in Nadi when the ferrys, flights and roads are back open.
Chris and Charly


permalink written by  chrischarly on April 3, 2012 from Nadi, Fiji
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Planning our escape

Nadi, Fiji


We thankfully awoke to no cyclone destruction, which to be fair we were all pretty terrified about, so planned our escape - Last day in Nadi today! Am so excited. Cannot wait to go exploring a bit more! The weather is slowly improving and the ferries have now started to operate again. We had done some research on the Island before arriving in Fiji and the main place we fell in love with is Ovalau an Island not too far away and apparently gorgeous and not touristy. It is also where Fiji kind of began and is the centre of the country, full of history.
We had also found the most awesome place to stay, ‘Bobo’s Farm’ but they are unfortunately fully booked for Easter weekend but we are hoping to get in just after, so we plan to just get straight to the Island and sort it out from there. Abbe, Andy and Julian are also planning to join us in our escape from Nadi, so it will be a nice place to hang-out for a couple of days. Didn’t really do anything exciting today.
Went to find some internet as the internet and power at our place was still not working and had some late lunch at a little local/tourist shack, but that is about it really. I also got a phone-call from Mum this afternoon. She is only aware of what has happened here from we have told her and by looking up the weather on the internet. I’m so amazed it isn’t plastered all over the news back home as most things tend to be and highly exaggerated, but apparently nothing has even been mentioned and as this has been Fiji’s biggest natural disaster to have happened on record, so this completely baffles me. Chris rustled together some tinned mutton, curry powder and rice, which was actually quite delicious, and Andy said it was his best meal in Fiji, very worrying!


permalink written by  chrischarly on April 3, 2012 from Nadi, Fiji
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We are now in 'The Real Fiji'

Suva, Fiji


Woke up at 6 and banged on Andy and Abbe’s door to wake them up, before showering, packing and then making our way to the restaurant for breakfast, which was a rubbish choice of toast (which I no longer eat) or black tea as they had run out of milk, orange juice, eggs, and fruit.
Luckily Abbe had a tin of baked beans to liven up the choice a bit. She also had some sausages but we couldn’t eat them either as it takes them over an hour to cook anything. But never mind, we are leaving and finally getting out of this place! Got a lift to the bus stop driving through Nadi town for the first time since we’ve been here as the road is now open.
At the bus stop we got familiar information to what we have previously heard in places such as Asia, “No bus [to] Suva. I take you in [my] car” just as the bus to Suva was just coming around the corner.
Hmmm. Need to remember that we are no longer in the ‘Western World’ so to speak… The mess and destruction that the floods have caused was shocking; too devastating to take photos of. So many homes and businesses destroyed and insurance isn’t something very heard of here, so many people have to start again from scratch, it was pretty heart-breaking.
Even the road between Nadi and Suva was in a mess including a bridge that collapsed in half, which meant we all had to get off the bus and walk across catching another at the other end. The bus ride though was pretty comfortable and we happily all enjoyed the scenery along the way.
When we arrived in Suva we had 1 ½ hours to wait before another bus picked us up and drove us to the ferry, so just enough time to eat some quick lunch and find a public toilet before a friendly guy walked us to the bus stop which we would’ve struggled to find without his help.
It was then about an hour’s drive until we reached the point to catch the ferry, again driving through some cute picturesque villages and then the bus drove straight onto the ferry, so we all got off and climbed to the top to watch Vitu Levu (the main island which we’ve been on) slowly disappear and Ovalau appear.
The ferries have only just started operating again since the floods but the sea was still too rough to drop us off at the main jetty so the ferry drove around and dropped us off the other side, in Levuka town, the first capital of Fiji, (originally chosen as it had a natural harbour due to the reef, and being the centre point of all the Fiji Islands) which actually did us a huge favour as where we wanted to stay, ‘Mary’s Lodge’ was just a short walk away, so really easy. ‘Mary’s Lodge’ is a homestay and although basic, Leila the owner is so lovely and funny we were glad we chose to stay here.
By the time we settled in, had showers and relaxed a little we were all getting hungry again, so Leila recommended a place to go for dinner, ‘Kim’s’ about a 5 minute walk away and this is where we discovered and tasted our first drink of ‘Kava’, a local drink served in a bowl and shared between a group. Can’t say I particularly liked it that much. Reminds me a bit of mud pies I used to eat as a kid in the garden at home, but the social aspect of it is really nice. It’s not alcohol or a drug but you do get a buzz from it and it sure makes you sleep like a baby later!


permalink written by  chrischarly on April 4, 2012 from Suva, Fiji
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An awesomely sunny day

Levuka, Fiji


What a gorgeous day! I couldn’t believe it when we awoke to fantastically beautiful blue skies, a calm sea and more importantly no rain. Perfect day to enjoy Fiji and Levuka at its best. Think some relaxing and Sunshine was in order so after eating breakfast we wandered to the shops for a crate of beer before the 5 of us booked a taxi to take us a few kilometres down the road to a resort with a swimming pool which they let us use for $1 each. Such a hot day and it is so great to finally enjoy it in a pool as the resort we stayed in in Nadi, although had a pool, was permanently closed due to the flooding as the water was fowl. We stayed there for about 3 hours, before returning, showering and going out for some dinner at the same place as last night where we once again drank lots of Kava between us for $5,

which was about 5 litres still trying to ignore the taste of muddy water.


permalink written by  chrischarly on April 5, 2012 from Levuka, Fiji
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Good Friday Celebrations

Levuka, Fiji


Chris woke me at 9am this morning as Leila the owner of Mary’s Lodge said we were welcome to go up and visit the church here in Levuka to join in with the Good Friday celebrations especially as many of the local children were doing performances.
So we woke Abbe, Andy and Julian and then ate some tasty brekkie before taking a walk to the church. The children were really sweet and tried really hard and although re-inacting some pretty gruesome historic events in Fiji involving one about cannibalism and another about Jesus before and during his crucifixion, it was light-hearted and entertaining.
The Priest and other adults in the church were really happy that we came down to join in with the celebrations and kindly translated everything into English for us after first spoken in Fijian, but this also meant that the service went on for 2 hours and we were boiling in there.
The Priest also gave us some further information on Fiji history and the relationship the country has with England, which seems to be a close friendly one. But it was also sad as he spoke of how the Fijians felt very sorry and prayed for the Australians during the recent bush fires and yet news of the
flooding that happened just last week hasn’t even reached news in other countries regardless of the lives that were lost, implying that Fiji isn’t important enough to hit the headlines. At midday we came back, Chris and Andy raced to the shops to buy some fishing line before they closed at 1pm and after untangling the line for over an hour and eating some lunch we walked down to the wharf.
The sun was yet again out in full force and was almost suffocating it was that hot (not that I am complaining of course). A couple of locals also fishing at the end kindly gave the boys some super-smelly fish eggs to us for bait as the bread they brought with them was simply laughed at.
Andy was the first to catch a fish closely followed by an almost identical one by Chris and although they were both small, they saved them both to use as back-up bait once the fish eggs ran out.
An hour or so later Chris felt a hard tug on the line and excitedly reeled in and we were amazed to see a big octopus hanging on! It was amazing! A local guy with his two children had just walked past and we exchanged some friendly ‘Bulas!’ (a bit like ‘Hello’)
with them and we called them back to show them his catch and too check if the octopus was good to eat and not poisonous. But just as they arrived the octopus let go of the line and crawled back into the water, too fast for me to get a quick photo. We were all very upset, especially when it was explained to us that the octopus is “good eating”.
Never mind. I then walked back to ‘Mary’s Lodge’ having had enough sun for the day and left the boys behind to continue fishing and a couple of hours later they returned with a big fish (can’t remember the name of it though) which we took down to ‘Kim’s restaurant’ later to get fried up and accompany our dinner. It was delicious!


permalink written by  chrischarly on April 6, 2012 from Levuka, Fiji
from the travel blog: Chris and Charly's Pacific Island Pit-Stop
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