Nadi, Fiji

We arrived in Fiji this morning, the 25th of October. Although we left on Thursday the 24th. So for most of you reading this, we are in Fiji today and we left Cook Islands yesterday, and you are reading this today of our accounts tomorrow. Confused? Good. Flying on a Boeing 767 is no problem. No anxiety at all after flying in a small propellor plane. Like a dream, four hours flew past. [We will be flying a one-propellor sea plane to the outer Fiji islands, look out]. We are currently in Nadi, Fiji’s second largest city. Fiji is like a strange mix of Newark N.J., Tijuana, and Calcutta. Sound nice? I exaggerate a little, but it is quite dirty and chaotic. Fiji is 50% Indian (most were brought here by the British as indentured servants 100 years ago) and you sometimes get the feeling that you are in Bombay or Delhi, when you walk down the street and you see Sari shops, hear Bollywood songs, and smell curries cooking. There is a strange relationship between the native Fijians and the Indians. [Not the least of which is physical–the Fijians tall and powerfully built, the Indians short and slight of build]. The Fijians own most of the land but lease it to the Indians who run businesses and own small sugarcane plantations. The Indians are not allowed to own land, so that has made them very aggressive [!] and prosperous businessmen, which the Fijians resent. Neither group like the other; the Fijians hating these “outsiders”, and the Indians hating the discrimination they suffer. So they have this strange stalemate, hating each other, but needing each other. The Indians needing the Fijian land and the Fijians needing the Indians businesses. We are staying with a really nice lady that everyone calls “Momma”. When you arrive at her hostel/hotel, she says “welcome back”. And she is very keen that you do not get ripped off by the many scammers. We are staying in a HUGE house that we are renting (half the house) for only $20/day. The floors are made of the most beautiful, ornate marble I have ever seen. And the bathroom is swimming in this rich, warm marble with beautiful quartz sections. Cheryl says it looks like a drug dealers house on Miami Vice, or maybe Tony Montoya’s palace in Scarface. Too true. We have now run into Mark, the Englishman about 7 times. We ran into him 6 times on Rarotonga (which is not that weird, given the small size of Rarotonga). But when we arrived at Mama’s in Fiji he was sitting in the shade by the pool. Too weird. I think we will shorten our stay in Fiji to just 2 weeks. We have already had a lot of surf and sun, and Cheryl and I are wilting a bit from this tropical heat. It always has to be that way in life, doesn’t it: Feast or Famine? Either 2 months of sun and sand until you have had too much or month after month of cold and rain and snow back home. Maybe it is just me… We will be travelling to one of the outer islands for about a week, so we will probably be incommunicado computerensis in the next week.