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brucemoon Suvasuva - A travel report by Bruce
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Suvasuva,  Fiji - flag Fiji
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brucemoon's travel reports

Fiji - in the Pacific - land of smiles and warmth

  17 votes
Fiji can be magic or tragic - depends on you. Don't get caught at a resort (tragic), but move out of the mainstream and enjoy the charm of the Fijian locals (magic). Bula!


Lesiacevu Point near Savu Savu town & close to Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort
Lesiacevu Point near Savu Savu town & close to Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort
One of the first things you'll notice when visiting Fiji is that the Fijians have big bright smiles - flashed often - while the surly Indians don't seem to know how to smile!!! . . After the British colonialists found they couldn't exploit the native Fijians to work long hours for a pittance, they imported Indians (largely from Calcutta). Now, Indians comprise about 50% of the population. . . As the Fijians generally retained ownership of their agricultural land, the Indians were left to derive an income from urban exploits. Thus, the retailing in all cities / towns is undertaken by Indians. Unfortunately, the Indians brought to Fiji were of the poorest caste, and in Fiji they generally demonstrate little sense of pride. Thus, the retailing areas are dirty and the traders ready to rip you off. This is most pronounced on the main island - Viti Levu. . . Once you leave the Indian dominated Viti Levu, you are in Pacific heaven! I really enjoyed interacting with the wonderfully friendly - English speaking - locals on the other islands. The way they are so willing to engage in conversation is disarming. . . Outside Viti Levu, the beaches are breathtaking. Some have white sand, others black sand. The coral reefs - even for snorkelling - are good. The local markets are fun, and the haphazard bus schedules makes for interesting times. . . Fiji has also allowed foreigners to dominate the good beaches with 'resorts'. Many are priced as if they are in the US. The islands to the north west are where many resorts concentrate (eg. Yasawa's). Even the local 'backpacker' establishments there charge exorbitant prices. Try instead the island of Vanua Levu or Tavueni. Take a ferry/ship from Suva to Savu Savu... Then catch a lift from there.

Favourite spots:
Savu Savu Bay
Savu Savu Bay
Savu Savu on Vanua Levu has to be the best harbour in the Pacific. The holiday accommodation (accessable on the web - www.savusavufiji.com-) is relatively inexpensive. And, the nearby islands are stunning. . The western sand islands are good (but being from the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - limited appeal). Aside from sun and leisure, these sand islands are expensive and limited. . If you go to Fiji, you'll have to start on Viti Levu (at Nadi, pronounced Nandi). But, do yourself a favour and don't schedule too much time on Viti Lavu. But, if you only have time for Viti Lavu, try the north side, especially around Rakiraki.

What's really great:
The hospitality and genuine warmth of the locals is fantastic. And, it is made even more pronounced when comparing to the surly behaviour of the (imported) Indians. . Once outside the island of Viti Levu, if the Fijian locals don't start talking first, it's so easy to start talking with them. And, while they have so much hospitality to give - when they smile, it's so big a smile it lights up your whole life. . Bula!

Sights:
Just another wonderful swimming place
Just another wonderful swimming place
Savu Savu is a magic jewel. A great starting point for the other islands, but travel can be haphazard.

The Navua River on Viti Levu is well publicised, but yuk until the last leg. Suva is 'interesting'!!!!!

The Kings Rd (on the north side of Viti Levu Island) worth the trip.

The roads across Vanua Levu & Tavueni are worth the trips - especially when interacting with locals.

Accommodations:
Sleeps 4 @ US$50/night
Sleeps 4 @ US$50/night
There's so much to see, get out of town. Recommend that you don't stay too long on Viti Levu, nor the sand islands.

Try the net for self accommodation - well worth it. Often just out of town in great locations. But, taxi's are cheap.

Resorts tend to be located in the middle of nowhere, primarily to lock you into their $$$$$$ prices.

Hangouts:
When around, they are a bit iffy.

Restaurants:
Another of Savu Savu including local motel.
Another of Savu Savu including local motel.
Fijians are used to Pacific food (starch & fish), Indians just like curry.

To the western taste, there's a general tendancy against fresh vegetables (Lord knows why, they grow so well).

Protiens are overcooked - make sure you ask for your fish not to be baked (usually for hours).

If you are in a place where you can cook, visit the local market and buy reef fish (typically frozen, but usually for pennies). Mmmmm. I loved it.

Other recommendations:
The western sand islands (eg. Mamanuca's & Yasawa's and are much advertised, so expensive). Note that eastern side of main 2 islands generally have black sand.

Note also 'pacific time' = about then, so while YOU must be on time, the locals can choose not to be.

As coral abounds, always have old sandshoes on hand.

If you choose to go, go off the beaten track and you'll have a wonderful holiday.

Vinaka!

Published on Saturday July 2th, 2005


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Mon, Jul 04 2005 - 03:22 AM rating by marianne

Good, solid information and excellently written. I look forward to reading more reports.

Marianne

Sun, Jul 03 2005 - 07:33 PM rating by rangutan

Fantastic opener and pictures, love it!

Sun, Jul 03 2005 - 06:20 AM rating by magsalex

Vinaka

Sun, Jul 03 2005 - 04:29 AM rating by mkrkiran

Bruce

Nice report. The way you have explained choice between the experiencing the 'magic' by staying out and being 'tragic' by choosing to stay back in resorts, is really good.

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