Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Mon 10 Aug 2015 22:07
The Markets of Suva
On our walking tour of Suva we bimbled toward the docks and had to walk one side of the 1930 Harbour Front building.
In front of us was the South Gate, Port of Suva.
To our right we entered a modest doorway and found ourselves in a mass of colour, aromas and the freshest fruit and vegetables at really low prices. The $21 they wanted for a cauliflower in Musket Cove seemed a far cry from the $4 here. I spoke to the tomato man who would be happy to find me solid green tomatoes to wrap in newspaper for our forward few months. We asked about things we didn’t recognise and indeed, had never seen before. The stall holders were very smiley but we had to watch our ankles during the speedy overtaking of the barrow boys, well, mostly wheelbarrows.
From the centre of town to market land.
The egg man waiting for customers.
A heap of pineapples sell for one pound seventy, or you can just have a chunk as you shop.
The ladies can buy pandanus grass on rolls, the biggest were ten pounds, the smallest a pound. From a distance Bear headed to the ‘gaffer tape’ only to find it was the dyed grass used for the intricate patterns added after an item is finished.
More eggs, under two pounds a dozen – and they are a good size.
I loved this ‘barrow boy’ taking a breather.
Opposite was the bus station we had seen as we flew over the city.
All sorts of colourful snacks were for sale along the bus station.
We walked by the ‘workers’ favourite cafe and Bear had ago on the big delivery truck.
We walked around the edge of the market, the small stalls along the way sold tiny dishes of the seaweed we had seen the ladies picking on Rabi Island, all freshly washed with a teeny chilli on the top as garnish. Plates of ceviche and sushi, fruits and vegetables, all very nicely presented. Next we crossed the road nearing the fish market and watched as a man scrupulously washed an area, laid out his plastic sheet and formed neat piles of clam shells.
The fish market was a series of very well used freezers, too warm to have anything out on show.
To our right one of the Chinese fishing fleet was in for unloading.
Big, fat, frozen-hard tuna were being loaded into a cold store.
The rest of the ladies were resting quietly.
The topography over the other side of the bay.
Careful how we stepped over the poorly maintained kerbs we made our way to the handicraft market.
The building we entered had loads of tiny stalls all with welcoming holders who promised we could look unmolested. One Asian man was particularly proud to be called Mark and told us we would have his best deals of the day for being Brits. We spoke to a man whose stall was filled with the newly finished stock from Fulanga and a lady said she was pleased not to have to sit crossed legged all day like the Fijians. There was some really nice stuff but Beez has already got enough on board to make some quarantine men squeak.
My favourite stall was in the next building. A stamp shop, just six feet wide and a mass of organised disorder. The owner was a Chinaman well into his seventies, an absolute sweetheart who knew where everything was, hauled a massive album out from under a curtain to the left when I asked for a pretty set for Lady Mac. He told me he had been born here and we chatted while I went through the offered album, stopping at a set of butterflies.
If you look past the tatty edges this city has a wonderful heart.
ALL IN ALL A SMORGASBORD OF COLOUR AND CULTURE
VAST AND SUCH GOOD VALUE