Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Fri 17 Oct 2014 04:58
Sorry, we haven't blogged since we approached the reef outside the city.
Hope you enjoyed some of the pictures from Fulaga, my intention is to post more as I can get to it.
Unfortunally there are hips of pictures that cannot be posted now as my computer is dead and with that the program that processes my raw files.
I have ordered a new one and hopefully we can pick it up in Savusavu in 2 weeks.
Im not going to bore you with all the details that comes with chasing batteries etc, but one story is hard to resist.
First day at the anchorage I jumped ashore with three companies and their adresses in my notebook.
The first one, Pacific Batteries happened to be on the same side of town as we are so I took my apostle horses and rode off towards the small town of Lami and the industrial area behind it (oh if you do not know what kind of horses the apostles had... their legs).
So I walked off at high pace determined to visit all 3 companies in one day, and to make you disappointed, I made it...
BUT when I finally made it to Pacific Batteries I came to a big industrial site having their name on a huge sign!
I approached the guard that looked at me like a marsian- "What do you want?"
"I'd like to meet a sales person about buying batteries"
"Oh, you can't go in here, only if you want to leave scrap batteries"
"OK where do I go in?"
"On the other side"
I looked both ways and there was lot after lot with other company grounds,
"must be far to walk around" I looked not to happy
"yes, you can walk that way" and he pointed to the right.
"Is that the shortest way?" I asked, being a producer for more than 25 years I learned to ask silly questions and thank god I did
"No, then you go that direction" and he pointed to the left...
Well 1 km later I was 80 meters from the gate that I was not allow to enter from the other side...
Thank you very much.
But I must say, that even being in the Capital of Fiji people are wonderful and I love the entrepreneurship that the Indians show.
They are not to be kidded, if they want your business they'll get it.
All three places were very friendly but Sunrise batteries obviously wanted to sell to us, not only did they quote the best price, 365FIJI Dollars per 120 Amph deep cycle battery that is about 120Euro/each, but they sent a guy down this morning to check the compartment etc to make sure it is right.
They will deliver, install and take the old batteries back with them.
We havent seen the delivery yet but it feels good.
So we have camped in a small bay called Tradewinds, it is the most protected spot around Suva and the moorings are for free. Provided by the legendary surfer Tony something, he does this to keep all the fishing boats away from the bay (rimes).
Approaching the big reef around Suva is like a commercial to insure your boat; wreckes are piled next to each other in a long row.
Some are just a rusty abstract sculpture made by Gaudi others are still painted and look like pretty fresh cargo ships. Must be terrible to be so close and not knowing there is only a pass to get inside. We sailed through the pass in 7 knots, in a hurry to find a spot before it got dark.
As we got the mooring guided by Windarra (again!) the darkness fell like a heavy bar of black steel.
But as Windarra was leaving for New Caledonia first thing in the morning we decided to ask them over and soon we also had One White Tree on board.
Dark it was but our cockpit was enlightned by stories and sharing of experiencies.
The only disadvantage being at the Tradewinds is that we have to take a bus into town, it costs 75cents (0,3 Euro), and the buses come every 10 minutes. They are a story by itself. First of all do not set up a car window business in Fiji, especially not for buses. They have no windows and no doors. Second I love the seats, as people want to sit why have a wide walk/stand up path in the middle? No you make it 2 dm wide...
Even so, each sofa takes 2 normal adults, at least in Sweden you would think it was, but not in Fiji, EVERYBODY wants to sit on the bus (maybe they have to), that means, you take a seat by the window, and enjoy the air and the space, till next stop, then a widebutt person joins you with a big smile, you smile back and try to move into the wall. You think that was enough? Nope. Later on a third person decides to sit on that same sofa, so the person next to you moves up half her as--butt  on your left leg, and just as you thought that was cramped enough...
As you approach the terminal in the middle of the city you realise this is where all your friends from the islands come to sell their kasava, clams, mats and wood work, and they look very shaggy here in the city crisscrossed by the latest model cars from Japan. You have a heavy mix of street vendors, beggers and super shopping malls. Here you will find the cruising ship that is bigger than the city, and the passengers scattered around town sucking it all in. Now they can say they have been in Fiji... Another shopping mall, thats where you find most of them. Hopefully some jump into a dirty cheap taxi with an indian driver that will take them where they want for some scrap money.
I used some taxis to get to other ends of the city to visit other battery vendors and the cost to go by taxi is ridicolous, from one end of the city to the other (25 minutes drive) for 8 Fijidollar (3,2 Euro). And during the ride you get the best entertainment you never expected to get.
I love this one that happened to me today.
"Where do you stay?" (read with indian accent)
"On a sailing boat"
"Oh, where did you sail from?"
"mmmmm Sweden-oh my god! THAT IS FAR AWAY! You are good at soccer!"
"Thank you, so you know where it is?"
"Oh yes you play ice hockey too!"
"I guess we are pretty good"
"Well this year no, Canada-first, USA second"
"So you watch icehockey?" (remember it is 30 degrees in the cab)
"Oh yes!" and then he starts a bunch of list talk about teams here and there
"I have to admit I do not know anything about sports..."
And the guy takes this seriously, he is about to teach me everything about ice hockey, the rules ("you know in ice hockey you are allowed to play BEHIND the goal?", the teams, and we approach this bay surrounded by coconut trees and there is Salsa, so far away from home.
I thank him for the lesson and pay him a couple of dollars and he laughs and takes off, shaking his head about meeting a Swede that HE had to teach how to play hockey....