Sunday morning in Suva in the rain

tony zwig
Sat 29 Sep 2007 23:01




Sunday morning in Suva in the rain


Well, things worked out with customs, immigration, health, and quarantine.  After a number of phone calls to the Suva Yacht Club, the woman there arranged for the 4 officers to visit us if we paid overtime.  We did and they did.  Total US$200.  I must say the 2 men and 2 women were amongst the friendliest of officials we have met on the trip.  This is in complete contradiction to the guide books who  slagged the Suva officials as unfriendly, unhelpful, and racist against non Melanesians.  (Dick asks that I define slag , to denigrate; he assumed that if he didn’t know it, noon he knew would)  The officials mentioned that we would have to recall them to check out, even to go elsewhere in Fiji.  As they described this, they realized this was bureaucratic and helped simplify the process.  For details, call me directly.  Then I had to pay them in Fiji dollars so we together went off to the yacht club to get some local currency at a very inflated rate.

The yacht club and Suva reminded me of Rudyard Kipling.  Sort of a decay all around.  The feeling was made more depressing by the rain that gave a feeling of imminent collapse to the building.  There was a dance or party room blocked off from the bar, not looking like it had seen activity in many years and fronted by a stage with fake ship railings.  I could imagine the Brit expats, back in the days of the Raj; swirling around the dance floor in their finest.  This “oasis” is located directly across the road from another institution, the Suva Prison, whose walls are painted bright colors, which do nothing to lighten the feeling of doom emanating from the building poking above, and reminding me of film depictions of 18th century prisons , a la Bastille.  At the yacht club, the bar was filled with furniture, really the other sailors,  that looked like they were nailed to the bar and had a very tired, overwhelmed look as if to say, “What did I get myself into, in coming here by boat?”  They looked haggard, flush faced from too much sun and too much liquor and generally tired from trading too many lies with each other.  One  reason I spend only little time in  these conversations, is because I find most people don’t know much and  end up spreading disinformation that I find confusing and tends to put me on edge as I need to quickly filter truth out of fiction.  For example, with respect to the poor Marita, that hit the reef yesterday, we heard everything from, she was ok because she only hit in sand to ,her keel was torn off and the boat is foundering and the shell shocked couple has been seen removing all their worldly possessions.  I looked at the other sailors in the bar, and hoped we didn’t look that bad.  The exception was a funny friendly Japanese man who had sailed his Catalina from Japan.  Talk about brave or silly or ….

After lunch at the yacht club we took a 2 minute cab ride into town.  I generally like urban centres and find the mix and energy and apparent chaos, attractive and energizing. Suva struck me as in a decay where clearly deteriorating buildings stood next to new construction of large complexes.  Ken and Dick said this was similar to other 3rd world towns they knew.  The food market was fascinating with all the activity and bright colors of food and flowers.  The mix of Fijians and Indians was interesting and fun and we felt safe walking around in the town and mingling in this other world.  (Again the guide books are wrong)

We all fell asleep at 8pm last night. 

Off to breakfast in YC