Suva, Fiji Islands – May 1999

Spelt as S-U-V-A and pronounced as Soova, this is the capital of the Fiji Islands.

From Nadi (where 99% of our International flights arrive), you can catch a coach to Suva. Check with Sunset Express, located at the Airport Concourse.

The fare to Suva is only $10.00 and the trip is a 3 1/2 hour scenic journey winding along the coast all the way to Suva.

There are other options, both cheaper (by about two dollars) and expensive (by about twenty dollars). But some words of wisdom…”Never catch a mini bus while in Fiji”. These are extremely fast and dangerous modes of transport and are often considered death traps.

No matter how deep your pocket is when it comes to finances, there are heaps of places to stay in Suva. Suva offers many opportunities for bargains and sales and this is the place to try out your bargaining skills.

Be warned, though, that prices have been known to go up the moment that shopkeepers notice that your “bula” is not as eloquently pronounced as that of the locals or that your skin is way overdue for a session of sun worship.

ThereÂ’s always a local price so try and beat the game and let your bargaining powers take control.

However, be warned; this place is crawling with sword sellers. One of their favourite trips is approaching you on the streets, asking you for your name and sketching it onto a mask, sword or whatever it is they are trying to sell you and then make you feel obliged to buy it.

Whatever you do, donÂ’t give in! The prices that they are charging are normally outrageous and their workmanship is poor at times. If you want to buy local handicraft, check out the Suva Handicraft Centre across the road from the water front. Ask around, the locals are friendly!!!

If youÂ’re ever stuck or need advice, I recommend that you pay the Fiji Visitors Bureau a visit. They are in the middle of Suva and the staff is really helpful. After all, they are there for you, the overseas visitor.

There are so many things to do and places to go with Suva as your base. You might want to check out the museum, which is just a ten minute walk from the CBD and is located in a lovely big estate. DonÂ’t expect Da Vinci and Monet because FijiÂ’s museum has the recordings of the evolution of this country and its and people and their lifestyles.

Located next door to the museum is Government House. Yep, you guessed it; itÂ’s the PresidentÂ’s pad.

Sprawling estate, golf course and the basic needs to any president, satellite dish, garage full of cars etc, etc. Point of interest is the fact that the guards at the gate are not allowed to talk, eat, smile (fart ??) while on duty.

ThereÂ’s a supervisor at the gatehouse overlooking it all and if he breaks protocol (even smiling) heÂ’s in trouble. Opportune time to take those Kodak moments. Caption of your photo may read ” Me and the guard at Government House. Me smiling. Him, not allowed”.

The nightlife is excellent in Suva. Being a small city, there aren’t that many bars to go to. I highly recommend Bad Dog Café and O’Reileys. The staff there are lovely and the atmosphere is just totally hip-hop-let’s party (especially on the weekend).

Both bars are located next to each other and each has a door that connects to a third bar called
Wolfhound Bar.

Another good place to party is Traps. YouÂ’ll know what I mean about the party life when you come here.

There is so much to explore outside the boundaries of Suva. Activities range from white water rafting to bush walks to simply exploring a Fijian village complete with thatched houses.

DonÂ’t be surprised if the people put on a feast in your honour and perform dances for you. This
is simply the hospitality of the Fijian people being practised.

If you make it as far as Navua ( 30 minutes out of Suva) your trip to the village (located high up the winding roads) will end with you being sent down on a leisurely trip down-river on a bamboo raft complete with local guides.

All you have to do is relax, soak in the sun and enjoy the feel of the water as your fingers skip along the surface of the fresh water river.

This is probably the first word that youÂ’ll hear when you enter Fiji.

Nestled in the blue lagoons, swaying coconut trees and the friendly smiles of the Fijian people, Fiji is definitely an idyllic country to come to.

IÂ’m not into Latitude and Longitute (simply because I donÂ’t know it) but Fiji is smack bang in the middle of the South Pacific. I suggest consulting an Atlas if you really want to get

Consisting of three hundred plus islands; the majority of which are uninhabited, Fiji is located at the crossroads of the South Pacific where culture and tradition come alive.

Fiji is a blend of past and present, where tradition and modernisation meet.

No matter what you’re looking for in Fiji, be sure that there is an island in Fiji that caters for your need and has your name on its sandy beach.

The main stay for travellers are Nadi town (gateway into Fiji) and Suva (Capital city).

There are many places to stay no matter what budget youÂ’re on; so all you have to do is check-in, relax with your bowl of kava (FijiÂ’s traditional drink which is earth-brown in colour and many times been mistaken for muddy water) and soak it all in!

Fiji runs on GMT. Well, only planes, buses, cinemas and boardrooms do, while the rest of the country runs on what we locals like to call “Fiji Time”.

ItÂ’s simply an atmosphere where people do things at their own pace and no ones in a hurry to move on with life.

YouÂ’ll need a good pair of hiking boots, adequate amount of insect repellent, a good camera and loads of film to catch those Kodak moments.

For more info about Fiji, I definitely give the Fiji Visitors Bureau the thumbs-up.

Finally, IÂ’m Hudson Mitchell, your correspondent for the Fiji Islands.

Born and raised in the Fiji Islands, IÂ’m 19 ( two more years to glorious freedom), under 6ft tall (still a growing boy IÂ’m told), have an excellent pair of Heavy Duty Voyager boots (simply the best) and am badly infected with the travelling bug ( I hear a lot of it is going around nowadays)!!

Each month IÂ’ll be bringing you updates on the Fiji Islands and I hope that someday you will come to love Fiji; the way the world should be.

I hope that youÂ’ll enjoy all that the Fiji Islands and its people have to offer you!

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