Up in the rain forest – Nadi, Fiji… – dogs, frogs and time to rest

7 Nov

So, first stop in Fiji is at Stoney Creek resort, up in the mountains above Nadi.  I took a cab up there, the driver complaining bitterly about the low price of the fare on the meter.  I’d booked a dorm room, but already I had been upgraded to a double room, the hostel’s ‘Love Shack’ rooms.  Best not to ask.

It’s beautiful here – out in the middle of nowhere, in the shadow of the Sabeto mountains.  My room has a veranda that looks out across the mountain range – and apart from a couple of frogs and the ever present mosquitos… it’s completely tranquil.  Every now and again a bird calls out, not sure whether to imitate the light sabres from Star Wars, or the blip blip sound of a car remote lock.

Monday & Tuesday

A couple of days spent getting myself back together – dealing with the jetlag, and a sense of displacement caused by leaving my friends, my family and my home, for this crazy adventure.

On Tuesday evening I am the only person at the resort.  The owners decide that she might as well upgrade me to their top suite, with private facilities and hot water.  I accept, delighted, reminding myself to continue to expect God’s blessing on this trip.


After a morning conversation with Gary, a Kiwi pilot who owns Stoney Creek and (until it truly gets established) is also its resident pool cleaner, odd job builder and source of finance – Gary offers to take me to Lautoka, the nearest town, in his beat up Toyota MR2.   Gary’s a bit of a car nut, having shipped a Porsche in pieces from NZ to Fiji.

Lautoka is an interesting town – it’s principally Indo-Fijian, and reminds me a lot of Leicester in the UK,  Lots of Bollywood DVDs on sale, saris and other Indian garments prevail.  But you can definitely get a good curry (the Sea View restaurant provided a vegetable curry, all the accompaniments and a beer for £3).  It’s Diwali, and it reminds me of Christmas – the shops are decorated and everything is on sale.

Lautoka (Sugar Town) is the centre of their sugar cane industry, lorry loads of cut cane barrelling down the road every few minutes.  It’s entertaining enough, but without anything to really set it apart.  But it has shops.. Allowing me to buy the essentials that I need:

  • mosquito repellent because, no matter the fact that the active ingredient in all of them is Deet, the local brand is the one you need to get rid of the local mozzies. And Jungle Formula is next to useless.
  • Flip flops because I am getting fed up putting my sandals on to go to breakfast
  • A belt, because after 3 months on the road, I have lost so much weight my shorts keep falling down.

And then back to the resort.  I miss the stop on the bus, panic and then end up back at the airport.   Quickly getting on another bus in the opposite direction, I hope and pray that it’s the bus that takes the long loop past the resort.  It isn’t, and I face up to the long walk from the road to the resort.  The night, for the first time, is clear, and the star field is illuminated with a billion stars, with unfamiliar constellations.  The Milky Way threads its way across the sky, while my eyes enjoy the spectacular display, augmented by a lightning show a few miles away.  It’s a long walk back, lifted by the glorious night sky, and the cries of the mujahedin calling the Muslim faithful to prayer.

Time for a beer.. And a sleep..


Decided I might go for a little walk up the valley and into the forest… up the unsealed road, watching the local buses and taxis bouncing around the potholes (mostly pothole with some road to fill the gaps in)… I get hailed by everyone passing “Bula!”.. The locals are washing clothes in the river, fishing in the river, swimming in the river, washing their hair in the river….. And it’s hot.  Really hot.


I’ve decided to stay an extra day, and then make my way across the island on Saturday.  It’s Diwali today.. I take a few hours to wrestle with my new book, my next leadership programme, and a special project that I’m hoping to write on Sunday, God willing.  It’s frustrating work, but a couple of slices of fabulous local sultana bread help the process.  And I’ve got special coffee in today from Hawaii.  Full circle!

We’re supposed to go to the Diwali celebrations tonight… just one fly in the ointment…all the taxi drivers are Indo-Fijian, and you can’t get a taxi for love or money.  Still, I can sit on the bar and watch the fireworks from on top of the hill… it’s strange to think that in 12 hours or so, exactly the same thing will happen back in England, for entirely different reasons…



3 Responses to “Up in the rain forest – Nadi, Fiji… – dogs, frogs and time to rest”

  1. Saskia November 7, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    Tim!! So good to see you’re doing well 🙂
    Super stoked to read more about your adventure!

  2. Lindsey November 7, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    Hi Tim
    Thank you for sharing your journey with me – the places and people you meet – and your own journey in life. It’s wonderful to hear what is happening on the other side of the world – how people live etc and whilst being in my cocoon called home – makes me remember how wonderful and exciting the world is. Warmest Lindsey x

  3. David November 7, 2010 at 11:28 am #

    Alice is loving the photos…

    It’s good to hear you’ve arrived ok.

    I want to know how diwali was… xxx

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