This is part of the fourteenth section of our around
the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Tuvalu
27/11/07 Back in Fiji, Suva, the same hotel, again waiting for the
motorcycle, hopefully it will already be here from Tuvalu.
28/11/07 The ship arrived in port this morning and the motorcycle
was unloaded. In the morning we were told it should be available tomorrow
morning but by afternoon it won't now be ready to be collected till at least
late tomorrow, Thursday afternoon. Williams and Gosling Shipping have a pretty
relaxed island time frame it would seem. Last freight must be in their warehouse
by midday Monday for onward shipping to Kiribati so it will likely be a short
ride in Fiji.
29/11/07 It took till 3.30 pm for the motorcycle to arrive at the
company's bonded warehouse. We attempted to uncrate it to ride but ran out
of time by warehouse closing at 5.00 pm, mainly because we couldn't get it
to start. With old fuel from India perhaps the cause.
fuel, old fuel cleared from the lines, new air filter fitted, spark plugs
cleaned and the motorcycle jumped into life. On one of the best days, weather
wise, we have seen in Suva, we rode into the 180th country. The new rear
tyre we had brought with us on the first visit to Fiji two months ago, and
had been stored at our hotel, was fitted at the local tyre place, and wheel
bearings repacked with grease. Not having done many kilometres on the motorcycle
in the last few months doesn't mean no maintenance is needed. A quiet ride
along the coast to the east for a few kilometres, and return, finished the
1/12/07 As the motorcycle needs to be re-crated on Monday, two days
away, we decided to just go out for a day's ride and headed towards Nadi.
Another beautiful sunny day and our first real ride since leaving Sri Lanka
over four months ago. The reasonable road follows the coast most of the way,
winding through hills and with little traffic. Stopped in at a couple of local
places for a coffee and lunch before returning home mid afternoon, a little
tired after not being on the motorcycle for this long for a while.
2/12/07 We have decided to take advantage in the small countries we
expect to visit over the next year, using spare time between shipping to
do some long overdue
restoration maintenance on the motorcycle. It is now 14 years old and showing
signs of rust where we have made repairs or where paint has worn away. Washed
off the protective layer of WD40 we had sprayed on the motorcycle in the
Maldives, and a couple of preparatory jobs looking at what materials will
be necessary to maintain the motorcycle filled the day.
3/12/07 Back to the Williams and Gosling warehouse and again the two
hour job of breaking down and re-crating the motorcycle, now pretty much routine.
They are very supportive and allowed us to work in their storage area. The
poor quality steel in the crate, from India, is showing signs of bad rusting
after its recent deck voyage from Tuvalu. The motorcycle is supposed to be
placed in a container to Kiribati today and is scheduled to leave on the
6th on the "Kiribati Chief", arriving in Tarawa, Kiribati's capital, on the
11th, we shall see if all goes to plan. Owing to the mistake that Williams
and Gosling made previously, shipping the motorcycle to Tuvalu before we
had time to ride in Fiji, it looks like we will receive a special price for
this shipment, but won't know till it is loaded.
4/12/07 We have decided to stay at our hotel in Suva until the ship
sails, allowing us to receive the original "bill of lading", and to make sure
it actually goes. Whilst Suva is not a particularly great tourist destination
we are finding our hotel and the facilities comfortable to wait around at.
We have located a few reasonable restaurants, internet and have generally
become part of the furniture as we have been here so long, people friendly
5-7/12/07 The Kiribati Chief was delayed arriving by a cyclone just
to the north of Fiji and only docked on the 7th. Williams and Gosling decided
to provide free freight for the motorcycle, we paid port, handling and customs
charges, not a bad deal and we picked up an advance copy of the Bill of Lading.
8-9/12/07 Took one of the many mini buses that ply the Suva, Nadi
road to Korotogo, passing the Suva wharf we noticed "Kiribati Chief" was
still being loaded so it will be a race who gets to Kiribati first, us or
the motorcycle. Korotogo is a small village right on the water about an hour
before Nadi that has seen better days. The recent coup, well it just had
its one year anniversary, deters many people from coming to the country.
There is also a travel warning out, mainly aimed at Suva, which can be a
bit rough on a pay Thursday or Friday when drinking becomes a problem. Fiji's
coups started in 1987, another one 2001 and 2006 was the latest, with an
interim government still in power. One locals opinion was the country is
no better off under either regime. The government was corrupt but tourists
came. The interim government is at least honest but no tourists are arriving.
Korotogo, usually has a lot of tourists with low
key hotels and resorts but apart from a few ex-pats here for the weekend
we seem to be the only others in the area. The place, with its coups, in
some ways seems no better than the African countries we are more used to
10/12/07 Moved onto Nadi early morning, the main tourist town of Fiji,
where most tourists spend either a night or two between flights and resorts
or brave the "real" Fiji by going outside the comfort resort zone, and where
shop keepers are used to getting a decent living, now taken from them by
the lack of tourists. Selling is hard, trying all the more usual pressures
to get people to buy from their shops.
11/12/07 We were nabbed by Wyndham Vacation Resorts, a time share
resort operator, offering rewards for sitting through a sales presentation.
With not much to occupy our time a taxi collected us at our backpackers and
ferried us to a resort island next to Nadi. Sheraton and Ramada were both
neighbours, with their resorts adding credibility to the one on offer. We
enjoyed the refreshments, presentation, stroll around the resort and a look
at its facilities. We noticed many holidayers, excited about a time share
and were signing themselves up for a lifetime of resort holidays. At the
end of the presentation we declined the option to purchase, no real hard
sell and collected our reward. We chose a day cruise on a yacht, available
tomorrow, a pretty reasonable compensation for a three hour distraction today.
We felt we had benefited more than those who parted with money and signed
up, and that we only benefited less than the company handling the sales.
12/12/07 We should have been collected from our "resort" by Captain
Cook Cruises but as we are staying in a backpackers in Nadi, and received
a free ticket, they don't seem to consider it suitable to them to do so and
we need to be at their locale early, and waited. The day's cruise to an island
just off Nadi was extremely pleasant. The seventy passengers were a great
friendly mix, many were already time share holidayers, comfortable with their
decision, many were like us, just happy for the free day's outing, some even
paid for the trip at a pretty over inflated price. After 90 minutes the sailing
boat comes to a tropical island, usual, sandy beach, palm covered, glass bottom
boat, snorkelling boat. Relaxed program, friendly staff, an attempt at making
the experience a bit traditional with a Kava, local alcoholic drink, ceremony,
a gas barbecue hangi, but it all fell a bit short of most people's expectations.
The "relaxed" island atmosphere had permeated the event, masks and snorkels
were mouldy, they ran out of morning tea cake on the way over and biscuits
on the way back. It all showed what we have heard from many tourists to Fiji,
attention to detail for what is paid is quite poor, but the locals are friendly
and not too stressed.
Move with us to Kiribati
Story and photos copyright ©
Peter and Kay Forwood,