Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fae, an American in Savusavu

I found this on some Oceania travel site. Fae sounds like a doctor so if you are squeamish don't real all of this post!

Fae in Fiji

Bula everyone! Sorry to have to send a group e.mail but internet access here in Fiji is quite expensive, surprisingly!

Israa and I arrived in Savusavu on Thursday afternoon and were completely exhausted after our long journey from New York via LA. We landed in the capital of Fiji, Nadi, which is not that interesting, but we mooched about and explored it before getting on the tiny plane to Savusavu (the scenery was just astounding and I have lots of amazing aerial shots of the blue sea (very picture postcard). Very cramped seats on the way to Fiji, which sparked a bit of a DVT scare for me, which luckily turned out to be just leg cramps!!

Savusavu is a very sleepy town overlooking Savusavu Bay, with rainforest and mountains in the distance – just stunning. Israa and I couldn’t stop our jaws from dropping when we arrived here as we have really landed in paradise. Our hotel is lovely too and we have breakfast on the deck overlooking the bay. The pool is also on the deck and I get up before 7 every morning to do 30 or 40 laps (great way to start the day!). It’s winter here in Fiji but is still very hot and humid, although it gets a lot cooler at night so it’s bearable for sleeping. The only drawback to it being winter is that the days are quite short – it is dark by 6.15pm.

Israa and I went to the hospital on Friday and were introduced to the doctor in charge, a crazy Burmese guy who wears you out just by talking to him – I’d hate to see him on speed! He’s very friendly and accommodating though and picks us up from our hotel every morning to go to the hospital. Today we have spent our first proper morning in the hospital, and we attended a ward round (one doctor does the ward round for the whole hospital and therefore all different kinds of patients (only a 58 bed hospital). Most of the patients here have tropical diseases, such as leptospirosis, dengue fever and elephantiasis. It was also reassuring to see that TB patients just stay in the same ward as everyone else and there is no hand washing between patients!!!

Watched a delivery today which was very interesting indeed. One woman had just finished giving birth and was getting stitched up while the next woman ready to give birth was in the same room waiting to get on the birthing bed – I don’t know if they’ve heard of privacy here!! And the midwife was still covered in blood from the previous patient while examining the next one – ugh! The Fijian medical student did one delivery and the next one will be mine, so I’m looking forward to that. Also re-sited an IV drip today, so am pleased that they just let us get stuck in.

Israa and I start a dive course this afternoon, so hopefully by next week we will be qualified divers! Diving is not something I’ve got a burning ambition to do as I’m more than a little anxious about the whole shark situation (apparently Fiji waters are riddled with them!), but whilst we are here we may as well take advantage of everything that’s on offer.

We’ve managed to get a bit of a social life here – Is and I went out for dinner with an Australian eco warrior called Adam on Saturday night, which was different. Israa doesn’t dig the whole eco mad thing, so she cried off going out for after dinner drinks and we turned in early instead (still getting used to the time difference as we are 12 hours ahead of British time). Last night we went out for Chinese with this British woman called Lindsay, who has been travelling the world by herself for the past 10 months, fairplay to her). Have also been having breakfast with an American couple who are staying at our hotel, although they leave for another island today. Every Friday at our hotel there is a dance for the village. Shocking music – very Country and Western and Hawaiian Aloha style, with a few Sixties numbers mixed in. We found that it was the custom for Fijian men to ask women to dance and if you refuse to dance with one man, you have to refuse them all, so Israa and I found ourselves tripping round the dancefloor with all and sundry! Israa danced with a very attractive Oliver Reed in ‘Castaway’ lookalike (!!!) who was a yacht-owner, whilst my particular favourite was the 50+ Fijian who did an ancient rain-dance which looked a cross between the kangaroo and bunny-hop!

Hired a 4 wheel drive jeep over the weekend and explored our island, driving the Hibiscus Highway, which was just breathtaking. We drove through traditional villages and waved to all the residents (Fijian people are so friendly), and sat and ate lunch on a beach whilst chatting to a Fijian woman who was making traditional medicines from palm tree bark. We also drove to Labasa, the other major town on the island, which was nothing to speak of, but the road there was beautiful, although a rough gravel road which was so bumpy that it gave us the stitch! ......

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