Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Arriving in Adelaide for Fijian Conference

from Wendy

If hibiscus blossoms were on the beds, we could have been in a Fijian tourist resort. There were the white fluffy dressing gowns, a fridge full of drinks and cheese. I thought these were ‘complimentary’ to the extreme until I noticed a flapping white paper. ‘You will be charged on your account for drinks and items consumed!’ I did think spirits, wines, and elite label beers were surprises for a Methodist Conference! WE DID NOT COMSUME!

We had an elite villa for six people – three from Geelong, two from Rakiraki (on holiday in Sydney and came with family friends) and a guy from Melbourne who slept on the couch who we barely saw.

The first view of the Shores village was how large it was with about 130 houses, a recreation hall, a dining-room up very steep steps with a small hall underneath and next door was a giant size convention centre (wallsof corrugated iron which made it look like a gigantic shearing shed) and attached was a silver service dining room for weddings (which we did not enter). The convention centre alone cost $1000 or $2000 a day. Next time, which will be in Darwin in two years time, maybe we should use a Uniting Church venue which would be free.

Though Peceli and I arrived in Adelaide at 2 p.m. Thursday the villa keys were not ready so there were a hundred suitcases and bags scattered on the grass and Fijian people sitting on rocks waiting. Some had been there many hours. Okay, lunch was ready – and a lavish smorgasbord lunch it was, then we got our keys. About 450 people were expected to join in the conference. The children were happy jumping on a blown up plastic thing and the youth were about exploring.

Below the dining room was a beach of sorts – lots of rocks, seaweed, a few boats, but then a shoreline for walking. A painting on the lounge wall of our villa was of a delightful palm beach – maybe Sydney – a bit different. Anyway it was winter and no-one was swimming in the sea. It was such a cold wintry grey day and the delegates from Darwin were noticing. Anyway we were not here to play, but to pray.

Peceli went to the Conference hall for the welcomes and opening worship, but I was still coughing a bit and so was my new friend from Totoya (now Rakiraki) so we just had a good yarn in the villa and plenty of tea. We were waiting for Ema to arrive on the 9 p.m. flight but it was delayed three hours! And, as always when meeting Fijian people, we found lots in common and we were related too.

View from our villa verandah of odd tree and communal laundry.

(More to come later about other days at the conference).

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