Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A bus ride to Suva

from w

The journey from Pacific Harbour (Deuba) to Suva is a pleasant drive with changing scenery, banyan trees in fields,vegetable farms, mountains, pandanus trees, trees totally covered with creepers, small rivers, the beautiful Wainidoi area bought by the Australian Dick Smith with a huge plan for redevelopment something like Pacific Harbour in the 70s, the Naboro Prison, (wave a hello to Speight and company?) the Church of the Poor village (though they have excellent food gardens and surely would not be poor), Catholic Missions, past blossoming tulip trees, houses built on swampland, mangroves, Joske’s Thumb, the suburb of Lami, the village of Suvavou, then the sight of highrises of Suva city.

One Sunday afternoon we caught the Qaloa bus at Pacific Harbour.

We expecting a 50 minute ride to Suva, but… this time was a much longer journey. No wonder the bus was almost empty when we boarded it and paid out $3 each.

It was not an express bus at all, as the bus unexpectedly turned right down a rough road where there were numerous small houses and little farms, picked up passengers, and then returned to the highway. Okay, so far so good. After 20 minutes, Navua town was in front us but instead of bypassing the main area, the bus turned and drove past the hospital that always gets flooded, the nicely painted Timothy Memorial Church and past the huddled shops and a Public Convinience – ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ we were informed, funded by Multiethnic Affairs Central. TV antennas with cable shone in the son above tin shacks or brightly painted shops, though the market beside the river looked really tumbledown. Right up along the river and eventually we reached the sea where we could see two islands in the distance, and then past the village of Tonitoni with its dilapidated government quarters, and around the backblocks of Navua, then a sign Tiri Villas – some tourist development that is hidden from view.Tiri – that means mangroves so what is it like I wondered. By this time the bus was really crowded, picking up passengers here and there and it didn’t seem that there were real bus stops at all. They just got on and off anywhere!

We arrived in Suva after at least one and half hours, and walked past a screaming evangelist from the New Methodist Church. As Peceli searched for a taxi to take us to the flat, I was accosted by a mentally challenged woman who persisted in asking questions. She wanted me to buy her cigarettes but I refused. Some peanuts then, she asked. No. I was tired and irritable. Anyway we had got our money’s worth from the bus ride, seen some new countryside, and how the other half live I suppose.
(I will add more pictures after breakfast!)


nzm said...

As soon as I saw your drawing of the banyans, I thought of Navua.

We used to drive through there on our way to Deuba for holidays.

Our dog, who was a great traveller in cars, used to hate the Navua Bridge. She would bark and jump around while we were on it - even if we blindfolded her before we got to it.

The bridge got swept away during Hurricane Bebe in 72. A Baileys (temporary) Bridge was erected, and our dog never barked again as we crossed the Navua River.

She must have known that the old bridge wasn't safe!

I love those Banyan trees in the fields. I always wanted to go and climb them or lie underneath one.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Nzm, you were quick to respond as I was still putting in pictures after breakfast. The landscape is beautiful on this stretch of road with so much variety. Some of the Labasa farmers have been relocated to near Navua and it looks like they are doing well with their vegetable farming.

nzm said...

Yes - I see that you've added more images now!

That area of Fiji always seemed to me to be very fertile and extremely organised as far as agriculture goes. It was a joy to drive through.