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Saturday, March 22, 2003
and we are back in Suva:
Last nights dinner was fantastic, we had Chateau Briand and crepes suzette afterwards, was all done tableside with a lot of fire, flames and show, and the result was just great !!!
Today then we hopped on the boat back to Denerau and after some technical problems we arrived 2.5 hours later (since for some weird reason we were again on the long route, stopping at all other islands) .. we then drove the 200 km back to Suva, and the house did not burn down and the cat is still alive ..
I will edit pictures and text and add it in here and below .. so come back and scroll down !!
Well, seems I cannot connect my iBook, so , pics will come later ..
Today we went diving: The dive operation seems to cater to several resorts, so It was no surprise that the boat was quite full. And actually with 4 japanese girls (incl. Ritsu) they were the majority. Another couple seemed to be Scandinavian and then 3 more caucasian people. Our dive guides were Cecil and Charlie, both very nice. Charlie had the "pleasure" of playing shepherd under water, as some of the group kept trying to follow a different dive group which passed us. The first dive ("Supermarket" allegedly known for its sharks .. well, no sharks on this dive) was highly unspectacular in terms of sight seeing, but watching the group interaction was quite fun. The second dive ("Pleasure Point" a very colorful collection of hardcorals) was more fun, Cecil pointed out lots of things, e.g. a "crown of thorn" which I had never seen before.
As ususal, the applied sunscreen was either washed away or sweat off, so I bet I am getting another nice sunburn.
Lunch was ok, Ritsu had Pasta and I had a teriyaki steak burger, what was the most irritating bit was the fact that we had to sign 3 different bills: one for kitchen, one for the bar where my beer came from, and one for the bar where Ritsu's juice came from ...
looking fwd to that flambee thingy again tonight !!!
This is one of those nice resort islands off the westcoast. Pretty much what people associate with Fiji: Palm trees, white beaches, blue water, eternal sunshine.
These islands can be reached by several boats leaving Denerau Marina, which is just 4km away from Nadi. They operate like busses there. Since we had time for lunch, we went to Cardo's, right at the pier, and they advertised beer for 2$ and wood fire pizzas. Though I did not really see any wood burning in that oven, the pizzas were the best I had eaten so far in Fiji. They had some more interesting varieties on the menu, which we ran out of tummy space to try, e.g. the "Lee Fai Beef" pizza I need to try next time, cubes of beef marinated chinese style together with shrimp ...
At 3 PM we boarded our boat, I would estimate it can easily transport over 100 people, but it was only 1/4 full. The trip was a nice sight seeing tour and after stopping at 3 other resorts (Malolo, Castaway [yes, they actually shot that Tom Hanks movie around there] and Mana) we arrived here. It is quite different compared to places we had been before (especially compared to Toberua), but so far it has been very nice.
We were especially impressed by the dinner we had: They have a seperate corner of their restaurant which they call "restaurant flambee" .. meaning that all dishes are prepared table side ... and we tried it, and it was great and the portions were very generous .. I had a lobster chowder to start with .. and instead of just a bit of lobster leftover, it must have been a full lobster tail in there ... Ritsu had a ceasar salad with very fresh dressing .. it just lacked some lemon juice ... and then we shared a seafood smorgasboard ... meant as a single serving .. but even together we could not finish it ...
For desert we just did some skinny dipping in the ocean right in front of our bure :)
Oh, and one thing that is really nice is the "free internet connection" !!! They have one PC set up at the reception area, which seems to be connected all the time ... no dialing up, so far I have seen no line of waiting
people ... and judging from the speed it seems to be ISDN ... I will try to connect my iBook tomorrow and try to upload pics ... cheers
Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon I spent some time in the hotel pool between sessions of watching TV, but they just kept repeating the GWB speech way too often. This Tanoa international hotel is quite nice, more business traveller oriented. We stayed there for dinner, though some people claimed the food was not too good, but my roast rack of lamb was very nice, and Ritsu seemed to have liked her fish quite some too.
So yesterday I drove all the way to Nadi. For those who do not have the mandatory Fiji map in front of them, Suva (the capital, where we live) is all the way east, Nadi (the international airport and hub for conventions and multiple tourist resorts) is all the way west. 200km (130 miles) on queensroad. Takes about 3 hours, very winding roads, lots of going up and down, all one lane, so lots of jeopardy playing passing trucks (or dodging police cars).
I made a lunch break at Tabua Sands, where we spent time with parts of our families around xmas, and the waitress serving me actually remembered us. Lunch was a so so burger.
The closer I got to Nadi, I noticed a change in scenery: more mountainous, more fur trees (some of them pretty dead), looked different then Suva.
I arrived in Nadi around 3 PM and had no trouble finding Ritsu's hotel and the reception gave me a key card right away. I spent some refreshing 15 minutes in the pool. Ritsu had a quick break from her meeting, after which I drove around a bit, taking in the place, noticing structural differences: No highrise buildings. All just shops and restaurants. Interestingly I saw some "railway crossing" signs .. that is the first time I saw those in Fiji .. so .. there ARE (or were) trains in Fiji it seems.
For dinner we went to Nadi's branch of Daikoku, after we found out that "the other" japanese restaurant we were looking forward to "Nakamura" was closed. This Daikoku had quite some other stuff than the Suva branch ... but it was also more pricey ... we decided to have all non-Teppanyaki stuff: Large Sashimi platter (which had octopus and salmon, besides the usual snapper and tuna), eggplant with bonitoflakes, some chicken yakitori, pan seared beef -sliced- with ponzu sauce, and some sweet rice in a pastry pouch ... Ritsu opted later (while I was already full) for some ume-cha: rice with pickled plums in tea ... sounds weird, but she loved it. In Suva we rarely pay more then 50F$ for 2 people .. but this one was over 80F$, and we did not have anything fancy.
We went back and we wanted to stay a bit around the bar, but got seriously eaten by mozzies, they seem to have adapted to all kinds of repellents here. So, we went to bed, and it has been quite a while I spent a night in a airconditioned room, but besides the bed being too soft, it was nice.
Ritsu did her business thing again, while I was watching BBC and CNN for the "end of the ultimatum" ... at 11:15 she was done and we went to Nadi town to check out the place. It is basically a stretch of street, lots of Handicraft shops, at each door someone inviting you to come in, glitzy "duty free" shops (they charge more for local liquor than the local supermarkets ... how is that duty free ???) and few restaurants. And at the end of a street is a colorful indian temple which looks like a left over prop piece of Blah Blah and the chocolate factory (darn, name forgotten, was not "Harry Potter" .. though that was be a funny idea, well, all the ooompa looompa is not jumpstarting my brain, yet) [12 hours later it finally dawns on me: Willy Wonka !!! not Harry Potter !!!]. Here some pics:
We then spent some time at the connect internet cafe, and the place was pretty nice .. not really cheap: 2F$ for the first 10 mins and then 20Fct for the next minute ... but the speed felt better than what I had in a while, the PCs were not that recent, Ritsu could not get into her email, but ah-well, not bad at all ... I talked to people there and they confiremd I could connect with my own machine (if you see this update it may actually have worked) ... interestingly it turns out they charge 1F$ per 1MB download !!!
Afterwards we had lunch at Daikoku (we were looking for a Thai restaurant which was just not there anymore ... ) but again, lunch was a very different thing ... so, it was actually like as if we had been to a different restaurant, besides the fact that we were greeted with "nice to see you again". I had Tempura Shrimp over rice and Ritsu had them with Udon. It was ok. We went back to the hotel, Ritsu had to go back to work, and I watched how the US went after "targets of opportunity" and how GWB addressed the TV audience.
Watching BBC and CNN all day I just keep wondering how war in the more recent years has become such a media event ... who needs an intelligence service anymore .. just browse the internet ... and many free consultants happily outline the ideal ways of striking your enemy, or how to defend your place. What to do to fool media and where cameras are stationed ... it is getting silly ...
Makes me wonder how long it actually took in WW2 from shooting footage until it showed up in newsreels in movie theaters .. 4 weeks ? 6 weeks ??
And what about the feature? Realtime interatcive ? "This cruise missile is proudly sponsored by" ... or people can elect firing missiles using their remotes ??
Rain Rain Rain, we had a couple of heavy downpours the last few days. Tricky to snap pictures of, but maybe the ones below give an idea .. that "river" is our drain, a little creek like thing that makes rainwater flow back to the sea ... it has to be maintained / cleaned regulary (by the gardener) so it won't turn into a house swamping puddle (as happened to one family accoring to the monday newspaper, when they woke up, there was 5 ft of water in the leaving room. Maybe they should not sleep during the day :)
The next few dates updates may be sporadic as I am following Ritsu to Nadi. That will be my first trip to the west coast. She flew there on monday on business and I am going to drive 3 - 4 hours along the coast today. Should come back with many interesting pictures.
Sunday turned out to be pasta day ... for lunch I made fettucine in a white mushroom blue cheese sauce ... after a nap, which we were awakened from by a LOUD downpour, we watched "Tampopo" (if I had not just been kicked offline again, I would have looked up the IMDB link for ya, but I know, you are all big kids on far better connections then I) .. The movie revolves very much around the japanese's love with noodles and the perfection in which to make them, the broth, the presentation, just everything ... surely a movie like that leaves you hungry. So Ritsu was in charge with the japanese pasta department, and it turned out delicious.