Since you can’t wear clothes for more than a day in Fiji without them turning into sweat rags, I had thrown my togs in for some rather overpriced cleaning at the local laundry. They wouldn’t be ready until 12 noon, but as soon as I had them back in my backpack where they belonged, I raced over to the bus station, found the first bus with ‘Nadi’ written on the front and jumped on board.
Fijians have this thing in which they’ll be an ‘n’ in the word, but you wouldn’t know that just by looking at it . For example ‘Nadi’ is pronounced ‘Nandi’ (and the cannibal king name was written ‘Udre Udre’ but pronounced ‘Undre Undre’). This quirk is by no means unique to Fiji: the capital of American Samoa, Pago Pago, is pronounced ‘Pango Pango’, I don’t know if this knowledge is ever going to help you get laid, but at least you could now pretend to have been on holiday in the South Seas.
Nadi is a pleasant little place. Most travellers and holiday-makers race through here on the way somewhere else, as Nadi is the home of Fiji’s international airport. But I found it a marvellous diversion for a couple of days. I checked into the Nadi Bay Resort and found a heavily tattooed and pierced Englishman in my dorm. Alex comes from Brighton and is involved in charity work over here in Fiji. A top bloke: the kind of guy who will engage you in intelligent conversation while at the same time scaring the kids. I like that.
I was in Nadi for two nights, and both of them I spent playing pool with the local sharks and hussies down at Ed’s Bar, something of a Nadi institution. I met a string of colourful characters: ex-pats, tourists, sailors, backpackers and natives, and did my best to antagonise as many of them as possible. This ship had better get to Suva soon… at this rate I’m going to run out of money before I leave the island.